Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Halfway to the Sky

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The above image was auto-cloned in Painter 12 from a photo I recently shot while in San Francisco. I'll be detailing this technique in my upcoming title, Painter 12 Essentials. I'm currently in the process of authoring this title. Expect to see it out sometime next quarter.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Incredible Miniature Display in Hamburg

This video proudly shows the largest miniature railroad in the world, Miniatur Wunderland. It includes a full air terminal with arriving and departing aircraft, luxury ships, rock concert, football stadium, and more.

Simply amazing!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Painter 12 Essentials Sneak Peek

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I'm in the midst of writing my Painter 12 Essentials title for I'll be detailing how I'm utilizing the new Clone Source palette to build up an interpreted image. This painting is a sneak peek at what I've got in store. The source of this painting is a photograph of some succulents growing out of a wall I shot a few years back.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Arched Oak

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This unusual oak tree—a favorite of mine—resides in a nearby park. I have no idea why it has chosen to grow this way, but it makes for an interesting portrait of a unique tree.

I'm currently working on my Painter 12 Essentials title for Scheduling has gotten moved around and I won't be recording until sometime in the Jan/Feb timeframe. Expect its release sometime later in the first quarter of '12.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stumbling into History

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During my most recent trip to Southern California, I photographed this interesting architectural landmark near the Santa Barbara airport. This is a Barnsdall Rio Grande Oil Company gas station built in 1929 and turns out to be one of the most architecturally significant structures that represents the best existing examples of California gas stations built in the heydey of automobile travel up and down the California coast.

Besides its architectural significance, this station was utilized as the set for the 1981 remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice, starring Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange.

You can read more about this unique location here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

John's Watercolor User: Thomas Churchwell

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Artist and photographer Thomas Churchwell writes, "I enjoy your brushes John. I purchased them this morning and have been watching videos and learning them all day." By the looks of this initial effort, I think Thomas is off to a good start!

You can see more of Thomas's work on his blog and website.

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!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Joan A. Hamilton's Digital Watercolor Tips

Sunfall by Joan A. Hamiltom

Digital watercolorist Joan Hamilton has posted a creative tip, Beginnings of a Looser Style of Digital Watercolour with John Derry's Watercolour Brushes, detailing how to add an extra dimension of color bleeding with my Watercolor Brushes.

If you are interested in digital watercolor, Joan's regular posts consistently offer a variety of perspectives on the subject.

Monday, September 12, 2011 Painter 12 Essentials Greenlighted

I'm happy to report that I'm in the process of authoring a Painter 12 Essentials title for Painter 12 Essentials should be out before the end of the year.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


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I was in New York City 3 weeks before 9/11 and enjoyed a Saturday photographing the city. After 9/11, I put this homage together. It seems like a fitting time to re-post it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

California Street on Nob Hill

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Just Steve.

I'm normally not a name-dropper. I've had this short incident held in reserve for years, and it now seems like an appropriate time to relate it...

In January 2000 at Macworld in San Francisco, Mark Zimmer and I were in the process of wrapping up a press tour for Metacreations Painter 6.1. At trade show events such as this, there are often small press rooms reserved for companies in which to conduct interviews. Mark, myself, and our PR person were in our press room preparing for the day's interviews with the Mac press. As I remember it, the PR person was organizing press materials and Mark and I were busy setting up a Mac on which to demo Painter.

Suddenly, a head popped into the doorway. It was Steve. No entourage or posse. Just Steve. Initially, I was the only one of us who saw him. In the most casual voice I could muster, I said, "Hi, Steve!".

"Hi guys! I just wanted to pop in and say, 'Break a leg!'", he said. We thanked him, wished him a good show and Steve was gone as quickly as he appeared.

Our PR person was absolutely floored. "That...that was Steve Jobs!...OMG!"

Mark and I managed to play it cool and say something like, "Oh...yeah...Steve."

That would be the end of my story except for one small factoid I possessed at the time: Mark previously confided in me that Steve had been in contact with him regarding working for Apple. Steve Jobs has long been known for his finesse at cherry-picking world-class talent. Mark was—and is—one of the brightest engineering pixel-slingers out there.

I've no doubt that Steve's brief appearance at our press booth door was designed to provide a small nudge to Mark in the direction of Apple, but it also provided a snapshot into Steve's inner-workings. The man is always thinking in terms of how to better Apple. Something as small as a quick "Good luck" certainly made our day and see the man devoid of ego...just another Mac-head wishing us well.

By the way, Steve's elixir worked its magic. Three years later, Mark became a Software Development Engineer at Apple, where he works today.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


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I've been playing with my recent spiral staircase photograph and applying the recursive Droste effect. to it.The result is somewhat Escher-like.

Below is a 100% crop of the center of the full-rez image. Be sure to click on the image to see the full resolution.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Spiral Stairs at San Francisco's Embarcadero Center

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I've been fascinated by the oft-photographed spiral staircases in San Francisco's Embarcadero Center for years. I finally got the opportunity to photograph them myself during my recent visit to the City by the Bay.

I thought this image would make a good candidate for the Droste effect. Below is a sample:

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I'll most likely be doing some further experimentation!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Michael Tegland Artworks

"Roland" - 2009
Graphite and chalkboard paint on birch panel
24 x 16 inches

Full size detail

Artist Mike Tegland, my good friend and studio mate back in my analog art days, recently launched his website, Michael Tegland Artworks, to show his work. Mike has developed a unique drawing style influenced by the Viking, Celtic and Native American cultures.

Mike's intricate compositions are drawn in pencil on birch panels prepared with chalkboard paint. Depending on the lighting, the graphite line work can appear either lighter or darker than its dark gray background. The result is a dynamically changing view depending on the viewer's relationship to the lighting angle.

When he's not in his studio, Mike works as the Chief Preparator at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha. Mike is represented by Modern Arts Midtown in Omaha.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Latest Title is Now Live

The production elves at have been working much so that my latest title, Transforming a Photograph into a Painting with Adobe Photoshop, has been released ahead of schedule.

The above introductory segment from the title provides an overview of its content. This title additionally comes with a specially prepared version of my Artists' Brushes for use with the title's lessons.

And—to add the icing on the cake—Colleen Wheeler, content manager for design at, just informed me that Transforming a Photograph into a Painting with Adobe Photoshop had the most viewers this past weekend by a factor of 2!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Russell in Wonderland

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I'll be detailing how I painted Russell Brown in his Mad Hatter outfit at the Photoshop "pop-up" store at 550 Sutter near Union Square in San Francisco next Monday, August 1 at 6:00PM and Tuesday, August 2 at 3:00PM.

If you are in SF and are a Photoshop aficionado, stop by and visit. The store will be open daily through August 6th. Who knows, the Mad Hatter himself may make an appearance!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Adobe Photoshop Store Opens Near San Francisco's Union Square.

Click image to visit Photoshop Store site

If you haven't heard, Adobe is operating a temporary Photoshop "pop-up" store near Union Square in San Francisco. For two weeks, the Photoshop team is hosting artist talks, classes, and digital imaging activities at 550 Sutter.

I pleased to say that I'll be presenting on the subject of Transforming a Photograph into a Painting next Monday, August 1 at 6:00PM and Tuesday, August 2 at 3:00PM.

If you are in SF and are a Photoshop aficionado, stop by and visit. The store will be open daily through August 6th.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Keep Your Heads inside the Window!

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As a part of prepping my upcoming title, Transforming a Photograph into a Painting with Adobe Photoshop, I did a test painting to isolate a few of the techniques and come up with the best way to describe them.

The photo came from my iphone 4, then into CS5 for the expressive interpretation into a painting. For my brushes, I used a set that is to be included with the title.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

End of Spring Storm Rolls Through Omaha

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A storm extending from South Dakota to Oklahoma rolled through Omaha this evening. The College World Series was in session, causing some mild panic by the out-of-towners not used to this type of weather. As it turns out, the storm's bark was much worse that its bite, but it sure looked nasty as the gust front rolled into town!

There are many reports of trees down in the area as some winds clocked in at 70mph. More threatening is the rainfall, which won't help the flood situation along the Missouri River—which Omaha is adjacent to.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pixelated Universe

Cool animation by Cyriak Harris.

as seen on Bad Astronomy

Coming: Transforming a Photograph into a Painting with Photoshop

Click to watch preview segment

I've gotten the green light from to author a new title: Transforming a Photograph into a Painting with Photoshop. This video title will detail my expressive interpretation process from start to finish. Included will be the set of brushes that I use throughout the course. I'll be recording the title in Ventura, CA this July, so you can expect the release to be a few weeks after the production.

I'll have more information as I'm working through the process.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

John's Artists' Brushes User Redux: Dominic Orologio

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Artist Dominic Orologio sent me some tasty examples of his work done utilizing my brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5. I featured Dominic last year in an earlier post. Dominic writes, "I'm getting back in the swing of painting again since a year long distraction that is my 9-month old baby boy, but I'm getting there. Here are a couple recent and unfinished pieces (using your brushes, of course). one's a portrait study thats getting turned into a random portfolio piece (trying to stay focused on created a cohesive editorial portfolio, which is sometimes harder than one would assume) and the start of a crime noire book cover."

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You can see more of Dominic's work at his website.

John's Artists' Brushes for Photoshop CS5 are available for $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!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wacom Bamboo Stylus and Adobe Eazel for iPad = Optimized Mark-making Experience

I've been recently experimenting with two soon-to-be-released iPad-related items: Adobe Eazel and the Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad. Used together, these tools offer tablet-based artists a superior mark-making experience.

One of my early concerns while participating in the pre-release cycle for Eazel was the requirement to use a five-finger gesture to call up the user interface (color selection, brush size, opacity, options). I prefer to use a stylus with the iPad and reliance on the five-finger gesture impeded my workflow. Thankfully, the engineers incorporated a single tap in the image corner to call up a persistent UI that appears for adjustments until a another single tap on the image dismisses it. With this optional mechanism in place, it is now effortless to incorporate a stylus into the workflow.

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The Bamboo stylus has a very nice feel in the hand. It has some weight to it (20 grams) and is nicely balanced, making this stylus very comfortable to use over extended periods. Another big plus is the stylus tip: At 6mm in width, Wacom claims that this stylus is 25% narrower than others on the market. This slim tip profile provides an excellent sense of precise placement.

On another note, last week my 3-year-old MacBook Pro bit the dust (logic board failure). I ordered a new Quad-core Intel Core i7 MacBook Pro, which should offer quite a performance enhancement over my now-dead machine. As soon as I'm back up and running at full power, I will be producing an over-the-shoulder look at these new tools. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

SF to Paris in Two Minutes

SF to Paris in Two Minutes from Beep Show on Vimeo.

Artist Nate Bolt shot a very cool time-lapse video on a recent flight from San Francisco to Paris. Using a Canon 5D Mk2, a tripod, and an available vacant row on the 747 flight, Nate received permission from a friendly flight crew to record the flight through the window. The result is a mesmerizing video that includes some dramatic Aurora Borealis moments.

You can see more of Nate and his partner's work at their website.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Adobe Extends Photoshop CS5 Functionality to Tablet Devices

Adobe today made several announcements that include three new Photoshop companion tablet apps, Creative Suite 5.5, and a new software subscription model.

The three initial Photoshop CS5 companion apps are for the Apple iPad: Adobe Color Lava for Photoshop, Adobe Eazel for Photoshop and Adobe Nav for Photoshop. The apps are designed to enable users to create custom color swatches, paint and drive popular Photoshop tools from tablet devices. These apps are examples of what is possible using the new Photoshop Touch SDK

Eazel lets digital artists create rich realistic paintings with their fingertips and introduces a new kind of interaction between “wet” and “dry” paints. These paintings can then be sent directly to Photoshop CS5 for compositing or for taking the artwork further. Eazel artwork is initially created at the tablet's native resolution of 1024 X 768, then re-rendered at 4X resolution (2024 X 1536) in Photoshop. The resulting artwork can then be further enhanced or saved. Eazel will be available for $5 at the iTunes Store.

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Below are some early tests I did during the pre-release cycle:

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Color Lava utilizes the iPad as a natural-media style mixing palette for Photoshop. Users mix colors with their fingertips creating custom color swatches and themes to wirelessly transfer back into Photoshop. Eazel will be available for $3 at the iTunes Store.

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Nav increases workflow efficiency by letting users select and control Photoshop tools using the iPad as a control surface, customize the toolbar, browse and zoom in on up to 200 open Photoshop files or easily create new files. Eazel will be available for $2 at the iTunes Store.

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I've been involved with the development of these apps as a member of the pre-release team and I have to say I really like the extension of Photoshop via a tablet device. These initial three apps provide a window on the future and it will be very interesting to see what other developers come up with utilizing the new Photoshop Touch SDK.

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 products are scheduled to ship within 30 days, with availability through Adobe Authorized Resellers, the Adobe Store at in North America and Adobe Direct Sales. Estimated street price for the suites is expected to be US$2599 for CS5.5 Master Collection, US$1899 for CS5.5 Design Premium, US$1799 for CS5.5 Web Premium, US$1699 for CS5.5 Production Premium and US$1299 for CS5.5 Design Standard. Upgrade pricing and volume licensing are available.

Further information regarding the new software subscription model can be found here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rounding out Oakland, Iowa into a Stereographic Projection

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I was cruising around western Iowa earlier this week scouting photographic opportunities when I encountered the small town of Oakland. This farming community has a very nice main street district with several great examples of late-19th-century commercial architecture. Being on a stereographic panorama kick, I took my panoramic shot of Oakland's business district and promptly circularized it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

iPhone 4 Bends Panoramas into Circular Projections

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I've been using my iPhone 4 to shoot panoramas using Cloudburst Research's AutoStitch iPhone. AutoStitch is very good at correlating and stitching a set of input images even without sequentially entering them. This makes taking large scenes with overlapping imagery easy to fashion into a panorama.

Another great tool is Infoding's free Tiny Planets app. I can take a panorama assembled in AutoStitch, input it into Tiny Planets, and end up with an interesting stereographic circular projection.

The above images were shot at Kenefick Park here in Omaha where two historic Union Pacific locomotives are now on permanent display. How these two massive locomotives were relocated is another story in itself. Tiny Planets can flip a stereographic projection in two opposing orientations, as seen above.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Predator: Amazingly Accurate Object Tracking

Zdenek Kalal, a Czech student at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, is working on an advanced learn-on-the-fly object tracking algorithm that looks to be very accurate. This is the sort of voodoo that shows up in SF films like Minority Report. But in this case, it's real.

Zdenek also has a series of 12 videos that illustrate various potential applications of this vision system

Thursday, March 31, 2011

John's Brushes User: David Muldoon

Click above image to view larger finished artwork

Artist David Muldoon, living and working in Dubai, created this image from a photograph of a row of WWII-era RCAF Harvard trainers using both John's Artists' Brushes and John's Dry Media for Adobe Photoshop CS5.

David writes:
"All work was done on my Wacom Cintiq 12 with your Cloning Action, I used ONLY a combination of your Artist Brushes, as well as the Dry Media Brushes and a final contrast adjustment in CS5. I really enjoy working with these brushes so much so that I haven't worked in Painter even though I had a new computer system built specifically for digital painting within Painter!!!"

John's Artists' Brushes and Dry Media for Photoshop CS are each available for $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 with my brushes, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

iPhone App Creates Unique Circular Panoramas

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Tiny Planet Photo is a recent iPhone App Store addition that does a great job of twisting photos into circular panoramas. The output is currently limited to 1000 X 1000 pixels; hopefully, the developers will be able to increase the output in a future release.

The above images are some examples of my playing around with the app.

It's getting so the iPhone offers a complete digital camera and and darkroom in your pocket.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Aurora Borealis for Those of Us South of the Arctic Circle

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Living far south of the North Pole, I've only seen glimpses of the Aurora Borealis throughout my lifetime. This recent long-exposure time-lapse photography by Norwegian Terje Sorgjerd is said to offer the best experience short of traveling to the Arctic Circle. You may recognize the background's Hans Zimmer's soundtrack for the last scene in Gladiator.

Nature is often stranger than we can imagine.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Swiss Artist's Knife

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I was going through some of the boxes we've dragged with us over the years and uncovered my Swiss Artist's Knife. I did this back in my Cranbrook days while pursuing a MFA degree. It required locating a suitable existing knife, disassembling it, and adding the new knife elements.

I particularly like how I retained the existing corkscrew—obviously a key component of an artist's tool set!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How Does That LCD Display You Spend Hours Staring At Actually Work?

Every wonder how that thin LCD display that you stare at all day displays text and images so well? This video provides a highly intelligent answer.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is Display Glass in our Future? Corning Thinks So.

Corning Glass is developing glass that has embedded display technology. This promotional video demonstrates possible uses.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cool Mercedes-Benz Print Ads Highlighting Creativity

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Mercedes-Benz has done a series of very nicely designed print ads focusing on the right-brained logic and left-brained creativity that goes into their automobiles. Well executed.

Mercedes-Benz Left Brain / Right Brain Ads

Monday, March 14, 2011

Panogaea—Mac-based Panorama Mapper

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If you are a Mac user interested in unique panoramic manipulation, there is a new application out by You Go Mountain —Panogaea— that is available for a very attractive $4.99 in the App Store.

Panogaea is capable of some very unique spherical re-mappings and has an extremely easy-to-use interface enabling concatenated transforms. Above is a simple example I did, but it is capable of so much more. I'll be exploring this app for awhile!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Zhangjiajie in Snow—Awesome

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China's Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area comprises the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the Tianzishan (天子山) mountain ranges, BaoFengHu (宝峰湖) and the Suoxi Valley (索溪峪), and is a very popular filming and tourist destination. This area is purportedly the source of inspiration for the floating mountains in the motion picture, Avatar.

I've seen photography of this area before, but never in snow...jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

From Photograph to Painting Webinar this Thursday

Click to view Quicktime movie

I am giving a webinar this Thursday as a part of the the Winter Digital Art Summit. I am going to go through the process I've evolved for interpreting a photograph into a painted result. Although I'll be using Photoshop CS5 during this session, the concepts are equally applicable to Painter.

From Photograph to Painting
Thursday, March 10, 1:00 PM Central Standard Time

My session is described below:
I like to think of various art forms as each having a unique visual vocabulary. Painting, for example, has a unique visual vocabulary: brush strokes, canvas weave, and oil paint’s color range are attributes unique to a painting. Likewise, photographs have a unique vocabulary. Key elements of the photograph include sharp focus, depth-of-field, and high detail.

The appearance of software such as Painter and Photoshop —coupled with the phenomenal growth of digital photography— offers photographers and artists even more expressive choices with regard to the photograph. A current trend is the interpretation of a photographic source into a traditional painted appearance. This session describes the implementation of visual vocabularies to expressively interpret your photographs into successful paintings.

I'll be giving a live demonstration of my techniques during this approximately 2-hour session.

The webinar is being recorded, so you can either attend the session or download the video at a later time. The webinar is $47.

The sign-up page for the Photograph to Painting webinar is here.

I hope to see you there!