Graphics Challenge; or, I Double-Dog Dare You

(Post-A-Day Challenge, Day 4)

So since this blog is supposed to include forms of creativity that aren’t writing–at least, once in a while–I’ve decided to make this the obligatory weekly non-writing blog entry.

One of the other things I’ve mentioned that I like to do is to edit photographs I’ve taken into either headers for this blog, or icons/userpics for use on my LiveJournal.  In order to give myself incentive (and permission) to do at least a little of this every week, I’ve started up an icon-making community over on LiveJournal, called icon_if_i_wanna.  The community is open and free for anyone who wants to join (though you will need a LiveJournal account).

I like the challenge of creating banners and icons, because it’s fun to try to tell a story in a small space.  Also, the formats for these two forms are unlike the normal photographic ratios, so finding a composition that works can be trickier than it looks.  A picture that works well as a photograph may be impossible to crop down to a good banner or icon.  Conversely, that really boring picture you took that’s mostly sky with just a few mountains in the distance?  That’s perfect banner fodder.

In a normal week, my goal is to post at least:

  • One icon made from a picture I took
  • One icon made from a picture someone else took (usually art found on the internet)
  • One texture for use in creating graphics
  • And, more recently, one header/banner suitable for use on this blog.

But this week, I decided to mix it up a bit.  So I posted a picture challenge:  take the picture I posted, and create either an icon, a texture, or a banner.

I don’t know if I’ll get any takers — the community is pretty small, so far — but if nothing else, it will give me something different to do.

Anyone reading this is more than welcome to join in.  If you don’t want to go to the trouble of signing up for a LiveJournal account, just create your entry (or entries), post them on your favorite photo-sharing site, and post a link to them in the comments here.  It’s pretty low-stress — why not give it a try?

Oh, and if you don’t have PhotoShop, don’t panic — there are some good tools available on the interwebs, and for free, even.  My two favorites:

  • Irfan View:  This is a basic graphics editing tool that will let you crop, resize, rotate, and do some color tweaking.  There are some effects tools (sharpen, blur, etc.), too.  The resizing function is one of the best I’ve found (make sure to pick the “Lancosz” option), as it preserves more of the detail from the original.
  • GIMP:  A more powerful editing tool, allows you to do things like create your own brushes, use textures, and edit in layers.  A little confusing to use at first, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.  There are lots of on-line tutorials available, which helps.  This is also my tool-of-choice for adding text to a graphic, because I can add an outline to the text that really makes it “pop”.

Have fun!


About sheilamcclune

Aspiring author, sharing the tidbits I've learned along the way.
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