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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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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Girl In Blue

October 4, 2010 at 12:53 pm (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , )

It’s been ages since I’ve created a piece of art for my myself. The joy of being able to allow the creation process to go in whatever direction it wants to take, not knowing what the end result will be is a very pleasant process. It is one of the most enjoyable things to do.

Between teaching and working on art for another children’s book. Always so busy that I rarely get time to just immerse myself into free form digital art. This piece took about 100 hours to complete. It is a combination of compositing and painting in Photoshop.

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Checking Out Illustrator CS5

June 28, 2010 at 11:51 am (computer art, Digital Art, Ilustrator, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , )

I’ve been so busy creating lesson content and teaching Photoshop and Illustrator that I’ve barely had a moment to myself to just romp around in Photoshop and Illustrator, just for the sheer fun of it. Much of my time is spent working on tutorial videos for the students. I’m about to begin a new children’s book about a small child’s dragon adventure. I will use Illustrator to create the dragon but will do the rest of the art in Photoshop. I’m looking forward to being able to work in CS5 to delve into all the new features. I was using the stroke width tool today and it is beyond fantastic. I also played around with the perspective grid. I haven’t tried it long enough to see whether it will be utterly amazing or whether it will have glitches similar to Photoshop’s Vanishing Point. So far it looks quite promising, but did have a few issues, when I dragged an object that was drawn on one perspective, offset path added and then grouped with other objects, when I dragged this object into a new perspective surface the perspective was not correct, it was adding the new perspective on top of the prior perspective instead of making the calculation as though the object was facing forward. So maybe I should have first created these objects outside the perspective grid, then placed them onto the grid surfaces. I’ll experiment a bit more to find out if this is the way it works.

Below is a gif animation I created from scratch in Photoshop, part of a class lesson on filters and effects.

See No Evil – created and animated in Photoshop

After creating all the parts from scratch in Photoshop, the eyeball is made with Photoshop’s 3D, and afterwards I opened Photoshop’s animation workspace and created the animation frames for the gif.  Here is a screenshot of the settings I used.  Each frame is 0.2 seconds, except for the middle frame which I set to 5 seconds.

I created this piece below in Illustrator CS5, then added some finishing touches using Photoshop CS5.  I wanted to let my imagination wander while acquainting myself with the new tools and features. The art below is the consequence of my meanderings. Enjoying CS5, there seems to be no major issues. I got a bit confused in Photoshop’s new mask edge panel, it looks quite different from the panel in CS4 which was very easy to use.  This new panel seems less straight forward but I will forgive it if the new detect edges feature ends up working as all the promo videos promise (I am always a bit of a skeptic at first because I still clearly remember all the hype around the Extract filter when it was first being launched.  Now Adobe seems to have abandoned it entirely and treats it like the unwanted step child, not including it with the installation DVDs).  What I’ve noticed is that with Adobe’s initial demo videos, they are careful to choose only those images which are ideally suited, and they avoid ‘regular’ images that most people use, where the results are far less than satisfactory.   I’m curious to see whether this new detect edge feature works on regular, ordinary, every day images, not the 50 MB high res tifs set on a perfectly smooth, one-color background images that are used in the demo videos ….. 🙂

Created With Illustrator and Photoshop CS5

Visit my website: The Graphic Groove

Or my gallery on Flickr

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Illustrator Gradient Mesh Guitar

April 8, 2010 at 8:23 am (computer art, Digital Art, graphic design, Ilustrator) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Created With Illustrator’s Gradient Mesh

This guitar is 100% Vector

Here is another example of gradient Mesh, used to add a soft contoured gradient on the body of the guitar. Illustrator’s regular gradient tool would not be able to add this kind of contour and this is where gradient mesh comes to the rescue. First a mesh is carefully drawn using the gradient mesh tool (the tool in the toolbox that looks like a Spiderman web). If care is taken in the beginning to place the mesh lines, then afterwards, coloring the mesh is quite simple, using the lasso tool, white arrow tool and eyedropper.

Other Parts Created With Gradients And Pattern Textures

All the other parts of the guitar were created by tracing them with the pen tool, then adding numerous fills set to various Blending Modes via the Appearance Panel. Some of the fills were set to Pattern textures to give the appearance of wood texture, and texture on the abalone inlay bits and tuning pegs.

Art Brushes Used To Create Wood Grain

I drew brush strokes and added the Artistic / Charcoal / Rough brush to create the wood grain pattern on the body of the guitar. I experimented until I found the one that best mimicked the wood grain I wanted.

Visit my website: The Graphic Groove

Or my gallery on Flickr

Return To Gale’s Home Page

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Illustrator CS4 Gradient Mesh

March 23, 2010 at 2:34 am (computer art, Digital Art, graphic design, Ilustrator) (, , , , , , , )

Created With Gradient Mesh

Gradient Mesh adds depth to Illustrator Art

I’ve been putting together some tutorials about gradient mesh and created this fish to demonstrate the basics of this feature. Once I finish recording the tutorial I’ll add the link here. Stay tuned.

Visit my website: The Graphic Groove

Or my gallery on Flickr

Return To Gale’s Home Page

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