Tag Archives: photoshop

Color Correction in Photoshop

I am not going to tell you how to color correct images in Photoshop, because my knowledge is insufficient for instruction purposes. Just starting out: I’m just feeling my way and going about it in a rather haphazard manner. A couple weeks back, my friend the Vampire Bat saw a picture I took of a hummingbird and color corrected it, and the difference is sort of amazing, so we talked for 30 seconds about it and I was inspired. I took a slightly less awesome hummingbird picture last week and decided to give it a shot. After I finished, I did a more subtle correction on a picture of an Arizona cardinal.

Brightening Birds in Adobe Photoshop

Brightening Birds in Adobe Photoshop; originals on left, color corrections on right.

To my eye, the hummingbird might be a bit too bright and the cardinal could be brighter, but they both definitely look better than the originals. I shifted everything blue-green in the first picture, but I only changed the color of the bird in the second.

I also enjoyed practicing that tiny bit of digital calligraphy, which I tried one time when I first got the tablet and then forgot all about as I struggled to figure out how Photoshop worked. Since most people use that program more for the color correction and less for drawing horrible webcomics, I was really feeling my way and probably not learning things in the same order as other people.

The Man also required some brightening.

The Man also required some brightening.

Here you can see some sort of over-the-top work I did for The Man, who wanted some professional head shots. I made a few mistakes, including causing the tree to look sort of unrealistic, but he liked it well enough to use it. It’s interesting to see what details pop out; I definitely have many sky photos that could use this treatment. Not sure what to do about his skin, though. For this image, I selected the sky first, played with that, then selected the inverse and worked with that section.

Anyway, like I said, I couldn’t exactly tell you what I did to achieve these results. It was sort of random button pushing, but I think I’m learning.

Basically What It Looks Like in My Brain

Walking Eye: So I'm a walking eye Green Vegetal Forest Spirit: Forest spirit. And my friend's a forest spirit too.  Wee Glowing Forest Spirit: Hey

Walking Eye: So I’m a walking eye
Green Vegetal Forest Spirit: Forest spirit. And my friend’s a forest spirit too.
Wee Glowing Forest Spirit: Hey

For a while now I’ve been doing a lot of the same thing, and I’ve learned a lot doing it, but ordinarily, when I’m just drawing to draw, I don’t draw the same thing over and over. There are definite themes, and there are topics that I mine again and again, but when I draw, for instance, Little Red Riding Hood, today’s Little Red is a different Little Red than yesterday’s Little Red.

I can tell already we're going to be the best of friends!

Little Red Riding Hood: I can tell already we’re going to be the best of friends!
Wolf: ::slavers::

Although, there does tend to be a lot of sexual tension between the girl and wolf.

There are lots of birds and fish and flowers and stars. Animals and fruit come up as often as fairy tales, and the style tends to be fluid. My friend the Vampire Bat once remarked that my art doesn’t have a recognizable style–this changes from image to image, I guess because I’m still searching for my style, or rather, I’ve never been satisfied with the way I draw.

This is basically the way I draw when I’m not trying to draw like someone else.

Turtle: I could absolutely *murder* a strawberry right now. Strawberry: Oh, god, please, no! I'm too ripe to die

Turtle: I could absolutely *murder* a strawberry right now.
Strawberry: Oh, god, please, no! I’m too ripe to die

Dragon Comics are fun, but these are the kind of comics that I draw constantly, without thinking about it. They don’t take hours. They don’t always make sense, although usually that’s part of the humor. They sort of make sense to me. And they always amuse me, which is the standard, right?

A snail licking the rim of a margarita glass for some reason

A snail licking the rim of a margarita glass for some reason

Usually I scratch stuff like this out on the backs of junk mail envelopes, keep them around for a couple months, perhaps thinking that the designs could aspire to be something greater, and then, eventually throw them in recycling when I find them jammed under the leg of my desk covered in cat hair. I’ve got dozens of notebooks from high school and college, the margins filled with these little guys. I’ve been thinking I should do something with my favorite parts and recycle the rest of those notebooks, too.

When I first started with the tablet, little cartoons like these would come out very rough and basic. I sort of advance in fits and starts: learn a few things, get comfortable with them, get dependent on them, then suddenly realize that there’s more to learn. Then I pick up a couple more techniques. Probably it would be more efficient to read a book about Photoshop and the manual for the Wacom Tablet, but that’s just now how my mind works. I’ve got to figure it out myself.

Substance is what you make of it

Before the Wacom tablet, when I was just writing novels, an extra four hours a day working on the computer didn’t really affect my brain, because I touch type, fairly accurately, at around 70 words per minute, and didn’t have to actually look at the screen. When I first started learning digital painting, staring at the monitor for hours on end gave me constant headaches. Eventually, my eyes seemed to adjust to the strain (plus, as I improved my control over the stylus, I didn’t have to work on the pixel level with the screen 8 inches from my eyes.

I’m starting to wonder, though, if staying up all night on Photoshop is contributing to my insomnia. It’s been pretty bad for the last couple months.

That is my excuse for not having anything really pithy to say about art, beauty, creativity, or writing at this time.

I do however, have your weekly dose of mandala and fanciful dragon, all rolled into one!

This dragon looks like she would make a good friend.

Wyndolyn, a cheerful, airy dragon, looks like she would make a good friend. She would totally take you on magical rides to fantastic lands, or, if you were just looking for a sympathetic ear, would be willing to listen to all your problems. She would never even complain about the fact that she was born without arms or legs.

That is a good-looking dragon.


This mandala was drawn for Rabbit, who, in addition to kale and organic carrots, is also fond of textiles and cottage industries associated with women. For example: quilt making. This design is based on common quilting designs. I have tried my hand at quilt making in the past, which resulted in 5 broken sewing needles and very lopsided, unsymmetrical blanket, which fell apart in a couple years. Rabbit made me a quilt once as a graduation present and the angles are brain-breakingly perfect. Some people just have talents and skills.

And that is a pretty mandala.

Honestly, I did have some pseudo-pithy words about art, but I put them all into next Monday’s comic, so no need for redundancy. All I need is regular sleep. Which I can’t have.