I’ve been going through all my digital art resource files, trying to add them to Lightroom or to Photoshop. Such things as textures, photos, actions, patterns and others, ad infinitum, have been accumulating and haven’t been processed. In addition to adding these items to my large main laptop, I’ve been trying to get them added to the new smaller laptop. It seems like I’ve got hundreds of zip files from various sources that I’ve downloaded but haven’t unzipped them to put them into their relevant software locations. It’s a Herculean task that appears will never end. But, you know what “they” say: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
However, I have made some time for creating at least the beginnings of some new digital artwork. Here’s one that is just the germ of an idea. I don’t yet have a title for it and it’s probably only about 20-30% finished, but it’s been fun to work on so far.
More coming later. (I’m hungry–time to take a bit of “elephant.”)
Yes, Photoshop Virtual Summit 4 is here, running from May 2-6. This is a great event, loaded with Photoshop tutorials, tips and tricks, and it’s free. You can access the videos for 48 hours after a particular video, free of charge. But, I don’t have that much time to sit and watch everything, so I always purchase a VIP pass ($89, if you do the early bird special) that gives me lifetime access to everything, plus some extra goodies that only VIP holders get. It’s a great deal, really. Some of the tutorials offered this time around are Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Working with Layers in Photoshop; The Art of Sharpening; Essential Techniques for Realistic Composites; The Power of Smart Objects, and Dramatic Lighting and Realistic Shadows in Photoshop Composites with Sebastian Michaels, who is the creator of several of the Photoshop Artistry classes that I take.
There are 40 tutorials in all and you can check out the event here. It’s a great deal, but it’s almost finished now, so hurry if you want to watch them. If you can’t, there will probably be a Summit 5 later in the year. And, if you’re interested in getting started with Photoshop Artistry, Sebastian is running a Summit special of the main Photoshop Artistry course for only $87, and believe me, it’s an awesome course and well worth the money. (It’s usually almost $400!) Here’s the link to that special offer. I don’t know how long that offer will stand, so check it out now if you’re interested. You’ll be glad you did. More later.
Whew, it’s been a while, hasn’t it. Well, I’m still here, but a bit lazy (as usual). There’s really not a lot to report on; I won’t go into recent events around the world-you can read about those almost everywhere else.
Here in Vientiane, most schools have reopened after students not having classes for almost a year. At Vientiane College, we’ve been having face-to-face classes since January and everything appears to be running smoothly, though student enrollment has been down, as expected. The term finishes up just before the Laos New Year (Pi Mai), which runs from April 13-17 (that includes a weekend) and starts again at the beginning of May with Term 2.
I haven’t put up any digital art lately because I’ve been absorbed with my two favorite online RPGs, Lord of the Rings Online and Eve Online. I’d been keeping up with the subscriptions to both of them, so I thought I might as well play them for a bit. Naturally, I got sucked into them and began to spend way too much time with them, especially Eve. I’ve been spending less time with them lately, so I’ve kind of been getting back to digital art, learning and creating.
Here’s my latest composition, which I’ve titled “Homeward Bound.” I thought of the title before I remembered the Simon and Garfunkel song, though it was probably in my subconscious. Anyway, here it is:
Well, that’s it for now, but I’ll try to keep this blog updated more often (seriously). More later.
Here’s my newest piece of digital art, one I’m titling “Rivals.” The photos and background textures are mine, except for the two birds–the one at the bottom and the one at the upper left; I got them from Pixabay.
In the news, Vientiane is still in lockdown, but the number of new community cases has fallen, and the school is being allowed to open on September 1st. Hurrah!! Hopefully. Although the number of cases has dropped from where it was, we’re still getting some. There were 7 cases reported a few days ago, but the government didn’t tighten up the restrictions already in place. The big concern might be the huge number of imported cases, Laos workers returning from Thailand by the thousands. About 10% of them have the virus and are being hospitalized or put under observation. They’re mostly quarantined off from the general population, so perhaps we won’t see much of an uptick with community cases. Thankfully, there have been only a few deaths reported. Keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes well as far as the school reopening. More later.
Yes, we’re still in lockdown here in Vientiane, though the government has eased some of the restrictions. Important for us is that some schools can begin to reopen, though most won’t be able to start up again until September; that includes Vientiane College. It’s frustrating, but, overall, the Lao government has been doing fairly well at keeping the virus out of the country. Lately, the only cases have been from Lao workers in Thailand who have been coming back to Laos. The government checks everyone at the border crossings and hospitalizes all who have the virus. I think there are a bit more than 2,000 people who are hospitalized at the moment, but there have been five deaths, which is five too many. Compared to our neighboring countries, though, we’re doing pretty good. Thailand and Vietnam have been getting hammered by the Delta variant, and Cambodia and Myanmar have also been having problems. Hopefully, vaccinations will keep increasing here in Laos (and elsewhere) so that this crap will end.
As far as Vientiane College is concerned, it will open again in September if all goes well. Thankfully, the administration has continued to pay us throughout the lockdown and most of the teachers are now doing some extracurricular work to prepare for September. I’ve been making some short (2-3 minutes) videos for posting on the VC Facebook page. I’m making some vids about idiomatic expressions (“piece of cake”) and a “Did you know . . .” series that other teachers are also doing. (Did you know that the 10 most common words in English are . . .?) I’ve also been doing some other odds and ends to try to earn my keep. LOL
I haven’t been doing much digital art lately, but I’m going to get back in the groove very soon. I’ve been playing around with Photoshop actions a bit, and here’s a comp that I want to work on some more. It’s an original photo of paintings being sold by a vendor in Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic. I hope to add some more extras to it soon. More later.
My latest creation is called “Requiem for a Lost Civilization.” The ruins and the landscape are from photos of mine taken at the ancient Roman ruins in Volubilis, Morocco. The other elements are “stuff” I have from the various digital art courses I’ve taken from Photoshop Artistry, which I’ve recommended before and I’ll continue to give it a huge thumbs up.
I added some textures, some adjustment layers and some photos from the Ultimate Universe Creator by Skybox Creative, then ran the whole thing through Nik HDR Efex Pro 2. Finally, I added a Color Lookup adjustment layer in Photoshop.
Vientiane lockdown has been extended for another few weeks, up to June 4th. At the rate people are still showing up with the covid virus, this lockdown will never end, it seems. The school is scheduled to open on June 10th, and I certainly hope that happens. The administration was kind enough to pay everyone for the month of May, though we didn’t do any work, but if the same lack of work extends far into June and beyond, I’m fearful that there won’t be any income for a while. Got my fingers crossed.
So, what to do with all this time off? Create some more digital art, of course. Here’s one I’m calling “Taekwando Nightmare Dream.” I was originally just going to practice creating displacement effects in Photoshop, but my Muse had other ideas. All the photos are mine, except for the fellow delivering the flying kick on the right side, which I got from Pixabay; they were taken when I worked in Andong, South Korea way back in 2005, and they’re photos from a phys. ed. student demonstration, except for the photo at the upper left. That’s one I took of my former taekwando master showing off. I added some textures and a few other bits and pieces. Enjoy.
Yes, we’re still on lockdown until at least May 20th, but the way things are going it’s going to last longer than that. Though Vientiane had only one case yesterday, we jumped to 14 today; way too many for the city to end the lockdown any time soon. So, if it goes on, there will be no school re-opening any time soon, so no pay, either. Gotta watch my expenditures!
Haven’t been doing a lot with artwork lately, though I have been keeping up with tutorials. I’d also like to learn how to draw, so I found a couple of free websites that look very interesting–Draw a Box and Ctrl+Paint. I’ll have to give one or both of them a try.
I messed around a bit with painting ideas in Photoshop and Topaz Labs this morning and came up with this, made from a photo taken in my favorite place on earth, Glacier National Park in Montana. Enjoy. More later.
Saint Mary Lake, Glacier National Park
Here’s my latest piece of digital art entitled “Ghost Patrol at the Ancient Gateway.” It uses some black and white conversion techniques, a few filters, Gaussian blurs, and I ran it through a few Topaz filters and a Topaz look. The photos are mine except for the Roman soldiers, which I got from Pixabay. The background hills are from a Morocco photo, as is the ancient gate from the Roman ruins at Volubilis. The lightning storm is from a photo I took in the Dominican Republic.
Here’s my newest piece of digital art, entitled “Abandoned.” Lots of texture layers were incorporated, LUTs and other effects, and I ran the finished version through Topaz Labs and ON1 Effects.
I find that I just really don’t have enough time to devote a lot of attention to my art due mainly to the fact that I’m working full-time at the college, but we have a few extra days off coming next week, so I’ll take advantage of that. Also, starting around April 10th, we’ve got about a month off for our break between terms, so I’m giddily looking forward to that. I’m still stuck in Laos, unable to travel outside of the country without having to go through a big hassle, but I’ve got Art to keep me company!