Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Fantasy World of Fontasia!

I was experimenting in Photoshop today, trying out different filters and such. It's a lot of fun for me to see the type of artwork that comes out of combining different effects together.
Anyway, I discovered that by combining a "Clouds" filter, a "Posterize" adjustment, and a "Find Edges" filter, I was able to create my own fictional countries! Without having to draw a thing!
After a few incarnations, undoing and redoing the process a few times, and coloring the shapes all in green, this is what I came up with.
I decided the countries I had created looked pretty flat, so I added a "Bevel/Emboss" layer-effect to make the landmasses "pop out" a bit more.
Next I added a blue ocean layer beneath the green landmass layers, and added a "Bevel/Emboss" effect to that. See how much it looks like a real map already? But wait, there's more!
I decided to try giving each continent their own territories, to mix it up a little. So I used the same "Clouds, Posterize, Find Edges" process I used in the first place for each shape. Now they've got boundaries.
Here, I brightened up the colors a little, overlaid a grid-pattern on the whole thing, and gave my world a clever, exotic sounding name. You'll see why I called it "Fontasia" in the very next still.
Finally, the finished product, with every single area having their own names. "How did I come up with such fantastic fictional names" do you ask? I named the countries and bodies of water based on what font-type they were. In Photoshop CS4, there is a smorgasbord of fonts to choose from, such as Pristina, Nyala, Palatino, Latha, etc.....the only place whose name doesn't match the font it's set in is the Wing Ding Islands. If they were really in Wing-Ding font, you'd just see shapes and symbols.
There you guys have it! The Wonderful Fantasy World of Fontasia, where the names are based on fonts! If you're an artist or a writer who'd like their very own world to rule over, and you own Photoshop or some other graphic software with similar filters and effects, then play around with the steps I've described. It's a fun way to spend a creative couple hours.

P.S. Click the pictures to make them bigger if they're too small for you to see.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Panda

Step 1: Yesterday, while my family and I were at the beach, I drew a panda, straight from memory.

Step 2: Next, I used Google Translate to learn how to write "Happy Panda" in Japanese Kanji symbols.

Step 3: Last, I touched up the photo and colored the bamboo green using Photoshop CS4.

Bonus Step: Uploaded this picture to my Deviant-Art account here:


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hanjie = Sudoku for artists?

I recently found out about Hanjie when my dad took my sister and I out to Borders to see if we can find any more good clearance deals. It's such a shame that Borders is no more than a memory now. Sure there's Barnes and Noble, but when a bookstore chain goes down, it's a sad occasion for me.

Anyway, I found this book full of 100 Hanjie puzzles and thought to myself, "Now that's a fun looking Japanese puzzle if I ever saw one". What makes Hanjie fun is that the object is simple (use the numbers provided to fill in the gridded squares to produce a cute, if not, pixel-ly picture that you can then admire for about a minute upon solving it), but the game itself is mentally stimulating, and gives the solver a sense of accomplishment and something to show for his/her time and effort. What do you have to show from a solved Sudoku? Just another 9 x 9 grid full of numbers (no offense).

So far, in a matter of days, I've solved about 15 puzzles all by myself. There are plenty more puzzles that my sister Bettina did by herself, we worked on together, or we started but got stuck on them. It's great fun collaborating on a Hanjie puzzle with my sister, because sometimes one of us sees something the other one didn't, and we're a great team.

Doing puzzles like Hanjie are fun, but I do in fact miss posting up original art of my own. So, in the near future, expect some more creative posts from your's truly. Thank you for reading, and see you soon.

Fun Fact: Hanjies are also known as nonograms and pixel puzzles!
To learn more about Hanjie puzzles, go to the Wikipedia article here!