Friday, March 27, 2015

Retrospecter: Understanding OSL (Oriented Source Lighting) with watermelons

It's Friday! What a good day for a good old...


Retrospecter!

Retrospecter is that section of the blog where every couple of weeks I bring you old stuff from the past. Well, I bring you a funny thing for today's Retrospecter... I was looking back into the blog's past and saw this awesome post from EXACTLY one year ago. Remember the exploding watermelons? :D Boom boom!

I found this picture on a newsletter email sent by Photobucket. I don't think they realized how useful this is for me...

It's basically a .gif of a watermelon explosion. Cool right?

Boo...ooo...ooo...ooo...oom...!

Yep, the aftermath must have been messy. Well the purpose of this post is not to share the coolness of the animation (My good old friend Captain Cid showed me that the animation comes from this video). I realized that it is very useful to use it to study the interesting light effects that are happening here.

And to do that, all I'm going to do is open the animation in GIMP (an opensource Photoshop) and save some of the frames separately. Let's pay attention to these:

The previous moment to the explosion.

In miniature painting, OSL effects (Oriented Source Lighting) are very cool and quite difficult to achieve. This exercise will help us understand them better. Taking the above photo as our "base", check out how the colours change with the light coming from the watermelon (the explosion):

The explosion starts inside the watermelon.

See how the reds start to bathe some specific parts of the table and clothes of the guy. Pay especial attention to the intensity of the red in each area! It's really interesting!

It's getting hot in here!

Interesting to see that the white of the guy becomes even more white, while the face becomes completely orange!

Man, that watermelon!

This pic is great to show how the light glows from within the watermelon, and shows from the cracks. Very bright yellows and oranges glow from within, and the watermelon is no longer green, but quite red actually (complementary of green, very discordant).

The explosion at its maximum

And the brighter it gets inside the watermelon, the more red its skin becomes, but in contrast with the light, and some areas that are brown, we can still see that its a green watermelon.

Fire in the hall!

At this point, the effect of the orange light in the guy begins to fade.

Watch out man!

The pieces of the watermelon spread away, and become more green as they escape from the light area.

Incoming watermelon!

At this point, the guy has no orange light on him.

My eye! My eye!

Man, this guy is corageous!

Well, I find this absolutely amazing. Studying this effect certainly opened my mind to a new world of possibilities. I was very surprised to see the white becoming even whiter instead of orange. Cool stuff.

I hope you enjoyed it! (and got something out of it of course)

Many watermelons died to bring us this information.

;)

Until our next Retrospecter, enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

MuMi presents its website

What I'm going to talk today about is a wonderful initiative that has been developing in Milan (Italy) in the last few years.

You may have seen some miniatures in contests with a tag saying 'MuMi' or maybe some of the greatest artists in the miniature world wearing t-shirts with their name and the 'MuMi' tag. MuMi stands for 'Museum of Miniatures' and its a dream come true for all of us in our little miniature painting world. Finally, a collection with pieces from some of the best that will be in show for all to see, in the same place!

Just yesterday, I was told by some of my colleagues that the website is finally open, so the MuMi is really moving forward! Here you can see the link and the website as is at the moment.

MuMi features some of the best miniature artists from all of the world. I am proud and honoured to be amongst them, together with all of my idols, masters and painting referents, all of them I am lucky to call friends.

Out of my miniatures gallery, MuMi currently possesses 4 pieces: The Ork Nob, Korps of Krieg Grenadiers, Korps of Krieg at Ease, and my biggest job up to date, The Last Stand of The Crimson Fists.

I can't wait to see the MuMi physically come true! Stay tuned to the website and their recently opened Facebook page. MuMi will help increasing the visibility of our work and its appreciation from the general public.

Extremely hyped!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Crystal Brush 2015 winners

Crystal Brush (the $10,000 contest organized by CoolMiniOrNot) was celebrated this weekend in Chicago. I hope you had the chance to put in your votes on Sunday, as 50% of the judging is based on what the public is voting online!

Yesterday, in the afternoon time in Europe, we were receiving the first news about the results. Here you have, the three winners of Crystal Brush 2015!

1st place winner ($10,000) goes to Kirill Kanaev, with this 75mm scratch built Space Marine Terminator (or what I prefer to call him, "what if Daniel Craig were a Crimson Fist?").

I really like this model, the sculpture is very good (I wonder if that head is scratch built or taken from somewhere) but the paintjob as usual is Kirill Kanaev standard (which is like saying the highest there can be). I'm specially fond of this one because as you know I have painted some Crimson Fists, and I don't find their colour scheme to be very flashy. It's a challenge to find the right colours for it, and Kirill did exceptionally. And those freehands! What a winner!

2nd place winner ($2,000) goes to Ben Komets, with this incredibly detailed diorama using miniatures from Black Sailors (by Big Child Studio) called "High Noon".

Ben here did what he knows best, a crazy diorama! Tons and tons of details everywhere, from the teacups in the roof, to the signs in the wall, wherever you see you are going to find something new. One of those pieces where it's worth spending hours of your time just trying to find the next great thing. Oh, and there's smoke that comes from the chimney, check this presentation video that he made with the help of Matt Cexwish!

High Noon! - Steampunk Opium Den Diorama by Ben Komets for the Chrystal Brush 2015 from Matt Cexwish on Vimeo.

3rd place winner ($1,000) goes to Jessica Rich, with this miniature from Kingdom Death.

It somehow reminds me of "Gea" by Jose Palomares and Hugo Gómez, that won the Crystal a few years ago. I think this third place is very well deserved!

There you go, there's a lot of inspiration for your next projects here! Congrats to my good friends and personal idols Kirill and Ben for their first and second place and to Jessica for that third place trophy. What wonders will Crystal Brush bring for us next year? Can't wait to see!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My opinion about Leganés 2015

This weekend the V Encuentro de Modelismo Estático Ciudad de Leganés took place. As most of you know, this year it has been very special for me because I had the honour of being invited as judge for the Fantasy section. A privilege but also a great responsibility, and I must say that in the end it also proved to be very exhausting work. I have been judge on many other occasions, but I think I have never had to do a job as hard as this time, for many reasons! I'll give my opinion below.

About the event itself, I am under the impression that it is blooming at the moment. It is a very big event for what we modellers are used to. Thousands of people visited the venue throughout the weekend and there is a feeling of constant activity. The event is organized by the association Model34, which concentrates mostly in classic models and vehicles and not on static and artistic figure which is what we usually work with. So this year they had the invaluable help of the Association of Historical Models Alabarda, which as its name suggests, focuses on Historical figure. With these premises we can understand why Fantasy, which is so fashionable lately, has been somewhat neglected (as in previous years) in the Leganés contest. And that to me seems very normal, as many different disciplines are mixed in the same event, and preparing and organizing something like this proves to be very complicated while ensuring that everything runs smoothly.

I say this because I heard some complaints about the lack of organization and/or mistreatment of the Fantasy section. About the lack of organization I can give my opinion because I participated with them (as a judge of the Fantasy section). I think it is somewhat unfair to denounce lack of organization in an event of this nature. It can be better organized? Sure. We already know how complicated the delivery and collection of figures and awards is, and how much they can improve on that. But when an association organizes an event like this, it does it for pure passion and hobby, and although criticicism is good and positive, the best way to criticize is proposing and supporting, if possible, so that future editions are better. It is a contest that is promising for the future, it is doing many things well (many!), it's already being consolidated, but needs improvement and for that it needs support from us.

Certainly there are many things that have been quite annoying for our colleagues in Fantasy. Among the complaints I've heard, let me highlight the following:

  • Problems to deliver and collect figures, endless queues (I fear that this is a problem that endures for several years now, and it is difficult to solve because of the high volume of participants).
  • Figures that were placed in different categories that they had been presented in (I know this for a fact, Emuse and I had to change a lot of them while judging). This does seem very relevant, since it's almost disrespectful to the participants.
  • The category of dioramas (where most were Fantasy I believe) did not have the same treatment as other Fantasy categories (apparently there are complaints about the judging, but I do not know who judged that section).
  • In Historical figure, the criterion is too traditional, where there is no appreciation to ambitious works about light, color and composition. This is not something that happens only in Leganés, of course, but I think it is important to gather this feeling, hoping that someday this will change for good.

As for the part that I was involved in, which is being judge of Fantasy, I think Enrique (Emuse) and I did a good job. The task was quite stressful, we spent more than three hours seeing miniatures, deliberating, deciding, rethinking, deciding again, deliberating again... the truth is that it was a hard task and possibly the hardest judging I've had to face so far. The quality of the miniatures that we saw is on standards that one could hardly have imagined a few years ago, which shows that Fantasy is in top shape and that it is the great source of modeling creation at the moment. Of course we must have made some mistakes (we are human) and there might be some left dissatisfied with our decisions, this is normal. We wanted to keep the number of medals short to give great value to the awards, and I think that we did that well. The work was tremendous and those of you who saw us there in the event know of what I speak.

Yes, it is true and I have to admit that the Fantasy category was somewhat neglected by the organization. As an example, Fantasy judges did not have a dedicated sheet to write the winners as the other categories had. It's a minor detail of course, but it perfectly illustrates the feeling. At the end there was much slippage, which categories that were separated to be judged as different ones and the participants were not told that they were, confusion, last minute complications... But it's normal because as I said before, the organization has no experience in this field (Fantasy). I think that people who understand and care about Fantasy should get more involved in the coming years (maybe with some new Fantasy association in Madrid, or maybe new members into the existing ones...). From here I will try to reach out to them to help in any way possible that I can in the future. I think Leganés can be a great competition and a future reference event, and we have to care for things like this in the future.

Personally, I had a great time as always. :) A pleasure to see the classic, the new and the not so new. I could not spend the time I normally spend with everyone precisely because of the work I had to do, but I know I can compensate that in other events this year. I was specially happy to finally be able to coincide with Angel Giraldez, a painter that I have followed for many years and that for one reason or for other I had never had the chance to meet! We did not talk much because I had no time but I hope that in the future we can fix that, provided that we do not have to wait for another ten years! XD

Congratulations to all participants in Leganés because you have set a very very high standard. To the winners, of course, because you have done an amazing job and you have deserved our humble recognition. To the organization also, for trusting the judging of Fantasy section to us, and for organizing another great Leganés contest. And to the 501st Spanish Legion because I love seeing their Star Wars costumes every year (I want a Stormtrooper one for myself, someday!). To all, see you next year in Leganés!

But do not rest easy... Torrent will be here very soon and we'll be there too. :) And I will be judge again (as if Leganés were not enough), this time with my good friend Diego Esteban (Dieguete) and Luca Baldino (Monte San Savino) to decide your fates in the Fantasy section. See you there!

PS: The photos you see were made by Beatriz Mercader from Bei Mercader Photo. Thank you so much!