Thursday, July 25, 2013

In Failure We Trust...

Here we go, my new PC is finally online, and the process of keeping it up-to-date with the software arsenal is going on in fact. How much I'm relieved. I didn't feel such speed in ages!!
Because of the busy schedule (sleeping time is included in this statement) I couldn't do much work with my camera or with Geltani. Some mental work was involved here though. In a haste, anyway, I tried my luck with another peeling project which was not achieved as I wish (hence the title of this post!) but I got my lessons somehow.

Censer Censer Against The Wall
This week I've noticed that Mom had a small censer, other than the one that I've already used in a previous experiment to capture smoke. The new censer is small and thin and quite seductive to my eyes because of the curves it has, but all of that proved to be a real challenge later for the peeling work (which was never done right here up to this moment).

The previous censer.
The new censer.

This time, and because of the shape of the new censer, I've decided not to light the object from above like I did previously with the mug peeled mug shot. I've realized that if this is done, then the thicker top part will cast a shadow to the bottom. Hence, I've decided to use both of my speedlites (580EXII and 430EXII) on the left and right of the censer - a decision that I've regretted later.
One of the critical aspects of this object is its relative small size, and hence, any small offset from the center of the rotation was drastically apparent in the series of the shots taken (meaning the objects won't be rotating around its own axis, but it will move in a circle around a common center!). Another problem was, as usual, the tilt of the images taken which was not so obvious until the images were examined on PC.

One of the trials done for peeling.
As you can see above, the final stitch had many errors and mainly it became a fan-shaped stretch instead of (relatively) flat stitch. This is mainly because of off-center movement mentioned above which means the base would look nearer and further on different angles as the object rotates. This was also evident when the mug peeling effect (posted in previous posts) but the general size was larger and the offset did not show in a drastic way as in this experiment.
Notice also that the top portion (top right) of the stitch has broken lines and not a smooth stitch. In my mug experiment, when this happened, it meant that I need to narrow my crop or the slit from which PTGui should scan to make the connecting lines smoother. Here, however, this was not possible. The above example is stitched at -/+8o from a common central point (picked by comparing the minimum and maximum extensions of the body to the left and right during its rotation), meaning the total angle was 16o.

Cross-hair marks added on feature-less sides to help on stitching later.

Notice here that I've added cross-hair mark by pencil on the censer itself to aid the stitching process, but I have to say it didn't help much in this situation. Going lesser than 16o for the crop caused much hassle an PTGui would miss a lot of the matching points. One of the ironic things is, why did I use 180o in previous posts to measure the different in pixels, while I can measure the number of pixels for each degree simply by measuring the move in two successive shots of 5o.
I've mentioned above that I've regretted using both speedlites on the left and the right of the censer. I've realized this fact while working on PC and comparing images to establish some control points. The thing is, the body is not unique in its shape and has many protruding features, which means shadows on the body itself. However I try to balance the lights from both directions it was almost impossible to eliminate the shadows completely. The problem of the shadows is, as the body rotates, the shape of the shadows will change eventually, making the stitching and matching control points even harder. Maybe I should have proceeded with speedlite from the top as I did before (or one from the bottom, but I would need a glass surface below the censer as it rotates).

Comparison between two shots few degrees away. Notice the change in the shadows and the light levels.

It wasn't till I've installed DxO Optics again when I fixed the tilt perfectly. DPP (Canon's software) was not much of a help and cumbersome when I tried it. Probably the less problematic stitch was achieved when the images were corrected with DxO.
As I was going on to find a solution to the problem, I've tried to make the crop literally by Photoshop. I'm lucky now that I have a faster Photoshop (32- and 64-bit) and what would take 30 minutes is done in the matter of 30 seconds or even less! Anyway, such method didn't work as well, and even blending in Photoshop didn't go much far away with the results than PTGui did. However, one interesting experiment in Photoshop yielded something of fractal-art quality I would say and I really liked the result and might upload it later to some stock sites as an abstract art.

Fractal Censer (blend of 72 images)

I'm not sure how the colors were produced in the image in that way, but I do appreciate abstract art anyway and I don't mind the extra colors!
I need to go further and study this matter further. I might try to do it later but one thing for sure: I need a new base for rotating, as the current one is not precise with its center of rotation.

As I've mentioned in the beginning, I didn't spend much time doing a practical examination for Geltani, but there were some mental notes, specially that I've started reading a book about learning Turkish. Well, I'm not intending to delve much deeper into the language itself as of to speak it, but it did give me some insight on some matters (mainly grammatical) that were absent from my mind even during the make of Ayvarith.
However, I'm not intending to copy-paste features from real Turkish into Geltani but it is worthwhile to think about some grammatical cases and special verbs. Turkish, being somehow similar to Arabic in some aspects, got a special features in its verbs to denote the verb that acts on itself, and the verb that acts on something else (sorry I don't know the exact name of this grammatical case). Just to explain, here is a simple example:

Study: daras [درس] (someone studies on his or her own).
Teach: darras [درّس] (someone teaching or making someone study).

Study (learn): öğrenmek.
Teach: öğretmek.

Notice that in English the two verbs are completely different, and this is how Ayvarith used to work. In Turkish and Arabic, despite the critical difference in roots, they do act according to some basic regulations to formulate verbs that act on their own, and those which act on something else. The question is now, how to implement this with Geltani? Leave Geltani; What about Bulughman - an artificial language that I've made it sound like a Turkic language?
In Geltani, the verbs are derived from the noun (mentioned that in previous posts). Hence, the noun "flight" is used with suffixes and prefixes to make the verb "fly". However, I don't have a clear idea yet of how to formulate a verb that expresses the action "made something fly". Would I have to introduce auxiliary verbs in such instances? How that would sound and look with the dilemma of the writing system already? Too much thought and my mind is so tired of thinking much into this matter for the time being. In hope that all this mental power will be boosted after Ramadhan.

It was relatively a busy and a tiresome week that just passed me by. I just can't wait to get into the regular time-table. I think what really wears me off is that the whole community goes under a time shift making working in the usual way, for someone who is used to fasting, a hard task to do (with waiting).
Earlier this week, there was a meeting for photographers invited by HIPA of Dubai, to introduce and identify the HIPA reward in its third session. I tried to attend, but with the delay in the opening which was supposed to take place at around 9:00 p.m., and me being awake since 6:00 a.m. to pick up for dialysis and then back home to work on something else, made a 30 minutes of delay such a great displeasure. Thus, at around 9:30 a.m. I've left the scene, before the ceremony would even start.

However, during the waiting time, I've met a friend who was a member of the photography group I'm in, and left after some tensions with the management. As expected there was a chitchat about the quality and the functions of the group, but I have to say he had some points that I share, yet, I'm really so tired of all that tension between photographers in here. It is largely a talk of money-making, and how things are done, but I didn't hear much about the philosophy behind photography. This friend pointed out to some photographers and mentioned to me some names, and when I answered, simply, that I don't know any of these guys (who apparently are famous in their fields) he said "Whom do you know then if you don't know these?". I replied: I'm working with the camera since 2007 for my amusement and never made a contact with Kuwaiti photographers up till 2012 when I joined the group, and now I'm regretting that I've been social with other Kuwaiti photographers. No offense, not to say all are bad, but surely it is something that probably I should regret. I got myself into struggles and wrestles that I should not have been into. I can't remember when was the last time I talked with a Kuwaiti photographer about the art of photography or its philosophy and its meanings; It was mostly a talk dominated by money and gear, and nothing else. Useless talk if you ask me.

Next Saturday it is scheduled to have a meeting to sort out some images. I'm sure I'm going to have another batch of disappointments. The sorting process is aimed for Cyprus photography contest and I'm not sure how it works, but it is apparent that registration is for single photographers and not groups. What I've noticed that in most contests, the most renowned photos are those of exotic places and/or those of portraits and people shots. Now, how am I supposed to get into exotic places (specially with my situation being stuck now with Mom to care for her)? And am I supposed to do something I hate just to please the judge? Am I supposed to please the judges to get some good results in a contest, or am I supposed to do photography for my own sake? The answers to these questions lead me straight to the belief of the futility of such contests in my case and made me even less interested in them. I'm not supposed to take a burden just to have a photo. I'm supposed to please myself in the first place, despite all the criticism I'm receiving from the group.

Peace of mind is a precious thing, and simplicity, I reckon, should be in the core of my goals. Yet, I ask myself, would life allow me to do so? Would there be someone who would help me to be so? The view is blurred...

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