take 5: episode 1, at a crossroads


I was telling you yester-post how I’d reached a crossroads in my reimaginings. Here’s the thing:

A thing with which you’ll be familiar if the kind of art you make has the option to re-wind time….

Merrily trotting along to a certain point and Save;
Turn down a figurative side road,
Do more stuff,
Have an adventure.

….And also

Be back at that same junction,
and go a different route,
and have a different adventure – with a whole new cast of characters – and a uniquely new plot.

It’s like choosing between the many-worlds of quantum mechanics.

Now that I’ve dwelt on this a little while I like the idea of a Repeating Five-ness by making each episode of Take Five venture off in Five wildly different outcomes. Yay! Five times the fun!

But I digress. That comes after this:

This is where I’d value your opinion.

I know you’ll understand, as an artist, the hardest part is recognising that final tweak before you call a job jobbed and comfortably move on. Leaving it be. (I thought I was there.)

I really did.

The last change – IDK – do I like V1 or V2? I like them both. Which do I like more? The more I look, the less I know.

So it’s over to you guys…

Version 1:

take5_01smaller

Version 2:

take5_02small

…and a bit of detail from both. Just in case that helps any.

take5_01detail  take5_02detail

Please help me choose before monkey-mind talks me into looking for versions 3 through 48. (She’s very persuasive…!)

TIA lovely ppl X

take 5: episode 1


Y’know how I’ve been revisiting my digital art? I’ve also been rooting through my online galleries. Some of those pieces date back almost a decade, and some still hold up well. But some were looking a bit tired, a bit shabby, or just plain meh. So I archived them away.

I’ve still got most of the images from which they were made, so over the next as-long-as-it-takes I plan to re-photoshop some of them into new works: Hybrids of old and new ideas. I love digital for many reasons – the ability to do this is a big one.

So you can guess the plan from the title, right?

I plan to Take Five images, and frankenstein re-imagine them together into a shiny new beautiful something. 

These are the first Five contenders for the project.

At the time of posting I’ve reached a crossroads in the making of the hybrid. I’ll explain later…

seemingly seamless


Since I relaunched my website a little while ago, some folks have commented on the loop of images scrolling round at the top of the home page.

homescroll300hFullW

Loads of sites use scrolling images, and there are umpteen plugins and gizmos to magic up some kind of animated doodad like this. I used Electric Carousel, but there are many others out there.

Like everything, it’s easy if you know how. So I’ve put together this thing on how to prepare the pictures for a seemingly seamless picture-roundy-thing. It will assume a working knowledge of Photoshop.

 So here’s how: 

  • Starting out with one of the images you want to include, open it up in Pshop.
  • Now go Image>Canvas Size… [Alt+Ctrl+C]

endlessLoopSC01

What we’re going to do is put all the images together as a super wide picture like mine up there, then slice them up into separate images again. This’ll make sense again in a few steps time. 

In order to do this we want a much wider canvas to work on. For the sake of the screenshots I’ve done 300% width, but in reality I think I did about 1000%. Eyeball it. Use your best judgment. Or actual pixel numbers, if you’re that way inclined.

endlessLoopSC02

*Be sure to do these things: 

  • Uncheck  ‘Relative’. Otherwise it’ll make it taller as well as wider. We don’t want that.
  • Move the anchor point to Mid-Left. We want all our new canvas area on the RHS

endlessLoopSC03

  • Using the Rectangular Marquee tool you can select the LHS half of this image and copy to a new layer Layer>New…>Layer via copy [Ctrl+J]
  • Drag this new layer over to the RHS.
  • Shuffle your original layer to the left until the raw edges meet up and just touch, so you can’t see the join. Zoom right in. You wanna get this bit pixel-perfect. There will be an annoying hiccup if it isn’t bang on.

endlessLoopSC04

From here you can bring in your other images as new layers and arrange them as you wish. (I haven’t done this, pretend there are more images in the middle of this)

Now to chop it back up into separate images set vertical guides at regular distances across the width of the image. View>New Guide…  

Grab the Slice tool and hit Slice From Guides.

endlessLoopSC05

And finally, File>Save For Web & Devices [Shift+Alt+Ctrl+S]

endlessLoopSC06

Set your settings where you want them and hit Save 

endlessLoopSC07

  • Give it a great name like scrolly_thing.jpg or RoundAndRoundAndRound.jpg or whatever…
  • Be sure it’s showing  Format: Images Only & Slices: All Slices in the options
  • By the magic of Photoshop you’ll now have a set of lovely images, neatly numbered in a file called ‘images’, ready to load into the whizzy-roundy-thing of your choice.

 

 

I hope this is of some use to someone out there – drop me a comment if it is/n’t, or if there’s anything I haven’t explained clearly. 

 

Pixel Pushing


TOLdetailSmall

A while back I was remembering an episode in my life when indulging in messy painty art just wasn’t practical. Limited by space constraints, impeded by my environment – a short term let in a flat with a brand new carpet.

This coincided with the opportunity to teach myself to Photoshop. Digital cameras were still quite new. It feels like a thousand years ago compared with the ease of tech we can enjoy now.

I took to pixel-pushing immediately. What I thought was just a temporary work around became a big part of my world. An all engulfing passion.

Some years later when I went on to  fulfill the life long ambition of becoming a proper full time art student, and I threw myself back into all the real tangible visceral creativity that comes from paint and ink and clay and the such.

Contrast. It’s how I thrive. When I’m feeling flat and lacklustre I know I need to turn direction and play somewhere else for a while.

Just lately I was recombobulating my website, and in doing so I got back into photoshopping together some imagery. It’s been like spending time with a very dear old friend.

Now I’m nourishing my spirit by reinventing some of my doodles and paint sploshings in the realms of the crisply clean vector curves and the hazy glow of a Gaussian blur.

I’ve set myself some new challenges which I’ll show you soon. Meanwhile here are a handful of my favorites from a while ago…

(Prints of all of the above, plus lots more, are available from my shops on DeviantArt & RedBubble.)

 

 

thinking in digital


I got back into art after a long while away from it. Whilst ‘grown up life’ was busy occupying too much of my time and I pedantically stood in the way of where I wanted to be, I dwelt in a creative famine that lasted for too many years to recall.

The thing that brought me back to life was digital art: I acquired myself a computer with all kinds of glorious programs and bit by bit (ha!) I fathomed out how to make use of them. I began in Adobe Photoshop. And I fell in love with pixel pushing.

At this time I lived in a tiny one-room rented flat. Painting wasn’t viable: This carpet was new when I moved in, I paint messy, I can’t afford to lose the deposit.

sketchery

Digital was my perfect solution.

The ‘desk’ where my computer was homed was a big shelf unit, with the tower on the floor, the ginormous CRT monitor on one shelf, the keyboard and mouse on a piece of board I perched on my lap.

Ideal?

No.

But I was entranced by the magic of what could be done, so comfort and ergonomics were very much secondary.

After all, this is where my soul belongs: in the midst of a multicoloured frenzy of streaming ideas and glory. I Stuff like this began happening…

moreconcentric

And a short while, and on with the addition of digital camera, bits of ‘reality’ entered the mix.
daisies 2

I got massive value from the magazines that were about at the time – we’re looking back about 10-12 years ago now. All my spare money went on anything with Photoshop in the title.

I devoured the tutorials, I dabbled and played.

I was up all night on this stuff. A lot!

lamplight

I got my collaging head on.

And I took my ideas with me down this rabbithole of dreamscape.

(I’ve been there ever since)

digtal fings


hey folks, hope you’re all keeping well n keeping warm!

"Circle of Life" doodles & photoshop
“Circle of Life” doodles & photoshop



I’ve just been looking through some pics from last year on my computer, and thought I’d share with you some of my digital doings.

digital collage - this looks familiar from somewhere..!
digital collage – this looks familiar from somewhere..!

For about 10 years, pretty much all the art I made was based in the digital world.


"Golden London", photos and doodles
“Golden London”, photos and doodles

Having a small space in which to play was the reason I got started like this – it’s pretty much impossible to make an actual mess – you can’t spill pixels on the carpet and get in trouble with the grown ups for a start!
"Abstraction" Photos n Photoshop
“Abstraction” Photos n Photoshop

I became entranced, as I learnt new skills I was seduced by the squillions of options, and I poured my spare hours into learning more and more.
"Digital Pond Life", doodles in photoshoppery
“Digital Pond Life”, doodles in photoshoppery

While I still enjoy a good dabble, the world of inks and paints and stained hands (and, ahem, carpets… shh don’t tell!) and all that has, for now, won my heart.

Who knows what comes next! 😀