Free Photoshop Brush – Chakras

Click here for a closeup.

Here is a new photoshop brush for all to use, free and open. It is a set of geometric designs based on the chakras, from the yogic tradition. Please leave a link to the artwork you create with these, I would love to see it. Just click the image to download the brush.

If you enjoy this brush, please consider making a donation.



Free Photoshop Brush: Planets and Moons


I’ve been a fan of science fiction movies since I was a little kid and saw Star Wars for the first time. Because of that, I tend to do a lot of designs and wallpapers that feature space and planets. Outer space is a pretty fascinating thing to learn about and check out.

Designing planets in photoshop is a fairly straightforward process:

  1. Download a high resolution photograph of almost any interesting natural texture.
  2. Cut it into a circle.
  3. Spherize it.

To make things even easier, rather than go through all those steps any time you need a planet in your design, why not just use this free photoshop brush? Download it, install it, use it, and then leave a link to your work in the comments.

This brush looks pretty cool if you want to add some blending options to it as well – outer glow for an atmosphere effect, bevel or emboss for crazy terrain, add a gradient for a shadow, etc.

Go ahead and click the image (or here) to download the brush.

Btw, there are 16 brushes in all, named after the twelve colonies of Kobol from the Battlestar Galactica series plus a few named after the dwarf planets of our solar system: Virgon, Tauron, Scorpia, Sagittaron, Picon, Libran, Leonis, Gemenon, Caprica, Canceron, Aquaria, Aerilon plus Pluto, Haumea, Eris, and Ceres (did you even know there were 4 dwarf planets in our solar system?)

Enjoy. The truth is out there. Live long and prosper. May the Force be with you. So say we all.

If you enjoy this brush, please consider making a donation.



Digitizing a Family Crest

Misselhorn Family Crest: Original Scan
Several months ago, my mother was cleaning out a closet and came across a small woodcut print block and a printed-on-paper example of the woodcut block.

The print is a large deer head with antlers, a shield featuring a lion or wild cat in an attack pose, an area with three mushroom-like designs, and an area of crosshatched square shapes. Below is a ribbon banner with the latin text “Virtute et Valore.” Now, I never took latin, but I am pretty certain we all are capable of translating that phrase.

Apparently, my father was given this a long time ago and was told it was the family crest for our family, the Misselhorn family. From what I’ve been told, we are mostly Swedish and German on that side of the family, so perhaps this design originated in one of those countries.

Being an enthusiast of both traditional and digital design, I was excited by this found object, and decided the appropriate thing to do was to take this woodcut print into a digital form. Hopefully these images will interest some other Misselhorns out there in cyberspace, or fans of family crests.

My first step was to scan into JPG form using my flatbed scanner. This scan appears above right. On top of this scan, I began to trace the design with Adobe Illustrator, building up layers until I had traced a completely digital vector version of it. It took an hour or two of the Illustrator pen tool to get all the details, but now it is available for any Misselhorns who might be surfing around for some information on their ancestry.

A progression of the tracing steps are shown in the renderings below.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

I have compiled a download pack of the Misselhorn Family Crest which includes the following files:

  1. Vector Versions
  2. Color & Gray-scale JPGs
  3. Backgroundless PNG files
  4. Photoshop Project Files
  5. Photoshop Brush
  6. iPhone/iPad icon, for who knows

Download the Misselhorn Family Crest. If you are a Misselhorn and/or know anything about this crest, please contact me or leave a comment.

Free Photoshop Brush: Ballet and Dancers


Dancer Brush Sample

This photoshop brush consists of a set of dancers, ballet shoes, and ballerinas. The brush is free to download and use for any graphic design you’d like: posters, flyers, event notifications, invites, whatever. If you do use this photoshop brush, I’d like to see your final artwork so please send me a link to your design.

Ballet and Dancer Photoshop Brush [click to download]

The dancer images are leftovers from a logo project I worked on for the Florida Dance Conservatory in West Palm Beach, FL. Florida Dance Conservatory gives instruction in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and modern dancing, as well as piano and voice lessons.

Florida Dance Conservatory
3014 S Dixie Hwy
West Palm Beach, FL 33405

If you enjoy this brush, please consider making a donation.



Free Grunge Poster Font: Wilson

Wilson Font Example 1

Check it out. This is Wilson. He is grungier than Soundgarden. He is grungier than Eddie Vedder’s regrets of how grunge he used to be. He is a chunky font, good for any grungy design:

  1. Rock Posters
  2. Album Covers
  3. Ransom Notes

Wilson Font Example 2

Some notes:

  • Most glyphs are different heights, as it is a grunge font and doesn’t care about you.
  • Lowercase keys yield uppercase text.
  • Uppercase keys yield uppercase, inverted text.
  • Numeric keys grow apples.

How to Install Fonts

Windows

  • Click an image above to download the wilson.ttf file
  • Find the file on your computer
  • Right-click ‘install’

Apple

I don’t know – make a reservation at the Genius Bar.

Only do cool things with this font; creative typography posters and love letters. Don’t use this typeface for corporate training manuals or anything lame-o like that.

Enjoy,
mgmt

Mountain High – Free Font


(click the image to download font)

Here is a sample of a font I created for a client. To download it, simply click the image sample. I created the font from a photo of a menu chalkboard with an expressive handwritten script on it. Currently it is only the uppercase alphabet; the lower case is warped versions of the uppercase set.

Download and use at will; please leave a comment with a link to your design.

How to Keep Your PC Running Smoothly

Once you have installed and ran these programs, you should notice a definite increase in your PC’s productivity.

  • AVG – Anti-virus protection. It’s free, it works, and it can be configured to update automatically. Don’t be suckered into that Norton subscription pre-installed on your computer. Set it to auto-update and auto-scan and forget about it. Cost: FREE
  • CCleaner – Temp file and registry cleaner. Everytime you visit a website or uninstall a program, bits of information are left all over your computer’s hard-drive. Clean them out with this program whenever your internet browsing gets too slow for you. Cost: Also FREE
  • Spybot – Malware (adware & spyware) protection. The internet is full of malicious little scripts designed to do stuff that you don’t want and take you to sites where you don’t want to go. Spybot protects you from them. Scan your computer with it preferably weekly, at least monthly. Cost: NADA
  • Auslogics Disk Defrag – You know how things tend to get scattered around your place the more you are there? Your computer does the same thing, with bytes of data. Get things orderly again with this program and you should be able to get at your data a bit quicker. Run it once a month. Cost: GRATIS

There you have it. Free & easy PC maintenance that should help you get back to the high-speed surfing of the questionable sites that slowed your computer down in the first place.

Web Developer Bits & Bytes: May 15, 2009

Here’s an eclectic little assortment of some web sites I stumbled across recently that I’ve found useful for my latest web development projects.. some of them are just entertaining or interesting:

Folders4Gmail for Greasemonkey – Keep your gmails organized. I like to build folders for individual web site projects and I also find it useful to maintain a “Follow-up” for mails that I cannot immediately respond to and “Bills” folder which I don’t like to look at.

Blog Link – Adds your blog feed to your LinkedIn profile.

DevTips, a site aiming to make you a better web developer one tip at a time, offers this css tip on how to design circles without images.

stock.xchng – a large (and free) stock photography site. Designers: Start putting some models with headsets on your web site now! (joke, but be sure to checkout Headset Hotties)

and for you twitter fiends..  27 Twitter Tools to Help You Find and Manage Followers. I found wefollow particularly useful; you enter categories you want to be listed under, and then watch the twitter notifications flood your emailbox 🙂 Friendorfollow is pretty nice as well; see who among your followers and followings reciprocates.

Most of these links can also be found on my Delicious page.

My Favorite Firefox Plugins

Firefox Plugins which all work with the latest version of Firefox.

  • Colorzilla – This one is great for graphic and/or web designers. Colorzilla lets you eyedropper sample any color code on any website in RGB, HSV and additional formats.
  • Cooliris – If you are into graphics or photography, this is for you. Cooliris transforms your browser into a full-screen 3D wall for searching, viewing, and sharing images and graphics.
  • Delicious Bookmarks – Adds buttons which allow me to easily bookmark pages to my Delicious account, which then feeds into my FriendFeed, which then posts to my Twitter.
  • FoxyTunes – Adds play controls for iTunes to your browser’s status bar. Who wants to minimize their browser just to pick a new song? Now you don’t have to. Btw, if you are into the music network thing.. here are my last.fm or blip.fm profiles 🙂
  • Screengrab – Does just that, in jpg or png format.
  • StumbleUpon – Adds a toolbar, which I am usually not crazy about, but this one allows for very easy focused browsing of the web. You start a StumbleUpon account, enter your interests (i.e. web design, programming, and graphics) and then one-click browse away through related sites. I have my Stumble account linked to FriendFeed so I can share my “I like it!” pages via Twitter.
  • Web Developer – Another toolbar yeah, I know : ( .. but suck it up (and/or disable it when not in use) Web Developer provides a great set of features for viewing html source code, dealing with forms, images, etc. However, I find the CSS editor to be extremely useful. You can split any page with css into two panes (one is the css and one is the preview), view stylesheet edits instantaneously, and then save the newly edited stylesheet. It’s really great for editing WordPress themes, or any theme for that matter.

Greasemonkey Scripts: first you download the Greasemonkey plugin.. then add the others.

  • Greasemonkey – Allows you to customize the way a webpage displays using small bits of JavaScript.
  • AutoPagerize – Eliminates the need to click “More”, “Next”, or any other page navigation on most websites… just keep scrolling down!
  • Better FriendFeed – Displays extended user profile information on FriendFeed.
  • Better Gmail 2 – (requires Greasemonkey) Enhances Gmail with a compilation of useful features like hierarchical labels, macros, file attachment icons, and more.
  • Twitter Search Results – Displays recent relevant tweets in a short list before your Google search results


Bits & Bytes: March 17, 2009 St Patricks’ Day

Here’s some stuff I found interesting and/or useful recently:

  • Phpbb is a nice solution for people looking to add a forum community to their site. It is open source, highly customizable, and quick to install.
  • FlashChat is a chatroom program that is fairly robust, quick and easy to setup, plus it integrates with the the phpbb user database mentioned above, saving your users from filling out two registrations.
  • Fawnt provides a nice list of downloadable free fonts.
  • Tutorial9 has a photoshop tutorial to help you “Design an Epic Fantasy Scene“. Perhaps you may want to make it Celtic inspired for St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Spoonfed Design has a huge list of 110+ Awesome Resources for Popular Adobe Products.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day