Author: brado84

agenda :: 3/22 :: Last day! :(

Today’s trick: 3D anaglyphs in Photoshop!

I stumbled across a tutorial this week that showed a simple way to make an old-school 3d picture from any photo using the anaglyph method in Photoshop. Anaglyph basically means the image is split into two layers, one red and one cyan (blue), and each layer is offset a bit. The difference in position between these two images makes the picture pop out when you put on the special glasses. I’ve made some for you all today so we can all look ridiculous together.


moondog anaglyph


  1. as you can see, it works for both color or black and white images. find a picture you like that shows a some amount of depth, and make sure the first thing you do in Photoshop is change the color mode to “RGB”
  2. start by selecting the object that you want to pop out. you can use a number of processes for this, like the pen tool or magnetic lasso, but today i’m using the smart selection brush to make things really easy.
  3. duplicate your selection to a new layer by pressing command+J. duplicate this layer again, so that you have two identical copies of your clipped out object on top of the background. it’s always a good idea to rename your layers to keep you organized on complicated things. double click on the name in the layers panel. we’re going to rename the first copy (on bottom) “RED”. name the other one on top “BLUE”.
  4. on the red layer, double click the preview box in the layers panel. this will open up blending options. under advanced blending, uncheck the boxes for green and blue so that only red remains selected. click ok!
  5. repeat this step for the “BLUE” layer, only this time uncheck just the red box so that green and blue are still selected. click ok for this one too.
  6. pick the move tool at the top of your tools panel and select the red layer. using your arrow keys, shift the red layer 3 clicks to the right. select the blue layer and shift it 3 clicks to the left. the image should start to look like it’s popping out from the background. reversing directions will create a “cutaway” look where that part of the picture seems to recess into the background. the more you offset the red and blue layers, the greater the 3d effect will be, although at some point it gets too blurry and the effect is lost. play around with distances until you get an effect you like!
  7. there you go, as you can see, i applied this process a number of times to the “moondog” picture above, and put the figures at various depths in order to increase the 3D effect of the photo. you can make this just about as simple or difficult as you’d like. you can even simplify it more and practice with simple shapes or text like i’ve done here:



IMPORTANT: Change of venue for next week

Hey folks,

Just wanted to give a reminder that we will not be meeting in our usual lab next week for our final day of the Digital Arts Workshop. Unfortunately when I was doing my planning, it didn’t occur to me that the Undergrad Library will be closed for spring break. Luckily, I’ve booked us a lab just down the quad a bit in the English building. The lab is Room 8, and is located in the basement. Here’s a link if you want more info, its still an easy walk from the library parking lot. Let me know if you have any questions!

agenda :: 3/15

today: clone yourself using iMovie!

i recently discovered a pretty cool trick you can use in iMovie to clone yourself! this is a pretty easy special effect once you get the hang of it. today we’ll need to collaborate and shoot some original footage in order to make it work. i’ve got a couple cameras on hand, but feel free to shoot your own footage with your phone.


  1. the first important thing to do is to make sure your camera is stable. the camera will need to stay locked in one position while shooting, so you’ll need to use a tripod (or a d.i.y. one from the binder clips i’ve provided). this will make sure that when we overlap your two shots, everything will match up.
  2. find an interesting scene with no big changes going on in the background. on a bench, against a wall, in a stairwell – all good choices, but feel free to be creative. have your partner set up the camera and direct you to the left side of the frame. act out whatever you’ve planned or improvise something. maybe you’re reading a book, asking yourself questions to be answered by your cloned self, etc. imagine a line in the center of the frame – you can use an element in the background as a reference –  and do not cross it. your clones won’t be able to touch each other (sorry, you can’t high five yourself), but it is possible to suggest interaction through dialogue, gestures, or other creative solutions. these rules will help us make sure the effect works correctly in editing.
  3. keep the camera rolling so that you don’t move the camera. next, move to the right side of the frame and have your partner shoot new footage with a new action (sitting down next to the original you on a bench, answering questions, etc.). again, don’t cross the imaginary center line of the frame.


  1. come back to the lab and open up iMovie (sorry, its gonna be a mac kind of day!)
  2. first, we need to enable the advanced features of iMovie. in the iMovie menu at the top, click on preferences and check the box for “show advanced tools”.
  3. upload your footage to your computer via cable or email. import your footage by either dragging into the “event” panel, or by choosing from the file menu. this event panel shows you what raw footage you have to choose from when creating a new video project.
  4. using the yellow selecting bars, drag and crop your clip so that you have only the action you want to keep surrounded. this time we just want to grab the part of the clip with you on the left side of the frame. drag this selection into the project panel below. this panel is the timeline where you edit your video project together (what the final product will look like). you can swap the position of these by clicking the two arrows in the middle divider (it will probably boot up already preset in the “wrong” way for some reason).
  5. repeat step 2, but this time select the part of the clip when you are on the right side of the frame. drag below to the project panel, and place directly on top of the first clip. a green plus sign should appear, and from the menu that pops up, select “green screen”.
  6. what you should see now is both clips layered on top of each other, but since they are both the full size of the frame only the top layer is visible. to adjust this, click the “cropped” button at the top, and pull the left side of the selection box in to the center. adjust as you need so that both versions of yourself will fit fully in the frame
  7. now you have both clips playing simultaneously, the left-side clone on the left, and the right-side clone on the right. if you kept your camera still and were careful that lighting didn’t change, it should look pretty seamless! last step is to adjust the timing of the clips by dragging to the appropriate place in the timeline.
  8. to save your file, go to the share menu, and choose export movie. any size resolution is good, but the bigger the better!

Agenda :: 3/8

Today’s trick: Make any photo look like an oil painting in Photoshop!

Impressions of Nic Cage

Today, I’m going to show you a really easy trick you can use in Photoshop to make any photo look like a detailed oil painting. The only tool you’ll really be using is the smudge tool, but you’ll also be experimenting with different brush sizes and shapes along the way.

  1. First thing you need to do is find a photo, as usual. I picked this picture of Nicolas Cage, an actor who I find hilariously bad in most things.Nicolas-Cage
  2. Open it up in Photoshop, and find the Smudge tool in the tools panel on the left-hand side. You can find it by clicking and holding the blur “water drop” icon, and looking for the finger: tools
  3. Up at the top, find the brushes panel and click. You should have a selection of different types to choose from, but I find a fan brush is a good one to start with. brushes

Agenda :: 3/1

Today: Color correction and replacement in Photoshop!

One of the most powerful features in Photoshop is its color correction and replacement tools. By learning the ins-and-outs of how to adjust these aspects, you can end up with some really unique photos/images. As always, sometimes the best way to learn a program is to play around with it, so here’s a few small projects you might try out today on your own to get more familiar. If you stumble across something cool that I haven’t included, let me know and I’ll be happy to share!

  • Adjusting levels and saturation
  1. After loading your photo in Photoshop, look for the adjustment layer button in the Layers Panel (it looks like a half-white, half-black circle). Select hue and saturation. Hue will change the tint of your picture as a whole, saturation takes color away. If saturation is all the way down, your picture will be grayscale, if it is all the way up it will have unnaturally vibrant colors. Click the “colorize” button, and it renders your photo in shades of one color, which you can adjust. Here’s an example of Saturation vs. Desaturation
  • Isolating a single color in a photo
  1. Find a photo that has one element you think could be singled out as a color. Duplicate the layer so that there are two identical copies. Using the steps in the previous example, totally desaturate the top layer. Now all you have to do is take your eraser tool and erase away the parts where you want color exposed. Here’s a cat whose eyes I isolated in this same way:
  • Applying a gradient map to get some wild results.
  1. Also listed under the Layer Adjustment menu when you click the button, you can select Gradient Map, which will change your colors based on preset gradients. When the properties panel pops up, you can change which gradient by clicking the downward arrow to the right of the gradient bar. If you click the gear icon, even more options for gradients will pop up. If you click on the gradient bar itself, you can adjust the colors and create your own custom gradient. Here’s Bill Murry as Steve Zissou in some crazy psychedelic colors:

That’s pretty much it for now. There are lots and lots more tools to use (maybe see if you can find the Color Replacement brush and see what it does!), but these are some basics. Play around, have fun, and see what you can do!

agenda :: 2/22

today’s mini-lesson: create your own cubeecraft figures!


  • i stumbled across this on the web this week and immediately thought of you guys – this might be a fun way to tinker around with the tools of graphics software like photoshop, illustrator, or gimp and create something that you can print and construct on your own. also, its clearly inspired by the minecraft type games that you are all so into.
  1. to get started, let’s take a look at the cubeecraft website. most of these designs were done by the artist chris beaumont (you can find him on deviantart here). all of these are free to download and print on your own, but i think the most fun part is that he provides a template so you can also design your own cubeecraft character.  here’s the link for the submission guidelines and templates
  2. download the cubeecraft template (psd or pdf format) to your desktop and open with photoshop. think about what kind of character you want to create. is it something from popular culture? a friend? a character you created on your own? browse the internet for images to inspire your creation and serve as a reference in your own design.
  3. create a new layer underneath the template and start designing your character with whatever tools you wish. using simple shapes and color schemes seems to look the best, but also pay attention to what details you can add to your design to make your character recognizable. if you get confused about which part of the template is which, compare with other examples found on the cubeecraft website to make sure everything ends up in the right place. here’s my finished “where the wild things are” template:
  4. once you’re satisfied, you’re ready to print, cut out, and fold! most of these are designed to be printed on standard letter sized paper, but i wanted mine bigger so i went to our computer lab in the art building and printed it out on larger format paper. i’d be happy to do this for you this week if you’d like, just send your design to my email!

agenda :: 2/15

today: digital collage/play day


today for my mini lesson, i’d like to show you some work by artists who use digital imaging software like photoshop to reinvent the old idea of collage. collage has always been about experimenting, mixing and matching, and juxtaposing seemingly unrelated images to come up with a new work. with so many images at your fingertips online, it seems like a no-brainer for today’s artists to use this wealth of media for their own work. here’s a few examples of what people are doing with digital collage today. what tools within photoshop do you think each artist is using? what are the basic elements that each picture is made up of?

ok, so your assignment today (if you choose to accept it) is pretty open ended. if you’d like, surf the web for interesting images, tinker around in photoshop, and create your own digital collages. its up to you how simple or complex they should be, and what tools you will use within photoshop.  feel free to experiment on your own with the various tools in photoshop like layers, masking, filters, etc. if digital collage just isn’t your thing, that’s fine, you’re more than welcome to direct yourself towards something else you’d prefer to work on. here’s some helpful tutorials i’ve run across in the past week that i thought you all might be interested in:

  • 35 collage photoshop tutorials :: even if you don’t follow these to the letter, it can be helpful to read through and learn some tips and tricks
  • character design tutorials :: it seems like a lot of you are interested in designing and drawing your own characters for various reasons – this is a good list of projects you might try out to hone your skills in illustrator or photoshop
  • :: since a lot of you are interested in digital painting with your tablets, this website has a lot of great info for beginners or more advanced users.
  • :: this website has a lot of high quality tutorials on a lot of subjects including design & illustration, web design/coding, music/audio, 3d & motion graphics. take a look here if you’re looking for some help navigating a specific subject
  • you suck at photoshop :: this youtube channel is devoted to teaching you how to be better at photoshop. well, kind of. it is sorta entertaining and you might learn a few tricks along the way.

ok, now go off on your own and see what you can do. give me a holler if you’ve got any questions or problems i can help out with!