World Building Assistance

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Whenever you’re venturing out to create your own world, be it for a DnD game, a book, or even just an art series, having your world fleshed out will always help strengthen your final product. Even if the details are aspects people will never see or read about (see all the lost tales book for Lord of the Rings for example), you knowing why the world has evolved a certain way, or where in it a certain character has traveled can really give your world a bit of realism and grounding; no matter how fantastical it is on the surface.

 

Making notes is a great way to get this process started and, I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to lose journals/note pads or find them hard to navigate since it’s always being added to, but I can’t add to older sections if they’ve run out of room. To aid in this I’d like to present, notebook.ai.  

Not only does this site help you keep all your notes in one place, it goes much much deeper then a simple notepad function. This site will ask you questions about your world and save your answers. It will check to make sure you’ve made no continuity errors. If you’re working on a group project you can invite others to join and keep all your work in the same place. This site will let you go as deep as you want with your world building and keep it all nice and together for as long as you need. Oh, and did I mention it’s completely free?

There are paid tiers if you’re really into world building (ranging from $9-7 a month) but for the casual user the free subscription will be more then enough. I wish a site like this had existed 10 years ago when I dabbled in writing, lol, but if creating worlds is your thing then I highly recommend giving this site a try. The ease of access and customizing is so worth it.


Color Scheme Assistance

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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. 🙂


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.