Saturday, May 27, 2023


For a week that's been so quiet, it's also been "eventful" -- if that's a word you'd choose for "social media hijinks." This was the week when my Facebook account was cloned, and people I've known for years have received anything up to FIVE friend requests from me. Naturally, they've been reporting the nonsense left and right, and what does FB do? Assigns an AI to check whatever criteria it uses to make up its dense cybernetic mind, and then calmly tells me, via email, that the cloned about is me. That, in fact, it's me out there, pestering my friends and then complaining about myself to admin, with requests to have myself deleted. Oh ... suuuuure. Sounds plausible, doesn't it? Meh.

So the week turned into a puddle of anxiety which in no way endears me to the whole rat circus of social media. I'm a hair away from dropping the whole thing and walking away. I have a bunch of blogs (which precious few people look at), but Facebook isn't doing much for me lately: it's more of an aggravation than a pleasure. Harrumph.

Anyway -- I did get some painting done. The big project was The Dragon and His Boy, in comic art style. Plus a nice landscape or two, plus a portrait of an elven warrior woman, which derives from AI but was massively painted. Hey, I do that much painting on an image, I sign it. I wouldn't sign something that was right of the AI engine, but the one I use mostly -- Playground -- doesn't often produce images that are good enough to fly solo without a lot of painting. So I get lots of images, but the AI hands me a whale of a lot of work...

Mind you, there's a new AI just debuting at the moment: ... and this one has potential. It's producing images that are not too bad at all, without any work from the prompter. Now, these, below, I would not sign off on, because all I did was dodge and burn, balance, resize and crop...

... those were just too easy to generate. They're simply not my work. So... 

I might look at using Imagine in the future, when/if I have a cash flow. I do need to generate AI elements to be recomposited into complex paintings, and Imagine is certainly doing a decent job of providing them. Right now, 80% of the icons on the site flash up a "coming soon" message when clicked, so ... not yet. I'm not laying down cash before they have it fully functional!

That's all from me, for this post. More soon.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Hey -- Collateral Damage has been podcast! (And I'm thrilled)

News! ANALOG Science Fiction has podcast my story in the May/June issue -- Collateral Damage. The podcast is online right now, and you can find it here ... happy listening! 

(This artwork here is not from the magazine. I've put this together myself, as a "flag-waver," or an "attention grabber," but this is the character from Collateral Damage, as she appears in one of the other stories, Welcome to Mars, which you can find elsewhere. It's an Iray render from late '21, and it fits the story to a T!) 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Space Pirate! Also a fantasy city, and landscapes...

Playing with comic art again today ... also a bit of "fine art" in Photoshop, and a bundle of landscapes. I would love to tell you I rendered the landscapes in Terragen, but it would be a barefaced lie, and you know me better than that! The truth is, Terragen is dandy, till you want to put plants, flowers and trees into the frame, and at that point it rockets out of reach: too expensive. No can do. Truth: it would have been a stretch for me when I still had a cashflow, but right now -- I haven't seen money in a loooong time, and am not likely to see it for many years to come. So when I do landscapes, it'll be photography, AI, or nada. These are AI. But they have that Terragen look about them, no? I like the comic art, to a point ... I prefer the "concept art" style, if I tell the truth, and of course, if you can achieve something like an Iray render, great. I'm not finding a way to do that at the moment, but I keep trying. 

Note to self: start up Studio, dangitall, and git rendering! 

Yes, but not today. Pain levels are too high today. Whose big idea was it to go hiking on Monday, and go so far, and climb such hills, that my left hip is still shrieking, even while I sit down?! Nobody to blame but myself ... which doesn't make it hurt one bit less, lol.   

Monday, May 15, 2023

The Mighty Fred ... and Autumn comes to Fangorn


Argh. What a day. Nothing went according to plan, and so much went wrong ... I just want it to be over. I managed about one tenth of what I'd intended to do, and even that was a change of plans from the day I'd wanted. Still, we'll end the day with a car that actually works, and the cloned, fake facebook account removed, not having bought into a telephone scam, having read the riot act to a stalker on social media, and with a pot of chilli on the stove for dinner. Aside from being deeply out of pocket to fix the car (ouch), the rest of it is under control. It's just been way more aggravation than I can take and come up smiling.

So ... another take on the fantasy hero, with a Lexica disaster rescued, repaired, repainted. What a mess this one was! Lexica buried the costume inside the character's body, muddled the leather and the metal ... took ages and a lot of work to fix it, so I'm abso-ruddy-lutely signing this one.

On the other hand, I won't sign the "Autumn in Fangorn" images, because I didn't do much of anything at all to these. Dodged and burned them to get the most out of them, otherwise the prompt seemed to work very well indeed. I've been having some good results with landscapes in the last week ... I'll share some more soon.

For now, all I want is coffee and make today go away. So ... signing out. 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Fantasy hero, Terragen type landscape -- and the cat!


The cat is a Maine Coon called Tyson ... he was out for his walkies with his mom, on a long lead and riding in a stroller until he felt like hopping out and investigating a shrub or the water's edge, at Laratinga a few weeks ago. I asked the lady if I could take a few photos, and as soon as she said yes, naturally Tyson wouldn't look up, or look at me. I grabbed the best I could get! Here, he's painted from the photo, down to the edge of his white ruff, or mane ... below that, I haven't much clue what he looked like, because he was in the stroller -- so I just blur out to impressionist strokes at that point. Am quite pleased with this one -- probably the best from-scratch painting I've managed yet. Most of it was done in Photoshop, because for some reason Krita didn't want to play nice at all...

The fantasy warrior began life as another disastrous Lexica picture which had to be rescued and re-re-repainted. I asked for a fantasy warrior; I specified "no helmet, no armour, no weapons, no shirt." Well, it managed the no helmet part, but it loaded him up with ironmongery ... and apparently, if you specify "no shirt" in Lexica, it's a cardinal offence which will get your account suspended. So, heaven help you if you're trying to render Conan the Barbarian, or a prize fighter or professional wrestler in the ring. Okay: message received and understood, and -- fair enough. I guess they've levelled the playing field, because if you could specify "no shirt," they'd have to do some extra work and specify that they didn't want topless females. Because you know what they'd get. Insert eyeroll emoji. To compensate for getting the helmet part right, Lexica saw fit to give this guy eighteen fingers. Eight fingers and a thumb on each hand,. His hand looks like a packet of sausages in the supermarket cold cabinet. Insert a second eyeroll emoji. So -- it's good thing I like painting, and can paint, or this is another one which would have gone right into the bin. Argh. Thank gawdz I haven't paid money for this ai. If I had, I'd be pretty disappointed -- because it's not cheap. I looked.

Anyway, this is where I am at the moment: painting happily, messing about with images and trying to stay off social media as much as possible. It dawned on me the other day how much of my time facebook is eating up, and for no useful purpose. In fact, it's too easy to blunder into mindless debate with strangers on facebook; and when they lose the debate, they slingshot right into abuse. It happened. It was somewhere between the pits and a laughable scene best forgotten. Having said that, there's better ways to spend your days; life's too short, and all that. So -- less time on facebook, for me, and more time enjoying life. 

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