Zoo Lights – Jacksonville Zoo

Natalia – Black Rock Beach

Natalia UNF Photoshoot

Photoshop AI Generative Infill tool

I played around with Adobe’s generative Infill tool now available in Photoshop Beta.

UNF Campus

University of North Florida UNF Photos

Jacksonville Florida

Duval County

St. Johns Town Center

UNF Campus

I competed in the Kitbash3D Mission to Minerva contest

I recently competed in a competition for Kitbash3D’s Mission to Minerva challenge. I’ve never actually worked professionally in photorealism or CGI before but I figured I could learn along the way during the competition. Honestly the prizes for the competition were pretty modest, the grand prize all together may have only been worth about $2,500 but regardless I was interested in using the free kit they provide and the skills I’d learn while using it. The kits are produced for several softwares, I only really had access to free softwares like blender and Unreal Engine. I started out trying to learn blender and produce a moon environment and terrain using their noise generators. However after spending about a week or two learning and trying to render a couple simple scenes I ran into an issue where Blender would bloat to fill out all 48GB of my RAM in my high-end gaming computer. Sometimes rendering in Blender would take 24 to 48 hours while my computer would be completely unresponsive. There was also the option for real-time rendering with cycles that’s supposed to rely on the GPU which I had a high-performance Nvidia RTX 3060 with 12GB of GDDR6 and it would still lag and be unresponsive. 

I eventually started looking into Unreal Engine because graphically the engine renders scenes nicely and it natively works in real-time because it’s a video game engine. Working with the terrain and the environment were obviously different but because I could see how the scene was rendering in color in real-time I could iterate in it much faster. So I kept working in Unreal Engine and I was able to find and buy several assets for the 3D environment from online retailers that helped me to put together the scene quickly. 

I had an original idea of designing out a whole planned moon colony based on proposals from NASA and ESA. I ambitiously also wanted to make a video animation because I knew less people would produce videos than 2D renderings. I thought up an engaging story about a potential moon colony rebellion against Elon Musk. I started out making the animation and in fact I got pretty involved with animating a moon rover, and having camera tracks follow this rover through a planned moon settlement but eventually I realized the scope of work I had planned to complete a whole story in 3D animation was beyond the remaining 2 weeks I had left to submit. So I ultimately had to abandon my original plan an pivot to a 2D rendering. 

I decided instead to imagine if in the future there was space tourism to the moon, what would a potential vacation look like. I started with an authentic moon environment and kept the layout I had of structures for the moon settlement. Then to make it personal I added an astronaut couple lounging in an inflatable pool with floaties. This is a sight I’ve never seen before in other renderings of the moon or space tourism which is why I thought it was unique.

At the end I submitted my rendering, it obviously could have been a lot better if I had more time put into it but it was good enough to me. I sent it out and never heard any feedback on it. It obviously didn’t win a prize. There were a lot of other good renderings that real artists produced, but even so I think many of the best ones got overlooked by Kitbash3D. At the end I at least got the skills I wanted to develop and a free kit to experiment with. I have more ideas and more time so I can also then use the same environment and assets in a new production.

My Mission to Minerva Moon Vacation entry
Astronaut Dall-e Art

Dall-e 2 Astronaut Story

The sun had been acting strange lately. Scientists had been keeping a close eye on it, but they didn’t realize how serious things were until it was too late. On Monday morning, a massive solar flare erupted from the surface of the sun, hurling a billion-ton chunk of plasma directly at Earth. The magnetic field around our planet was no match for the force of the explosion, and within minutes, the surge of energy had reached Earth’s atmosphere.

The space station was orbiting about 350 miles above the surface when the flare hit. Within seconds, the electronics on board started to short out. The astronauts could only watch in horror as everything went dark. Then, in what seemed like an instant, there was a bright flash and a loud boom as something exploded on board the station. One of the astronauts – Carl – was thrown clear off into space. He could see the station spinning out of control before he lost consciousness from lack of oxygen…

When Carl woke up, he was lying face down in water. He tried to get up but his arms and legs were so heavy that he couldn’t move them. With great effort, he turned his head to look around him. He was surrounded by darkness and all he could hear was the sound of waves crashing against rocks somewhere nearby. Suddenly panic set in as he realized that he was floating adrift in outer space! He knew that even if he could somehow manage to swim back to shore, hypothermia would kill him long before he made it there.

Then everything went blank again as Carl passed out from exhaustion…

When he woke up for a second time, Carl found himself being dragged through shallow water onto a beach by two strangers who were frantically calling for help on their cell phones. Paramedics arrived soon after and took him to the hospital where doctors determined that he only suffered minor injuries from his fall – most likely because he landed in water instead of hitting solid ground head first! As for what happened to the space station and his fellow astronauts? No one knows for sure…

Caffeine and Octane Car Photos

I went to the Caffeine and Octane event at the Avenues Mall. It was really cool to see all of the different types of cars that people brought out. There were a lot of vintage cars, muscle cars, and even some exotics. I had a great time walking around and looking at all of the different cars. Here are some of my favorites that I saw.

Caffeine and Octane is a monthly car show that happens at the Avenues Mall here in Jacksonville, Florida. I went for the first time this month and it was awesome! They had all sorts of makes and models of cars, from Ferraris to Porsches to Lamborghinis. I even saw a couple of Tesla’s there.

One of the coolest things about the event was that it wasn’t just limited to cars. There were also a bunch of motorcycle enthusiasts there showing off their bikes. And since it was at the mall, there were plenty of places to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping while you were checking out the cars.

I definitely recommend Caffeine and Octane if you’re into cars or just want to check out something different. It’s usually the first Saturday of every month, so if you’re free one morning go check it out!

One of my favorite cars that I saw was a white Ferrari Testarossa. It was in pristine condition and it looked like it just came off the showroom floor. The car had a beautiful red interior and it sounded amazing when the owner revved the engine. Another one of my favorite cars was a bright orange Lamborghini Countach. It was definitely one of the coolest looking cars at the event.

If you’re into cars, then I definitely recommend checking out the Caffeine and Octane event at the Avenues mall. It’s a great opportunity to see some really cool cars up close and personal.

University of North Florida Photos (UNF)

I recently had the opportunity to visit the University of North Florida and take some photos of the sunset. The colors were absolutely beautiful, and I was able to capture some great shots. Check out the photos below!

The colors in this photo are just incredible. The way the sun is setting behind the trees is just breathtaking.

This next photo is my favorite of the bunch. The colors in the sky are just so beautiful and serene. It’s really amazing how nature can be so stunning.

This final photo is a bit more abstract, but I really like how it turned out. The colors are just so vibrant and intense. All in all, it was a great experience and I’m really happy with the photos that I was able to take.

I had a great time taking photos of the sunset at the University of North Florida. The colors were absolutely beautiful, and I was able to capture some great shots. If you ever have the chance to visit, be sure to check it out for yourself!

Laika Astronaut Dog

Laika the rocket dog

Laika was a space dog who became one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth. Laika was a stray mongrel from the streets of Moscow, selected to be the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 that was launched into low orbit on 3 November 1957. No capacity for her recovery and survival was planned, and she died of overheating. Laika’s story is a sad one, but her legacy is an important one. She paved the way for future space exploration and helped to advance scientific knowledge. She will always be remembered as a brave pioneer who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of science. I made a short video memorializing her sacrifice.