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All images, photos, and video excluding advertising and google generated content, or unless otherwise labeled, are Copyright Jephyr (Jeff Curtis). All Rights Reserved.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Odds And Ends


Here are sum pi'chers I done took with that new fangled contraption you kids call the camer-thingy-ma-bob: 


Arizona Vista:  A view from high up the Apache Trail east of Phoenix
Click blog-post images to see a larger view

Last fall I drove up the winding road high along the Apache Trail east of Phoenix looking for some photo opportunities.
I had the road virtually to myself as I got above Tortilla Flats and it was a rather mild, warm day without many clouds.
After stopping at many points along the way to take photos I finally turned around and slowly started making my way back home. 
As I rounded a bend in the road I suddenly noticed the absolutely amazing vista spread out before me.
Even with my unaided eye it seemed like the mountains and sky went forever off into the distance...and with the sun starting to go down, it naturally brought a lot of depth and color to the scene.
I took several shots from this view but the one I cropped above is my favorite.
Shasta, the Queen of All She Surveys (at nearly 17)

That beautiful creature above is my tabby-cat Shasta, the Queen.  I got her as a rescue kitty when she was probably only a month or so old.

In July she will be 17 and it's very hard to believe that she's been in my life that long.

She has the most amazing personality.  She's always been very vocal and used to come in from outside and announce her return with a loud "MAAAAH-WAAAH" taaaah-daaah...I'm here!

She has decidedly strong tastes...and knows exactly what she wants...and she thinks I live to serve her every need.  :/

Since she was a rescue cat I'm not sure what her earliest life was like but it took me years of patient effort to be able to pet her head and hold her...but NOW she lifts my hand with her nose, or climbs up on my chest while I'm watching tv, when she is in need of some attention.  : D

Anywho...if yer not a cat're prob'ly rolling yer eyes by now...but if you are practically part cat like I'll understand.  : )


I used to live on nothing but fast food....literally eating it one to two times a day...almost every day for most of my adult life.  And breakfast was usually a gas station coffee and some kind of muffin or other dry-as-cardboard sweet wrapped in plastic that I'd eat in the car to where-ever I was rushing off too.

Then as I got older I finally started to tire of all that junk but still ate most of my meals more "adult" type, sit-down places.

The food was more expensive and marginally better...but I'm sure still loaded with fats and empty calories...and more often than not they offer only soda to drink!! 

Worst of weight and health certainly reflected years of over-indulging in a lot of bad food.

Light Bulb!

Then, last fall some thing finally clicked:  If I wanted to be around a lot longer...and not make an absolute wreck of my remaining years...I needed to make some changes.

From about October of 2013 to March of 2014 I ate ONLY healthier meals that I prepared at home.  At first I did so a bit reluctantly...and missed my restaurant fixes.

And then in March a funny thing happened.  I decided to occasionally give myself a day every week or two where I could eat out anywhere that sounded good.

But...low and behold....I found I've pretty much lost my taste for fast food. 

For example, one of the first places I went to was a fast food burger joint and got a few bites into my meal when I realized how awful it tasted and threw nearly half of it out.  : /

So while the pic of my dinner above may look a bit spartan (and in fairness I had already eaten about half my 6 oz salmon)...I gotta tasted really good.

And I always feel so good after having a meal like that!


Jephyr...You Still Drink Milk??

A note about milk:  Several times in my life I've had someone (who is usually drinking a soda at the time) say to me, "Ya know, humans are the only animals who drink milk past infancy."

The first time I heard it I thought about it and wondered if their comment had any merit. 

And then it occurred to me...yeah...and humans are the ONLY animals who blend various foods and spices together in recipes, and cook our food...AND we're the only animals who wear clothes, go to school, marry, get jobs, build roads and bridges, use computers, and communicate with each other using LANGUAGES......... 

GEEZO...that list could go on forever!  : )


Anywho...someone will have to come up with a much better argument than that to convince me milk is a bad drink choice.


Thanks fer lookin' in...have a great one!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jephyr 3D Animation Video: Various Blender Projects


As mentioned in my 6-1-14 blog post...I planned to follow a tutorial by Andrew Price of Blender Guru...and create a Ball and Chain animation with my last Blender project.

As you can see in the screen capture above...the final result looked pretty cool...and since I'd also been experimenting with animating camera moves for my other recent Blender projects...I decided to edit them all together into a video and post it to YouTube.

I recorded a narration and put that over a music bed I created for the video, edited it all together, and got it up-loaded to YouTube yesterday...and have embedded it below.

Hope you enjoy it and it inspires you to check out Blender 3D for yourself!

BTW...the tutorials I used for all the images and animation in this video and post are found here:

tutor4u's (Little Web Hut) - YouTube Blender playlist:


Andrew Price - Blender Guru's - YouTube Channel:


To see more Jephyr digital artwork, paintings, photography and more...Please visit:

Thanks as always for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Awesome Video: "Deserted" - 3D Camera Mapping Still Images

The video "Deserted" follows this commentary on the techniques it employs. 



I'm completely inspired recently by my rediscovery of Blender 3D.

In the years since I first used it...both the software and the innovation in the 3D field have been exploding...and what you can accomplish with this FREE program is astounding.

Blender 3D Splash Screen
Blender 3D Splash Screen

Today I watched a video tutorial by Andrew Price of Blender Guru, showing how to take a photograph...a still image...and by using camera mapping in Blender you can make it appear as though it is video footage with a camera moving through and around it.

If you're familiar with this technique then you already know the power that it can give animators and film-makers...virtually allowing "HUGE BUDGET" looking scenes to be created with only a measure of patience and a lot of creative elbow grease.

It's exciting for me to consider the possibilities of using this for my own video projects.

Here's a link to Andrew's camera mapping tutorial if you are interested in learning more about how it is done:

A Few Proccess Steps From Camera Mapping Tutorial By Andrew Price

Andrew mentions a video he said was a great example of this camera mapping technique...and when I saw it I was truly impressed

"Deserted" was created by Bernd and Frank Montag using Cinema 4D software...but the principles and techniques are the same used in Blender.
I hope it will inspire you too:

Thanks as always for stopping by!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Blender: Realistic Chain Tutorial By tutor4u - Jephyr's Image

tutor4u - Blender Chain Tutorial - Jephyr '14

Hello again,

In The "Way-Back Machine"

Back in 2005 when I was struggling to master Maya 3D it was a very different world.  While the internet was already was only 7 years old and YouTube had just been founded that year!!!!!!

So it was so much harder to find information and tutorials etc...but now you can find them on almost any subject imaginable.

Gnomon was putting out a number of Maya tutorial videos back then but they were very expensive...and so friends and I would share copies of them when we got our hands on one...and shared Maya teaching books etc...and we'd try to learn any way we could.

In fact I'm reminded now that a buddy and I would trek on down to a local electronics store and buy copies of Maya Press tutorial books with DVDs....and exchange them back and forth with each other.

I still have those books...but the computer I had Maya on is long as I wrote in a post before...I thought my days as a 3D guy were long over!!

Cue The Angel Choir!

But thankfully I rediscovered Blender 3D freeware ( and I'm having a blast with it.

And best of the internet is bursting with all kinds of FREE tutorials for it.

tutor4u's video lessons are some of my favorites!  His teaching style is so concise, clear and easy to follow.

Blender Chain Tutorial By tutor4u - Jephyr '14

My Chain Image ^^^

Today's image was made after watching another one of tutor4u's video tutorials (embedded below).

In the video he covers some really cool functions like animating using Blender's rigid body tools, adding materials, textures and displacements, using various screen layouts, image and uv mapping, loop cuts, scaling, rotating, moving, duplicating, lighting, environment textures, and nodes.  Whew!

It was a really interesting tutorial!

tutor4u's website is where he has resources for open-source software Blender, Gimp, and Inkscape.

As well as code and instruction for html, css and java.


There is another young guy, Andrew Price, who calls himself Blender Guru....he's only 23 years old but also has a number of really excellent tutorial videos for Blender too.

I plan on taking this chain and animating as he demonstrates in one of his vids:  Wrecking Ball

So look for that soon! 

Oh...and have I mentioned I'm having a blast!!


And's the video:

Thanks as always for stoppin' by!