Thursday, March 31, 2016

Moving Away from Photoshop.

I've been focusing on cutting my dependance on all things Adobe lately.  There's no big reason for it, I own a legal copy of Photoshop CS2, and nothing big has happened to make me hate them, I just wanted to be done.  Adobe has a mindset about their software that I'm not fond of, a focus on large businesses while excluding the real needs of the individual consumer that I think has caused so much of the rampant pirating I've seen.  Add to that the surprisingly bad integration of tablet usage when compared to just about any other art program and I just felt like they weren't the type of company I wanted to support.  Plus I have a new computer and installing a legitimate copy of Photoshop on anything is a hassle.  I wonder how many people have actually bought the program then just used the pirated version so they didn't have to deal with that?  I did on my last computer.

For this one, though, I decided to do something a little different.  I decided to be brave and just ditch Photoshop altogether and see how long I can last.  Kind of force myself to finally learn how to properly use GIMP.  So far I've been alright.  I've found that because of the lack of Photoshop I've been using more specialized programs.  In some ways that's good, those programs are more powerful at that one thing because of the specialization, but in other ways it's not as good because of the fragmented workflow and need to have multiple programs to do one project.  It's a completely fair trade off, in my opinion neither one has an advantage over the other, they're just different.  For me, I'm sad to lose my workflow but it's worth it to me.  With this setup I can do everything I need with completely free software.  That makes me feel a little more secure, especially since I lost some very expensive software when I lost my last computer.  No online backup, no record of my purchase, no key, can't find the CD, I'm just out of luck on that one. :(

Here's the programs I've been using:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Not dead!

Oh dear.  Time really got away from me didn't it?  My last post was ages ago!  I am so very sorry!  I got very, very sick for a while there, and I've spent a lot of time since then just trying to get things back to normal and didn't have any time or energy to spend on moving forward.  Here's a quick update of all the things I've been into creatively lately.

The art I made for my Tileset in a Month challenge is now a part of a graphics pack for RPG Maker.  You can get it here.  It's a small pack, but the tiles in it are very flexible.  I'm not very fond of the style so I won't be making any more to match, but I am thinking very seriously about editing what I've made to work in a new style, one I will be making many more tiles in.  Please let me know if this sort of expansion would be nice for you and if you'd be okay with a higher price to accommodate the work on something like that.

Because of some stuff that's been happening I've decided to move away from working so closely with Degica and really focus on trying to sell my artwork on my own.  I may not be selling any art with Degica again, but I'm leaving the possibility to do so open for now.  I've been working on a website to do this selling.  It's not up yet, I would really like to have a new pack put together to release with the website so I have something to draw people in.  Because I'm going to do my own advertising I'll also be spending a little more time making free materials.  This sort of thing is scary and it stresses me out, but I have the tools I need to give this a try and I'm in the best position I could be if everything fails.  Now is the time to be brave and move forward!

I've gotten the opportunity to go to Hawaii on vacation this October, and I'm being a bit obsessive about getting ready for it.  I'm sewing and crafting a whole bunch of things to wear on the trip, I'll be doing a post on it later.  It's slow going because I find sewing painful (all that bending over!) and both physically and mentally exhausting  (concentrating like that is hard), but I'm hoping it'll be worth it.

I'm still crocheting.  Mostly just making stuff I've made before or using patterns, so I haven't been sharing very many of my finished projects, but I've made a few things without a pattern that I can show off.  Hopefully in the near future I'll be able to share a few things.  I especially want to share patterns of a couple of hats.  I still need to actually write the patterns though.

I've been very slowly working on a project with a couple of friends of mine.  It started out as a comic, but I was feeling overwhelmed with the dedication required to do that much artwork so I suggested doing a Visual Novel instead.  Art for visual novels is less about volume and more about quality, something that suits me better.  One of my friends is still not quite sold on the idea, but is trying to learn how to write music so we don't have to bring in anyone to do sound, and the other one is very excited by the idea.  She's not familiar with Visual Novels though, so she keeps trying to figure out how to get the gameplay to work.  It will probably end up being a hybrid game, with a few RPG and Adventure game elements.  Most likely nothing action oriented.  There is a lot of action in the story we're trying to tell, but none of us does any programming.  We'd need to bring someone else into the project and risk upsetting our fantastic dynamic, or I'd need to learn how to do programming.  Not going to happen, especially on top of all the other things I've been trying to learn for this project.

Speaking of which,  I've been starting to learn Blender.  I had planned on just using Sketchup for all my 3D needs, but I kept running into the limitations it has, especially with curves and how it renders, so for a while I was considering using both, Sketchup for the simple stuff, Blender for finishing up.  But then Google went and sold Sketchup and it's not quite as free to use anymore.  The things I want to make in 3D would be for commercial purposes, so I'd have to buy the licence for stripped down and highly limited CAD / 3D software.  That makes no sense to me.  If I'm paying I might as well get a full program, thank you.  But because of Blender I don't have to do either, I can get full software and not have to pay!  I'll probably end up donating to the foundation at some point, especially if it becomes a common part of my workflow, because I believe in paying for quality work, and encouraging more of it.  If Sketchup didn't have the limitations that made working with it difficult I may have paid, but it looks like I'm just not the type of customer they're trying to attract.

Blender looks like it's going to take a whole ton of work to learn, especially since they keep updating it so quickly.  I just downloaded 2.6 and then found out yesterday they'd come out with 2.7.  I suspect they'll have 2.8 out before I finish learning how to model!  I also learned that the software has other tools like video editing and 2d mesh and bone animations (with a plugin), and even a painting program so you can paint textures right onto the model.  I bet any Blender fan is just nodding their head and wondering what took me so long to figure this stuff out, but it's all new and exciting to me.  I'll admit, I'm a bit addicted to getting the best and perfect tool for the job in the hopes that it makes my life as an artist easier, but I really do think this will be extremely useful.

Lastly, I've recently learned how to make chainmail.  I've discovered that it's not quite right for me when watching something, I tend to do crochet or draw for that, but it's absolutely perfect when I'm watching tutorials and other learning videos.  It's just the right level of repetitive and involving so that I have something to do to keep me focused but not distracted.  That's a tricky spot to find for someone with ADHD, especially with my other health problems complicating things.  I'm thinking very seriously about starting a chainmail shirt just so that I can put rings together without worrying about a pattern.  Chains just aren't enough, I finish them too quickly for this purpose.  I have so many things I'm trying and wanting to learn!

I hope to add "posting on Blogger" back in to my creative mishmash.  I suspect even with my rededication they'll still be random but they should all be fun.  :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

TIAM: Planning in the middle

So I didn't get my goal today (probably overdid it yesterday) but I did get all my B tiles done which for some reason are the hardest for me, so I'm going to count it as a win.  I also did a little more planning.

When I start these things I usually don't have all the specifics worked out.  I start with a loose plan; a theme, some ideas on how I'm going to pull it off, and a small list of things I know I absolutely want to have.  It isn't until I've got a good start on things that I start really detailed plans.  It's still pretty loose, I don't know how many tiles some things will take until after I've made them and there's always more on my list of things to make then actually gets made.  The most important thing isn't the overall path though, it's making sure I know what I'm doing next so when I sit down to draw I'm not just staring at the screen.

Unfortunately, this set is giving me some troubles.  It's not the B tiles, it's all the A tiles.  Halloween is really more about the decorations and details than it is the walls and ground.  I'm going to run out of ideas pretty quickly.  If anyone has suggestions or ideas, I would be really happy to get them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

TIAM: Catching up with some overtime

I did awesome today!  Not only did I manage to meet my quota, I exceeded it by a whole lot!  Only because of palette swap items, but that still counts.  I don't think I can really do that again simply because I spent nearly all day on it and that just isn't sustainable.

Here's a screenshot to show a little of what I've made so far.

I like to choose a subject to focus on for the day.  The first two days were all about gardening, so I only allowed myself to do plants and dirt.  Today was architecture, so I did things like windows, doors, roofs, floors, stairs and so on.  Tomorrow will probably be interiors, so there will be lots of furniture.  Choosing a subject helps me not get distracted by all the little things that might be interesting to make, it helps me know what I'm doing next, and it helps me figure out what might be missing and be sure to include it.  I don't usually finish everything I intend to do for the subject in that day, so towards the end of things I'm doing a bit of everything, trying to fill in all the gaps.  Still it's a nice way to start out.

And now, I'm going to allow myself to rest.