Tutorial: Selective Noise Reduction

Shooting at high ISO can result in noise. Most of the time noise both color and luminance are found at dark areas of the photos. Applying noise reduction to the photos will also result in reduction of details. I've devised a method in selectively reducing noise on my photos shot at high ISO. Below is step by step guide to my selective noise reduction work flow on photoshop. (Click on the images to view full size)

1. Open the file
2. Create a duplicate layer of the file

3. Apply Noise reduction to the entire photo. You may use any noise reduction filter you like. I prefer the Reduce Noise Filter.

Old Structures Converted into Exceptional Homes

I've always enjoyed designing. Since I was in college, I've always preferred to create designs from scratch.  I wanted to explore different possibilities without any constraints. One advantage of being a student is that there are no limitations.

We have always been given the freedom to express our creativity. Our school encouraged us to explore new designs. After becoming an architect, reality has crept in. Restrictions and budgets have always been present in almost all projects. In order to accomplish my projects, I had to adjust to reality.

Barn to House adaptive reuse Designed by: Bjarne Mastenbroek (SeARCH)

Larger than Life Sculptures by Ron Mueck

Photo By: Peregrinari
I came across this unique sculptor Ron Mueck online. He creates realistic but giant sculptures of people. At first glance, I thought his works were digital art since some of his works looked like photoshop paintings.

Photos By: Veronique Debord

After staring at his other works, I realized that these were real sculptures. Something I didn't recognize was the scale of these artworks. The enormity of these works of art can only be comprehended once you see a person stand right beside it.

8 Unique Restaurant Designs to Inspire your Creativity

I have been doing some research on some unique restaurant designs recently. I found a lot of excellent designs that are eye-catching. Their designs inspired me to be more creative. Some of these designs use common construction materials, but the designers still manage to create extraordinary results. Below are some of the beautiful restaurant designs that inspired me the most.

1. Banq Restaurant Designed by Architect Nader Tehrani

2. Nobu Dubai Designed by Rockwell Group

AVIZ Studio 3D Roof Generator and Tree Generator

I was browsing through the net looking for tutorials on vray and came across these two plug ins for 3dmax. Whenever I had a project wherein I needed to use clay roof tiles on the house I always modeled each roof tile in order to achieve a more realistic look. I never thought that there were plugins around that would make my work easier.

As for the trees and plants I usually use those ready to use models bought from 3d stores. Although I still have to try these two plugins out I think this will be a great addition to my tools in my work as a 3D   Artist for Architectural renderings.

The videos below demonstrate the plugins and as far as I know these can only be used on 3d studio max.

The homepage for these plugins is http://www.avizstudio.com

Hope you will find their plugins useful.

New Althea and Fiona Bungalow Design

In the past few months, I have been trying to work out the design of the bungalow units for phase two for our subdivision project. We have tried various schemes that would match the concepts of our previous houses and have finally come up with these two designs.

Althea - (Single Detach Bungalow)

Fiona - (Duplex Bungalow)
Although we haven't started selling these units yet, I am hopeful that these units will be salable since there were a lot of inquiries on bungalow units on our phase one. For more information on this subdivision project kindly visit our Facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/HaciendaSanAgustin or our website http://hsasubdivision.com/

Slim Homes

Every time I have a design problem, I always see an opportunity to explore new solutions to the problem. Since land prices are getting higher, I've been exploring the possibilities of designing a house on a thin piece of land. Building a house on a thin piece of land would also lower the cost of building a house, making it attractive to buyers looking for affordable homes.

Although construction costs are a top priority in this design challenge, I also have to make sure that the comfort of the house is not sacrificed. Design is another aspect to consider, and having the constraints of building on a slim lot will make things more difficult. So, in order to draw inspiration from this challenge, I did some research on modern slim houses on the net and found a few unique and practical slim houses.

Slim House In Tokyo by Mizuishi Architect
Slim House in Toronto by Drew Mandel
Slim House in San Francisco By Architect Craig Steely 

Slim House in Seatle

Slim House in Toronto By Donald Chong

World's Most Extreme Homes (The Sphere - Sao Paulo Brazil)

Lately I have been searching the net for documentaries on architecture. I've found a few interesting documentaries which I will be sharing here in my blog. The first documentary that I am going to share comes from a program from HGTV title World's Most Extreme Homes.

This house has caught my attention since it has a very unique exterior and interior. Most houses have edges and are basically squares and rectangles. This house on the other hand is a sphere and has a lot of curved spaces inside.

Check out the video below

Recycled Art: Old Computer Parts and Transistor

Every time I open my CPU I always get amazed at the complexity of each part working in unison to make millions of complex calculations every second. Whenever I take my CPU apart I can't help but admire how the manufacturers and designers of these parts worked hard to create these sophisticated components.

While I was searching the net for computer parts I saw some photo of some sculptures which used old computer components as the sculptors choice of material. I was amused with this unique art since it never crossed my mind that these old computer parts can be converted into works of art.

Although the shapes look simple, I bet that it took a lot of effort to create these sculptures. The texture of these computer parts also helped enhance the sculptures.

For more sculptures click on the links below.

Unique Hotels

I love buildings with unique designs and concepts. Out of the box designs, I get my inspiration. Seeing these designs motivates me not to confine myself to traditional solutions. It encourages me to look for a variety of possible solutions to the problem.

A few days ago, I was stuck with a mediocre design for an interior project. I needed to refresh my creative juices and find inspirations for hotel interiors.

I found the website unusualhotelsoftheworld.com and I saw a bunch of unique hotels. A lot of the posts have caught my interest. I searched through their archives and found a lot of creative hotel designs and concepts. I have found several hotels designed with adaptive reuse.

Below are some of the hotels which caught my attention.

Jumbo Stay
This will probably be the best sleep you'll experience on a jet

La Balade des Gnomes
Get to experience what the ancient greeks experienced inside the trojan horse with better facilities.

Magic Mountain Hotel
An enchanting experience inside this magical hotel it almost feel like you are in a fairy tale.

Crane Hotel
Now this is what I call sleeping on the job.

To find more unique hotels please visit the site below

Image Averaging - How to Increase Detail and Remove Noise from Images

Shooting with low light means that you need to use high ISO, resulting in a lot of noise. I found two articles that improve the quality of photos taken at a high ISO level. The first method is to stack underexposed photos to create a proper exposure. The other method is to stack a few high-iso photos removing the noise and increasing the detail.
Single Image ISO 3200
9 images averaged at ISO 3200

Going Wide, Fast or Tele

I have been browsing a lot of websites on some reviews on my next possible lens purchase. On my list are the Sigma 30mm f1.4, Zuiko 9-18mm f4-5.6, and the Zuiko 70-300 f4-5.6.

Although I rarely use the telephoto end of my current telephoto lens, I have been considering buying the Zuiko 70-300 as an alternative lens for my macro works. It would also be useful for my street photography because I can capture my subject from a distance and take candid shots of them.

The Sigma 30 mm f1.4 will be perfect for my food photography, as I shoot indoors with minimal lighting. It's also going to be great for portrait and low light shooting.

The Zuiko 9-18 ultra-wide lens would be perfect for taking photos of interiors and buildings that are useful for photographing my projects. It's decent for landscape photography too.

Upon close deliberation of all three lenses, it all comes down to choosing between the Sigma 30 mm and the Zuiko 9-18. I still can't decide which of the two lenses is going to be more useful to me. I regularly take food shots for my blog, and I do require a wider lens to shoot small interior spaces.

Both lenses perform excellently and are worth every penny. I guess I'm going to have to make my decision when the time comes to purchase one of these lenses. Below is a link on a Focal Length Simulator that I used to help me with my decision. I hope this is going to help you determine whether you want to go wide or telephoto.

Amazing Origami Sculptures

A few months ago, I started learning the art of origami. I've always been curious about how a blank piece of paper could turn into a three-dimensional artwork. My first attempt at origami was a simple rose. I realized that it took focus and concentration to finish one of the basic origami. It took me a few attempts to do this before I finished my first origami.
By Jeremy Kool

Lytro the end to unfocused Photos

Ever since I started taking photos I occassionally experienced having the perfect shot ruined due to focusing issues. Having a shot ruined becuase of a wrong focus has kept me looking for a software or solution in order to fix or prevent this problem. I've tried numerous programs such as photoshop and topaz in focus but have so far never made any drastic improvements to my out of focused images.

How Floating Homes Can Help Combat Climate Change

Rainy seasons have finally arrived here in the Philippines. A series of tropical storms and typhoons are heading here, bringing heavy rains and floods. After our country experienced the disaster of Typhoon Ondoy, I have been pondering a solution to flooding and how to prevent it from happening again.

Architects: Vandeventer + Carlander Architects
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

The Lego Apartment - Clever Design Solutions to Maximize Small Apartments

Back in college, our professors challenged us to design a fully functional cube house. As far as I could remember, the restriction was a 6m x 6m building footprint, and we could only half that area for our second floor.

As first-year architecture students, we had to crack our heads to fit all the furnishing inside the house. Looking back, I thought I was able to maximize all of the space in my design solution.

When I found a video on youtube, I realized that there is more than one solution to solving a problem. There are simple and straightforward solutions, and there are out-of-the-box clever solutions. 

One such design is the Lego Apartment by Architect Barbara Appolloni, which maximized every inch of the 24sqm apartment. Although the apartment has a small space, the designer managed to incorporate all the apartment's basic amenities and storage space while still maintaining a spacious interior. Had youtube been available back then, I would have gotten my inspiration from this video.

Check out the video and tell us your thoughts on his clever design.

Sliding House - dRMM Architects

I found this cool house designed by dRMM Architects. The whole exterior wall slides out and exposes a fully glazed enclosure. I really like the concept of the house and this is definitely thinking outside the box.

Here is the link to the article

Source: Architectural Record