Fit the Fourth album artwork

So I’ve been meaning to mention this for a while, but you might remember I did some artwork for brothers new album. ¬†I got a copy through a while back:


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It’s quite nice to see it in print ūüôā In addition to doing the front cover I also had to create a bunch of other images for the album, plus the booklet. ¬†I therefore expanded on some of the techniques I used for the Some of the Creatures Have Broken the Locks on the Door to Lab 558 video.

The intro shots of swirling coloured liquid and some of the biological looking shots were created with food colouring and gelatin.  I shot these using some macro tube extensions.  These go between the camera and the lens and change the focal length of the lens, basically letting you get extreme close ups.  This also means that you have to get your lens incredibly close to the subject Рso close in fact that the bottom of the lens was actually in the water!

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I wanted to have some biological looking images for use in the booklet so I did quite a few pics of gelatin and food colouring.  You can get some really nice pics Рthis is all backlit using LED strips as you can see in the above pic.


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I also wanted some shots of the Lab 558 model, I wanted to have something slightly more impressionistic however. ¬†What I ended up doing was to do some long exposure shots of the model during which I moved the camera or zoomed in. ¬† This created these ‘streaking’ type images which I think look quite cool ūüôā

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This image is several different views of my tentacle puppet¬†stitched together. ¬†I really like the way the light plays through the slime dripping of the tentacle. ¬†Slime makes everything better ūüėČ ¬†This is lit against a light box which I find is really good for giving you a pure white background. ¬†I figured it gave it a slightly clinical look, as though the tentacles were in a tank in a lab perhaps.

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Finally, we did a few shots of my brothers eye for the video and so wanted to do the same for the album art. ¬†As it turns out getting an image that was in focus was extremely difficult. ¬†You need to have the camera incredibly close to the subject so this was only a few centimeters away from Tom’s eye. ¬†Additionally, I was shooting it at F1.8 so the focal depth was incredibly narrow. ¬†So much so that even the slightest movement of the camera would make the image look out of focus. ¬†Of course it’s also very difficult for someone to hold completely still so I had to constantly try and correct the focus. ¬†Because of the macro tube I was using, the lenses’ focus ring didn’t really make much of a difference to the focus.

This was less of an issue when shooting video as it didn’t matter if it went out of focus occasionally, but it was a real pain taking stills! ¬†In the end I mounted my camera on a glide track so I could easily move it in and out to get the focus correct. ¬†I also used a fast shutter speed and relatively high ISO so I could grab the pic before it fell out of focus.



Fit the Fourth

Two updates in one day?! ¬†Yes, I’m a little busier than usual. ¬†This is kind of tied into the ‘Lab 558‘ video that I’m currently making as it’s the album artwork for my brother’s new album. ¬†I’ll also be creating ¬†some inlay artwork using elements from the video.



This started off with a shot of Tom pressing his hand up against the window in the back door at mum’s house. ¬†I sculpted a tentacle in super sculpey which he held in place. ¬†Here’s the original image:


I¬†cleaned up¬†the join between finger and tentacle in photoshop and isolated Tom and his hand separately using the path tool – I needed two masks as the hand’s in focus and has a hard edge whereas the rest is out of focus and has a soft edge.

We found an appropriate lab image for the background on google however as it wasn’t marked as being rights free we decided we couldn’t use it. I decided to create my own lab in after effects using some Element 3D models and some stills that I created in photoshop, positioned in 3D space. ¬†This was handy actually as it meant I could adjust the camera angle using the AE camera to better match the foreground element of Tom. ¬†Here’s the lab image. ¬†It doesn’t look like much but it doesn’t need to as once it’s out of focus you don’t see so much of it:

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Finally we needed a reflection of a ruined city which I created in After Effect again using Element 3D and a few other Video Copilot stock elements. ¬†The tentacles are from Beast of the Air ūüėČ ¬†This was all combined together using some grime and glass elements which I added using various blending modes in photoshop.

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Tom. In a box.

My brother has released a new CD and he needed some artwork. ¬†I’ve done abit of this previously. ¬†One of the songs is about being kept in stasis in a water tank (or something) so we did some pictures along those lines……

I started off by photographing Tom against a black background.  In order to make it look like he was underwater we suspended his hair in the air with clips and fishing line.

Here he is looking stupid:

The breathing apparatus was cobbled together the night before from some bits and pieces I had lying about.  The frame around the tank was made of plastic and shot separately on green screen then comped in later.

The water was created using a variety of particle systems in After Effects.  I also used various distortion effects to create bubbles and ripples and various other elements such as coloured smoke were overlaid over the original image.

All in all quite a fun project. ¬†Here’s a Flickr gallery of all the images. ¬†Oh, and you can listen to the CD/EP, whatever it is, here.

Three Rows of Teeth

I’ve been creating some artwork for my brothers new album. ¬†This was inspired by a series of ideas we have for a video which will accompany one of the songs on the album. ¬†It seemed sensible to incorporate some of the imagery from the video into the album artwork.

This was mainly created in after effects rather than photoshop and made fairly extensive use of the element plugin to render some .obj files within after effects.

I’ve also created a video where I interview Tom about the new album and point out the flaws in his plan.

Being Troubled by a Glowy Menace

I’ve been having another go at doing abit more motion tracking. ¬†The orb was created using a tutorial from Video Co-Pilot. ¬†Tracking the orb to the shot was relatively straightforward, especially bearing in mind that I’d shot the video with that in mind. I even managed to track the motion of my brothers tongue!

The trickiest bit was adding in some grading to make it look like the orb was casting blue light on nearby objects.  I did this by duplicating the video layer, changing the colour of the duplicate so it was biased towards the blue then using masks to allow some of that blue to come through the first video layer in the areas I wanted.  In sections where the ball moves I copied the tracking data from the shot in question to an adjustment layer with a mask.   This then followed the ball around as it moved and looked as though the glow was tied to it (I hope).

A chorus of agony from webspace

The website overhaul is continuing which has mostly involved my trying to troubleshoot problems with CSS and PHP code and Javascript elements, most of which I know nothing about(!). Been rather frustrating but I seem to have it all working now.

The challenge now is to update the whole site with the new look and layout in as simple a way as possible. This is somewhat simpler using CSS but as most of the old code is all over the place (I was basically learning HTML as I was originally building the site!), it’s not entirely straight forward.

Still, I’ve been having fun creating some new graphics for the various pages and check out the new Javascript photo browser that pops up when you click on the thumbnails on these pages ;0)

If I can just get it to display the same way in Internet Explorer and Firefox we’ll be laughing!