Sunday, March 30, 2014

Warps and Twists

This design is one step above being muddled, but I like it as it is.  I filled the background with running lines made from the square stamp from my previous posting.  Next I warped it, moving it up and down, but I faded the warp so the original straight squares still show through.  Here they are in their original colors, too washed out on a white background:

Looking much more interesting on the gold gradient background:

And here I emphasized the gold.  It reminds me of sky scraper windows in the sunset, with some warped reflections of other windows included.

I added ripple effect.  A bit over the top, but I'm wondering could it be used as a portion of some other design (that is, cut and paste small sections of it to other images).  Few designs have no potential at all.  :-)

The next two are based on a pattern that Gimp creates for you when you go to Filters: Render: Pattern: Diffraction Pattern.  You can fiddle with a lot of settings to get different kinds of patterns, but once you fiddle during a Gimp session, that it is, you can never go back to the plain version.  So the patterns just get more and more fragmented and broken up.  It resets when you restart Gimp.  Probably a bug and not a design feature, eh?  Anyway, the patterns that result are pleasing but rather blurry.  The center rectangle is more the original pattern, with a bright background showing through.  I learned finally to adjust just one color at a time in Color: Hue-Saturation.  That way I could choose more yellow, to hide all the green and make it another color, etc.  Otherwise I would have shifted all of the colors and once and would have been stuck with a lot of too too bright variations.  The rectangles in the middle of each outside row have been colorized, so that they become shades of one color.  I toned down the saturation as well; this helped to calm down the overall design when they were combined.  I added a frame that I drop-shadowed to place it above the images.

Here is another version, with bump mapping applied to the rectangles.  This one has more character and the blurriness of the original images no longer matters.

Which brings me to my new "favorite design".....these are things I do that every time I come back to them I smile.  Opposite of mehhh, I guess.  I made two layers with one of my new orange/green/blue gradients, in square shapes..  This gradient has a lot of clear sections, so much of the background shows through.  Then I took each layer and warped it, very precisely (clicking exactly in the center, choosing to have a large amount of the image affected by the warping).  Here is how it looked as I warped the second layer:

This is with one layer warped, the other not.  I added a gold-shaded gradient background, in either a circular or square shape.  What is cool is that the lightest portion of the gold gradient aligns with one of the square shapes.  Again, thanks to the precision of drawing the gradients by starting exactly in the center of the image.

Here it is with the second layer warped in the opposite direction:

Then I started playing around with the gradient background colors.  Just as I had mentioned that some stamps and gradients seemed difficult to use in more than one project, I can see myself wiling away many happy hours with this orange/blue/green gradient.  Aqua version:

Deeper gold:

Mossy green version:

Shaded pink version.  Nothing to learn by showing all these others, I just revel in the color variation.  Probably someone one day will do a study that shows that cooing over colors is mentally and physically good for us!  At which point I will market my blog as a health product.....

Same image, with colors shifted a bit, and bump map applied to one layer.  There is now much less of a circular feel to it and more of a spinny feeling.

With colors inverted:

And the background color changed:

Here is the background alone, without the colored layers.

 This was a combination of an open, criss-crossed gradient above a warped background gradient.  I added bump map to the lower gradient:

Added bump map a few more times, or maybe lighting effects with it's bump map addition.

And turned it mostly green to calm it down a bit.

That same useful multicolored gradient, in overlapping conical shapes.  The background is formed from a bucket tool pattern, bleached to yellow from its original bright orange shades.

Here I added cartoon to the pattern to make it stand out more underneath the conical gradients.

And here I I-Warped the background:

Ahhh, I'm supposed to say something to bring it all together here, and to head us in our next direction, but really all I'm thinking about is I need to go out and get fresh coffee, and I'm almost done reorganizing the papers in my bedroom, and I still have a host of other things I want to get done, though in fact it's been a really productive 4 day weekend.  Of course, it should be, that's what the extra two days are for, eh?  This is how I expect retirement to start out, before the thrill of all that extra time wears off and I start my next enterprise in life.....  Perhaps I will add some ruminations about art and crafts to this blog by the end of this evening, proving that I also found time for a bit of philosophy.

Target Stamps

I've been experimenting with making square and circular gradients, adding a bit of texture, and applying color threshold to remove most of the color (lower layers will continue to show through to some degree).  Here are some samples.  I've tried to stamp on black, white, and on the places where the color changes to show the effects.  A black/white/transparent stamp is a very useful thing.

Here is an experiment with the tinted version of the square stamp above, sometimes stamping, sometimes erasing and dodging/burning.  I wasn't too impressed, but I liked the zig zaggy idea.

It's more fun as a component of a larger design:

And it's even more fun to warp it, to make it a little less staid looking.

Here I changed the colors and made a mosaic out of it.  It's pretty abstract at this point.

These are some more or less successful stamp effects: one with pebbles from mosaic, applied only to certain color of the circular gradient:

One that has been swirled [using what?]

And I-Warped:

Here is a disc:

And a color inverted version:

Here are these two used as overlapping stamps:

Here is one of the square stamps on a patterned background.  Looks like picture frames.

These are some of the simpler stamps, converted to either white and clear or black and clear.  When you control the distance between them and use them as a line drawing tool there are a host of pattern possibilities because they leave so much blank space around them.

Here are more lines drawn with stamps.  For the colored versions I chose to use gradient colors instead of the stamp's colors.  I finally figured out to lower the length of the color change on the gradient.

Here is another one, different sizes:

And another one.  There's something very pleasing and 1940s era looking about these target stamps.

Here is a not-too-pretty example of stamps used with gradients.  The background is from one of my more complex multi-colored gradients, set to repeat every 15 px.  It actually just changes colors most times that the stamp is re-stamped, and the stamps (a narrow, calligraphy line) were set close to each other.  I then made 3 layers of lines using my favorite gold shaded gradient as the color, and drop-shadowed them.  A future post topic here, I can see.

Last is one of my older stamps, from years ago, used as a stamp over a crossed gradient.  I solidified the smaller stamps by surrounding them with shaped gradients and did the same with the remaining black background.


Onward and upward.....  The thing I really like about making stamps is that there are there, ready to be used, in all future projects.  I'll have to remember to make a back up or two of my stamps folder, as this is days of effort that I would have to redo when converting to a new Gimp version.  Well, they would never be re-done, in truth.....

Saturday, March 29, 2014

GIMP: Mental Lull with Gradients

So I'm more of a putterer than a creator right now, I've decided.  I keep playing with GIMP images rather than forging ahead on the crafts dictionary.  Because that requires actual research and analysis and I don't seem to have those things available to me at the moment.  I've been sorting through my class notes from the fall, HTML/CSS and Writing, and I feel like I've been making virtually no use of what I have learned.  Maybe because this is meant to be a time of transition and I'm not "supposed" to be accomplishing anything more than that.  Well, who determines what is required anyway at various stages of our lives?  I ramble, I digress.

So, in honor of accomplishing little, here are some brightly colored graphics as a form of distraction.

Last week I had started making gradients, with an eye towards understanding how varying degrees and placement of transparency affects how the gradient looks when it is used over other colors.  Here are the surviving gradients....I say surviving because I discovered that I lost several of my first efforts because I did a test run using a different gradient as background before I saved my first gradient.  :-(  Actually, they survived that particular GIMP session, I could see them in my gradient list, but they vanished when I logged out.  Well, needing to recreate them caused me to back up and plot them out a bit first.  First I made both sides of the two-part gradient 100% concentrated orange.  Then I subdivided it into 8 equal parts and I revisited each segment, making some more or less transparent; later I changed colors of some.  I've learned a lot by doing this.

Here they are, single gradient, then copied and another run over it, from the opposite corner.  The clear parts allow varying amounts of overlap that still shows the white background.  Figure that where you see lighter orange is where whatever background has been chosen will influence the final result.  Except for the smaller rectangles, top righthand side.  I had to fade the second gradient to have it interact with the first because it is actually completely opaque.

These are my original, lost gradients that are used in making the first few images.  Since I made this sampler of them, I should be able to reproduce them fairly easily.

I'm guessing you can identify the original gradient by counting the darker orange crosses that form when they are overlapped.  This should be gradient #1 above.

The same gradient over a blue to purple background.  These get pretty intense.

This should be the second gradient, with the yellow stripes only on the corners and more crosses in the center.

The same over a brightly colored gradient background; again, intense.

Over a colorized circular gradient.  I love the aqua to orange shades.

Over a rainbow gradient.

Option three. The yellow parts fade gradually, the orange have abrupt edges.  Kind of a foggy effect.

The same over blue.

This may be gradient 4, which vanished from history altogether.

Possibly a color invert?

A series of overlapping square gradients that look very fuzzy and unfocused, probably due to the type of gradient edge blending.

Similar, from a gradient with sharper edges.

This is from the second gradient from the left on the more extensive gradient sample.  The bright lines can be a little distracting and maybe limit more how you would use the gradient.

Not sure what formed the base of this image, but I like it a lot.  I am finding that you get more interesting effects when you allow portions of the gradient to be entirely transparent, and also when you limit the stretch of the full colored sections.

Here is a screenshot of a gradient that has the thick orange stripe in the center, leading out to thin stripes alternating with increasingly transparent stripes (75%, 50%, 25%, 0).As can be seen in the faint black and white triangles below the gradient editor view, I did not alter the amounts of color and clear in each section.  

The actual gradient, segment by segment, is this: 0%/opaque; 25%/opaque; 50%/opaque; 75%/opaque; opaque/75%; opaque/50%; opaque/25%; opaque/0%.

What results when you make cross-gradients is a mostly solid, fuzzy looking center, leading out to more clear-cut diamonds towards the sides.  The clearest points are where the 0% opaque half-segment is.

Here is the same over a colored gradient; I probably faded the top crossing gradient because I doubt as much color would be showing through.

This is that same gradient, but I adjusted the sliders on each segment so there is as much clear as possible.

The end result isn't too different, though you can see more background color through the side regions.

Here is only one gradient, over a blue background.  This actually gets the point across better.

I made a similar gradient, only with the orange and clear areas reversed, giving an open center.

The results are much more pleasing, as one wants to see detail in the center, while accepting a bit of fuzziness on the edges.  This double gradient has a lot of height to it, even without beveling.

Half of the open centered gradient, over a round gradient:

Two halves, over the same round shape.

This is that same open-centered gradient, with the transparent areas expanded:

Here is a double gradient over a patterned background:

With bump map applied to the gradient:

With one layer warped, copied, laid over itself on a new layer.

The gradients become more fun when I start replacing orange portions with other colors.  I'm trying not to get too many garish color combinations, because it limits how often I will want to use the gradient.  I like blues and orange together, as they are complimentary colors.

Here it is with a more yellow background:

This is the second gradient from the left, lower level, on white:

Over a warped/swirled layer:

That same swirled layer, faded:

A color invert from above, i believe:

I added noise to the gradient layer.

And did something here to intensify it.

So, except for my last few images, I was actually more analytical than I've been in the recent past posts.  I do know more about what makes gradients work, and I've learned that open centered gradients have nicer results.

More to come, after my bedroom has been organized to the ultimate I can find my craft supplies, so I can line up a series of little projects to take places with me.  I feel like I've dropped a lot of balls in the last few months!

always guilty feeling.....too little Gimp while I was taking classes, now too much Gimp while I'm trying to build off of my coursework.....can't win.