What’s health got to do with it?

matcloud_luciaRound 2 of Season 3 of Fotolia’s TEN Collection revolves around health. This time Fotolia paired photographer Lucia Giacani and artist Mateusz Chmura (MatCloud) together to create a surreal piece. Both having backgrounds in industrial design, their concept involved displaying organs as products that look more artificial than biological. If you are curious about their process (or them) watch this video.

Their portrayal of artificial organs, got the gears whirring in my head for the design challenge. What if in the future replacing organs became as commonplace as walking into a grocery store and buying a new carton of milk or switching out parts to your car? Hearts, lungs, livers etc. are easily and artificially made. Organ donor lists are a thing of the past. So I came up with the “Body Shop.” Walk in, purchase the part that you need, and have it installed onsite. My idea did take on a darker tone as I searched for additional source images to compliment the ones provided for the contest. Here’s my result and if it intrigues you, you can vote for it here by clicking the like button.

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animation_matcloud_healthP.S. I was already a fan of artist MatCloud, so I was truly excited that he was chosen to be a part of this series. You can follow him on Behance or Facebook.

 

Light Painting, Digital Art, & Prizes

strip_ten_collection_fb_pare_campauSeason 3 of Fotolia’s TEN Collection has begun! They are doing it a little different this year. Instead of featuring 10 individual digital artists, Fotolia has put together duos, one digital artist and one photographer. Just like in previous seasons the Photoshop file of their work will be available for download (sign-up to get a reminder to download for free). I’m so excited that they’ve included photography and the artists they’ve chosen to kick-off season three are phenomenal!

Eric Paré is a Canadian artist who specializes in light-painting, bullet-time and stop-motion photography.

Work by Eric Pare

Work by Eric Paré

Mike Campau is an American artist who is an expert at combining photography, illustration and cgi.

Work by Mike Campau

Work by Mike Campau

What I love even more, Fotolia has provided an in-depth video of their creative process. I’m the behind-the-scenes type; you know the one who watches all the DVD extras. I like to know how and why. This video gives some excellent tips. I highly encourage you to watch.

Another change Fololia has implemented is that instead of having just one competition at the end of the season, we now have the chance to “challenge” the artists after each PSD release for some excellent prizes. Learn more on TEN Collection’s Facebook Page.  Here is Mike and Eric’s wonderful creation and below is my contest entry.

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Final Artwork by Eric Pare & Mike Campau

Using Mike and Eric’s tips, I wanted to create a powerful image with flow. My inspiration not only came from them, but from the video Born To Die by Lana Del Rey. The interior scenes were lavishly ornate and I wanted something similar in beauty and detail for my background without detracting from the main female figure. I’d also like to highlight Midnightstouch for her realistic Love Me Tendril brushes, used for the vines.
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If you like my entry, show it some love by clicking the like button.

Customized Graduation Invitations

grad_invitesYour little one has reached a milestone in their life; they’re graduating. (I guess they’re not so little anymore). You’re a proud happy parent who wants to celebrate. That means a ceremony, party, food, family, friends, fun, music, and maybe even a disco ball. It also means that you need invitations. If your family is huge like mine, then you will need more than a few invites to cover everyone including friends. Several sites offer stellar options to showcase your graduate i.e. Tiny Prints (love their style choices), Shutterfly, or Zazzle. For my family though, we went a alternate less expensive route.

Both of my cousins are graduating from high school the same year, so as a gift to them I designed their invitations. I also took the pictures for them. We had our own little photo-shoot in a local park and raided the dollar store beforehand for quirky props. A large amount of invites were needed and the reason why it was cheaper was because I did everything myself and I used an online printing service, specifically Vistaprint. Instead of paying $1 or more per card, I was able to order my design in bulk paying around 22 cents per card. This price could vary depending on what specials Vistaprint has available. I also added envelope seals, using elements from my design.

Note: Vistaprint has their own section for graduation invitations. This is NOT what I’m referring to. I sized my invites according to their Rack Card specifications in Marketing Materials and uploaded my design. You could use their Post Card specs as well.

Do I recommend doing everything yourself?
If you are artistically inclined with a photographic eye, then I say go for it! Do you have to choose Vistaprint? No. Check out Printaholic’s Top Online Printing Services. However, I usually get great deals with Vistaprint (check for online coupons), excellent customer service, and quality results. We had so much fun together taking photographs for the invitations, that alone makes them extra special to me. If you do personally take the pictures, keep these basic tips in mind from PC Magazine and be a little adventurous. Don’t be afraid to attempt a weird position, prop, or pose. It could be a dud or photo gold, but you won’t know until you try.

Let’s face it though, not everyone enjoys taking pictures. Many parents will opt for a professional photographer. Consider hiring a Graphic Designer as well. He/she could provide you with an even more customized invitation. Depending on the amount you need and the designer’s fee, it could work out to cost around the same as using a site like Tiny Prints. If you decide to take pictures yourself and hire a designer, it is very important that you provide them with high resolution images. Make sure your camera is at it’s highest or second highest quality setting.

Whatever option you choose, Congrats to You and Your Grad!

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Free Wallpaper: Simplicity

I keep a list on my phone’s Quick Notes App of wallpaper ideas. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to create and other times the concept remains hazy. Simplicity fell into the unclear category. It was inspired by a fortune cookie. I have long since given up on fortune cookies giving me an actual prediction, however this “fortune” struck a chord. It said “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” How true. Minimalism is often related to sophistication. (I would have provided a picture of this fortune however I put it in a safe place, so safe that I now can’t find it.)

I have this great quote, but what do I do with it? I thought about opposites, maybe creating an absurdly complicated piece or making it as simple as it gets, black type on a white background. Unsure, adding Simplicity to my list, I knew inspiration would come one day. Yesterday it arrived in a photograph taken by Jon DeBoer labeled Superstar (seen below).

Photograph by Jon DeBoer

DeBoer’s photo is stark, powerful, full of contrast and attitude, and simple. It was my answer. I studied it, creating Simplicity to mimic its style while adding in little extras, like the seating. I’m quite pleased with the results and it was completed in approximately four hours in Photoshop. Enjoy and of course feedback is welcome. I may even make this into a tutorial considering Photoshop is refusing to open my original file. Would anyone be interested?

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Here are some  sources I used:

Font: Foglihten No. 04

auditorium2 woodfloorHere is another “fortune” that I kept and could actually find.

fortune

That’s Life & Photography

beetleI had originally intended this post to be called Beetles Everywhere! but as you can see there is barely a Beetle to be found. One day on my way to the library I happened across a car show dedicated to Volkswagen Beetles of all shapes and sizes. There were so many makes and models that I had never seen before and some so customized that I would likely never see again. Needless to say I was excited, but there was a problem. I didn’t have my DSLR. As I walked around admiring the VW goodness I realized that I did have my smart phone, the Motorola Atrix 2. I took pictures, or tried to take pictures as I would with my Nikon and then I was going to turn it into a blog post with a photo gallery discussing the experience and quality of the images.

What happened to the VW photos? That’s what I would like to know! Retrieving the images from my phone was a bit of a nightmare. I tried to download them directly to my computer via USB cable, but the computer wouldn’t recognize my phone. I went to developer options and set my phone to Debug Mode when the USB is connected which makes it easier to copy files. Still no luck. I downloaded the Motorola Helper. Still nothing. I tried emailing the photos to myself, but there were 73 of them. My phone could only upload a few at a time and even then the upload failed.

This is the point where things went from bad to worse. I moved the photos from internal memory to my SD card and they disappeared. I removed the sd card from the phone and inserted it into my computer. There was no trace of the images. My phone also said I had no images. Desperate, I ran the sd card through the file recovery program, Recuva. The only files it found to restore were music files that weren’t lost.

What is left for me to do? Any suggestions? Are my photos gone for good?
The only ones I have are the two that I uploaded to facebook.

This incident did help me realize a few things:

  1. My phone is not a good back-up camera.
  2. I should be carrying my DSLR around with me regularly.
  3. I hadn’t been taking pictures on a consistent basis.

The third point is odd for me because I LOVE taking pictures. To help remedy this I’ve decided to post a photo project every two months. It’s my new goal to find something interesting to document and of course improve my skills. I can tell that my proficiency and reflexes have taken a hit from lack of use. To get back into the swing of things I took pictures around a local bridge (and encountered a really big bird). Please feel free to give feedback!

 

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