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Ask kelso part 2!
 Group admin 
Please continue questions for Kelso here.
Permalink
| December 4, 2009, 5:27 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Doctor Maxim
Yo Kelso. Which came first for you - the LEGOs or the art?


Art...totally born to do it! Had crayons in my hand long before my parents bestowed the Holy Plastic upon me.

But now I consider them one and the same. Lego has a stigma about being a toy, but in my eyes it's simply another medium like paint, clay, metal, etc. I don't consider what I do with it as art, but its level of creativity is just as high as any other medium I use as an artist. And if you asked me which medium I find most satisfying for those pesky creative urges, I would definitely say Lego.

Permalink
| December 5, 2009, 9:19 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Mister Bones
Morning Mark, I seem to have run into a delay on obtaining Photoshop (Darn attorney fees, alimony, vet bills, Xmas presents) So, I was going to mess around with Microsoft Publisher a bit, have you ever used that program? Thanks. Also, an “Ask Kelso Part 2” might be in order as this thread is getting long.


So Bones, I followed your conversation with Vonthako, and maybe you've got something worked out temporarily.

I've used Publisher, but it's been ages, and I gather you've already decided it's not a great choice (which I agree with whole-heartedly!). Not used Paint (too limited). If you're interested in freeware, then GIMP and Photoscape both have very good reputations. I've not used them, but a lot of others like those applications.

Truth be told, though, there's really nothing to match Photoshop. It's like black, you'll never go back!


Permalink
| December 5, 2009, 9:32 am
pixelmator is also a great editing program.
Permalink
| December 5, 2009, 10:44 am
Quoting Mark Kelso
Quoting Doctor Maxim
Yo Kelso. Which came first for you - the LEGOs or the art?


Art...totally born to do it! Had crayons in my hand long before my parents bestowed the Holy Plastic upon me.

But now I consider them one and the same. Lego has a stigma about being a toy, but in my eyes it's simply another medium like paint, clay, metal, etc. I don't consider what I do with it as art, but its level of creativity is just as high as any other medium I use as an artist. And if you asked me which medium I find most satisfying for those pesky creative urges, I would definitely say Lego.

Hmmm... I've always gone for colored pencils. ;) Not the colored ear wax. Sean Kenney proves what you just said.

Oh, and on Phipson's comment here, was he... referring to you? "It's funny how when we're kids, the idea of an overweight unshaven man who sneaks into our houses when we're alseep doesn't phase us at all... "

Kidding, of course... :P

Anyway. Question time! What camera do you use? I believe you've mentioned this before, but I don't remember where...
Permalink
| December 5, 2009, 11:11 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Doctor Maxim
What camera do you use? I believe you've mentioned this before, but I don't remember where...


I use a Canon EOS Rebel. Not top of the line by any means, but all I'll ever need. It's been everywhere from the Rain Forests of Taiwan, to the Deserts of Africa. It's been chewed on by wolves (I kid you not!), and even dropped on concrete, and that SOB is still kickin' without ever having been in for maintenance. Canon has definitely earned my everlasting loyalty!

Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 9:26 am
Quoting Mark Kelso

I use a Canon EOS Rebel. Not top of the line by any means, but all I'll ever need. It's been everywhere from the Rain Forests of Taiwan, to the Deserts of Africa. It's been chewed on by wolves (I kid you not!), and even dropped on concrete, and that SOB is still kickin' without ever having been in for maintenance. Canon has definitely earned my everlasting loyalty!

Hm, I have a DSLR (Sony a200) and I wanted to know some tips if you had any on DSLRs... Anyways, I see why they call it a Rebel!
Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 9:35 am
Quoting Mark Kelso

I use a Canon EOS Rebel. Not top of the line by any means, but all I'll ever need. It's been everywhere from the Rain Forests of Taiwan, to the Deserts of Africa. It's been chewed on by wolves (I kid you not!), and even dropped on concrete, and that SOB is still kickin' without ever having been in for maintenance. Canon has definitely earned my everlasting loyalty!

wow same camera i use! D Slrs are so nice plus when you have a 4 years curriculum from the new york institute of photography well i couldnt help starting to take photos
Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 9:56 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Doctor Maxim
Hm, I have a DSLR (Sony a200) and I wanted to know some tips if you had any on DSLRs... Anyways, I see why they call it a Rebel!


Tips? Anything in particular? Were you asking about their attributes, features that I prefer, or considering a new one and wondering about a good choice?

Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 11:28 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Owen Williams
wow same camera i use! D Slrs are so nice plus when you have a 4 years curriculum from the new york institute of photography well i couldnt help starting to take photos


I absolutely love mine. I've also got some smaller pocket sized digitals, but they're too small in the hand (boy, that's begging for someone to comment on!), and I almost always use a tripod for my landsape and LEGO photography, and the DSLRs just work better in that regard.

Back in the day, I would do a trip, say to Africa, and shoot maybe 200 or so rolls of slide film, and most shots weren't worth keeping. Now with the digital stuff, I don't have to buy film, it takes up FAR less space, I can just delete anything that doesn't turn out, and...AND!!!!...more shots come out better because I can go in afterwards and enhance pics that might not have been salvagable in slide format. God, I love technology!!!


Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 11:35 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Tom R.
I'm in the middle of buying an EOS camera, particularly striving for Canon as well. Any advice on a cheap model that has some good attributes?


Any of the Rebel series cameras are GREAT choices in my opinion, although the XTi has gotten particularly good reviews for the money, and I believe is currently the best selling SLR. I'm personally not a big fan of a lot of bells and whistles, prefering to use manual settings mostly. The Rebels have very effective auto settings, work well with manual settings, are pretty easy to use, and as I mentioned above, can take a ton of abuse. Prices really varry depending on where you look. I'd look at prices on line before purchasing from a local store. Although, at this time of the year, you could very well find a good deal at a local retailer.
Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 12:58 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Mark Kelso

I absolutely love mine. I've also got some smaller pocket sized digitals, but they're too small in the hand.

and I almost always use a tripod.

God, I love technology!!!



Must... not... comment...

Presure... too much... head going to... explode! (and there's the perfect retaliation line for ya Mark!)
Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 4:16 pm
So, how'd the wolves get a hold of your camera?
I suppose they munched on the rest of you, too, when they had the chance?

I mean, I can't think of any animal that could resist a chance to take something out of Kelso.
Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 5:05 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Areetsa C
So, how'd the wolves get a hold of your camera?
I suppose they munched on the rest of you, too, when they had the chance?

I mean, I can't think of any animal that could resist a chance to take something out of Kelso.


Well you see, it all started with these sheep...


Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 7:06 pm
 Group admin 
Actually, Areetsa, I used to work with captive wolves. Basically anything you take into the enclosure is fair game...including most body parts (hey, there's a fun phrase, too!).


Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 7:08 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso
Actually, I used to work with most body parts.

Mr. Kelso, you never cease to amaze me.
Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 7:19 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Mark Kelso
Actually, I used to work with most body parts.


Quoting Doctor Maxim
Mr. Kelso, you never cease to amaze me.


And we have a winner!


Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 8:26 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso
Actually, Areetsa, I used to work with captive wolves. Basically anything you take into the enclosure is fair game...including most body parts (hey, there's a fun phrase, too!).



Really?
What did you do, if you don't mind my asking?

Zoo or wildlife conservation?
Permalink
| December 6, 2009, 8:45 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Areetsa C

Really?
What did you do, if you don't mind my asking?

Zoo or wildlife conservation?


It was a private compound on the North side of my home town of Indianapolis. An older guy owned a golf course and about ninety acres of wooded property. In between the woods and the golf course was a compound of captive purebred wolves. He got his first two when he rescued them from someone who thought it would be "cool" to own wolves, not knowing what they were in for. The owner's reputation grew, and he began to work with Wolf Park (in Battleground, IN) and the Wolf Center (in Ely, MN), eventually owning 22 captive wolves.

I came in one day to just check 'em out (wanting to paint wolves at some point), and he let me in the enclosure with them. I started going two or three times a week, until he just put me in charge of certain duties. I'd give tours to visitors, or just care for them while he was gone (he travelled the coutry educating people about wolves). We raised one batch of pups (which was INSANELY cool!), and I ended up caring for them until the owner's death three years later.

Permalink
| December 7, 2009, 7:58 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Commander Hawke
I am going to get a Nikon Digital Touch camera for xmas do you think this is a good camera to take pictures with?


Those aren't bad. They're not GREAT, but you don't need great for what we do here on MOCpages. That camera will work just fine if you do the following (and of course this is in regards to photographing MOCs):

Clean background
Good light in your set-up
A tripod or something to set your camera on. If a timer is available, use that, too. (image stabilizers are good, but a tripod still works better, particularly in lower lighting situations).

Macro shots aren't an option (at least to my knowledge), but the resolution should be good enough with a well-taken pic, that you can use a photoediting application to zoom in on a pic and crop to get close-up shots.

Permalink
| December 7, 2009, 8:21 am
Quoting Mark Kelso

So Bones, I followed your conversation with Vonthako, and maybe you've got something worked out temporarily.

I've used Publisher, but it's been ages, and I gather you've already decided it's not a great choice (which I agree with whole-heartedly!). Not used Paint (too limited). If you're interested in freeware, then GIMP and Photoscape both have very good reputations. I've not used them, but a lot of others like those applications.

Truth be told, though, there's really nothing to match Photoshop. It's like black, you'll never go back!


Thanks Mark. As it turns out, I am switching departments at work and will now be in our Automation department, so I went ahead and picked up Elements 8 over the weekend. I love tax write offs! I have played with it a bit and am slowly figuring it out. Think a few online tutorials will help.
Permalink
| December 8, 2009, 11:50 am
OK Mark. I have so much new found respect for your photoshop skills. This is not as easy as I thought it was going to be, but I am slowly getting the hang of it. Question, when inserting a background, do you use the clone stamp feature or the photomerge?
Permalink
| December 8, 2009, 4:16 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Mister Bones
OK Mark. I have so much new found respect for your photoshop skills. This is not as easy as I thought it was going to be, but I am slowly getting the hang of it. Question, when inserting a background, do you use the clone stamp feature or the photomerge?


Keep in mind, I'm using an antiquated Elements 2 version, but if yours is still similar...

I cut and paste a background in. A simple example would be:

1) Open a new image
2) Choose SELECT ALL (or you can use the LASSO tool to cut around something specific)
3) Once it's selected, go to EDIT
4) CUT or COPY
5) EDIT
6) (Making sure the image you want to add the background to is on top) PASTE

It should appear in the proper image. Then you can hit Ctrl + T to resize it, move it, etc.

Are you familiar with LAYERS? If not let me know, and I'll give you a quick run down.




Permalink
| December 8, 2009, 6:07 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso

Keep in mind, I'm using an antiquated Elements 2 version, but if yours is still similar...

I cut and paste a background in. A simple example would be:

1) Open a new image
2) Choose SELECT ALL (or you can use the LASSO tool to cut around something specific)
3) Once it's selected, go to EDIT
4) CUT or COPY
5) EDIT
6) (Making sure the image you want to add the background to is on top) PASTE

It should appear in the proper image. Then you can hit Ctrl + T to resize it, move it, etc.

Are you familiar with LAYERS? If not let me know, and I'll give you a quick run down.




I will try that becaus ethis clone thing is a bit of a pain. Layers I just started to read up on, a quick run down would be grand.
Permalink
| December 8, 2009, 6:23 pm
You use A Canon EOS Rebel? I have the Rebel XTi, what kind of lenses do you use?
Permalink
| December 8, 2009, 7:10 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Mister Bones
I will try that becaus ethis clone thing is a bit of a pain. Layers I just started to read up on, a quick run down would be grand.


"LAYERS" is the magic behind photoshop. Any image you open up can be seperated into countless layers. Other images can be added as additional layers. You can also draw, paint, clone, yadda, yadda, yadda in layers.

To get a feel for what layering an image actually means, let me give you a quick step by step to introduce the concept (again, this is with Elements 2, so there might be some variation):

Start with an image:
1) Open up a single image in your work space.
2) Go to the LAYERS tab and click on it.
3) A drop down box will appear with a single box in it saying "BACKGROUND."


Open up a second image:
1) Use the LASSO tool to cut around it. When you're finished it will "flash," indicating the cutting is complete
2) Go to EDIT, then CUT.
3) Delete what remains of the image. DO NOT save the changes.
4) Go to EDIT, then PASTE.

The image you cut with the LASSO tool should now appear in the original image on top of the background. As I mentioned above, you can hit Ctrl + T to resize it (and BTW, if you want to resize without changing proportions, hold the SHIFT key while you change to size).

Go to the LAYERS tab and you should see that the new image is now Layer 1.

Add another layer:
1) Go to the LAYERs tab and open the drop down box again.
2) Find the icon that indicates creating a new layer, click on it. You should see that a new Layer has been created, called Layer 2. There's nothing on it yet, so it will be invisible on your image.

You now have 3 layers. You can change the order in which they appear on the image by moving them in the drop down box. Now here's the cool part...

Whichever layer you highlight in the drop down box, that's the layer that will be affected by whatever tool you use on the image. While that layer is affected, the others remain untouched. So by creating various layers of a single image, you can do all kinds of crazy stuff without really affecting the original image, because you do it in a DIFFERENT layer.

For example, you created a new layer called layer 3. If you draw on it, paint on it, etc., because it's on top, you'll see all of these effects appear. BUT, you can close that layer (by clicking on the little "eye" in the drop down box making it invisible). When that layer closes, all of the stuff you did on that layer no longer appears.

Play with those things a bit and feel free to fire more questions as they come.

Permalink
| December 8, 2009, 7:34 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting 000 000
You use A Canon EOS Rebel? I have the Rebel XTi, what kind of lenses do you use?


For my wildlife photography I use mostly a 75-200 zoom lens. I also have a 300 with a doubler. For the MOCs it's always my 28-105.
Permalink
| December 8, 2009, 7:41 pm
Thanks Mark! These tips will help a lot. Just got home, going to pour a beer, start dinner and then I will mess with elements again. Thanks again.
Permalink
| December 8, 2009, 8:15 pm
Morning Mark. Thank you again for the instructions, I played with the program a bit last night and your guide was easier to follow than the help screens. I do need some more practice as I overlaid the entire image with another and made the moc look odd, but I will get it and then I shall return with more questions no doubt. Unfortunately, I left the house in a hurry this morning and left my laptop behind, now I have to actually work at work…grrrrr.
Permalink
| December 9, 2009, 10:43 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Commander Hawke
Mark do you have any good photoshop programs or decal programs for the Mac?


Sorry, Hawke...not a one. Unlike most graphic artists, I'm a PC (have at it, Phipson!). My next computer might be a MAC due to their better graphics, though.

Permalink
| December 9, 2009, 7:28 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Mark Kelso

I'm a PC (have at it, Phipson!).


There's no way on god's green earth that I would be able to respond to that and in good concious moderate it myself to let it through... just too many great interpritations of PC... too bad none of them are "PC" enough for mocpages!
Permalink
| December 9, 2009, 7:38 pm
Quoting Commander Hawke
Mark do you have any good photoshop programs or decal programs for the Mac?


I'm no Mark, neither am I a Kelso, but I DO know the Gnu Image Manipulation Program, AKA GIMP, has a macintosh compatible version.

http://www.gimp.org/macintosh/
Permalink
| December 9, 2009, 11:30 pm
Hi Mark, I'm back. What can you tell me about the "Magic Wand" tool? Or is that new to PSE 8.
Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 2:04 pm
This is not specific, but are there just any general building tips that could be useful in various MOCs?
Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 4:26 pm
Quoting Mister Bones
What can you tell me about the "Magic Wand" tool?

That's just begging for a reply.

I'm sure Kelso knows much on the matter... >.>

<.<
Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 4:30 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso
Had crayons in my hand long before my parents bestowed the Holy Plastic upon me.

Do you remember what your first LEGO set was?

And any advice on what sets to get that have a lot of useful pieces for building ships? If that is 'specific' enough. I notice you enjoy tiles and SNOT... For instance your Cylon Raider or the invisible Hand; did you get the pieces from PAB or a lot of sets?
Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 4:41 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Mister Bones
Hi Mark, I'm back. What can you tell me about the "Magic Wand" tool? Or is that new to PSE 8.


Nope, old school tool (sort of like Phipson!).

It's an excellent tool for selecting something that is a single color. For example, if you place the cursor over a white background that's behind a MOC, it will automatically select the entire background, which can then be eliminated or cut and pasted elsewhere. If you go to the SELECT drop down and click on INVERSE, the MOC will then be outlined and ready for manipulation.

The primary thing to remember with it, is that it focuses on a single color and value...good for some situations...not so good for others.



Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 4:53 pm
I realy cant' find a way to resize a cut selection other than "free transform", but I need to retain its proportions...
Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 5:08 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Jø®dån L.
This is not specific, but are there just any general building tips that could be useful in various MOCs?


Tons! But let's start with a few simpler ones...

Color: While interiors and unseen sections can be anything, try not to get too caried away with multiple colors. One or two as the primary colors are usually better than color everywhere. That's not to say you can't add other colors in select places, of course. Just keep in mind that lots of color, all over the place creates visual chaos for the eyes...not pleasant.

Rhythms: One of the things I love seeing is when a builder takes a single piece, and uses it over and over again to create a texture or visual detail that is interesting (like greeb work on a ship, or detail in architecture). Start looking at parts not just for the single pieces shape, but what might form from repeating that shape over and over again. And also ask if it looks cool horizontally? Vertically? Upside down? Or maybe even using the underside? Things like that.

Texture: this kind of goes hand in hand with rhythms, but start asking yourself what parts might form interesting textures. Of course, there's the question of studs or no-studs, but take it farther and start thinking about parts creating a surface texture. New approaches to roofs these days is a perfect example. You can go regular slopes, cheese slopes, 1 x 2 tiles, 1 x 8 tiles, etc. Each creates a different effect.

Presentation: Can't give advice on doing good MOC's without mentioning how they're presented. Use reflective light vs. direct (unless you WANT areas of your MOC in shadow), and try to make your background as clean as possible. Even a sheet with wrinkles is distracting. Try a white or black board behind and underneath the MOC. Or look into a simple photo editing application (there are free ones on line that will do the trick) that will help you eliminate the background and replace it with a simple, single color.

There's more of course, but hopefully these tips will help some.

Best of luck!

Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 5:08 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Doctor Maxim
That's just begging for a reply.

I'm sure Kelso knows much on the matter... >.>

<.<


You're killin' me, Smalls!

Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 5:09 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso

Nope, old school tool (sort of like Phipson!).

It's an excellent tool for selecting something that is a single color. For example, if you place the cursor over a white background that's behind a MOC, it will automatically select the entire background, which can then be eliminated or cut and pasted elsewhere. If you go to the SELECT drop down and click on INVERSE, the MOC will then be outlined and ready for manipulation.

The primary thing to remember with it, is that it focuses on a single color and value...good for some situations...not so good for others.



Thanks Mark. I am trying to study tutorials on line, but this is driving me nuts. I need a book I think. I can not seem to merge two pictures seamlessly. IE: A photo of a MOC, with a nice background shot. I need a drink.....
Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 5:09 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Yuri Fassio
I realy cant' find a way to resize a cut selection other than "free transform", but I need to retain its proportions...


Once you've got the transform option available to you, hold down the SHIFT key and move a corner of the selected element. (And for future reference, if you want to disort the image a bit, you can hold the Ctrl key and move a corner, as well.)

Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 5:12 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Doctor Maxim
Do you remember what your first LEGO set was?

And any advice on what sets to get that have a lot of useful pieces for building ships? If that is 'specific' enough. I notice you enjoy tiles and SNOT... For instance your Cylon Raider or the invisible Hand; did you get the pieces from PAB or a lot of sets?


Hmmm...can't remember the number, but it was a white Leer Jet set. Really old...like, maybe 1976 or something.

As for good sets for ships, anything with bleys. My personal favs recently have been the Star Wars USC sets. But those ain't cheap! Just basically look for sets with heavy amounts of greys.

I actually don't buy a lot of sets (although there are some out now that I just LOVE...Green Grocer, Fire Brigade!). I buy some from PAB, and mostly from Bricklink. Unfortunately PAB is still too limited in its parts selections for me, and Bricklink is very effective for getting exactly the parts I need at a good price. That may change, though as time goes on, and LEGO continues to advance their PAB. When possible, I prefer to buy from LEGO rather than Bricklink, though, to support the company.

Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 5:18 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Mister Bones
Thanks Mark. I am trying to study tutorials on line, but this is driving me nuts. I need a book I think. I can not seem to merge two pictures seamlessly. IE: A photo of a MOC, with a nice background shot. I need a drink.....


Once you're familiar with the layering thing, a book will be VERY helpful. I hit the library and that's what really got me going with the application.

Hang in there. It's a pain to learn, but worth it in the long run.

Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 5:22 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso

Once you're familiar with the layering thing, a book will be VERY helpful. I hit the library and that's what really got me going with the application.

Hang in there. It's a pain to learn, but worth it in the long run.

Thanks again for the info. I really do appreciate the time you spend to answer my questions. I will take my laptop to AZ with me and keep fiddling until I learn this. Excel 07 was way easier to learn. Almost time to head to the airport, cheers.

Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 5:30 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Mark Kelso
I actually don't buy a lot of sets (although there are some out now that I just LOVE...Green Grocer, Fire Brigade!).


Yeah, I LOVE those sets too!

(The four of you that actually get that joke are ROFLCOPTERING right now. Everyone else is going "What's so funny?")
Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 6:03 pm
Quoting Chris Phipson
(Everyone else is going "What's so funny?")

Hmm... You're right!

Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 6:14 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso

Tons! But let's start with a few simpler ones...

stuff like greeb work on a ship, or detail in architecture.

I have heard a few things about this "greeb" technique, but I do not know exactly what it is, could you please explain it?
Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 6:18 pm
Quoting Doctor Maxim
Hmm... You're right!

Where did you get that christmas hat on your icon?
Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 6:24 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Jø®dån L.
I have heard a few things about this "greeb" technique, but I do not know exactly what it is, could you please explain it?


How bout we let Kevin Fedde explain that one with his BRILLIANT entry for the MocOlympics here.

http://mocpages.com/moc.php/156511

Hope that helps!
Permalink
| December 10, 2009, 6:40 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Tom R.
Mr.Kelso this is all the work you've put into me. I hope you will not be disappointed in me. I ask of you, please honestly review this MOC of mine. Please be harsh, I whole-heartedly and intensely want to improve!

http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/169917


Okay...like I mentioned in a comment on the page, some good stuff going on. Let's focus here on some areas where I think you can improve.

Camera focus: A couple of times the entire image was a bit blurry, particularly compared to other shots that were quite in focus. It's not bad to blur certain areas, in order to lead the viewers eye somewhere, but try to avoid a completely burry shot. I've found a tripod for my camera to be invaluable for avoiding camera shake, but if you can't manage that, try to brace the camera on something for each shot.

lighting: You can use Photoshop to adjust the value range of the images. I noticed one image that was really high key (bright), while another was much lower key (darker). Use the ENHANCE section with the LEVELS (Ctrl + L) to adjust images so they are more consistent with one another.

Also, the lighting of the MOC could stand to have similar lighting to the background you used. In the background, you had a sunset, but on your MOC, it was lit from directly above, and the light was mostly white. Side-lighting and some colored filters (over the light or added later in Photoshop) might have helped...not to mention, how cool would the "mood" of the imagery have been if the lighting had a real warmth to it, and long creepy shadows?

Anyway, those were my biggest observations with the post. I suppose one other small issue was the color of the text you chose for the narration...it was a bit difficult to read because the value of that color was so close to the background. Ya might shoot for text coloring next time that contrasts heavily with the page. ;)

Anyway, hope that helps. And let me know when the next installment comes along (I'm assuming that you're planning to continue this, given the ending to the post).

Permalink
| December 11, 2009, 8:22 am
Quoting Mark Kelso

You're killin' me, Smalls!

Smalls... Hmm... How did I earn that nickname?
Permalink
| December 11, 2009, 9:44 am
I already asked phipson this, but what do you think of YFOL's?
Permalink
| December 11, 2009, 5:42 pm
Quoting Brady G
I forgot, what camera model do you use again?
Will a fancier camera really make a difference if you know how to use Photoshop effectivly?
And one last thing, I've been applying different display effects to some of my MOCs main pictures. Are these filter combonations really doing anything to make the picture look more attractive?

Here he talks about his model. http://www.mocpages.com/group_conversation.php?id=8176&topicid=38342#comment-390136
Permalink
| December 12, 2009, 4:22 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Brady G
I forgot, what camera model do you use again?
Will a fancier camera really make a difference if you know how to use Photoshop effectivly?
And one last thing, I've been applying different display effects to some of my MOCs main pictures. Are these filter combonations really doing anything to make the picture look more attractive?


A more expensive camera won't make a BIT of difference, in my opinion. I could easily use a very simple pocket camera, and do all that I do with my expensive one. I use the higher end cameras for wildlife photography, where they DO make a big difference. But for MOCs, it's not a big deal. Photoshop, helps to improve a picture, and it's FANTASTIC for effects, but...

I think the most important thing is to simply take good pics (in focus and with nice lighting), and have a very clean surroundings. Look at Brian Kescenovitz's images...nothing fancy. Just clean shots with good light, and a clean background, but WOW!

And that gets to the last question. Filters, effects, etc. are fine, and sometimes really fun, but as I mentioned with Brian's work, not necessary for a great presentation. Of course, it's up to you what you want to say with your creation and how you want to say it, but I'm just pointing out that non of those "extras" are a necessity.

Hope that answers your questions.

Permalink
| December 12, 2009, 9:13 pm
 Group admin 


Thanks, Maxim.
Permalink
| December 12, 2009, 9:14 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso

Thanks, Maxim.

You're welcome..

I for some reason sense sarcasm, but I wouldn't know why you'd be sarcastic... Darn computers. Can't tell which emotions are which.

Kelso, will you/ have you ever paint(ed) a LEGO brick? We need a logo for this group..
Permalink
| December 12, 2009, 9:25 pm
Dear Mark,

Have you ever wrestled a bear?
What about a badger?

If you could have a bear-sized badger fight a bear, which one would win?

When are you going to finish Apocalypsis? What has been your biggest challenge with that series of MOCs up to this point?


Permalink
| December 12, 2009, 9:25 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Dennis Price
When are you going to finish Apocalypsis? What has been your biggest challenge with that series of MOCs up to this point?



The fact that we won't shut the heck up about how long it's taking to get done...

Permalink
| December 12, 2009, 9:26 pm
Quoting Chris Phipson

The fact that we won't shut the heck up about how long it's taking to get done...

Actually, I'm more interested in knowing his thoughts on the bear vs. badger debate.
Permalink
| December 12, 2009, 9:36 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Dennis Price
Actually, I'm more interested in knowing his thoughts on the bear vs. badger debate.


It's actually the aardvark you should be asking about...
Permalink
| December 12, 2009, 9:38 pm
Quoting Chris Phipson

It's actually the aardvark you should be asking about...

Forget aardvark, what about Kescenovitz?

Permalink
| December 12, 2009, 11:04 pm
 Group admin 

Quoting Dennis Price
Dear Mark,

Have you ever wrestled a bear?
What about a badger?

If you could have a bear-sized badger fight a bear, which one would win?

When are you going to finish Apocalypsis? What has been your biggest challenge with that series of MOCs up to this point?



yes (black bear...all in fun)

no

Bear-sized badger...heck a regular sized badger would probably win!

No idea

What Chris said!

Permalink
| December 13, 2009, 9:09 am
 Group admin 
Quoting JD Luse
Forget aardvark, what about Kescenovitz?


Well some don't realize it, but Kescenovitz IS an aardvark.

Permalink
| December 13, 2009, 9:11 am
Quoting Mark Kelso

Well some don't realize it, but Kescenovitz IS an aardvark.

Well... they can be stubborn at times. And so can your wife or husband, for those of you who are married.
Permalink
| December 13, 2009, 9:14 am
 Group admin 
Hey Dennis, to seriously answer your Apocalypsis question about the most difficult aspect...

It's the writing. I'm trying to put this story together with some mythological archetypes: the hero, his quest, the challenges along the way, and the revelation that his experience brings back to the world. But to do that in Lego, with a particular ending in mind since the whole project began, has been an ENORMOUS challenge. And as a writer yourself, I'm sure you've already seen how poor my writing skills are (I'm okay from a creative standpoint, but technically I'm horrendous). So that only makes it more difficult. Combine that with the fact I'm an anal retentive perfectionist, and you've got not only your answer as to the difficulty, but also as to why it takes so long!


Permalink
| December 13, 2009, 9:31 am
ok, serious question.
When you take pictures of your MOCs do you have the light directly above (diagram shown below)
^
/I\
or do you have the lamp at an angle (diagram shown below)
^
//
and lastly, do you cover your lamp with a piece of paper or do you just have it normal?
thanks.
Permalink
| December 13, 2009, 12:51 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Jø®dån L.
ok, serious question.
When you take pictures of your MOCs do you have the light directly above (diagram shown below)
^
/I
or do you have the lamp at an angle (diagram shown below)
^
//
and lastly, do you cover your lamp with a piece of paper or do you just have it normal?
thanks.


I use different lighting for different situations. Light from directly overhead or at an angle won't make that much difference in the quality of the shot, though.

What will help is if the light is diffused. Putting a piece of paper over the light will help somewhat, but what I recommend is to actually use a piece of white foamcore board (or poster board is cheaper) to reflect light on to your shadow areas. This will help to brighten those darker areas a bit, and keep your camera from washing out the whites, or turning the shadows completely black.

You just place it next to your MOC at an angle that reflects your source light back onto the MOC, keeping the reflective board just outside of the camera frame. This approach is particularly helpful for blacks.

Permalink
| December 13, 2009, 4:59 pm
hello Mr. Kelso, i would really appreciate yoru honest opinion on this comment. Im a TFOL and i have just become bored of building halo mocs, as it seems there is an overflow of those on this website. do you have any recommendations as to what i should build next? Note: i am not crazy rich in lego parts or any one specific color.
Permalink
| December 14, 2009, 1:44 pm
Quoting ODST serial 142-761 (46th ODST platoon)
Im a TFOL and i have just become bored of building halo mocs, as it seems there is an overflow of those on this website.


First, since you've stated that you tired of making halo MOCs, I'd recommend first changing you buddy icon and name. Next, just build something that your conformable with.
Permalink
| December 14, 2009, 8:53 pm
Ok Mark, lets give this question thing a shot. I've noticed that you are VERY good at illuminating a very good sense of space in small areas in your MOCs. You always have a central point (usually a fig) surrounded neatly by details of the MOC. The center is usually bold and the focus of attention. How do you manage presenting the fig and yet neatly presenting everything else in the picture? Is there a certain order that you place everything in, since I noticed that you like to keep the center (where the fig is) clean and bare of anything. And yet you still present both the figs and details of your design in perfect order and design. Is it better to have the fig the closest piece from the camera? I hope you understand what I mean or will we need to spell it out for you again? Thanks -Dylan
Permalink
| December 14, 2009, 9:05 pm
Hey, mark can you make an "ask Dylan" thread?
Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 7:09 am
 Group admin 
Quoting ODST serial 142-761 (46th ODST platoon)
hello Mr. Kelso, i would really appreciate yoru honest opinion on this comment. Im a TFOL and i have just become bored of building halo mocs, as it seems there is an overflow of those on this website. do you have any recommendations as to what i should build next? Note: i am not crazy rich in lego parts or any one specific color.


Tired of Halo? Yeah, join the club!!! As for what to build next, only you can decide that. But...

I decided to look Halo in the face recently and have a show down with it! So you could try doing what I've done, and just work to find something unique within the subject that hasn't been done yet. It's a massive world and you don't have to just build a Grunt, a dropship, or any of the other cliche stuff. Consider a dio, or even take the theme in your own direction and come up with story line or characters that haven't been created yet, adding your own take on the whole Halo universe.

Another option I'll throw out...and this is GREAT if you don't have a large collection...is to go with the LEGO town theme. It might sound boring, but as a space/sci-fi builder, I've found that I LOVE doing things like little street corners, houses, and especially little interiors. With that, there's a virtually endless supply of subjects to build, and most don't require a huge collection. For example, check out these that Stacy just posted...amazing stuff with very few parts:

http://mocpages.com/moc.php/172286

As I said first, though, only you can decide for certain what you want to build next. But, hopefully what I mentioned above might help a little.

Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 8:26 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Dylan B
Ok Mark, lets give this question thing a shot. I've noticed that you are VERY good at illuminating a very good sense of space in small areas in your MOCs. You always have a central point (usually a fig) surrounded neatly by details of the MOC. The center is usually bold and the focus of attention. How do you manage presenting the fig and yet neatly presenting everything else in the picture? Is there a certain order that you place everything in, since I noticed that you like to keep the center (where the fig is) clean and bare of anything. And yet you still present both the figs and details of your design in perfect order and design. Is it better to have the fig the closest piece from the camera? I hope you understand what I mean or will we need to spell it out for you again? Thanks -Dylan


Wow, Dylan...I'm beginning to think you have an artist's eye for things.

I think I understand what you're asking here. I don't always want the fig as the closest thing, to be sure. What I consider very important in presentation (and we're talking about a MOCpages kind of post here where you're telling a story visually) is to break up the way the image is seen, and always think about where you want the viewer's attention to go.

What I mean by breaking up the way the image is seen, is to sometimes have the viewer seeing the subject from a distance; other times close up; other times from over head, or maybe at a strange angle. Look at what good comic artists do...amazing diversity in the way they present their subjects. You could have a fig in the distance, with several figs in front, but just out of focus, for example. That fig could be to the right, to the left, up higher, down lower, etc. But, regardless the focus of the camera will be on the fig (as long as that's where I want the viewer to look). Here's a good example: http://mocpages.com/moc.php/161806

And then the other thing I mentioned, about controlling where the viewers attention goes, I think, is also very important. By using light, color, or composition, you can lead the viewer's eye to a certain place in the image. That's an entire new thread there, just talking about all you can do. But just think about those three things for a while, and hopefully you'll start to understand what I mean.

Hope this is what you were asking about. If not, fire more questions my way...I love these kinds of topics.

Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 8:41 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Jø®dån L.
Hey, mark can you make an "ask Dylan" thread?


You got it...done.
Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 8:53 am
thank you for your response. i have also started a couple of star wars mocs. also, where do you buy most of your lego parts? i have heard that bricklink is good but i wondered if you buy big sets and instead of building the set, incorporate the parts into your collection. sorry for all the questions, but i have one more. where id the best place to purchase bley parts
Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 1:20 pm
Quoting Dylan B

First, since you've stated that you tired of making halo MOCs, I'd recommend first changing you buddy icon and name. Next, just build something that your conformable with.

i said halo MOCS not halo
Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 2:04 pm
Do you know how much a pick a brick order costs, if you buy it direct at the lego store? (not the online store)
Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 2:17 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting ODST serial 142-761 (46th ODST platoon)
thank you for your response. i have also started a couple of star wars mocs. also, where do you buy most of your lego parts? i have heard that bricklink is good but i wondered if you buy big sets and instead of building the set, incorporate the parts into your collection. sorry for all the questions, but i have one more. where id the best place to purchase bley parts


There are four basic ways to accumulate parts inventory: sets, PAB (stores or online), ebay, and Bricklink. I've done all of the above.

Sets - I buy sets when they're on sale (but almost never if they're not).

PAB - I've purchased from PAB online, as well as PAB at the stores. Online is good IF they have the parts you need and those parts aren't much more than Bricklink. In store PAB is good, but of course...you a need a store close by (duh!). And their parts selection isn't usaully all that great. But every now and then, they've got some real good deals.

ebay - I look for a specific color by the pound. Right now's not a great time because of the holiday season. But, if you're not interested in specific parts, and not concerned with the parts being new, then ebay can really enhance your collection quickly. I think I've got about 40 pounds of white to still sort through from some ebay purchases that ran me less than fifty bucks...not bad!

Bricklink - In my opinion, the queen mother of Lego resources. By far the biggest selection, including parts that Lego doesn't even make any more, and it's got some excellent prices some times. The best thing of all, though, is that I can customize my expenses. Say I've got $200 to blow (God help me if Maxim sees THAT phrase!). I can go to Bricklink and order parts, and EVERY SINGLE PIECE I PURCHASE is a piece I WANT in my inventory (unlike sets or ebay).

By the way, you can always look for deals at garage sales, but these days a lot of people are more aware of ebay, and will list their used Lego there instead, because they know the Lego still has value.


Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 2:29 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting 000 000
Do you know how much a pick a brick order costs, if you buy it direct at the lego store? (not the online store)


Prices at Northbrook, Chicago right now are as follows:

$149.00 - box (holds 12-13 PAB cups worth)
$14.99 - large cup
$7.99 - small cup

I would assume it's the same elsewhere, but I can't say for sure.

Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 2:39 pm
why are u and phipson always at each other
Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 3:42 pm
Quoting j. v
why are u and phipson always at each other


They aren't. They actually get along with each other quite well, and if you'd taken the time to read the whole group you'd have discovered that.
Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 4:32 pm
Mr.Kelso,

Did you really violate a plastic sheep?

If so, why did you choose some twit of a gungan as an attorney?

Also, why did you not bribe the sheep like you did the camel?

Just wonderin'.
Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 4:35 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso

There are four basic ways to accumulate parts inventory: sets, PAB (stores or online), ebay, and Bricklink. I've done all of the above.

Sets - I buy sets when they're on sale (but almost never if they're not).

PAB - I've purchased from PAB online, as well as PAB at the stores. Online is good IF they have the parts you need and those parts aren't much more than Bricklink. In store PAB is good, but of course...you a need a store close by (duh!). And their parts selection isn't usaully all that great. But every now and then, they've got some real good deals.

ebay - I look for a specific color by the pound. Right now's not a great time because of the holiday season. But, if you're not interested in specific parts, and not concerned with the parts being new, then ebay can really enhance your collection quickly. I think I've got about 40 pounds of white to still sort through from some ebay purchases that ran me less than fifty bucks...not bad!

Bricklink - In my opinion, the queen mother of Lego resources. By far the biggest selection, including parts that Lego doesn't even make any more, and it's got some excellent prices some times. The best thing of all, though, is that I can customize my expenses. Say I've got $200 to blow (God help me if Maxim sees THAT phrase!). I can go to Bricklink and order parts, and EVERY SINGLE PIECE I PURCHASE is a piece I WANT in my inventory (unlike sets or ebay).

By the way, you can always look for deals at garage sales, but these days a lot of people are more aware of ebay, and will list their used Lego there instead, because they know the Lego still has value.



i like your ive ebay suggestion the most. do you bid, or do you buy it now? because I noticed that buy it nows are more expensive in general.

Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 6:46 pm
Quoting Areetsa C

They aren't. They actually get along with each other quite well, and if you'd taken the time to read the whole group you'd have discovered that.

didint ask u i asked kelso maybe u should read the TOPICS NAME again
Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 6:50 pm
Wow Mark, some great advice indeed. I really understand the different perspectives of the MOC by showing different views of a fig. Keeping those things in mind, I think that I understand your overall point in the illusion of space. Thanks for the advice! -Dylan
Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 7:08 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting j. v
why are u and phipson always at each other


Dude, you gotta understand that Phipson's one of my best friends. So we're constantly doing the manly-banter-thing. I'll just go ahead and apologize to all the MOCpages gang, cause I'm sure it gets old, but in our world, that's how a brother shows his love!

Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 7:47 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Rusty S.
Mr.Kelso,

Did you really violate a plastic sheep?

If so, why did you choose some twit of a gungan as an attorney?

Also, why did you not bribe the sheep like you did the camel?

Just wonderin'.


My Gungan attorney has instructed me not to respond.

Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 7:48 pm
Could you please post your whole collection, I love to see how people organize their legos =)
Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 7:56 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Jø®dån L.
Could you please post your whole collection, I love to see how people organize their legos =)


I've been meaning to do that for a couple of weeks now, but I'm working to complete a build for the holidays first. I'll try to get to it soon, though.

Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 9:45 pm
can we get an icon for the group? It looks a little sad without one.
Permalink
| December 15, 2009, 9:51 pm
Quoting Architect of Vonthako

And maybe you should learn some proper English spelling and grammar. Either way kid, there's no need to be rude.

i know spelling and grammar and you are saying i am RUDE you just said i did not know either ...(sigh) but still i do not want this to turn into a fight
Permalink
| December 16, 2009, 4:52 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso

Dude, you gotta understand that Phipson's one of my best friends. So we're constantly doing the manly-banter-thing. I'll just go ahead and apologize to all the MOCpages gang, cause I'm sure it gets old, but in our world, that's how a brother shows his love!

Nope, does not get old, it is pretty da%# funny.
Permalink
| December 16, 2009, 4:54 pm
Quoting j. v
i know spelling and grammar

Then why aren't you using it? For one, capitalize your I's.
Permalink
| December 16, 2009, 4:55 pm
Quoting Blade-Hawk ™
Then why aren't you using it? For one, capitalize your I's.

because i am just typing not having a lengthy convo (can any of you guys just give me a break)
Permalink
| December 16, 2009, 4:58 pm
Quoting j. v
i know spelling and grammar and you are saying i am RUDE you just said i did not know either ...(sigh) but still i do not want this to turn into a fight


Then you shouldn't have been insulting when someone came along and answered the question you asked.

These topics would more accurately be called 'Ask Kelso/Phipson/Vonthako and Anyone Who Knows The Answer'.
Permalink
| December 16, 2009, 4:59 pm
Quoting Areetsa C

Then you shouldn't have been insulting when someone came along and answered the question you asked.

These topics would more accurately be called 'Ask Kelso/Phipson/Vonthako and Anyone Who Knows The Answer'.

cant you guys just forget the hole thing. give me a break
Permalink
| December 16, 2009, 5:00 pm
Quoting Architect of Vonthako

It's a matter of having respect for your fellow MOCpages users. The more incorrect your spelling and grammar is, the longer it takes for us to decipher what you're trying to say, and the less the chance is that your comment will be taken seriously.

Go to a library or bookstore. Pick a book off the shelves, it doesn't matter which one (just as long as it's not Twilight). Open it to a random page. Read a few lines. Now ask yourself why it's not written in internet slang.

Did you come up with an answer yet?

Here's one: Credibility.

iv teh awthur ritez leke dis, nu un wil rezpikt thim

See what I mean?

Weeelll I guess you are right that pretty good advice I was never really concerned about that...and no one ever really cared and to answer your question if it was in internet slang i would not sell
Permalink
| December 16, 2009, 5:14 pm
Quoting j. v
cant you guys just forget the hole thing. give me a break


Mmm, they might.

As for me?

No. Probably not.

I can hold a grudge for a very long time, just ask DZ.

Now, in this case, I'll probably forget after a day or two, since you're a completely forgettable personey thing...
Permalink
| December 16, 2009, 5:26 pm
Quoting Areetsa C

Mmm, they might.

As for me?

No. Probably not.

I can hold a grudge for a very long time, just ask DZ.

Now, in this case, I'll probably forget after a day or two, since you're a completely forgettable personey thing...

thank you but try your but try your best to forget today please
Permalink
| December 16, 2009, 5:29 pm
 Group admin 
Ya know, there's something ironic about this slightly heated discussion, given the season and all. Let's close up shop on this and move on, shall we.


Permalink
| December 16, 2009, 7:04 pm
Group moderators have locked this conversation.
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