Saturday, October 31, 2009

Digital Art and More Patterns

I find myself sitting at the computer with a cold wrap around my shoulder and/or upper left arm and find that Photoshop soothes me somewhat; or at least helps me to get past the pain. Maybe this seriously is an addiction. At any rate here are a few things to share with you.




Okay, I'll stop now. I will try to do something more creative today.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Blind Contour Friday

Here is my latest attempt. I almost forgot about it, but when I went to my reader I saw Diahn's post and decided to try again.

I think this one is a little better than the elephant I tried last time, but I didn't attempt to put in the details "blind". Is that cheating? What do you think of this and could tell it was a teapot without my telling you?

Hope you like and hope I continue to improve. I'm off to check on others' attempts.


Pain, A Change of Plans and the AP

Apparently I overdid while at my Mom's house because my left shoulder is causing me a heap of pain and I don't seem able to shake it off. I am icing it and taking Ibuprofen, which is offering a bit of short term relief, but I am really hurting. This shoulder was acting up about a month ago and I could not pinpoint what caused it to be that way, but supposed it was from picking up my grandgirls who are getting too big for me to carry. I really don't know of any particular activity that caused the shoulder to hurt so badly this time, but think that maybe part of it is due to the AP (aging process). My sister has a doctor who frequently attributes her ailments/concerns to the AP.

I was planning to go to Ohio for an art weekend with almost a dozen women and I was so looking forward to it; but there is no way I can ignore this shoulder and I find that sometimes the only way to deal with it is to go to sleep. Wouldn't that be a great way to spend time with friends. I don't think so. I've got to admit that a part of my disappointment is due to the fact that the hubster provided 12 ATC sized pieces of wood for me to take. They are really nice and have rounded corners, are sanded and are about 3/4 of an inch thick. Perhaps I will take some to Kelli's next month to share.

Anyway while icing the shoulder for the umpteenth time yesterday, I sat at the computer and tried to make some art. Here are the results:

This is ATC sized and was fun to make. First I made the background pattern and then I used the Custom Shape Tool to draw the butterfly. I filled the butterfly with a gradient and then made another gradient on a separate layer. I then changed the blending mode of the upper layer until I saw something I liked. I believe I settled on Hard Mix to get this effect. The font is Beautiful Caps ES for the B and then Beautiful ES for the lower case letters.

I saw a cute little bluebird drawn from the front somewhat like this and really liked it, but I don't remember where I saw it. And I don't remember if it was part of a larger piece or what. I wish I could remember so that I could point you to that site, but alas another part of the AP is blocking my memory of it.

I have been tutoring Algebra this week, which is my favorite subject. I have a freshman nearby who hasn't chosen a schedule, but will call when needed and I have two juniors who are planning to come every Monday and Wednesday and then will call if they need more than that. I really appreciate having tutees, as the fees allow me to feed my art habit.

I hope you have a lovely day today. I cannot believe October is almost over. The little girls are so excited about Halloween and I am hoping to get pictures of their costumes. I suppose we have to buy some candy today, but we usually don't get more than a couple of trick-or-treaters because we don't live in a neighborhood; we live in the country.

I hope to get some kind of art done today. I should work on the wood piece I started last week. Some people think I should stop where I am, but I am not sure she is done.

What do you think? I am tempted to add more to the left hand side because I "see" a skull there with the eyes from the shapes and the shape along the border of the reddish portion. I'd love to get some input from you. Do you think it is done? In need of more work on the left hand side? Something else?

At any rate, I'd best get some ice on this shoulder and get started on my day. I hope to have something new to show you tomorrow.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Digital Matting - Photoshop Tutorial

As promised today I will go through the process of making a mat template.

File > New

I set mine at 10 x 8 at 240 pixels/inch.

Edit > Fill

Use any color. This is just a template.

From the ruler areas pull out guides. I set mine 1 1/4 inch in from all sides.

Using the guides, select the inner area of the rectangle using the rectangular marquee tool. Delete.

Add a new layer and using the rectangular marquee tool, select the open area of the document. Making sure you are on the new layer, fill it with a contrasting color. The color doesn't matter; you can change it when you use it. Then pull out more guides. I set mine in 1/4 inch from the existing guides. This gives me a 1 1/4 inch outer mat and a 1/4 inch inner mat. You may use different dimensions if desired.

Using the new guides make a selection inside the new color. Delete.

Using the guides again make a selection just inside the outer mat. Edit > Stroke
I used 10 px for the size and white for the color.

Click on the fx button at the bottom of the layers palette and choose either blending options. Select bevel and emboss and leave the default settings.

Do the same for the inner bevel by adding a new layer and then selecting the innermost opening and adding a stroke. Use the same settings as for the outer bevel.

Save as a .psd template

Now for some fun, let's use this template. Open the template. Select a picture you want to mat and either copy and paste it or drag it onto the template.

Resize as necessary and drag the picture to the bottom of the layers palette so it is behind the mats and bevels.

Select the inner mat (Command-click on thumbnail in the layers palette) and choose Edit > Fill
Use the eyedropper tool to select a color from the picture and choose OK. If you don't like your first choice do it again.

Do the same for the outer mat and you are done. Unless you want to change the colors chosen. Here is my finished matted picture.

 Maybe that is a bit much. Maybe I like this one better.

Or maybe.......

I hope you liked this tutorial. This is meant as a guide. You could certainly make your mats of different widths and your bevels larger or smaller or whatever other changes you want.

Let me know if this works for you or if you need more clarification.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Coming Home

It is early morning, not yet light out. I have begun the packing up to leave the motel and head to Mom's for coffee and homemade zucchini bread before hitting the road.

The hubster called last evening to tell me that the phone hadn't stopped ringing since I left. We have the girls today and their Dad's grandfather (who'd been at home with Hospice) died while I was gone. Also a neighbor had called for math help with her son and the high school student that I had been expecting to call had called and wanted to set up some tutoring.

We had a great time here with Mom. She stayed with us the night before and we played Yahtzee and talked all evening. Yesterday we started out around 7 am, went to the casino with the free tokens the motel had provided, visited my very sick sister, Margaret (she has been suffering with MS for more than ten years and is now confined to her chair where she cannot even move her legs on her own), made a side trip to Lake Huron with a small box of ashes to say a final farewell to my brother, John, who died of cancer in July of 2008, and then drove to the Goodwill store and Walmart in the Soo (Sault Ste. Marie) to do a large grocery shopping. My Mom lives in St. Ignace where there is only one grocery store and their prices are twice what they are elsewhere. A very full, sometimes very emotional day.

After showering and getting ready to go this morning, I decided to post to my blog and found some lovely pictures to share with you.




I digitally matted these pictures some time ago. The little one in the last of the pictures is now almost 7 years old. I had completely forgotten that I had these.

If you like these, perhaps this could be my next tutorial. As you can see these are ready to be printed and framed. I really love the look of these mats and they are quite easy to do.

Do let me know if you would like to learn more about them.

For now, I really need a cup of coffee and should get this old bod in gear.

See you later!

Monday, October 26, 2009

On The Road to Mom's

Good morning,

I am getting ready to hit the road for the four hour trip to Mom's to help her celebrate her birthday. My sister is going with me, so the trip will be a lot more fun than if I was driving solo.

It is so nice to have a sister to visit. She arrived around 1 pm yesterday and the grandgirls were here to visit with her for a couple of hours. They all spent time together making cards for Rena the Great (my Mom, their great grandmother). Then when things got a little quieter (the little girls went home), we played Game-o-rama - Scrabble, Yahtzee and Cribbage. Big Fun!

Here is a little bird to adorn my page today. He was made with Art Rage and is sorta cute.

I am taking my MacBook with me so may post tomorrow. I think I have Photoshop CS2 on the laptop, so maybe I will have goodies. The only drawback is that I don't have a tablet for that computer. Maybe  Santa will get me a Bamboo.

Gotta run! See you later,

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Photoshop Tutorial - Word Art

Here is the word art I made yesterday. I am using Photoshop CS3. Except for the spaces in the text of his legs, I am quite happy with him. I actually scanned the page in a dictionary that had the word elephant on it.

Shall we begin:

Open a new document to begin. I chose to open a standard letter size: 8.5" x 11" as I thought it would be easy to work with this size.

Open the text file you are going to use. I scanned the page of the dictionary that had the word elephant on it.

Select > All (Command-A), Edit > Copy (Command-C). Go to new document and Edit > Paste (Command-V).

Open the document that has the picture to which you are going to clip the text. In my case it is a template of an elephant from Martha Stewart.

Your picture may be ready to either copy and paste or drag and drop into your working document, but for mine I only wanted the large elephant so I used the rectangular marquee tool to select him and then Edit > Copy and Edit > Paste him into the working document.

As you can see that is one big elephant. At this point I have two choices: I can make the elephant significantly smaller and leave the text in this orientation and then go on to the next step or I can orient the text in the other direction and then make it work. I chose the latter. To change the orientation of the text, first make sure you are on the text layer in the layers palette and then Edit > Transform > Rotate 90ยบ CW.

You now have the choice of using the Transform tool to make the elephant smaller or to make the text larger. I chose to make the text larger.

Making sure you are still on the text layer, Command T (or control T for PC). This is the same as going under the Edit menu and choosing Transform. I try to use shortcuts whenever possible. This significantly cuts down on the "work".

When you do this, if you can't see the corner handles, Command-0 (that is a zero) will show the bounding box. To make the text larger and constrain proportions, hold down the Shift key as you drag from a corner. If you want to transform from the center, hold down both Shift and Option (Alt on a PC). Get the text the size you want and then either double click within the bounding box or go up on the menu bar and click the check mark to accept the transformation. Then making sure you have the Move tool in the tool bar selected, you can move the text behind the elephant until you are satisfied with its placement.

We are almost there. Now you need to move the text above the elephant in the layers palette. To do this simply click on the layer you want to move and holding down the mouse drag it up. You could of course click on the elephant layer and drag it down to achieve the same layer order.

Now to see the magic begin, hover your mouse between the text layer and elephant layer and hold down the Option (Alt on PC) key until you see the cursor change. At that point, still holding down the Option (Alt) key click between the layers. This creates a clipping mask. I think you could also find the clipping mask option under the layer menu, but I am a big fan of shortcuts.

Now you need to flatten the image so that you can remove the grey of the template without losing the elephant shape. Depending on what you chose to clip to, you may not need to do this step. At the top of the layers palette on the right is a little fly out menu. You can see it in the image below. Select Flatten Image.

Almost done. Now get the magic wand tool and click in the space between words where the gray color resides. This selects all the gray in the template. Then Delete.

Hey, either nothing happens or my background just changes color!!!!

Look in the layers palette. Is this layer the background layer and does it have a lock on it?  Double click on the layer and when the box appears just click OK.

Now when you hit delete, the background color goes away.


Here are some options for you. If you want to save this elephant on a transparent background so that you can use him in other projects, you could crop him and then Select Save As.... and save it as a PNG file. I want a background behind him for today's lesson, so I will put a layer behind him and fill it. To get a layer under the layer on which you are working hold down the Command (Control on PC) key as you click on the "add a new layer" icon at the bottom of the layers palette. If you don't use the shortcut and just click the add a new layer icon, a new layer is added above the elephant - no problem - simply drag the new layer beneath the elephant and then Edit > Fill it with the color of your choice. I chose white.

Now I am going to choose the Crop tool and get rid of some of the white around him so that I can save this file.

Before I save this image, I am thinking about what I am going to use it for - I am going to post it online, so I select Image > Image Size and change the resolution to 72 ppi.

Okay, I am going to save this file. File > Save As.... and choose JPG as the file type. And I am done.

Here is one more time! Ta Da!

Of course, I have been thinking the whole time I have been working on this tutorial - what if at the very beginning I had selected the elephant and changed the selection to a path. Could I then just type in the shape and get the same idea with a different look? Stay tuned - I may have to try this.

But, for now, it is time to get it in gear.

See you,