July 30, 2010

Photoshop Tips and Tools


If you have Photoshop and are frustrated by the in-program color picker, here's something you may really, really like.

Anastasiy, over at anastasiy.com, created an awesome color picker panel for Photoshop CS3, CS4, and CS5 which acts just like the color wheel found in Corel Painter, plus it has a few extra neat features.

What I like best about it is that the panel stays open all the time. I don't know why Adobe hasn't understood yet the importance of this yet, but even their newest HUD falls short.

(I hate the HUD. It takes holding down two keys plus a stylus button to open it, and then I need to alternately press or not press the space bar with one of my remaining fingers to change colors.
Hellooo! Adobe, have you ever watched a digital painter work? I need something faster than that.)

It works with both RGB and CMYK modes, can resize to whatever size desired, and even minimize like other Photoshop panels. It has a lot of neat features packed into it.

Follow the link above to read more about it.


I've taken to checking my Photoshop documents for value/contrast lately. I used to create a separate copy of the image and desaturate it, or use an adjustment layer, but wanted to see if there was something faster I could use.
I discovered the Proof settings in Photoshop include all sorts of color modes, including a bunch of black and white modes. You can find the proof setup menu here:

The nice thing about this is I can set up a custom mode to one of the black and white color modes. Then all I need to do is use the short cut keys to turn the preview on or off. Below is the mode I use to check values in my paintings.

Jeremy Vickery

Lastly, I picked up a copy of Practical Light and Color, published by the Gnomon Workshop.

I thought I had a pretty good understanding of light and color before watching this, but it sure opened my eyes to things I never considered, let alone knew, before.

Highly recommended.

July 1, 2010

Hey, remember that thing back in . . .

Back in December, I posted about a home-made sketchbook I made to help me draw more.

It's half full as of this post, and I wanted to share some of my experiences so far.

I primarily wanted to get in the habit of drawing more, but I soon discovered that a personal sketchbook is more than just a place to draw.

I also use it to doodle, draw up quick thumbnails for painting ideas, record notes (both literally and visually), and brainstorm ideas.

My sketchbook is not filled with pretty pictures, nor is the writing anything somebody else could decipher. The thumbnail drawings are scratchy -some even resemble the marks someone makes trying to get a dry pen to write -but there's an image in there, I swear!

One of the most unexpected and rewarding experiences I had was taking it into an art gallery, sitting down in front of a painting and taking notes on composition, colors, anatomy, and whatever. I absorbed so much from that and wished I had started carrying around a sketchbook with me years ago.

I've taken it to places where I might have to wait for a while. Dentists, Orthodontists, Barbers, and auto oil service places are too quick for me to doodle very much.
But Doctors offices, auto mechanics, and waiting in line for a premier showing of a popular movie gave me plenty of time. (sometimes too much time . . .)

I was amazed at the variety of peoples faces to draw. There is also a fantastic amount of detail and variety to be found in everyday architecture. The more I drew, the more I found myself really looking at things -even when I wasn't sketching.

So, scattered around this post are a few of the 'nicer' doodles and studies from the last 6 months. Most of them are very small and I'm a little self-conscious about posting them, but it's something I've really appreciated doing and I hope it will inspire you to start a sketchbook as well.