New Coloring Page

I put up a new coloring page in my Freebies section.  I pulled all the colors and shading out of that monkey I made for Katie earlier this year and put that up as a coloring sheet.  I think it turned out pretty good.  Click to open the full-sized PDF.

Legal Stuff:  You are free to print out and photocopy this image for use as coloring pages at home or in a classroom.   It is not available for any other use without my express, written consent.  Please do not modify the file, post it online, or remove or modify my copyright notice.  Thank you.  🙂

Monkey for iStock

A baby monkey swings from a tree in the jungle while holding a banana.

Advertisements

Free Adobe Software… Sort of…

Not my image.

Okay, this is interesting. Adobe is making some of its OLD Creative Suite software available for download with the activation code. Although they say they’re not actually offering it for free, they sound like they’re operating on the honor system. They want to stop having to maintain a registration server for these programs or something, so they just put them up and tell you that you should only download them if you already own a copy. But they’re not checking. Anyone CAN download them for free.

Now, these are NOT the latest versions. They’re seven years old. But if you DON’T already have Photoshop, Illustrator, or one of the other programs on here, then old is better than no program at all. If you’ve never used any version of Photoshop at all and you have been wanting to try it except that the cost is prohibitive, this would be a way to try it without the limits of that pesky one-month trial period.  Then, when the limitations of the 7-year-old software irritate you sufficiently, you can purchase the current version.  Or, how many people do you know still limping along on Photoshop 6? CS2 is better than that, at least.  I’m looking right at you Ms. Zoch.  smiley 15

So, I am not saying you SHOULD download this free software, because, of course, it’s wrong. But… If you want to… Here are the links:

An explanation of what’s going on: http://nofilmschool.com/2013/01/adobe-releases-creative-suite-online-completely-free/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nofilmschool+%28NoFilmSchool%29

And the actual Adobe download page, with activation codes: http://www.adobe.com/downloads/cs2_downloads/index.html

I will leave the rest up to you and your conscience.  smiley 15

Tutorial: A Trick with Kill White

Here’s a trick you can do with the free Photoshop filter Mike and Kael’s Kill White (which is an awesome filter for several reasons).

So I have a picture of a flower.  Nothing special.  There’s not a whole lot of contrast and it’s just kind of blah.  I tried playing with the contrast and the colors and I just wasn’t happy with it.  So, I went back to the beginning and did a trick with Kill White instead.

Here’s the original:

I copied the layer.

And converted it to black and white.  That’s Image->Adjustments->Black & White.  I played with the filters until I came up with one that made mostly the leaves darker, but the petals stayed bright.  This time it was the High Contrast Red Filter, but if none of the pre-sets look quite right, you can manually adjust the filter.

Now you have two layers.  A black and white and a color.  Here’s where I use the handy-dandy kill white filter on the black and white layer.  That transformed all the white in the layer to transparent and you get this:

Almost there, but just a bit too dark.  So I adjust the vibrance of the bottom layer.  That’s Image->Adjustments->Vibrance.  In this case I upped the vibrance and the saturation by 10.  Then I upped the brightness by 40 under Image->Adjustments->Brightness/Contrast.  Then I adjusted the transparency of the top layer to 80%.  And came up with this:

Okay, so maybe not an award-winning photo, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the original.

See what I mean?

Cropping helps.

The reason this works is with the transparent and black overlay, I can up the brightness and saturation of the colors I want without losing the nice dark shadows of the parts I want in shadow.  It’s a very targeted way to up the contrast on a photo.

Tutorial: Digitally coloring a hand-drawn line drawing in Photoshop

Ever since I bought my Wacom tablet, I’ve been working pretty exclusively in a digital environment.  It really makes a lot of things easier for me.  But back before my tablet, I would hand-draw the lines for an image and only add the colors on the computer.  I know lots of artists prefer to work that way and I’d like to share a couple of tricks I know to get better results from that process.

First off, you need to scan the drawing to get it into digital format.  I always scan this sort of image in greyscale at 300 resolution.  If you’re going to print the image, 300 dpi is the very minimum you want to work with.  It doesn’t hurt to make it even higher.

Let’s start with a challenge.  Let’s say that the image is too large to fit on your scanner’s bed.  As long as you have Photoshop, that’s not a problem.  You can use the photomerge feature.  I’m on Photoshop CS5, but Photoshop Elements also has it.

Scan in the two halves (or four corners) of the image so that they overlap at least some at the edges.  Save all the files somewhere you can get to and open them in Photoshop.

Then go to File->Automate->Photomerge.  Since they’re already opened, just click the button for Add Open Files.  Alternatively, you could also select the image files from your folders.  Choose the Auto radio button, if it’s not already selected.  Click OK.

Once it’s finished, merge all layers and you can close the original files.

Save this merged image file before continuing.

Make sure the image mode is RGB color, then clean up your lines.  Adjust the levels so that the lines are pure black and the page is pure white.  Or, that’s assuming you want your blacks to be pure black.  If it’s more of a pencil sketch, you might want them to be 50% or 75% black.  Whatever.  Regardless, the white needs to be 100% white.  Don’t go overboard adjusting the levels, though.  You don’t want to make the edges of the lines too pixelated.  You want to preserve those smooth shades of grey on the edges of the lines.

Erase any smudges, stray lines, etc. that you don’t want in the final picture.  You won’t be able to easily adjust the contrast later, so make sure to get the lines as you want them now

As always, remember to save often.

Now it’s time to use the most useful free plug-in there is for an illustrator working with line drawings: Mike and Yael’s Kill White.  First off, make sure that you’re not working on the background layer.  If you’re not sure, double-click on the layer to convert it to a regular layer rather than a background layer. Open up the Kill White filter and run it.

Edit:  This is a pretty old post.

I’ve since learned a better way to remove all the white from a layer using the Channels tool.  It works just as well, but without having to open PixelBender and run an add-on filter.  I talk about that here.  But the Kill White filter will also work. There are other techniques that work also. 

I also now know that you can make the white invisible by just changing the blend mode to “Darken”.  (“Multiply”, “Color Burn”, and “Linear Burn” have similar effects that will also make white invisible and which you might find useful.) Changing the blend mode is probably the easiest thing to do.  However, there are sometimes reasons you might want the white actually removed rather than merely invisible.  I usually pull the white completely out, even if I don’t strictly need to. I figure, why keep it if you don’t need it?  Occasionally it can interfere with filters or the selection tool or something.  So, I just get rid of it if I don’t need it.

Now you have a layer with all the white converted to a transparency.

Notice that it converted it cleanly?  There are no white edges around the lines.  The filter will actually convert a 50% grey pixel to a pure black pixel that’s 50% transparent.  Same thing with colors.  That means no ugly white edges.  I’ve blown the image up to 300% below to show that.

Now you have your line layer.  Create a new layer, fill it with white and position it underneath your line layer.  Think of this as your paper layer.  Create another layer and position it between your line layer and your paper layer.  This is your color layer.  Paint your colors here and they’ll be underneath the lines, but on top of the paper.  For further flexibility, you can create a new color layer for each individual color you use.  That way you can easily isolate each color and adjust it separately as necessary as you work.

Here’s another close-up.  See?  No White edges.

And there you go.  That’s how I color a line drawing with Photoshop.  I hope this makes someone’s life easier.

Post Edited Nov. 4, 2012:  Minor text changes and images added for Illustration Friday’s reblog.  

Free Coloring Sheet

Here’s a free coloring sheet.  Just click on the picture to get to the full-size version.

You are free to print out and photocopy this image for use as coloring pages at home or in a classroom.   It is not available for any other use without my express, written consent.  Please do not modify the file, post it online, or remove or modify my copyright notice.  Thank you.  🙂

21 Free Bumper Sticker Designs

I now have 21 free bumper sticker designs on my website.  I just finished adding a bunch and updating the old ones a bit.  They’re all designed to promote responsible driving by encouraging people not to use their cell phones while driving. This is an issue I feel very strongly about.  No conversation is worth someone’s life.

They’re sized for printing as bumper stickers at VistaPrint, but you can use them however you like.  They’re free for personal use.  Enjoy.

http://www.karenbjones.com/index.php?id=155

Free Handwriting Sheets

I was looking around for a pad with those three-line ruled sheets for little kids to use for practicing their handwriting.  Of course, since I was looking for them, they weren’t at any of the stores I normally go to.  I was debating making a special trip to somewhere I knew had them when I thought, “Hey, why don’t I just make some on the computer?”

So, I did.  Then I thought, “I ought to post these to the Freebies page on my website.”

So, I did that too.

Here they are, if anyone would like them:  http://www.karenbjones.com/index.php?id=187

There are blank ones and ones with the alphabet, both portrait and landscape orientation.