I am still exploring the Adobe Creative Cloud, trying to find all of the ways it can improve my workflow. There is a Kuler app for iPhone that has already proven itself to be a fantastic new tool. Using your iPhone’s camera, the Kuler app will sample colors of whatever it sees and build a Kuler swatch bar. Here are a couple of grabs from the Adobe website.
While the camera image is on the screen, it will randomly sample colors. You can also drag the little “dots” to specific colors you see, and it will sample those. Then Kuler has several editing pages that will allow you to modify and tweak the colors until you have exactly what you want. To give the process a try, I went exploring in my front yard. I grabbed a swatch from a Crown of Thorns flower and also the leaves on a Hong Kong Orchid tree. These are the resulting swatches, I did not edit the colors in anyway, these were random Kuler samples.
You can then transfer the swatches to the web, where you can access them directly in Photoshop. Each color in the swatch can be sampled or transferred right into your swatches palette. Using only these colors, I quickly sketched two bushes. The one on the left is from the Hong Kong Orchid palette, and the one on the right is from the Crown of Thorns palette.
I see a lot of potential for this app. I am constantly looking for art and design ideas, especially colors, and this is going to work fantastically.
A great concept can win a project or get a project quickly approved. Presenting that concept in an inspiring manner and telling the story in a clear concise way will assist in both instances.
I do a lot of site concepts, for builders as well as architects. I have found that bright colors, plenty of landscaping, and an artistic feel create the best solution. Contrasting colors will easily distinguish pathways and pedestrian areas, while low contrast colors between the parking and landscape help reduce the visual intrusion of the hardscape.
The whole artwork can be created in Photoshop using the cad file as the base. Converting the cad file to an eps allows for easy import and maintains thin, precise lines that do not intrude into the graphic. A combination of fills and freehand painting within Photoshop bring the concept to life. In addition to approvals and presentation, the rendered site plan is a very effective marketing tool when included in marketing materials like brochures and websites. Printed in a large poster size format, it serves as a great tool in the sales center.
Music has always been an important part of my life. Playing music seems to be a part of my family. My dad, uncles, brothers, sons, nephews all play guitar. I remember taking my first guitar lesson when I was about six years old, and later I played in a band throughout high school and college.
Some of my best memories, however, were the improv jam sessions my family would have on sunny Saturday afternoons on my Grandfather’s back porch. The music was all acoustic, typically bluegrass, which was a big departure from the good old rock n roll I normally played. My Dad and my uncle were amazing musicians and kind of led the song direction.
One day my Dad came home with a beat up old banjo, and with a big grin, handed it to me. I just returned his gaze with a quizzical look, and he just said “For Saturday!” I lived with that banjo for a week to learn a passable Foggy Mountain Breakdown. The back porch jam session arrived, and I surprised everyone with the banjo, and we played a rousing verse of what I had learned. Upon reaching the end of the tune, my uncle excitedly asked “What else do you know?” I replied “That’s it!” I think we played the same song for four straight hours, but man, we had a day to remember.
Afterwards, that banjo went into storage, and was forgotten. But over the years, I always wanted to learn the banjo, and about a year and a half ago I bought a new one. I have had a lot of fun learning to play, so much so, that I decided to feature a banjo in a painting. The banjo in the painting is a creation from my own imagination. The artwork is a mixture of my love for music, the banjo, and creating art.
“The Banjo” is available as various sized prints in my Etsy shop.
I recently joined the Adobe Creative Cloud. After watching all of Adobe’s videos on the concept, I thought I would give it a try. The monthly plan is definitely more comfortable than thousands of dollars for an upgrade. Plus I like the idea of always having the most up date versions of the software. The only issue I have had so far has been a couple of crashes in Photoshop. I have been using Photoshop for many years, and it has always been my most reliable tool, so that has really surprised me.
For me, one of the most exciting features is the inclusion of Kuler as part of Photoshop. I have been using the Kuler website for years, and it has become a trusted friend. Having access to it withing Photoshop is incredibly powerful as well as convenient.
To access it, use the menu at the top. Go to Window | Extensions | Kuler. It will pop up as it’s own panel. I actually dragged it to the panel group where my Color Swatches are and docked it. That way it is always readily available. The operation is identical to the Kuler website. It even has a live link to the site to provide easy access to the online libraries of swatches. It is a great tool made even more convenient, a very welcome part of the upgrade.
Creating a distressed look to type, or any other element, is a relatively simple exercise. It can, however, really help develop a rustic or weathered theme for your project. First create the element to which you wish to apply the effect. In this case I will demonstrate on the ColorSketches logo and a simple border around the image.
Next create a texture. This will provide the effect, the design can vary, different patterns will create different distressed effects. I have created the stipple pattern shown below. Once you have the texture the way you want it, use the selection tool to place a rectangle around the texture. Then save it as a pattern with Edit | Define Pattern…
The last step is to add a layer mask to the layer which contains the element to which you want to add the effect. In the layers palette, make sure you click on the mask icon that appears net to the layers name. Create a selection around the element and fill with the pattern you just created. You can see an example in the graphic above. The top logo is before the effect, and the lower logo has the mask applied. I have also applied the same procedure to the lower and right side portions of the border. Have fun experimenting by filling with different patterns, you can achieve any number of interesting effects.
It is hard to believe a whole year has passed since my last holiday tutorial on creating a stylized and shiny Christmas Tree in Photoshop. For this year, I have had some with a Santa Claus carrying his magical bag of toys.
Before starting to paint Santa, I did a little research on how artists have been portraying Santa. Unsurprisingly his appearance has evolved over the years, becoming ever more contemporary looking. Attracted to the Santa persona of years passed, I decided to make this one more of a vintage Santa Claus. I roughed in a sketch, creating a shorter, rounder Claus holding a very, very large bag of toys. To fill the color palette, I decided to use the colors of vintage Santa artwork circa 1900 to 1930. The reds and greens from that time period are very distinctive. The beard and fur colors have a definite yellowish tint, which not only “age” the vintage Santa, but adds a little warmth. The environment seems to be lit by the warm glow of a late night fire. Hope this gives you some ideas if you want to have some fun with holiday artwork of your own. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I recently created a set of architectural illustrations for a multifamily residential project. They represented various aspects of the rather large development. Among the goals the builder wanted to accomplish on this Italian style design were some marketing concepts of the rear courtyards on the townhomes.
Small and simple, the plans reflect the way the outdoor courtyard spaces become part of each home’s living space. Each provides a fountain and sitting area with some low maintenance landscaping for aesthetics as well as privacy.
The artwork itself was created freehand in Photoshop using a variety of natural brushes. The landscaping plants themselves are loose and representational but suggest the colors and masses of possible garden ideas. The colors are bold and were carefully chosen to provide an eye catching marketing graphic for print as well as web presentation.
There are several holidays that bring out the creative side in everyone. Halloween seems to be one of them. There is something about Halloween that fuels the imagination.
Even though I do a lot of my digital art in Photoshop, Painter is still a very valuable tool. Its dedication to traditional media brushes and pencils is invaluable for getting certain strokes and textures. There are a lot of possibilities and unlimited variations. Here are a few samples of out of the box pencils.
Painter also allows you to save to a PSD file, so if you want to create a piece with both Photoshop and Painter you can. Use the most effective tools from each software package to maximize your efforts and create something impossible with each one alone. I guess it is a “mixed media” painting in a digital sort of way.
No stranger to social media, when I first heard about Pinterest I was not sure I wanted to take on yet another platform. After exploring, however, it actually seemed like fun.
Without a real strategy, I have been experimenting to see how it works. I have created several boards featuring images that relate to my online projects, but for the most part, I have been using it as more of a research storage space. Particularly useful as a reference is the “art of lettering” board. If you are doing Pinterest, please stop by my board!