Category Archives: 2D

Ramblings, Tips and Tricks around 2D drawing apps such as Photoshop, Manga Studio, SketchBook and the likes.

Creating a Logo from a Raster PNG in Blender

In this episode I’ll show you how to use the SVG file with curve information and turn it into an extruded logo using Blender. I’ll setup the scene and ground plane, get the camera ready and turn the default light into a strong side light. This will serve as a starting point to creating our logo.

This is part 2 of a mini series about how to create a logo from a screen grab in Blender. You can watch the whole series on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPcx_LSSGfZcC3_xaHyio5zs31Y5VyWpZ

Catch this episode on my 3D Podcast:

How to turn a Raster Image into a vectorised SVG in Photoshop

The other day I wanted to convert a logo into a path, so that I could use it as a shape in Blender. It was in fact the WordPress logo that was provided as a PNG or PDF from the WordPress Branding section.

The trouble was, both the PNG and the PDF are rasterised, and as such cannot easily be used for an extrusion in 3D as an SVG file would. The question then was, how do I convert an image into an SVG in Photoshop, so that I could import it into Blender?

It took a bit of fiddling, but here’s how I did it.

Quick introduction to SVG Files

SVG files can actually contain three types of data:

  • Vector Graphics, such as paths (which is what we want)
  • Raster Graphics, such as bitmap images (which we have, but don’t want)
  • and Fonts

What I needed in Blender was indeed a Vector Path. Although the other two data types can be contained in an SVG file, Blender can only read path information at the time of writing. It makes sense too, because really I’d like to the path information available as a curve in Blender, not the potential raster or font information.

I’m mentioning this here because

  • a.) I didn’t know this, and
  • b.) importing an SVG containing either fonts or raster graphics will import nothing into Blender – which had me stumped.

Thanks to cegaton on Blender Stackexchange for this explanation!

Hence, for Photoshop to export vector data instead of raster data in our SVG file, we need to jump through a few hoops – but it is possible. Let’s see how!

Continue reading How to turn a Raster Image into a vectorised SVG in Photoshop

Catch this episode on my 3D Podcast:

How to render media with Alpha Channel in Premiere Pro

I made some new lower-third captions for my YouTube channel in Premiere the other day. I had a vision for some animations, and rather than spend several hundred dollars on pre-made snazzy clips, I thought I’d take on the task myself. 

For those to be usable on top of other video footage in my screen casting software (Camtasia Studio 3), I needed the animations to be rendered out with an Alpha Channel. That way a mask is automatically created, letting other programmes crop out everything around the titles.

Since I never had to do that before, I asked myself: How do we render a clip with an alpha channel in Premiere? 

After careful research, combined with some tireless trial and error, I found the solution to this puzzle – and here’s how to do it.

Continue reading How to render media with Alpha Channel in Premiere Pro

How to export multiple timelines at once in Premiere

I recently had the need to encode several audio clips I had edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5. That’s easy if you export one timeline at a time, by selecting the sequence, then click File – Export – Media

But this principle doesn’t work if you have several sequences that need to be exported. 

An article in the Adobe Forums suggests how to do this using After Effects as an intermediary, but it seemed very convoluted and a total hack. Besides, I don’t have After Effects so that’s not really a solution.

Convinced that there had to be a better way, I had a quick fiddle – and lucky for me I’ve discovered an easy workaround that I’ll share with you here. I’m using Premiere Pro CS 5.5, so I’m assuming it’ll work in later versions too.

Continue reading How to export multiple timelines at once in Premiere

How to pixelate text in Photoshop

In this screencast I’ll demonstrate how to pixelate or obfuscate text in Photoshop.

I usually use Skitch for such things, but one day it wasn’t working, and all I had to hand was Photoshop – so I hunted around and found that it works just as well. It’s just knowing what to click. Once I figured that out, I thought why not share it with the world.

Here are some written instructions, just in case you’re not a video person.

Using the rectangular marquee tool (M), draw a selection around the area you’d like to pixelate. 

Now head over to Filter – Pixelate – Mosaic to bring up a little dialogue box.

Here you can select the Cell Size, meaning how pixelated you’d like the selection to appear. Photoshop even gives you a preview option – how nice is that?

When you’re happy, click OK and Photoshop will burn your pixelation into the selected layer. Press CMD+D to deselect the marquee, or head over to Select – De-select. Next, share your anonymous masterpiece with the world.

Happy pixelating!

How to run Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 in 2017

I had some editing to do the other day that, for one reason or another, I wanted to do on my Windows machine. I tried several open-source utilities, but none of them can cut the mustard like Adobe Premiere Pro can.

However, the only legitimate version I have is Premiere Pro CS3, vintage 2007, purchased for good money back then (which I’ve all made back, thanks to a three-day editing job I got for BBC interactive, literally a week after I bought it). Those were the days before Full HD video was commonplace, and way before anyone dared to mention the idea of 4K. But I digress.

So I tried to install Premiere under Windows 10, and to my surprise all worked rather well – until the registration part came and told me that this app could no longer be activated. 

Let’s see how we can bring this version back to live in 2017. Continue reading How to run Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 in 2017

Handy Keyboard Shortcuts in Adobe Premiere Pro

Here’s a list of handy keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Premiere Pro. I keep forgetting these little helpers every 6 months or so… 

By no means an extensive or complete list, here are the ones that I like using:

Timeline

  • SPACE – Playback at 100%
  • K – Stop
  • J – Play 100% backwards (multiple presses accelerates back)
  • L – Play 100% forwards (multiple presses accelerates forwards)
  • Left Cursor – step forward one frame
  • Right Cursor – step back one frame
  • \ (Backslash) – toggle between zoomed in and full view of the timeline
  • Fn + Up (or Page Up) – jump to the next edit point
  • Fn + Down (or Page Down) – jump to the previous edit point
  • Fn + Left – jump to the beginning of the sequence
  • Fn + Right – jump to the end of the sequence

Editing

  • V – Selection Tool
  • B – Ripple Edit Tool
  • N – Rolling Edit Tool
  • X – Rate Stretch Tool
  • C – Razor Tool

Import / Export

  • CMD/CTRL+M – Export Media
  • CMD+I – Import Media

Create your own Shortcuts

Premiere has a handy menu in which we can lookup existing shortcuts, as well as setup our own. There are so many functions, and not all of them have pre-defined shortcuts. Head over to Premiere Pro – Shortcuts and save whole sets of shortcut setups.

Needless to say, we can also change existing shortcuts to something more personal here.

How to create a Bokeh Effect in Photoshop

Photoshop has an interesting set of filters that let us turn ordinary images into fascinating Bokeh Effects. Those can be useful as a nice alternative for gradient backgrounds due to the elements of randomness they can bring, or for foreground effects akin to those created with plastic cameras. 

The above uses a Bokeh Effect as additional foreground pattern. Let’s see how it’s done. Continue reading How to create a Bokeh Effect in Photoshop

How to mute the mic voice when recording a voice over in Premiere Pro

I recently recorded a quick voiceover in Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5, but I ran into an issue for which the fix wasn’t exactly obvious. Here’s the problem:

When you mark a track to record some audio and start the recording, the full mix is being played back through your speakers (or headphones). This includes your own voice with a small delay which is useful in a studio setup, but not so much when you’re the only operator on the setup.

How can we turn it off? Turns out there is, as always, a solution to the puzzle.

Head over to Preferences – Audio and find an option that reads Mute input during timeline recording. Once checked, your own voice will still be recorded, but no longer played through the mix at the time of recording.

How to open and convert multiple raw images in Photoshop

Opening several JPG or PNG images in Photoshop is the easiest thing in the world: just select several in the Windows Explorer or in the Mac Finder, right-click to choose Open, and Photoshop brings in each image as a new document.

But when we try the same with raw images, it won’t work: although Photoshop shows us the raw processing dialogue for all our chosen images, and lets us make individual changes, as soon as we hit Open at the bottom, only the current image is opened as a new document.

What gives? How can we open and convert several images at once? Continue reading How to open and convert multiple raw images in Photoshop