Friday, January 29, 2016

Buddha Blessings Tutorial Part 2

Buddha Blessings Part 2

A Paint Shop Pro (PSP) Tutorial by Hafapea

 Picking right up where we left off:

  • Right click on the Longevity symbol, "Copy," then right click on your image in progress and "Paste," "Paste As New Layer."
  • Position the Longevity symbol to the left of the Friendship symbol so that its right edge is just under the left edge of the Friendship symbol (refer to image, if need be).
  • Then, click on "Selections," "Select All," "Float," "Defloat," and right click on Raster 1, "Promote Selection To Layer."
  • Drag the promoted selection to just beneath the Longevity symbol, right click, merge, merge down.

  • Right click on the YinYang symbol, "Copy," then right click on your image in progress and "Paste," "Paste As New Layer."
  • Click on "Image," "Resize" (or press Ctrl+S) and resize the symbol by 150 percent twice. 

  • Center the YinYang symbol just below and on top of the Longevity and Friendship symbols (refer to image, if need be).
  • Using your magic wand, at the settings shown below, select all of the white of the Yin Yang symbol (hold down the "shift" key to select both areas).

  • Flood fill the selection with pattern 2.
  • Right click anywhere on the image to deselect.
  • Using your magic wand, with the same settings, select all of the black of the Yin Yang symbol (hold down the "shift" key to select both areas).
  • Flood fill the selection with pattern 3.
  • Click on "Selections," "Modify," "Select Selection Borders," and set it to "1."
  • Flood fill the border with #390f27, right click anywhere on the image to deselect.
  • Next, click on "Effects" "Plugin #," "Xero," "porcelain," same settings as before.
  • Right click on this layer in your layer palette and "Duplicate."
  • Move the duplicate layer to the upper right hand corner, touching the Longevity symbol, diagonal from the original, so that it covers the same amount of the Longevity symbol as the other YinYang symbol does.
  • Right click on this layer in your layer palette, "Duplicate."
  • Activate the symbol beneath this duplicate and then click on "Adjust," "Blur," "Radial Blur" and set it as in the picture below:

  • Right click on the blurred layer in your layer palette, "Duplicate," then click on "Image," "Flip" ("Flip Horizontal" in newer versions).
  • Then "Duplicate" that new layer, "Image," "Mirror."
  • Then "Duplicate" that one, "Image," "Flip." Next, merge all four of those blurred layers into one by right clicking on the uppermost of the layers and "Merge." "Merge Down" until you have only one layer.
  • Move the duplicated YinYang symbol that you didn't blur to the middle of the first mask layer and center it amid the wavy lines so that the top of the symbol lines up with the top of the arch formed by those lines.
  • Click on "Adjust," "Blur," "Radial Blur," same setting as before.
  • Move this blur to the top of the two that are to the left of the Longevity symbol to form a top curve on the semi-circle.
  • Right click on the layer in the layer palette, "Duplicate," then "Image," "Flip" ("Flip Horizontal" in newer versions).
  • Right click on the same layer in the layer palette, "Merge," "Merge Down," and X it out (click on the eye next to it).
  • Make your layer of four blurs active and equip your selection tool.
  • X out all layers except for Raster 1 and the blur layers.
  • Set it to rectangle and select the two blurs that are on the far right of your image.
    • Go wide - it doesn't have to be exact and you want to make sure you get all of the blur.
  • Right click on the top, "Cut," then right click the top of the image again, "Paste," "Paste As New Layer."
  • Move the newly pasted blur layer over to the others to complete the circle.
When you've finished, it should look like this:

  • X out Raster 1.
  • Right click on one of the blur layers, "Merge," "Merge Visible."
  • Lower the opactiy of the blur circle to 60 by left clicking on the slider to the right of the eye next to the layer in your layer palette and dragging it to your left. 

 Then click on "Adjust," "Blur," "Gaussian Blur," and set it to 7.

  • Right click on this layer in your layer palette, "Duplicate," then click on "Image," "Mirror" (Flip Horizontal).
  • Drag the mirrored blur circle to beneath the Buddha layer and the two mask layers.
  • Make all of your layers visible again.
  • Move the Friendship symbol layer to rest on top of the Buddha blur circle.
Your image should now look like this:

That wraps up part 2 of the Buddha Blessings tutorial. 
  • As always, if you have any questions, please ask.

Happy creating!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Create Your Own Graphics - Buddha Blessings Tutorial

This is the first of many tutorials that I will be writing for you to help you become familiar with Paint Shop Pro so that you can create your own graphics.  With all of the great print on demand shops that are out there, being able to edit photos or create pretty pictures that you can use to decorate products will take your shopping to a whole new level.

Because it is so long, this tutorial will be written in 3 parts.

Buddha Blessings Part 1

A Paint Shop Pro (PSP) Tutorial by Hafapea

I used PSP 9 and Xero: filter set to create this image; however, you can use a newer version of PSP, if you'd rather.  I have included instructions on how to locate those things that have changed.

All of the colors used in this tutorial are included as a swatch in the zip file, along with the tubes and patterns that you will need. The masks and font are in separate zips. The only outside filter used in this tutorial is Xero and we will be using the porcelain effect. All other effects are created with PSP 9's own plugins, opacity changes, and blend modes. I have included a lot of screenshots and detailed descriptions of the steps, so that even if you are a beginner you can still make this image; however, a familiarity with the location of basic tools is assumed.

Once unzipped, you can either open all of these items in your work area, or place the masks into a folder, it's up to you. I have provided directions on how to apply a mask from both locations.  The font file can also be used in one of two ways: you can either open it on your desktop or install it into your Windows Fonts folder. Either way, it will appear as an option in PSP's text drop-down menu for you to use.

Let the creating begin :)!
  • Install the filter set to your plugins folder before launching Paint Shop Pro.
  • Launch PSP.
  • Click on "File," "New," set the drop down to "Pixels" and set the dimensions to 800w x 400h
  • Flood fill the image with #651a45.
  • Right click on the top of pattern 1, "Copy," then right click on the top of your new image "Paste," "Paste as new layer."
This is what you see when you right click on the top of an image:

  • Position the pattern to far left, until it touches the left border, then click on "Layers," "Duplicate," "Image," "Mirror."
  • Right click on the first pattern 1 layer in your layer palette, then "Merge," "Merge Down."
This is what you see if you right click on a layer in your layer palette: 

  • Right click on the merged pattern 1 layer in your layer palette "Duplicate," then right click again "Merge," "Merge Down."
  • Next, click on "Effects," "3D Effects," "Drop shadow," and set it to 1, -1, 100, 1, #390f27 (see image below):

  • Then apply the same drop shadow a second time.
  • Click on "Layers," "New Raster Layer," then set pattern 2 as your foreground (see image below) and flood fill the new layer.
  • Next, apply the mask:
    • If it is open in your work area: click on "Layers," "New Mask Layer," "From Image," and select "BBMask1.jpg" from the drop down menu
    • If it is not open in your work area: click on "Layers," "Load/Save Mask," "Load Mask From Disk" and then select "BBMask1.jpg" from the drop down picture menu.
  • After you have applied the mask, right click on one of the mask layers in your layer palette and "Merge," "Merge Group."
  • Move the mask layer into position: move it upwards until the top of the curved lines is about 1/4" from the top of your image (refer to image for help, if need be).
  • Apply a Drop Shadow: "Effects," "3D Effects," "Drop Shadow," same settings as above - twice.
  • Click on "Layers," "New Raster Layer," and flood fill the new layer with pattern 2.
  • Next, apply "BBMask2.jpg" in the same manner that you used for BBMask1.
  • After you have applied the mask, right click on one of the mask layers in your layer palette and "Merge," "Merge Group."
  • Then click on "Image," "Flip," (in newer versions of PSP, this is "Flip Horizontal") and move the mask into position: move it down until the bottom of the downward curve is about 1/2" from the bottom of your image (refer to the header for help, if need be).
  • Apply a Drop Shadow: "Effects," "3D Effects," "Drop Shadow," same settings as above - twice.
  • Right click on the top of the Friendship symbol, "Copy," then right click on the top of your image in progress and "Paste," "Paste as new layer."
  • On your layer palette, set the blend mode of the symbol to "Hard Light."
This is where your blend modes in PSP9 are and what the menu looks like - left click on the mode box to make it appear.

In newer versions, you will just double click on the friendship symbol layer and it will open the blend modes interface.  Click on the arrow to open the drop down menu that contains the word "Normal" and select "Hard Light."
  • Next, right click on that layer, "Duplicate," and set the blend mode of the duplicate layer to "Multiply."
  • Next, click on "Selections," "Select all," "Float," "Defloat."
  • Right click on "Raster 1" in your layer palette and then click on "Promote Selection To Layer."
  • Move this promoted layer to just beneath the bottom symbol: left click on the layer in your layer palette and drag it upwards.
  • X out all of the layers (left click on the eye to the right of the layer column in the layer palette - the eye is to the left in newer versions) except for the three symbol layers, making them invisible.
  • Then right click on any of the three visible layers, "Merge," "Merge Visible."
  • Move the symbol layer up one so that it is on top of the screen (pattern 1) layer, in the same way that you moved the promoted layer.
  • Copy and Paste the Buddha as a new layer onto your image in progress, move it to right until it is about 1/8" from the right and top edges and about 1/4" from the bottom edge (refer to image for help, if need be).
  • Next, click on "Effects," "Plugins #," "Xero," "porcelain" and apply the factory defaults twice. For me, Xero is under Plugins 5
  • Then click on "Adjust," "Sharpness," "Sharpen."
  • And then, "Effects," "3D Effects," "Drop Shadow," -6, -7, 100, 100, create on new layer - twice.
    • Do not make the Buddha layer active before applying the second drop shadow.
Your image should now look like this:

Part 2  Part 3
  • If you have any questions, please ask in the comments, below, and I will do my best to help you.

Happy creating!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Create Your Own Games!

I don't know about you, but I love games.  Board games, video games, word games; you name it, I'll play it.  Well, almost.  I don't like games that are gory.  But, I digress.

I love gaming so much that I have even thought of creating my own games but, unfortunately I'm a little short on ideas.  Therefore, I feel it is my duty to encourage those of you who are more capable than I! hehe

If board games are your thing, I found this really great how-to create your own board games tutorial that you may like.  It's a three part tutorial that walks your through every step of designing the board game of your dreams.  Once you have completed the tutorial, you can then take your idea over to Game Crafter to bring your game to life!

Game Crafter is an awesome site where you can create your own card games, as well.  The provide you with everything you need: mats, booklets, chits, and more, all you have to do is place your artwork onto the products to see your concept become reality!

Video games and apps, especially RPGs, are a long time love of mine.  As I get older I'm a bit less addicted to them than I used to be but, they are still a key form of entertainment for me and probably always will be.  I just love getting caught up in the fantasy and immersing myself in an alternate reality to de-stress.

The good news is that there are places you can go to create your own video games, too - no coding needed!  There are fun sites that allow you to create your own Android app, create your own iOS app and create your own html5 app depending on who you would like to make it available to.  The third site allows you to not only create all three types of apps but, also to sell them to other people.

There are many resources available online to help you, too:
If, like me, you enjoy playing games more than creating them, then you can simplify the process and just add your favorite artwork to create your own pre-made game sets at Zazzle.  They have dart boards, baseballs, cribbage sets, playing cards, puzzles and much more.  You can even create your own cornhole set, soccer ball and poker chips!

So, how about it?  Do you have an idea for a game that you're burning to create?  If you have already created one, please share it with me.  I'd love to check it out!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Create Your Own Beautiful Complexion

There is big money in selling beauty and, unfortunately, most of what is being sold doesn't work.  So, I am going to share with you the secret to having beautiful skin without going broke! 

First, how I know this will work: I am 47 years old and only have a few lines under my eyes.  I have no wrinkles and other than a bit of slack at the jawline, my skin is healthy, taught and virtually blemish free.  In fact, my skin is so healthy that folks tell me I glow.  (That's me, in the picture above.)

OK, now on with the secret sharing.

In order to have skin that is always its most radiant and healthy you only need to do one thing: exfoliate.  For those of you who don't know, that means to remove dead skin.  You need to exfoliate 2-3 times per week, or more, in order to reverse and maintain the absence of the signs of aging; not just once per week as most folks say. How simple or complicated you want to make that process is up to you.

When you exfoliate, you want to use a scrub or scrubber that leaves your skin red after you have finished with it.  For me, that means using a barely moistened boar's hair brush.  For you, it may mean starting with something more gentle, like baking soda or a nylon poof.  Overtime, as your skin gets stronger, you will have to start using more abrasive scrubs, though.

Some of the best choices for an exfoliant, from gentlest to coarsest are:
In deciding which exfoliant to use, it is important to know that sugar and salt with both form hard, sharp little clusters if not mixed with an oil; so they may not be best for oily skin.  There is also a trick to using boar's hair brushes:  The drier they are, the more abrasive they are and, while using them, you don't want to press so hard that you squish the  bristles.  It is the bristle tips that do the most scrubbing.

Using any of the above exfoliants on its own will get the job done.  Using them in conjunction with a cleanser and/or moisturizer will allow you to nourish your skin at the same time.  Exposing the fresh skin beneath the dead is a great opportunity to fortify your body's armor and shore up its resilience.

Whichever you choose, this alone or with your favorite cleanser and moisturizer is enough.  Really and truly.  Just try it for a few weeks and you'll see.

A homemade facial cleanser that uses natural ingredients is better for both your skin and for the environment. Before you create your own cleanser, you will need to first know your skin type: oily, normal or dry, in order to select the most beneficial ingredients for your skin.  The other thing to keep in mind is that your goal is to both heal and protect.

Use the following to personalize your cleanser or do some searching to see if you kind find things you like even better.  For me, however, I have found these few ingredients provide your skin with all that it needs:
  • If you are making a salt or sugar scrub, then you either want to use coconut or straight Vitamin E oilCoconut oil, in scrub, is OK to use on oily skin, but pure Vitamin E is not.  Pure E is too thick and will remain on your skin for too long after rinsing.  Coconut is thinner and rinses more completely.  If you are not using sugar or salt, then you can either add oil to your scrub or save it for the moisturizer.
  • Raw Honey or Propolis
  • Aloe Vera Gel - 100% pure.  Can be store bought.  If you grow your own, even better.
  • Vitamin C - I use fresh squeezed lemon juice.
  • Benzonite clay or powdered charcoal - for oily skin only.
  • Yogurt or avocado - for dry skin.
  • Peppermint essential oil or eucalyptus oil (for a cooling effect)
I have oily skin so I use 1Tbsp. honey, 1Tbsp. aloe and 1/4 tsp. lemon juice with powdered charcoal and a few drops of peppermint oil.  Whatever you decide on, play with the proportions until you get a combination that works best for you.  I like my cleaner to be fairly thick and heavy on the mint.  If you are using an exfoliating ingredient, add it to your cleanser after you have mixed everything else together.

Regardless of whether or not you add oil to your cleanser, you should still follow your scrubbing with a moisturizing toner.  I use a mixture of apple cider vinegar, Aloe Vera juice, lemon juice and raw honey.  I have two moisturizers: one for my eye area and another for my face and décolleté.

The eye formulation contains more honey so that it's thicker and stays put.  The other is thin, like a toner, so I can spray it from a bottle.  I like the refreshing feeling of a light moisturizer, rather than the heavier warmth of a creamier emulsion.  The joy of making your own, though, is that you can adjust the mixture until you find the consistency that works best for you.  Another perk is that you can use decorative jars and bottles to store the products in and create your own labels for them, as well.

As for storage, I keep all of my products in my medicine cabinet.  Those that don't use salt or sugar ferment over time, making them even more potent.  If you don't like the idea of using fermented ingredients, you may store them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.  You can even buy a mini fridge to keep in the bathroom so that you don't have to make a round trip to the kitchen every time you wash your face!

If you decide to try this, let me know how it went for you.  I personally love it!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Create Your Own Things!

Personalized everything is just fun.  Albeit, having your name or initials on everything could get to be a bit much, but being able to decorate and design your own stuff is trés cool!  I add my artwork to things like playing cards and drink coasters that you can personalize but, these sites let you do things that are arguably even more fun!

Marvel comics has a superhero creator on their Website that you can use to create your own superhero!  As you can see below, I had some fun with that.
There are other fun wastes of time that you can use to create your own anime avatar or create your own kawaii avatar, too.

Storybird is a site that provides writers with illustrations for their books.  You can use it to create your own story.  Need inspiration?  Visit the site and peruse the illustrations.  You may just find an artist whose work gets you going!  If you have an aspiring author at home, then the British Council has a story maker for kids that's a lot of fun, too.

Inklewriter allows you to create your own interactive story.  In addition to being fun, it's a great way for students to practice their computer and creative writing skills.  The way their app sorts information would probably make it pretty useful as an online organizer - whether your publish your finished book on their site or not.

If you could create your own any thing, what would it be?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Just for fun :).

I love optical illusions.  One of these days I will create my own but, until then, I enjoy those that others have made for me :)!  My favorites are these trippy color and shape combinations that create the illusion of movement.

This one is called "Rotating Snakes."  There are other color combinations that work.  You can mix and match the colors, shapes and patterns from the images below:


Another illusion that I really enjoy is a spinning silhouette.  This is moving image, not a still one like those above, but the challenge lies in being able to envision her turning in both directions.  It's fun to play!

Are you familiar with OpArt, as it's called?  If not, then I highly recommend searching for it.  A search for "optical illusions" will produce some fun results, too :)!  Those with the look of fine art are another favorite of mine.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Nothing says "love" like Re-using :)!

I stumbled upon a really cute craft idea by Jill Dubiens today, so I thought I would share it with you:
This is such a cute and simple way to re-use plastic waste for Coke drinkers.  The tops are seasonal Coca-Cola bottles (13.5 oz.) and the bottoms are, of course, red Solo cups.  All you need is glue to attach them to each other and you're all set!  Well, and gumballs to fill the bottles, of course.

I tried finding a different source for the bottles, but all I could come up with is a 5oz. size at Hobby Lobby.  That's not large enough and, well, it's also Hobby Lobby.  If you don't have any red Solo cups on hand, though, instead of buying them get some cardboard cones, cut the ends and paint them red.  It's much more eco-friendly :).  If you don't have any bottles or cups on hand, then you can get the 5oz. cups and cardboard cones from a craft supply shop and paint all of the red bits.

Whichever way you choose to make them, they really couldn't be any simpler!

Do you have any favorite ideas for do it yourself Valentine's Day gifts that you'd like to share?  If you make these, please share a picture of how they turned out.  I'd love to see it!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Create Your Own! 
There are many ways to express your creativity: paint, draw, dance, cook, etc. but, one of my most favorite is the recent ability to create your own products.  If there is a quote that you always wanted to wear on a t-shirt or have on a coffee mug - done!  You can even create your own artwork or add a favorite family photo to anything from wall clocks to flip flops!

Regardless of how you choose to do it, if you've never done it before, you really should give it a go!  Creativity is liberating and can work wonders on your soul.  Retreating into your own mind and getting lost in colors or shapes and expressing them through movement or form is an amazing experience.

I used to paint quite frequently, as a young girl.  Oils were my favorite medium.  Then I switched to drawing & coloring with pencils.  Now, my medium of choice is my computer.  Whether I'm creating fractals or more familiar graphics, the time I spend making art is transcendental for me.

My favorite software for creating digital art is Corel's Paint Shop Pro X5 (PSP).  I used Jasc's Paint Shop Pro 9, far past its prime, before finally giving in and switching but, I'm glad I did.  What prompted me to switch was Corel adding my favorite feature to the native plugins: randomize.  This is especially fun to play with when using kaleidoscope (just remember to save your favorite settings). It is a very useful feature for many others, as well.  (If you would rather have free graphics software, I have heard nothing but good things about Gimp.)

There are plugins that will allow you to create fractals in PSP but, nothing like what you can create using an actual fractal program.  If you would like to try it, there are many fractal programs to choose from but, only a few are favored.  The best place to research them is DeviantArt.

A search for "fractal art generator" in a search engine will give you enough names to get you started; however, Ultra Fractal and Apophysis are among the most popular, with Apo, as it's called, being the easiest to use.  No matter which program you choose, though, you can find groups, plugins, tutorials and whatever else you need for help with learning how to use it on DeviantArt.  Researching it there will also allow you see the types of images that the various programs are used to create.

How do you like to express your creativity or, if you never have, how would you like to?