Steven Powers (SMP): 2012

Blender 2.65a Released

Well evidently I have been busy enough to miss a few things.  In this case I missed the release of Blender 2.65 and just noticed the 2.65a release. One of the changes has been the addition of "Anisotropic Shader" allowing for the brushed metal look.

Here is the LINK to download Blender.


Hurricane Sandy

The weather has no concern for artist's schedules. Seriously we are thankful that we made it through yet another storm.  Though we did have power from our new generator, we did not have phone or Internet access so we were a bit isolated from the world.  Considering the devastation in other states, we fared quite well.  Our prayers go out to those who have lost their homes and loved ones.

Remove Linux from Windows Dual-Boot

This is not my usual post but for those who want to work in the digital world, you must know how to repair your computer ...and there are so many things that can go wrong.

I know I am not alone in setting up a dual-boot system with Windows and Linux who have later decided to remove the Linux partition, then being faced with a corrupted Master Boot Record (MBR).  I can tell this by all of the posts requesting help and the wide range of ways to fix the now "bricked" PC.

Blender 2.6.4 Released

Blender 2.6.4 has been released and can be downloaded HERE.  List of changes and features can be found HERE.

Thank you Blender Foundation!

Transform Tool Short Cuts in PS CS6

Another quick tutorial demonstrating the short cuts for the Transform tools in Photoshop CS6.  Learn how to quickly duplicate a selection, merge and transform it.


Adjusting Photoshop Brush Size

Just a simple tip to speed up productivity. Unlike the traditional way of changing the brush size in Photoshop with the bracket keys, I pass on a shortcut that I learned years back using the "ALT+Right Mouse Click+Dragging" method.  It allows to change the size quickly without reaching over the keyboard (if you are right handed) and adjust the size in faster increments.


How To Add a Color Wheel to Photoshop

Ever wanted to add a Color Wheel to Photoshop similar to the found in Corel Painter or other painting applications?  In this video I show how to not just add the color wheel but the keyboard short cuts that will help speed up your productivity.


Digital Painting Programs ...which is the best?

The question of what application is best for digital painting comes up over and over again.  The fact is that there is no so called "best".  Which application you use is based on a variety of things. such as affordability, platform (which OS), capabilities, hardware and personal preference.  Here is the run down on the ones I would suggest.

Krita For Windows

After going through the hassle of adding a dual boot to my laptop and a virtual Linux machine with Virtual Box on my desktop just to try out Krita 2.4, I come across a Windows installer for Krita.

Blender 2.6.4 Test Builds

Blender Test Builds for 2.64 are out.  That means that 2.64 will be released soon.  Download the test builds and check out the list of new features HERE


Copying Is Good Practice

There are a lot of ways to learn how to perform a task.  In art one of the fundamental ways is to copy other artists work that you admire taking away skills and approaches that you may not otherwise learn. 

Spring Colors


Every spring I am amazed at the colors.  Part of it is how gray winter can be and the contrast that spring brings with it.  But I can't get over how brilliant and bright the colors are.  They seem faked.  If I were to see these same values in a photo or in a painting I would find it hard to believe. 

Blender 2.6.3a Update

The Blender Foundation released version 2.6.3a a few weeks back to corrected a few issues prior to the version 2.6.4 that should be out soon.  The Blender Foundation is keeping a greate pace with release dates being about every 10 weeks.  Blender can be found HERE.


JDownloader - Download Favorite Videos

Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to view a video or work with a video tutorial that you saw on YouTube or Vimeo or somewhere else but you didn't have access to the Internet? JDownloader will allow you to download your favorite tutorials and take them on the road with you.

GIMP 2.8 Release

GIMP 2.8 was released recently and as usual I like to use the builds   I haven't had a lot of time with the new build so let me know what you think.  The GIMP developers have been making good progress so I am looking forward to working with the newest release..
GIMP can be found HERE.


How to Build and Design a CG Workstation


I believe that every digital artist should have a working knowledge of the tools that they use, which also includes the workstation. In this article I will cover the design options and consideration in building my recent workstation.

Blender 2.6.3 BMesh Modeling System

Blender Foundation still working hard. They have just released version 2.6.3. The biggest update this time around is BMeshes Modeling System. Their quick overview can be found HERE and you can download Blender 2.6.3 HERE. I am very happy and proud of these guys. They have been working hard for years to rebuild Blender for 2.4 series into this modern one.

New Workstation Build for Digital Artists

2012 How To Add Chrome to Links Mint-12

Sorry for no post last week but I have been working on building a new workstation. I had an issue with the motherboard that was DOA but it was resolved. I tried to save some money on the board going with a less expensive model but ended up with a "cheaper" one instead. But with that behind me I am quite happy with this workstation. 8 Cores; 32 Gig of DDR3 1600 Mhz running at 4.15 ...COOL!

Blender VSE and Avidemux: How To Rotate Video


This is part of the Blender VSE (Video Sequence Editor) series in which I demonstrate how to rotate a video clip. I also add a secondary method using Avidemux since both methods will produce varying results. If the original clip had not been a MOV file I could have used Virtual Dub Mod.

Blender can be found HERE

Avidemux can be found HERE

Bledner VSE - How To Adjust the Speed of a Video


This is part of my Blender Video Sequence Editor Series. In this tutorial I show how to change the speed of a video clip using Blender. I used a small video clip that is 640x480 px at 30 FPS running around 4 minutes in length.  By adding an effect I change the snowball fight into a high speed chase sequence ...or something like that.

GIMP 2.7.5 Official and 2.7.6 Unofficial Release

I have been using an "Unofficial" release of GIMP 2.7.5 from (which is now hosting the Unofficial 2.7.6 version) but earlier this month the "Official" version was released. It is still in development but there have been a lot of great changes. The change log can be found HERE and the Official release can be found HERE.

My Personal preference is to the Partha builds.  They seem to be tweeked in a way that suits me.  Both versions can be installed at the same time, so experimenting between the two is easy.

Give it a try and let me know what you like or dislike and remember to report any issues.


Photoshop, CamStudio, Blender VSE Synch Issue

Recently I found an issue when I went to edit a video tutorial on Photoshop in Blender's VSE that I had created with CamStudio 2.6. The problem  arose when I rendered the video after editing in Blender VSE. The resulting video was sped up.  I am not sure why it happens but I was able to find a solution or work-around.

Manual Gamut Mask

In this tutorial I demonstrate how to use a manual gamut mask in Photoshop. I created a psd file that can be used as a manual Gamut Mask Tool that is based on Richard Robertson's On Line Gamut Mask Tool found at Live Paintings Lessons.
The PSD file can be found HERE:

I hope you find this helpful,

GIMP vs Photoshop

GIMP vs Photoshop? 

There are many reasons to use GIMP even if when we have Photoshop.  Both Photoshop and GIMP are great tools, though GIMP maybe an alternative to Photoshop. it is not an equivalent.

Blender VSE - How to Overlay an Image

Adding watermarks to your video is a great way to promote yourself or your product.  In the fourth part of the Blender Video Sequence Editor series I demonstrate the basic technique in adding an image and transforming the aspect ratio along with the placement of the image.

The Gamut Mask Tool Overview

This is a free online tool for creating Gamut Masks which aids in refining a color palette. This tool was created by Richard Robinson and is hosted on his site Live Painting HERE. The Gamut Mask can be either printed or taking a screen shot with another free tool Greenshot and saved as a PNG (PNGs have more detail than JPEGs). From there you can easily create a color palette in Photoshop or GIMP (not shown here.)

Color & Light Book Review

"Color & Light" by James Gurney is an excellent resource for any artist.  He explains many nuances on the topic of painting color and the interaction of light sources have on our perception of color.  He quite easily simplifies a very complex topic that all artist encounter as some point in their studies."Color & Light" can be found on Amazon or on James Gurney's blog Gunreys Journey.  This book is a great resource that you will come back to again and again..


Blender 2.6.2 Released

Blender Foundation has released version 2.6.2.  Blender is a professional grade CG suite and has come along way since their 2.4 version.  Even has created tutorials on Blender HERE.  What irony ...a commercial tutorial for an Open Source application.  Blender 2.6.2 change log and download can be found HERE.


Digital Painting instead of Traditional Painting?

Why Digital Painting instead of Traditional Painting? I get asked this question a lot.  Of course neither is better than the other but for me there were many advantages starting with digital painting.

How To Add Google Chrome to Linux Mint-12

Two browsers are better than one.  It will enable you to test web sites and check on browser based issues or incapabilities.  Under Windows we get Internet Explorer and with Linux we get Firefox as the default, which I normally use as my default in both Windows and Linux.  But how about a second browser like Google's Chrome?

JPEG or PNG for Print

Which image format should you use for prints ...JPEG or PNG?  This question eventually comes up when we find that our prints don't look sharp.  Or we do a painting at 300dpi, flatten it and send it off to prints.  The reason is usually that you saved it a JPEG format.  Do you know that differences between JPEG and PNG? 

Synfig Studio Latest Release 0.6.03

Synfig Studio release version 0.6.03 HERE. I am a bit behind on this but it is still worth sharing.  If you are not aware of Synfig Studio, it is a 2D animation suite.  On their site you can find links to tutorials to give you an overview of how to do things.  Go luck and let me see what you come up with.


How To Create A Digital Artists Blog

Every digital artist has one thing in common ...the need to display their art on the Internet.  But going about doing that can be somewhat confusing since there are many different avenues and approaches.  Here I will discuss my views and processes of displaying content on various sites, creating online portfolios, linking them together, simple workflows and the use of free and open-source applications that I use.

OpenShot Video Editor for Linux

One thing I have had issues with is doing video editing on Linux.  In Windows I use Authoring Works 4, but I could not find one that was a good alternative.  Then I came across "OpenShot Video Editor".