More Photosyntheses

I’ve been playing around with a series of photos I took a number of years ago – the subject was a strange little clock with a frog inside. The frog was afloat in blue liquid, attached by string to a turtle, which in turn contained a magnet that caused it to move with the ticking second hand. As a result the frog did jerky little laps around the clock face, which by the way was most easily visible via an angled interior reflective surface.

Anyway, it was cute, but it also got hella gross in storage, where even the surface of the interior liquid collected a coat of dust. Made an interesting juxtaposition, so I got these photos. Anyway, I made a photo merge and tried a few different things with the result in Photoshop.

Frogosphere (Inversion Edit)

Frogosphere (Inversion Edit)


Frogosphere (Sharp Green Edit)


Frogosphere (Monochrome Standard Deviation Edit)

Frogosphere (Ps

Frogosphere (Psychedelic Edit)

Which is your favorite?

This Month’s Casual Obsession: King’s Bounty – The Legend

Thanks to last week’s Humble Weekly Sale, I discovered that the King’s Bounty video game franchise encompasses more than just a freemium iOS/Mac title (Legions). Legions is actually the bastardized version of the fantasy role-playing and turn-based strategy game King’s Bounty – The Legend, which developer New World Computing adapted from a 1990 classic. (I call Legions bastardized because it repurposes many art assets from the original. While The Legend is less of a casual game than Legions, I still treat it as casual here because I can and should not be considered a “hardcore gamer” of any stripe.)

An assault begins with the release of a Spirit of Rage.

The Legend alternates between exploration of a 3D world on horseback, conversation with non-player characters through standard “dialogue trees”, and tactical combat with enemy troops. There are situations where an “impossible” fight really is impossible;

Now would be the time to admit defeat.

where one’s mastery of the situation can be entertaining in itself;

Sniping like a bawse.

and where a tough fight takes one suspensefully close to wasting a half-hour of tactical maneuvers.

I got so very close to screwing this boss fight up again!

The tactics are what keep me engaged in the game. It’s impossible to take the storyline seriously because of its more-than-unfortunate portrayal of women. In The Legend, the player character can only be male, and wives are essentially an inventory item that the player can acquire and discard at will. In one case, the player can even purchase a wife while she is non-conscious, and when she returns to her natural state she is implicitly happy with her situation and immediately ready to start churning out male-only offspring. Of course, the problem of stereotyping is endemic in the archetype-rich world of fantasy, not that that’s any excuse, but the problem is not helped by the “booby armor” on every female combat unit. Every character in the game also appears racially identical in real-world terms, but that’s probably for the best;  one can only imagine what offense a similar treatment of race would entail…

There are also a buttload of glitches on the Mac port.

There are also a buttload of glitches on the Mac port.

Good Bad News

I’m pleased to announce that I will be posting less on this blog… because I’ve been accepted into the Runner program with The Mill, an industry leader in post-production and visual effects, at their New York office! The rigor of the program inclines me to believe that this blog will receive fewer posts than previously planned (isn’t that how it always is?) but I will attempt to maintain a post each weekend.

The Mill is truly awesome. Take a look at their Vimeo channel.

Everything Below This Comment Sucks So Hard

I collaborated with social media guru Lisa Chau write create an article that was published today on U.S. News’ Opinion Blog! Take a look. Mad props to Tim McDonald and Brandie McDonald for their vital contributions.

Photo Merging is the Way to Go

Atlantea - Merging a collection of stock photos unexpectedly creates a transdimensional metropolis

Atlantea – Merging a collection of stock photos unexpectedly creates a transdimensional metropolis.

At the risk of giving away a secret recipe to graphical awesomeness, I’ve decided to highlight a method of image manipulation I’ve encountered that has been around for a long time but is made significantly easier with the aid of digital technology. This technique is nothing more than the merging of images precisely on top of each other such that the resultant image contains elements of both.


flowerz – I couldn’t find a natural stem straight enough to stand out, so I used an ornamental one.

It’s common practice to employ this technique selectively mixing a few images with layers in Photoshop. But what I’m talking about is 10-25 images on top of each other, pixel for pixel, such that trends of color and shape emerge while the details from each individual image can still be seen.

Burke Laboratory Under Construction

Burke Laboratory Under Construction – The first one I did. I love the details in this.

I’m putting a space between “photo” and “merging” only because Adobe has a trademark on the term “Photomerge”. They use it for a nifty Photoshop plug-in that combines overlapping images into a single panorama-type image, which is certainly useful for making images with unwieldy aspect ratios, but does not generate any novel visual content.


Underwater – Derived from a bunch of aquatic National Geographic Photos of the Day.

Photo-space-merging (photocombination?) can be achieved with the “Merge to HDR Pro” tool in Photoshop or a specialized app like the (discontinued) Flake for Mac. In fact, it has the same creation process as High-Dynamic-Range imaging, just with a different creative motivation. What I like about the result is that it can be pleasingly textured from a distance, but when you look up close (assuming the resolution is high enough!) there are an astonishing number of details. Makes for great wallpaper!

Lunar New Year in Singapore

Lunar New Year in Singapore – The colorful noise may have been due to a flaw in the generative program, but I think it worked nicely in the end.

Other than my own work, I’ve only seen it used to create illuminating “averages” of magazine covers. Seen any other cool uses?