Seven quick notes

  1. I’m moving to Pittsburgh by end of 2018 and will try very hard, to have all my files backed up in at least two places [hard copy] and ideally three [cloud backup]. That does, unfortunately, require some extra hard drives to be obtained, so any purchases you can make from my shops in the next 30 days would be super helpful in ensuring that 100% of my project data is safe. I do not have unlimited internet in Houston right now, so although I’ve got cloud backup the monthly caps on my internet, will mean only 60% of my data will be saved in the cloud, by the time I move. So if you wish to minimize risks of loss on some of my key offline project files, like the Panoramic Worlds or Isola stuff, or video projects I’m attempting to complete/revise, etc, buying something from me would be extremely useful in ensuring I don’t lose random segments of my work!

2. To that end, you’ve probably noticed that I have a new Pinterest account I’m shifting to, here, as well as a DeviantArt account, trying to promote and sell my eBay art stuff. And there’ll be a lot more eBay listings posted in a week or so. So just keep an eye on that.

3. House Trek revisions on eps. 6-8 are essentially done, save the ep. 7 intro clip which is rendering now, and some scattered editing on the House Trek DVD edition. You should expect a major update to content on HornbostelVideos.com in the next 2-4 weeks… one which even goes a bit beyond merely additional House Trek and vlog content to include several other classic videos. (By classic, I mostly mean old… though several of these are really surprisingly good regardless of how long ago they were originally recorded.)

4. I’m hoping for additional momentum to develop relating to Twitter / FB feeds – so if you’re curious about what I’m up to creatively, please feel free to follow me on my Facebook page or on Twitter.    One cool note is that I’m posting some scattered visual material there relating to the upcoming video content and other imminent releases so if you’re interested in what, exactly, I’ll be putting online this month… please follow my social-media feeds in addition to bookmarking this blog! For example:

House Trek episode 6 space battle still image
House Trek episode 6 space battle still image.

5. Comics are inbound soon too. Finally, Another Road Taken chapter 1, along with a bunch of additional Troop 4 material, will go online. That should happen soon, and it’s long overdue.

6. A big ad campaign will begin soon on no fewer than four different platforms, and it should result in a major influx of web traffic directed here, good quality web traffic, between July 12 and July 20, 2018. There’ll be a ton of people probably trying to bid on my eBay listings during that span but right now traffic’s in a lull and there’s one handmade-art listing in particular there that is still at a $1.09 opening bid with only a relatively little time left before the auction ends. So if you want to win a pretty personalized artwork at a minimal cost, you should consider bidding on that! Or the stock media DVD, $1.99, an auction which is ending in 48 hrs. So yeah, this is a good time for people following my work to place orders, before the mad rush of public attention kicks in… and, hopefully, results in enough sales that I can thoroughly overhaul & back up all my data.

7. My decal pack is being updated with normal maps and a few extra things, both for the stock media DVD buyers and for those who buy it on the Unity Asset Store. Yes, I’m planning to try submitting the decal pack there as an asset for game developers using the Unity 3D game engine. There’s also some cool stuff I’m doing with my ‘virtual museum’ – it’s never sold well as an item in the past, maybe due to privacy concerns and maybe due to lack of awareness/interest. But I’m going to release an updated and heavily redesigned version on https://matthornb.itch.io/ – my Itch.IO page before long, which will allow buyers there to load the museum and load their own images into the 3D gallery, then gift the saved modified gallery to a family member/friend on a special occasion. The plan is that the licenses will cost $1 / computer for the authoring system that lets you load your own images into the gallery. The link to download the viewer would, by contrast, be free. So a person can simply buy the authoring app, use it to create a custom gallery commemorating an event like a birthday, wedding, holiday, memorial, vacation, etc, and then save the file that results from this, and it can then be sent to a family member and opened with the viewer app. There are still bugs to solve on this but… I’m working on it and I still think it could turn out really well.

 

That’s the news I’ve got for now. Keep an eye out for some amazing things in the next month!

Transition of remaining websites to A2 Hosting platform

I’m continuing to phase out of my old service [HostGator] to A2 Hosting, and that includes shifting the last batch of domains from HG to A2, a process which has involved not only shifting the domains but downloading all the files associated with each site from HostGator and then carefully reuploading one file at a time on A2 because my FTP solution simply isn’t working correctly.

So here’s the status:

NscaleScenery.com, HornbostelPortfolio.com, and PanoramicWorlds.com are still down for the moment – but they should be back online and functional in the next 48 hrs, with PanoramicWorlds.com being highest priority and next in line to get running.

RedeemerDocumentary.com, Troop4Houston.net, and VividMinigolf.com are online again… mostly functional and in specific places even updated slightly.

All the other domains [TriumphantArtists.com, HornbostelProductions.com, GalileeGames.com, HornbostelMedia.com, etc] were non-issues as they had already completed the transition in the past.

Apologies to everyone confused by the sites that went down.

New picture on Pinterest

Mars Colony – Artwork made for David Petersen – 2018

This was a recent example of an oil pastel mage I’ve done. A Mars colony – seen here now, and it’s also been posted on Pinterest. [My Pinterest art boards have been getting a bit of attention from people lately, not a bad thing!]

 

And then there’s the book.

Book cover graphic

This is a special extra product line for anyone who’s curious about the creative process or wants secret insights into my projects (completed past projects or those currently in development) – namely, an art book, which will be available before too long. It’s self-published and self-printed material, that may be available in a week or so.  As it’s an artbook, I’d like it to be displayed as nicely as I can display it but as compromises go the quality/price balance I’ve settled on is not bad:

$0.99 in a digital form via HornbostelProductions, maybe Itch.IO, details still in flux a bit on this but it’s not just PDF content, it’s presented as an executable book app with a few cool bonus ‘interactive’ and video elements mixed in along with the text and still images.

$9.99 condensed, on regular A4 paper [8.5″x11″] including a download key for access to the digital version. Includes a small text credit in ‘Miniature Multiverse’ and a 35% off code for a first order on the HornbostelProductions.com shop.

$19.99 art book, listed sometime later, made with ledger size paper – and shipped in a larger mailer, again with download key for the digital AND a higher-position credit in Miniature Multiverse when that’s finally done, plus the 35% one-off code for the HornbostelProductions.com shop.

But for now, just wrapping up that and dealing with the scattered shipping issues I’ve run into on my eBay shop. Lots of people are seeing things arrive late, damaged or not at all this past month due to a cascade of issues in transit with USPS and I’ve had to refund a lot of orders. This led to innumerable headaches but I think it’ll ultimately work out adequately. You probably wondered why I was shelving ‘Miniature Multiverse’ completion until a later month and that was why; things are tricky right now but I am still hoping something will sell – that something will work out nicely among all the avenues I’m pursuing… allowing that to be finished.

I have a decal pack update on the way – more decals included and a resubmission to Unity asset store for those who want the decals in a really convenient quad-prefab form for game dev purposes.] and an expanded, feature-rich version of my museum gallery product. I get that privacy concerns made the product concept struggle initially, people did not want their photos sent to me to be placed in the virtual 3D museum – but I think I’ve solved that, maybe, by which I mean I am working on a way for people to buy the product

digitally on Itch.IO, and load their own pics into it, then send that online to family/friends as a gift. The primary issue, of course, was always privacy, but the secondary issue’s piracy. There’s a DRM system I’m implementing for this which should limit this while also being minimally intrusive and difficult to deal with. More details will be shown later relating to that.

The eBay complaints are still a time sink but that’s getting better, and the remaining issues are being resolved steadily, to the extent I can reasonably manage to resolve them, and I’m up to 275 positive ratings on eBay at this time, so that’s a plus even if the reality is I’m struggling a bit to keep things afloat and moving forward.

‘Miniature Multiverse’ launch must be postponed

Key news items:

#1) Miniature Multiverse is being pushed back. I have discussed launching it by end of May but that is looking impractical, largely due to the losses sustained on eBay recently [see previous post] and while I think it’s conceivable that the game could be finished if concept art sales were to go well, it would not be done as well as it should be, on the tight budget resulting from that. I would prefer to wrap the game up with a budget of $450 more and a span of another 5 months, not $250 and one month – that $450 figure is for another $250 in miniature supplies, $120 in sound design assets [licensed sound effects, music] and an $80 ad campaign at launch to give it a decent shot at success out of the gate. Any attempt to get this done on a $200ish budget means shoddier looking miniature elements on later parts of the game, and sparse, lower-quality sound, as well as a minimal or no promotion for the project which would mean a higher probability of failure. And, I want this to succeed if there’s any chance of that.

#2) I might pivot back to projects that require limited resources in physical-supply terms, during May; just in an attempt to keep everyone from getting utterly bored around here. Projects that might potentially be selected to benefit from this shift include ‘Spiral Skies’, ‘Panoramic Worlds’, the Redeemer tour, ‘Vortex’, and a couple of other minigames/games with limited scope… basically things that involve digital 3d assets, not miniature, art assets. Aside from that, the missing articles pages will be filled in soon, as well as some pages of Another Road Taken and Troop 4 comics stuff. I’m also planning on wrapping up release of the old House Trek videos not yet released on HornbostelVideos.com, plus Send in the Clones 1, and some other stuff. [Superstorm FTW!]

#3) I have also ALREADY coded a dynamic banner ad for the base of some sites’ main pages which may be implemented in more places over time. The banner ad i question uses a weighted probability system to display different chunks of content at different frequencies; there’s ad material for a wide range of websites I run, but also once in a while [less than 5% of the time] a message informing viewers that there are a batch of coupon codes in the banner that could appear but only rarely. Such codes are usable only once, first person to find a code and use it will be the only one to benefit from it… so if you find one, definitely type it down, take a screenshot, take note of it. Because these codes are for the HornbostelProductions.com shop and they grant a stunning 50%-90% off an order [up to $99 order value in the case of the 90% off code] which means, for example, with the 90% off code… you might be able to place an order for something like a gigantic 3 foot by 4 foot [36”x48”] custom painting for only $6 via PayPal, not the normal $60. And free shipping too!  That’s useful for you all as a few of you would get an astounding deal, but it’s also helpful for me even with the money lost, as it’d gain me my first few sales on that shop and, ideally, a few ratings too from customers, which is pretty crucial at this point because I think that lack of ‘social proof’ is why the store has yet to take off.

 

 

April mess

Okay – everything is proving to be extremely busy.

In the past week, that is, the final week of March 2018, over 15 sales have been made by me on eBay, including several international sales, but the profitability of said sales has averaged about -35%.  Looking at the data I have just slightly over $200 in payments received [people buying things], and $310 in costs associated with those orders, from fees (about $45 total between PayPal and eBay) to a few key shipping supplies (roughly $25) to the shipping costs themselves, which are higher in some cases than expected. Plus side is, if I work my butt off, I did sell several copies of the new stock media in there too, so I might come out of this madness with some positive ratings related to that product line and related to other sold items, if I work every waking hour the next 8-10 days.

So I’ll simply admit that I’ve botched this, if ‘this’ was an attempt to raise funds for completion of Miniature Multiverse or any of the other projects I’m aiming for.

The process has been good insofar as I’ll be clearing out a ton of books, and a few other items, to people who will actually appreciate those items, although paring my collection down to a minimum wouldn’t be *necessary* in the first place if my family weren’t planning on moving me and everything else to Pittsburgh by the end of 2018.

Yeah, that’s the other thing – we’re relocating to Pennsylvania. I am. Scott and Margaret are too. We’ll be there with my sister Katie and her kids. I think this moving process is intensely stressful; lots of cleaning things up, deciding what to keep,what to throw, moving to a location where my work space will be limited and three adorable but noisy/hyperactive children will be running around as well. Nice new house, nice yard and neighborhood but I have difficulty not being frustrated with this during the transition process as this altogether is making productivity difficult during the transition, and might potentially detract from my creative work for years, or maybe make it better [who knows? It’s possible.].

So, ahem, anyway – all the current irritation and stress aside, what this means is each day in April I must [somehow] earn a few dollars transcribing, at sub-minimum wage, ship a handful of still-unshipped items, and do hours of cleaning in my room and the garage on top of all that. And, yes, somehow I’m scrambling to figure out a way to shoot a final video project with my Houston friends, which is now likely to be in May because April is crazy in terms of the sheer workload, and I am not being permitted to adjust my sleep schedule accordingly.

That’s the same-old, same-old though and not really new – I cannot break free of my family’s rules because I’m not 100% financially independent and I’m unable to be financially independent largely due to their somewhat arbitrary and constrictive rules. I am 31 and despite enormous effort, my life is still going nowhere except an aggravating downward spiral of depression and frustration [and existential ennui?]  and a general emotional and psychological sense of being trapped and running out of time.

So, yeah. That. It’s why I may be late shipping a number of the eBay orders, late as in up to a week of delays. There is no practical way to avoid this. I simply need to somehow earn nearly an extra $100 or so over the next week in the scattered hours when I actually have a chance to. Only then can *all* of the items I sold in the past week be shipped.

Royalty Free Stock Footage DVD – released recently!

The February 20th release went through largely without a hitch, with the first massive batch of 36 new clips ready on DVD. And although nobody’s actually rated the new DVD media content yet, or even paid for or bought a copy of the DVD, I nonetheless kept moving forward and added the extra bonus content to the collection as of Feb. 28, 2018, expanding the total count of new elements to 60 in all, even if not every page reflects this update yet.

The page for the product on HornbostelProductions.com is here – $5.99 for a digital-download only version and $14.99 to have it shipped to you:

2018 Complete Collection – Stock Video & Textures – DVD

Plus you can also find various steeply discounted copies right now on my eBay shop here:

My eBay listings

And there are some previews and SD downloads of at least some of the clips, here on TriumphantArtists.com:

Main Stock Media page on Triumphant Artists

Previews of some of the new content on the 2018 DVD

I’m sorry it’s taken so long to post all the files, there are still many placeholders on the page but that kind of thing happens when you’re gone for a few days to attend a memorial service.

I have – FYI – postponed a lot of things somewhat due to the passing away of my uncle Kent Hornbostel. His death has been a traumatic experience for my immediate and extended family. He’ll be sorely missed by all who knew him.

INCIDENTALLY: I’ve just launched a substantial and very well-targeted $30+ ad campaign so I’m pretty certain that my network will see a boom in visitors for the next week or so. I’m betting the new stock media DVD will finally see a wave of sales and ratings by the end of March 2018… a month after release. I’m fairly confident this product line will be a success and popular on eBay and maybe even on the HornbostelProductions.com shop as well. This could go really well and I’m hoping that with your assistance it will, but we’ll see.

 

 

 

New Explosion & Fire effects [stock footage] on the way soon!

Pyrotechnic Effects collection preview

I’m pretty sure you’ll be happy with this video content once I release it.

These are random still frames from the first 14 of the clips I recorded, and there are a few more clips not included in this promo image at all because I’m still adjusting the rotoscoping / masking on the last handful of elements to clear out any remaining random background junk the keying process failed to clean out.

These effects are not flawless – the camera equipment wasn’t ideal, nor the black backing, nor the telephoto lenses that allowed me to get closer views of the effects while the cameras were far enough back to be safe.

But just keep in mind that I did the best I was able to both with the effects shoot and the postprocessing given my available resources. I took reasonable safety precautions and did the best I could given that the entire project was done for under $300.

I’ve stated here my intent to extend the video collection over time with new ‘versions’ – starting with version 2, which is pretty much guaranteed to happen, as an update 2-3 months from now. As for additions beyond that, it kind of depends on how well the product line is selling.

I figure this stock footage DVD needs to sell dozens of copies to keep the releases of new stock media flowing, and hundreds* if the aim is to fund not only more stock video but also massive improvement and progress on my narrative video and video game projects. The good news is that that’s pretty likely to work out given the fact that over 500 people have viewed my stock footage pages & posts in the past two months. If enough of those visitors buy the collection it’ll be good news for me but also for my audiences, and for any indie video & VFX artists who would be getting a fantastic bargain on the new stock video content.

Version #1 has about 20 real clips of explosions, would be more but there were some effects that didn’t turn out at all well or did but were not recorded correctly – maybe they were almost entirely outside the bounds of camera view, or the camera ran out of storage space or battery partway through recording, whatever. Things like that killed about 6-7 shots which I’d meant to capture. It was frustrating but it’s hard to do anything about it now that these mistakes have happened. At least the critical, highest-priority parts of the process – not burning myself and not setting any parts of the house/garage on fire – worked out perfectly. I was focused on safety so much so that the technical [camera work] aspects of the effort were at times overlooked. I think that is as it should be!

So yeah – version 1 has about 20 real-world effects clips against black, varying quality, plus about a dozen digital fire simulation elements.

Version 2 will add an additional 10-15 real-world explosion and fire effects clips, and it should be released in a couple months or so, as a free update to buyers of version 1. Note that the update is, for early customers, digital, and not on the first round of DVDs, but instead will be sent to the email address you used when ordering on eBay or HornbostelProductions.com. In other words, your PayPal email address.

Please buy this collection when it launches; it’s not flawless, I realize that, but even so it is still an outstanding value for any VFX artist wanting real explosion clips on the cheap, and your purchase will help me to continue updating the collection with even more content, so even if you find yourself buying this early and being not all that impressed initially… just wait for the updates, the long term value of your order will wind up being amazing.

 

Stock Footage VFX Collection (New)

Still frame from one of the pyro effects in the new royalty-free stock footage collection.

I am aiming for some really epic effects in the new collection but that said, the mirror material I used did not work anywhere near as well as planned.

The result is some of the cooler physical effects concepts simply won’t be in the collection as real pyro because they did not turn out well. The mirror surface was only partially reflective and it also tended to wrinkle in complicated ways and distort the image no matter what I tried to do to fix it. I basically gave up on it pretty quickly.

Still, despite a course correction there is absolutely a lot of great material on the way, and the effects which didn’t work well will be simulated with a few variations in setup so for those specific effects types (zero gravity and rolling fire towards camera) you’ll have to accept high-end digital gas simulations.

There are over a half dozen aerial explosion effects (like for a shot of an aircraft exploding, you could position an airplane in frame and then layer over it with the explosion effect, usually the sort with a big fireball and smoke and sometimes sparks bursting out from a central point and bursting outward, then falling to the ground.) and numerous – more than 15 – ground explosions, and those turned out great too.

More material will be displayed at launch, but until then look at the still frame (top of this post) from the later stages of one of the explosion effects as an indication of how impressive these pyrotechnic FX elements will generally look.

Note how fragments of burning debris have gone flying out from the explosion source. Not an accident – the debris was included in many of the detonations intentionally to make it seem more chaotic, more dynamic and more, well, realistic.

I know my digital elements look nice too but they are a bit limited nonetheless in that they seem like the stereotypical gas fireballs always seen in Hollywood flicks. I wanted much of the real stuff to look different than that. More sparks, smoke, random burning debris, and chunks of stuff.

I think there will be between 30 and 40 different video elements in the final version of the collection, more than 20 of them real-world physical FX, and it’s all HD at 120fps. This stuff is all royalty free – buy the collection, all the firey stuff I have been shooting, at a price under $20, or under a dollar per clip, and you can use the effects in your own video projects without limitations. You don’t even need to credit me for them!)

Just because it is recorded in HD does not always mean the effect itself will always be gigantic, filling the frame. Often only 40-75% of the area of the HD video clips have things happening in them, with the remaining areas simply black. I typically opted to get close enough to get a good view of the effect but far back enough to avoid the risk of being too close in and losing some of the firey elements off beyond the edge of the recorded area. Tradeoffs are necessary at times and I did the best I could to get as much of the effects in the frame as possible without making said elements seem small either.

Remember, these will be released on February 20th, 2018 and sold on both my eBay store and the Hornbostel Productions shop. Keep an eye out for that!

Still Frame [cropped] of explosion effect in HD, typical of the quality of the collection in HD.
The same subset of the effect in the SD version. Not too bad, but not as clear as the HD equivalent.
The above explosion in motion, as a .gif animation.

 

 

Kent passes away

It’s with a heavy heart that I acknowledge the passing of Kent Hornbostel, my outstanding uncle.

He had always been kind, with a sharp wit and great sense of humor.

He will be sorely missed by all, especially by his daughter Emma, who is deeply distraught as a result of his death.

As many of you know, I have made dozens of videos which are not currently online and more are still in the works.

The last performance of Kent in one of my videos was a flashback scene at the start of ‘Fortress Siege 2’ which I  added mainly because he did such an outstandingly funny job in the first Fortress Siege video.

His story was over at the end of the first; there was no good narrative reason for him to return but I’m glad he did, and now the sequel will be dedicated to him.

Here are some low resolution stills from that scene [the one with Kent] in the new video:

Kent, in his reprised role as Count Cornelius Viktor Van Der Blah.
The upside down cathedral where his scene takes place.

 

Kent in Fortress Siege 2

I hope I can get the more entertaining family videos online at some point. Then maybe you will all know what I do – that Kent was an awesome [and very fun, very silly] person.

My uncle is dying.

For your information:

My uncle Kent Hornbostel has taken a turn for the worse, his heart has weakened and he will not be able to have the lung transplant he so desperately needed.

Everyone in our family is deeply upset about this. Kent has always been witty, funny, kind and an amazing person. He will be leaving us before the end of the month, far too soon. There is no realistic hope of recovery at this point.

Many family members have been visiting, flying or driving in and out of town to say goodbye.

Kent will be leaving behind a daughter, Emma, and Emma’s mother, Gail.

The situation being what it is, between me crying and feeling depressed, and various visitors – friends and family of Kent – cycling through our house visiting with him, I will not be able to do everything as effectively or efficiently as planned this month.

It is difficult to work in between the sorrow when a family member will soon be passing away. Please be patient. Even if it means the next wave of releases largely get pushed back to March instead of late February.