Tag Archives: special effects

Spoiled Illusions 3: Potential Noticed

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

Sometimes Earplug Adventure props/sets appear to me in a flash of…um…let’s call it artistic inspiration. Take, for example, this sheet of melamine-coated chip board. Clearly someone has used it as a base for spraying something – and it was the over-spray that caught my attention…

“Yeah,” thought I, “I can do something with that.” So I took a picture of it. So much easier than storing the original. Well, almost five years later, I did. It appeared in A Tale of Three Museums…

…as emergency habitations for the survivors of the ruined world that featured in that tale. And there’s this too…

Sometimes, when things were quiet at work, I would use a rotary saw to slice thin sections from blocks of artistically interesting timber. Here are a couple of examples that, for some reason, I chose to photograph. I remember turning the top one into a desert scene; but I’ve never had reason to use it. The other has sat quiescent for two-or-so years – until I required a scene to depict a newly-formed rift in a landscape. Thank you, slice of wood, for supplying the surface torrent in Haunted Mars...

To put it into perspective, here it is with two characters inserted…

And then there was my daughter’s cast off light shade. That came straight out of the bin, and into my old (and still lamented) ‘studio’…

Does anyone recall what it was used for? Well, more recently, it was what the false Supreme Being turned into after it’s underpants had been blown off in The Grand Tour

And here he is, sans human appearance…

But previously it had appeared as a hot-air balloon. Here it is in Those Magnificent Earplugs

But I think it looked better in Return to the Museum of Future Technology

…complete with its Christmas bauble gondola.

For the final example, this time, regard this…

I wanted a port hole set for a story that took place aboard Ship Number 15. Remember that old bucket? Ship Number 15 was a miserable green – the only colour paint available to me at the time. So I did this to one of the office box files (don’t tell the boss. Oh, it’s okay: he retired a couple of years ago – and he probably knew anyway. He had eyes everywhere). But I digress. Here is that box file in action…

…where it played the role of the Scout Ship hangar in Worstworld. In the end the circular hole wasn’t used as a port hole, but instead played a very nice interior window…

…for Vanilla Redbush to look through, and a lovely shooting embrasure…

…which worked very well, I think…

Pity I destroyed Ship Number 15 during the Battle of The Museum of Future Technology in Liberation. How short-sighted of me.

A Tale of Three Museums (part 64)

But, to the dismay of everyone except those creatures that manned the attacking craft, a second hostile vessel opened fire upon Hissenfrapp’s Scroton Five…

Aboard the Zephyr, no one liked this turn of events…

“Jeepers,” Gideon exclaimed in his old-fashioned professorial way, “the good guys are going to lose this. Where are all the other Scroton Fives? Surely there should be loads of them!”

“Out looking for you, one presumes.” Noodles boomed from the rear of the control room. “Even, as we speak, the Ethernet Cable Ends are sending out a distress call to all available ships. It’s very well scripted, I should tell you. And the cable end that’s doing all the talking has just the right amount of desperation in its voice to illicit a positive response from anyone who hears it.”

“Oh good.” Flaxwell replied. “I’m pleased to hear it – though not literally, obviously. Please don’t play it to us: I feel bad enough already.”

But Noodles, with the wisdom of great age and knowledge, ignored Flaxwell’s instruction, and duly repeated the distress call.

“Thanks a bunch, Noodles.” Flaxwell said as he disconnected the Oracle from the helm. “You know how to press my buttons. Gideon; man the forward blaster: we’re going in.”

Moments later, the Zephyr accelerated towards the battle…

Naturally, as they approached the rear quarter of a hostile vessel, Noodles went straight to Rose Pink Alert…

In the Listening Station the Manager watched with rapt attention…

“I don’t know who is aboard that Scroton Five,” he said, “but they’ve turned up at the right moment. With the hostile vessel’s defensive screens facing our ships, it has left its rear quarter totally unprotected. One lucky shot should be enough. Let’s pray to whatever it is we believe in that they make that shot the luckiest they’ve ever fired.”

Well Gideon knew squat about forward blasters of any kind: he was a museum professor after all. But the Zephyr was awfully close to the enemy, and if he squinted along the sighting mechanism with his good eye, he felt he might possibly…

…squeeze off a shot that would result in…

…the utter obliteration of the enemy ship.

“Whoo,” Flaxwell yelled as debris battered their own defensive screen, “you did it, Giddy. You’re a real warrior, you are!”

“Indeed.” The Oracle concurred. “That should put us firmly in the good books of the Scroton authorities.”

Not that Gideon heard any of this, of course: he was too amazed to hear anything except the pounding of his heart. But he did recover sufficiently to hear a message of gratitude from the robotic freighter captain…

“Ta, pal.” It said. “Good shooting. The other ship’s sodded off, so you don’t have to blow that one up too. By the way: welcome to Scroton. Prepare to be engaged by the planetary tractor beam.”

“The what?” Flaxwell began.

Then the planetary tractor beam latched on to the Zephyr; killed its engines; and began drawing it towards the planet…

“Oh well,” The Oracle said quietly. “It was fun while it lasted.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

The Photographer’s Eye 1: Seeing What Isn’t There: Negativity

I’m no photographer. Heck, I only use point and shoot cameras. But I use an awful lot of ’em and I do have a photographer’s eye. I know this latter observation to be true because I see potentialities in a scene that, perhaps, others don’t. I use this…um…skill…to bring to life scenes of other worlds in my Earplug Adventures. I also use it purely for it’s artistic merit. One of these…er…skills…is to see, in advance, how a scene might work in reverse. Or, to put it another way, I ask myself what would the negative of this photo look like? And, more importantly, how can I use that effect? Well yesterday I found myself with a couple of free minutes at work and duly dug out a compact from the bottom of my work bag. Hours later, after fiddling with the consequent plethora of snaps on my computer, three of the results looked exactly like this…

A happy Space Slug, crawling along a galactic string in orbit above night time Earth.

Scary alien space craft emerging from a nebula.

Banking to port aboard an aircraft as it approaches a coastal city at night.

Hopefully you will have no idea what the original (positive) shots looked like. I like to surprise whenever possible. Can you recognise any of them? If not, read on…

We’ll start with the last picture. A colleague watched as I tossed some sawdust upon the floor – then hit it with a blast of compressed air…

“You’re gonna take a picture of that aren’t you?” He said. “What’s it gonna be this time?”

Well now he knows. But I demanded more from it and it also doubled up when I used a squashed version of it to combine with this peeling render in a disused lavatory block…

…to create the Space Slug…

And as regards the alien space ship…

Well that was easy. From the same disused lavatory block – for which I appear to have an affinity (I’ve certainly taken a disproportionate number of pictures in several of them in the past few years) – may I present….a disgusting urinal!

There you have it – inspiration comes in many forms. You just have to see past the obvious. And yes, that urinal did pong. I suffer horribly for my art.  

Why Do I Enjoy Writing The Earplug Adventures? (Part 1)

 

The answers to that question are multifarious. But the one I chose to relate today is imaginative photography. That is taking an everyday object and making it into something else. Take, for example, the humble in-car air freshener. A dark room; a painted board with holes punched in it; a light; and the aforementioned air freshener. Result in…

…the Chi-Z-Sox cruising through space. Don’t believe me? Well try the addition of a red light source; and what do you get?

That’s right; the Chi-Z-Sox making atmospheric entry.

Something out of almost nothing. That’s one of the reasons why I like writing the Earplug Adventures.