Photoshop: non-destructive Layer Merge

27 March, 2008

Here’s a marvelous shortcut for merging a number of  different layers into a new single layer, without loosing the original ones! This is a very useful technique for when you are not sure of the outcome of a layer merge, or when -for some reason- despite merging them, you still need to keep some layers separated for later use. Furthermore, the technique expands the horizons for more experimentation with various layer blending modes.

The following technique works from Photoshop 7 onwards to the latest versions (thank you for the info liverbones!) , for older versions please check and let me know 🙂 Read the rest of this entry »

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Definition of the term “Vexel”

10 February, 2008

A lot of new people in illustration often ask what is “Vexel Art”.

The short answer for it is that it’s mixed discipline artwork; you can combine vector based artwork (paths, shapes, vector lines and polylines) with normal raster artwork (brushes etc). Whenever you combine these two elements, the derivative is called Vexel Art. Most of the time my artwork is vexel art, since I can get the best out the two (vector art and raster art) when combined. And as you can easily understand, vexel artwork can be achieved only with a computer :), it can include some traditional media elements in it, but the end result will be done on your digital friend 🙂

Usually vexel ‘products’ are clean-cut illustrations, since you have all the line control of vectors and the color gradient freedom from raster! Comics in colour are usually vexel artwork, as well as the majority of conceptual automotive or industrial design renderings.

An interesting and more in-depth description of Vexel art can be found here, written by the superb vexel (automotive) artist dangerruss.


Photoshop: Converting Raster Images to Custom Shapes

5 February, 2008

One of the most useful tricks of our trade is the ability to convert within Photoshop a raster image to a custom monochromatic shape.
What’s the use of that? First of all, as you can understand, whenever you bring up the size of your shape, it never looses it’s “quality”, in other words it doesn’t pixelate like raster images do as you pump up their size.

The downside of that is that the shapes produced are monochromatic only; you cannot turn a full color image to a full color vector shape by doing the following procedure. Nevertheless it is a very useful technique that produces stylized monochrome graphics, mostly useful in applications where large scale printing is needed afterwards, eg. monochrome logos: you will be able to scale up to any size your logo without loosing on the image’s quality. Read the rest of this entry »


Powering Up for Photoshop!

27 December, 2007

If you’re, like me, spending endless hours on Photoshop, drawing or just editing/retouching photos, or just doing collages, you’ll probably want more out of your machine. Chances are that you already know most if not some of the tips I’ll give you below. By the way these tips are for PC users only.

Again, these are intended for the serious artist or the professional that demands more out of the application and works with large format artwork for print. If you’re editing small images for everyday or web use, you’ll definitely not need all this gear, as your everyday pc does the job beautifully.

First of all I would strongly recommend a dedicated system for running Photoshop and other graphics/DTP applications like Illustrator, Corel Draw, Quark Express etc. The reason for that being that Photoshop draws a hell of a lot system resources upon running, so for instance if you’re having a mail client, a download client or a web browser also running at the same time, they also drain system resources and therefore hold back valuable resources that would have been allocated to Photoshop otherwise. Read the rest of this entry »