Mastering the Mac (aka taming the beast)

July 11, 2007 at 10:52 am (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The first Term of school is finished and I have one glorious week of vacation before I begin the second Term. Finally a little time to allow my mind roam free, no binding schedule, no urgent technical data to cram into my brain cells. Yet old habits die hard. I’ve spent my last three mornings reading a manual on Mac OS 10. But there’s no rush, it’s my own reading choice, so it feels leisurely and luxurious. I am determined to conquer the beast, my Macbook Pro laptop that I’ve been using for all my courses at school.

I’m Not Ashamed to Admit I’m a Loyal PC Lover

Windows is so logical, so user friendly, so intuitive. It has gorgeous thumbnail views of images that open immediately (unlike Photoshop’s Bridge). I can choose film strip view … whereas Mac on the other hand … well, let’s not get onto that topic, or I’ll go off on a tangent. No worries. I have a week to finish this manual and hopefully make peace with the beast.

My desktop home computer, a PC, is now completely full. Even with 3 external hard drives I’m still having troubles because I’m afraid to put my important images on the externals. One folder full of tifs and psd files already somehow became corrupt. Luckily, after several tense hours I was able to recover all the files from my other hard drives but had to painstakingly rename each file in the folder by hand. This worries me because I don’t know what caused the files to be renamed in all caps with a tilda ~ symbol, and all the extensions were capitalized instead of lower case. I’ve used the external drive on both my Mac and PC to load photos, and am wondering if this cross platform might have confused the external drive, but the LaCie is supposed to be cross-platform. If anyone knows what might have caused this, please let me know.

In the meantime, I’ve made the decision to get a new desktop computer … a PC of course !! My current desktop PC has 2 gigs of RAM. I’ll need much more to do the rendering I often perform in Photoshop when making a digital art piece such as the image below that I just finished moments ago. Hot off the press.

Once Upon A Summer Dawn

Finally Some Digital Art

It feels so wonderful to be able to fall back into my familiar routine of working all night, until the birds begin chirping as they’ve started doing right at this moment as if on queue at exactly 4 a.m. I worked for 3 days and nights on this piece. My creative juices seem to have become sluggish from lack of use. The school work load is so intense that there is no free time at all to do digital art. Most images take a minimum of 14 – 30 hours. With this one, because I’ve become rusty, I struggled with every detail. I finally finished an hour ago.

Detailed View

Visit my website: The Graphic Groove
Or my gallery on Flickr

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  1. Hemali Tanna said,

    Hi Gale!! Great to see yur art again!! I just loved this one… and this chil has such a lovely expression… the hair effect you gave is beautiful! πŸ™‚

    Was just doing a graphic where I dissolved on image over the other, it looks beautiful and sparkling… but as soon as i compress it to jpeg, all the sparkle goes…! then i have to print screen to retain the effect, and thus can’t save it in a higher resoltuion…
    Any idea why that happens? πŸ™‚

    Thanks.. πŸ™‚

  2. galefraney said,

    Hi Hemali,

    Yes, this usually happens if there is not a “normal” layer beneath the stack of Blending Mode effects. Blending Modes need to be flattened against a layer that is in the “normal mode” in order to retain their effects. So for example, if you try merging a layer that is in the “Overlay” mode with a layer in “Screen” mode or “Hard Light”, the effects will not work and will either appear muddy or all white. However if these Blending Modes (transfer modes) are merged against a normal layer, the effect should be retained. I am guessing that you somehow merged without a “normal” layer beneath the “disolve” layer … is this what happened?

    Gale πŸ™‚

  3. Hemali Tanna said,

    Hey gale, Yes, in the graphic only my background was a normal layer…. over that was hardlight, screen..(various modes), and over it dissolve, and i tried to merge all(includinfg the normal background) as jpeg, and that is why it is happening!! Thanks for the help gale! πŸ˜€
    I will try and see what happens, by mering the normal background with the one above which isnt ‘normal’, so it merges into a regular layer, and then merge this regular one with the one above in sequence.. lets see if dissolve works fine then!! πŸ™‚

    thanks a ton for the help! πŸ™‚

  4. galefraney said,

    That is interesting. Let me know what happens when you merge the other ones first, then the dissolve one afterwards. πŸ™‚

  5. Kress said,

    is it possible to talk to you about buying rights to put one of your images on my homepage of my website? i’m a stage magician – pls contact me, happy to also put links to your work…

  6. galefraney said,

    Hello Kress, What image did you have in mind?

  7. Nika said,

    Hi, i am a degree student living in the UK and was curious whether i could possibly chat to you either online or via msn for your work, as we were asked to find digital artist whos work we find effective to write about, and i would like to base mine on a few of your art if possible (all images and information will be referenced to you)

    ^ my college email



  8. galefraney said,

    Hello Nika,

    It would likely be ok, but I would need to understand a bit better what information you would be requiring and how and where you would be using my images.


    Gale Franey
    Vanoucver, Canada

  9. Nika said,

    Hi, it would be on a degree assignment i have got on Digital art and instead of just picking random pictures, and then commeting on what we believe the artist is trying to get i decided i would prefer to speak to you, so i could state what your views on the images were, (i hate when people justy put random made up information which could insult the artist of the work) if you would like to chat, like i said email me on:



  10. mohan.D said,

    Hi Gale Franey

    u done amazing work all are awesome


  11. Judy said,

    Your work is so beautiful. The detail and the lovely faces are mesmerizing.

    You must be quite proud of your work.

    Just a fan that appreciate beautiful art.

  12. galefraney said,

    Thanks so much, Judy. πŸ™‚

  13. Elaine said,

    Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I’ve just started doing digital art this week and it’s addictive.
    I thought I was making pretty good progress – and then I found your pictures. Wow!
    A lifetime of work lies ahead for me.
    I’ve been working with ULead PhotoImpact and barely know my way around the programme yet. I’ve seen references to layers – do you think it is absolutely essential to learn about and use layers?? So far I’ve been working on one plane (if that’s what you call it) or I suppose it would be just one “layer”. Your advice would be very much valued.

  14. galefraney said,

    Hello Elaine,

    When I first started digital art I also used Ulead Photo Impact. It is a good program to begin with. Layers are very important and are not difficult to understand or master. I would not be able to do a digital art piece without using layers and Masking. It is the basis of compositing. Once you get get the hang of it, you will really enjoy it. Best of luck with it.



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