Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays from the PixlBlog!

Click to view larger

I miss the days of mailing holiday cards. For more than 25 years, I created and printed (later, I had it printed) a card made with digital painting tools. It seems that the custom is being quickly obsoleted by email cards, which have a definite "green" factor. A tradeoff is that you can send your greetings to a potentially much larger circle of friends and acquaintances.

The above image is my artwork for this year's greetings. It is based on a photograph I shot in Chicago (on Michigan Ave.) 3 years ago while we visited between Christmas and New Year. I've been working towards creating a greater distance between the source photo and the painted art. For example, I added all of the pedestrians in this painting, which were non-existent in the original.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and continued creativity!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Adobe Update Improves Photoshop CS5 Painting Performance


Good News for Photoshop CS5 users...Adobe has issued an update (12.0.2-Mac) (12.0.3-Win) that significantly improves painting performance, among other things. From Adobe's Photoshop CS5 Update Page:

The most significant fixes in the Photoshop update include the following:
 
  • A number of potential security vulnerabilities have been addressed 
  • Top type and font crashers found in the field have been addressed 
  • A number of performance issues have been addressed 
  • Crash opening 3D layers has been addressed 
  • Color Engine crash has been resolved 
  • Intermittent file format issues addressed 
  • Shift scrolling bug fixed 
  • Sharpen crasher fixed 
  • Marching ants not seen at certain zoom levels fixed 
  • Metadata focus distance issue addressed 
  • File info bug addressed for Orphea Studio jpg files 
  • TWAIN crashers fixed 
  • Brush cursor bug fixed 
  • Histogram progress bar issue fixed 
  • Droplet issues addressed
The update is available for Mac and Windows: Mac|Win
Go grab it and start painting!

Friday, December 3, 2010

John's Watercolors User: Kenneth Broström

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Swedish artist Kenneth Broström writes, "Thanks for your brushes! I'm still trying to learn. This is a portrait of my daughter. I used a photo for the sketch only the rest is made in Photoshop and Painter. Thanks again from Sweden!" I think Kenneth is figuring out the brushes very well!

You can see more of Kenneth's work at his website. (I've utilized Google's Translate in the link so that text portions are converted to English.)

John's Watercolors are $35. You can purchase these brushes by clicking the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. If you don't have a PayPal account, an option to pay via credit card is offered as well.

If you have an example of art created with John's Watercolors, send me a JPEG—your work may get featured here!

If you've been frustrated trying to master digital watercolors, John's Watercolors for Painter are the answer!




Sunday, November 21, 2010

Figurative Painting: Best of the Best

Great American Figurative Artists Exhibition 2010

Waterhouse Gallery of Santa Barbara, California is currently exhibiting the Great American Figurative Artists Exhibition 2010. This exhibition highlights the best in American figurative painting.

It's a highly instructive show for taking in the applied techniques of figurative painting. Be sure to click on the thumbnails to view a larger image...and prepare to be humbled!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

John's Dry Media: Railway Express Agency

The Union Pacific Railroad Museum recently sponsored the 50th Anniversary Special, a commemorative excursion of the Union Pacific's legacy steam engine 844 and historical equipment. The excursion made a swing through Council Bluffs, Iowa to pick up lucky passengers for an day-long roundtrip on the legacy train.

Click to view full size image


I got the chance to shoot some photos of the engine and train while it was on display in the Council Bluffs UP rail yards. The classic UP yellow cars caught my eye and I ended up doing a pastel interpretation from one of the shots:

Click to view full size image


I used my Dry Media brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5 to create the pastel. Below are a couple of 100% scale close-ups to provide a sense of the brushes' texturing capability:

Click to view full image


Click to view full image


John's Dry Media for Photoshop CS5 are available for purchase at $19.95. Enjoy chalk and pastels without the dust!

John's Dry Media for Adobe Photoshop CS5
If you have an image created using John's Dry Media, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Map Photoshop CS5 Functions to the Wacom Intuos4 Control Surface

Click to download PDF

I've put together a PDF file that details my setup for mapping Photoshop CS5 functionality to the Wacom Intuos4 control surface. The settings primarily focus on maximizing control of the Mixer Brush, as well as shortcuts for Photoshop's color selection tools.

For example, you can use the pen's barrel buttons to switch the Mixer Brush between opaque and blender behavior, as well as load your brush with multiple colors. You can set up the ExpressKeys to display the HUD Color Picker with a single button press. You can set up the Touch Ring to scroll back and forth through history—hey, let's go back to the future!

You may not want to use all of my settings, but they will act as a good starting point to evolve your own preferred workspace. You can download my CS5/Intuos4 PDF using the link below:

Intuos4 Mapping_PS_CS5.pdf

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Adobe MAX Class and Digital Painting Session

Last week I was at the Adobe MAX Conference in Los Angeles, I co-taught a class, From Reality to Renaissance, with Russell Brown.

Click to view full size image

I taught the painting component, in which the class (70 participants)—using my Artists' Brushes— interpreted a photograph of a recreation of a famous painting as an exercise. Wacom provided an Intuos4 tablet and 6D Art Pen for all of the workstations.

Click to view full size image

Yes, that is Russell as Whistler's Mother...

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Artist Bonny Lhotka worked with students to prep and output their artwork via multiple methods. Art could be printed out on canvas and and then embellished using media provided by Golden Artists Color.

Click to view full size image

Bonny instructed students on her image transfer technique. This technique results in an image on paper with an appearance similar to polaroid or dye transfer.

Click to view full size image

Students also got the opportunity to utilize some technology normally out of the reach of most artists. Russell came up with a technique for extracting 3D height data from images (as well as adding it) and then use the information to drive a Universal Laser Systems laser to etch the image into wood.

Click to view full size image

The resulting etched wood is then run through a Direct Color Systems Direct Jet flatbed print. The color image is printed in registration with the 3D-etched wood image. You can see some of Russell's test examples below.

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The students' resulting prints were exhibited on the MAX exhibition show floor.

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Below is the example I did for the class. Russell and MAX class assistant Monika Wolff posed as Grant Wood's American Gothic couple.

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On-demand printers MagCloud created a full-color catalog of the exhibition. You can view a PDF of the catalog using the link below:

From Reality to Renaissance catalog

I also did a session on Painting with Photoshop CS5. You can view a video of the talk on AdobeTV using the link below:

Painting in Photoshop CS5 with the Master Painter

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Adobe MAX Conference, October 23-27, Los Angeles

I'm pleased to announce that I will be a featured speaker at the Adobe MAX 2010 Conference this October 23-27 in Los Angeles, CA. My session, Painting in Photoshop CS5 with the Master Painter, is on Tuesday, October 26th, 8:30AM–9:30AM. Here is the session description:


Learn essential techniques from one of the original pioneers in digital painting and a master at painting in Photoshop CS5. Watch as John Derry shows how to quickly and easily enhance your images with the new realistic painting tools in Photoshop CS5. See how you can transform your images and designs subtly or to the extreme to get amazing results. You'll walk away knowing killer tips and tricks along with new painting ideas that are sure to add to your Photoshop skills.


In addition, I am co-teaching the Russell Brown@MAX pre-conference workshop, From Reality to Renaissance, which will feature Photoshop CS5 to interpret photographs into painted artworks. Here is a description of the workshop:


You will be creating a Photoshop painting from the portraits that are captured in class or from any additional images you might bring with you. In addition, with the help of one of our sponsors, you'll have access to a large library of images from iStockPhoto.com. You are welcome to bring your own camera or use the images taken by our professional studio photographer. Everything you need for class, from the Mac computer to the stretched canvas, will be supplied. You only need to bring your creativity and enthusiasm.

During the photography sessions, several of the instructors will be playing the roles of different characters from famous paintings. You are also welcome to bring your own costume and appear in your own painting.

We will be using a large-format printer, provided by HP, to produce a 12x12-inch museum quality painting. To cap off the event, the paintings will be displayed at the MAX opening night reception for everyone to admire. Special prizes will be awarded for the painting that is voted best of show in the class.

Russell Brown@MAX is offered as a supplement to the standard MAX 2010 conference schedule. The workshop runs from Saturday, Oct. 23 to Monday, Oct. 25.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wacom Cintiq 21UX and Photoshop CS5 at NYC ComicCon

I just got back from demoing Adobe Photoshop CS5 on the new Cintiq 21UX in the Wacom booth at New York ComicCon. Needless to say, this show is populated with an amazing variety of attendees in costume to show off their favorite superhero. I had the opportunity to walk the show floor and photograph some of the fans' amazing efforts. The above photo is one attendee's interpretation of Rorschach, a character from DC Comics miniseries, Watchmen.

Click to view full size image

I loaded the photo onto my workstation in the booth (a $600 Mac Mini!) and used it as a starting point for interpretation into a painting using my Artists' Brushes for Photoshop CS5. Whenever I was asked what application I was using and I said, "Photoshop CS5", the reaction was usually one of disbelief. Attendees couldn't believe that brushwork like I was showing was possible in Photoshop!

Click to view full size image

My brushes, along with the Cintiq, make for a very dynamic demonstration of interactive painting. But you don't need a Cintiq to experience my brushes; they work just fine on any Wacom-equipped machine.

John's Artists' Brushes for Photoshop CS5 and John's Dry Media are each available for just $19.95. If you have Photoshop CS5 and are into painting, this will be the best investment you can make!

John's Artists' Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5

John's Dry Media for Adobe Photoshop CS5

If you have an image created using my brushes, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Friday, October 1, 2010

John's Dry Media User: Laura Bolter

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Kansas-based artist/illustrator Laura Bolter writes, "I bought some cool, new brushes for Photoshop from John Derry (one of the original authors of Corel Painter), and I've been trying them out on some projects for 123Print.

I'm liking them very much! The Photoshop brushes make Photoshop behave much like Painter, which simplifies my workflow considerably. Everything I do in Painter I have to bring into Photoshop anyway, so now I can do it all in one place."

You can read Laura's complete post—and see more of her work—at her blog, Curly's Queue

John's Dry Media for Photoshop CS5 are now available for purchase at $19.95. Enjoy chalk and pastels without the dust!

John's Dry Media for Adobe Photoshop CS5

If you have an image created using John's Dry Media, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Two Seasons, Two Tools

I just finished an image with a bit of an interesting story. Our daughter, Logan, is in her senior year at the University of Nebraska/Lincoln majoring in Meteorology. She is a member of Kappa Delta sorority, which holds an auction every year to raise money for the sorority house.

Last year, we donated a print that I did of the sorority house on UNL's campus. I shot the reference imagery in the late summer and then interpreted the photograph into an autumn scene using Corel Painter. The print was purchased by one of the sorority girl's parents and donated to the house where it now hangs in the dining room.

Click to view full size image

This year, I thought it would be interesting to portray the same image of the house in a different season. I chose winter and did the interpretation this time in Photoshop CS5 using my Artists' Brushes.

Click to view full size image

I find it interesting to compare the two paintings with the use of each application used to create each in mind. What strikes me—and I think that this should be a goal of the artist—is to not let expressive software impose its signature on the resulting artwork.

Looking at these images, I don't think that either the Painter or Photoshop pedigree is apparent in either painting. Rather, my style—if there is one—is what comes through the pieces.

John's Artists' Brushes for Photoshop CS5 are now available at an introductory price of $19.95. If you have Photoshop CS5 and are into painting, this will be the best investment you can make!

John's Artists' Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5

If you have an image created using John's Artists' Brushes, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

John's Dry Media User: Karen Bonaker

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Artist Karen Bonaker writes, "Well I must say that I am enjoying CS5. I would like to take some time and learn Photoshop better in the coming year. With that said, here is my attempt with your Dry Media brushes.

I used all the brushes and worked free hand from a sketch that I created from some scenes in Sedona recently. This is the culmination of those sketches.

Great fun and will try the clone brushes next."

Karen is the proprietor of the Paintertalk digital art forum (registration required).

John's Dry Media for Photoshop CS5 are now available for purchase at $19.95. Enjoy chalk and pastels without the dust!

John's Dry Media for Adobe Photoshop CS5

If you have an image created using John's Dry Media, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Photoshop CS5 Clone Painting Class Offered

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Photoshop and Painter author and guru Tim Shelbourne is offering a Photoshop CS5 class, Clone Painting with the Mixer Brush: FROM START TO FINISH! Tim describes his approach, "Within the course itself I’m going to be revealing an entirely new method of cloning with the Mixer Brush in CS5 which gives far more realistic results in terms of natural media, and makes the whole process much more intuitive and effective."

I've described Tim and myself as brothers separated at birth—we independently arrived at a unique feature of CS5 during its beta testing phase that enables the concept of a cloning layer. This technique is highly useful when combined with CS5's new Mixer Brush and Bristle Tips for interpreting a photographic source into a natural-media result.

Tim's class begins next Monday, September 27th. Tim is limiting this class to 30 students and there are only a few seats left. Once the course starts, enrollment won’t be possible. The price for the whole course, including Tim's on-going support is £90 ($139 USD). You can enroll for the class at Tim's CS5 School. You’ll need to register for a new account before you can enroll.

John's Dry Media User: Heather Adams

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Artist Heather Adams writes, "I've been trying out your new Dry Media brushes...they are amazing and I love the textures. This is drawing a I've done from scratch using mainly the Square Chalk brush and Blender.

This drawing was inspired from a painting that I saw hanging in the hotel where I stayed on my recent holiday. Thank you so much for these wonderful brushes, I will be using them often."

You can see more of Heather's work at her PBase page.

John's Dry Media for Photoshop CS5 are now available for purchase at $19.95. Enjoy chalk and pastels without the dust!

John's Dry Media for Adobe Photoshop CS5

If you have an image created using John's Dry Media, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

On the Road: New York Comic Con

I'll be in New York City at the Jacob K. Javits Center for New York Comic Con this October 8-10. I'll be representing Adobe Systems in the Wacom booth, demonstrating creative solutions using Photoshop CS5's natural-media Mixer Brush with the newly-redesigned Cintiq 21UX.

In the spirit of Comic Con, I'll be dressed as Photoshop superhero, Russell Brown...just kidding!

If you are planning on attending Comic Con, stop by the Wacom booth (2064) and say hi!

John's Dry Media User: Susan Bloom

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Artist, educator, and author Susan Bloom was a beta tester for my Dry Media brushes. Susan writes, "After help from John, to get my tools installed correctly, here is an attempt. There is a pattern overlay, that can be removed or modified. I took the painted layer and laid it over a grey background. A varied assortment of John’s brushes were used."

Susan's book, Digital Collage and Painting, Second Edition: Using Photoshop and Painter to Create Fine Art will be published next month. I highly recommend it!

John's Dry Media for Photoshop CS5 are now available for purchase at $19.95. Enjoy chalk and pastels without the dust!

John's Dry Media for Adobe Photoshop CS5

If you have an image created using John'sDry Media, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Friday, September 17, 2010

John's Dry Media for Photoshop CS5 Released

Click to view full image

I'm pleased to announce the release and availability of John's Dry Media for Adobe Photoshop CS5. These exciting new brushes provide the Photoshop CS5 user with a set of natural-media chalk and pastel mark-making tools.

Included are: 2 Dry Media Tool Presets files (one for the barrel-rotation sensing Wacom 6D/Art Pen and one for the standard Wacom Grip Pen), the Dry Media papers Pattern Library, John's Cloning Layer Action for interpreting photos into hand-wrought artwork, 3 popular pastel color range Swatch libraries, and 80 minutes of video tutorials.

The following video provides a look at the interpretation of a photograph (supplied by Randy Jay Braun.) into a pastel painting using John's Cloning Layer Action:



The next video is a from scratch pastel of my ubiquitous apple still life. Note how the background is added after creating the foreground subject...try that with traditional media!



John's Dry Media for Photoshop CS5is available now for purchase and direct download for $19.95. For more information and purchase details, visit the John's Dry Media webpage.

If you create an artwork with John's Dry Media that you're proud of, send me a JPEG. and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sneak Peek: John's Dry Media Artwork Sample

Click to view full image

I'm getting closer to releasing my Dry Media for Adobe Photoshop CS5. I've linearized the paper textures so that all the brushes respond to the textures in a similar manner. I've now got to create the accompanying video tutorials, which will take a few days, not to mention get the web page designed. I'm guesstimating the release is a week out.

This test image was created using a still life by Hawaii-based photographer Randy Jay Braun. Be sure to click on the image to get a look at it a full scale. This will give you a good look at the dry media technique of utilizing the paper grain—in this case, mi-tientes—to overlay complementary patterns of color to create rich optical color mixtures.

John's Dry Media for Photoshop CS5 will be offered for an introductory price of $19.95. I'm shooting for release in a couple weeks.

If you would like to be notified when these brushes will be available, Send me an email.

John's Artists' Brushes User: Lars Bjørstrup

Click to view full size image

Danish freelance illustrator Lars Bjørstrup writes, "Just wanted to say that I am very happy with your great set of Artists' Brushes that I purchased from you last week. Here is my first painting with these brushes as a contribution to your pixlBlog. The painting is a still life based on one of my photographs - and a few notes on the process similar to what you describe in your tutorial videos." Click on the image to see a larger view along with the steps Lars employed in creating the image.

You can view more of Lars' artwork at his website.

John's Artists' Brushes for Photoshop CS5 are now available at an introductory price of $19.95. If you have Photoshop CS5 and are into painting, this will be the best investment you can make!

John's Artists' Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5

If you have an image created using John's Artists' Brushes, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sneak Peek: John's Dry Media Paper Textures

Click to view full image

This chart shows the paper textures that will be included with John's Dry Media for Adobe Photoshop CS5. Traditional dry media's appearance is largely dictated by the surface it interacts with. Chalk and pastel are designed to be abraded by a textured, toothy surface. The resulting pigment adheres to the surface of the paper. Depending on the hand pressure applied by the artist, the pigment may fill the grain or it may adhere only to the upper surface of the texture.

It is for this reason that the appearance of grain is a key to dry media—by overlaying increasingly lighter applications of pigment, multiple colors are applied and produce rich optical mixtures in the viewer's eye.

John's Dry Media for Photoshop CS5 will be offered for an introductory price of $19.95. I'm shooting for release in a couple weeks.

If you would like to be notified when these brushes will be available, Send me an email.

Salvador Dali on What's My Line



Surreal!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sneak Peek: John's Dry Media for Photoshop CS5

Click to view full image

I've been busy working on a set of dry media brushes for Adobe® Photoshop© CS5. This set of brushes focuses on media like pastels and chalk. I've created a set of custom paper textures as part of these brushes. Artwork can be created from scratch or use a photograph as an initial color source.

Click to view full image

In the sample image, I used a photograph that I shot a few years ago during a workshop for initial composition, then used pastels that referenced the photo's colors as I drew. The image was completed by adding my own embellishments. Be sure to click on the image to view at full scale.

John's Dry Media for Photoshop CS5 will be offered for an introductory price of $19.95. I'm shooting for release in a couple weeks.

If you would like to be notified when these brushes will be available, Send me an email.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dealing with Pixel Density and Brush Performance


I regularly receive emails asking about brush performance in applications like Photoshop and Painter. Lately, I've been asked about the resolution of imagery used in my lynda.com training titles. I thought it would be useful to provide some explanation here so that it is available to a larger audience.

The lynda.com recordings done in the booth were generally done at screen resolution, but a real-world situation will often require higher resolutions. For example, offset printing generally dictates files at 300ppi (pixels per inch). Inkjet printing is often discussed in terms of 240ppi. For web-based viewing, imagery at 72ppi is considered acceptable. You can easily determine the pixel resolution of an image by multiplying the size in inches by the above ppi (pixels per inch) factors.

Let's use a typical real-world size as an example: 20" X 24". This is a common photographic print and frame size.

20" X 24" @ 72ppi = 1440p X 1728p = 2,488,320 pixels
20" X 24" @ 150ppi = 3000p X 3600p = 10,800,000 pixels
20" X 24" @ 300ppi = 6000p X 7200p = 43,200,000 pixels

Note that each of these resolution factors quadruples the total pixel count—as resolution increases, so does pixel density.

It is the density of pixels being manipulated that dictates both application and brush performance. With this in mind, we can state that performance will decrease as image pixel density increases. A one inch square of a 300ppi image is far more pixel-dense than a one inch square of a 72ppi image. There are three primary factors that affect an application's ability to handle large pixel-based manipulation.

Processor Speed
The faster the processor, the better the performance. Additionally, today's processors generally contain multiple cores. This is akin to having multiple copies of the processor available to simultaneously handle various tasks. Photoshop is multi-core aware and can take advantage of multiple cores when present. Photoshop generally performs better on newer machines because of this.

RAM Memory
Manipulating pixels is a memory-intensive application. In order to process pixels efficiently, Photoshop uses temporary memory containers—a scratch disk or cache—to hold pixels while processing calculations on them. When Photoshop runs out of RAM memory—which is fast because it is just electrons—it resorts to virtual memory, an allocation of physical disk space. This virtual memory is slower because it is a physical medium. It is for this reason that more RAM will improve Photoshop performance. It is often stated that the cheapest way to speed up a computer is to add RAM and this certainly holds true for Photoshop.

Graphics Card
Graphics cards have an onboard GPU (graphics processor unit) that is designed to specifically handle sophisticated pixel-based calculations. GPUs initially gained popularity to improve 3D game performance, but have evolved to become an important secondary processor for applications like Photoshop. CS5 specifically targets the GPU for a variety of tasks and this trend will continue in the future. As a result, higher performance graphics cards improve Photoshop's pixel handling.

Now let's look at a comparison of two systems. I'm currently using a 2.4Ghz MacBook Pro and I often find my brush performance wanting—as brush sizes get larger (a.k.a. pixel density), there is a decided lag in the drawing of the stroke. When I recorded the Mixer Brush title at lynda.com, I used their machine, which was a 2 x 3Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon Mac Pro—this machine easily handled anything I could throw at it (I probably could have taxed it with very large brush sizes).

Having been in the software development business, I can tell you that applications are generally developed on the then-current fastest processors. This ensures that the resulting app will run well on future, faster processors. The down side, of course, is that many users have older machines and will experience less-than-ideal performance.

There are two short-term fixes for this scenario. One is to use brush size as a performance throttle. The idea behind this is to adjust brush size down until you get acceptable painting performance. The caveat here is that you may find that the largest acceptable brush size—performance-wise—is not acceptable for your style.

The other performance enhancer is to add more RAM memory to your system. Photoshop is a memory-intensive app. When it runs out of RAM, it resorts to virtual memory, which is an allocation of your disk space as a "scratch disk". Because this is disk-based memory, it is obviously slower than physical RAM. So, an increase in RAM will enable Photoshop to do more work before resorting to the scratch disk. I've maxed my Mac Pro out to 6GB RAM for this reason and it definitely helps—but don't expect it to be a miracle cure for a dated processor. I recommend Other World Computing as a source of RAM upgrades—their prices are good and they supply quality RAM.

The ultimate solution is a current high-performance machine. Be aware that the merry-go-round never stops spinning and today's flame thrower will eventually become tomorrow's boat anchor. Riding the crest of technology requires periodic hardware upgrades.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush DVD Released


I'm pleased to announce that my lynda.com title, Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush, has been released on DVD. With this release, you now have two options to access this training content: you can either purchase the DVD or access the content at lynda.com. Here is the lynda-supplied description of the title:
Join John Derry, a pioneer in the field of digital painting, as he shows how to master the natural-media painting features introduced in Photoshop CS5 in Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush. This course shows how to use the Mixer Brush, the Bristle Tips feature, and a new mechanism for blending colors in Photoshop to add beautiful, painterly effects to photographs, enhance artwork with paint-like strokes and illustrations, and paint entirely new art from scratch. This course also covers customizing brush characteristics and surface textures, applying keyboard shortcuts to paint smoothly and efficiently, and using a Wacom tablet to get the most out of Photoshop CS5’s painting features. Exercise files are included with the course.
Here's a segment from Painting with the Mixer Brush:



The Painting with the Mixer Brush DVD is $99; the same content is available on lynda.com via subscription. For more information, visit lynda.com.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

America in Color: 1939-43


The Denver Post has published a rare set of color photographs taken by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color.

Bound for Glory: America in Color is the first major exhibition of the little known color images. Comprised of seventy digital prints made from color transparencies taken between 1939 and 1943, this exhibition reveals a surprisingly vibrant world that has typically been viewed only through black-and-white images. These vivid scenes and portraits capture the effects of the Depression on America's rural and small town populations, the nation's subsequent economic recovery and industrial growth, and the country's great mobilization for World War II.

The photographs in Bound for Glory, many by famed photographers such as John Vachon, Jack Delano, Russell Lee, and Marion Post Wolcott, document not only the subjects in the pictures, but also the dawn of a new era—the Kodachrome era. These colorful images mark a historic divide in visual presentation between the monochrome world of the pre-modern age and the brilliant hues of the present. They change the way we look—and think about—our past.

John's Artists' Brushes User: Anastasiy Safari

Click to view image larger

Magicpicker developer and photographer Anastasiy Safari writes, "I want to make a small contribution with a small painting I finally made with your amazing brushes. Thanks again!"

The Magicpicker Photoshop panel finds daily use in my workflow. This panel provides a visually intuitive tool for selecting color in Photoshop. I find it particularly suited for "painting from scratch" painting. Magicpicker is available for Photoshop CS5/CS4/CS3/MAC/PC.

Click to visit Anastasiy's website

John's Artists' Brushes for Photoshop CS5 are now available at an introductory price of $19.95. If you have Photoshop CS5 and are into painting, this will be the best investment you can make!

John's Artists' Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5

If you have an image created using John's Artists' Brushes, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Friday, July 23, 2010

John's Artists' Brushes Article in Splash Magazine

Click to view article


I was recently interviewed by Patricia Meisels for Splash Magazine regarding my Artists' Brushes for Photoshop CS5. We discussed the Artists' Brushes, plus some of the thinking that goes into brush creation.

You can read the article here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush Released



I'm pleased to announce that my latest training title, Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush, is now available for viewing at lynda.com. The underlined chapter segments on the title page can be viewed for free. Subscription information is available at lynda.com.

Course Description:
Join John Derry, a pioneer in the field of digital painting, as he shows how to master the natural-media painting features introduced in Photoshop CS5 in Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush. This course shows how to use the Mixer Brush, the Bristle Tips feature, and a new mechanism for blending colors in Photoshop to add beautiful, painterly effects to photographs, enhance artwork with paint-like strokes and illustrations, and paint entirely new art from scratch. This course also covers customizing brush characteristics and surface textures, applying keyboard shortcuts to paint smoothly and efficiently, and using a Wacom tablet to get the most out of Photoshop CS5’s painting features. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics Include:
Understanding the axes of motion with a Wacom tablet
Choosing a brush shape and Bristle Tip
Adjusting brush angle
Loading color and control the behavior of the Mixer Brush
Modifying surface texture
Simulating the texture of canvas
Saving tool presets for brushes
Creating a painting from a photograph
Painting from scratch with the Mixer Brush

Duration:
2.5 Hours

Monday, July 19, 2010

Preview: Photoshop CS5 Dry Media Brushes

Click to view full image


Arabesque is a test image I created with some new Photoshop CS5 brushes that I'm developing. These brushes are focused specifically on dry media like chalk, charcoal, and pastels, with an emphasis on surface texture.

If you would like to be notified when these brushes will be available, Send me an email.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Mixer Brush Title Coming

Lobby window at lynda.com


I've completed a lynda.com video training title covering Photoshop CS5's Mixer Brush last month in Ventura, CA. The title, Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush, will cover the mechanics of adjusting the Mixer Brush and its companion feature, Bristle Tips. These new additions to Photoshop CS5 enable natural-media style brushes that mimic traditional oils and acrylics. I've included a lot of tips and tricks for creating your own brushes, as well as provide sample starter brushes.

A release date has not been announced, but I heard from a little birdie that it will be out by summer's end.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Uncle Russell Wants You

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This is an image Russell Brown and I collaborated on for an as-of-yet unreleased t-shirt. I utilized John's Artists' Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5 to paint Russell's portrait in the style of famed illustrator James Montgomery Flagg (the body is the original Flagg art). Russ was planning on having the shirts for this past Photoshopworld, but got bogged down with other Photoshop CS5 pre-release activities.

Question: Is there interest in an Uncle Russell Wants You t-shirt?

Monday, June 28, 2010

John's Artists' Brushes User: Terry Whitener

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Photographer and budding artist Terry Whitener writes, "I just wanted to share my very first painting ever! I can't even draw stick men. I love what your brushes do and how you helped me to be able to do this. I will only get better. Thank you for taking the time and effort to make such a great set of brushes."

John's Artists' Brushes for Photoshop CS5 are now available at an introductory price of $19.95. If you have Photoshop CS5 and are into painting, this will be the best investment you can make!

John's Artists' Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5

If you have an image created using John's Artists' Brushes, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

John's Artists' Brushes User: Stephen Buchmann

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Stephen Buchmann, photographer and aspiring artist writes, "This is my very first digital oil painting (from a Torchi cactus blossom I took this spring). Wow, I'm thrilled how easy this is! And this was done with a kludgy mouse—I don't even have the Wacom tablet yet. I'm certainly no artist (photographer, okay), artist no. There's hope. :-)

It's amazing how wonderful and easy your brushes to use. I haven't even explored the Restore brush and cloning layers yet to bring more detail back from the original photos. This is fun! Who needs television."

John's Artists' Brushes for Photoshop CS5 are now available at an introductory price of $19.95. If you have Photoshop CS5 and are into painting, this will be the best investment you can make!

John's Artists' Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5

If you have an image created using John's Artists' Brushes, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Friday, June 11, 2010

John's Artists' Brushes User: Dominic Orologio

Click to view image progressives


Dominic Orologio is a freelance Art Director and Designer by day, and a hopeful commercial illustrator by night. Dominic writes, "I tried my hand at my life long dream recently, which is to break into the comic book biz as a cover artist. It's slow going. So now I've shifted to putting together a stylistically cohesive portfolio of editorial work. I have a couple reps that said they would be interested in rep-ing me if I put together some pieces in the style you see here. Wish me luck.

I wanted to thank you for your Artists' Brushes. They are great! CS5's brush engine is a long-awaited dream come true, and your brushes manage to take advantage of every nuance it was intended to express.

In my process, I bounce from canvas to Photoshop a couple of times on a piece. But now that I can finally achieve the life and spontaneity I would normally rely on my canvas for, it's gotten a lot more streamlined. And these brushes helped me achieve that. Very well thought out, and very appreciated. This piece took about 10 hours total."

You can view a progression of Dominic's painting by clicking the image above. Check out Dominic's work at Comic Cover portfolio and his design site.

John's Artists' Brushes for Photoshop CS5 are now available at an introductory price of $19.95. If you have Photoshop CS5 and are into painting, this will be the best investment you can make!

John's Artists' Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5

If you have an image created using John's Artists' Brushes, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!