BEDIA: Day 11 – Earliest Memory

To be honest my earliest memory is not a a good one, therefore I am not going to write about it because, well… no one needs to see that shit.

So here’s a couple of pretty things that I’ve recently worked on. Enjoy…

Renlish.com - Tarra-Bulga National Park, Victoria, Australia

A fantasy edit of a photograph I took in the Tarra-Bulga National Park located in Victoria, Australia.

Renlish.com - Wind in the Willows, Ratties Cottage

I am a “Wind in the Willows” freak… this is an interpretation of Rattie’s cottage. Done on one of my own photographs again in the rainforests of the Tarra-Bulga National Park.

Both of these are available as prints in my Redbubble store. Feel free to have a look!

Brought to you as part of the “Blog Every Day in August” challenge.

Music Box

Renlish.com - Music Box

What do you see,
You people gazing at me?
You see a doll on a music box
That’s wound by a key…

Earlier today I was approached by a young German composer with a request to set my image to one of his own creations. I was delighted and of course let him use the picture as his cover art.

As it turns out, the image and the music fit beautifully together.

Using Wacoms… or any graphics tablet for that matter.

 

As a photographer and digital creative, I’ve grown to love using a tablet and stylus to help with my workflow. Everything from drawing and inking in Illustrator to shading and retouching in Photoshop is made easier with the use of a system that mimics pen and paper. As much as we’ve become used to using ye olde mouse and clickity-click actions, going “old school” method is often better and easier, particularly with the wide range of options for drawing tablets we have now.

There are a few varieties of drawing tablets. The most common and probably least expensive are the sorts that plug into your computer and come with a separate pen stylus (well, they pretty much all come with a stylus). But then you also have ones which are similar to that of an iPad and can display images on the actual tablet themselves so that you can draw directly on the image, thus making the experience of drawing far more akin to drawing as you would on real paper. Then you have the big gun, where the tablet is the computer and you are drawing straight into it. These mofos are huge and hugely expensive and usually only the best in the graphics biz can afford them.

Project 365 - 6

 

I personally have owned a few tablet/stylus set-ups. Currently I have an Intuos4 that I won courtesy of my old favourite photography podcast of the time, Shutters Inc, in a retouching competition. You can see my winning entry and my method here on the Shutters Inc blog. The podcast isn’t posted as frequently as it used to be but it’s still very cool to listen to when you need some inspiration… but I digress.

When speaking to people who are not used to using graphics tablets, I always hear the same thing “I couldn’t get used to it” or “I couldn’t make it work for me”. I sort of understand that it’s a huge learning curve, but after a few scribbles it just came naturally to me. So here’s my tips on using a graphics tablet.

1 – Make sure that your drivers are all up to date. Ensuring you have the right and most up to date drivers means that your tablet will continue to run smoothly though things like upgrades and software changes. Do this right away so you don’t have to worry about it again for a while.

2 – Customise your settings. If you’ve just plugged in your tablet, you may find it jerky or ultra sensitive. This happened to me once and a simple adjustment fixed it in no time. Usually the average factory settings are an ok starting point but you will find that as you grow more accustomed to using the tablet, you’ll figure out individual ways of doing things. The way you draw, the amount of pressure you use on the pen, the active space in which you draw – all of these can be customised which makes the whole “second nature” thing happen much more quickly.

3 – Position your tablet correctly. This actually causes the most amount of stress for most tablet newbies. Like customising your settings, there is no one right way of positioning your tablet. Do what works best for you and if that means leaning back in your chair, with your feet up on your desk, your keyboard perched on one thigh and your tablet on the other then more power to ya!

For the rest of us mere mortals, usually a tablet on the desk works the best.

My biggest tip in this area is do not put the tablet right in front of you to begin with. Position the tablet where you are used to setting your hand for the mouse and then try drawing a little bit. Because of good old muscle memory and brain trickery, you will be able to master manipulating the stylus quicker. I know it seems counter intuitive to how you think you would use a graphics tablet, but trust me, it works. You can trick yourself into thinking it’s just a differently shaped mouse. Once you are used to the different ways of moving the stylus, pressure sensitivity, etc, you can slowly start to move the tablet over towards a more natural drawing position if you like.

Or you could do what I do and just keep the tablet off to the side and use it that way too.

4 – Make sure you’ve got a tablet that suits your purposes! Nothing causes more frustration than having to find work-arounds for everything, that includes graphics. If you’re an artist and bought a small tablet, you may find that you cannot draw properly in the active space that a small tablet allows for. Similarly, if you bought a tablet to just create digital signatures, then you don’t need a huge artist tablet.

Generally for things like retouching photographs, unless you’re way up the food chain in the industry, a basic 6×4″ or 10×8″ tablet will do nicely.

5 – PRACTICE! Don’t give up. It’s different and feels freaky but it makes workflow so much better, particularly when you start getting used to hotkeys and function keys. Learn a few of your most commonly used tools in your graphics program and add those into the function keys on your tablet. Make it as easy for yourself as possible and you’ll find it becomes a fast and effective way of working and you’ll wonder why in hell you didn’t buy one years ago.

Goodnight, Goodnight… Parting is such sweet – ARRRRGGH!

This is the last thing I am looking at before going to bed. Smart girl, am I.

It literally gave me nightmares the night I got the blending right.

I am such a wuss.

Anyway, it was supposed to be a realistic sugar skull and a bit of a practice piece doing this sort of blending. I might attempt in in a few months time when I’m over working on the trauma of the image as it stands thus far.

Not Quite a Zombie - Renlish.com

I followed the walk-through on SurrealPSD… over here.

Oh How Pinteresting… Photoshop Action Phun

For those who know me, that I love-love-love Photoshop is no big secret. I love that hulking program of confuzzlement.

Lightroom-schmiteroom! Photoshop is where it’s at, baby!

Here are a few of my favourite Photoshop actions, all conveniently pinned for your enjoyment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: amymorby.com via Erin on Pinterest

 

 


There’s a Light

 

Here’s a couple images I’ve done recently; manipulations of photos that I’ve taken of two friends…

There's a Light

Let There Be Blood

In other more personal news… I broke through my 10% weightloss goal.  To date I’ve lost 16.5kg since starting in January. I am on track to have lost 30kg by Christmas.  It was supposed to be September but I think I was overestimating how fast it would happen.  Real life isn’t “The Biggest Loser”. I can’t drop 5kg in a single week.  The best I can manage is 2.2kg and that’s when I’m going all out.  Unsustainable.  And besides that, I know that the slower, more steadily one loses weight, the less likely the chance of putting it back on.  I’m letting my body get used to getting smaller in gradual doses.

I know it’s going to take at least three years to lose the 75kg in total that I need to.  Essentially half of myself. I’ll get there.

Photo Updatery

Oh wow, almost a whole month and no new posts.

Things have been extremely busy. I’ve made new friends, I go to training every Saturday morning and get my arse kicked by my personal trainer. I will be going to gym through the week too (as soon as I get my schedule sorted), Bronagh is taking up a LOT of time too – still trying to figure the puppy out.  But she is very cute.  I’ve also been taking photos of all and sundry so…

 

Here you go…

Captivating Kaz

Bronagh

The Sister

Janet - A Sketch

Anya – Gothique Shoot

Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure and delight of photographing Anya.  She wanted a gothic fantasy theme as opposed to outright boudoir, and I reverted back to my old self – taking pictures in order to manipulate them into fantastic fantasy themes.  We ended up doing three different looks.  The first being a classic “vampire” look along the same vein as the artworks of Victoria Frances. Both Tam and I got some beautiful images from that which I can’t wait to show off.

Next came a succubus theme which was all Anya’s idea.  Imagine devil’s horns and a black net body-stocking g-string.  She rocked it.

Lastly, we decided to get a bit crazy and go a little Tim Burton-esque.  Smudged makeup and marrionette puppet poses and then a slightly disturbing series with a teddybear.  When I show you the pictures, you’ll see what I mean.

Anyway, here are some preview images I’ve posted around the place…

Hmm, I think she just spotted something tasty...