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

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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.

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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.

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Masking With Smart Objects

February 24, 2010 at 7:17 am (computer art, Digital Art, graphic design, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , )

Painted in Illustrator then imported into Photoshop

Experimenting with Smart Objects

I created the woven mesh with Illustrator CS4’s blob brush tool, then applied multiple gradients. I overlapped the layers of this weave repeatedly, moving their position so that it created more of a tangled appearance. I recolored some of the layers using Live Color, altering the color order and saturation of colors to add depth. Then I simply selected these layers and copied them via the clipboard into Photoshop as Smart Objects and continued to manipulate them. I used a Mask created from duplicating the blue Channel of an image of a man. I then clicked on this new Channel in the Channels Panel and increased its contrast using Brightness/Contrast and Levels in order to Mask away portions of the woven texture to make it appear as though the man was constructed of this substance. I also painted directly onto this Channel Mask layer with Dodge and Burn and a paintbrush set to Overlay Blending Mode. This helps to add more contrast to the edges of the mask.

Afterwards I continued adding gradients to these layers in Photoshop, and dodged and burned onto the layers themselves. I also used the Liquify filter to tweak the effect.

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Smart Objects In Photoshop

February 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm (computer art, Digital Art, graphic design, Ilustrator, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , )

Advantages of Duplicating Smart Objects

I am putting lessons together for an upcoming advanced Photoshop / Illustrator class and was trying to come up with a way of delving into the pros and cons of Smart Objects, passing objects from Illustrator to Photoshop. The shapes began in Illustrator, then were brought into Photoshop as Smart Objects, allowing me to duplicate and rotate them, then make changes to the one object, ie: use Liquify Filter, dodge and burn, etc. which then updates all of the duplicated objects simultaneously. This can be very useful when using an object that needs to be repeated many times. Especially if it needs to be resized and rotated numerous times, which ensures that the crisp resolution is maintained.

This exercise will become a class lesson, which will demonstrate to students how to easily go back and forth between Illustrator and Photoshop, taking advantage of the strengths of each software to save time. For example, I never pick up the pen tool in Photoshop. I always jump over to Illustrator to draw the object because Illustrator allows me to add multiple fills and strokes, to offset stroke paths, to add numerous borders and brush strokes to paths, patterns, etc. It only takes seconds to cut and paste them into Photoshop where I can either place them as Smart Objects, shapes or pixels. I’ve now gotten in the habit of always opening both software and I hop back and forth as easily as if they were just two panels of the same program. It is effortless!

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Illustrator Pathfinder and Gradients

February 12, 2010 at 2:14 pm (computer art, Digital Art, graphic design, Ilustrator) (, , , , , , , , )

Use of Gradients and Shadow Effects

Pathfinder Creates Complex Shapes

The wasps are created using a circular shape that I alter with the pen tool. I then create an arc for the stripes using the Arc Tool. After rotating it into position I Alt drag it to create a duplicate. Then I select both of them and create a Blend with Specified Steps for the stripes on the back. I then use a Clipping Mask to mask the edges and add an inner glow to the yellow body shape. The upper body and eyes are colored with gradients. I make the legs using a Brush with texture and use the Reflect Tool to create the legs on the opposite side of the body.

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Realistic Art Using Gradients In Illustrator

February 10, 2010 at 9:57 am (computer art, Digital Art, graphic design, Ilustrator) (, , , , , , )

Illustrator’s Pen Tool With Gradients and Textures

How I Created This Box

I made this box based on a little ornate wooden box that sits on the shelf above my computer.  It began as one of those spontaneous things. I was at my computer planning a lesson for teaching Illustrator and I wanted to draw an object.  I looked around me and chose this box because of all the little brass bits.  I wanted to see if I could make  an image that would make them look like brass.  I drew  the basic shapes using the pen tool.

The wood texture is made with one of the “wood” gradients that ship with Illustrator, but I then played around with the colors and gradient stops, then altered the angle to  mimic old wood grain.

Afterwards I added 2 separate textures on top via the Appearance Panel’s multiple fill function, setting  them to Blending Modes, Multiply and Luminosity.  I reduced their opacities until the texture begins to look woody.

I did the whole thing with the box at an odd angle above me, occasionally taking it down to examine the brass bits.     I drew it with my morning cup of coffee balancing in one hand and the pen tool in the other. I only put down the coffee whenever I had to press Alt (Opt on the Mac) to get the convert anchor point tool. 

Yes, I’m back on coffee after a long time away from it … turns out it spikes my creative ideas. After my last “artist’s block” where I couldn’t come up with any ideas and project deadlines were looming, I went back to coffee and within a few hours I was happily creating art again. But I digress …. only later in the day did I think to take the photo of the original box (below) to show you what I was using as my model.

Photo of Original Box

First I Drew These Shapes

The box was at an angle above me so I first created the basic shapes without worrying about the exact size ratios. The feet were created using a combination of shapes drawn with the pen tool and Pathfinder to combine them.

Created the Basic Shapes

All the brass bits except the circle rivets are drawn with the pen tool. The reason the shapes appear symetrical is that I draw only one half of the object, then use the Reflect Tool  to reflect the object horizontally while pressing Alt (Opt on Mac) to duplicate it. I then join both halves together using Pathfinder’s Add function and zoom in and remove any redundant anchor points.

The Brass Bits

Below is what the shapes look like when viewing in Illustrator’s Outline Mode, Ctrl Y (Cmd Y on the Mac). It turned out to be one of those days where I got lost in the moment, totally losing track of time. There was a get together later in the day for the new Illustrators Meet Up Group. But I got lost in the ‘zone’, and by the time I glanced up at the clock it was already 9 pm, 2 hours late … sigh, I had been looking forward to it, the first get together of Vancouver’s Illustrators, in an Irish pub with beer … alas, and me with my empty coffee cup, a few cold drips left at the bottom, missed meeting the Illustrators because I was too busy illustrating … 🙂

Illustration in Outline Mode

And here’s a slice of it with anchor points displayed:

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