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Easy “bumpy texture” tutorial for OpenCanvas

...though you could probably find similar filters and options in Photoshop. It's just that OpenCanvas is my drawing tool of choice. Oh, hi! This is a bit of a deviation from the usual make-up and food tutorials, isn't it. But yeah, I was trying to create a kind of rock/"rough" texture in OpenCanvas and discovered a super quick way to add a bumpy texture to any surface. This is how I did it. First, grab the image that you want to apply the texture to.

Next, create a new layer, and make sure your colours are set to pure black and white. Then apply the following filters, in this order:

"Clouds/Rocks" (under "Render") with the softness set to the minimum and contrast pretty low as well. Your image should now be mostly-black with some white squiggles. We want it the other way around, so Invert the colours. Then continue with the filters:

Add noise, a fairly high amount (around 100) set to monochromatic. Note that this is NOT the layer created in the previous step, in this screenshot. I accidentally had a different one selected when I took this.

The texture is now looking a bit overly sharp and crisp, so apply a mild (< 1) Gaussian blur. Your layer should now look something like this. Not exactly the same, of course, since the Rocks filter is random. But the same sort of texture.

Now set this layer to Multiply, and lower the opacity to around 30-35%. The combination of your original image and the new texture will now look something like this:

In this screenshot, layer 1 and layer 2 together make up the image that you saw in step one, and layer 3 is the one we've just created. You didn't miss a step where you were supposed to create that "layer 2", don't worry. ;) Now, create a copy of your texture layer, and Invert it, so it is once again mostly black. That layer, by itself, will look like this:

Now, set this layer to Linear Dodge mode, and lower the opacity to around 25-30%. Now you will see something like this:

That's right, it'll look virtually identical to the original image that you started with. Don't panic! You didn't just undo all your hard work (well, it wasn't even that hard, was it?), the highlight and shadow layers are just cancelling each other out because they're in exactly the same place. Let's remedy that, shall we? Grab the Move tool, and nudge your highlight layer just 2 pixels or so to the right. Well, I moved it to the right, anyway. I guess you can move it any direction you want, depending on where the light source is in your picture. See what just happened? Instant bumps:

And you're done! Well, feel free to play with it some more. You can increase or decrease the opacity for both your new layers, depending on how strong/sharp you want the bumps to appear. You can also put the layers more than 2px apart to make them appear larger. Play with the different layer modes... you still have all sorts of options. But this tutorial ends here, at any rate. ;)

Filed under: Comics, Drawings 1 Comment

Uni life & the future of RoA

So I'm starting university tomorrow. In Dutch colleges ("HBO", literally "higher professional education") it's not uncommon to have a 9 to 4 or even 9 to 5, five days a week schedule. However, in universities, it's common to have only 2 to 3 days of classes, say about 16 to 20 hours per week. So, after four years of working a 9 to 5 job, I was secretly looking forward to having a bit more spare time.

About a week ago, I looked up my class schedule online... and it turns out I start class at 8:30am Mon-Thu and then on Friday I also have class from 10:30am onwards -- and finish daily at 5:15pm. Wait, what? How is this university and yet I'm at school for almost 9 hours daily? I then had a look at the train/bus timetables and concluded that basically, I have to leave the house by about 6:50 in the morning (you have to be kidding me there O.o so not a morning person) and get back back home by about 6:40 in the evening. Dinner, and then I'm sure there's at least some amount of homework left to be done (even with so many contact/practical hours), and, well... then I pretty much need to be in bed by 10pm-ish, given that I need to get up by 5:45 or so the next morning (even a week later, I'm currently still pointedly in denial regarding this bit).

This also means that -- at least while I do not have a dorm room yet and will be spending 3+ hours per day on a train or bus (instead of just 20-30 minutes per day on a bike) -- I'll have virtually no time to draw. Not on weekdays, at any rate, and with such busy weeks I suspect I'll be savouring my tiny bit of freedom on the weekends. To be honest, while I AM excited about my classes themselves, the prospect of such a busy schedule ahead of me has even been a bit of a mental/creative block for me over the past week. (I suspect this is the main cause of the FAIL concerning Thursday's Running on Adrenaline update.) And while I really, really hate to do this, I've decided to downgrade RoA to a once-a-week update schedule. I can't believe I originally started out with four pages a week (2x2) and now it's come to the point where I have to go down from two to one pages, but such is life.

Anyway -- let's move on to happier news. Last Thursday I went off to uni to collect my textbooks, uni card and lab coat. Now I'd heard some horror stories about this; that since there's 2000 students all picking up their stuff at the one shop, there was going to be a queue at least one hour long no matter when you went there during the entire pre-start-of-year week. This with the exception of going on the first possible day, when the queue might turn out to be two to three hours long.

So I actually gave this a bit of thought and worked out what I thought would be the best possible time to go. Monday was the first day of the week, and Wednesday (Sept 1st) the first day on which you could actually pick up your uni card in addition to your books, so those two options were out. And I wasn't going to go there on Tuesday for just my books and then get back in line on Thursday or Friday for my uni card, either. That left Thursday and Friday, and since students tend to be procrastinators, doing everything at the last minute, I figured Thursday was probably my best bet.

Even so, I expected to be in line for at least an hour, so off I went on Thursday morning, sandwiches and a bottle of water packed and everything. I'd made sure to go pretty early and arrived at about ten minutes after the store had opened... and was the first in line. Back outside within five minutes. Wait, what? It was almost anticlimactic. I'm not sure if I just got really lucky, actually did pick the most opportune time, or if those horror stories were grossly exaggerated. Given that I'd heard those from multiple different 2nd and 4th year students as well as a teacher, I somewhat doubt the latter, but... who knows.

That's my pile of textbooks for the first six weeks only. They're about 600 to 700 pages each. I find that somewhat daunting and secretly hope we're not going to cover every single chapter in every single book. Though if we are, I can suddenly see where the really full schedule comes from. >.>

Aaaand that would be me in my lab coat and safety goggles. Sexy, no? Haha. And damn, the coat is long. In secondary school chemistry classes, we occasionally had practical lessons where we had to wear school-provided lab coats, but those were hip length only. This thing comes down to about four to maybe six inches above my ankles. O.o

Addendum: as I was writing this, I received an email from a professor -- and it turns out that on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I actually only have class until 3:15pm instead of 5:15pm. So that's a bit of an improvement. I'm still sticking with the once-a-week update schedule as far as RoA is concerned, though, for the time being. If it turns out I actually have plenty of spare time I can always go back to two pages a week, but for now I doubt that.

Filed under: Comics, Uni 2 Comments

The House of Madness

My THoM T-shirt came in today! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, clearly you're not reading The House of Madness. In which case you should start doing so, because it's really quite funny. I discovered it fairly recently, and pretty much read through the entire archives in one day. There's also a ton of references to other stuff in it which is always a plus in my book -- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Monty Python and like a dozen other things I can't think of off the top of my head. Speaking of thinking of things... it's really hot and humid here and my brain is melting. So I'll just leave it at that, and leave you to check out THoM -- and the T-shirt pics, of course!

(JJ -- feel free to use any of these, and if you need the full size versions, let me know)

Filed under: Comics, Fashion 4 Comments