Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Toy Troopers

This was a fun thing my co-worker showed me. If you take real photos (usually taken from above and wide angle) and play with the saturation and focus you get something that looks like it's a photo of miniatures. It's called Tilt Shift photography. Kinda fun, eh?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Busy Weekend

This was my first double troop weekend. They were both relatively short events, so it wasn't that bad.

Yesterday we attended the Ferderbar Elementary School Fun Day in Feasterville. It was a good time, but the it started raining about half way through and the humidity kept going up. I brought Sharyn and the kids with me for this one. The kids aren't big on playing outside in the rain, so we had to leave a bit early. Still got some funny videos of Jason, Scooter and myself getting dancing lessons from some of the local girls.

EDIT: I had to add this pic. It's just too great!!

Today we attended the Villanova Buddy Walk. This was the first time that Garrison Carida was invited to this event, but it was well worth it. All the kids loved us, and the weather turned out to be perfect! It was great to troop with Jason two days in a row, and hang out with Ficker, Sarge, PJ and Amanda again. My dad even came out for this event and took the pictures for us! This one is my favorite, and pretty much sums up why I do this.


Check out the full set of pix here.

That's all for now.

TK-8495 out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Empire Baseball Game

Originally uploaded by gfrenkel78
Here's a photo I edited for Maul. It began as a plain image of him holding an MR Force FX Saber. Adding the blade glow is pretty standard, but since the photo itself was taken in the shade more was needed. After using the usual process to add the saber glow I needed to make that as a light source. It's amazing what you can do with low flow settings on the paintbrush tool combined with screen overlay. Cautiously I added some "glow" to the TK and TB, as their armor would naturally catch and reflect the red glow of the blade. Applying it more generously the closer to the blade, and more sparingly the farther away. I carefully went over Fett as well, applying some of the light to his armor.

Before this picture could be considered finished it still seemed there was something missing. I played around with adding the red light to the ground for a while before I actually had something I felt was believable. Again, this only works for this photo because they are standing in the shade. Had this same photo be in direct sunlight, i think the blade glow alone with perhaps just a touch of red on the TK and TB would have been sufficient.

Honestly, I think Maul and Vader could have used some glow, but I haven't perfected using this method over black backgrounds -- it looks too glowy and very fake.

Clone Commanders

Originally uploaded by gfrenkel78
Garrison Carida just did a run of trading cards and Wally asked me to edit this photo of him and Tom. I found this picture of tall prairie grass in Oklahoma and dropped them in. Using photoshop and the ever useful clone-tool I was able to make it look like they were actually standing in the grass.

Then I bumped the reds and yellows and dropped the blues to give the guys a warmer tone to match the environment. However, the light source still didn't match between the two photos. In the photo of the troops the light was from the front, while in the hills it was coming from behind. It looked all right, but not good enough.

I decided to add the blaster flash to create a believable frontal light source. On a separate layer I added the white, then used layer effects to add the blue glow around the flash. I duplicated this layer and added another outer glow of white, but with less of a range.

Next I used the paintbrush screen effect on a low flow setting and added some blue glow to the armor to fake the reflection of the flash. I'd say it came out pretty damn good, and I think Wally was pleased with the result.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


So things have been kind of crazy lately, with the start of school for the kids, and a billion other things to do. But I've had time for Star Wars.

Let's see, first there was the Ewing Library day with the NER. HOLY HELL, that was in JULY! It was a great event, though because there were about 9 troops, all in different costumes. We all took pix with the kids and the hung out for a Q&A. Got to hang with my boys Leo, Bro, Ficker, Pat and PJ.

THEN! August 13th was the the Robot Chicken Skate Party in NE Philly at the Jamz Rink. What a great event this was!! I mean we had to get changed in the parking lot, how can you beat that?! I'm kidding, that was the only slightly bad experience of the night, and it really wasn't that big of a deal. Once we were all suited up, we marched in as the crowd cheered us on, like rockstars!!

Once inside, we got to mingle with the guests, and some of the more crazy troops decided to dawn the skates and hit to the rink. I think Ficker fell several times, but he got right back up and kept it going. It was such a blast. Got to chill with Seth Green a bit, and grab some photos. I got to hang with my Caria brothers, Maul, Jason, Tray, Scooter, Puck, G-man, Beetlehead, Check out the insanity:

All right. Next was the Somerset baseball game with NER. This was a great troop, simply because we got to go on the field and perform a skit where we get chased off by a Jedi and a Rebel Fleet Trooper. Well, sorta. Vader and I got to hang on the field to throw out a pitch. I'm not a baseball fan by any means, but it was still fun to say the least.

My friend Daniel came to hang out on this troop too. He said he had a great time. I think he had a great time. I hope he's not a lying bastard! :)

So the bulk of this troop was standing next to Lance as Vader and posing for fifty billion photos. I think we got a pic with at everyone in attendance, at least once. That's right people came back for more. Then finally when the pix were done, PJ and I went around the stands and danced a bit to the Go! music for the team. It was really a blast. Chilled with PJ & Amanda, Bro, Lance, Daniel, and a few others.

Last week was the Deborah Heart and Lung Family Festival. I wasn't feeling too well that day, so even though I brought my armor, I just spotted and took pix and hung out with Leo at the tent. I had a great time and got lots of really awesome photos. Got to hang with the PA & NJ Ghostbusters too! Here's some pix of Erik, Bro, Leo, Nicole, Pat, PJ, Mike, Tim and Sarge:

Go here for more pix of the event.

I also got some pix for the Tubby Tusken: Official Blog. Check em out soon!

Ok, that was a long enough post. I'll try to keep my shit together, stop YELLING!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hate Mail to SEPTA

This has nothing to do with Star Wars, but I felt like I had to post this in as many places as I can.

Since the online feedback form is conveniently NOT WORKING, I am sending this notice here. Please ensure it makes it to the right hands, and for the love of god, fix your links!!!

I think I'm a pretty patient person. But seriously, your level of service, if you can even call it that, is downright shameful. For the past seven weeks there has been at least one day of the week where you pitiful excuse for a trolley system craps out right at the beginning of rush hour. It's not bad enough that the trolley stations are a mile below the surface, then having to walk back up the stairs in 96 degree heat, but then having to walk an extra 4 blocks from 37th street to 30th street. The El is too far out if the way at this point or else that would be a suitable alternative. Today marks the 9th time I've had to do that since July 1.

This turn of events ultimately makes me late to catch the 4:27 R2 to Warminster every single time. But I do have to compliment you on never having the R2 arrive on time so that I don't actually miss the train when I get to the platform at 4:30. Way to go.

To further my aggravation with your impeccable QoS the air conditioning on the r2 is quite horrid. Maybe you should look into routine Inspections of such things, especially during the summer. Furthermore, these trains smell more and more like a jock strap or a public toilet every day. Oh and if I'm really lucky I'll end up on the train left over from the 70s that also,apparently, doubled as a waste receptacle for excrement, soda cans, and used tissues. You know, the trains with the retro modern yellow and orange vinyl seat covers that have absolutely no cushioning left? Yea, those trains.

That aside, I would like to point out that I rely a great deal on your services, and if I had any other option, I would take it. The sad truth is that there is no other choice, and since I suffer from a medical condition (pleural effusions & lupus) the shortcomings I previously mentioned possibly affect me greater than the average victim of your service. If I feel this bad and taken advantage of, I'd hate to know what your 80 year old blind wheelchair bound passengers think.

I would also like to mention that I purchase a monthly trailpass and have for the better part of 12 years now. Your service is clearly on the decline.

As of right now I will be documenting these incidents and will be requesting a refund for the service I am not able to make use of as well as an aggravation/quality of life tax. I think this is an absolutely fair request seeing as you offer absolutely no alternative for these shoddy services.

Thank you for your time.

PS - an express on the R2 line would be nice too, being that this is the only route without one.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Some other stuff for the Garrison

We're having a contest to make a new logo or whatnot. Here's what I've come up with so far: