Tag Archives: photoshop

Digital Brushes and Assets

If you follow any of my social media, you’ll probably know that I love using Procreate and Affinity Designer on my iPad to draw.  Although they’re two of the best mobile drawing apps that currently exist, they have their limits in the number of drawing tools available in each app. Thankfully, there’s a great community of artists that make a wide assortment of brushes for Affinity Designer/Photo, Procreate, and Photoshop.

Frankentoon

Frankentoon is one of my favorite websites for aftermarket brush sets and assets for Procreate and Affinity software. They’re constantly releasing new packs and even provide tutorials how to use them. Their nature brush pack is a huge timesaver for anyone who needs to paint leaves, smoke, water, rocks, etc.

Procreate Community

The Procreate community of artists is a fantastic resource for artist-made brushes and tools. Whenever I’m looking for a very specific type of brush, I search the community and I’ve always been able to find one for free or at a nominal fee. iPadLettering.com is also a great source of very affordable brushes and shapes, especially if you’re looking to create lettering artwork. Script isn’t my strong suit, so I mostly use a variety of drawing and painting brushes instead.

Jazza’s Photoshop Brushes

Before Procreate, Affinity, and the iPad Pro existed, I did most of my digital illustrations in Photoshop. In those days, I used a brush pack created by YouTuber, Josiah Brooks, who is also known as “Jazza”.

Affinity Designer Video Tutorial Course

I was recently commissioned by Stone River eLearning to create a video tutorial course teaching Affinity Designer. I’m really impressed by the number of features that the software has to offer for the reasonable one-time fee.

It lets you do photo editing like Photoshop, create vector artwork like Illustrator, and even has built-in tools for slicing artwork for mobile application and website design. I was so impressed with it, I used it to create the artwork for my next Construct 2 video tutorial series, which is currently in production.

If you’re interest in checking out the software, click here and if you’d like to learn how to use all of the features, check out my course here.

Kaboom: Kwik Particle Emitter Plugin

A week or so ago, my colleague Alex Souza asked me to beta test his new plugin, “Kaboom“. It is an add-on for Kwik Photoshop plugin that lets you create particle emitters for your universal Corona apps. The benefit of using Kwik and Kaboom is that you can create full mobile applications with special effects without having to write a single line of code. Everything is done by placing artwork in Photoshop and telling it what you want it to do.

Within 5 minutes, I was able to create this:

I even wrote a tutorial on how to use Kaboom to create a similar project, which can be found here. If you order Kaboom within the next 2 weeks, you’ll actually save $20 off of the regular price, so it’s definitely worth acting quickly.

Please note: Corona Labs has not officially announced whether or not particle emitters will be supported in Starter or Basic versions of Corona SDK. If you’re a Pro user, you can use Kaboom today, but it’s unclear if Starter and Basic users will be granted access.

Adobe CC 2014

As many of your Adobe users probably have heard by now, Adobe released their next version of Adobe Creative Cloud, called CC 2014. The event was streamed live, but if you missed it, you can watch it here. They added new features to their existing software, created some new mobile applications for drawing and photo-editing, and even released a new stylus/ruler set (be it an expensive one) called “Ink and Slide“.

Ink and Slide - Copyright Adobe 2014
Ink and Slide – Copyright Adobe 2014

One part of Photoshop CC 2014 that I thought was intriguing was the ability to create 3-D objects and then have them printed and delivered to your doorstep. Just to test it out, I took part of my logo, extruded it, and then sent it over to be printed.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 9.23.22 AM

Depending on the material that you want it to be made of and how large/complex it is, the price will vary greatly. For instance, I was originally going to turn it into a coffee mug where the “P” would hold the liquid and the “G” would be a crazy handle. However, just making it 3″ tall, bumped the price up to about $120 shipped. Losing the coffee mug idea and reducing it to 1/4″ tall to just have a 3-D logo, bumped it down to $12 shipped. You can even get your models made of precious metals, which as you can guess, will bump the price up considerably.

Right now my logo model is being reviewed to make sure it’s not too thin where it will break. If it passes that it will go into production and shipping. I’ll post again once I receive it or if it gets rejected.

Office Revamp

One thing that seems to obstruct my workflow is clutter. If I’m trying to work and I notice that my office is in disarray, 99% of the time I’ll stop working to clean and organize. This is how my office used to look:

IMG_0533

So last weekend I decide to give it a little facelift in hopes of sparking some inspiration and creativity.

Office2014

With less clutter and a new coat of paint, my office feels bigger and cleaner, which gives me a lot less distractions throughout the day. Since the office revamp, I’ve started learning Apple’s new Swift programming language and have been practicing new techniques in digital painting.

If you’re looking for some great instructional videos on creating digital artwork, I strongly suggest checking out Folio Academy. They offer everything from children’s book app artwork videos to animation and even painting.

Corona Geek Guest Appearance

This past Monday I gave a presentation on Corona Geek about different graphics software that can be used to create app artwork. Check out the video with show notes here: http://coronalabs.com/blog/coronageek/corona-geek-hangout-92/ or just watch the video below.

Kwik 3.0 Now Available

Last week, Kwiksher released their latest version of Kwik Photoshop plugin. I was fortunate enough to be part of the beta testing, and helped CEO Alex Souza discover some of the bugs before the final version was released.

Kwik v3

I was even able to release Maddie Bear’s Birthday for the iPad using the beta version of Kwik.

maddie bear's birthday

Kwik now is compatible with Corona SDK’s new storyboard tool called “Composer” as well as their new Graphics 2.0 anchor point system. It offers a revamped interface and a plethora of new features and settings that were not available in previous versions. You can now add monetization with iAds and AdMob, splash screens, in-app purchases if you’re a Corona Basic, Pro or Enterprise subscriber, and you no longer have to deal with the annoying task of enabling Adobe Flash to run the plugin.

kwik

Kwik has also switched over to a subscription business model to allow for more updates in order to keep up with the ever changing world of mobile app development. When Apple or Android make a change to their operating systems, Corona Labs has to follow suit, which in turn makes Kwiksher have to follow their lead.

There is also another huge benefit to their new subscription model. Let’s say you have an idea for a storybook app, but you’re not ready to make a huge investment in software in case your app doesn’t make you a lot of money or in case you just don’t end up liking app development. You can download the Corona Lab’s Starter Kit for free and then just do a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription to Kwik, depending on how long you’ll need it.

You can also have your script reviewed, have video chat support, and pretty soon, Kwiksher can even publish your app to all of the major app store for you via their services program.

My latest book, Maddie Bear’s Birthday, would have taken much, much longer to develop had I not used Kwik. It saved me days worth of coding. Check out my app at MaddieBearBooks.com to see what is possible with Kwik.

Maddie Bear's Birthday for iPad
Maddie Bear’s Birthday for iPad

Review: Kut by Kwiksher

A couple days ago, Kwiksher announced their new software called “Kut“. You may know of Kwiksher because of their innovative Photoshop plugin “Kwik”, which allows you to create Corona SDK apps without code. However, Kut isn’t a tool to create apps, it’s a Photoshop plugin to help you create artwork for numerous devices quickly. You are free to use Java, JavaScript, Lua, Objective-C, etc. to create the apps, Kut just helps with the graphics side, not the coding.

You might be asking why this would be helpful. Say you or your client want to create an app that will run on all iOS and Android devices. Well, you could create the artwork for retina iPads, shrink it down in Photoshop for non-retina, shrink it again for phones, and then repeat for Android, Kindle Fire, Nook, etc. or you could design everything in Photoshop one time and then let Kut do the rest for you. Let me show you what I mean.

First, I downloaded the free trial of Kut and installed it via the Adobe Extensions Manager. Then in Photoshop I opened the Kut panel.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 8.20.23 AM

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 8.20.55 AM

I opened Kut’s settings and selected the devices I would like to support.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 8.21.32 AM Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 8.21.49 AM

I started a new Document. In this case, I chose iPad Retina as my starting device since it has one of the largest resolutions of 2048×1536.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 8.22.32 AM

Using different layers, I created a screen for a game that is sure to win numerous awards for fantastic artwork. I saved my .PSD file to a folder on my Desktop.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 8.35.18 AM

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 8.35.24 AM

I clicked the Publish button and got a popup window since it was my first time using Kut (in this instance, I wasn’t making an app icon, but Kut will create icons for your app if you want it to).

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 8.38.01 AMSo I did as the pop up asked and pasted the code into Terminal.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 8.38.19 AMAnd just like that, I had artwork compressed and sized for every device.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 8.39.22 AMObviously had I purchased the full version, the watermark of “KUT KUT KUT KUT” would not be on each image. However, in mere moments, I was able to create artwork for a game for 8 different devices. This could normally take hours and Kut did it all in a click of a button. If you’re thinking about picking up Kut, buy it before December 31st and it’s only $19.99.

EDIT:

I decided to pick up the full license to remove the watermark. Kut is definitely very useful software for cross-platform development and for $19.99, you can’t go wrong. This time when I published out my artwork, I was given a developer’s report that is part of the full-version of Kut.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 11.14.17 AM

This is extremely useful for rebuilding the interface in your coding language of choice. Now not only do I know the dimensions of my artwork, I also know the exact coordinates to place them on the screen. If you’re reading this, you should stop now and download Kut, it’s a great tool that I’m going to be using a lot.

Adobe CC: Hands-On

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I wasn’t impressed at all by Adobe’s Creative Cloud announcement. I don’t like to write things off without trying them though, so I decided to give it a shot. Since I own versions of Flash, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver CS6, I was able to sign up for $21 a month. Once payment cleared, I was met by some confusion, but I figured a trained Adobe associate could easily help me.

Once Adobe CC was paid for, Adobe Application Manager opened, so I figured I’d try out all these “new and improved” features of Flash CC. However, next to Adobe Flash in the list it said “Up to date.” I thought this was bizarre since I just watched Adobe video displaying their reasoning of why you need to upgrade to CC, but here I was unable to upgrade even after paying for it.

Flash CC?

I contacted Adobe via chat support and asked the representative why I couldn’t upgrade to Flash CC after purchasing their cloud subscription. He didn’t know why, so he put me on hold for about 5 minutes. When he returned, he said it takes up to 48 hours before you’re allowed to download the software. I said I’ve never had that issue before, when I purchased CS5.5 and 6, I was able to instantly download the files. He told me to wait 2 days before attempting to download Flash CC.

I also asked him once I download Flash CC, if it would overwrite my Flash CS6. I stressed the importance of me being able to run both CS6 and CC on my computer in case I decide to opt out of CC in the future, I need to know my CS6 is safe. He was very confused on why I would want to keep CS6, but after about 10 minutes of back and forth, he said he would have to ask someone and to please hold.

About 20 minutes later he returned to our chat and he said I should be able to run both versions. I wasn’t confident in any of his answers, so I thanked him for his time and ended the chat. Later that night, I was researching my questions and came across a forum that said Flash CC doesn’t exist yet. The announcement by Adobe was just to showcase what is coming soon, but a CC membership just promises you the update in the near future, not new software right now. I’m not sure why the representative I spoke to didn’t know that or tell me that. So apparently, me signing up for $21 a month for a year just gets me access to their current CS6 line at the time of this writing.

Since I already owned Flash, Photoshop and Dreamweaver CS6, right now the CC subscription is worthless to me. I don’t use any of their other products since the amount of video/sound editing I do is so rare, I’m fine sticking with Audacity, iMovie, iDVD, and Garageband. I did download After Effects, Premiere, and Illustrator just because I paid for them, but honestly, I haven’t even opened them since I downloaded them 2 weeks ago.

Overall, I’m still not a fan of Adobe CC. Right now the subscriptions just gets you access to their existing software, and if you already own some of it, it’s pretty much a waste. I can’t comment on the new versions since their not available to the public yet. Their online chat support was of no help, and I’m going to be out $252 if there’s no vast improvements in their software within the next year. Here’s to hoping they release something amazing soon and prove me wrong…