Taking a break from just posting awesome things or DIYs, I wanted to share another tool for all you artist/artisans out there. When designing a piece, one of the hardest things to do sometimes is color. Now I don’t mean color for something you know or recreating, but picking color from scratch for something new and unique. This can be for anything from a website to a new fantasy creature and it can take hours of slight adjustments to get something the eye sees as ‘right’. Thankfully in this age of the internet, kind people have developed palette designers to help us with this task.
This is a site called Paletton. It’s an easy click and drag way to get you making a color scheme quick and easy. You start with a main color you know you want and then let the program to the work for you, or completely pick out lots of shades and get a fast mock-up of them to see if they work. Great if you have a starting point and just need a little push to get your colors together, but what if picking color schemes is a slog for you? Well I’ve got something for that too. Coolors makes it even easy with randomly generated palettes you can cycle through or explore ones generated by other users.
Both tools are completely free and allow you get the design info you need and get back to work on your beautiful art piece. 🙂
I’ve got a cool little reference tool for everyone today! Now I know this won’t be used for every medium out there, but if you draw or write about people with your art then continue on my friends.
This is a nifty little weblet made by Mr Initial Man called Comparing Heights, that lets you quickly get a visual on what the height differences should look like for characters. While you may have an idea for average heights (6′-5′ range) I find this to be incredibly helpful for fantasy art. Got a 60′ giant? Now you know just how large that would look next to you. Want to know if you fairy is too big? They got you covered. 🙂 I could see this being a fun tool for D&D GMs as well. If you are worried about group shots more, you can compared up to 6 people in this one right here instead. It’s really just a great simple (and free!) tool to help get everything into perspective. ;P
While this service has been around online for years and years, I’m always amazed by how many people that have never heard of it. So I wanted to share with all you aspiring creative types the super simple, easy and free way to turn your own handwriting into a digital font for your computer. 😀
There are currently 2 sites that I would recommend to do this with, depending on what resources you have on hand and how much time you want to commit. The first is My Script Font. Its process is simple. You print out a guide paper with several boxes on it. In those boxes you write the corresponding letter/symbol it lists. Then you put it into a scanner to turn the paper back to a digital file and load it to their site. You can also name and pick the font file type (TTF if default as it is more universal) when you do, and that’s it! You’ll immediately get a font in your own handwriting to enjoy and use.
Now this company does have a new version of this service, which is the second one I’d recommend for the more serious user called Calligraphr. You use a program instead or printing anything (though you can print it if you prefer) and can tweak your handwriting font to perfection, giving it negative spaces on letter like P and T, or even allowing randomized variances in letters to make it look more like handwriting. Using it for free lets you still make as many fonts as you want, but you can only tweak 1 at a time and have a limit on unique characters; which aren’t used that often really. There is a paid version for $7 a month that gives some extra bonuses, but is really only for those who need their font to do a lot more then the casual user.
What can you do with this awesome new font? Well, anything that involves writing really. Want to have truly unique labels or signage for your products? Use your own handwriting. Add a personal touch to your FAQ page on your website. Replace the font in your comic with your own hand and not have to do any line art clean up for it! You could even use this tool to make custom notebooks or memo pads for yourself/customers. The only limiter is your own imagination really.
Yesterday I talked about programs you can used to do free digital work to your creations. Today I’m continuing the digital side of crafting and taking it a step further to provide a new program and an example of how it can be used to effect your crafts/art. Say you’ve got a great design for a T-shirt you want to make. You’re in love with it and it looks perfect. You go to print it out and start your screen printing process and…crap. You made your design way too small.
What do you do? You spent hours on this design and now when you go to make it bigger it’s likely not going to look as good and isn’t suitable to print. Well, I have your answer. You go take a visit to waifu2x. Not a great name, I know, but here is an example from their site of the change in quality their program provides (you’ll have to click for the larger image to see everything better)
You simply chose the image you want from your files and select the level of customization for upscaling it that you need. While it’s likely not going to be perfect if your image is fully colored and fleshed out, it will expertly upscale and clean just about any image you give it better than most free image editing software. I wouldn’t use it all the time (you should always try and work in high resolution images whenever you make a digital design), but it’s great for those moments when you forgot or were in a rush and have a time crunch to get something finished by. 🙂
So I hurt my left arm last week and I’m having to take it easy and not crochet (cries forever at all the lost work time) to let the muscles recover from the strain. I’m doing more digital based work instead to keep from just lounging around and playing video games, so I thought I’d share some great art programs that can be used to create digital art on your computer that can all be downloaded at no cost to use. This way you can explore and see what programs work best for you. 🙂
Photoshop CS2 – You’ll have to create a free adobe login first if you don’t have one, but once you log in and go to this link you should be on the agreement page that leads you to the download. It’s all free, but no longer supported by adobe with updates. So if you have a system running newer versions of windows (like windows 10) it probably won’t run.
FireAlpaca – This is a nice simple paint/illustrator tool for Windows or Mac. Still supported and updated as well, while planning to always be free.
GIMP – Another free program that works for Windows, Mac or Linux.
Inkscape – My personal program of choice as a back to photoshop. It’s available to Windows, Linux, Mac and even as the source code; for all the people out there that are much for into programing then I’ll ever be.
As a bonus: CTRL+Paint Is a great resource to teach you how to you digital programs to make art, touch up photos, or do graphic design stuff like make vector based logos.
So get out there and get creative! 😀