Trying, failing, and brain plasticity

Surfboards for hire on the local beach in Sayulita, Mexico

Surfboards for hire on the local beach in Sayulita, Mexico

Well I just got back from a week long trip with the extended family. This is the type of trip where you realize that spotty and slow Internet is worse than no Internet. The spottiness taunts you. The latency teases you. 

"You're on vacation!"

I was able to spend a lot of much-needed time with my kids and wife Bridget. I was able to play. Be one of the kids. Disconnect and connect all at the same time. 

As you may know, I'm an Apprentice within The Arcanum -- a company I Co-Founded with Trey Ratcliff and Curtis Simmons. Robin Griggs Wood is my Master - an amazing woman with a passion for mentoring others and lifelong learning. 

In addition to family time, I spent a guilty amount of time trying out techniques for compositing / photo manipulation -- part of my goals within my Foundation Sphere at The Arcanum. 

Trying and Failing

I found most of the learning and practicing very challenging. I definitely failed more times than I tried. For example, I’m still bewildered on how to make multiple images match color and tonal values when compositing. I’m definitely getting better at using blend modes to achieve different effects. I’ve also been better about selecting objects and cutting them out using selection tools, refine edge and masks. 

To make this "planetoid" I placed 5 images into a blank document. Made copies, transformed, warped, cloned, and blended layers to get something that resembled a little blue planet for space scenes.  This is a composite using some of my own photos as well as some images from the International Space Station (ISS) available at visibleearth.nasa.gov. Credit: NASA Visible Earth Images, visibleearth. nasa.go

To make this "planetoid" I placed 5 images into a blank document. Made copies, transformed, warped, cloned, and blended layers to get something that resembled a little blue planet for space scenes. 

This is a composite using some of my own photos as well as some images from the International Space Station (ISS) available at visibleearth.nasa.gov.

Credit: NASA Visible Earth Images, visibleearth. nasa.go

Areas I still need to work on:

  • Inspiration / Ideation: What to make? Inspiration to find things I like, that interests me enough to keep trying. 
  • Matching perspective. I’m finding it difficult to make composited images look like they belong together in space
  • Matching color and tonal values. I did learn quite a bit about color and I’ve tried a couple of techniques to match color. One interesting one was to make a stamped visible layer and then use the “Average” filter to create an average color. Another way would be to use a Gaussian Blur because that retains the general color and tone.

 

 

 

Brain Plasticity

 We had our first day at home yesterday and started the normal post-family-trip-travel-recovery-process. I was able to sneak in a little more practice and was BLOWN AWAY that I started using some techniques automagically!! I literally stopped myself and said, “Holy Cow, how on earth did I know to do ⌘-click the image to select it, then ⌘-J to copy the selected item to a new layer and ⌥- delete to fill the selection with the foreground color of black”. It really did happen automatically. I struggled to understand this sequence of steps and tried it two-dozen times just a few days ago. Then a few days later, some small bundle of neurons in my brain stretched their little star-arms and finally made connections and created a memory. Brains are plastic and are a bit like a muscle. If you challenge yourself, you'll just get better and better. Then one day the proverbial light bulb just pops on and you know can perform feats that were impossible just a few days ago.