Shiva Nataraja Cosmic Dance

November 17, 2018 at 1:27 pm (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop CC, Photoshop CS6) (, , , , , , , , , )

Shiva Nataraja Tandava

Shiva Nataraja Tandava

Lord Shiva performing the dance of creation, preservation and dissolution.

My most recent digital art painting, using a combo of Photoshop CC and CS6 with a medium sized Wacom tablet Pro with Pro Pen 2 on a Mac Pro (2013 “trashcan model”) running MacOS High Sierra.   I began the project using Photoshop CS6 but finally gave in and subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography package that included just Photoshop CC and Lightroom.  I would have liked to subscribe to the entire software bundle but am on a tight budget at the moment so had to settle for only Photoshop CC.

I painted this in Photoshop using a variety of brush settings.  Some of the peripheral aspects have been composited, then afterwards, morphed, warped, re-coloured, re-painted, etc.   I’ve been trying to paint most portions from scratch and rely less on compositing which takes me more time but is much more enjoyable and challenging.


Shiva (detail view)

I’ve been away from Photoshop for quite some time so am a bit rusty, re-familiarizing myself with all the tools and functions, especially getting myself up to date with the new features in Photoshop CC.  Just when I begin to feel comfortable and at home, Adobe puts out a new version of Photoshop CC so I’m back on the learning treadmill once again.

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Boris Penton – Top Knoch, Dragon House dancer

August 13, 2014 at 10:45 am (Digital Art)


Poster I created for Boris Penton, stage name Top Knoch – dancer animation-style

Boris was a prior contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, and is currently a contestant on America’s Got Talent with his group of fellow Dragon House dancers.  His style of dance is referred to as ‘animation-style’.  He provided me with several digital photos which I extracted portions and stitched together in Photoshop, along with digital painting techniques.

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Nature and Animal Fantasy art

December 12, 2013 at 11:28 am (Digital Art, Ilustrator, Photoshop CS6, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , )

Some illustrations, created using Photoshop CS6 a combination of image composits and digital painting using Photoshop’s mixer brushes and pressure sensitive settings for Intuos 4 tablet.  I also used Illustrator for some of the splatter effects.

Pegasus winged horse

Blessing Book – Pegasus – Winged Horse

The ocean spray was created using a simple custom-made Photoshop brush, set to scatter in brush settings.  Both the tail and mane were hand painted using Photoshop mixer brushes, set to Wet: 1%, Load: between 50% – 100%, Mix: 3%, Flow: alternated between 10% – 100% by using the shortcut keys Shift 1 = 10%, Shift 5 = 50%, Shift 0 = 100%, etc.

Swan Blessing Book

Blessing Book – Swan

For the detailing around the heart shape I used a custom scatter brush made in Illustrator, then imported into Photoshop where I then added various layer effects (bevel and emboss, outer glow).  Much of the detailing in the water and on the swan are painted using mixer brushes.

Blessing Book - Butterflies

Blessing Book – Butterflies

The water droplets were created in Photoshop, hand painted, then applied layer effects: bevel/emboss, inner glow and inner shadows.  I used the Liquify filter to smudge a few of the droplets to make them appear as though the water is dripping down.

Dragon scrap book

Blessing Book – Dragon

Most of the dragon was painted in Photoshop, although the pattern on its back was made using a snake texture which I afterwards painted and colorized.  The pattern around the text was made in Illustrator using vector shapes and pen tool, then imported back into the main Photoshop file.  The sparkles are a simple custom-made Photoshop brush set to scatter, with outer glow applied.

Blessing - Dolphin smiles

Blessing – Dolphin Smile

The kelp, background plants and coral on the far left (behind kelp),  and also the distant mountains were painted in Photoshop.  The spray is a custom made Photoshop brush set to scatter.  The dolphin is made with multiple composit pieces, then painted and distorted using Photoshop warp tool and Liquify filter.

Egret with babies in boat

Blessing Book – Egrets

Feather details painted using Photoshop mixer brushes, some of the details on the boat created using custom pattern brush made in Illustrator.  The fine spray on water is a custom-made Photoshop brush set to scatter, then afterwards I added blur and outer glow effects.

Monkey plays bugle

Blessing Book – Monkey playing bugle

Monkey compiled using multiple images, then altered using warp transform and Liquify filter.  Afterwards the fur was hand painted using mixer brushes.  Detailing around text is a custom-made Illustrator scatter brush, then imported back into Photoshop where I then added layer effects: gradient overlay, outer glow, etc.

Fawn and bluejay

Blessing Book – Fawn

Combination of composited images, then hand painted using an array of Photoshop mixer brushes.  I also use the regular brush, but I find that the mixer brush is more subtle for mixing colors and when adding very small soft lines.

Cat sleeping by fireplace

Blessing Book – Cat Sleeping

Much of the cat’s fur, especially around the edges are hand painted.  When extracting images, fine fur details are lost.  I used to try to replace these using Mask refinements and selective channel masking.  But recently I find that painting back these details creates much better results.  The sparks are custom brushes set to scatter, with outer glow effects added.  Lighting effects are achieved using a combination of Blending modes and layer masking, and also selective dodging and burning.

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Cyrus Glitch Spencer

April 22, 2013 at 7:29 pm (computer art, Digital Art) (, , , , )


Digital Art Poster of Cyrus Glitch Spencer

I created this using a combination of digital painting and compositing, done in Photoshop and Illustrator. It’s a tribute to the very talented animation-style dancer, Cyrus ‘Glitch’ Spencer, whose dedication and positive attitude is deeply inspiring.

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Better Way To Embed SWF Into WordPress

February 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm (computer art, Digital Art, Flash animation, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , )

I’ve discovered an even better way to embed swf files into my blog. After I wrote the last post mentioning the VodPod method, I tried to upload more video and the uploader wasn’t accepting the URL I was copying and pasting although I had used the same method as before (see my previous post). This was endlessly frustrating and I can’t figure out what is causing this. I’m not sure if you will run into a similar problem.
But good news, there is an even better way. Simply add the tags below. Feel free to use this code and my swf file to try it out for yourself.

How I Made This Fishbowl Guy Animation

This animation, by the way, I made using Photoshop CS5’s animation, importing full 3D objects, then adding textures, creating the stars with a combination of “add noise” and then “Filter / Other / Offset / Minimum, then adding levels and gausian blur.  Then I made the globe by applying 3D to an image of a map (but first used “offset” filter to ensure that any seam line was eliminated).  I went to the timeline and animated the 3D object’s rotation, then animated the cloud mist (mist was made with Filter / Render / Clouds set to Screen Blending Mode with opacity reduced).  Then I animated the guy’s head movements and the text. Animation in Photoshop is quite simple because all Photoshop’s layers, FX, blending modes, etc., behave exactly as they normally do, so the learning curve is very simple.

Afterwards, instead of saving this project as a video, instead I exported  a jpeg sequence. Then it’s simple from Flash to simply import these images directly onto the timeline.  Simply go to Import and navigate to the folder where you’ve exported the images, then click on just the first image of the sequence.  Flash is smart enough to recognize the sequential numbering and asks whether you want all the images in that folder to be imported onto the timeline.  Say  “yes”.    I then continued to animate, adding the fish swimming although I could have easily done this in Photoshop.  But I was using this project as a class lesson to demonstrate the ease with which the Adobe software are integrated.  Iit is simple to create artwork and animation by going back and forth between the various Adobe software, taking advantage of the each one’s strengths. This greatly enhances work flow and productivity.

Flash Interactivity is Retained

If you hover your mouse over this swf file, you will see some text appear, inviting you to visit my website and if you click on the swf, it takes you to my main website. This interactivity is coded directly into the swf file and when the file is embedded here in WordPress, that interactivity is fully retained. Quite amazing when you think about it.

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Embedding Flash Swf Files Into WordPress

February 6, 2011 at 12:22 pm (Flash animation, illustrator CS5, Ilustrator) (, , , , , , )

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Animated Butterfly, posted with vodpod

Voila! This is an embedded SWF File

As you might have already discovered, WordPress uses some security measures that strip embedded Flash swf files from your posts.  They only accept video from trusted sites like YouTube, Google and a few others. But those sites also don’t offer the option to upload swf files. However, there is a work around using Vodpod with it’s “Post To WordPress” button that can be directly added to your browser toolbar.  If you’ve not already done so, simply sign up for a free account at  Then you can go to and drag the “Post To WordPress” icon (bookmarklet) onto your browser toolbar, and you can now upload swf files via VodPod. Drag This Onto Browser Toolbar


You then just go online to the web page where you’ve placed a link to your swf file and copy the URL pointing to that file. Then press the “Post To WordPress” from your browser’s toolbar. A dialogue comes up.  Copy and paste the URL to this html file.  On the right side enter your WordPress user name and password, Title for the Post and message and press “Publish”.  Then wait a few minutes for the video to post.  At first I thought it didn’t work, because when I went to WordPress and opened the post, in the Visual Mode it doesn’t display an image of the animation.  It just shows something that looks a bit like code.  No worries, it’s actually working, ie: if you can see the animation above of the butterfly, then it’s working.

How I Made The Butterfly Animation

I created the butterfly in Illustrator, then copied and pasted just one wing and the body into Flash. I converted the single wing to a movie clip, then double clicked on it to get into its own timeline. I did a simple classic motion tween to animate it, 20 frames with 3 key frames. Before animating it, use the Transform Tool and drag the “registration point” so that it sits on the inside of the wing so that it animates from the inside of the wing. Afterwards I place 2 of these wing movie clips on the stage, select both and convert to a new movie clip called “butterfly”. I then double click to enter this movie clip and I create a new layer and place the butterfly body on this.

Then back on the main stage I use a motion tween to animate the butterfly from one side of the stage to the other. I created the cloud in Illustrator, simply using Pathfinder to combine several circular white shapes, then copy / paste these into flash, convert to movie clip, then add Filter / Blur to make them look all soft and fluffy 🙂

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Create Camera – Illustrator CS5 Tutorial

January 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm (computer art, Digital Art, illustrator CS5, Ilustrator, vector art) (, , , , )

This tutorial will demonstrate several of Illustrator CS5’s new tools and functionality. The new Shape Builder tool is used along with creating blends, adding multiple fills with Blending Modes such as Soft Light or Overlay onto a single object.  I will demonstrate how to construct complex gradients using the Gradient Panel along with the Gradient annotator.

Video Part 1


The camera strap is created using CS5’s new Width Tool which allows you to easily adjust stroke width on a path.  Dashed strokes are  used to create the stitching on the strap.  The new Draw Inside function and Clipping Masks will also be explored.

Video Part 2


Video Part 3

Video Part 4

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Happy Halloween

November 3, 2010 at 2:11 am (computer art, Digital Art, graphic design, How to make a gif animation) (, , , , , )

Here’s another gif animation created in photoshop CS5 using simple selections, paint brushes with some layer effects added. I then apply blending modes and adjustment layers to add rich colors and lighting. The pumpkins are duplicated, converted to smart object, then puppet warp has been applied to create 3 different poses. I then animate these using Photoshop’s frame animation. Feel free to help yourself to this little animation (just right click and “save as”). Cheers!

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Photoshop Animating 3D

November 2, 2010 at 11:49 am (computer art, Digital Art, graphic design, How to make a gif animation, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , )

Photoshop CS5 can handle 3D obj files. For this animation I made the texture transparent and turned on the visibility of wireframe and vertices. I then added a gradient overlay layer effect and some text effects. On a separate layer I created the sparkle over the letter “i” using a paint brush set to Dissolve. I then added an inner glow effect, set to red with a blending mode of Color Burn. I did the same with the text and with a few paths that I afterwards stroked with a brush that was set to “pressure” and had “angle jitter” applied.

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In The Garden Digital Painting

October 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , , )

I’ve been practicing my digital painting in Photoshop. Usually my art is made with bits and pieces of digital images but for this one I did the girl’s face, hair and body from scratch with painting. Afterwards I added some digital pieces to complete the background. But I’ve been wanting to spend more time mastering the brushes, especially all the new brushes in CS5. This one took about the same amount of time as the other method. I didn’t use any model or reference material so had to spend a lot of time really thinking about where the shadows, highlights and contours should be put down. But considering I haven’t spent a lot of time painting from scratch, I’m satisfied with this effort.

I created the hair by using a brush set to scatter and painted it using a Wacom tablet and the Art Pen that allows rotation, tilt and pen pressure. It would have been a lot more difficult or impossible to do it with a mouse. But I’m having a few problems with the stylus. When I set the brush to soft, it sometimes continues to lay down very sharp edged strokes. And with the mouse I can click and then shift / click to create a straight line, but when using the art pen the shift doesn’t respond the same way. A bit frustrating.

The reason I’m putting in the time is that I’m working on another children’s book that features a dragon. I’m used to doing single spreads of an animal / creature, but this is the first time that it will be repeated throughout all the pages, in different perspectives and poses. For some reason I ran into some difficulty creating one that I’d be able to recreate in all the varioius poses. I have to resort to a lot of painting from scratch, so I’ve been spending time practicing, trying to improve my skill level and get over the initial hurdle …

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