It has been almost a month since making resolutions. I had resolved to do more ds106 Daily Creates – at least 3 in a week. I have fallen short already. One thing I did learn from the 365 Photo a Day was that if you missed don’t use it as an excuse, get back up on that horse and ride! Here are 2 Daily Creates.
Daily creates of creating a imposter selfie and seeing the western landscape in your own window.
Used Photo shop and cut out John Wayne’s face with a photo of me trying to do a Duke face. Changed all to B&W and then cropped it.
Added a photo from @searaympmuffin of a California desert landscape and reduced the opacity. Also altered the perspective to make it fit the angle of the window.
I have been tardy and absent in official Daily Creates. So much for resolutions and keeping up with #western106. In December the all call sounded that Daily Create runs on ideas submitted by the community and to “pony up”. I had looked at #western106 types of things and came across a name generator – so I submitted the idea used for #tdc1470 to TDC.
Dang nabbit! it made the cut and showed up today. How can I not do the one I submitted? Guess this is the keg of dynamite I needed to go off under me to get up to speed and get at least 3 in a week done and posted. Now mind you – I have created each day – just not the tdc prompts. I do read and view others work each day and try to add a comment for a creator on their blog as much as possible.
When the name generator assigned me the cowgirl name of Annie “Tiny Dancer” Jones – my mind immediately went to Elton John’s Tiny Dancer – but that was way not cowboy – well it could be – but not the kind I was looking for and the only Elton John song I found was Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy – interesting – but not what I wanted. Elton has some good music but never fits where I am for some reason. He was the “surprise” artist at the Harley Davidson 100th Anniversary Celebration. We scrambled and were 3rd row from the stage. All sorts of rumors of who was going to be the surprise headliner. As the day went by waiting and the vendors were “Rocket Man” t-shirts it seemed imminent. On the one hand a great opportunity to see a great performer live – but so not what the mood and vibe was for a 100 year celebration of a motorcycle company and lifestyle. Some day – maybe – an Elton John song will connect with what I am seeing in my head – but I ain’t going to worry about it.
While the song and music video is longer and tells a story, a short part seemed just right for introducing Annie “Tiny Dancer” Jones. What I did like about the video is that it takes the old west and plays it in a more modern context and it works. Again the western genre for me seems timeless and just the overlay of looking at culture, life, and what is going on. The structures and components don’t seem to have a date stamp on them.
I downloaded the clip, made some cuts, added a title and end. Just enough for a daily create.
The other bag of gold I found was the next video of behind the scenes of making the music video. Some great commentary on steps and thoughts of creating the production and some chuckles too. So very #ds106.
Excellent question! I am not totally ready to deeply reflect or describe what Westerns mean to me or what I think they are, but I gotta get something down in this first week. Our scout Alan Levine – has a wonderful read or Sandy Brown Jensen a mesmerizing story teller, both of which I would love to follow as a model – but will have to come back to do another day.
When I look at “Western” and how I have viewed them thru out my life I can pretty much sum it up as my imaginary world. Riding a horse on the open range – adventure. I don’t remember ever thinking of the violence or the inequalities. I was always drawn to the outdoors – the views of the mountains, the hills, the desert, campfires, adventure and travel. The pioneer spirit. When I reflect now I think I saw the westerns as an extension of the pioneers. Wagon trains, discovering new territories and establishing new communities. Characters who faced challenges and overcame them thru relationships with others around them.
Westerns to me were people who were building and creating. Creating culture, society, rules, norms, towns. It fascinated me – and now with this journey of #western106 it does again.
Other girls were watching Dark Shadows and General Hospital when I was young – I was watching Wild Wild West, Laredo, and Alias Smith and Jones. Alias Smith and Jones was a favorite show that I didn’t miss. Peter Dual and Ben Murphy were posters on my walls. Dr. Quinn – Medicine Woman, Little House on the Prairie – people who worked hard, respected each other, faced problems and were building community.
The Legend of Billy Jack – (Tom Laughlin) and the song One Tin Soldier – I’m not sure it was a true western – but it was to me. I was a Billy Jack junkie and didn’t miss any of the film series. I am not sure it qualifies as a Western – but it was a guy who wore a cowboy hat and usually out in the western USA taking on the bad guys.
I watched Zorro. Bonanza and Gunsmoke were occasional watches but not followed faithfully. Wild Wild West was a favorite. It think that was during my “spy and secret agent” phase, just with a Western theme. The Lone Ranger, F Troop, Maverick – so the light-hearted as well. Cat Ballou with Lee Marvin as Kid Shelleen, and Jane Fonda I enjoyed as well.
Many of the stories and portrayals we now know were not correct. The stories would talk of nature, of spirituality, of being one with nature and family to me. I was always rooting for the Indians and for the cowboys who learned from them.
This path also led me to be a faithful fan of Kung Fu with David Carradine. Yes – grasshopper – I think this is a western.
The classics like Fistful of Dollars, High Noon – those did not hold my interest at the time. So they are on my list to see what they are about.
Yep pardner – this Western thing has a lot of trails to cover….and the good thing is – even if I can’t get a decent post about it now, having to try to get something down helps expand my thoughts and ideas and start to focus on what lies ahead in using the theme for some #ds106 art making……So affirmation as to the ds106 processes – doing them keeps the momentum and pace going.
Man with No Course – This is for the checklist. Moving down the trail.
This was just calling out too much fun! But by the time I got to it – so many had created and done such awesome solutions that it was intimidating to attempt and hard to think of something that might be different. BUT that is giving up and remembering this is fun and play and competition is with myself fueled by the ideas and work of others.
I am heavy into baby shower planning and creating for my daughter and first grandchild. Elephants are the theme around our parts now – so after creating invitations and book labels I moved on to this GIF, but continued the elephant theme.
I found a short clip, pulled it into PS and it came out to 327 frames. I scanned for a part that had movement and stayed as much in one spot in the frame as possible. Got down to 17 frames. Cut the cowpoke out of the image for the gif fight and put him on the elephant in different angles. I was able to get rid of 10 more frames as the movements were too small to make a difference. Added a horizon to the top of the frames after things were set so that it was the same and went into each frame. Final was to make each frame B&W and play with the timings.
This was fun. And also raises questions about Westerns on the plains of Africa???
Getting back into the rhythm of ds106 thru #western 106. I created a GIF as sort of a promo and then remembered – “document the process for self and others” I am a little rusty- falling into some unfavorable avoidance lately – but here we go in trying to get back to better practice habits.
The ability to embed and respond with GIFs across social media and publishing platforms has delivered an abundance of tools to quickly churn out a GIF through generators such as imgur.com or giphy.com and many more. (Google it )
You can get some really great things from video and it is something to get excited about! It’s fun! And you can spend endless hours watching videos and searching for the right frames or looking at work other have done. I have handouts from first trainings I did on web design and html. One of the “no” things was anything blinking of moving – it was considered bad design. And yes it was at 72 pixels and clip art or light bulb “under construction” text. Things have gotten a lot slicker and its almost mandatory to have moving parts to capture interest. There are still levels of taste and best use. I do hate going to a page and things pop up every time I move my mouse and start playing…but a good GIF you can just watch over and over again. So the quest is to create the one that does that for viewers.
But there is are still some highly creative and solid reasons to create animated GIF art from still pictures or non-video. When you need a GIF to communicate a thought, idea, a message and not just a witty response or comment it is time to get down to building. DS106 has many GIF artists of all levels of skill and the cool thing is how this community learns and builds and moves to next levels by working from each others work as well as responding with new creations.
A real idea bright shiny object to chase is ds106 GIF TV set up by @johnjohnston. You can watch for hours all the created GIFs and get ideas as well as levels to to try to achieve.
Creating a Simple GIF from Still Pictures with Static Background
Disclaimer: I have tried to be as close to each detail as possible -but in creating there are lots of re-dos and fits and starts that one just has to work thru in their own way. Hopefully I have given enough to help someone along. Things get a little fuzzy as the process goes on -but hope not too confusing.
Tool used was PhotoShop Creative Cloud. I have used GIMP as well and most of the steps could be done in the open source tool but how to get to certain functions will be PS specific in this write up. I do have the luxury of having PhotoShop obtained as retirement gifts so use it.
The #western106 GIF is a basic creation was made from 5 layers and the animation is 3 frames.
3 images to move, and a background and a text layer which become merged.
silhouette of 3 riding cowboys opened as NEW in PS.
Size was set to 400 pixels to start at a reasonable size for a GIF at the end of creation to avoid some of the inevitable tweaking for size condensing etc.
The original picture had a solid white background. I only wanted the black silhouettes of the riders.
Using the Magic Wand Tool (fourth down from the top of the tool tray use control to switch between quick select and magic wand) I selected white background areas and hit delete. You will need to “unlock” the layer to delete background. TIP – I usually go up to Layer>Duplicate Layer so that I have the original layer just in case I overdo, delete too much or decide later in a process that I need to add another layer of a differently tweaked original. You can use Edit>step backwards – but sometimes that is just not enough. I continue one section at a time until all of the white background is gone. TIP – If the image seems too small to work with or the areas seem tight go to the bottom of your window and increase the size to 300% or more. Return down to a % that fits in the window when you are done.
After the background was deleted. I selected the remaining image with the Quick Selection tool – same place as magic wand -but switch it back by using control. I then positioned the image in the frame where I thought it was going to look best.
Go to Layer>duplicate layer or keyboard Command J. Do this 4 times. You can name the layers anyway that works with your thought processes.
I started with layer 1. Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, I selected around the image.
With the second layer also in view (turn layers on with the eyeball icon left of the layer name in the layer panel on the right of the screen) Go to EDIT>Transform>Rotate.
Hold the shift key while rotating the image left or right. This is also the step in which if you want to change perspective, scale, skew etc.
Click on the check mark in the upper bar of your window to set in place.
You can now turn the eyeball off and on from either layer and see how it moves. Adjust as necessary.
Move to layer two and rotate and position.
Move to layer three and rotate and position.
You now have your moving image and action and will go forward in creating your static background.
Before you bring in your background – go to WINDOW>Timeline
When the Timeline Panel opens there is a menu in the upper right corner of the small window.
Choose Make Frames From Layers.
Go back to Menu and make sure New Layers Visible in All Frames is checked. I also check Create New Layer for Each New Frame.
Locate the image you want to use for your background. It helps to have it as close to the same size as you can. With this project I used a download from my sister-in-laws Flickr page at the medium size – so it was just slightly bigger than the 400pixel square. I knew I was going to play with size and point of view to get the right amount of sky, foreground and horizon in the spot I wanted.
TIP: Save yourself lots of futzing. While it seems excessive it is easier in the end. Open a new project and set the canvas to the same size as your GIF – do the steps below and all your adding of text etc. and tweaking and merge it down to one layer. Copy the layer and then paste it into your GIF project. OR do a SAVE AS and you have a duplicate project – create your background using similar steps below and then export out as a quick JPEG, open, copy and paste into your original project.
To create your background – There are several ways to bring the picture in -the easiest have found is that I open the photo on my machine select all>copy. I then go to PS click in the window and PASTE. A new layer is created automatically. Since it is the background move the layer to the bottom of your Layer list.
In this project I add text so there was another futzing around to do. You could eliminate this futzing if you created your background exactly as you wanted it and then brought it in – Which I strongly encourage. Using the Text Tool (The “T” in the tool bar) and then click on your background and insert a text box. I edited my text worked with the font, size and color and then also used the Word Art Feature to make it a WAVE form to lay over the mountains in a better perspective so it didn’t look pasted over the top. When I had this the way I wanted I selected the background and the text layer. Went to Layer>Merge Layers. It then becomes one.
After pasting your background into your project (remember it is now a new layer and should be put at the bottom of the layer list) Adjust scale and position to where you want it. You can click on one of the other layers to see where things fall. you are only actively working in the layer you have selected (background)
Click the check mark and set in place.
You will see the background now added to the each frame in the timeline – You did it!
Now just set your timings for each frame the default is no delay – very fast. This takes lots of tries depending on your creative make up and decision making skills – me I like to see lots of options and tend to try many and save multiple versions until I find one that really sticks with me.
Set the loop to FOREVER. Use the play and stop buttons to view.
Go to File>Export> Save for Web (Legacy) and work with the file size if needed by adjusting colors etc.
Save and then upload to wherever you are going to view or open via the file menu of your browser.
Here is the PSD File if you want to see it or use it. You can also download a GIF and open it in PS or GIMP and see layers that were created. This helps me in dissecting and trying to figure out how someone else may have created something. Sometimes the most fancy really are the simple ones and others – NO WAY can I figure them out even with dissecting! But I will keep trying. 🙂
LINKS I have used to GIF learn (no particular order of preference):