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Posts Tagged Photoshop

The chosen ones, part V

From Gallery 11, “Lightning”:

This one seems quite a simple image (it is!) but it was really important to me maybe for non-aesthetical reasons. This image called the attention of a band named Disgruntled Postal Workers, and they’ve asked me to use it in their CD called “Wicked”. It was the first time I was asked to have an image used on someone else’s work, and also… it was the first time I made some (really small) money off my work.

I had to follow the rules and ask for a fee, but at the same time, I couldn’t ask them “too much”, mostly when I thought that it was such a simple image and more, made with a freeware software. Sure, it’s my artwork, but it could and can be easily reproduced by nearly anyone that knows a bit about fractals and Fractint. But this is what they liked, and they were not based in reviews or comments in fractal sites or art communities (here goes my anti-Deviant rant again). They just found the fractal image and thought it would fit with their work. And respectfully – the most important part of it all – they asked me for a licensing fee. And how much is too much in this case? I had no idea. I bought a book that helped me a lot to learn about how the licensing process of artwork goes, and it really helped me to decide how much to ask. It’s called “Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines“, and it covers all the aspects of licensing and fees and copyright issues, it helped me a lot, really (I bought the 10th edition if I’m not wrong). If they were signed to a big label, of course I could have made a lot more, but as they were an independent band, and as an amateur musician myself, I know how hard can it be to get money to help make your work to be finished and released to the public so if I asked them more than they could afford neither me nor them would be happy.

The whole process ran as smoothly as possible – maybe because there was no involvment of the big guys of record labels or lawyers or anything like that. It was just a few e-mails exchanged between me and Scott (R.I.P.!), the singer. I sent them a “contract” (written with the help of the book) just with the basics only to be sure that we wouldn’t have any problems in the future (what if they exploded and become a new U2 or something?), and that’s it. After some time I got a package with the CD already finished, and there it was, my image, my name in the credits, in a rock’n’roll CD. It’s things like that that make you keep going. Oh yes and the CD was nice as well. It sounded like a mix of Rush and Live and with some influences of grunge and tidbits of “funk metal” or whatever it’s called. After Scott’s death, they have reformed with a new name, The Red Desert,  sometimes I still go there and see what they are doing.

And BTW, the fee was really small. I even made some “extras” for free, like images that could be used as wallpapers, postcards or some promotional stuff. It doesn’t hurt to do things legally, it’s better than use something off the internet without giving the artist any credits. Play nice.

PS.: for those wondering how I could use a GIF image, with 256 colours, in a professional work – it was imported into UltraFractal and rendered there, in a big size and resolution and the colours were smooth as usual, no strips or bands or anything like that. As always, no Photoshop involved whatsoever.

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Why I don’t use Photoshop or Gimp?

There’s a big discussion involving fractal images and Photoshop, with several different points of view, but the main one usually is that if a fractal image is manipulated in Photoshop (or Gimp, or any other software like that) “it’s not a true fractal image anymore”.

I’m not interested in this technical discussion – each side of it has its own correct assumptions, but I’ve decided not to use Photoshop or any other image manipulation softwares because to me I feel that with them it’s much simpler to create something interesting with virtually no effort, I guess this is the same way I don’t like how Apophysis is misused by most of its users nowadays – the random, automated way to create an image or a batch of images. With Photoshop/Gimp etc. sometimes I feel the same happens.

Yesterday I gave Gimp another try (I really can’t get used to that interface!) but mostly to try something like the Droste effect which is quite interesting. I found that there is a plug-in for Gimp that does that effect (and many others) called MathMap, and it can give some interesting fractal-like results in regular pictures. I couldn’t make it work (I need an older version of Gimp it seems, and I’m using Windows), but I found some other quite interesting plug-ins that can make very nice effects and changes to your fractal images in a very easy way. I might even post some of these attempts here just for fun, the map to sphere stuff for example is really interesting mostly because I need some fractal that can look like a planet/world for a logo/icon to be used here, and an animated ” fractal planet” spinning using one of my own images will definitely look nice. But the easiness to make a fractal look “better” with a few default settings of a plug-in is what makes me go away from these image editors and not even try to use them. Not even for a simple sharpening, which gives a nice effect with images that have lots of details.

Other day I found one of these links named “amazing fractal images” (or some variation of that) and there was a bunch of images of “fractal animals” – lions, birds, dogs, whatever. All had a fractal texture applied to the original images of the animals and one that doesn’t know fractals might think that the fractal software generated a true fractal image that was shaped like a dog – it didn’t, it was just a simple dog image with some Apophysis image “pasted” on top of it working as a texture, blended with the original image. You can actually see some of these here. Is this person a good fractal artist? No, he’s just someone that knows how to work with layers in Photoshop, and this is much easier to find than someone that can really make a (traditional) fractal from scratch. I remember when I found these images. In the first image I was like “wow, that’s nice” and while looking at about the 3rd or 4th I was like… “boring!…”. It won’t take you more than a few minutes to replicate that kind of effect, much different than waiting 50 hours for a real fractal image to be rendered.

Edit: with a few more clicks, I found the culprit: a plug-in named Fractalius. Annoying, really annoying. I didn’t know it was that easy.

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What happened to the plain old Mandelbrot?

Still somehow inspired by the previous post about the misunderstanding of what a fractal is and the wrong use of the word fractal and some stuff I read at Orbit Trap, I remembered another thing that bothers me (here comes another long rant).

Also while checking for Google links, I noticed that a lot of the current examples of fractals seem to be now related to Apophysis and its own kind of fractal, the “flame” fractals. OK, they are still fractals, but what happened to the “classic” images of Mandelbrots and Julias (or Newtons or IFs, and so many others)?

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Creating a transparent watermark, in 4 easy steps

It’s quite simple, really. So simple I won’t even post pics. And I’m assuming you are slightly familiar with Photoshop or some other editing software that is capable to use layers so I’ll skip the part where others teach you how to create text and all that stuff you should already know. OK, let’s go. This is how I make all my watermarks, BTW.

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