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Badass Lighting #3: Lens Flares

Badass Lighting #3: Lens Flares

Welcome to the third installment in my Badass Lighting series where we go over the oft-overused-and-abused effect, the lens flare. In the last two posts I discussed fresnel effects and specular bloom effects. Technically a lens flare isn’t a separate entity from those two, since a real-world lens flare is caused by either intense fresnel ... Read More
Badass Lighting #2: Specular Bloom

Badass Lighting #2: Specular Bloom

My last post started the topic of “hyperreal lighting” by dealing with the fresnel effect. Now I want to move on to the second kind: specular bloom. Specular bloom is related to the fresnel effect and, under the right kind of light, includes fresnel lighting. However specular bloom also includes more direct surfaces (rather than mainly ... Read More
Badass Lighting #1: Fresnel Effects

Badass Lighting #1: Fresnel Effects

I’m a fan of hyperrealism. My definition of hyperrealism, though, is “stuff that defies the laws of physics but looks pretty damn cool nonetheless.” In fact, good hyperrealism sells itself well enough that you might not even notice that stuff wouldn’t work that way. But in an alternate universe (especially the one in my head) ... Read More
Using an FX Layer Stack for Faux-Infrared Imaging

Using an FX Layer Stack for Faux-Infrared Imaging

In my last post I introduced the FX Layer Stack and the basics of how to implement it. Now I’d like to show you another way to use it. To review in a nutshell: you’ll have a group that contains, from bottom to top, a solid black fill layer, one or more blank layers for art, ... Read More
The Power of a Gradient Mapped FX Stack

The Power of a Gradient Mapped FX Stack

The featured image for this post is not a photograph. That fireball was painted by hand in photoshop using a powerful tool I call the FX Stack. I use this all of the time, sometimes with several instances in a single piece. I initially learned the technique from Mike “Daarken” Lim’s book, Elysium. When I read ... Read More
Skills Learned from Drawing (and Balancing it All, with Tutorial)

Skills Learned from Drawing (and Balancing it All, with Tutorial)

If you go through forums and ebooks for freelancers and designers there’s always someone who’s asking if they need to be able to draw to be a good designer. The response is always essentially “no, but it helps.” Being someone who’s been drawing his whole life I see this principle clearly. The things I understand ... Read More
Designing & Producing a Flier Card

Designing & Producing a Flier Card

A couple of weeks ago I promised to show a little bit more of the design process for my Black Dog Custom Pet Portraits project. One of the things I’ve created is a postcard/flier to distribute to local pet shops, rescues, adoption agencies, and art shows. Here I’ll go over the whole creation process; I hope ... Read More
Branding the Black Dog Shoppe

Branding the Black Dog Shoppe

In this post I’m going to talk a bit about the process of setting up graphics for a new business venture, as well as a short tutorial on making my new little mascot, Quincy: Recently I wrote a post about a side project of mine, pet portraits. Lately it’s been blossoming into a pretty reliable income stream, ... Read More
A Dieselpunk Elephant (and a short tutorial)

A Dieselpunk Elephant (and a short tutorial)

I wanted to share with you one of my recently completed personal pieces: This the third in my surreal, dieselpunk-themed animal paintings. Here’s a list of my Photoshop process, from back to fore: The mesh background is a seamless background from Ron Deviney’s “Cyborg Parts” set. A few grunge brushes over the mesh gave it ... Read More
Using Illustrator and Photoshop together

Using Illustrator and Photoshop together

I have always used both Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop together as a unit. Each application has its own strengths and weaknesses. I end up doing a TON of drafting for both illustration and graphic design in Illustrator, whose vector output and editing is simply unmatched. Nonetheless, the finishing and rendering I can do in Photoshop ... Read More