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Ask the Goddess

This page showcases some of the more interesting questions that I have received in my email. I hope you enjoy it!

Always me,

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From: Mike
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 6:04 AM
Subject: Making a website

Dear Janee,

I am planning to make a website to display my photos. I want it to look professional, but not just like everyone else's. I'm feeling overwhelmed. What advice can you give me?
Mike

Hiya, Mike!

I'm not exactly a web-building Goddess, but I have made my share of mistakes, and so I can share a little wisdom.

A website can be a wonderful canvas for your artwork. One great thing about this is that it's easily shared. Another is that you can change it at your will!

I have a couple of web-building pieces of advice for you: First of all, don't let perfectionism get in the way of your displaying your work. Don't wait till your site is "presentable" or "finished" or "professional-looking" before you get OUT there with it. NO good website is ever finished. Remember that. Your design will evolve many times during your first year online, and, even after you have a look you like, you'll want to change it from time to time, just to keep things interesting and fun for you.

Secondly.. use lots of folders! I'm speaking from experience here. I'm sure you have more sense than I did, but I'll share my story. When I first started myJanee.com in 1999, before it even *was* myJanee.com, I had one folder for my "images." I had 6 pages to my site on the first day I posted it: Home, Hobbies & Interests, Photos, Writings, Blackberry Hill (my business then), and More Links. My Images folder was where i put all my icons and photos and this was fine.

Then my "Hobbies" page started to get pretty large, so I split it off. I still didn't include Photoshop, Art, or Photography in my interests, at that point. But my Images folder bulged. And my site folder, with all those pages, unclassified, got large. Eventually, I had 100 pages, all tossed in together, and over 1000 images, all thrown into that Images folder!

If our site is our house, the rooms in the house are folders. Bookcases, drawers, and filing cabinets are folders within the folders. And, of course, we have folders within our filing cabinets and dividers in our drawers. :) Use lots of folders.

Have fun with it, but don't lose your mind. When we first start putting our work out there, it's tempting to use every little gizmo that we find -- animated gif's, cursor trails, hit counters -- but resist the urge. These things are fun for about 30 seconds. Then your visitor will be moving on.

Keep your user in mind. Make sure that your text is easily-readable. One of my pettest of peeves is black background with dark gray text. I was actually on a site once (I wish I had marked the URL) where they used green type on a red background. <shudder>

Short paragraphs with well-proofed copy makes the easiest reading. Misspellings are distracting, and long long paragraphs are too much work.

This is just a beginning. There's lots to learn about this art. I have a few links on web development HERE. Good luck!

Always me, Janee

From: Rebecca
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2005 11:57 AM
Subject: snowflakes and spirals

Hi Janee, 

I thought you might like to see how well your snowflake tutorial taught me.  I can't stop making them.  They are so much fun.  I set them as brushes, but I can't understand yet how to make a library out of my brushes.  I keep losing them when I change my brush sets.

Have a beautiful day,
Rebecca

Hey there, Rebecca!

For the snow brushes (good idea!), you need to save the library into which you put them. Here’s how to do that:

  • Click the dropdown arrow for the Brush Preset Picker. When you have your Paintbrush selected in your Toolbox, this dropdown arrow is the 2nd one from the left, just right of the brush sample.
  • At the top of the dropdown, is a flyout arrow to the right. Choose Save Brushes. It will ask you for a name for your file, and you can call it snowbrushes, or something equally clever.
  • Now.. you probably have a bunch of other brushes in there that you don’t want with the snowbrushes, right?
  • Click the Brush Preset Picker again and you’ll see all the brushes, including your snowbrushes at the bottom. Hover over one of the unwanted brushes (for this collection), and hit the Alt key (option on a Mac). You’ll see your cursor turn into scissors! Click and kiss that unwanted brush goodbye from this collection. When you’re all done with this, save your brushes again, giving the collection the same name as before.

If you want to get to this same collection, or switch to another, use the Replace Brushes command under that same flyout as the Save Brushes.

Hope this helps!

From: Sara

Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2004

To: Newsgroup

I wish that PS had a way to make a new file from the contents of the clipboard. Elements has File > New from Clipboard. Why doesn't PS?

Always me, Janee

Hi, Sara!


Ok... well, I got curious and I made a little action to make a New File from Clipboard in Photoshop. It's even slicker than the Elements version, because I don't have to go to a menu at all! All I do is push F6. Here is how to make this action:

1. Put something into your clipboard.

  • Open any file.
  • Ctrl-A to select all.
  • Ctrl-C to put it into the clipboard.

2. Set up the Action.

  • Open the Actions palette. (Window > Actions, if you can't see it)
  • Click the New Action button at the bottom.
  • Name the action "New file from Clipboard."
  • Give it a Function key assignment, because you'll be using this a lot!

3. Record the Action.

  • Click Record.
  • File > New.
  • Ctrl-V.
  • Image > Reveal All.
  • Click the Stop button in the Actions palette.

4. Test the Action.

  • Be sure that you have your F key turned on on your keyboard. (I didn't at first, and was flipping out that F6 didn't do a thing! LOL!)
  • Make a selection and Ctrl-C to put something into your clipboard
  • Go to Photoshop
  • Hit F6.

How cool IS this?


 From: Iori Yagami

Sent: Friday, August 13, 2004 7:51 AM

To: janee

Subject: please help me with circular text

hi! When i see your logo at your site, i was wondering how to make a circular text. Can you help me with this please? Thank you very much ...

Iori

Hi there, Iori!

With Photoshop CS, it's pretty easy, because you can do type on a path. If you're working with an earlier version, though, it is a bit more involved. Here's how to do it:

  • On a new layer, make a circle which your letters will follow. You can delete this later if you want.
  • Drag out guidelines to mark the center of your circle.
  • Choose your Type tool and type your first letter at the top of the circle.
  • Duplicate this layer.
  • Ctrl-T to bring up your transformation handles.
  • Drag the center of transformation (the little dot in the middle of the transformation bounding box) to the center of the circle.
  • Now you need to know how far to rotate the letter. Take the number of letters you want and divide this into 360. That will give you the number of degrees to type into the Transformation options bar under the angle to rotate.
  • Hit Enter to complete the transformation.
  • Now here's where the trick (and fun) comes in. Ctrl-Alt-
  • Shift-T. Repeat.. repeat... till your circle is surrounded by this letter.
  • Once you have letters all around the circle, you can go back to each type layer and edit it by typing in the correct letter for that space.

Really... this sounds more difficult and time-consuming than it is. I call this process "iterative transformation," and there is MUCH you can do with it. Iterative transformation is one of the topics I cover in my Photoshop Starting with a Blank Canvas class. You can read more about my classes at www.myjanee.com/classes.htm.


Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2003 9:43 AM
Subject: photoshop for comics
From: david l

Hi Janee,

I know this is kind of an odd question and don't even know if you've ever looked at a comic book, but their is a process where you make black dots into a uniformed pattern, that when shrunken down look grayish. these patterns are standardly used in japanese comics but are done by hand(it was called zip-a-tone).what it is used for is adding shading in black & white illustrations but you can still photocopy them and not lose any of the dots or detail because it's all black. it can be done in photoshop because my one friend is in the business now and used to use it, sadly i can't contact him to find out. i have asked so many people and gotten the wrong anwsers

If cou could please end my torment i would appreciate it. thank you so much.
David L.

Hi there, David!

Quote:

what filter are you usin' in photoshop?

Depends on what you're talking about. I guess you mean the zipatone dots? There are several ways to do that. I use color halftone. I do the same for the color dots, but I work with them in channels selectively.

I hate to give out the secrets, but hey, that's how I got them.
_________________

Dean+

http://www.deantrippe.com

But the best link is this one http://www.howardcruse.com/howardsite/feature6/cartoonemail/ which has a full tutorial on this starting about 3/4 of the way down.

Hope this helps, David!

Always me, Janee


Hi, Janee,

I have 3 questions.

1. In Photoshop, if I have created an open path and then deselected the path, is there a way to subsequently join the two end points?

2. If you have drawn a closed path, is it then possible to remove one of the sections without the two remaining end points then joining?

3. After creating a path, is it possible to flip it horizontally or vertically?

Very truly yours,
Musawwir

Hi there, Musawwir!
Because these are not operations I do often, I had to actually remind myself exactly how this works. The answers to each of your questions is YES! Let’s look at them individually:

1. If you have created an open path and deselected it, you can pick it up again:

  • In the toolbox, choose the Direct Selection (white) arrow.
  • Click somewhere on the path to re-activate it.
  • Click the point where you want the path to continue and you are back in business.
  • Finish your path from there.

Note: You don’t even have to click that same point. You can click the other end, any other place on the path.. or anywhere on the canvas, for that matter!

2. You can indeed remove segments from a path without affecting the rest of the path:

  • Choose the white arrow.
  • Click the segment you want to remove.
  • Hit the Delete key.

3. Yes, you can flip a path horizontally or vertically, but Photoshop adds an extra step for us:

  • Choose the black arrow, the Path Selection tool.
  • Click the path to select it.
  • Go to Edit > Transform… and you see that the flip options are unavailable. So, instead, click Free Transform Path. But don’t do anything to it!
  • With the transformation box active, go BACK to Edit > Transform… The flip options will now be available to you!

Thank you for giving me a reason to muck around with these path questions!


From Alt.Graphics.Photoshop

Subject: Re: Text on path question...

I've never really had the need to do this but, now I'd like to know how I would create type to flow along a path? Specifically, I need text to surround a perfect circle.

Would appreciate any help.

Thanks.
--Vector

Hi there, Vector!
Sure, it will be cool when PS8 offers us a way to do this easily, but for now... there is a way that isn't all that hard and is actually kind of fun. Working through these steps should also give have you scratching your head as you think of more things to do with this. Here we go:

1. Choose your font and your color. Drag guidelines out to the center of your canvas. (Or use your trusty action. I have a tut for making such an action here. The crossing of your two lines will be the center of the circle.

2. Type ONE letter at the top of the circle.

3. Drag this type layer down to the New Layer icon to duplicate it.

4. Ctrl-T to bring up the Transformation handles. Drag the CENTER point of the transform box to the crossing of your guidelines. Either rotate by dragging, or type in an angle of rotation in the box in the options. (If you know how many letters you want, divide the number into 360 to get the angle of rotation you need.) Hit Enter to complete this transformation.

5. Now.. this part is cool. Ctrl-Alt-Shift-T. Repeat till you have enough letters to do your text. Of course.. these are all the same letter, but you fix that in the next step.

6. Go to each of these type layers and edit the type so that it has the letter you want.

This is the technique that I used in the myJanee.com logo above.
Always me, Janee


Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 10:36 AM
To: janee@myjanee.com
Subject: Any advice on this?

Hey Janee,
That page curl effect is really cool! Definitely going to try that one out too! I think I have tried my hand at most of your tutorials LOL, gee they are really great! Thanks for putting that site up, you have no idea how helpful its been, especially the one about the Duotone trick leaving some things colored? GeeeZ what an easier way to go about it! THANKS!!!

Here's a dilemma I am in, I want to know how to do a PORCELAIN effect. (picture was attached) I have tried for 3 months to achieve this effect.

Any ideas? Would love a tutorial on this LOL!

This technique has truly made me insane! I can't get it no matter what I try. I think it's beautiful and would love to accomplish this for my clients :(

Any ideas on how its done? Any help you could give would be MORE than appreciated.

Thanks so much!
DeAnn

Mira :)Hi there, DeAnn!

I just love a challenge! I had seen someone asking in the Usenet group how to do this effect and the answer was something snippy like "You have to shoot it that way in the studio, doofus!" Well... since I don't HAVE a studio, but am a fair hand with Photoshop, I decided just now to try this. Here's my result. Of course the subject has a few years on these cute kiddies in the site you cite, but I think I pulled it off pretty well.

Here's what I did:

1. Make a layer of white, and put it under the photo layer.

2. With the photo layer chosen, create a Layer Mask.

3. Paint black on this mask with a soft brush to mask out the backgound, not being too picky about stray hairs. They won't show anyway.

4Layers for the porcelain effect on Mira. Use a Levels Adjustment layer to up the contrast.

5. Use a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer to desaturate.

6. Make a new layer above all these. Ctrl-Alt-Shift-E to merge Everything visible into a new Merged Visibles layer.

7. Duplicate this layer.

8. Select the important features of the subject. For mine, I chose eyes, nostrils, mouth. Hold the shift key to add to the selection.

9. Select > Inverse.

10. Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. I used a setting of about 10. Your settings may vary. Batteries not included. The goal is to not have the person be recognizable at all, except for the selected out features.

11. Now... put this layer into Screen blending mode. You can duplicate this, to see if you like the effect better.

12. If you need to, put a layer mask on this screened layer and paint some black around any edges that are too fuzzy.

Always me, Janee


Sent: Friday, May 30, 2003 4:53 AM
To: janee@myjanee.com
Subject: What is Creativity?

The Question is.. " What is Creativity? "...

Would you agree with any of these?

  • Using of graphic tools is creativity.
  • Graphic tools part of creativity.
  • Creativity is far from these tools.

Well I wanna know where creativity comes from and how it is related to Photoshop.

Looking forward to your response,
--Tahir A.

Greetings, Tahir!

What is creativity? I would expect that whole books are written on this topic, but I have not yet written mine.

As it relates to Photoshop and other tools of computer graphics, I would say this: These tools can help you to explore your creativity, but just using them doesn't make you creative. Creativity comes from within you. Creativity comes from closely observing your world and seeing its patterns and nuances which you can interpret on a canvas (digital or otherwise).

There are those people who say that anyone with Photoshop can be an artist, suggesting that just owning the program will somehow convert the average person into a creative genius. This just isn't so, and is an affront to the people who spend hours each day honing their skills and training their own creative instincts. There are people who never do learn to look around. They spend their days going through the motions, but never really have a look around.

And there are people who do look around, who can hear the music of the breezes, who smell the salt sea air, who exclaim at the beauty of the undulating lines of the ocean, but they are limited to drawing with a stick in the sand or to the canvas of their minds. Are these people any less creative because they lack the tools?

But it is the people who have both the tools AND the fire of creativity who are the richest! Digital tools are wonderful for people like me. I have not yet garnered the courage to experiment with "real" canvas, oils, chalk, or pen, but yet I can pick up my digital pen and make wonderful creations with the light of my computer. If I don't like what I've done, I can clear my canvas and begin again.

And digital tools, like Photoshop, can also help to spark the creativity, when we don't feel it. In Photoshop, we can quickly see the results of a photo manipulation. We can experiment quickly and easily. Sometimes I'll get an inspiration just from putting some lines on a canvas. I know that people can get inspired this way, without use of a computer, but the computer makes it trivial to try something!

So does creativity begin with Photoshop? No. Does Photoshop help a person to be creative? Yes! Can Photoshop create good art by itself? No. But can Photoshop help us to find the artist within ourselves? Yes!

Always me, Janee


 


Now is the time for it is the only time.How I became the "Graphics Goddess"

I've done a lot of things. It is as if, till fairly recently, I'd been searching for who I really am. I got started in graphics and web design .. this is kind of a funny story in a way, and offers a little peek into the sort of goofy person that I really am. I had a bakery, a little catering operation and I did cakes and cookies and pies and stuff which I delivered locally. Wedding cakes got to be a huge part of my business, and of course they were all on weekends. It occurred to me that I wanted to change things so that I wasn't working every weekend and so I thought of the idea of putting coffee cakes and brownies on the web. I developed and tested some recipes, coming up with a couple of awesome recipes. Then I ship-tested some on some friends of mine around the country and they shipped/lasted well. Cool.  

So I needed a website. I, of course, running my biz on a shoestring, didn't want to spend any money. <g> So I asked my nephew who was in computer science in college and he said that he'd do it in his spare time. Well, college kids, as you are well aware now, have NO spare time, so the site didn't get done. I had a domain and everything just sitting there. Then I got really sick and had to close down the biz for 4 months. During that time I didn't do much of anything except try to get better, which I ultimately did! Then I had been reading computer mags and such about how easy it is to build your own site with the software that makes it easy. I went to the CompUSA and the salesman told me not to get just hokey template software (Get your site online in less than an hour!) but instead to go a step above that and get MS FrontPage. Ok, so I did.

My first site was my own personal site. I had 4 links off my homepage: Hobbies, Photos, Links, and Blackberry Hill, which was the name of my business. Eventually I made a page for each of my hobbies, which, in those days, did not even include art! Photos became a photo album. I wrote an article and some other stuff and added a Writings page. And so it went. In those days I was just taking graphics from other sites.

Then one day in the fall of '99, a friend of mine told me that I ought to be doing some editing of my photos because they needed editing. I said that I didn't know how to do that at all and she turned me onto the fact that MS FrontPage had a program bundled with it called Image Composer, a simple photo-editing package. I discovered that I could make myself into twins, that I could give my sister green hair, and that I could take paintings of flowers that I'd taken from other sites and make them into "virtual gardens" which I used, that fall, to decorate my site. 

For Halloween, I was still using borrowed graphics. For Thanksgiving, I borrowed a turkey from a site and tried to animate it using Image Composer. He was supposed to be dancing, but he didn't do very well. <g>  

That November, too, my mother fell ill and died in December, so I was afk (away from the keyboard) for much of those two months. In January, I made my own snowflakes with Image Composer and used them to decorate my site. The method that I used is the same one, essentially, that is in my snowflake tutorial  now. In fact, I wrote up a tutorial for how to do it in Image Composer. That was my first tutorial.

My husband got me a digital camera, a very nice one, that Christmas of '99 and then in January, I replaced my computer with a fine big new one. I got MS Photodraw as part of Office 2000 with my new computer and that icon for it with the paintbrush just .. well I had to try drawing. I painted some flowers, I mutated a picture of peas into sand dunes, and the artist was born!

In April of 2000, I was ready for a new image program and I'd heard about Photoshop. One of my friends said that it was the one that the pros used and so I thought that would be something to check out. I was amazed at the $600 tag on it but intrigued too. You know that effect that a very high price has. I read the box and just had to have it. I ordered it from Adobe the next day and got it on the 20th. I hated it at the start. Hard to get used to, things didn't work as I thought, and I was thinking that I'd made a terrible mistake. My friend told me about the newsgroup and so I started lurking there. 

As I learn new things in Photoshop, I write tutorials as a way of documenting and remembering my procedures. As with everything else in my life, I put these on the web. These have caught on in a big way with Photoshop learners from all over the world. One of these learners began to address me in email as Graphics Goddess, so the nickname was born!

Always me, your Goddess, Janee

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