Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ball of Confusion

This is for the Written Word challenge at Three Muses.
Click image to enlarge.
I went from thoughts of newspaper clippings to news in general, and pondered how we get over-saturated by bad news these days. I don't have newspapers lying around the house, so I started collecting terrible news headlines online and kept dropping them into layers (after a bit of formatting). Then I spherized them (spell-check doesn't like that word) and laid them over a globe. Then I did some swirly things behind it.

All the while, I had the old Temptations song "Ball of Confusion" running through my head. (You youngsters should look it up in YouTube--great song.) We were pretty pessimistic about the state of the world in those days. People still carry on as if the world is about to end. Did I mention we banned the news channels in our household about a year ago?

Monday, April 8, 2013


This is for the Botanical challenge at Take a Word.
Click image to enlarge.
The word botanical makes me think of those detailed drawings of leaves and plants. I was going for a somewhat whimsical look here. I wanted a leaf that still looked like a leaf, but also so you could see what I see when I look closely at a leaf--a little tree.

I picked a leaf and scanned the back of it where all the veins can be seen. Then I did magical things to it using probably five layers where I carefully separated the veins to color them brown and did some fancy footwork with noise and pixel effects to give them texture and a hint of leaves, and added a shadow to give them depth. I gave each tree a cast shadow, that was set at around 45% transparency. There are probably more than twenty layers in my working copy.

I used a photo I took this morning of a large lawn and played around with it to make it look a little more like a painting.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Yellow Moon on the Rise

This is for the Moon challenge at Take a Word.
Click image to enlarge.
The globes and stones were digitally created and finished up in Photoshop. The moon is from my brush.

Making a Moon Brush

I think Photoshop is one of those programs that even if you have used it for years, there is always something new to learn. I started using Photoshop at the start of the millennium, but it was only last year that I discovered the magic of brushes. My version of Photoshop is the very ancient CS2 for Mac, but I'm sure most everyone can follow along with me.

Brushes are very handy for anything monotone that you use a lot, or for something that repeats on your work. I've created brushes for the moon, trees, stars, shells, pearls, and one I use to trim my clouds. (Yes, you can use brushes with the eraser too.)

So, here's how I did the moon:

First of all, I found a picture of the moon at the NASA site and I trimmed away the black  space and left the background transparent. Then I reversed the image. Since the moon is white against a dark background, this is a necessary step, unless you want your brush to come out as a negative moon. I also lightened it, because the outer space pictures have more contrast than what we see here on earth.

Click image to enlarge.
The next step was to choose define brush preset which is located in the edit menu.

Click image to enlarge.
It will ask you to name the brush, and then the brush is created. It appear with your preset brushes. Now you can stamp away with your new brush. You can make it bigger, smaller, colored, or change the transparency. To toggle the size quickly, use the [ and the ] keys.

There are numerous tutorials on the web that also teach about brushes. Just google away and you will find them.
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