Brand Spankin’ New…

….blog! Check out the continuation of my creative misadventures at my new web home, H. Gr0 Studio šŸ˜€


“Space: the final frontier.”

“These are the voyages of the starshipĀ Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”…..Ok this post isn’t about space (as evidenced by theĀ glamorĀ shots lol), Ā but the June ad for Beauty (SALON) did make me think of Star Trek momentarily. Ā I was thinking of how you always know who the captain’s love interest is because they’re always in soft focus and this image is a subliminal nod to that.

This is another stock photo from 123rf. The generalĀ consensusĀ was that the rings needed to go. I was also not a fan of the overly saturatedĀ irises or the crackling lipstick. (Then again I’m a makeup snob). Ā My goal was to soften everything just enough and I did some selective focusing and painted the face a bit to add a hint of color. The hardest part was the hands which I’m still not happy with but for the purposes of the ad it wasn’t necessary to go into much detail as they’re in shadow. You can check out the full ad here. (I’d suggest downloading the original as Google docs makes images look really odd.)

The Mustang project will continue next week after I catch up on some over due wedding details Ā (like designing the invites I was supposed to mail last week lol) In the mean-time, check out my fine art (and commentary) in this article in the Ā West Bloomfield PatchĀ  about The Janice Charach Gallery’s 20thĀ AnniversaryĀ Retrospective show this weekend.

That’s all for now, stay tuned folks!

Re-touched by an angel

Don’t hold that joke against me, I’ve been watching too much wheel of fortune and I’m a bitĀ obsessedĀ with the before and after puzzles šŸ˜‰ So Howdy folks! While I’ve been beefing up the car portion of my portfolio I’ve been making ads for the salon and I got to do some beauty retouching which is always fun.

This photo was taken by Cheryl Willard, one of the other multi-talented receptionists at Beauty (SALON) by J. Lyle ltd. Ā I always love working with her photos because they’re always so clean and easy to work with šŸ™‚ This photo was used for a full page ad in Downtown Publications’ paper which is just called Downtown. You can check out the full ad here. That’s all for now, stay tuned folks!

Iris It Were Spring…

The irises are finished..and signed! šŸ˜€

So now I have three works to potentially submit to New American Paintings this month. I’m still debating on the next one…if I make the huge water lilies I’ll more than likely be out of pastel before it’s half finished…but if I go with making the smaller hibiscus I’ll be left with 30 different shades of black in my set and I’ll have to come up with some groovy way to use nothing but darks lol. Either way, I’m starting the next piece today so I’ll have time for little disasters and such before the 27th šŸ˜‰ Here are the finished irises which if you haven’t guessed, I’ve titled “Iris it Were Spring”

That’s all for now, stay tuned folks! šŸ™‚

Black and White and Read All Over

Long story short the salon’s 20% off cards were in need of a re-design. Here’s the new and improved Ā result šŸ™‚

Making this card was great fun. I broke away from the salon ad template and got to do some meticulous, nit picky sort of graphic designer-y things (like manually kerning almost everything). I also got to modify a few characters; bonus points if you can guess which one(s) ;-).Ā That’s all for now, (shortest post ever, I know) Stay tuned for the continuation of my adventures in the world of 3D šŸ˜€

There’s a 1st time for everything (and a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th…..)

But if you’re rendering using OpenGL you might be dead before the 5th Ā render finishes. šŸ˜‰

So Howdy folks!

This is my secondĀ iterationĀ of the island scene. I decided against the rocks and light blue sky…it was looking a bit like a video game scene. I also made someĀ adjustmentsĀ to the island…I think the scale is better now. I’m still not quite happy with the shape of the island but the colors and feel are starting to look nice…I’m sure I’ll change them inĀ PhotoshopĀ šŸ™‚ I’m still not on speaking terms with Maya but I might have to learn V-ray for the sake of my sanity because the render times in Vue are outrageous. Other than that it’s a pretty sweet program and fun to use once you figure out what not to do lol. That’s all for now, my computer might explode if I don’t turn it off for a while, otherwise I’d still be fiddling with this scene šŸ˜‰

“The time has come,” the textbook said…

“to talk of many things; of shots and scenes and story boards, of Ā cameras and keys”…lol šŸ™‚ Howdy Folks! I wanted to post an update before I got totally sucked into the vortex the is my quest for 3d knowledge. So far I’ve picked up two really good books. One is called The Digital Matte Painting Handbook (check it out on amazon) and the other is Vue 9 From the Ground Up. I’ve alsoĀ acquiredĀ some new “peeps” and or “homies” (holla! lol) in the industry and between them, the books, and quite a few gnomon dvdsĀ (courtesy of said peeps)Ā I’m happy to say that my brain is filled to the brim with new tricks šŸ˜€

My latest venture is learning how to create environments in Vue. So far I’ve made a snow man (it was the 1st tutorial lol), a canyon type desert, and over the weekend I started a little waterscape project. The only lame thing about Vue is that it uses openGL rendering which is a bit slow and using the high quality settings for test renders is not practical so here’s a little preview render from last night’s studio session:

I’ll post a higher quality render when I’ve got the textures looking how I want them, this is really just a sketch šŸ™‚ That’s all for now, stay tuned folks!

Testing 2.0

When I got home from work today at noon I sat down to work on this and I figured I’d spend a few hours on it and then do some sketching. A few hours turned into the rest of the day and here we are with version 2.0 of the Venice “underpainting” šŸ™‚

I was having issues with the bridge in the last version (the railing was crampin’ my style lol) so I found one with no frills. After exploring a few other options I took out the tops of the buildings in the background and worked on making them fit together. I also played with the sky/clouds to see if i could get it to mesh with the lights I painted in the last version which I also tweaked. I can’t decide if I like that darker cloud that touches the tops of the farther back buildings…It’s kindof looking like a ghost of something strange. I’m really enjoying this stage of the process because the more subtle changes I make the more it starts to look like an actual place šŸ™‚ Next I’ll address that crazy archway…hopefully I don’t have to take it out, it’s really why that section is there lol. I think I can make it work with a bit of photoshop trickery šŸ˜‰ That’s all for now, stay tuned folks!

***Sub Post 5/27/11*** Yes I just made that up lol. I looked at thisĀ againĀ this morning and while I like the look of buildings that are so old they might crumble into the water at any minute, I felt like the leaning tower effect was a bit extreme lol.

So in this edit I rotated the canvas a bit and cropped in. I’ll probably just finish this out as a value/ light study and build a new painting using the 18:9 format šŸ™‚


check…CHECK…Ok I’m done pretending to be a sound stage person :-). Howdy folks! I’ve been watching tutorials and gathering all sorts of info about matte painting and the other day I finally decided to give it a try. At first, I wanted to make a version of Shangri-La complete with waterfalls, lush greenery, a lagoon, and god rays galore. After surfing the W.I.P. forums of and reading some pretty helpful critiques on beginner work, I decided against it lol. I went through a multitude of other ideas; volcano/lava-scape, Turkish garden, alien planet, Mt. Olympus, etc. As I filed through my thoughts IĀ realizedĀ that it would be way easier to start with a place that already exists since matte painting involves a lot of photo magic. I really likeĀ theĀ look of Venice so I thought I’d just do a little portion of it to apply what I’ve learned so far.

This is a culmination of 7 different photos and it will serve as my under painting. I know that repeating shapes is a good thing to do in a composition but I think I’m probably going to take out those little top peaks of the buildings that are farther back (sometimes they bug me sometimes they don’t…) I might haze them out/ darken them down instead. I’ve been fussing with the focus of the image, I’m not quite sure if I’ll leave it that way.

I saw a guy use the difference clouds filter (which I thought was useless until now lol) with the soft light blending mode to basically make everything blend a bit better and kick off the coloring part. I added another bit of texture and color to the far right building to see what would happen and I kindof like where it’s going. I’m going to continue to tweak the black and white image before I add more color. Ā I just got a sweet set of grunge brushesĀ  courtesy of that I’ll use to paint on dirt and water stains and all the stuff old buildings are caked with šŸ™‚ The painting, trickery, and magic will continue and I’ll post more updates as the painting develops.

That’s all for now, stay tuned folks!