Wednesday
Aug
2013
28

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Aaron Blaise!

by Brad Moore  |  8 Comments

Hi everyone! Aaron Blaise here. For those that don’t know who I am… I’ve been in the animation industry for almost 25 years now with 21 of those years spent at Walt Disney Feature Animation. I was lucky enough to have contributed to many of Disney’s latest classics including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King, Pocahontas, and Mulan. I also co-directed Brother Bear. In the last few years I’ve been developing several films for various companies by way of story development and visual development/concept design. I’ve been a guest on Photoshop User TV a couple of times and will be an instructor at the upcoming Photoshop World event in Las Vegas! (That WILL be fun!)

There…now that I got the intro out of the way, I’d like to share with you the latest project my directing partner, Chuck Williams and myself have been working on, Art Story. First I’d like to give you a little background on this project.

A few years back, Chuck and myself were presented with an amazing opportunity. Leave Disney in California, and move back to our home state of Florida to head up the creative development of a brand new animation studio being created in Port Saint Lucie. The studio was to be a division of the then visual effects giant, Digital Domain.  It was a big gamble for us, but ultimately we couldn’t resist the opportunity.

We started in April of 2010. Chuck and I were tasked with creating content for animated feature films and hiring the staff to make them. Over the next year we, along with a great story team, developed four original ideas. One was a fantasy piece (Art Story), another was a comedy, another was a sci-fi piece, and the last one was a big epic adventure called The Legend of Tembo.

After looking closely at all four projects we decided to go with The Legend of Tembo as our first film. It was a big story and one we thought would be perfect as a first film for our young company.

It was the story of a gentle, young African elephant named Tembo, taken from his savannah home and shipped over seas where he is forced to become a battle elephant. It’s here that he must fight for his freedom and make his way back home.

Tragedy struck though 13 months into making Tembo. After over a year of preproduction and development and literally 3 weeks from the start of actual production we came to work on a Friday to learn that the company had gone bankrupt and everything was shutting down. We had two hours to clean out our desks. Just like that the dream was crushed.

Over the next 6 months or so Chuck and I worked on trying to get Tembo out of bankruptcy with no luck.  It was then though that our ex-boss, John Textor was able to get Art Story out of bankruptcy.

Art Story was going to be our follow up to Tembo, a completely different film from our big elephant adventure. It’s a story about an 11-year-old, meticulous boy, WALT, and his crazy, loopy GRANDPA — two complete opposites — who get stuck in a vast, imaginative WORLD OF PAINTINGS.  Inside, they cross paths with a ruthless painted character determined to make it into our world. In order to get home and stop the villain, Walt and Grandpa have to set aside their differences, work together and navigate worlds where the rules can change around every corner.

It’s a big visual undertaking in that every time Walt and Grandpa enter a different painted world they take on the look of that world. It’ll be like having 7 or 8 completely different art directed little films in one!

It was at this time that we decided we wanted to try and create something from the ashes of what we once were. We decided we wanted to make this film. We didn’t have a studio anymore though and all of the staff we had once hired had moved on to other jobs.

Chuck and I had used up almost all of our savings and parts of our retirements just to get by over that year. We needed to figure out how we were going to get at least the start of this film funded. That’s when we decided we wanted to give Kickstarter a try.

For those that don’t know, Kickstarter is a crowd funding website owned by Amazon where you can present a project to the masses and they can decide if they want to donate to it or not. In return for their donations they receive different rewards that we come up with at different monetary amounts given. It’s a simple idea really but one that’s really taken off.

After figuring out what key work we would need done over the next year or so, we came up with an amount of $350,000 that we would try and raise to get the film seeded. Chuck and I then put together a short video explaining our story and process and attached it to our new Kickstarter home page and launched it July 7th. Kickstarter has a finite number of days for you to raise the funds. If you don’t do it within the days allotted then you get nothing. We had 47 days. We had until August 23rd to raise the $350,000 needed to get started. This is where we got our lesson in social media! We plastered ourselves and Art Story everywhere we could, several times a day. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram…and it worked!! By August 23rd we had exceeded our goal and raised $365,670 donated by 1,785 backers!!! We couldn’t believe it! You can see our Kickstarter page right here.

And now here we are. Chuck and I are in the early stages of utilizing the funds (we aren’t taking salaries) and getting Art Story to next stages of development. We intend to get our script finished and very tight, create all new visual development/concept pieces, create a new story reel of the film, and we also want to do something a little different. We want to create both a children’s book and an e-book telling the entire story and release them before the film. Where the big studios like to keep there original content secret up until their release dates, we thought we would get the story out there ahead of time and get the public behind it. Get them excited for the film version!

All of these pieces you see here were done in Photoshop CS6 on my 21″ Wacom Cintiq. I have to say that it is an incredible amount of fun for me to put our characters into these great pieces of art and try to emulate the various styles. (Keep in mind I’m painting our characters into existing high res pieces)

Creating animated features is a marathon process, taking up to 5 years to complete. We are just now in the beginning stages of Art Story and we have a long road ahead of us, but I hope you’ll keep up with our progress over the coming few years on our website.

Thanks so much to Scott for allowing me to share with you all our little movie and thank you readers for taking the time to read my ramblings. If you happen to be in Vegas for Photoshop World and you see me, please come up and say hi. I’ll also be teaching classes on Digital Character creation, Wildlife painting in Photoshop, and Character design.  You can see more of my work at CreatureArtTeacher.com. Hope to see you there!!   -Aaron

You can see more of Aaron’s work at CreatureArtTeacher.comAaronBlaiseArt.blogspot.com, and follow him on Twitter and Google+

Tuesday
Aug
2013
27

How ’bout a Free Expo-only Pass for Photoshop World Las Vegas?

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

If you can’t make the full three-day training conference, how about a FREE Expo-only Pass for the upcoming Photoshop World Conference & Expo coming up in Vegas in like 8 days? That way, you can check out the show floor, see some cool gear, check out Adobe’s tradeshow booth and all the fun stuff at the Expo portion of the show.

These passes are $20 at the door, but if you register for your free pass now, online, B&H Photo will pick up the tab for your Expo pass (how sweet is that! Makes you want to click on their link up there, as your personal way of saying thanks, doesn’t it?). 

You can visit the show floor either day:

Thursday, September 5th
> Friday, September 6th

If you’ve never been to our Expo floor, it is truly awesome! There are lots of classes running on the Expo floor; tons of demos and special expo-only pricing on gear; Adobe will be there along with lots of software and hardware vendors (everyone from Canon to Epson to Westcott and more!), lots of cool stuff to see and learn (there are two theaters with free classes going all day), and totally lots of fun! Best of all — it’s free (if you reserver for your free tickets now, in advance).

Sign-up now for your free Expo-only pass (good for two admissions) right here. 

See you in Vegas (or in San Jose if you’re here today at my seminar). :)

Monday
Aug
2013
26

Shots From My First Football Shoot of the Season

by Scott Kelby  |  47 Comments

I’m really, really glad I had this preseason game to shake off the rust from the 7-month football shooting drought, because I was some kinda rusty. Whew!!! This was my first shoot of the season and my timing was still a bit off, especially at first, but by the 2nd half, I was starting to feel comfortable again.

It was the Falcons vs. the Titans, in Nashville, and I’m there shootin’ for the Falcons, with Michael Benford and Jimmy Cribbs (two of the best guys ever). It was my first time shooting a night game at LP Field (all my shoots up there have been day games), so it was fun shooting a night game there, especially with all this new gear (see my post from Friday).

Camera Settings
I shot the game with two Canon 1Dx bodies (one with a Canon 400mm f/2.8 lens on a Gitzo monopod, and the other with a 70-200mm f/2.8 for when they get inside the 20-yard line).

The lighting at LP field in Nashville was actually pretty darn good, so I was able to shoot at just 2,000 ISO all night while keeping my shutter speed at or above 1/1000 of a second. I shot wide open all night at f/2.8 on both bodies, and I pretty much used the settings I got from Peter Read Miller’s article (noted in my post on Friday), but with a tweak or two from Michael Benford, and one or two to suit how I’m used to shooting.

First Impressions
This was my first time shooting with the 1Dx, and I gotta tell ya — it is a camera absolutely born to shoot sports. I shot at 2,000 ISO all night and you don’t even see any noise (I did no noise reduction). Michael says the Falcon’s crew routinely shoots at 5,000 ISO and you just don’t see any noise, but after the way they had raved about it, I was expecting insanely low amounts of noise, and that’s what I got.

Better than the low noise…
…the auto-focus system on the 1Dx. It’s AF is insane! It’s so fast, and so precise that I know I’m picking up shots I would have missed otherwise. That’s the part that really surprised me. I need more time with it to really get the little nuances of setting it up for my style of shooting, but of everything on this camera, that was what impressed me most.

Everything about the 1Dx feels fast. I was shooting at 12-frames per second and I know that’s only 2-frames faster per second than what I’m used to shooting, but it felt like it was 10 frames faster.

One thing I thought was really intriguing about the 1Dx is that it’s obvious that a pro photographer’s workflow was part of the camera design. It’s infinitely customizable (much more than I would have thought), and it’s very easy to get to controls that are usually buried under menus. I learned a number of very clever little things along these lines (I could do a whole episode of “The Grid” just about this).

Another thing that surprised me was how fast you can scroll through your images on the LCD using the Quick Control dial on the back of the camera.You get spoiled really quickly (especially when you only have 24-seconds between plays to find and tag a photo). This is all stuff I’m sure you’ve heard before, since this isn’t a brand new camera, (it’s just new to me), but there was just a lot I hadn’t realized about using it.

The quality of the images
The images you see here are low resolution, 72 ppi screen res. The high res images that came out of the camera? Brilliant! Sharp. Crisp. Wonderful color. Plus, I love having 2-extra megapixels, because for football I can crop in just that much tighter.

OK, so what didn’t I like?
I thought the LCD screen on the top was a bit small and the type size is pretty small as well (yes, I’m getting old), and I’m used to a larger screen up there, so I would have loved to have seen a larger screen up top. The body itself feels pretty heavy (heavier than any DLSR body I’ve ever held), but at least that’s more than offset by a 400mm f/2.8 lens that is much lighter than previous models (and that made a big difference on the field).

These next two things are both things where there may be an option to change their functionality, so if any Canon shooters out there know a way around these two, let me know: (1) To move the focus point, you have to hold a button on the back of the camera, then move the point with the tiny Multi-controller joystick thingy. I just want to be able to move the point without having to press and hold a button first. Also (2) I accidentally lowered the Exposure Compensation amount during the game and didn’t realize it for a while. So, in this case I actually want to have to push a button. That way, I don’t accidentally rotate the big dial and change my exposure. [UPDATE: As I suspected, some readers posted ways where I can move the focus point without pressing the button, and how to keep the Quick Control dial from changing Exp comp. Will try out both on Thursday --- thanks for the tips gang!].

I know, I know, these are really nit-picky little things, but if it affects how you shoot, I think it’s important.

So What’s next?
I’ll get another chance to try this whole Canon rig again on Thursday night when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Washington Redskins (I’m covering Bucs home games for Zuma Press again this year). I’ll probably have to crank the ISO a bit (especially when I put a 1.4-teleconverter on it, effectively making the 400mm a 560mm f/4 lens), and I’m anxious to see how that goes. Also, by then I’ll be more familiar with the camera controls; I can tweak and customize more of the settings (I learned some stuff from Michael Benford during the game), and I can work on my timing to get ready for the regular season.

Thanks to the Falcons Crew!
My humble thanks to the awesome Jimmy Cribbs and Michael Benford for the opportunity to shoot with you guys. It is always so much fun!

Also, a shout out to my buddy Donn Jones (Titans team photographer and a guy who is now officially older than me), and the great guys with the Titans crew (including George [who took the photo of me above] and  Al, the king of the grill), for their hospitality and for inviting me once again to their “lame @s$ tail-gate party” after the game. It was epically lame. ;-)

I’m off to San Jose
My seminar tomorrow is sold out in advance (whoo hoo — almost 600 photographers), but if you’re going to be there, make sure you come up and say howdy. My next tour stop is September 13th in Miami, so get your ticket before it’s sold out!. Have a great Monday everybody.

 

 

Friday
Aug
2013
23

My Loadout For Tomorrow’s Falcons/Titans NFL Game

by Scott Kelby  |  86 Comments

Finally! The wait is over — Football is back, baby!!!! (Whoo Hoo!!) :-)

Tomorrow’s my first shoot of the season (well, the preseason), and I’m off to Nashville to shoot for the Atlanta Falcons in their pre-season game against the Tennessee Titans, and I am trying out a completely new camera set-up (Take a look at my load-out of the game below).

So, last season when I was shooting for the Falcons up in Atlanta, my buddies Michael Benford and Matt Lange (from the Falcons crew) both were shooting the new Canon EOS 1DX, and they kept running over and showing me some shots during breaks in the game because the noise was just so incredibly low (we all have to shoot at around 4,000 or 5,000 ISO in the Dome at night). I’m used to shooting with a camera that does great at high ISO situations, but what I was seeing was still pretty freakin’ amazing, so when a friend at Canon asked if I wanted to try out some of their gear this season, I was all over it (especially since this first game is a night game, so I’d really get to check out the high ISO performance of the 1DX).

Inside My Bag
I’m using pretty much the same lens configuration I was using with my Nikon gear, and I had the option of going wide with my 2nd body lens, but I decided to go back to a 70-200mm f/2.8 for the shots inside the 20-yard-line. I didn’t bring a fisheye, but I might just throw a 16-35mm in there at the last minute for some pre-game and post-game shots.

Above: Here’s a closeup of the EOS-1DX body sitting on top of the my bag (photo by Brad Moore) — one of two I’ll be using tomorrow night (ya gotta have two bodies for football — there’s no time to change lenses during a play).

Setting It Up For Football
I’ve been playing with the 1DX at home at night, just getting used to the feel of it and setting it up for football, and I found an article from sports photography legend Peter Read Miller on his own settings for shooting sports with the 1DX, and if they’re good enough for Peter….well….needless to say, those are the settings I’m using! :-)

A full report on Monday
Check back here on Monday and I’ll have a full report, and lots of photos. Hope you all have an awesome weekend (did I mention football is back?), and GO FALCONS!

-Scott

P.S. I’ll be in San Jose, California teaching my “Shoot like a Pro” tour on Tuesday. If you’re coming out to the seminar, and you read this blog, make sure you come up and say hi. See you there!

Thursday
Aug
2013
22

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  45 Comments

Photoshop World Vegas
What can I say that hasn’t already been said recently that could help you decide to come to Photoshop World Vegas? It’s an amazing conference with amazing instructors, amazing events, and amazing people all around. Just listen to the people in the video above. If you haven’t already booked a flight, you can get some info on travel right here. And if discount airline Allegiant Air flies out of an airport near you, there’s a chance you can get a cheap, direct flight to Vegas!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to Photoshop World!

The Art Of Digital Photography with Dave Black
Join Mia McCormick for an inspirational conversation with Dave Black, a world renowned sports photographer with over 30 years of experience. Over the course of an hour Dave and Mia discuss topics that range from getting started in photography to overcoming challenges, from the importance of thinking differently to how to develop your own unique style, and so much more!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free rental of this class!

Kelby Training Live
Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby or Joe McNally? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Aug 27 – San Jose, CA
Sep 13 – Miami Beach, FL
Sep 18 – Livonia, MI (Detroit area)
Sep 20 – Arlington, TX (Dallas/Ft. Worth area)

One Light, Two Light with Joe McNally
Sep 10 – St. Louis, MO
Sep 12 – Kansas City, MO

Lots more dates have been added for the rest of the year, so head over to the Kelby Training Live site to get the full schedule! And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Peter Read Miller Sports Photography Workshop
The Peter Read Miller Sports Photography Workshop returns to Atlanta, GA for the second year. Class will start Monday afternoon October 28 and end on Sunday morning November 3, 2013. If you want to learn from sports photography from the best of the best, this is where you can do it! Join Peter as he teaches you how to photograph football, baseball, volleyball, swimming, and more. You can download a PDF with all of the workshop info right here (right-click and Save Link As if it doesn’t download automatically) and sign up for the workshop right here.

Vincent Versace Workshops in India
Join Vincent Versace next month for some unique workshop opportunities in Banaras (Varanasi), Kolkata, and Mumbai India! Working in conjunction with the Indian talent sharing website Tumbhi, you can choose to do just one or all three! These workshops will involve intense learning, hands on sessions and lots of fun with Vincent and guest instructor Mickey Strand.

You can get more info on these workshops right here, and leave a comment to win a free rental of one of Vincent’s KelbyTraining.com classes!

Winners
Photoshop World Ticket
- Adam Bucci

Zack Arias $5K Challenge Rental
- Patrick Farrington

Kelby Training Live Ticket
- Christopher Arnold

Olloclip
- Tricia Kennedy

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon! Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
Aug
2013
21

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Bruce Dorn!

by Brad Moore  |  10 Comments

Wow, what a great honor to be this week’s Guest Blogger – thanks Scott!

Folks who know me personally know that I’ve never met a soapbox that I didn’t love so I’ll try to keep today’s musing short and succinct.  I’ll have a chance to pontificate at length at this year’s Photoshop World and encourage all attendees to try to catch both of my information packed seminars.

On Thursday, September 5th I’ll be presenting The Ten Commandments of Cinematic Lighting.  Although trying to distill thirty years of hard-won Hollywood and high fashion lighting experience down to an hour’s worth of easily digestible tips is an almost impossible task, I’ve taken my best shot at it.  This isn’t a class for hardware fetishists but rather a philosophical primer on the emotional and practical application of any artificial light source, be it large, small, classic, current, or yet to be revealed.  That said, please don’t mistake this class’s admittedly philosophical bent as code for “More Useless Mumbo-Jumbo” for that would be a huge mistake – attentive attendees will learn from many carefully created examples and take away ten concise and useful tips to consider when creating a dramatic lighting design for either cinema or stills.

And these tips are not a simple distillation of my own extensive experience but rather a finely crafted brew of knowledge gleaned from years of working with The Best of The Best in both the still and motion image-making arenas.

Yep, over the course of my career I have had the honor of not only producing wonderful imagery but also the great pleasure of assigning the creation of such work.  As a young man, working as an Art Director for Conde Nast Publishing’s Mademoiselle Magazine, I routinely assigned juicy editorial assignments to some of the worlds’ best fashion photographers.  Can you imagine how much I learned by offering creative challenges and then stepping back to quietly but intently observe each individual artist’s approach?  It was an amazing time and I gleaned a lot of fresh knowledge with each new experience.

Ditto on the Cinematic side of the street.  As time passed, and my interests changed, I segued from the Rag Trade into the more creatively-broad arena of Advertising.  I continued to do a bit of Graphic Design and Art Direction – and a lot of Still Photography – but ultimately found my True Love in The Art of Cinematography.

I must be the luckiest guy alive because one thing led to another and I soon found myself working in Hollywood!   After induction into the Directors Guild of America, I became a Creative Director at the world’s biggest motion picture special effects house (Robert Able & Associates) where I spent many years busily designing, producing, and directing major television advertising campaigns.  Big budgets and lots of creative freedom added up to what could only be described as truly awesome times.  And, as a Producer and Director, I was once again blessed with the great pleasure of assigning plum jobs to other creative souls – this time to the guys and gals who I think occupy the highest rungs of the lens-based visual arts, the Cinematographers or, as they are also known, the Directors of Photography.  Sweet!

Which finally brings me to my second seminar offering at the upcoming Photoshop World conference, Introduction to HD Storytelling, on Friday September 6th from 1:00-2:00pm.  This seminar will focus on the exploitation of contemporary hybrid tools for a personal exploration of motion picture storytelling.

Here’s how I see it: I think every person has an interesting and compelling story in them – maybe more than one.  These stories may big and far-reaching or small and private but at their heart every well-told story is based on effective structure and basic technique.  If you own a hybrid camera – one that offers both Still and HD capture – and a computer with an editing program, well heck, you’re halfway to your three-picture studio deal with Paramount!   That’s how it went for Writer/Director/Producer Robert Rodriguez when he created and shared his first short film “El Mariachi”!!

Okay, so you’re not really halfway to Hollywood just because you own some gear but you do have a solid foundation on which to build your own personal exploration of motion picture storytelling. And I’m excited to help you along the way with an inspiring hour of entertaining examples and solid advice to get the ball rolling. My personal career with the motion picture camera has taken me to the most exciting places on the planet where I see and capture the most beautiful things. In this seminar I’ll also share how that came to be and offer solid advice on how to start your own cinematic show reel.

My advice? Invest two hours hanging out with me, Brucie -The Second Most Interesting Man Alive!  Fail to do so and you’ll miss out on good solid advice, inspirational imagery, and a well-marked road map to Big Fun ;)

Wait a minute – just two hours?!? I could do days on these topics! Quick, someone tell Scott to get me on the video tutorial program around here!

You can see more of Bruce’s work at BruceDorn.com and iDCPhotoVideo.com, and follow him on Twitter.

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