Let’s get digital

What do you do when you have run out of things to blog about?  Why, you dig out old digital art files of course!


Ahhh, glorious Photoshopping memories! Lee, I miss those Saturdays when we would be on Yahoo! Messenger online for hours as we talk about techniques and tools and hunt online for the perfect stock photo or texture layer. And of course, the KM days. If you notice, I deactivated the forum for now since it’s only attracting spam-bots and it is not exactly easy to delete those accounts.

Anyway, remember this, my friend? My entry to our very first Colour Challenge. Can you guess whatthe colour inspiration was? 🙂 I love that Lee got inspiration from actual names of Crayola crayons. Remember the Mac and Cheese colour? Anyway, this was a feeble attempt, thank goodness for stock.xchng!

Ahh, my initial attempts at blending. I was never as good as Lee or Sam, who are Blending Goddesses, but this was almost a cheat since it was too easy to use a mask for the crown. I liked it though and always considered it good work.

River Tam. Obviously done during the height of my Firefly obsession. This was a tangerine colour challenge, not sure now of the exact colour but orange is not my most favourite colour to use or work with.  Yes, I used to play with layered textures, opacity levels and blending options.  And that darned lasso tool!  I blame that for deteriorating my eye sight.

Most of these are date stamped and, oh dear, I can’t believe it’s been that long ago since I made these! Lee, I have very fond memories of our Film Poster Challenge. I think it was the one and only time you and I faced each other off. And it was so much fun! You are a Photoshop Goddess so I had my work cut out for me. I think there were four rounds but I can only find three posters in my files. This first one was an unexpected inspiration. The stock photo was a lot brighter but that gypsy earring of hers just hit something in my brain and all I could think of was “gypsy”.  And years later, I still haven’t worked out what the “curse” is!

Round 2 for me was all about the stock photo. This has to be from LiveJournal’s Hi-Res Hotties, that was our main source back then. Looking back on this now, I think I could have done something different and included maybe Tinkerbell hovering over “Alice” to make the connection to the title more pronounced.  I could have done more masking and blended “Alice” onto Captain Hook’s ship or something.  I was such a sucker for the diffused glow effect!

Final round. Ding-ding-ding! I think Lee won the challenge, to be honest. Must dig out her entries so you can ooh and aah at her awesome talent. This is the most far-fetched idea ever and there is no chance they could ever bring this pairing into the screen for real. The concept might work though, if some sci-fi writer actually picks up on it and writes a cohesive, believable script. The best thing I love about this challenge was coming up with tag lines for the “movies”.

And then there was this “flower” phase. Lee led me to an online gallery of high resolution stock photos of flowers and, well, the rest is history. There was a lot of playing with the pen tool too!

Second only to hunting for textures, my time was spent looking for the perfect quote to go with a wallpaper I was working on. This lily is beautiful as it is, but no, I had to go strap some sappy line across it. Thank goodness I found the perfect one. I have always wanted to get this printed onto canvas and hang it on my wall. Maybe one day. And pray that I don’t get sued for copyright infringement!

More flowers, as desktop wallpapers, hence the rather empty look of it.  I would not have been able to do any of these things without the amazing tutorials out there.  And the great help from online friends who share the same passion.

The holidays were always great source of inspiration. It’s like the 365 photo projects, only with this you add layers upon layers of other resources to the main photograph until you get the right balance you want. It can be as little as 4 layers (main photo, brushes, text and texture) or as many as 85 (Lee: ” Did I hear someone call my name?”). 🙂

The thing with Photoshop is that there are trends too. Vector brushes became the hottest thing so everyone was using vector brushes in their work. Blending options had their hey day too and the Smart Blur and Diffused Glow were two of my most favoured blends.

Of course, it all began with this. Orlando Bloom. I’ve never even heard of Photoshop until I ventured into an online forum at the time of the Lord of the Rings phenomenon. And there was no shortage of stock material either! High resolution photos of Orlando Bloom were all over the internet and everyone was using them for graphic arts purposes. I did mostly wallpapers and this one below is the reincarnation of my very first OB wallpaper, the Sharp Dressed Man series. I used the same stock photo but re-did the textures and layers and colour tone. It showed me just how much my technique and style has grown over a 2-year period.  I prefer this second version of course.  And, oooh, my old friend, good ol’ motion blur!

How many layers? I don’t remember, but this is the one work I did which had A LOT of layers. Looking at it now, I would probably add another texture layer on top and blend it to multiply. The surface is too smooth I think. This was the wallpaper I made which had a lot of great comments. Someone even suggested getting it printed onto T-shirts! You guys…

Ah but this one is the most popular! This one actually got printed onto an A4 photo paper and was actually held by the man himself. Yes! My good friend Jackie from the UK snuck this one in during the Kingdom of Heaven premier in London and shoved it in front of Orlando’s face. He then signed it with a sharpie and returned it to Jackie. And Jackie sent it to me, crumpled a bit but still pretty, and it is one of my most prized possessions. Makes me happy.

I told you about Photoshop trends right? Pop art was one of them! I got into the bandwagon, yes. I think I even did a series of those iPod icons. Anyway, this has got everything!  Pop art, textures, brushes, blending…you name it.  Oooh wee vector brushes too!

And then I entered the fashion stock phase. There were plenty of fashion stock photos on the internet and they tell a story. Most of them are shot and presented as if they were intended for graphic manipulation. It wasn’t difficult to resist esp when you have so many resources at your fingertips. I especially loved this one. The model’s pose suggested the theme right away so I just had to put the elements together to make it work.

Oh and I love love this one! It was my “chaos outside the box” phase. I loved keeping the main image clean and separated by a border and outside you have everything going in, all the while staying true to the KISS mantra of course.

Then it all turned dark. I was following artists in deviantArt who had a lot of darkness and edginess in their work and I suppose some of it rubbed off on me. This was one of the last few works I did so I don’t know where it would have taken me if I continued to play in Photoshop. The stock photo was gorgeous but I wanted to make it grungy. Enter plenty of textures and scratches and multiplied blending options. What do you think?  Miss Angelina Jolie, please don’t sue me!

I used the same technique here but with a bit of colour. Still intense, and someone said a bit depressing actually, but I was going with what the stock photo was telling me.  The dark bleeding on her shoulder and neck are just brushes, not blood.  It was interesting to see how one image takes you to these places.

Ah but this one was my darkest work.  The stock image was just screaming for it!  I have a coloured version of this but I cannot find it right now.  It was a lot less intense but the message was still all over it.

It was in early 2007 that I stopped playing around in Photoshop.   After that the most use I get out of Photoshop was flyers for work and resizing photographs for the blog or my online shop. I would love to play again though.

Hey, Lee, fancy a round robin challenge? 😉

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