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cildarithModerator
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Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step
      #1124316 - 08/31/06 10:37 AM Attachment (232 downloads)

Last weekend I spent much of the evening sketching Messier 27, the Dumbbell Nebula in Vulpecula and associated objects. In this thread I'll demonstrate the composition of my M-27 sketch in fifteen steps.

Materials used include a mechanical pencil with #2 lead (5mm), black ink, and three blending stumps.

Attachment

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Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124318 - 08/31/06 10:38 AM Attachment (195 downloads)

Step One: Anchor the sketch with bright field stars. Positions are plotted from Millennium Star Atlas data.

Attachment

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Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124320 - 08/31/06 10:38 AM Attachment (200 downloads)

Step Two: Place nebula. This was done with my finger-tip rubbed in a blot of graphite. This glow will be the foundation of my sketch of M-27.

Attachment

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Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124321 - 08/31/06 10:39 AM Attachment (196 downloads)

Step Three: After scrutinizing the planetary nebula in the eyepiece for 15-20 minutes, the basic hourglass shape is rendered with a moderately sized blending stump (8946B). This step roughs in the large-scale structure of the nebula.

Attachment

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Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124323 - 08/31/06 10:40 AM Attachment (189 downloads)

Step Four: A smaller blending stump (8943B) is used to add smaller details. It is also used to deepen the shade of brighter areas.

Attachment

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Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124324 - 08/31/06 10:40 AM Attachment (183 downloads)

Step Five: A very small blending stump (8941B) is used to add delicate filamentary details. Enhancement of bright areas continues as well.

Attachment

--------------------
Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124326 - 08/31/06 10:41 AM Attachment (168 downloads)

Step Six: Fine details are subtly blended into the overall structure of the hourglass. Additional details incorporated after another long look in the eyepiece.

Attachment

--------------------
Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124328 - 08/31/06 10:42 AM Attachment (162 downloads)

Step Seven: Additional field stars are added, including the central star and a fairly bright star embedded in the SW edge.

Attachment

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Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124331 - 08/31/06 10:44 AM Attachment (166 downloads)

Step Eight: Additional faint field stars (including a few additional stars involved with the nebulosity) are added to complete the sketch.

Attachment

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Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124334 - 08/31/06 10:44 AM Attachment (167 downloads)

Step Nine: After scanning, the image is brightened slightly to eliminate scanning artifacts. A delicate balance must be observed here; it may be noted that I did not eliminate all of the stray specks and streaks, but I observed that further brightening began to seriously degrade the nebulosity.

Attachment

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Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124335 - 08/31/06 10:45 AM Attachment (162 downloads)

Step Ten: The sketch is darkened slightly (by 10%). This will simulate the skyglow once the image is inverted.

Attachment

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Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124340 - 08/31/06 10:46 AM Attachment (189 downloads)

Step Eleven: A white mat is applied to the sketch.

Attachment

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Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124343 - 08/31/06 10:47 AM Attachment (166 downloads)

Step Twelve: The sketch is inverted.

Attachment

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Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124347 - 08/31/06 10:48 AM Attachment (168 downloads)

Step Thirteen: The nebulosity is smoothed out and slightly brightened with the 'airbrush' set on pale gray at 90% transparency (10% opacity). This restores some of the clipped shadows and provides a smoother texture to the image.

Attachment

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Eric
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124350 - 08/31/06 10:49 AM Attachment (160 downloads)

Step Fourteen: Star images are cleaned up, reducing their size and eliminating their irregular shapes (mostly).

Attachment

--------------------
Eric
6" f/6 Parks Newtonian
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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124356 - 08/31/06 10:50 AM Attachment (177 downloads)

Step Fifteen: A pale greenish tint is added to the nebula, and tints applied to field stars that I noticed color in. The sketch is now finished.

Attachment

--------------------
Eric
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kraterkid
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124393 - 08/31/06 11:10 AM

Eric this is a wonderful step by step tutorial you've created! The end result is astonishing and sublime! Thank you for spending the time and effort to put this together for us.

--------------------
Rich



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atoptics
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: kraterkid]
      #1124471 - 08/31/06 12:02 PM

Eric that's an excellent and very useful description. Thanks. Les

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Les
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Jeremy Perez
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: kraterkid]
      #1124476 - 08/31/06 12:05 PM

Excellent tutorial! Thanks for putting it together for us. I didn't realize (or maybe I forgot) that you use multiple size blending stumps, working down to finer points as you go. Beautiful rendering of M27 also!

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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1124862 - 08/31/06 04:36 PM

A mighty sketch, Eric !!!
And of course (one would forget) an excellent observation.

Thank you for sharing this.

I admire your technique.

I find your process very understandable, except for step 14. IMO Step 14 is a giant leap forward in quality of the sketch. What is your technique for cleaning up the star images?

Clear skies,

--------------------
Rony

'The Casual Sky Observer's Guide.'

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cildarithModerator
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: rodelaet]
      #1124984 - 08/31/06 05:29 PM Attachment (68 downloads)

Thanks guys, I hope the sequence is useful.

Rony, step 14 is new to me as well. Jeremy demonstrates this in his latest tutorial particularly Step 3, Figures 3-6. I find the process very time consuming, but like you said it makes the overall sketch much, much better, and so worth the extra effort.

Here is a compressed version to the sketching steps 1-8, and the final product, 15:

Attachment

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Eric
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desertstars



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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1125112 - 08/31/06 06:45 PM

Great stuff, and extremely useful.

I'd pin it to the top, but the last time I did that (Jeremy's work) people stopped posting in the thread!

--------------------
Thomas Watson

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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: rodelaet]
      #1125746 - 09/01/06 03:29 AM

Eric,

Thank you for providing us all with a wonderful tutorial on your observation of the Dumbbell Nebula (M27). This tutorial combines your artistic technique along with processing tricks. Your effort is appreciated by us all!

Carlos

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Faith_J
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: CarlosEH]
      #1125828 - 09/01/06 06:54 AM

Yes, indeed. Thanks Eric, much appreciated.

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Erix
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: Faith_J]
      #1126659 - 09/01/06 03:17 PM

Perfect, Eric! Thank you very much for doing this for us. I have added it to the sticky thread so it will be handy for future reference.

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Erika
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: cildarith]
      #1126904 - 09/01/06 05:40 PM

Eric,

Thanks for clearing out the 'clean up' process. I can imagine the patience needed to complete the process.

I (am lazy and) mostly try a 'faster' work-around with a blurring or softening tool applied on the whole sketch in one pass. When a nebula is involved, I protect it with a mask before applying the tool. A drawback is a loss in brightness of the stars. One can compensate that with adjusting the brightness levels, or gamma value.

--------------------
Rony

'The Casual Sky Observer's Guide.'

My Astronomical Sketches

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Callibrate your Monitor with this little strip.



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Archon
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: rodelaet]
      #1127634 - 09/02/06 03:30 AM

Thanks for the tutorial cildarith. I've never used a blending stump so I will need to research techniques on how to use them and find a place to purchase some.

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Archon
Dark Sky Journal



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Special Ed
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Re: Sketching M-27 Step-by-Step new [Re: Archon]
      #1127779 - 09/02/06 08:52 AM

Eric,

Thanks for showing us how you work your magic. Your tutorial is very clear and the result outstanding.

Archon, if you don't have easy access to an art supply store, you can order stumps and other supplies here: http://www.dickblick.com/

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Michael Rosolina
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