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TriviaToy is a new trivia ecosystem for Android. Designed and developed by Brian E. Young, the goal is to have a great user interface and fun user generated content. Maybe learn something in the process! Try it out and let me know what your think!

The Uncanny Creativity Blog

Monday
Jun202011

How to Edit Out Glare From Glasses Using Photoshop

Picture source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/877183

As you can see in this picture, there is a lot of glare in this boy's glasses. Although it may be tricky, you can remove the glare using Photoshop.

Step One: The Tools

There are a couple of tools that people like to use to remove glare: The clone stamp tool and the healing brush. The shortcut for the clone stamp tool is "S" and the shortcut for the healing brush is "J". For both tools, you need to collect a sample area. Press the ALT key to select a part of the picture that you want to copy over the glare with. Ideally, you want the sample area to be very close to the affected area. That way the same color and texture is being copied over. It's important to take very short strokes and keep selecting new sample areas as you progress.

The clone stamp only fixes the affected area with the source sample. The healing brush takes some of the texture that surrounds the affected area and mixes it with the source sample. That is the only difference between the healing brush and the stone clamp tool. You should experiment with both because not every picture can be cured using the same methods from previous projects.

To effectively remove glare, you want to use these tools in very short strokes and the picture should be zoomed in to work more efficiently.

If an eye was affected by glare, I would copy the other eye to place over the glared eye and touch it up with the healing brush or clone stamp tool. However, both eyes are glare-free, so it is not necessary for me to make copied selections of an eye.

Step Two: The Process

Select the clone stamp tool and make a copied layer of the original. You always want to save your work to protect your project. You want to make the first copied layer to work with. Save the original for reference and backup.

Zoom in until you feel like you have enough canvas to work with. Your canvas should primarily consist of the glare and sample sources you can use to remove the glare. If there is too much glare, you may to select some copies of similar skin textures with the lasso tool to place over the glare. Since there are a lot of sample sources in this picture, I did not need to select copies of skin.

Make sure you zoom out once in a while to see how your work is going. You may need to backtrack and redo some parts. By now, I have used both tools, but I'm primarily sticking with the clone stamp tool. The healing brush is taking texture samples that do not mix well.

Make sure the new skin tone matches other skin tones around it. If it doesn't, the picture won't look authentic. You may want to lower the opacity of the clone stamp tool to help the skin tones blend and match.

Step Three: The Finishing Touches

About midway through it, I made another copied layer. It acted like a "save point." The boy's right eyebrow was the hardest to effectively fix since there was not much sample sources for it.

I used the healing brush for a couple of spots near the frame. For the most part, I just made sure that the skin tones were even.

Removing glare may be a little tricky for beginners, but with enough practice, it is possible. Not every picture can be treated the same way, so it's important to learn different ways to remove glare. One technique I did not use was copying other patches of skin or textures. This can be an effective way to remove glare as well.

Sara Roberts writes for Just Eyewear, a discount eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses online retailer.

Monday
Jun062011

Illustration Ideas Step by Step

Thinking of new ideas for your artwork is certainly tough. Image block when you're on a deadline is tough. It's hard to think of a new, fresh idea with that kind of pressure. Luckily, illustrator Nate Williams was willing to share his secret for tackling the problem on his blog:

"A lot of the time when I create an editorial illustration an idea just pops into my head … but sometimes this does not happen, so I have this little methodology for creating new ideas that has helped me time and time again.

The idea behind this methodology is similar to writing a song. There are only a few musical notes, but by rearranging their order, length and speed you can create an infinite amount of songs."

A methodology for creating new ideas (http://www.n8w.com)

Wednesday
Jun012011

Tips for Designing an Annual Report

The annual report is an important communication between a company and its shareholders. Typically the report discusses the progress of the business and instills confidence in its investors and officers. Because this is a crucial publication it is vital that the annual report inspires optimism in its future.

Design Showpiece

For many companies, the annual report is a design showpiece. Even if your company has experienced some difficult economic times, don't cut costs in producing the annual report. Take the time and money necessary to describe what the company has accomplished during the year, and let the quality of the production reflect the success of the business. Since the annual report is a once a year publication, use all the company resources to make it reflect excellence.

Appropriate Look

Make sure the overall look of the annual report reflects the nature of the company. A law office annual report looks much different from a bakery franchise annual report. An upscale and conservative business such as a finance or mortgage company needs to have an annual report that uses a professional and high-end design.

Professional Branding

Utilize the logo and branding colors of the company or business throughout the annual report design. Consistent use of branding elements in company publications inspires confidence and helps to build the reputation of the business.

Make it Personal

Consider using photographs of employees and officers in the annual report. Using real people in this vital publication instills a sense of personal investment in the company and makes the annual report more believable. Think about hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of employees in their work environment rather than standard head shots. Further illustrate the success of the company in the annual report using appropriate and meaningful charts and graphs.

Balance the Content

The ideal annual report design utilizes a balanced amount of images and text. Use words as well as images to convey how far your company has come in one year. Consider hiring a professional copywriter who understands how to work with a designer to make the annual report worthy of attention and respect.

Paper Matters

Choose paper and cover stock that helps to describe the business. Select a heavier paper card stock for the cover of the annual report in a color that reinforces the graphic identity of the business. Make sure the interior paper compliments the cover and the design of the interior of the report.

Take the time to make the high-quality and professional annual report that investors and financiers look forward to receiving every year.

This is a guest post provided by Snap: "Looking for a professional print design company to assist with your annual report design? For those who like the flexibility of creating their own brochures and business stationery, Snap created an online web-to-print solution that’s quick and easy to use. Because at Snap, we do more."

 

Monday
May302011

Wide Angle Perspective Techniques in Your Artwork

Ever notice that in one point and two point perspective that a supposedly square tile can look pretty strange in some of the more extreme areas? You can compensate with carefully thought out vanishing points. However, there are limits as painter Rob Adam's explains in his Spherical Perspective tutorial:

"So here we go… We might assume from what we are taught about perspective that this is the way we actually see. But it’s not. In the outside world there are straight lines, so we put them that way into our pictures. We have developed complicated schemes of geometrical rules to guide us. We take photos with cameras that have lenses that carefully distort the world to make it fit with the expectation that straight line should be straight. But visually they are not.

Have you ever tried to draw that really large checker board floor? Somehow at the far right and left it goes all stretched. Do the same thing with circles on the floor and it gets really wild."

My own understanding of spherical perspective, quadilinear perspective and cylindrical perspective definitely needs some expansion. If you're like me and have trouble wraping your head around it, Rob's tutorial can help.

Spherical Perspective (treeshark.com)

 

Wednesday
May252011

DIY Fashion Ideas that can Save You Hundreds

DIY fashion is becoming the reality for many people now who just need to save some cash when it comes to their wardrobes. Even if you aren't normally the crafty type, you can certainly learn to do a little bit to dress up your wardrobe without spending a fortune. If you're getting a little bored or just flat out need new clothes, learning how to do things yourself could save you hundreds.

You don't always need knitting needles or a sewing machine to make DIY fashion work, either. In fact, some projects are pretty simple. It's a good idea to start small and work your way up if you aren't sure how to use some of the more hardcore DIY equipment.

Something to start with might be your accessories. How much do you bet you spend in a year on headbands, necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories? You can save a fortune by making your own or dressing up what you've already got.

For instance, there are about a hundred online tutorials showing you how to take a bit of fabric or lace and make one of those giant headband or hat flowers that are so popular right now. All you need is a glue gun or a safety pin, and you can take a headband or had you already have and transform it into something totally new.

Learning how to do your own beading can be fun, too. With the chunky, layered necklaces that are in right now, you don't even have to worry about lots of intricate design work. Simply lay out your beads in the order you want them, and string them on. Learn how to neatly tie on a clasp, and you're good to go.

Another popular way to save through DIY fashion is to upcycle items. Check out places like Goodwill and Salvation Army for clothes that aren't quite your style. You can find tons of ways to update them, make them fit better, or turn them into something new altogether.

For instance, a tee-shirt that's a bit too large and a scarf can be turned into a super-cute cami with just a bit of sewing. Simply slice of the top of the tee-shirt just below the neckline. Use the sleeves to make a binding around your new neckline, and string the scarf through the neck in front and back. It sounds a little difficult if you've never sewn, but it's really a pretty simple project. (http://diystyle.net/projects/fashion/tee-to-cami/)

A Few Things to Remember

Before you get into DIY fashion, there are a few things you need to remember. Here are just a few tips to help you save even more on your new DIY fashion adventure:

  1. Look online for tutorials. Sure, you can go buy books about how to make your own clothes and accessories, but that sort of defeats the purpose because you're already spending too much money! Instead, look online for free tutorials to get you started. Libraries also have lots of DIY books that could be helpful in learning basic techniques. Once you get the basics down, you can make up your own projects with just a bit of creativity.
  2. Don't try it all at once. Trying too many things at once can be frustrating – and expensive! Start with one thing, like beading or knitting, and get the hang of it before moving on to something new. This gives you the chance to really understand one art before moving on to the next. Plus, you'll save on materials and equipment. Start with just the bare bones basics to find out if you like a new craft so you don't end up with lots of unnecessary stuff cluttering your crafting room and your budget.
  3. Save on your materials and equipment. Saving on materials is simple for most things. Craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Jo-Ann Fabrics offer great discounts every week. Just sign up for their newsletters or check the store frequently. Once you get really good, you won't buy anything without a coupon! You can also get materials from Goodwill for super cheap, and these will work for many upcycling projects. To save on equipment like your sewing machine and such, buy used off of eBay or Craigslist until you know exactly what you like and need and can splurge on something pricier.

This article was contributed by Abigail Hall.  She is a writer at the consumer credit card website, www.creditdonkey.com.  Visit CreditDonkey to earn cash back on your next fashion purchase.