I hope that those who celebrate had a satisfying Fourth of July. We here at the Cat Farm had a working holiday, breaking early to view John Carter of Mars. Among other things, this has produced an urge to re-read A Princess of Mars, which is now sitting on the kitchen table.
From the mailbag, we have news from David Mattingly, who created the wonderful covers for Mouse and Dragon, Saltation, Ghost Ship, and Dragon Ship among a mountain of other fine covers and art. David has just finished producing an online tutorial about digital matte painting. Here’s the course description:
The course shows how to turn a summer daytime scene into a wintry nightscape using Photoshop and After Effects. Well-known author, teacher and illustrator David Mattingly demonstrates his production-proven matte painting techniques. David shows how to take a plate, or a still shot from a film, and alter key elements to change the season and time of day. Using advance digital matte painting methods, David will remove all of the greenery from the mountains, fields and trees, and cover them with snow. Then he will replace the sky, and add realistic touches such as chimney smoke, icicles and night-lit windows. In the final chapters, you’ll discover how to create an animated version that cross-dissolves between the two versions.
You can find the tutorial here:
Lynda.com charges for access to their online training, but you can view a sample of the video tutorial even if you are not a member.
In other news, yet another Disambiguation Notice, this one having to do with the relationship between Ghost Ship, originally published by Baen Books in August 2011; and the short story “Prodigal Son,” which first appeared in the chapbook Allies: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 12, originally published in November 2006, by SRM Publisher, Ltd.
As you can see from the publication dates, “Prodigal Son” is clearly not a chapter of Ghost Ship that was withheld by the authors so that it could be published separately. In point of Actual Fact, “Prodigal Son,” along with “Lord of the Dance,” were written well before we even dreamed of writing Ghost Ship, and, frankly, both were thorns in the sides of the authors, as we tried to square What Had Been Written with What Must Be Written.
We did struggle to bring the novel into line with both stories, but in the end, the narrative could only accommodate “Son.” Realizing this, Steve and I, as the authors, made the necessary ghod-like decision — that the storyline of a novel trumps the storyline of a short story, thereby making “Lord of the Dance” author-written Liaden fan fic. It’s still a nice story and we like it very much, but it is no longer, as we say, True.
More later, I think. Now, I have an appointment to chat with the narrator for the Crystal books.