Friday, June 26, 2015

What I'll do this summer...

It's been a little over a week since my time at ABC Adult School ended.  I'll miss the four-times-a-week dance class rotation, not the least because my dad claims I've lost some weight.  I haven't measured and don't know for sure, but I'll sure take my father's word for it!

As I try to find some new ways to exercise, I have committed to another personal project involving an Adobe program; however, this time, it's using InDesign CC instead of Photoshop CC.  InDesign is a desktop publishing program that is often used to design brochures, flyers, and even entire books.

Specifically, what I plan to do is an official magazine chronicling a mythical reunion of Buddy Wayne Barefoot's distant relatives.  B.W. is the great-great-great-grandson of Miles Vinson "Pink" Barefoot, a real person who I have integrated into my story.  (I should point out that the late Alfred Barefoot, whose name was one of the bases of the main character, had the same relationship in real life that B.W. does in my story.)

Thanks to the post-resurrection world, eight(!) different generations have been invited to the old cemetery in Meadow - now a private house and meeting room - for a family reunion on the second Saturday in July, every odd year.  Therefore, if this reunion existed, the next one would be on July 11.

Due to the large amount of work required, this project will last through most, if not all, of the ABC Adult School summer vacation, which will end on Sep. 8.  Even then, some followup work could be required to manipulate and post pictures.  I will take some screen grabs and place them here as the work progresses.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hambone, fishing, and hunting

This is a week I have made and rediscovered some projects.

Up first is my character crush, Hambone.  This is a montage I made months ago at ABC Adult School, but rediscovered only this past week while searching for something for other (and I do wish I could remember just what I was seeking).  Anyway, this shows an interesting, informal battle for cow-milking supremacy between the beauty queen Brandy and the redneck woman Hambone.  To gain milk and other dairy products, the Barefoot family maintains two cows, whose names I've prominently placed in the montage below.  What I did was download an online picture of a dairy farmer who lives in Minnesota, then used an expanded canvas, duplication, and a horizontal flip to make a mirror image.  The faces of Brandy and Hambone then replaced the original ones.  Of course, the line at the top paraphrases the nursery rhyme "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary."


Up next, the pretty childhood face of Hambone's dad Popeye shows up again, this time in a promotional announcement for an event that would take place this coming Saturday on the pond named after the clan engineer, Oliver.  There are literally hundreds of father-son combinations in the extended family, and all are invited to a contest to determine the best pair of fishermen.  (Popeye and Ralph are annual contenders, of course.)  This project was created by combining Photoshop and a preview feature at the online store Shindigz.com.  The store sells fishing-themed invitations for birthday parties.  I used the available text layers and a picture upload to create the preview; however, when I tried to add another graphic I was not allowed to do so.  As a result, the preview had to be saved to my hard drive, then taken to Photoshop for the addition of the footprints I found on the Barefoot Chiropractic & Wellness page.  Those prints were isolated from the frame, colored black, and scaled to fit the circle.



Finally, 'Bone's brother Ralph is the featured character in my second movie poster.  Or more accurately, a "nested character" I created by the name of Buck Hunter.  He's a "superhero" for the outdoors community as big game doesn't stand a chance.  I was inspired by the "Duckmen of Louisiana" videos which are referenced in Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson's book The Duck Commander Family, in which the hunters have larger-than-life portrayals.  I also wanted to create an old-time feel, and that explains "the star is the character" phrasing.  The bow and arrow set came from a sporting-goods store website.  To the rasterized text, I added two simulated sets of deer tracks.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Taking it to the hoop

With less than a week before the start of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, I decided to do a project I have had in my mind for a few months but never thought to execute until now.

In March, I took a photograph of one of the basketball scoreboards at Cerritos High School, in the same gym that Mississippi State head basketball coach Ben Howland played in when he went to school.  It has an "old-school" look, not only with the graphics, but also with spaces for complete rosters of both teams.  That evolved into an idea to make up a game between teams representing the Meadow and Four Oaks communities at the Meadow gymnasium.  (The high schools in those areas, as well as Benson High, were consolidated to make South Johnston High in 1969.)  For the player names, I used street names found in each of those areas.  (The PDF files for the school attendance boundaries can be accessed from this page.)

Wearing number 23 for Four Oaks is a new character I'm introducing here, Harold "Bud" Strickland.  He is a local legendary athlete; he still holds the all-time county passing yardage record as a football player, was the starting small forward in basketball, made all-county also in baseball, threw the javelin in track, and even was an amateur boxer briefly.  Strickland is also the owner of the land that is the home of Camp Paradise; more on that later.

On the other side of the board is Meadow's number 22, none other than Buddy Wayne Barefoot!  B.W. was a point guard in high school at South Johnston (also Hambone's alma mater) and he would reprise his role here, as well as being an assistant coach.  The head coach would be Hubert Barefoot, an uncle of his; Hubert's father is Jesse Wiley Barefoot, older brother of Popeye's father John Noah.

Oh, and to make this matchup more interesting, one of B.W.'s aunts, Dina Barefoot, is married to one of Bud's sons, Kenneth Strickland!  And there are more connections than even that:
  • Buddy's first cousin Kim Strickland is one of Bud's granddaughters; she's a singer/songwriter and once was a roommate of B.W.'s wife Brittany Spears in Nashville.
  • Bud Strickland rented out 170 acres of his land to four brothers - Bear, Boo Boo, Cooter, and Little Jack - who are fourth cousins of B.W.  (Their two times great-grandfather John Vinson and B.W.'s, Noah Gideon, were brothers).  Bear began Camp Paradise on that land, but he has since turned over chief executive duties to Hambone.

Unfortunately, when I put the scoreboard picture in the file, some parts turned out to be blurry.  This is due to me not being completely steady when I took the photo.  Also, I had to transform and skew the original photograph to make it appear to have a flat perspective.  To replace the blurry parts, I used pieces of a scoreboard found on this page.  I reduced the opacity and erased "appendages" to make it blend in with what I already had.  The numerals are from a football scoreboard I found on the Web while in my class at ABC Adult School and then transferred to my hard drive.

Cue up "Sirius" (the Chicago Bulls' theme music and the best of its kind ever!) and have a look...


Monday, May 25, 2015

Holiday bonus: B.W. and Brittany's "wedding announcement"

This weekend, I stayed up all night on Friday/Saturday as I always do.  I was looking to overhaul some of my personal files when I came across one in which I referenced an announcement of a wedding that took place in Mississippi on Dec. 21, 2002.  Memorie McCreary and William Finney got married that day; as I noted, the maid of honor for that event was a real-life namesake, Caroline Barefoot, who is McCreary's cousin.  I then concocted a scenario in which he married a cousin of the groom's, Alden Belk, and had a Rev. Bobby Baker (also referenced on the page as he wed Shannon Henderson and Daryl Morgan in a ceremony six months later) officiate.

Of course, I don't know whether any of this occurred, but I was surprised to find out that the announcement is still available to view on the website of a local newspaper.  With that, an idea came to me to use that as the template for the renewal of wedding vows of my Buddy Wayne Barefoot and Brittany (Raylene) Spears characters.

Before I post the "happy news," I have to explain why it's a renewal.

As I wrote in The Buddy Wayne Chronicles, B.W. had already married a local (Meadow, NC) woman named Shayla McLamb.  However, as he was touring the country as a musician, he met Spears, a young singer in her family's bluegrass band who wanted both professional respect and personal companionship.  Buddy Wayne was so smitten by Brittany that he dumped Shayla right away and started dating Brittany.  Because the Barefoot family disapproved so much of his divorce - and because Brittany was just 18 years old at the time - it was decided that the new couple would elope in Las Vegas.  (This is the first picture you see here.)


But B.W. still wanted the wedding of his dreams, and wanted to bond more with Brittany.  (Remember that both live separately with their families in different states, North Carolina and Kentucky respectively.)  Besides, it would be quality time with their daughter, Blanton Elizabeth who everyone calls "Lizzie."  So in 2013, the marriage would be re-enacted publicly at the Barefoot Family Farm.  Here's the happy couple - again - and below it is the official announcement.


Brittany Raylene Spears of Beattyville, KY and Buddy Wayne Barefoot of Benson, NC, renewed their wedding vows at 2 o'clock in the afternoon on October 19, 2013, at the Barefoot Family Farm in Meadow, NC.  They were originally married in Las Vegas in 2010 and are parents of a daughter, Blanton Elizabeth Spears.

Ralph Barefoot, uncle of the groom and pastor of Long Branch Church in Meadow, performed the ceremony.

The bride is the daughter of Blanton Spears and Rebecca Spears of Beattyville. She is the granddaughter of Mildred McGrubb and the late John Henry McGrubb of Lee County and Breckinridge Spears and the late Amelia Spears of Beattyville.

The groom is the son of Brenda Barefoot of Benson and the special friend of Alonzo Barefoot of Meadow. He is the grandson of Rozelle Barefoot and the late Alfred E. Barefoot of Benson and Laura Raynor and the late Tommy Raynor of Benson.

The Spears Family Band provided most of the music, consisting of Brittany Spears, Blanton Spears Jr. (brother of bride), Bunch Spears (brother of bride), Bradshaw Spears (uncle of bride), Brashears Spears (uncle of bride), and Breckinridge Spears (grandfather of bride), all of Beattyville.  The soloist was Bubba Brister (friend of groom) of Meadville, MS.  Dancing was Bethany Spears (sister of bride) of Beattyville.

The church was decorated with the windows adorned with fall harvest leaves accented with ribbon. The altar had fall harvest leaves accented with ribbon and candelabra with purple bell flowers, white gerberas and bridal roses. The bride was given in marriage by her father.

The bride's dress was a Lillian M design. It was white satin with organza overlay and a strapless neckline. Special details included re-embroidered lace with a floral motif. The bodice was pearl and sequined covered with self-covered buttons to waist. The waistline was natural and enhanced with seed pearls and iridescent beading. It had an A-line skirt with embroidered lace of floral. Special details included motif with pearls and sequins scattered over skirt with a satin edging around the hem. The train was chapel length. The bride's bouquet was hand tied of Charlotte roses accented with white minicalla lilies.

The maid of honor was the cousin of the bride, Rachel Mullins of Lexington, KY. Bridesmaids included Kellie Jo McPooh of Booneville, KY (friend of bride), Lindsay Ratterree of Booneville (friend of bride), Brandy Barefoot of Raleigh, NC (cousin of groom), and Kimberly Strickland of Four Oaks, NC (cousin of groom). The attendants wore satin claret red colored dresses with a chiffon overlay and a small flowing train.

The flower girl was Blanton Elizabeth Spears, daughter of the bride and groom. The ring bearer was Bryson Barefoot, half-brother of the groom.

The best man was Bobby Ray Barefoot (brother of groom) of Pineville, NC. Groomsmen were Britton Barefoot (cousin of groom) of Raleigh, Brandon McLamb (friend of groom) of Plain View, NC, and Blanton Spears Jr. and Bunch Spears (brothers of bride), both of Beattyville.

Ushers were Brett Breathitt (friend of bride) of Jackson, KY, Dave Raper (friend of bride) of Lexington, KY, John William Barefoot (cousin of groom) of Meadow, NC, and Mike Johnson (friend of groom) of Smithfield, NC.

The bride's mother's dress was a champagne tea-length two-piece suit. The top was adorned in pearls and iridescent beading. Her bouquet was hand-tied nose gay of white tineke roses.

The bridegroom's mother's dress was violet tea-length two-piece suit of crushed crepe adorned with iridescent buttons. Her bouquet was hand-tied nose gay of Charlotte roses with French ribbon.

The maid of honor had a hand stein bouquet of white calla lilies, bridal roses, white miniature gerberas accented with purple bell flowers and ivory sheer ribbon. The bridesmaids had hand stein bouquets of white miniature gerberas, bridal roses, gypsophlia accented with purple bell flowers.

The reception was in the common room of Long Branch Church. Presiding at the register table was Harvey Barefoot (uncle of the groom).

Serving at the reception were Candace Peele, Ruby Elizabeth Barefoot and Bailey Rebecca Barefoot (cousins of the groom), Joshua Mullins (cousin of bride), and David Ratterree, Brianna Breathitt, and Michaelle Breathitt (friends of bride).

The couple honeymooned on a Caribbean cruise before returning to Meadow.

Between the template and the above notice, I made two significant changes:
  • Because B.W. has cut ties to his biological father, his great-uncle and "father figure" Alonzo replaces him in that slot.
  • The Christmas garlands and greens in the real wedding were replaced by fall harvest leaves and other related accents.
Two different couples' pictures in The Daily Record (Dunn, NC) were used as the bodies on which I put B.W.'s and Brittany's faces.  For the first picture, the backdrop is the Las Vegas Strip as published by LasVegas.com and DiscoverAmerica.com.  The second backdrop is a combination of the bridge and land from Raven Rock State Park near Lillington, NC (as published in The Daily Record) and water from a picture of a lake supplied by my former Photoshop teacher, Brady Poirier.

Finally, the first syllable of Brianna's name is pronounced "dry" instead of the usual "free," and Michaelle's first name is pronounced as if were spelled "Mikayla" or "McKayla."

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Buddy Wayne is money - literally

This is a personal project I have thought of for quite some time, and I finished it just moments ago.

In 1999, the United States Mint began to put out a series of commemorative coins celebrating all of the 50 states.  The idea was to select an iconic landmark, person, or event for each state and place it on each coin on the other side of a new profile picture of George Washington.  It was an immediate hit among collectors and in fact was later expanded to include Washington, D.C. and all of the territories.  (For more information on the program, visit statequarterguide.com.)

I then had the idea of replacing Washington's face on the North Carolina coin with that of Buddy Wayne Barefoot.  This coin would be for collection only and would not be accepted as legal tender at any retail store or other location.  It turned out to be a harder task than I thought, and even now I don't know if the result is acceptable.  However, given what I had to work with as it relates to Photoshop, this is as good as it got.

I began by taking B.W.'s face and resizing it to fit approximately the size of the profile of Washington.  I also had to position it so as not to cover up two very important elements: the word "LIBERTY" on one side and the words "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the other.  After that, I tried to "stamp" the face to match how "the father of our country" is depicted on the real coin.  Just to get close to that, I needed six different effects layers within "buddyface": Bevel & Emboss, Inner Shadow, Inner Glow, Satin, Gradient Overlay, and Pattern Overlay.

You can judge how I did by looking at before and after.

BEFORE




AFTER

The source of the original photo is at this address.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Meet Hambone and her friends

I was inspired to create this by a quote in a book by reality television star and celebrity dancer Sadie Robertson called Live Original: "No one can choose their family, but all of us can choose our friends.  Whether or not you have a great family or a family you think is not so great, you can still choose awesome friends." 

That leads to Hambone, who has butted heads with the rest of the house because of her laidback attitude toward life.  Buddy Wayne belittled her by not allowing to go around New Jerusalem before the big show without a chaperone, Brenda hates it that she enjoys the occasional beer, and she has battled Brandy for quality time with Annie (and resents it because Annie is Hambone's mother).  So what to do?  Make some good friends and make sure to have their back.

I based the frame of the photo on one I found in (the real) Brittany Barefoot's photo gallery on Facebook; this was from a party for the Greenwood High School senior class of 2008.  Part of the picture was washed out and dim so some adjustments were needed to make it more presentable.  Then I substituted the original faces with these six:
  • Sammy Bizzell: Nancy Bowling, junior softball pitcher, University of Arizona
  • Carlie McLamb: Kelsey (don't know her last name), student at Union University in Tennessee
  • Elizabeth "Beth" Barefoot: Her late namesake who lived in Clinton, NC
  • Reba Pearl "Hambone" Barefoot: Alyssa Barefoot, Meadow, NC
  • Laura Jean Johnson: Brandy Rapp
  • Bellamy Wood: Bethany Bowling, teacher at Northern Kentucky University
And of course I had to replace Beth and Hambone's "shoes" with bare feet.:)

The backdrop photo was taken at the Hacker Martin Gristmill and Cantilever Barn at the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, TN.  John Rice Irwin established the replica 1850s homestead and it is now a tourist attraction and an affiliate of the Smithsonian.



Saturday, May 9, 2015

Another reality show for Ralph

It's time for another mythical crossover episode in which one of my characters appears on an actual nonfiction TV show.  This time, the show is 90 Day Fiance, which airs on TLC.

The idea of this program, which debuted in 2013, is to pair an American citizen with an immigrant from another country.   The immigrant is in the U.S. on a K-1 visa, which shows the intent of that person to marry the citizen and stay in the country permanently.  But here's the deal (as Hambone would drawl): If the wedding doesn't take place in 90 days, the immigrant is effectively deported back to his or her country of origin!  Obviously, the rush for the couple to know each other, plan the marriage, and get the support of loved ones on both sides was too much for TLC to resist making into a TV show.

In this case, Ralph, our 26-year-old preacher/outdoorsman from North Carolina, has fallen in love with Beatha, a 23-year-old Irish folk dancer.  They meet at the New Jerusalem talent-show festival (more on the Barefoot family show here), and both show mutual love for each other.  Once Ralph returns home, he arranges for Beatha to join him in the U.S., he helps her sign the visa papers, and the rush is on.

There is huge drama on several fronts:
  • Is all of this happening for the right reasons of true love?  Or is it just so to fulfill Popeye's longtime desire to become a grandfather?
  • How much can Beatha get used to the quirky lifestyle of rural people in the South?
  • Finally, will the ceremony even be allowed to take place, given that Jesus Christ is symbolically the "bride" in a "marriage" to his church (Ephesians 5:31-32)?

While we ponder these questions, here's the publicity photo the network would create.  As always, Ralph is University of Mississippi employee Brett Barefoot.  As for Beatha, she's portrayed by Katie Yeakle, a trainee with American Writers and Artists, Inc.  AWAI, based in Florida, provides training and support for advertising copywriters.  (That's something I would like to do someday from my home for much-needed income, but so far all the training has been expensive and frankly I haven't been able to squeeze in the time I would need to devote, either.)  The TLC logo comes from Wikipedia, while the 90 Day Fiance graphic is a screenshot I took from the show's webpage.

As for the background shot, it comes from a picture originally with folk-music artists Brian and Lynn Hefferan, also known as the Fabulous Heftones.  One of their songs, "Bye Bye Blues," has become a favorite of mine since I first saw it on YouTube.  I had to make sure that Ralph's and Beatha's profiles were big enough to cover the Hefferans' original images; I also used the clone stamp to account for significant differences that arose.