RESTORATION PROJECT, Ìtem Nr. 1 -- Incipit Vita Nova
Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm currently doing a small Restoration Project, in which I repair/enhance several of my better BSR items. Usually cleaning up transparency errors and some such; but more complex things at times, too. This particular work, Incipit Vita Nova, I still consider my best, ever. I recently re-edited, and restored part of Kaylee's hairline that had gone lost since the first installment. And smoothed out Kaylee's jacket a mite, too. (Original Text below)



Saturday, January 26, 2008 4:50 AM


Original Text

Persephone, 2517, the year Dr. Simon Tam first sets foot aboard Serenity. A pivotal moment that marks the beginning of a new life for River and her brother. This piece shows Simon, on the ramp of Serenity, where he meets Kaylee, who introduces him to Mal (O.S.). That pose of Simon alone, briefcase in hand, is enough to make me want to cry. He looks so out of place! And he is. All because of River, for whom he sacrificed everything, just so she could be safe. This is a man who, were it not for his great love for River, would never be here! The Title is taken from Dante's "La Vita Nuova" (= The New Life). And we see a page, supposedly from Simon's diary, which reads, paraphrased after Dante, "In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter that is the day when I first entered Serenity, appear the words: Here begins a new life (= Incipit Vita Nova)."

Dante's original text is as follows: "In that part of the book of my memory before which little can be read, there is a heading, which says: Incipit Vita Nova: Here begins a new life." The team of Star Trek Voyager used this text once too, but reworded it a bit: "In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter that is the day when I first met you, appear the words, Here begins a new life." And I, in turn, paraphrased the Voyager text. :)

Then there's River, coming out of the box... except, it's not a box, but an egg. :) What better way to symbolize a new life? Also, the box itself is not inside the egg, of course. But I positioned things in such a way, that part of the original purple box rim is now the egg's inner lining (near River's shoulder), which now seems to be lit by a lightsource from within. It gives the egg's interior, so to speak, a very cosy feel.

Perspective-wise, the image is actually rather complex. The egg is placed inside what seems a stony, "port-hole" shaped basin. But if you follow the curvature of that basin, to the left, behind Kaylee and upward, suddenly the hollow inside of the basin becomes the parabolic surface of a planet! This effect is solely created playing with light and shadow. And if you go further up, still on the left, and to the right, then the space behind the planet gradually becomes the sky over Persephone.

The egg is placed in such a way, that it appears to be lying on the cargo-bay floor. And the curved stony basin, in-between Kaylee and Simon, is also like a flat, concrete floor. Apparently the eye can flip-flop between what it wants to see at the moment (I trick the eye into thinking "flat surface", because the shadow in front of the egg is projected onto a flat surface. But the curved line, more to the front, makes you see that stony, port-hole shaped basin again).

More at:

Saturday, January 26, 2008 6:10 AM


That looks great. Cool use of an egg and a journal to represent new life.

Monday, January 28, 2008 12:26 PM


This has always been a beautiful piece. I loved it from the first and your eye for detail continually improves it.
I seem to recall a touchup post or two when you first did this piece. You are a perfectionist.

Monday, January 28, 2008 6:47 PM


@Kayna: yes, I actually am a perfectionist. :) Transparency errors are really the hardest to spot. Dunno what weird cosmic law is at work here, but, inb=variably, soon as you upload sometyhing, you notice another error. :) This was primarily about restoring Kaylee's hair, though.


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"He takes so much looking after."
The title really says it all. This is River, deeply happy for her brother and the way things turned out. This is "I'm all right." at its finest hour.

N.B. A improved redo of an earlier work. I removed the text balloon, and significantly cleaned up the 'embrace' scene and various other small changes and fixes.

P.S. Right-click and 'save' to get the original-size image.

Going Dark
"Going Dark" tells the story of Kaylee getting shot. Like an eclipsed sun, there's Dobson's bullet, frozem in mid air, as 'seen' by Kaylee, who walks into the cargo bay at the wrong time. I accentuated Kaylee's stomach wound, but it's the only graphic element in the entire image. In fact, most everything else is purposely opposite to bad stuff; it's all dream-like, sweet, with pretty flowers, butterflies, and even one of River's pink elephants shows up for the occasion (from the unshot episode 'Dead or Alive'). No nightmares for Kaylee, no bad conscience visiting upon her, no worries even: you just gotta have faith in people, yourself included. (Extended Commentary below)

A Hot Summer Night
in the same vein as piratenews has been posting.

Twilight Fancies
Kaylee, half passed out, drifting in and out to a faerie-like dream land. It's a bit different. And it's a bit shippy (but in an unsullied way: just some harmless swooning on the part of our fav' mechanic). Not an overly complex image. But I played a lot with the lighting, and I'm now fair content with the the dream-state like properties it's breathing. After all these years, it really does get harder creating new and undone themes. All-in-all, I set out what I wanted to do.

The Firefly / Mass Effect Comic!
A while back, playing Mass Effect, I suddenly got this hilarious idea for a Mass Effect comic, based on Firefly! :) So, I proudly present to you The Firefly / Mass Effect Comic! It's basically Mass Effect pictures with Firefly text! Of course, to get the full experience, you gots to be familiar with Mass Effect. See below for all episodes.

"Dear and fluffy Lord," The Interview
After the BSR went down, last year, I also lost my very first fanvid. I'm still liking it, though; so, here it's back (Extended Commentary below).

RESTORATION PROJECT, Item Nr. 5 -- "Time to wake up!"
This was originally a very simple image. Still is. :) But right after first posting it, I suddenly realized I could do something else with it: I could overlay a silhouette of "River looking at Mal", from the end of the BDM, at the near exact edge of where her hairline meets her face. See for the idea. Also, the purple title above the middle text (Evanescence) had thrown the image off-balance a bit. So, to restore equilibrium, I added a faint purple text underneath, saying "I love my Captain." All non-shippy, of course (more like the hero worship we talked about earlier today). Original Text below.

RESTORATION PROJECT, Item Nr. 4 -- "Noah's Ark is a problem."
In the ongoing spirit of "If you can't do something artistic, redo something artistic," I redid this River piece. Made around the same time of "I can win this!", the blending was not perfect yet. I especially had to redo the blending on the front of her dress, which was way too transparent near the edge. I didn't have the original layered version any more, so I had grab a new still and figure out what scaling factor I had initually used. But it's really much better now, IMHO. (Original Text below)

RESTORATION PROJECT, Item Nr. 3 -- "I can win this!"
One of my earliest works; from my "Now I'm learning about blending." phase. :) It was our very own PhoenixRose who, soon thereafter, taught me various shiny blending/blurring techniques, I significantly cleaned up the marble, as well as the background that had all manner of background noise in the black: great for Out of Gas, but for art, not so much. :) (Original Text below)

RESTORATION PROJECT, Item Nr. 2 -- "I didn't think you'd come for me."
Most like my second best work. :) Apart from rounding up the usual suspects, such as transparency errors, this picture differs from the one I originally posted at, in that I edited out Simon's hand on the elevator door, and smoothed out the area where the window post and the River-in-elevator-shaft meet. (Original Text below)