Drink Your Bezier Curves

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There better be booze in that thing…

Bezier curves are sort of like the green smoothies of design: Everyone swears by them, but after trying it once, you strongly suspect they are full of something other than smoothie.

Chug one of those bad boys back and sure, you’re going to get a nice vitamin-mineral boost. And you’ll feel better. Heck, you will feel accomplished (DUDE LOOK WHAT I JUST DID!).

Try it again, though? Mmmmm—lemme get back to you on that.

I know Beziers, and the Pen tool for that matter, will round out the toolbox of skills I have. I know how to edit premade curves with Illustrator and Inkscape—or at the very least, not grossly mess them up. Making my own smooth and shiny curves?

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It’s Muffy, the world’s saddest Bezier circle.

I understand the idea in theory; this is a practice thing. I need more ways to create accurate selections, and when I see the paths tool in action, I know I need to keep practicing.

As for green smoothies—maybe add a shot of vodka to that thing and we’ll talk.

 

Restoring Vintage Photos

What’s this?

It’s the next class I’m working on for #GIMP. I’ve done a lot of photo repair and restoration with Photoshop, but I’m rusty with GIMP. The biggest thing you have to work around with #GIMP is the lack of adjustment layers. I never realized how much I relied on them before this.

The lack of adjustment layers is always brought up as a deal-breaker for #GIMP, and I completely agree that they are a fantastic tool to have. At the same time, though, they aren’t the only way to edit a photo.

Working without them has slowed down my process in a good way. It reminds me of shooting with film again (yes, I’m old enough to have shot film before digital, kids). With digital I can shoot off burst after burst of photos until I get what I want; with film I have to slow way down, think about the composition, really think about what the final image will look like and set my camera accordingly.

In this case, I’m working through a sample photo for practice. It’s an old photo from the 50s of my great-grandparents and my grandmother (left). Here’s the before:

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And this is the in-progress version:

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So there’s still color boosting to do, sharpening, and tweaking. I’m almost finished though. I can’t wait to work this up into a full class; photo restoration and repair is so incredibly rewarding. It takes patience, but when I do a comparison of the before and after, it’s a great feeling to see what I’ve accomplished. Particularly when a photo means as much as this one does.

 

I Think I’m Addicted

Quickly get started with #GIMP, a fantastic Photoshop alternative.

Sure it’s possible to get addicted to pretty much anything, but I’m definitely getting addicted to making Skillshare classes.

First off, I love teaching. I love learning. I’m a nerd and proud of it. Most of all I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with someone who wants or needs to know it. My nickname is “Head Cheerleader” because I will encourage the hell out of you while I’m teaching you.

You go. You rock.

And I mean it. It just takes practice and an open mind.

So I’m already planning out my next two #GIMP classes. The priority one is an advanced “quickstart” guide, and the other is a class on restoring old vintage photos using tools in #GIMP. I’m hunkering down this weekend—fingers crossed, please universe no jinxes.

It’s official, yo!

Hey cats and kittens!

I did it.

I finally hit the publish button on my Skillshare class yesterday after much hyperventilating.

This link will take you directly to the class, which is free, and give you a free month of premium to try out Skillshare.  Honest-to-God I do love Skillshare. I’ve been on the site for a few years and I cannot tell you how much I’ve been able to learn through the different classes. Lots of fun, pretty motivating too.

The Quickstart Guide takes you through the basics of how to use GIMP to make basic photo edits and how to use the same tool to make creative edits as well.

Woot woot, kids. Woot woot.

Whoo Buddy…

I’m going to go full honesty here right from the start:

I am excited about this.

I’ve been taking classes and workshops on Skillshare for years, and while I always thought it would be fun to teach a class, I never followed through with it. Which is odd, because I really enjoy teaching. There is something that I love about the process when someone wants to learn a skill and I can help them with that. Teaching people to do new things, things they thought they wouldn’t be able to do before, is addictive.

BUT.

I’m really good at figuring out reasons why I can’t do something. There’s a part of my brain makes lists of “Can’t” as soon as another part says “Wouldn’t it be fun to…”. Who am I to tell people how to do this? There’s probably someone out there who can do it better. What if I tell them the wrong thing? What if I’m really bad at this?

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

At the beginning of March, I signed up for a teaching workshop because I had a good idea for a class: Teaching people about GIMP. It’s a free, open source program that I used for photo editing and graphic design stuff because I couldn’t afford Photoshop (this was in the days when you paid for PS wholesale; Creative Cloud wasn’t much more affordable for me though). GIMP was just as powerful and flexible to do what I needed; it filled a huge gap for me. I was able to learn image editing skills that came in handy for work; I learned how to repair old photos; I practiced compositing; and I even used it for digital art.

I have access to Photoshop now, but I still use GIMP too. I still believe it is the perfect solution for others who are ready to step up from the basic crop-recolor-save programs.

It’s been an experience making this class. I have fought between stopping and slogging through no matter what. I’ve debated and doubted my project, my videos, my production value, but I’m almost ready to hit the official publish button.

I’m nervous. I’m excited.