More AI – Stable Diffusion

In the last post, we took a look at AI image generator Firefly by Adobe. Now it’s the turn of Stable Diffusion which can be used at along with a host of other features and, unlike Firefly, is free to try. And in my opinion, it is superior to Firefly.

Judge for yourself. Below is the latest episode of the Twilight Ballrooms Movie Diary which starts with the prompt I gave it and the result it produced. I will add that all of these pics were also enlarged using Adobe Photoshop’s generative fill and I have added a Lumetri filter to make it really atmospheric.

And finally, a Happy 100th Birthday to the Big Dipper rollercoaster at Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach. I took my family there last week and for my kids it was their first time on a rollercoaster. We also went for a cream tea dance at the Tower Ballrooms where we were taught the Charleston accompanied by, you guessed it, the Mighty Wurlitzer! Ah heaven! Thoroughly recommend it!


There are many ways to isolate vocals from a song. The results vary and can rather depend on your source material. For example if you have an instrumental of the same track you can “invert” that against the original. Mathmatically speaking, it’s the original (with vocals) minus the instrumental (without vocals) equals the vocals. And this effects can be done easily on open source (free) software such as Audacity

If that fills you with dread then don’t be put off – there is a much simpler way. Whilst the result won’t be perfect, this method will certainly allow you a rough separation of vocal and instrument without the need for the instrumental track and as easy as clicking a button. The algorhythms (yes deliberate misspelt pun) on are pretty impressive. Not only can it split vocals from drums, guitar and keyboards into 4 different stems, it also tells you the key of the chord being played and attempts (far from perfect mind) to convert them into midi tracks to help you get started on your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)

If you’re a budding amateur muso like myself, you will be fascinated to listen to the accompaniment of many tracks without the distraction or noise of the singer. Also perfect for remixes. Free to sign up. Have a play and try not to get addicted.Fadr

I love a good instrumental as one of my Spotify playlists demonstrates.

Twilight Movie Diary – E05

Recently got into a new site called Pinterest. I found the app version and downloaded to me iPad. Now I’m hooked. It allows to pin most (more or less) pictures on the internet into a folder on Pinterest. So if, you’re doing some compositing on FOG (see below) you can collect a folder of other peoples images to inspire you. Just inspire mind, no stealing! And I was inspired, though it’s your decision whether I actually got a decent foggy composite, rather than just a bleached effect!

Uli Meyer Studios

Today I had the privilege of being given a personal tour round the animation studios of Uli Meyer, a local based artist here in Camden Town. He has worked with big animation companies such as Warner Brothers, Touchstone, Disney & Universal to name a few. But it is his collaborative work with the late Ronald Searle, creator of the infamous St. Trinians School, that appears not only to be a personal highlight of his career, but a heavy influence on it.

His studio (for an artist) is incredibly tidy and organised but there is no doubt who rules the office. The characters themselves! Sketches, models, huge ink drawings all portraying the most fantastic clan of animals, ghouls, misfits and eccentrics both good and evil. Each character, like Night At The Museum, is frozen still by the arrival of us real people, but when the office lights are out, I imagine they run riot like Gremlins.

The studio is large and certain areas dedicate themselves to specific tasks – video editing, modelling, computer graphics and sketch room. The hallway serves as a gallery and hung on the stairs is a picture I’ve seen before. I’m here to purchase it and am relieved that it’s not been snapped up before my arrival today. The picture shows a tramp finding a discarded heart in the dustbins. In the background a silhouette at the window is heavily quaffing a bottle of wine. Though there is no title on the frame, Uli’s eyes light up when he tells me the title. “It’s called Trashed“. The picture is part of a series of similarly themed pictures, by Uli, based on the universal theme of love. Other pictures from the series are also in the hallway and all feature a bright red heart, the only colour in these great ink drawings.

Do check out his blog which shows some of his amazing artwork, some completed, some in various stages of evolution! Now I can’t wait for the building works in my flat to complete so I can take this, my first ever piece of purchased art, home to hang on my wall.


Vanishing Point

Experimented today with something called “Vanishing Point”. There is much you can do with this Photoshop filter which helps you edit a 2d photo in a 3d environment. One of the cool things is when you export it to After Effects. (Check out this tutorial from Andrew Kramer) By moving the virtual camera in the import you get this. If edited right it can look like a perfect faked dolly/crane shot. This one is just rough, but remember, the original is just a flat 2D photo. Can’t wait to try some more test out.

Greyscale Gorilla & C4 Cafe

“I am the gorilla!”

A blog worthy of mention, Greyscale Gorilla This one covers all my favourite subjects on Post Production, namely After Effects, Cinema 4d, Photoshop and others. Some great video tutorials (video tutorials are always the best) and a competition called the 5 Second Project which is very entertaining, check out the superb entries, inspiring stuff. All this done by a fella called Nick Campbell (he is the gorilla) from Chicago, USA. Nice one Nick!

As I explore the demo of Cinema 4d even more, I have subscribed to – who have some excellent tutorials too.  However it took me 3 attempts to get my subscription accepted, (you can’t view anything until you have subscribed which is annoying) and once you’ve completed their rather interrogative questionnaire, they hint heavily for donations. I hope some day they take a leaf out of other sites more accessible walk-in setups and deal with their funding issues by advertising or selling their own products, such as my favourite site Video Copilot or indeed Greyscale Gorilla! Another brownie point for them!

Photoshop tutorials

This year I hope to be able to incorporate mattes into my videos, especially with the Twilight project. For this I realise I will need to swot up on Photoshop and what it can do. There are plenty of good sites such as psdtut+ which I’ve mentioned before on this blog. Here is another. Nothing sells a tutorials site to me more than some great examples of what can be achieved and to this end, this site will not disappoint. Time to get practising.

If you’ve got any more great suggestions for good PS tutorial sites, share them here.

Creative Cow

What this site hasn’t got for the serious movie maker isn’t worth knowing. It certainly has a comprehensive collection of external tutorials covering a wide array of categories, including many Adobe products, specific camera equipment and the main 3d modelling programs. And when you’re on a tea break have an explore of the rest of the site too. The showreels people have submitted are awesome and inspiring, there’s a jobs board, excellent resource and links to some other fab sites.


Free CG software – Blender

Have you ever wanted to create your own CGI graphics but thought it out of your price range and ability? Think again. Ever heard of Blender? What?! It’s been round for years, c’mon! Check out the website. Basically, its open source software which means its free to download and use. And like most open source software (OSS) many people use it. Which means theres quite an established community online who forum and discuss its problems and potential. So if you get stuck on something, chances are there are many before you who have had similar problems too. And those people have often found the solution you require and have posted it on a forum. Good huh! And there are numerous free tutorials, repositories, libraries, textures, links etc…Download it now at

For good YouTube tutorials on Blender basics, I would recommend Super3Boy’s tutorials. Okay, he does sound like a young teenager and throughout his 30 odd tutorials his voice breaks, but the guy is good and tells you what you need to know with some fun, easy to follow examples to get you going.

Site of the Year – Video Copilot

Video FX guru Andrew Kramer and his team run this website that sells their own VFX products and After Effects plugins including Action Essentials 2, ProScores, Twitter, Optical Flares, Riot Gear and more. These are very professional looking products at a snip of a price that you’d expect to pay elsewhere. But it is not just these that makes this site my Number 1 choice for any creative artist starting out on their own. It is the 100+ online tutorials by Kramer that are…free to watch! Kramers enthusiasm and passion for the subject is infectious. If the software, the tutorials or his positive personality don’t inspire you then I’m sorry for your loss. And it is your loss! Don’t be a loser. Visit and buy their products! Now!