Posts Tagged ‘ CS4 ’

Spaced Out Blue Period

I legitimately did not realize it was November until I previewed this mini-blog post and saw the date in the upper left corner. I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if I had waited until tomorrow, or next week to kill some time in Photoshop by making these two simple celestial-themed wallpapers and then posting them here. I mean, it might’ve been weeks before I realized the month had passed. Given my state of mind, it would not surprise me much..

ea1701 practice space 3

ea1701 practice space 4

I am supremely tired, and in one of those I-wish-I-could-fall-asleep-and-never-wake-up kind of moods.  But every time I close my eyes my brain goes into overdrive. I can’t even get to sleep. So, I thought I’d blog.  I’ve got to do something, and I’m too tired to do anything else.

Here are some other quick ‘scapes I’ve done up over the past couple of days:

ea1701 practice space 1 ea1701 practice space 2 Practice by Karissa Cole 3 2013

This one is a free PSD download. Click the image to be directed to deviantART.

This one is a free PSD download. Click the image to be directed to deviantART.

I’ve gotten myself into the habit of using really saturated, over the top colors in my pieces (as you can plainly see). The two pieces I made today, at the top of this post, are a bit less gaudy.  I like ’em, and I want to try to get back into that style. I would also like some banana pancakes. We shall see which of these goals I am able to meet first.


Set the Clocks

Hello lovelies ♥

I’m feeling remarkably un-witty at present (although I do feel a bit warm and fuzzy, clearly). Normally I’d try to come up with some sort of snappy comment to introduce this latest piece but… yeah, I got nothing. So…

Set the Clocks by Karissa Cole 2013

“Set the Clocks” – my most recent celestial ‘scape. Earlier this morning I had a free hour (thank you insomnia) and I figured, since I haven’t done too much space art lately (thanks to digital art thieves taking my work and distributing it without my consent), well I thought I ought to get my feet wet again. I think I like how it came out. It might be low on pizzazz, but, I’m thinking it still works.

My work from earlier this year, “The State of Dreaming” was graciously featured as a Daily Deviation the other day, on deviantART (to my great surprise), and it’s kind of spurred me to continue dabbling in the art.

The State of Dreaming by Karissa Cole 2013

Sometimes I look at my digital work and I just can’t believe anyone out there actually likes it. But then I try to remind myself there’s no point in questioning a good thing, no matter how nonsensical it might be :)

Anyway, it’s probably safe to say I’ve got my head in the clouds today…or, mayhaps… in space…

All That Glitters – Apophysis/Photoshop Tutorial

What you need:

• the free fractal program Apophysis 7x
• photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop
• and basic knowledge of how to use both

What we’ll be making:

PS - 9 All That Glitters - Apo_Photshop Tutorial by Karissa Cole

Personally, I think a good tutorial should both clearly explain how the specific piece was made (so you don’t go nuts stuck with generalities, trying to figure out how they got that one detail just right), and provide several variations to try (so you’re not stuck with an exact replica of someone else’s work.) This is what I’ve tried to do here. If you follow the following steps closely, your result should look very similar to the image above. But I’ve also listed some variations you can try, so you can completely customize your final fractal.

Some things to note before you begin:

• This tutorial assumes you’ve already got working knowledge of Apophysis – how to create a flame and new transforms, where to enter in variations and variables, and how to make overall image adjustments. If you’re completely new to the program check out the Apophysis F.A.Q and be sure to also check out this icon-identifying tutorial as well.

If you use this tutorial – especially if you follow the steps to the letter – please respect my artistic rights and link people back to this blog. This is a courtesy to others who may wish to learn how to use this technique and to me (after all, I spent all this time creating this tutorial – and if you like it enough to use and show off, then I deserve a bit of credit.)

This whole process is fairly quick – less than an hour from start to finish. But as with all digital art endeavors, it might be a good idea to save your progress frequently to avoid losing anything you make.

If you are not specifically instructed to change the value of a certain variation, leave it at its default setting. For example, the default variations for a transform are: linear3D: 1; everything else: 0. If you are asked to change julian to 2 but nothing else is mentioned, only change julian, and leave linear3D at its default value of 1. This applies to weight values (default: 0.5), too.

Screen shots follow each step. Click any screen shot to see it larger.

When ready to begin, start off by opening up Apophyis 7x (or whichever version you have – it just must be 3D capable) and create a new blank flame.

Impatient folk – like me – who just need to know the bare essentials of this flame should take a look at the following (however, those who want the step-by-step with pictures can just treat this as a summation of what we’ll be doing):

xform 1)
• Weight: 0.05
• noise = 0.15 (try experimenting with values between 0.1 and 1.0)
• blur = 0.25 (try experimenting with values between 0.1 and 2.0)
xform 2)
• Weight: 0.95
• linear3D = 0.2
• spherical = 0.75 (try experimenting with values between 0.45 and 0.95)
xform 3)
• scale down twice; move and flip
xform 4)
• scale down twice; move and flip
xform 5)
• linear3D = 0
xform 6)
• linear3D = 0
• julian = 2; julian_power = 2

Depth blur: 0.2
Pitch: 60
Yaw: 10
Perspective: 0.7
Scale: 110
Gamma: 2
Brightness: 12


Open up the Transform Editor and make the following adjustments to Transform 1:

Weight: 0.05
noise = 0.15 (try experimenting with values between 0.1 and 1.0)
blur = 0.25 (try experimenting with values between 0.1 and 2.0)

Not much should be happening so far, so don’t worry if all you get is a bunch of “static”.


Add the following transforms with the specified features:

Transform 2

Weight: 0.95
linear3D = 0.2
spherical = 0.75 (try experimenting with values between 0.45 and 0.95)


Transform 3

• Scale down twice by the default factor of 125 (try experimenting with scaling down (or up!) by a different factor)
• Move the transform to the left and and rotate (see photo for reference but experiment with placement and position)

xform3 - scale twice

xform3 - move and flip

Transform 4

Weight 0.70
• Similar to transform 3, scale down twice by the default factor of 125.
• Move the transform to the left and and rotate. Note that this transform does not need to be placed in exactly the same spot as transform 3. See photo below for reference, but experiment with placement and position.

xform 4

Transform 5

linear3D = 0 (all variations should now be set to ‘0’)


Transform 6

linear3D = 0
julian = 2 ; julian_power (Variables tab) = 2


We’ve created all the necessary transforms. Now we’ll open up the adjustment window, and watch our fractal really take shape. Experiment with the pitch, height, yaw, and depth blur values. I used the following:

Depth blur: 0.2
Pitch: 60
Yaw: 10
Perspective: 0.7
Scale: 110

adjust pitch, blur, camera

(A note on scaling: for this piece I increased the scale but drastically decreased the zoom, thus allowing for about only 10 minutes of rendering time. Increasing the scale and zooming out this much does decrease quality somewhat, but as I had processing with Photoshop in mind for the final product, it didn’t matter. Adjust your fractal’s scale and zoom as you see fit.)

Switch to the Rendering tab of the adjustment window and change:

Gamma: 2
Brightness: 12

adjust brightness

Adjust the camera settings (rotate, X axis, Y axis) as you see fit. As I mentioned earlier, I zoomed all the way out. I also shifted the fractal up and to the right a little.

Now choose a gradient you like. I used a default. The gradient you choose will dramatically alter the way your fractal looks, so play around with it a bit. To spice things up a bit, hit the key combination ctrl+alt+n to randomize the color values.

When you’re happy, render your fractal! We’ll then open it up in our editing program to add some glitz (a word I never thought I’d use. Ever).

Open up your fractal in Photoshop. Set it to screen against a black background. (Ignore the fact that the screen shot says the blending mode is “Normal”. Heh heh. . .)

PS - 1

Create a new layer (ctrl+shift+n) [blend mode: normal] between your background and your fractal. With your circular gradient tool (shift+g x2) active, select a midtone color from your fractal (by alt+clicking). On this new layer create a gradient emanating from the center of your fractal. Lower the opacity of this layer, if need be.

PS - 2

Create a new layer (ctrl+shift+n) [blend mode: screen] above your fractal. With the same midtone color and a large, soft, round brush (low opacity) selected, paint lightly near the center of your fractal.

We’re creating our base light source here, so think about which bit of your image you want to be lit the most, the least, and somewhere in between.

PS - 3

Create another new layer (ctrl+shift+n) [blend mode: screen] and repeat this process, only this time narrow down the beam of light you paint.

PS - 4

To add a lens flare create a new layer (ctrl+shift+n) [blend mode: linear dodge] fill it with neutral (black), and set the lens flare at the epicenter of your light source.

PS - 5

For more lighting effects, duplicate your fractal layer [blend mode should still be screen], rotate it 180 degrees, stretch it and position it so it looks like a light trail from something crashing into the center of your fractal.

PS - 6

Continue duplicating your original fractal layer, warping it and positioning it in your image. Play around with the opacities of each duplicated fractal. (Be sure to erase any hard edges you may have during this part.) Optional: Create a color balance adjustment layer to fine tune your colors.

PS - 7

To add some neat finishing touches create a copy of all the visible layers (crtl+shift+alt+e). Duplicate this layer. To create a “glass-like” look apply the Smart Blur filter (default settings) to this layer. Lower the layer’s opacity a bit.

PS - 8

Fuss around with the colors and sharpness of the image until you’re satisfied. Then save your image. Done!

PS - 9 All That Glitters - Apo_Photshop Tutorial by Karissa Cole

Each of the following images were made using the techniques above:

All That Gliggers - Wishing Well's Magic by Karissa Cole 2013

Party (2) by Karissa Cole 2013

All That Glitters - Epiphany by Karissa Cole 2013 all rights reserved (2) All That Glitters - Original Glitter by Karissa Cole 2013 all rights reserved

I only just stumbled across this method yesterday, so I don’t doubt that there are limitless variations one could come up with using these steps as a base. I highly encourage anyone to experiment and have fun!

Time and Space (and Fractals)

I was sitting here for about 30 minutes trying to figure out how to begin this post. I was aiming for something elegant, sort of smooth that just draws you in, and laced with a fair amount of levity to keep things fun. But I got absolutely nothing, so I’ll just jump right in.

Recently, I was perusing my favorites on deviantART and I came across an Apophysis-created piece I faved a while back made by love1008. Almost all of the Apophysis works he has in his gallery are stunning. If you have the time I highly recommend checking it out.

The beautiful creations got me thinking about working in Apophyis 7x again. Fractals were the first kind of digital art I ever really got into. These days I don’t dabble too much; my computer can’t handle rendering so well. But I thought I’d play around with it today, my day off.

Here’s what I came up with:

Cosmic Order - ea1701 art and design blog

ole 2013 all rights reserved

Primary Core - ea1701 art and design blog

Computing (2) by Karissa Cole 2013 all rights reserved

When I Think of You by Karissa Cole 2013 all right reserved

Each was made in Apophysis, and then edited in Adobe Photoshop. I had both love1008’s and JP-Talma’s works in mind for most of these. I haven’t achieved the style I was shooting for yet. But I thought these ‘not-quite-rights’ were still worth something.

I can never tell when I’ll be in the mood to work in any given medium. And since my creative side is somewhat akin to a bratty, scheming child who throws and fit and then gives me the silent treatment when upset or pushed, I just usually go with the flow and work with whatever feels right at the time. I find that I make nothing worthwhile if I try to force things. But I’m hoping maybe I can bribe that little digital artist in me to be willing to play around with this stuff more this weekend. I think I could come up with some pretty good stuff if I waded around in the program for a bit.

I still really like the general effect of one of my oldest fractal pieces, “Ok, Go”:

I think I’ll rifle through my old data discs to see if I can find the original flame. It might be fun to work off of this, an image from 2009, to create some new stuff for 2013.

Now, normally, I’d like to end this post with something witty. But I can’t think of anything. So I propose a compromise: I’ll pretend to say something humorous, you pretend to laugh (or at least chuckle half heartedly).

I figure it’s really a fair enough deal.


I’m typically not one to get hyped up about the dawn of a new year. I don’t give much contemplation to the year beginning and I don’t do much reminiscing about the one ending. Every day’s just another day to me. Before you think jeepers what a dull outlook, let me expound upon my viewpoint: The way I see it, each day -whether it’s at the beginning of the year, the end, or somewhere in the middle- brings with it the possibility for change, for excellence and for new things. I don’t need a specific date to show up on my calendar for these things.

But for once something’s got me thinking about this past year, and everything that’s happened. For some reason I sort of want to send this year off right. I think because 2012 was full of so much more than I think I had expected: craziness and creativity, innovations and irritations, new patterns and old ideas, silly stories and celestial exploration; colorful photos and cute cats, random designs and ridiculous posters; deadlines, new jobs and old jobs,calculations, learning and teaching, trying and thinking, figuring, slacking, sneaking, illustrating, living and loving, laughing and growing.

Needless to say not everything this year had been great, but I think I’ll manage to come out of it with plenty of good things. In honor of all those good things, or at least the art and design related good things, I made up a 2012 project collage (click to view larger):

a look at 2012 on the ea1701 blog 6

Here’s to 2012; you really weren’t the greatest of years, but we sure had some good times together. Thanks go out to all those who shared the year with me, too; You’ve made the bad times tolerable and the good times even better.

Get ready for more craziness, creativity, and who knows what else to come in 2013. Because I’m just getting started.


Make sure you haven’t missed any of the good stuff! Check out some of the biggest projects of the year:

Fall in love with free amigurumi patterns such as Melvin the Misunderstood Monster; Purploids, Pinkloids and Bloops (Oh My!); and Counting Sheep

Get splashes of color in the indoor/outdoor photo shoots like Of Course, Naturally; Water Colors; and Sun Stretched Arms

Boldly go where no one has gone before without having to leave your seat: explore space in these celestial artworks.

Paint your world with the help of the very first tutorial posted to the ea1701 art and design blog.

It’s very simple. . .

I’ve never been much into now. I pretty much stopped paying attention to the world after 1994 when it comes to trends, social standards, and culturally accepted norms.

So put simply, I’m not a big fan of most modern anything, either ignoring it or readily ridiculing any inherit stupidity. I’m a bit like an old grumpy 78-year-old spinster hiding in a 22-year-old’s body, completely stuck in her ways. Occasionally, however, I stumble across some product of the 21st century that doesn’t make me weep and mourn the loss of all good entertainment. Usually, of course, whatever it is falls into either the science fiction T.V. show or soundtrack categories.

I have recently made a “discovery,” though. I suppose it’s hardly new for most people since it’s a T.V. show that’s been on for years.  I vaguely remember hearing about this show before, like most new things I ignored it. But my curiosity was irreversibly peaked when I saw a clip of it a couple weeks ago, so I watched a bit of it and fell in love. Granted, I’m not a big fan of the episodes flaunting characters displaying the common but altogether inglorious low moral standards (I’m very “Dick Van Dyke Show”). But there are some really great episodes. And more often than not I find myself  laughing like crazy, especially when a geeky reference is made that I completely get. I refer of course, to The Big Bang Theory. I won’t go on too much about how hysterical it can be and how awesome the scifi references are for a geek-girl like me. I completely realize how very behind in the times I am regarding this.

The whole point of this post is actually just to say that even something as simple as a sitcom can lead to a nice exercise in graphic design.

From the get-go Sheldon has by far been my absolute favorite character. So, naturally, I decided to make this 11 x 17 poster inspired by and sort of in honor of Dr. Cooper. It was a nice way to work some fun stuff into my graphic design portfolio.

Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock playing guide by Karissa Cole 2012

I shall never play rock-paper-scissors the same again.


Photoshop Tutorial – Photo to Watercolor Painting

“Watercolor Works” Photoshop Tutorial.

Preview Image Watercolor Photoshop Tut by Karissa Cole 2012

How to turn a photo into a watercolor-style painting in a few simple steps. Earlier this week I found a super simple way to bring new life to old photos. I posted my pieces here. And now, in my first tutorial, I’ll show the steps behind how I did them.

Tools used:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS4 (almost any graphics editing program capable of making and using custom selections and brushes will work, including GIMP, older versions of Photoshop)
  • Digital photograph of your choice (I recommend a photo with few but vibrant colors and a simple composition to start) I used a personal photograph
  • Watercolor brushes (I suggest making your own. In lieu of that free high quality brushes can be found at at Brusheezy or deviantART.)
  • Paper texture (again something that can be made at home or downloaded for free at deviantART or CG Textures.) I used Paper0007 (Texture: #6807) from CG Textures

Get your materials ready and then open up your editing program. (When clicked, the instructional images will open in a new tab so they can be seen larger.)

1. Bring your photograph and paper texture together in one document

With your materials ready open up your photograph in Photoshop. Press ctrl+A to copy the entire image, then ctrl+c to copy. Open your paper texture. Press ctrl+V to paste the photograph. Close the original photograph window. [Alternatively, if you know what size document you want create it and bring both photos in by copying and pasting.] Resize and position the photograph if necessary. Rename Layer 1 “Photograph.”

Save your PSD before continuing.

2. Select a color range, create a new layer, and begin painting

With the brush tool active (B) alt+click the part of the image you’d like to paint first. Once you’ve selected the foreground color, hit (X) and select the background color. The colors should be similar. [Selecting two slightly different tones directly from the image and then switching between those tones while painting helps create depth.] For my piece I selected two of the green tones found in the leaves of my image.

Now it’s time to make a selection based on these colors.  Go to Select>Color Range. . . a dialog box similar to the one below should appear

Select “Sampled Colors” from the dropdown box. Adjust the fuzziness setting as you see fit. Higher numbers = more is selected. 90 worked the best for this part of my image. Click OK when ready.

Without deselecting, create a new layer and name it after the color or part of the image you’re creating. [Since I was working with green my layer was aptly named “Green (1)”]. Hide the Photograph layer. On your new layer, with your range still selected, use  your water color brushes and begin randomly painting. Only “dab” the brush – do not drag it around. Leave a few spots empty to help build up the desired effect. If you have two tones, one foreground, one background, alternate between the two. When you’re satisfied  crtl+D to deselect. Painted too much? Use a watercolor brush to randomly erase any excess color. Also be sure to gently erase any hard edges.

Continue this process for each color you wish to represent. You will need to show the photograph layer in order to pick the next color range, then re-hide it as you begin painting on a new layer. (Layer order is unimportant. Keep each layer’s blending mode on “Normal”.)

3. Enhance colors and textures (optional step)

Duplicate the paper texture and the photograph layers, bringing them above all your other layers. Set them both to Soft Light.

Make color adjustments as you see fit. I ended up using a photo filter and a color balance adjustment mask to saturate the colors. Once you’re satisfied save your image.


the Butterfly - Watercolor by Karissa Cole 2012 all rights reserved

Enjoy your result. I’ve found these kinds of images make great greeting cards and wall art pieces. Vary your subject matter, though, and you can do anything. Try working with photos of people or a cityscape to get some really awesome results! Also, try leaving one main color out of your image to create an interesting 3Dish effect.

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