Dinosaur Card

September 26, 2008 at 8:33 am (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , )

Dinosaur Card – Girl Version

The card project is almost complete, just one more card in this series to finish. Creating the dinosaur took about 3 days. The background took a lot of experimentation before a prehistoric fantasy atmosphere began to emerge. It was a lot of fun making this one.

Although the dinosaur is purely fantasy, I still spent time researching dinosaurs to get some idea of how the various sub-species bodies, feet, necks varied. There were were so many varieties, meat eaters, docile vegetarians. Some were huge and others were smaller, about the size of a cow, some even smaller. Although many bones have been discovered, there aren’t many preserved samples of skin textures and colors. Many of the reconstructed drawings are mere guesses. I used this to my advantage and decided to use lizard like scales and feet and give it a docile personality. I combined several bits and pieces of digital lizard and snakes skin to create the skin.

This card, like the others will soon be available from http://www.flattenme.com and are persnoalized for customers, where their children’s faces will be inserted into the card. There will also be a boy version, that I am still working on.

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Another Children’s Book – GlitterGills

July 21, 2008 at 6:42 am (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I made this animation from the Toad I created for the book

I’ve been living like a hermit for the past month, working day and night on a new series of digital art images for another children’s book for the same company as The Tuesday Mushroom King, commissioned by www.flattenme.com  I am averaging an image every 3 days plus an additional day to complete the alternate boy/girl version.  Normally I need to take some time between digital art pieces to replenish my creative energy and let new ideas formulate and marinate.  But timelines for this project are much tighter and in order to meet the final deadline I have to work on images back to back.  This has been both challenging and at the same time enlightening because it has taught me a lot about my own creative processes.  Now I know for future projects how to best stimulate my creative juices and to work most effectively.

This story is about children who live under the ocean and frolic with fishes and seahorses.  Their bodies are half human, half fish.  Very sweet concept.  Like the previous book, people will be able to send images of their own child which is inserted onto the main character’s throughout the book, and the child’s name is also inserted throughout the book as the main character, to make it a very personalized gift for a child.  There is also a page at the beginning of the book with a personalized dedication from the person giving the book to the child.  A really delightful idea from the people at Flattenme, who have a whole series of children’s books available.

It took me some time to design the toad, who plays a main role in the book.  I created him combining realistic images combined with fantasy art that I conjure using Photoshop.  Many of the other characters like the seahorses, octopus, etc., are melded with reality overlapped with fantasy.  

I have just three more images to complete,  and the book be available shortly after August.

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My Unfulfilled Imagination

November 25, 2007 at 7:35 pm (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , , )

Blue Belle

Yesterday I woke up in a certain mood, one that comes so seldom. My imagination was just bursting with ideas. I could clearly see at least 5 fully developed ideas, as though they were already alive and complete on the ‘digital canvas’. But school began at 8:30 a.m. and didn’t finish until 5 p.m. Even while walking to the bus stop every thing around me seemed different. Colors appeared sharper, every tree distinct and alive with intense colors and personality. I saw one tree with twisted roots that looked like a human figure curled on the ground, contorted with dispair. Seeing this evoked even more ideas. I could clearly see each finished piece before my eyes and it was painful having to waste such a mood on mundane technical studies (I had an exam and had to finish a project building a database).

I arrived home late in the evening and began working on this image. The sparkle that I’ve placed in her hair and in the water was one of those happy accidents. I was reaching for one of the Blending Modes when my fingers slipped and I chose Dissolve instead of Screen. I liked the effect. The background / foreground is built from at least 25 or more bits pieces. The woman is made of 20 or more pieces. When I’m working, I add layer upon layer and continue blending, burning, dodging, coloring, liquifying, and adding, a continuous process until I create the exact scene that I have in mind. This one took about 14 hours to complete.

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November 5, 2007 at 6:27 am (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , , )


I had been doing homework all day, and opened Photoshop, intending to do some color correction on some images for a website. I had been looking at some templates in InDesign and became inspired by a color combination, a muted turquoise and peach color. I began playing with color in Photoshop, and before I knew it, I was off in an entirely different direction and 9 hours later, at 6:30 a.m., this digital art piece was born. I worked all night on it and was practically hallucinating from fatigue by the time I finished.

This is the second one I’ve ever done on my Mac Powerbook. All the others, except Farewell to Summer have been made on my PC with my two large duo monitor set up. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d tackle a graphic on this tiny Mac Monitor. Although it is 17 inches wide, and has 1680 x 1050 resolution, the screen is wide but not tall and with the high res. screen, everything appears much smaller than on most monitors. Anyway, I guess this means that I’ve officially made peace with my Mac (although I still prefer my PC).

More Than Half Way Through

I’m now in Term 3 at school, and it is so encouraging to know that I’m more than half way through the course, which finishes next April. The last term was bloody murder as far as the workload was concerned. It was a true test of human endurance. So many nights I was up past 3 a.m. doing homework assignments, and on weekends was often up until 6 in the morning. I started drinking Red Bull and Sobe to keep awake during the day. These days I’m either wired on lack of sleep or Red Bull … or both.

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Photoshop Crashed – I Lost A Full Day’s Work

October 17, 2007 at 6:36 am (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Farewell To Summer

I spent two days and nights making this digital art piece, approximately 35 hours or more. It is the first one I’ve done on my new computer, with its 6 gigs of RAM and high octane processor. But I still ran into problems because in the Preferences for Photoshop, the maximum RAM that I’m able to allocate is 2 gigs. I did this but Photoshop was still running slow on this file, which at times ran upwards of 7 gigs!! (the image you see here is only 5% of the original size).

Late last night, after I had almost finished, the PSD file with all its layers had expanded to more than 5 gigs. I hadn’t yet merged layers in order to bring it down to 2 gigs (which is the maximum that can be saved in Photoshop’s PSD format). The unthinkable happened. It was a Catch 22. I couldn’t save because I wasn’t ready to merge layers, and I had worked since early morning. I’ve never known Photoshop to freeze, but it did, and shut down. My entire day’s work was lost.

The error was actually my own. The crash happened when I was dragging an image from another file into this file. I did it very quickly and I think I might have closed the source image file before the other file had fully received the image. I won’t make that mistake again. Then I got that pop up window saying that Photoshop has encountered an error and has to shut down (the message apologizes if any unsaved work has been lost) … I didn’t want to close that little pop up window because as long as it stayed open, the frozen image still remained. I sat in shock looking at the image for about 15 minutes, thinking what I could do to save it, before I finally had no choice but to close the pop up. Everything shut down.

This image’s original size is 8640 x 11520. I think this is the largest size I’ve ever worked with, however there were far fewer layers than in many other files I’ve worked with in the past.

I was impressed when I was able to use the Liquify Filter on an image this size. On my old computer, Photoshop would have told me I didn’t have enough RAM. Although it took more than 4 minutes for the Liquify window to open, and another 7 to save the changes, it was well worth it, because I used to have to slice copies of portions of my images & open them in another file in order to use the Liquify on such large images.

For about half an hour I was in shock and wondered if I should just forget the project. Then I decided to start all over again from scratch. The other version was completely different. Emina was in water and the background was completely different. Her dress was also entirely different. Although it was a horrible experience, it turned out to be interesting seeing how the piece morphed into something so different from the first version. I think I like this one better, but I also really liked the mood of the other.

It’s now back to school (I had a week off). I’ve finished Term 2 and am beginning Term 3, taking New Media and Web Development, which includes design, Photoshop, Flash, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Pro Tools, Adobe Illustrator, etc. It’s a great course but the course load is so heavy that I rarely have a moment to immerse myself in digital art.

I’ve used the face of the beautiful Emina, but the body is comprised of so many bits and pieces. I made the dress entirely in Photoshop.

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

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