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Virtual Design Trickery

The only things real in this photo are the wood stove and fire burning in it, the fireplace implements just behind and to my right, me, the guitar, the chair I'm sitting on, the coffee table in front of me and the book, antelope skull and pot sitting on top of that.

The inside of my home/studio is not yet finished out at all. After adding the interior wall studs, upstairs floor structure and decking, insulation, plumbing and wiring to make it fully functional, I put final wall and trim finishing on hold until I retired so I could survive the Great Recession the banksters and automakers so cruelly and selfishly threw down on us all after operating too many decades on their unbridled, predatory, greed-driven business principles. I didn't need finished walls to live and work cozily and contentedly inside the house. I did need the money it would have cost to survive the recession, though. And while it raged on down below, I did just fine up here away from the city where it most likely would have totally destroyed me.

The stucco wall, bear painting and window in the scene above are all fake. The winter scene outside the window is real, but it's a superimposed photo shot out the west-facing kitchen window that winter. It isn't what would actually be seen out the wall behind me in the scene above if there were a real window there. There's just a hallway behind the real wall behind me, which in reality is still just naked studs.

The mixture of real and fake elements of this scene were accomplished through videographic trickery after about two hours of tinkering with a video editing software package doing a simple blue screen test to learn how to do that sort of stuff in case a client ever asked me to. It's the same thing TV weather reporters do when they're standing in front of their animated weather maps and when Luke Skywalker is flying his X-Wing fighter down the trough of the Death Star. I accomplished this composite scene by hanging a big blue cloth behind me, shooting some video of me playing the guitar, then keying all of the fake elements onto it later in the video editing package.

It's a fun process that just requires a little forethought, planning, lots of bright light shining on the blue cloth behind the main subject and a little patience. Kids do it all the time these days and put their imaginative works up on YouTube, getting hundreds of thousands of views and likes and comments on their fine creations. I didn't get around to trying it until I was almost 6o years old. But it was as fun to play with at that age as I imagine it would have been if I had done it in childhood–which wouldn't have been possible then due to the fact none of the tools and techniques even existed then.

I plan to do a lot more of it in the near future to visually design out the interior finish of the house after I retire in a few more months–creating virtual everything from ceilings to floors so I can get a clear idea of what it will look like after it's all completed. This is going to be so much fun.

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