Knowing Your Resources – Scaling Images

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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. 🙂


Knowing Your Resources – Free Computer Art Programs

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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! 😀


Humble Bundle – Cosplay Special

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Humble Bundle is a site we won’t mention often, but one that certainly deserves recognition. The company makes agreements with mostly game publishers and book publishers to get items it bundles together for a low cost that can then be purchased. Not only are these costs low, you can actually choose how much you want to pay for it. Seriously. Only have a dollar? That will get you some of the professional quality items. Notice I did only say some as obviously the more you spend the more you get. Typically only requiring a minimum of $10-15 to get all the items in that week’s bundle. So besides getting games or books for a very low cost, the humble part of this that part of the money goes to charity. There are actually sliders at the bottom that let you chose how much money goes to the publishers, charity, or back to the site. This also means you can pay well over the minimum and donate most of the money to charity. You can even chose which charity you want to donate to if you so wish.

 

So what does this site have to do with crafting?  Well normally nothing as the topics of the bundles varies often, and the video games tend to take the spotlight over the comic or book bundles they may be offering. Not so this week. This week they are offering a bundle deal on some excellent cosplay and prop making reference books.

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Paying even just $1 gets you ebook versions of Make: Getting Started with Adafruit FLORA; Make: Wearable Electronics: Design, Prototype, and Wear Your Own Interactive Garments; Make: Design for 3D Printing; Kitchen Floor Vacuum Former; and the Adam Savage Moldmaking Primer. That’s a crazy amount of knowledge for only $1. There are 2 other minimum tiers ($8 and $15) and you get not just that level but all the books at the previous tiers as well. So for a minimum of $15 you could be the proud owner of 14 books all about cosplay design that will help you make the best costume possible, while also making a donation to charity. It’s a crazy good deal; one I’ve already taken advantage of since books on prop making will certainly help with the various crafts I do.

The offer ends in 8 days from the date of this post (around noon EST on Oct. 26th, 2016), so you have some time to think it over. If you’ve ever wanted to make better props or costumes though, now is the time to get great professional resources.


Know Your Resources: Craftsy

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Craftsy provides education and tools that help you bring your creativity to life.

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That is mission statement for Craftsy.com.  Craftsy has four areas that help you as a crafter and maker: Online classes, Supply shop, Pattern Shop, and a community.  I will go through each of these areas and show you how they can be utilized.

Online Classes

I haven’t personally taken any online classes yet, but have been told they are great.  Hundreds of classes include quilting, sewing, knitting, cake decorating, art, photography, cooking, and more.  The classes can be taken at your own pace, never expires so can be re-watched as you like, and your instructor answers questions whenever you have them.

Supply Shop

The Supply Shop has all of the tools you need for the classes and patterns.

Pattern Shop

The Pattern shop allows you to buy and sell patterns for all sorts of crafts.  I have two quilting patterns for sale right now through Craftsy.

 

As a designer, it is super easy to have your patterns available for sale.  The best part I like is once you make the pattern, you can upload it and show it off to the Craftsy community and the pattern designer!  I have bought a LOT of Craftsy quilt patterns including the ones I am using for my rainbow quilts.

Community

The community is a little different than some craft websites.  Craftsy allows you to share your projects, whether they are based on a pattern or class on the site, or not!  It is a great way to talk about what you have created.

The blog shows tutorials in all sorts of Crafts and include free patterns and tutorials.

So check Craftsy out.  Share your work, sell your patterns, and get inspired!

-Toni