Making some new videos this summer, not just stock media, plus handmade artworks and finishing ‘Miniature Multiverse’ (hopefully)

My current plan involves the following sequence of events:

#1) Wrapping up and releasing the stock-media asset pack updates on Itch.IO, including an expanded ‘Marshes & Meadows’ and two new collections of 3d assets beyond that. Expected timing is late June, with the sale running from end of June through July 4th. I’d attempted to be ready for the entire duration of the Itch Summer Sale but things aren’t progressing quickly enough. So the start of that sale was officially June 21, and I had reworked my plan for June 24th or 25th when it became clear this would not be ready for the 21st, and now that it’s the 25th, I’m very close but realistically the 27th-29th is now looking like a probable release timeframe. But whenever this stuff IS a bit more polished and ready to launch, you’ll see a video on my Itch profile, 15 mins. long, an extensive overview of my work, especially work related to Itch.IO releases & content.

The sale will include massive discounts as well, especially on a bundle of all five stock media packs ($1.49 for five different stock media collections together in one incredible bundle, essentially 30 cents each!)

#2) I also have been slightly reducing prices and broadening options on eBay, and I posted a brand new fantasy artwork for sale too, I created it on the afternoon/evening of the 24th, over a span of 3 1/2 hours. Opening bid is $8.99. You can view my eBay profile here as usual, and the fantasy item in particular, here. 

All the eBay activity is partly to raise funding, but also in preparation for a stock-media DVD launch coinciding with the new Itch.IO releases. Basically, it’ll be all five of my massive stock media collections that do or soon will, exist digitally on Itch, together on a physical DVD complete with disc art, cover art, shipped to customers through eBay. So the eBay ramp up in activity is intended to coincide with the equivalent excitement at Itch.IO.

#3) With the eBay and Itch frenzy wrapped up, ideally I’ll have raised a couple hundred $, or something close to that, and it’d get me to the point of funding the remaining content of ‘Miniature Multiverse‘ which STILL IS MISSING THE LAST HANDFUL OF MINIATURE WORLDS! So while I *could* plausibly raise that cash elsewhere, over the next month, if I want to do so before end of July, I will need something to happen on eBay / itch.

If you’re wondering why I recently bought a handful of items on eBay, incidentally, which have zero connection to that, including a batch of candy gummies and some lighting stuff [filters and a light] plus a bit of children’s clothing… yeah, I am recording a couple of comedy family videos with my nephews and niece, all of them under the age of seven. So they have short attention spans and candy is key to keeping them on task as the 20-minute mark hits. Plus the light stuff is related, as is the roll of blue paper I’m using as a improvised cheapo bluescreen. And the clothes, I want to be sure there’ll be shirts that won’t have any blue in the design, as blue would get keyed out! So yeah, sometimes for holidays I’ll grab something (the flower items for Mothers’ Day) or for projects. In the case of the current video projects, we’ll see if there’s a way to get everyone onboard with the idea of posting that stuff online, but for now I’m just focused on getting those videos made in the first place. So that… the videos in question include a short called ‘Freeway’ in which the children are forced not to watch TV, they get upset, drive off in a car, on their own, and a ridiculous chase ensues. The other video is “House Trek: The Next Generation, Season 1” and that is a follow up to the ancient HT TOS series of absurd sci-fi videos I did and which can be viewed (some of them at least) on HornbostelVideos.com.

Only this time it has an actual cast, better production values (in terms of set stuff, props, etc) and a real narrative arc across the handful of episodes that constitute Season 1. The cast of HTTNG S1 includes me [as the crazy inventor uncle] and the kids [who accidentally initiate a launch sequence and cause the adventure to develop] and Katie [my sister / their mom] as well as my parents. This should be fun. You’ll see what I mean someday.

I’m recording this in much higher quality too. Really, it’s 1080p, good pristine 1080p too, some shot in 1080p, some in 2.7k and downscaled sharply. I could go higher res than that even but I think an HD final edit makes sense for a few reasons, mainly that 1080p is about as high as many PC monitors and mobile tablets can display anyway, and it’s the highest resolution that works for BluRays. But the bottom line is it’s real high end HD and it should look nice when done.

I am hoping that despite spending near $120 on the pair of video shoots, that I’ll still be able to cover the Miniature Multiverse stuff too, sometime in July. It’ll be the end of the month if no sales are made on eBay/Itch and maybe early/mid July if things go unexpectedly really well on my sales. But the project *will* move forward soon to completion, one way or another.

And so will the ‘older’ video projects. I had worried that a significant chunk of my video core data on videos recorded during the last couple years, would be unrecoverable and that in the worst case the videos would be severely weakened as a result of the data losses. But I’ve, with a mix of clever digital methods, been able to recover almost everything at this point, that was key to those. The resulting reality is this: Now those videos can also continue and move forward again. And that’s great news.

So, for example, Fortress Siege 2 is going to happen. And a few other videos too, will be part of what I’ll be working on from October-December 2019, after the release of Miniature Multiverse. If that launch goes well I may even be able to overhaul some of my hardware/software workflow and that may result in some cool VFX imagery and techniques / technology that you’ve never seen me pull off before!

Well, let’s just see how this goes, shall we? 🙂

 

 

Revised roadmap & a challenge for everyone

  1. I’ll be posting two new stock media packs [3d asset packs] on my Itch.IO page sometime soon, probably within the next 5-10 days. These are the ‘Forests & Flowers’ and ‘Snow & Sand’ packs that I’ve been working on. They’ll be $1.10 each except during sales or in bundle pricing situations.
  2. I’m trying to update some websites a bit more, I’ve already overhauled MiniatureMultiverse.com somewhat, and TriumphantArtists.com should see a few small fixes & updates soon as well, along with minor improvements across some of my other websites.
  3. I’m actively ordering a bunch of additional art supplies, shipping supplies, and DVDs/DVD cases. Why? I intend to launch all the Itch.IO content together as a singular $14.99 DVD product on eBay and here as well. I also intend to make a new batch of artworks and sell those too.  As in, giant 24″x36″ size artworks, big, beautiful pieces with prices starting around $23.99.
  4. All this stuff going on will coincide with a staggering mix of ad campaigns that should draw in thousands of people and generate crazy levels of traffic from March 15 – April 15. The total cost is estimated at $45, or $1.50 spent on the campaign per day.
  5. I have some fan art stuff going on, behind schedule, but it is happening nonetheless. I also have some updates on RedeemerDocumentary.com heading in soon; you’ll see more content relating to the virtual church building tour which is nearing completion. I am also digitally reconstructing my old house in Houston, TX, and between all the various examples piling up, of my ability to realistically reconstruct architectural spaces, well… I’ll be posting a sale item here which essentially allows for people to hire me to make a made-to-order 3d level/tour for them in Unity.
  6. All the [still unposted] House Trek videos are going to be posted on HornbostelVideos.com shortly, except for the making-of stuff, and the animated DVD menus. And that’s just part of what’ll be posted. Watch for a PDF ebook, and also a printed paper equivalent, that showcases essentially all my work, with an emphasis on the creative process and what I’ve learned by doing all the stuff I’ve done [relating to game development, video production, handmade art, etc] it’s an insightful history summing up the last two decades of my life and it has hundreds of pics – giving you an inside look at a lot of things only friends and family know about so far, massive piles of interesting stuff the internet in general, currently has no idea exists. And no, not a puff piece, I very clearly and bluntly describe my mistakes and errors in judgement, and offer useful advice on solving common issues, that’ll make creative efforts hopefully easier for you than things have been for me.
  7. All of this sale stuff being launched, the artworks and other items, the book, stock media packs/DVDs, and the month-long ad campaign… it’s all a gambit to secure funding to do all the stuff I’m hoping to do by year’s end. I have three videos to shoot, about a dozen to actually finish, plus game content, including Vivid Minigolf v2, and Miniature Multiverse, those two in particular are challenging insofar as they each still have unresolved costs of over $250, in miniature materials alone. And then tack on the $450+ goals in funding between the three videos I’d like to record, plus all the other stuff involved… yeah, basically I hope this plays out well. If I don’t have close to $1k earned by end of Spring 2019, it means a lot of the goals for summer and fall of this year will fall through. And, quite bluntly, if you’re as tired of the slow rate of progress around here as I am, I’m pretty much begging you to buy something of mine, because if sales volume across my web network climbs high enough, and the percentage of visitors who transition to buyers climbs from a current level of 0.0135% to 5%, that’d change almost everything around here! (I seriously have thousands of visitors – around 2500 – every week, across my various websites and shops, and yet the majority of weeks nothing is actually sold anywhere on my network.)

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.

 

 

Some things on schedule, others postponed. Sorry!

I’m pushing back release of Miniature Multiverse to January 2018.

This time, there’s no promise of [even more] additional content on release, just this:

I’m unable to fulfill my goals for Christmas 2017 unless I wait on Miniature Multiverse.

There are a few videos and some other things that I plan to show to my family over the holidays and wrapping those up will take some time in December, and even aside from that, there are other [slight] technical issues and delays I’ve had to deal with on Miniature Multiverse.

Those are resolved by now, but now I can’t see release happening any earlier than some time around Jan. 5-10, 2018.  That is, early January 2018.

Sorry, everyone.

In other news, I’m pulling my holiday painting off of Etsy for the next seven days and auctioning it on eBay, so anybody who wants to get that original artwork, this is probably your last chance.

Painting no longer on Etsy, it’s being auctioned on eBay.

It’s a reminder of the ongoing issue with Etsy, that if nobody buys an item I’ve listed there after a while, it’ll be sold elsewhere instead, either locally or online. But Etsy listings won’t stay on Etsy forever. Favoriting an item is not enough; to actually be sure to have an item, you’ll need to buy it before it sells to someone else [there or elsewhere].  There was the kitten artwork, Southwest artwork, the NYC one, and now the winter one. That’s four items which had been listed on Etsy which are no longer there.

Incidentally, the art-supply listings went reasonably well, no issues there really. Some sold and some didn’t, but it’s all working out fine.

I’ve also sold 3/5 of the batches of vintage art books.

As for other things I’d promised in my last post:

-House Trek Ep. 6 will be online in December, a couple of weeks later than planned.

-The comics I’d promised are delayed further, simply because I don’t have time to finish them given the video situation, they’ll be wrapped up and put online in mid-January after Miniature Multiverse is launched.

-Articles section is likewise unlikely to be fully complete until then, but it’s already very close [all sections are finished except the game-dev section, and even that is partially done.]

And what of the things I’m prepping for the holidays?

Well… they include three videos with family and a few videos with friends in Houston. Like “Video Heist” which is now complete but which, like 90% of my finished videos, cannot yet be posted online [usually because of either copyrighted logos on clothing, or snippets of unlicensed audio or some talent release stuff not worked out]

But I can already show the video’s miniature fire effect that I posted as a .GIF earlier on Twitter:

Watch for some awesome things to happen in 2018.

 

New VFX stock footage .GIFs!

All of the video archives in the ‘Stock Footage’ section of TriumphantArtists.com, now have little .GIF previews so you can see what you’re downloading before downloading it.

Here are some great examples of this, in the ‘pyrotechnic’ category:

 

HD pyrotechnic stock footage

All of this is free and royalty-free and you can use it in your own video projects.  Please, however, don’t try to sell the content or pass it off as your own work.  You can, however, redistribute it for free by sharing links to TriumphantArtists.com.  Okay?

I have ordered a video camera capable of recording 720p HD video at 120fps.  That is, when played back at 30 fps, it’s 1/4 speed, slow motion footage.  So the blasts of fire and sparks will look HUGE but they’re really quite small – the nature of high-speed video means that at this framerate everything should move as if it were 16x larger.

The collection will be a modest batch of ‘zero-gravity’ pyrotechnics elements for all your indie sci-fi blockbusters.  These are also great for exploding aircraft shots and other explosions that are in the air.

I’m shooting these essentially the same way Hollywood would, but with somewhat cheaper supplies on a smaller scale, and no salary involved.

There’s a little remotely triggered bundle of explosive material, ignited electrically from a switch & radio setup – when the switch is flipped, the radio signal activates an electrical charge and that ignites/blows apart the rest of the materials like coffee creamer, debris chunks, etc.  The whole explosive rig is hanging beneath a fireproof black backdrop [Duvetyne cloth] and the surrounding area is sprayed in advance with Fire Gard, a fireproofing liquid, to minimize risk of other things catching on fire.  I’ll also have two fire extinguishers on hand, and three containers of water, two of them with spray nozzles, one is basically a large bucket.

I’ll be triggering this from a safe distance wearing a protective mask/goggles.  I’ve read up on relevant precautions and will do this as safely as I am able.

The ‘zero gravity’ recording will be captured with an HD camera and telephoto lens; these won’t be under the explosion for obvious reasons, so I’ll be using an acrylic reflecting surface [like a big cheapo mirror] positioned at a 45-degree angle directly under the blast, with the camera viewing and recording the reflection of the explosion off the surface.

I’ve plugged in the physics numbers for the sequences and can say fairly confidently that the main portion of each fire burst effect will last about 2.5-3.6 seconds when played back at 30fps.  Maybe some drifting smoke and haze after that but not much else.  There may be about seven or eight of them in all.  They’re, as I’ve said, small effects by necessity, but the high speed photography will help with that.

This recording effort may occur within 2-3 months, and other supplemental effects for a few of my video projects, a few months after that.  If the idea of highly affordable pyrotechnic and other useful video effects elements at under $1 per clip, sounds great, then by all means keep an eye on the TriumphantArtists.com stock media page.

FEBRUARY 2017 RECAP

Recapping the recent events of February 2017, just the last month, to remind everyone that despite appearances, a lot of updates do actually happen on my web network if you keep looking:

-eBay auctions with low starting bids continue.  Look at these three in particular, especially the top two as they’ve gotten relatively few views so far compared to the third but are nonetheless impressive value:

Pastel Pencil art, 16×20 inches, starting at $1.99

Oil pastel art, 18×24 inches, starting at $2.49

Acrylic Painting, 18 x 24 inches, starting at $2.99

-The new batch of polls continue to go largely ignored by website visitors.  I’ve gotten *hundreds* of visitors to my websites in the past week, over 700 actually, but the polling page seems to be a bit hard for them to find for whatever reason.  It’s a shame, too, given the amazing opportunity for the few who actually take a look at that page.

The polling page.

-Membership options just launched.  There are some stupendous perks to being a subscriber and signing up for a Premium Membership status here.

The most obvious is free shipping while a member and 15% or more off all HornbostelProductions.com store items.  You could get some great bargains on handmade art doing that right now.  $4.99/year for 15% or more off everything, and a list of other extras.  Really reasonable.

Membership benefits

-The VFX section of Articles were just recently posted.  There are four new articles on TriumphantArtists.com, and they are all in that category.

VFX and 3D art-icles

-Still Art section has a few new images and is now sortable.  You can now view the artworks I’ve made, organized by year, art medium, or size.

Still Art Page – now sortable!

-Ground work laid for some big stuff updated in the next 30 days.  As in, major news related to ‘Spiral Skies’, release of House Trek content, and a new batch of HD stock footage, as well as more comics stuff, finally a new vlog entry, and continued expansion of the articles section with even more valuable information.  There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes and it’ll be publically revealed over time.

-That goofball auction of five hours of my time.  Nobody bid, but I am not really surprised given the brevity of the auction.  It was kind of an experiment and it failed.  Time to move on.  Maybe I’ll try that idea again later on with a longer build up beforehand.

-The Vineyard Video Leisure Group is now moving closer to fruition.  I posted a teaser image for it just this evening.  [See previous post]

Fortress Siege 2

I recorded a lot of material for ‘Fortress Siege 2’ over the holidays and will add completing that project (and 1999, and Globe) to the massive pile of video-completion to-dos the next few months.

This picture reveals some of the costumes people wore while acting in front of bluescreen. Obviously it’ll look way more epic once the computer-generated backgrounds are added. It’s the eighth video I’ve directed with my extended family over the past 14 years. The first one was ‘Snow Siege’ in 2003. I am going to be working towards getting many of my old (and new) video projects online this year.

House Trek trailer released on videos page

You can also play it right here.

This – the impending redesign and rerelease of the old House Trek videos I made in 2001-2004, marks the early stages of a lot of my movies from the past sixteen years, even a lot of fairly embarrassingly bad ones, winding up overhauled, and put on the internet. If you acted in any of my videos, please contact me via the contact page on TriumphantArtists.com! I will need contact info for all the past cast members on old projects, who haven’t already signed talent release forms. A talent release form, by the way, is basically a form in which the actor agrees that their image/voice/likeness as recorded by me in a video work, can be placed online. My version of the talent release form is distributed by ESignGenie, which lets you sign it digitally, via email, which is still legally valid. My version of the form is longer than a standard-issue release form, as it also defines terms of compensation for actors, and applies to video games, still art, and interactive media, not merely video. Some of you have already given contact info and agreed to my broad terms but there are a number of holdouts or people I have proven so far unable to reach. If that is you, please email me, again using the contact info page on TriumphantArtists.com.

Big explosion sequence!

Date the below entry was originally posted – June 25, 2016.  If you don’t know why the old copy was lost, check this post:  Website Port and SSL upgrade completed

 

Here’s an effects test for my upcoming short video ‘Averting Apocalypse’, with fire simulation. The 3d physics simulations are increasingly high quality and large in scope, to the point where I’m questioning whether miniature effects will have a place in my videos at all in the future. CG fire and explosion sequence Computer generated fire effects I mean, let’s face it, there’s something very satisfying about scale models going boom Derek Meddings/Joe Viskocil style, but the materials required to do that well can add up to make that somewhat impractical. I may even fake the miniatures in some parts of “Tinyville Disaster 2”, and that’s a video which relies heavily on the charm of miniatures! I think ‘Duel 2030’ may have been my last big miniature-effects project in recent memory, and even that was loaded with 3d animation. I’m getting closer and closer to a thorough integration of liquid effects, rigid body dynamics, and gaseous smoke/fire effects all seamlessly interacting with a lot of detail and realism, which begs the question, why would miniatures be better? Let’s face it, more CG and less real pyro is not only safer, it is less expensive, and that is a big plus when I’m facing down the sheer number of shots I need to get done. I think going the CGI route would save over $250 in the case of [Fortress Siege 2] and $400 in [House Trek: TNG] and $130 in [Averting Apocalypse], $100 in [Video Heist], etc. It all adds up to several thousand dollars saved and that is significant in reducing the obstacles to getting the video projects actually done.

The first videos on Triumphant Artists.com…

Date the below entry was originally posted – June 25, 2016.  If you don’t know why the old copy was lost, check this post:  Website Port and SSL upgrade completed

ONE OF THE THINGS I’VE BEEN QUIETLY WORKING ON, IS READYING MY MASSIVE TROVE OF OLD VIDEOS FOR INTERNET RELEASE. THAT INCLUDES THE OLD ‘HOUSE TREK’ VIDEOS I MADE OVER A DECADE AGO (2001-2004)

House Trek old sci-fi videos, House Trek, remastered.

To be clear – the closest this comes to a fan film is the word ‘Trek’ and the fact that it’s in outer space. While I drew inspiration from a certain TV show, there is a major effort in the online release to avoid anything remotely resembling copyright infringement. I’m also often asked if Chris Van Allsburg’s work inspired this silliness. No, no it didn’t. This was inspired by my love of sci-fi as a young teen and I thinkthe reason I shot the videos inside my home was because I had no budget for a sci-fi set and I couldn’t really drive anywhere else. (Like the original ‘Send in the Clones’, It’s all in my house and I’m the only actor because my sisters wouldn’t be caught dead in my early videos, and nobody else wanted to be in them either.) So part of the goofball charm of the old videos is the way I childishly disregard science with sounds in space, no spacesuit on spacewalks, no obvious visible source of propulsion, and of course I’m using old computers from the early 2000s as my navigation system, and wearing sweatpants and walking around barefoot. It’s incredibly dumb and the fact that I’m redoing about half the VFX and almost all the audio doesn’t change that.

So this blog entry is the start of a series of occasional blog entries about my adventures in indie video production. The first three House Trek videos and Send in The Clones 1, were all made in 2001, shot on crappy tape-based camcorders, and marked the start of my infamy as a video/vfx nut. Back then I was using Bryce 3d and AlamDV2 as my VFX tools. Now I use Lightwave & After Effects, among other high-end programs, and can do far better work. So for online release I’m enhancing or replacing over 60 VFX shots in the six House Trek videos, creating a 9-second intro title sequence that kicks off each video, and restructuring the audio completely. The stock audio is the main cost here. I used some sci-fi movie soundtracks originally but clearly I can’t license any of that for online release without getting sued so I’ve swapped out all the music.

The new stuff is actually pretty good and licensing the stock music/SFX I needed was only around $30. Obviously this is only a tiny piece of a very long list of 80-odd videos made in the past 15 years so the process of getting them all recut, or as Minhthien says, “George Lucas-ing them” will cost hundreds of dollars. That doesn’t even consider the cost of the new video projects (which include a follow-up to this old series, “House Trek: The Next Generation”) or my video game projects.

It also doesn’t consider the time involved. I wish this blog were a huge hit, and the shop too, because then I’d be able to finish all the stuff I’d like to finish. There have been a hundred or so viewers here since I launched it just 3 days ago, which is great, but I would like to see this go even bigger. I want this blog to go viral, but it won’t happen without great content, and the great content won’t happen at a fast enough pace without an audience of roughly 12,000 regular viewers to support it, and what I have is a rotating batch of maybe 5000 regular viewers, who get bored and drift away as fast as new ones arrive. So we’re kind of stuck here in a slow-moving rut. I’m hopeful that things will improve, though, after the release of Spiral Skies. Which, sadly, is taking far longer than I’d like.