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Month: May 2010

3D in Depth With Cameras

3D in Depth With Cameras

It’s important to explore these 3D subjects in more depth, as the right combination of techniques will either make or break your scene. This month, we’ll have a look at cameras and how you can use them to make your 3D scenes come alive.

The camera is an amazing tool. In 3D, unlike the real world, physical limitations don’t exist. You can create a scene where the camera takes you on a journey inside the blood vessels of a human body, or to be an eye-in-the-sky in your scenes, it can be used to create impossible perspectives, to zoom and pan and so much more. It’s beyond the scope of this article to tell you everything about cameras, but here are some basics to get you started.

First, it’s useful to look at some of the differences between 3D cameras and real life cameras. In 3D, unlike in real life, there is no need for a lens, focusing controls, film, aperture, etc. All of these functions are controlled via software. Where things are similar is how the camera is used. In 3D, you can create one or more cameras, position them exactly as desired in 3D space and use settings to mimic focal length, depth of field, etc. Other options for moving a 3D camera are similar to those in movie making, including truck, dolly, motion blur, orbit and pan.

In addition, software cameras have no size or weight restrictions. You can move a camera to any location and even inside the tiniest objects. You can also animate cameras so that several operations take place at once, such as a zooming into a scene while changing the depth of field. Once you create a camera< in 3D, you can pick a view and assign the view in that view to the camera, meaning that you will see the scene from the perspective of the camera.

Let’s look at how the Focal Length, Field of View (FOV) and Depth-of-Field work in 3D. The Focal Length refers to the distance between the lens and a light sensitive surface (film or electronics). The Focal Length determines how much of the subject will be visible. To elaborate, a low Focal Length includes more of the subject, while a higher Focal Length includes less of the subject but offers greater detail of subjects in the distance. The Focal Length is measured in millimeters. As an example, a 50mm lens more or less approximates what the human eyes sees and is a standard lens sold with many still film cameras. When a lens has a Focal Length of less than 50mm it’s referred to as a short or wide angle lens, while a lens with a Focal Length of more than 50mm is referred to as a long or telephoto lens.

The Field of View (FOV) is measured in degrees of the horizon. It determines how much of the scene is visible and is directly related to the Focal Length of the lens. As an example, a 15mm short or wide angle lens in 3DS Max has a Field of View of approximately 100 degrees while a 200mm long or telephoto lens has a 10.3 degree Field of View.
In addition, with a short focal length perspective distortions are emphasized. The result is that objects loom towards the viewer and appear to have depth. In contrast, long focal lengths tend to flatten the object and create parallel lines.

Choosing DLSR Lenses

Choosing DLSR Lenses

Buying a DSLR lens based on brand image ignores the range of quality levels often found within a brands range. Most lens manufactures offer range of quality levels from their premium lenses ignoring cost and convenience in search of optical and mechanical performance.

Then there are the budget class lenses aimed at more occasional photographers who put greater emphasis on price and convenience. This results in smaller, lighter lenses with greater zoom ranges and smaller maximum apertures.

There is a perception of the superiority of camera manufacturer’s lenses over specialist lens manufacturers. Often the specialists offer advantages to DSLR lens buyers in the form of price, smaller size, or better quality. Their budget offerings that compete on price often reinforce the belief that they only offer low quality products. However, many also offer premium interchangeable lenses with quality suitable for professional use.

Manufacturers Clues to Quality

Most but not all manufacturers give a clue where a particular lens sits in their quality hierarchy, these are some indicators of premium lenses;

  • Olympus: offer two levels of premium quality High Grade and Super High Grade
  • Canon: L series
  • Sigma: EX
  • Tamron: SP
  • Pentax: * and Limited ranges
  • Sony: G series and Carl Ziess designed

Nikon is the notable exception but price and specifications are a good guide to differentiate their budget from premium lenses.

Price – You Get What You Pay For.

The quality of lenses differs not only between manufacturers but also within their own lens ranges. This reflects the compromise between quality, convenience, and price.

Sometimes photographers base their lens buying decisions based on poor performance of the budget lens of one brand. They compare the budget lens with the professional image of the cameras manufacturer branded premium lenses and then buy a budget lens from the camera manufacturer. This ignores the spread of quality levels within a manufacturers range. If photographers want professional level quality then they need to pay a professional level price whatever brand of lens they choose.

Lens Specifications

Very often, the names of lenses consist of strings of strange letters and number. Some are reasonably self-explanatory and others require more explanation of what they are and why they could be important in your lens buying decision.

Remember the basic premise of this article is no single factor should be the only consideration in any lens buying decision. These specifications have varying importance to prospective lens buyers depending upon their individual photographic requirements.

APO (Aprochromatic )

This is when the lens elements produce the same amount of refraction on the different wavelengths, or colors, of visible light.

ED,UD, ELD

These letters are different lens manufacturers way of referring to low dispersion glass used in the elements of the lens. This relates to the sharpness of the resultant image.

f/

A number follows this symbol indicating the maximum aperture size of the lens. The smaller the number the larger the aperture and the more light the lens can gather. It is only one number for a prime lens but some zooms have two, for example; f3.5-5.6 indicating the effective aperture becomes smaller as the focal length of the lens increases. Generally, the lower the f number the better the image quality of the lens. Zooms with the same effective aperture over their zoom range are usually better quality lenses.

USM, HSM, SWM

These refer to lenses with inbuilt autofocus motors. They usually operate faster and quieter than lenses where the autofocus system uses the motor in the camera body via a drive shaft.

Weight and Size

Maximizing the performance indicators in premium lenses usually results in larger and heavier lenses. In price conscious consumer grade lenses often the goal is to make them smaller and lighter without sacrificing too much image quality.

How to Condition Polymer Clay

How to Condition Polymer Clay

Conditioning polymer clay is an important part of the preparation process. Well conditioned polymer clay is soft and malleable making it easy to work with in all types of polymer clay projects. The conditioning process can also help to strengthen the finished piece.
The conditioning process is very simple. In order to condition polymer clay a piece of clay needs to be manipulated. This can be done by hand or by using a craft-dedicated pasta machine.
How to Condition Polymer Clay by Hand
To condition polymer clay by hand simply take the clay and roll it into a snake or sausage shape. If the clay is too stiff to roll out at this point, cut it into small pieces with a sharp knife and knead these until the clay starts to soften and then form it into a long sausage shape. Fold the polymer clay back on itself and re-roll it. Repeat this 5 or 6 times or until the clay feels noticeably softer.
How to Condition Polymer Clay Using a Pasta Machine
A pasta machine is a useful time saver when conditioning polymer clay. Simply feed the polymer clay into the pasta machine on the widest setting, fold it in two and repeat the process. This will need to be done around fifteen to twenty times. When the polymer clay is conditioned the edges will crack less as the polymer clay is passed through the pasta machine.

Tips for Conditioning Polymer Clay

  • Some brands of polymer clay are softer than others, for instance Fimo Soft is softer than traditional Fimo. However even soft from the pack polymer clays should be conditioned. This will help to even out any unevenness in the clay.
  • Warm polymer clay is easier to work with than cold polymer clay. If a block of polymer clay is particularly tough, try placing it in a warm place for one or two hours before working on it (some polymer clay artists have even been known to sit on blocks of polymer clay to warm them).
  • Conditioned polymer clay stays malleable for many days and even weeks. Conditioning does not do any harm to a block of polymer clay, therefore don’t worry about conditioning too much clay. Many polymer clay artists condition a batch of polymer clay in advance before working on a big project.
  • It is not necessary to condition polymer clay when color mixing as the color mixing process also acts as conditioning.

Conditioning polymer clay is an important part of the preparation process. While many people who are new to working with polymer clay are eager to start work on a new project, they should not overlook this important step.

poker games

poker games

Strategy for craps can be a little mind numbing when you first start to learn. We can guarantee you aren’t going to remember everything from this strategy guide on the first read. It is always best for you to read the most important parts over to ascertain the simple aspects that you definitely need to know. While mathematics can be hard to grasp just remember once you learn it the strategy works for you.

In any game you want to wager on the better odds for you. This means you should stay with the pass, don’t pass, come, and don’t come bets. They have a smaller house edge and make winning a little better. You shouldn’t play based on superstition in this game. In other words blowing on the dice is not a strategy.

Betting Options

The Pass bet typically has a probability of 1.41 percent on the house advantage. The Don’t pass is about 1.40 percent. The line bets can also be a winner, but keep in mind the lower the house advantage the better chance you have of winning.

  1. The Field= 5.6%.
  2. Big 6 or 8= 9.1%.
  3. Horn= 12.5%.
  4. Craps 2 or 12= 13.9%
  5. Any 7= 16.7%.

As you can see in our above statements the any seven or craps bet has the highest percentage meaning the house is going to win more often than you ever would. While you get a great payout with the higher percentage you probably lose that or more just trying to win.

The Come or Don’t Come bets are also a great thing to wager on as they are similar to the Pass bets. This means you have about the same house edge.

Improve Your Bets

Just because a bet is going to be the best think for advantage against the house, doesn’t mean there aren’t other things to consider. You should also look at the odds. The odds are either in the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. You can place the odds bets along with the Don’t Come or Come bets. In other words it is like a cover bet in Roulette in which you are trying to earn at least a little something on a side bet. The odds are going to offer zero percent for the house edge. The odds bets allow you to bet on the dice not against the house.

You may not read about these odds bets. They are marked on the table, but if you don’t know the game you might not realize what you are looking at. The casinos in Vegas are there to make a bit of money off of you. This means they won’t teach you the game, unless you are a high roller, and even then it is to their advantage over yours.

Placing Odds Bet

To make the odds bet you need to place a second amount on the table after the come out roll. This is in addition to the don’t pass or pass bet you have made. You need to place the money in the line area. You may also find that single odds are the only ones available in the land casinos.
With online casinos you have the ability to double the bet. It is double odds. In other words you get to make more from the online craps then in a regular casino. The edge on this bet is 1.4 percent.

Buying Odds

This means you are taking away the pass bet and placing a ‘right bet’ in its place. The point will determine your winnings. Check out the table below for more information to help you. The table is based on a Pass bet of five dollars.

Buying Double Odds ($10)
Point Payout Pays (Win)
4 or 10 2-1 $30 ($20)
5 or 9 3-2 $25 ($15)
6 or 8 6-5 $22 ($12)

In this table you are seeing the odds, not the actual total of winnings. This is just to help you get an idea of what you could do if you decide to play the odds over some of your other options.

Laying Odds

For this option you are playing in place of the Don’t Pass Bet. Again this is based on the five dollar wager.

Laying Double Odds ($10)
Point Payout Pays (Win)
4 or 10 2-1 $15 ($5)
5 or 9 3-2 $16 ($6)
6 or 8 6-5 $18 ($8)

In other words the table is showing you that if a come out roll is 10 you will get 25 dollars for a wager of five dollars.

For Craps tables you can bet as little as a dollar. In some casinos that may change, and they don’t always advertise that amount because they want the higher paying customers at the table. You can place odds on a dollar that will help you to win a pretty good amount. For example on 3 to 2 or 6 to 5 you can lose a small amount of the dollar rather than the whole amount. On a point of 5 or 9 you will lose 67 cents. This is not a great deal of loss, and is a nice little trick to getting a bet win. We are going to offer an example below.

You place a wrong bet of six dollars. You can double your odds to 12 dollars. In the table below you will see the payout and the win for this example. You will also only lose a small amount of your wager during this play.

Laying Double Odds ($12)
Point Payout Pays (Win)
4 or 10 2-1 $18 ($6)
5 or 9 3-2 $20 ($8)
6 or 8 6-5 $22 ($10)

Test the Strategy

Players who have been in this game a long time are going to bet the odds. The purpose of this game is to actually win so you might want to consider what you can win at. The smaller the odds or house edge you are playing against the more you will be able to take home. You need to look at the tables above as well as the information to determine how you want to play the tables. You can take a small wager at first to test out the craps table. Most of the individuals playing craps will not play wrong or lay odds. They will buy odds and play right.

With online casinos you are going to find that Don’t Pass bets and therefore the play wrong and lay odds options are going to be more useful in getting a lot more winnings. You can also double odds online which land casinos rarely allow.

The probability of a roll is also very important. In other words look at the different ways you can get a 4 or 10. Then look at how to get a 5 or 9 and 6 or 8. There are four ways to get the 5 or 9 and 6 or 8, three for the 4 or 10, and the seven has 6 ways. The point I am trying to make is the likelihood of you getting a specific roll can be seen in the probabilities of getting the number. The more chance you have of getting a certain number the more frequent that number may appear. You should then bet on that option over the other options. It is about chance in some respect so don’t forget that as a factor, but if you follow some of the strategy we have talked about you should have some success overall in your playing.

Keno Strategy

Keno Strategy

Keno is a game of pure chance! Consequently, there is little strategy, which can be employed to help increase your chances of winning. Because numbers are chosen randomly, naturally, no numbers that are drawn have any relation to those drawn previously. Although it sounds strange, if you choose five numbers on a ticket, there is no greater chance of seeing 9, 21, 35, 38, and 57 come up, than seeing 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Conclusion: Every number has the same chance of being drawn as the next.

So, although Keno differs from games like Blackjack and Poker in that the participant’s actions have very little bearing on the outcome of the game, there exist, nonetheless, a few techniques that some gamers “believe” will help. Although they cannot be correctly labeled “strategic decisions”, necessarily, the following tips and techniques are widely used and can make the game more interesting:

Play the numbers that you haven’t seen come up in recent games. The theory is that they will start coming up in order to make the long-term results for each number even out. Once again, however, the “random” nature of the game prevents this from being a certainty.

Instead of betting on the numbers that haven’t come up most often, a lot of keno players will bet on the numbers, which have come up. As much as it goes against the laws or chance and probability, there are always interesting trends and patterns when dealing with randomly drawn numbers, and these streaks can be very profitable when capitalized upon.

Pick successive numbers. Selecting pairs such as 12 and 13 or perhaps 43 and 44 would qualify as successive numbers. Although there is no proof this actually works over the long run, it does seem like many of the numbers that come out are in consecutive pairs. This is a very popular belief among many Keno players.

Use the same set of numbers consecutively. This strategy is very simple and the most common: play the same selection of numbers for a few rounds.

Remember that there is nothing ‘strategic’ about these systems, but they definitely are a bit of fun and they certainly will not harm your chances of winning.

American Roulette

American Roulette

There are two major roulette variations offered by land-based and online casinos: The American and European. Here we will take a look at American roulette – how the game has evolved, the players’ odds, and the pros and cons of spinning the wheel in an American fashion.

The American roulette wheel has gone through quite a few transformations before reaching the game we today call American Roulette – a wheel with 36 numbered slots plus two green slots for 0 and 00. In the late 19th century, for instance, the most popular form of roulette had the numbers 1 to 28 plus 0, 00, and a slot with an American eagle.

Since this roulette version only paid 27 times the wager for a bet on a single number, the house advantage was huge. About every 10th spin ended up on 0, 00 or the eagle, which resulted in the house raking in all the chips on the table. In consequence, very few players could walk away from the table with a profit in those days.

Luckily the players’ odds have improved since these early American roulette variations were developed in Louisiana and made their way up the Mississippi. The house still has an edge, of course, but in modern games it has been reduced significantly.

AMERICAN ROULETTE – PAYOUTS AND HOUSE EDGE

As mentioned, the American wheel contains 36 numbers plus a zero and a double zero (as opposed to the European wheelwhich only has one zero-slot).

There are many different possible wagers to chose from: Straight up bet (a bet on a single number), Square bet (a bet on four numbers), Red or Black, Even or Odd, just to mention a few. See complete list of roulette bets on the roulette rules page.

PAYOUTS

It’s easy to calculate the payout in American roulette. Simply use this formula: Payout = (36 – n) / n (n is the number of winning slots)
Say that you bet on red. There are 18 red slots on the wheel. (36 – 18) / 18 = 1. In other words, a red/black bet pays 1 to 1.

If you make a square bet (four numbers) the formula is (36 – 4) / 4 = 8 and you’ll get 8 to 1 on your wager.

HOUSE EDGE

From a house-advantage perspective it doesn’t matter what bet you make. The zeros are always there creating an edge for the casino (without them roulette would be a zero-sum game.) To speak in gambling terms, the expected value in roulette is always the same wherever you choose to place your chips.

In American roulette the edge is 5.26%, which means that you are mathematically expected to lose $0.053 on a $1 bet. In reality, however, you might have to play a large number of games before reaching the “long run” where the casino’s profit has stabilized at 5.26%. In a short term, players can have a good run and beat the advantage and, naturally, lose more than the expected percentage.

Also, if you play American roulette online you can always work towards a casino bonus. This reduces the house edge and gives you a greater chance of getting lucky.

Graffiti Drawing Tips

Graffiti Drawing Tips

The question “How to do graffiti” can be well answered by following the first basic step of any art form that is the observation. The observation of the surroundings can help you get a notion or an idea of the situation. Looking at the available piece of graffiti can also give you an idea of how to do graffiti. Once you have got the idea of how to do graffiti, you should now get to know how to draw graffiti. By trying to copy the existing graffiti you can have an idea of how to draw graffiti. When you copy graffiti you come to know about some of the basic ratios and proportions of the object. You also come to know how the perspective of object works.

Make your own impression with creativity
Once you have tried to copy a graffiti you should try to make your own variation in the graffiti this will let you understand in a better way to draw graffiti. Once you have acquired the basic skills of how to make graffiti you need to apply the skill. Try to make a graffiti that can set as your logo. Your creativity now comes into picture. You have to decide what you have to draw; the concept should be generated within your mind. You can also take graffiti tips from graffiti masters and schools.

Graffiti Tips
There are few graffiti tips that can be followed during your course of drawing graffiti. First among the graffiti tips is the use of paint cans. The graffiti is best made with the help of color spray cans that help you make graffiti on any texture and surface with minimum amount of effort and also within very short time. So get your self familiar with how to use the color spray can.

Another one graffiti tips is the order in which the graffiti making should go. First make a background for your graffiti to stand out. Make the background such that it gives a smooth finish to the graffiti. Make use of light colors such as white or Grey to make the background. Once the background is ready make use of small cap spray can to make the outline of the graffiti. The outline should be of light color and should merge well with the background. The outline is just for your convenience and not to stand out. Once the outline is over, go ahead with real painting and make the graffiti as per your thoughts.

Next is to make use of 3D effects; with the use of thin stroke of dull color you can make a three dimensional effect. To make the thin line, hold the can near the wall and make a fast stroke. This will limit the spreading of the paint and give you a sharp thin line. The colors of the graffiti are also very important and hence basic color wheel should be kept in mind while deciding the color combination.

To make your graffiti look tidy and neat, fill in all the space that is available. Do not leave gaps within your graffiti. Fill all the gaps with proper strokes of the color can. Also make sure that light shade does not overlap dark shade, it should always be the other way round.

The use of graffiti has reached to the art level and now is considered as a form of art, creativity and also offers you a method of expression. Graffiti offers a wide circulation of thoughts and leaves a better impact on the viewer than other means of expression.

Polymer Clay

Polymer Clay

One of the most versatile members of the art medium world, polymer clay can be used for anything from a fun arts and craft project to beautiful sculptures.

What is Polymer Clay?

Polymer clay is not true clay. Instead, it is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and plasticizer. It comes in a variety of colors, including metallic sheens such as gold and silver. The colors can also be mixed to create custom tones.

Types of Polymer Clay

There are several different brands of polymer clay, including Sculpey and Fimo. Although they are essentially made from the same material, each brand has its unique characteristics. Sculpey, for example, is softer than Fimo (unless Fimo Soft is purchased.) Colors also differ from brand to brand.

Different brands can often be mixed to combine elements of each.

Where to Find Polymer Clay

Polymer clay can be found in arts and craft and art stores, as well as some specialty stores (such as those that sell beads) and via the Internet.

They usually come in small packets, with each color wrapped individually. There are also sets available, and larger sizes for certain colors.

How to Use Polymer Clay

No matter the brand, polymer clay needs to be worked before using. Take a small amount of clay and roll, squeeze and pinch it until it has achieved the desired consistency. The harder the clay, the more it will need to be worked. Softer clay can be handled in larger sizes.

Once it has achieved a workable consistency, polymer clay is easy to shape. It is a good idea to start with simple projects at first, in order to get a feel for this medium.

Polymer clay is hardened in the oven, where it will retain its shape and color. Be careful not to over bake, however. Follow the instructions on the package carefully.

Possible First Project

Making beads is a good initial project for those who are using polymer clay for the first time. Take a chunk of clay and work it. Two or more colors can be mixed to create a marble effect. Roll each color into a ‘string,’ put them together and roll them all into a ball. Be careful not to overwork, since the desire is for each color to make an appearance. If mixed too much, the colors will meld into a solid color.

Break off pieces from the whole, making sure that they are the wanted size for the bead. Roll it until it forms a ball, then take a pin, a sharp toothpick, or other pointed implement and pierce through the middle of the ball from end to end. Repeat until the desired number of beads have been created. When there are enough beads, bake them in the oven, and then let them cool for a few minutes before stringing them together.

A Versatile Medium

Polymer clay can be used to make a variety of things. It can be used to create lifelike sculptures of animals and flowers, or dollhouse effects. Beads and other pieces of jewellery are also possible, as are magnets, and two-dimensional sculpted paintings.

Blue Zircon Gems

Blue Zircon Gems

There are types of precious stones with a few relatively good hardness and shine that occur in the color blue. Sapphire is the most famous, and may be found in the full range of blues, from pale blue to black and blue. Topaz Blue, produced by the radioactive colorless topaz is the most popular of all gemstones blue, it is available widely and at attractive prices and are not in tones of light and medium dark. Other options include blue and blue-violet tanzanite () and peridot (light blue). And can in some cases, spinel and tourmaline can be found in the blue, but only rarely.

The most brilliant blue gemstone is no doubt zircon, which has a higher index of refraction of sapphire tanzanite or even spinel. Zircon, but not well known by the public, who are prone to interference with cubic zirconia, a tonic artificial diamond. Natural mineral zircon, zirconium silicate, and is found in a range of colors, including white, blue, yellow, orange, brown, rose and green.

Zircon production is blue, and the most popular color, through the heat treatment of zircon brown. But not all turn blue zircon brown when exposed to heat, only some of the zircon and the structure of the right material to convert the blue when heated. This is why in most of the blue zircon comes from Cambodia or Burma.

Blue Zircon has some unique characteristics that make it very popular with amateur precious stones. Not only zircon and outstanding brilliance, but also has a very strong dispersion or fire, and the tendency to split white light into colors of the spectrum. Zircon is also very clear birefringence or double refraction, where the difference between the two indices of refraction is unusually high. This is clear in many cases can be seen with the naked eye when you look down across a table cut Zircon: I’ll note the face of weaknesses that make the edges of the viewpoint.

Although Blue Zircon is a gem of a reasonably difficult, on the Mohs hardness scale of about 7 to 7.5, is crisp and somewhat sensitive to that knocks and pressure. Zircon has a tendency to wear along the edges of the face. Therefore it should be used in workshops is limited to security settings or the wearing of jewelry in some cases.

Can be found on the blue zircon in a range of blue tones from very pale blue and means saturated. Due to pleochroism, can look a little greenish-blue zircon when an offer from one direction.