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19 Apr

You will want to give up. Don't.

I can't do this. But I'm doing it anyway.



14 Mar

Photoshop still confuses me. A lot.

Often, when I can’t figure something out in Photoshop, I ask my coworker for help, and she shows me in a flash. And, although after she shows me (and if I take decent notes), I can do that one thing again, I’m still baffled by the rest.

One of the things I’ve never understood is how to do gradients. But, thanks to this tutorial from PS I Love You, gradients have become a little bit easier to understand.

Young ginger with Photoshop gradient

San Francisco with Photoshop gradient

Duck with Photoshop gradient background

Amos Lee’s “Night Train”:

Ikea and a New Sky

24 Jul

We went to Ikea awhile ago, with plans of buying nothing. But, the problem with Ikea is that everything is so cheap. So besides picking up some small stuff (i.e. food containers, glasses, recyclable bags, Ikea chocolate…), we both picked out some sort of decoration for the apartment.

My husband chose mirrors for our dining area. They took over the wall where my wreath was hanging (we moved the wreath to the bedroom for now). The mirrors look good, and they may even make the dining area seem a little bigger.

I picked out a picture shelf to hang above the television. I had been wanting to make a DIY one for awhile, but the ones at Ikea seemed cheaper and easier than doing it myself. We also got two 8×10 black picture frames for the picture shelf and plan to find additional plain black frames in different sizes to match them.

After the shelf got hung up, it looked like this, with some placeholder pictures:

The only picture we plan to keep in those frames is the one of us in front of Notre Dame Basilica in Canada.

In the other 8×10 frame, I want to put this photo, which my sister-in-law’s sister took for us when we got married.

I really like the picture. It’s iconic NYC with the Brooklyn Bridge, and it’s so peaceful because no one else is in the shot besides us — something pretty rare for the city. The only thing I wished was that the sky was more colorful, which is a great reason to play with Photoshop.

My biggest fear in Photoshopping this picture was that I didn’t understand how to get the blue sky in the little areas, like in between the cables of the bridge since the cables are almost the same color as the original sky. So, I asked my co-worker — a graphic designer — for help. She recommended “cheating it,” by using a fading sky. So, I cheated.

I google image’d “sky,” found a nice fading-to-white sky, copied and pasted it in a layer on top of the original image, and sized and rotated it as needed. But now, our heads and most of the bridge structure were covered by the new fading blue sky.

To bring the bridge structure and our heads to the front, I selected aspects of the first layer (the original picture layer) using the marquee and magic wand tools, and pasted it on a new top layer. You can see the progress of the bridge coming together:

For areas that were hard to see in the original because of the similar sky color, I hid the sky layer, switched to the first layer, and used the pen tool to outline the area, copy, and paste to the top layer.

After pasting it in, I unhid the sky layer to make sure it looked nice.

There were also areas in the top layer where I pasted parts of the original, white sky, which I did not want. So I zoomed in and erased the white sky pixels from the top layer. The lantern was one area where I had to do a lot of this:

And, finally, I ended up with a beautiful picture with a nice, vibrant sky.

O Canada

5 Jan

Post-Christmas, pre-New Years, we went north to Canada, land of fun accents, cold weather and poutine!

When we got back, I used our photos from the trip to play around with different effects on

The snowy view at the start of our walk on La Promenade des Gouverneurs in Quebec City.

[effect: posterize]

Notre Dame Basilica near the Old Port district of Montreal.

[effect: cross process]

Enjoying the snow and Christmas decorations in Montreal before going to a jazz club.

[effect: winterize]

Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, aka the Fairmont Hotel, aka not our hotel.

[effect: lomo-ish]

Outside St. John's gate to Old Quebec City.

[effect: pencil sketch]

One of many poutine stops -- trying the Poutine Elvis (ground beef, green peppers and mushrooms) and Poutine Obelix (smoked meat) at La Banquise in Montreal.

[effect: hdr-ish]

Stopped in front of the Statue of Athena in Mount-Royal Park, Montreal, to watch locals sledding.

[effect: neon]


13 Dec

I once let my husband cut my hair after he insisted he would do a good job. While he was cutting, I didn’t look because I knew I’d freak out. So, I waited. And, waited. And, waited. Then, he announced he was done.

Is a delayed freak out better than a continual freak out? I think so.

I immediately made him drive me to a hair cut place as I laughed and cried at the same time. My hair was salvaged, just shorter than normal. When I re-tell the story, he insists that he “wasn’t done cutting, and, if [he] had finished, it would’ve come out great.”

On the opposite end, the hair cuts I’ve given him have come out pretty good. But they are mostly buzz cuts, with an occassional fade.

A few times, when we were young (i.e. two years ago), I gave him a mohawk. Here’s one of my favorite pics of him with the cut, which only I seemed to appreciate:


Anyway, I used this picture for a stencil that I created in Photoshop, following this tutorial.


Sadly, I had to cut off the mohawk from the stencil since it looked a bit ridiculous in stencil form.

Then, I did one of me:



The tutorial was pretty easy, albeit a bit tedious in the beginning but more fun as you get the hang of it. Overall, I think my husband’s stencil came out better since he has more distinct features.

And, here’s a video — “Picture” by Kid Rock, featuring Sheryl Crow:

Iced Coffee

29 Aug

Do you know The Pioneer Woman? I love her recipes. My favorite is her BBQ Meatballs, although all of her recipes I’ve tried are amazing.

Recently, my husband has been making her Perfect Iced Coffee. I usually don’t drink much coffee, but I can’t resist drinking this. Anyway, I set up an animated GIF photo shoot.

Coffee Tall

Bird Escapes Bear

26 Aug

I love the internet. Because only on the internet can you find great step-by-step directions on how to easily create your own animated GIF. With the magic of Photoshop, you can create your own too.

As I sat on the couch contemplating what to animate, our gigantic 53″ bear stared at me thinking, When will they go to sleep so I can come to life and feast on the Spool birds?

Reading his mind, my animation came to life in my head, and I got to work: I tied a screw on a string, tied the string to a yardstick, stuck the bird on the screw, placed my husband with a tripod and camera in front of the bear, stood on a stepladder and flew the birdie from the bear’s belly to out of the picture frame.

And just a short while later, it came to life on screen:

Birdie Flying away from Bear

It may not be a perfect flight path and the bird may twist around mid-flight, but I’m still very impressed with how easy it is to make an animated GIF.