Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The nineteenth century poster boy, and the "fifty year storm"


The quintessential nineteenth century hunk ... in DAZ Studio, of course! What can you say? Technology by DAZ, face and bod by moi. He's wearing the JM Alexandre skinmap, and the hair is a Michael 3 toupee, "Ricardi Hair," which you can get to almost fit properly, if you jiggle the settings using the "Victoria 4 Male" fit. It still needs painting in the "post" phase, which is why I seldom use it; but it was just right for this piece, where our 1865 mariner needs to be deliciously windswept. Yes, it's another book cover. There's a bunch more to go, to get this whole assignment done. Phew.

(Incidentally,  if you enjoy classic cinema-- some people do, some don't, I know  -- there's two you need to track down. The World in his Arms, with Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn captaining two schooners in a white-water race to Alaska: fantastic. Plus Reap the Wild Wind, with a stunningly young John Wayne, and Hollywood's iconic tomboy (precursor to Ripley and Sara Connor), Paulette Goddard: ship wrecking on the Florida Keys. Alas, they don't make movies like this anymore. Wish they did.) Anyway --

It's DAZ Studio and Photoshop again. Truth is, if I did this in LuxRender, I'd still be working on it; but I've pulled every trick I know on both foreground and background. You name it, the technique is invested in this one, from the"venous map" applied to Michael -- makes the veins rise in his torso and arms (I used the venous map from JM Falcon, applied as a displacement map) -- to the camera settings, lighting settings, then tons of over-painting. The background itself is a full-on digital painting which began as two photos. One was from Wikimedia (a schooner at sea, c. 1900), the other, a storm sky photographed from the beach a long time ago. Then the painting began!

Quite a drama unfolded as I tried to upload this one last night. I did the work while a "fifty year storm" barreled in off the Southern Ocean, and literally as my finger hovered over the "upload files" button, the lights flickered, flickered again, and the power went off. Uh huh. Here we go --

The storm crossing Brighton, South Australia...
...and at Woomera, faaaar away in the interior.
The big picture, from the Himawari weather satellite. Dang.
Boiled down to a story that fits in a thimble, what happened was: severe weather (over 100,000 lightning strikes) caused the main power generators to "trip." They scrammed, it took many hours to get them back online. Twenty-two power transmission pylons were totaled; the whole state of South Australia blacked out  -- yep, there's hell to pay, that this can happen to so large an area. The how and why, and what to do about it, will be beaten up for days. Hopefully, something will be done about it. Soon

Next day, there's still about fifty thousand homes without power, and the sting in the tail of the storm isn't yet spent . Our power came back on after about five hours in the dark -- we were lucky. Got the central heating on at once, because things got very cold, very fast. Today, rain continues to lash; thunder and hail are forecast for this afternoon. Dave and I are going to run errands in the lull, and be back inside when the "fun" starts ... with a good supply of candles, flashlights, batteries and fully-charged mobile devices. Like last night. 

So let's get this uploaded before anything more dramatic can happen!

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