View Full Version : November Entry - Fort Waialua

11-03-2009, 04:13 AM
And so castles made of sand melts into the sea, eventually.

Well, this isn't *exactly* what he was talking about but...near the end of my fifth grade year my family moved to Hawaii. We lived in a town called Waialua on the north shore of Oahu, across the road from the beach (these days that same beach is filled with condos). I made some friends there and ended up spending the entire summer, pretty much, on the beach. I got pretty good at making sand castles - and sand alligators, and mermaids, and a bunch of other stuff.

You could walk out into the sea several hundred feet, half-a-mile in some places, to the breakers but the shallowness didn't stop the tide from coming in. At high-tide, most of the beach across from our apartment was covered over, or at least occasionally smashed by waves. That made the lifespan of my castles much too brief for my tastes.

Like the Chinese trying to keep out the hordes, I started building walls around my creations. I started small and kept going. Eventually I had my brother's e-tool (entrenching tool, a metal folding shovel issued to US soldiers - my brother was in the Army) out there and was making walls several feet high.

Of course, nothing seemed to work. Every morning I'd go out to the beach and start again...because even massive piles of sand only slowed the inevitable. Oh. BTW. That was the best year of my life. Eventually we moved to Schofield Barracks and then back CONUS (continental US). So...castles made of sand...

This challenge got me thinking about that and, though I was sorely tempted to maybe come up with something post-apocalyptic (Miller's Leibowitzian abbey from A Canticle for Leibowitz came briefly to mind), I decided I might try something a bit different.

Here's my first take. Call it a proof of concept. It's done with layer styles...which I don't think will work very well for generating something final and I'm starting to feel cheap for using in any case. So, anyway, we'll see what happens. Oh, I should note that this is the "before" state of Fort Waialua. The "after" state will look much worse. I might include both states in the final...though I think that challenge is already past...

[edit]Question for the PS gurus: I have three layers here with a drop shadow and bevel/emboss layer style on them. Why are the lower layers sort of ghosted out? There's not any pixels in the layer above them so I'm not sure I understand why that's happening. Is there a way to make that not happen? It actually looks kind of cool as an atmospheric effect...but I don't much like it at sand castle scale.

### Latest WIP ###

11-03-2009, 06:56 AM

Is there any way to make the edges look less smooth?

-Rob A>

Steel General
11-03-2009, 07:02 AM
Interesting take on the challenge...and I see no reason not to include a 'before & after' image. I was thinking of including the before image in my entry (if/when I get to it) as an inset or something.

As for your PS question, I'm not sure - never seen it do that before. But I'm more of a 'hack' when it comes to PS. I'm sure someone will be along that can give you a good answer.

Looking forward to seeing this develop.

11-03-2009, 07:49 AM
The best way to figure it out is to hide the other layers and display only the suspect layer. If you can't see where the artifact is coming from, create a 50% gray layer behind the suspect layer so you can see more clearly. It is probably an effect of the layer properties but it's hard to tell until you look.

As far as layer properties being cheap, that's news to me. Bevels, inner and outer glows, drop shadows, patterns, colors, gradients, inner shadows, strokes you name it--they are all just tools in the toolbox like any other and they and filters are kind of the entire point of using Photoshop as opposed to MS Paint.

If they feel like they are cheating because they create a dramatic effect very easily, be comforted by knowing that every craft has such tricks, and it is often disconcerting to find that what you thought was a feat of great skill is actually a simple parlor trick. I think the word "powerful" is more apt.

11-03-2009, 09:10 AM
I like it. Now all you got to do is add the sand crab residents. =)

11-03-2009, 11:05 AM
@RobA: Thanks. I hope so. I want to make some of the edges "creased" like the objects were made by packed sand in a bucket and some soft, like they were sculped by hand. Not entirely sure at this point how I'll get there but... :)

@Steel General: I think before and after would probably add something to the understanding of any P-A map...at least when you aren't familiar with the subject and can't look it up. At the very least I'd like to provide it on background.

@Immolate: Thanks for the tip. I used this technique to isolate some weird shadow issues so I'll go back in and check it out for this ghosting problem. I don't think it should be doing this if there aren't any pixels there.

Regarding layer styles, you're right, they're not really cheating or anything. I just remember seeing some advice somewhere about making sure nobody can ever tell what filter you've run on your image. Bevel is doing automatically what I'd have to do by hand to get the same effect...but, in this case, the effect isn't exactly what I want anyway so...

@wormspeaker: I most certainly plan on adding a sand crab or two in there. They were all over the beach. I'll probably also decorate with shells, seaweed, and maybe a few Army Men...as these things were used heavily in my sand castles. :)

11-04-2009, 02:33 AM
Can't say this is rocking my boxers.

### Latest WIP ###

11-04-2009, 08:03 AM
like the idea! I would 'raise' the before picture a bit as the houses already seem sunken in the sand, maybe sharper edges or some shading. As for not seeing the lower-layers it's hard to tell what is wrong without seeing the actual layer-config. I usually use overlay mode when using multiple bevel layers...

11-04-2009, 09:10 AM
I think it's coming along fine. I agree that the before image could use some more definition though. You might want to put some sea foam on the after picture. I'm sure you'll work it out.

11-24-2009, 02:33 AM
I've been pretty swamped with work and other stuff for the past couple of weeks and have nil time to work on this...or much of anything else for that matter. And, honestly, I just couldn't get it to go in the direction I had originally envisioned. Much as I hate to do it, I'd like to withdraw from this one. Do I need to do anything formal to make that happen?

Guess my initial inclination of getting something done before I started posting was correct. :) I think if I enter again I'll take that approach.

11-24-2009, 08:13 AM
You don't have to do anything, this post is good enough.

11-24-2009, 03:04 PM
Yeah you should just submit as is and not expect to win etc knowing that you could have put more time into it. But theres no need to bail out. Its pretty cool actually.

11-24-2009, 03:47 PM
The idea behind it is quite brilliant and original so I agree, enter as is.

11-24-2009, 08:05 PM
Well, thanks for the encouragement. Okay, I'll enter it as-is - that is, if Gandwarf doesn't mind changing the title back (sorry about that). Maybe I'll throw some labels on it tonight when I get home.

11-25-2009, 02:47 AM
In case you do reinstate it I spent some time putting on labels and such. I had intended something like this when I started but wanted to do a lot more work on the structures and the post-wave ruin - seaweed, half-buried armymen, etc. It's actually not too bad with labels...but nothing I'd happily submit alongside the great maps this challenge generates. :)

### Latest WIP ###

Steel General
11-25-2009, 06:45 AM
Entry 'resubmitted' :D

11-25-2009, 10:14 AM
Thanks. Hmm. It'd help to spell cathedral correctly. Have to fix that. Corrected with a kludge, since I flattened the images to combine them. Now it's not centered but I'll live with it