Monday, December 2, 2013

I viewed the TV_eh podcast livestream today.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fan Expo 2013 One Man Can Make a Difference

The one man that made a difference this year was David Hasselhoff. Who else could tell a joke and then lapse into song in the first 2 minutes, of making an entrance? His appearance at Fan Expo coincided with his career comeback. A movie? A documentary? A music tour? Getting his autograph earlier made my day.
With the expanded venue, I really appreciated a respite before going at it again on Sunday. The line up to buy tickets was nothing compared to the amount of people. Going on a Saturday was unthinkable.

Two showroom floors meant more to see. There was one ape who was in complete character no matter who he encounter. Looking in peoples bags in exchange for a photo op. While I was browsing at prices in the autograph area, I noticed these puppets. Apparently, I just ran into Ruffus The Dog.
Among the celebrities I saw speak were Richard Dean Anderson, David Hasselhoff, Karl Urban, and Carrie Fisher. The theatre was the only time I could find sit down for almost an hour. I was otherwise constantly on the move. To my delight, Karl Urban did talk about being on Xena: The Warrior Princess. You might remember he played a memorable Cupid and Caesar on that series. Carrie Fisher reminisced about the original 'Star Wars' and her work as an author.
For those who know me well, I found a great reason to buy T-shirts. Dragon's Lair and Space Ace were 2 games I did conversion work on, early in my career. It was nice to be able to add them to my collection of memorabilia.
To be able to have a photo with a very hardworking celebrity at Fan Expo. Many people do not know that Erin Gray, as owner of Heroes for Hire, is the person behind the celebrity appearances at these events everywhere. I have been fortunate to meet this very gracious lady on more than one occasion.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Playing The Inner Light

Playing from the penny whistle tabs based on Jay Chattaway's sample score found on Forgive me if this sounds a bit too rusty. I only wanted to show how the tabs do work on the instrument. Anyway, it was too early in the morning for me to do this properly.

The Living Bride Returns - Ongoing Challenges

"Meifeng had not been in touch with her extended family since she had ran off with Leo. Ming was the only one she had had any contact with these past few years. Through his correspondence, she was able to learn that what was left of the Chens still lived at that house. They retained the garden and built their homestead on the property."
Is this what it's like to know when some ideas doesn't work out. I've had it in my mind to continue the story at the train station. I even had a scene in the cab or rickshaw, involving a folded up fifty yuan note. But it wasn't a good enough hook for the next installment. So I went back to laying out the character relationships.
I've learned this much. I don't want to add any more characters into the mix. The core of the story surrounds the interchange between just three people. How their lives were affected by their past actions. The passage I just written (above), will be a nice segue into a flashback sequence that will introduce the rest of the main characters.
The story is taking shape more or less in the notes I scribbled on paper, however technically, I still don't know who these characters are. Hopefully, it will come as I keep plotting. It was why I held off from writing for so long. Meanwhile, I made another drawing to serve as a cover. I can't draw like my artist colleagues, but I did learn from a tutorial on how to create silhouettes in Photoshop. At least, it resembles the sketch I made earlier. If I squint at it, it kind of looks like a Chinese brush painting.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Denizens of the Goldfish Tank

Can't forget the goldfish. The most ideal video subjects, because they won't stay put. It may be cold outside today; it sure doesn't look like that in here. Even the pleco is out nibbling at the algae. I am still learning to use Movie Maker. I am now using the recommended publish settings for better quality, while keeping the file size no bigger than the original clip. That means less pixels. It's due for a water change. I'll tackle that next week.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Not Listening

Not Listening by Cindy on GoAnimate

Animated Presentations - Powered by GoAnimate.
As usual, a stick figure animation without voices can still very emotive. Things have changed quite a bit since I last used this app. I am not entirely sure what to use it for, once I put it through its paces. I will give it a try, since there are so great many features even with the basic version.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hungry Bettas

I love the chance to use the tools in Youtube Video Editor. Where else can I put a blur transition on text? The new clips were captured Friday morning with the feeding. I then used Windows Movie Maker to generate a video for each betta. After uploading to Youtube, I get to have fun. Furthermore, I am actually getting the hang of using the Canon G1 ivideo mode.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bettas, Two Years Later

Passing another milestone, to me,  is something to be proud of. Because it was never that easy to keep fish, not even when they were free. Now, I don't count the days before they die, just the years since I bought one. Hopefully, it will be for a while yet, unless I get a new aquarium.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Once A Cast Member

This is the most personal of all my Walt Disney Animation Canada (WDAC) keepsakes: my cast member badge. Sure, anyone named Cindy has one. But what makes this special was that I wore it everyday for the four years I was there. I would have also taken the mouse-shaped door sign, but there was no way to hang that at home.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Shanghai Interlude on the Blog

Celebrating my very first completed story, I have been working on various versions for sharing. There is now a PDF file up on Google Docs. The link is available at the bottom of this blog. Simply click on the Shanghai Interlude banner to download for your eReader. Still learning all the features of the Calibre eBook manager. It's really handy for conversions. The new PDF includes a cover and is a smaller format for eReaders. I am eager to upload this onto my device.
Also, I now have a Chinese translation on Google Docs. It's the first time, I used this feature. Although, it gives a complete translated text, it still is not perfect. Translations are seldom perfect. Grammar is almost always lost in translation. But I like it enough to keep using it in future.
It's been a long time since I last written a new word. Because, the character relationships and plot is a lot more complex, I would like to mull over it some more. Rewriting Shanghai Interlude made me cautious of how to handle it.
Anyway, these little projects help me immerse in that world. That's not a bad thing.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Text to Path Animation

Playing around with the Text to Path feature in GIMP. I added a paintbrush stroke and animated the letters in 6 frames. The only letter that didn't move at all was D. It had more than one part, the middle D and the outer D, which would deform if moved.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What's New


Was invited to share original writing on ReadWave. First complete story is a rewrite of Shanghai Interlude. Go to the page up top with the same name to read it from the widget. Anyone else can follow on FictionPress. Seeing as how it had its origin there. Already received a favourable review the same day I published it.

Photography Portfolio
I have over five hundred items in the pictures folder of my computer. Most of it are photos of my fish. There is a link to the portfolio I started a few days ago, at the top.


This page of references has been reverted to draft, seeing as it is not my content. I may need to refer to it occasionally, checking to see if the links still work.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year GIF

1) Animate the ren (people) stick figure using paths.
2) Animate the banner within the banner.
3) Animate the text on the smaller banner.
4) Combine elements.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Betta Antics Mix

When one's fish will not cooperate with the camera of choice, one must resort to making a low resolution movie instead. It's true that a video recorder would produce a better quality capture and play well with the WeVideo app, but my betta are used to still photography. There just is not enough daylight hours now to wait for the perfect shot. So, Canon G1 it is again. Sometimes I think the red one is a tease. He would sneak a look at me behind my back.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Walk Cycle in GIMP

It is almost Chinese New Year. I had an idea for animating a character. The one that came to mind was the one for person. It even looks like a man. What would I need to make it move though? I drew the 2 strokes first. But that is still a static interpretation.
The Paths Tool in GIMP was something I had not tried yet. It lets me draw the path and paint the strokes. In time, I almost matched the shape of the strokes I made from scratch.
This gave me a skeleton to work with. It was a something that could be manipulated as desired.
Use the Stroke Path dialog box to choose a brush type to paint the strokes. I chose Ink. Make sure beforehand the brush size is what you want.
Add a new layer and change the shape of the path. Deform it. And then I created the radical symbol for person.
Lastly, after repeating the steps to deform the strokes, the walk cycle is complete.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


It's that moment when you realize you didn't have to use a diffuser to take these photos. I have been taking advantage of the acrylic surface and the six-sided nature of the aquarium. The light bounces off this material differently than on glass tanks. The flash usually reflects on the front of the surface. That's why I have to aim it on the trim or some other object directly in line of sight. In these, digital zoom, as shown in the upper right, and the two lower ones, keeps the flash point out of range. I always rhought it was the water surface that was absorbing the reflected light. Now I see that the back of the aquarium has a lot of bounce back too.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Recreating a Stamp - Color to Alpha in GIMP

I want to go through a process of how I got...
from here...
to there.
It all started when I read an article of how to create a watermark in GIMP. For that, I used the text editor and created variations of @xindilini. I hadn't even figured out how to save the resultant paintbrush at the time. Then I remembered my chop. It is a customized stamp with my Chinese name carved in stone. The one I had in mind was the one that would produce a negative image of the characters.

I took a picture of the imprint with a webcam and started playing with the image in GIMP. After loading the image file, I created a new layer of the specific area so I could rotate it arbitrarily. Autocrop Layer. Autocrop Image.

Tried a few options from the Colors > Auto and settled for Stretch HSV. This would stretch the image contrast to cover the maximum possible range.
Now we are ready to use Color to Alpha. You can select this from the Layer > Transparency menu or directly from the Colors menu. Both will do the same thing. Other than the red inky parts are transparent because the default colour is white. If you want to change it you can click on the rectangle as shown in the following image.
I put it through one more pass to get the red to pop out some more. That is the by using Maximum RGB from the Colors menu. This will reduce the image to pure red, green, and blue. For this purpose, make sure the option "Hold the maximal channels" is selected.
You can now save the layer for later use. I took it one step further by combining it with calligraphy of my name. Since I am a bit out of practice, I traced it out by hand. Converting the image mode from RGB to Greyscale, I could use it for a watermark on dark or light images alike.
I really liked playing around with Color to Alpha. Can't wait to try it with other stamps or cutouts.