December 30, 2013

Photoshop CS6: Visual QuickStart Guide/ Elaine Weinmann & Peter Lourekas

006.686 WEI

Very concise; fully illustrated. Organised by features.

Some handy tips I picked up:

p.205. Clip Adjustment layers
Hold down the ALT/ OPTION key; click between the line of two layers to clip/ unclip them.

p.208/ 209. On using the Histogram panel
How to read the histogram; what's well balanced (basically must cover the graph range), under-exposed (slanted towards left with gaps on the right); overexposed (slanted towards right with gaps on the left); shadow pixels clipped (graph is like under-exposed but raised all the way on the right); detail loss (where there are comb-tooth like gaps between the graph).

p.264. Photomerge command/ feature (via Bridge)

p.336 Puppet Wrap command
Edit > Puppet Wrap (use SHIFT/ ALT/ OPTION keys for effect)

p.377 Transform (e.g. detach) effects
After creating the effects, right-click the Effects listing on the layers panel, then "Choose Layer" from the context menu.

July 17, 2013

You Can Do a Graphic Novel/ Barbara Slate

The cover looks kiddish but this is an easy-to-understand, practical and informative book for those interested in creating a graphic novel.

Covers the how-tos of scripting, creating characters, plots, layouts.

It's not a very in-depth book but it doesn't have to be. Seems it's targeted at teens. Nonetheless I found this very insightful. I thought it covered the essentials.

Tips may seem somewhat simple but somehow they don't seem lightweight. Maybe because every piece of advise is steeped in practical experience.

Like turning off the overly critical voice that casts negativity to the whole creative process (So true! The creative craft is hard enough as it is).

Far from making motherhood statements, the advice are like timely reminders:

"Writing is rewriting. It is a rare writer who gets it on the first try."

The parts that were most practical for me:

Creating a profile of your character (e.. name, age, parents, siblings, describe the childhood, education, home life, employment, leisure activities, clothes, personal characteristics, love life, best friend, favourite colour, room mate... etc).

The "How to Plot" portion, much like working out a Gantt Chart for graphic novelists.
  • Colour-code each character (e.g. post-it notes).
  • Create columns, with each column representing chapters.
  • Write the scene/ idea/ dialogue for each character on the coloured note.
  • Place the note in each column (i.e. chapter).

Doing the above means the author is able to track the plot/ sub-plot, as "lived out" by each character, according to the chapters.


The author's website, here.

July 09, 2013

ImagineFX: Fantasy & Sci-fi Digital Art/ Dec 2012

Some photoshop layering tips from Dec 2012's issue.

P88. Workshop feature by Annie Stegg.

  • Group layers together, and apply Mask (mentions Alpha Mask; restricts painting to the area).
  • For lighting, suggests creating two layers: one set to Multiply and the other to Colour Dodge. Work between these layers to get definition and depth.
  • Once basic lighting is done, add texture. Create a new layer; "setting a basic Speckled Brush to Screen"; put the layer on Soft Light.

  • Use Emboss and Bevel effects (try setting the directions to Up/ Down) to create inset looks on plate armour.
  • Shortcut: Use [F] to cycle through different screen modes in Photoshop.
  • Use the Smudge tool to "pull" hair strands when painting hair.

July 07, 2013

ImagineFX: Fantasy & Sci-fi Digital Art/ Sept 2012

ImagineFX sept 2012

From ImagineFX Sept 2012, p75.

Screen print effect using Photoshop:
  • Filter > Pixelate> Colour Halftone
  • Opacity to 15% or less
  • Blend mode: Overlay
  • Change the angles of the Halftone settings.

Learned about a software called Manga Studio.

June 22, 2013

Adobe Photoshop CS6 essentials/ Scott Onstott

One thing I learned from this book: manipulating text/ fonts and working in tandem with path/ vectors.

Use the Pen tool; draw a path (free form or straight); then select the Text tool; place over the path (cursor will add on a little symbol to show a path); click and type.

Easy to follow short exercises.

June 18, 2013

Painter X for photographers/ Martin Addison

Useful primer on Corel Painter. I'm using version 12 and can follow this easily even if its talking about an older version.

Comprehensive section on the various brushes, pens, pencils etc. Particularly useful on understanding the various Clone Brushes and their effects.

Dedicated section on Clone painting. With short descriptive tutorials and examples.

Customising brushes, paper textures.

Explains watercolours, oils and pastels, blender brushes, portrait painting, hand colouring, Layers, printing and presentations (colour management).

May 27, 2013

27 First Set (Twenty-Seven)/ Charles Soule & others

A "how to sell your soul to the devil and get away with it" story, told in a refreshing contemporary way.

Rock guitarist wants to regain his ability to play. Somehow gets hooked up with an entity called The Nine.

Not exactly the devil but a devil's bargain in that sense.

Strange buttons embedded in his chest, each giving him strange creative abilities.

He gets 27 chances, hence the title.

And what happens in the end?

A perfectly logical twist.

Like I wrote earlier, in a way this is the ageless "how to sell your soul to the devil and get away with it" story.

Like the Billy Goats Gruff triumphing against the troll.

Underdog wins. That's all I can say.

(Aside: from another angle, it's like the devil and trolls being short changed, but that's for another tale, I think).

April 25, 2013

Chew/ John Layman & Rob Guillory

Had to borrow these since the title sported my family name!

It did not disappoint.

Tony Chu is a "cibopath" investigator for the US Food and Drug Administration, one who can get psychic impressions (past sequence of events) by taking a bite into things. Some things include corpses.

What a oddly different class of super powers.

Plus a really weird storyline that's so quirky and somehow believable, in a comic book way.

The FDA is a powerful agency namely because if the Avian Flu outbreak, resulting in a global enforcement of a chicken and poultry ban.

Add some high-powered (money and/ or similar new superpowers) characters -- baddies and sidekicks -- in a unfolding conspiracy, plus Alien writing in the sky.

So very X-files.

April 05, 2013

Adobe Photoshop CS6 Digital Classroom/ Jennifer Smith, AGI Creative Team 26

Clear instructions; illustrated. Good systematic approach in learning Adobe Photoshop CS6. Presented as specific lessons and tasks (vs just describing each features).

March 27, 2013

Secrets of Corel Painter Experts: Tips, Techniques, and Insights for Users of All Abilities/ Daryl Wise

Features individual Corel Painter users. Each digital artist shows a work, explains how its done. Most have a sequenced walk-through.

Plenty of inspiring works; insights into the digital art creation process using varying preferred techniques and styles.

A few artists I really liked (interestingly they happen to be asians):
  • Song Yang
  • Benjamin
  • Youchan
  • Pete Revonkorpi