Photoshop Week and FREE older version of Adobe Creative Suite

The first day of creativeLIVE’s Photoshop Week had something for everyone, whether veteran or newbie.  I picked up a few tips on things like advanced retouching methods such as frequency separation.  Both of the teachers I watched today (Khara Picanic and Lindsay Adler) were very knowledgeable about their respective topics, and demonstrated a variety of techniques in an easy to follow fashion.  Today was just the beginning – there are five more days full all kinds of Photoshop features, and this is a wonderful opportunity to glean new information – all for free.

Don’t have Photoshop?  Adobe Creative Suite 2, with 7-year old versions of many popular Adobe programs, is now available for free downloads.  While these programs are no longer supported and Adobe cautions that they may no longer run smoothly with modern operating systems, in general most operating systems are backwards-compatible with older programs (I have not personally tested Adobe Creative Suite 2 on a new machine, as I have a more recent version, but most other older programs I’ve tried reinstalling on newer computers have run well).

Creative Suite 2 includes multiple programs, all also available individually:

  • Acrobat
  • After Effects
  • Audition 3.0
  • GoLive CS2
  • Illustrator CS2
  • InCopy CS2
  • InDesign CS2
  • Photoshop CS2
  • Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0

With free software and free instruction – what will you create today?


Design: Dazzling Glow Lotus

Dazzling Glow Lotus by Seas Reflecting Starlight.

Inspired by my Illuminating Lotus photo, but with a very different feel from my similarly-inspired Rainbow Etching Lotus, this art piece has a glow that radiates outward.  Of the three, this one seems the most otherworldly and mysterious, akin to a latent inner nature just waiting to shine.

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Upcoming Week of FREE Photoshop Classes!

Whether you are a Photoshop master – or a complete beginner – there will be something you can learn from photoshopWeek on creativeLIVE’s live broadcast February 25th to March 2nd.  6 days, 12 instructors, 43 classes – all FREE to watch during the live broadcast (and available for purchase during or after).  Topics include customizing Photoshop, retouching, working non-destructively, workflow, Lightroom, and more!  There is really enough content for two weeks, but they are live broadcasting two classes at once on different channels.  If there are two classes you want to see playing at the same time – don’t sweat  – catch the rebroadcast that evening (enroll in class for email notifications on rewatch time).

I’ll be checking out some of the classes, particularly Ben Willmore’s classes.  He is an excellent instructor, and I was extremely impressed with his “Photoshop Mastery: Advanced Masking” class a few weeks ago, so I’m looking forward to his latest tips and tricks.  Feel free to say “hi” to me in the class chatrooms if you see me ;D

Happy 2013!

Happy 2013 from Seas Reflecting Starlight

It’s an exciting new year here at Seas Reflecting Starlight!  Have a sneak peak on what to expect in 2013:

  • More original art and photography!  In addition to continuing my current topics (such as Buddhism), I will be expanding to include images of animals, East Asia, and Hawai’i
  • Contests and give-aways – stay tuned for an upcoming announcement about this month’s contest (and prizes)
  • More art tips and tutorials – art, photography, digital image editing, and more
  • More reviews about art/photography events, museums, and interesting online content
  • Subscribe to stay informed!  Available via the “+ Follow” button in the lower right corner to follow by email and/or WordPress accounts, or through RSS feed or Twitter.

Have ideas on what you would like to see here?  Vote in the poll!

Examples given in poll: Illuminating Lotus, Halloween post, Amida’s Golden Chain of Love

Design: Benten and Attendant Riding a Dragon

Benten and Attendant Riding a Dragon by Seas Reflecting Starlight

Benten and Attendant Riding a Dragon by Seas Reflecting Starlight

This piece was inspired by an ivory carving from Japan’s Meiji period entitled “Benten and Attendant Riding a Dragon,” which is currently owned by the Museum of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, Florida. In Japan she is considered to be one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune (七福神). Benten (also called Benzaiten 辯才天/弁財天) represents knowledge, beauty, art, poetry, and music. She is often depicted playing a biwa (琵琶), a type of Japanese stringed instrument, and she is included in both Buddhism and Shintoism. Her origin is in the Hindu goddess Saraswati, who came to Japan with the spread of Buddhism.

This is actually an old sketch of mine that I created 7 years ago, and only recently rediscovered. The original sketch was done in pencil while viewing the statue on display. After rediscovering the old sketch, I decided to add color to it. Since the original was ivory, all of the colors are of my own design.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections – Candlescape Reflections

This photo is part of WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

Candlescape Reflections by Seas Reflecting Starlight

Candlescape Reflections by Seas Reflecting Starlight

A vast landscape in miniature, this red candle has towering piles of brightly colored wax surrounding a still pool of molten wax with a very clear reflection. This photograph was taken at Daci Buddhist Monastery (大慈寺) in Chengdu, China, where eminent monk Xuanzang (玄奘, also known as Tripitaka) of the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907) was initiated.

The reflection in the peaceful pool in the middle of the candle mirrors one common type of use of candles in monasteries and temples: meditation and inner reflection.  Just as the candle literally reflects the monastery’s sleepy little retreat away from the hustle of the streets of Chengdu, it can also reflect a search for that same kind of peace within the eye of the beholder.

I also created a tiled version of this photo,which reflects this week’s theme of reflection, in that each candle is a reflection of the others:

Candlescape Reflections tiles by Seas Reflecting Starlight

Candlescape Reflections tiles by Seas Reflecting Starlight

There are multiple ways to create such tiled effects using photo editing programs like GIMP.

  • To prepare the image:
    • Make sure that the image content is close to the center, and that there aren’t any important details around the outer rim of the image. Details not in the center may be lost or obscured.
    • Method 1 (used above): Using GIMP, go to Filters > Map > Make Seamless
    • Method 2 (does not work well for all images): Using GIMP, go to Filters > Blur > Tileable Blur – set the blur radius to something that is relatively large in comparison to the size of your image for the most seamless results.
  • After using either method, there are multiples ways to make copies of the image in a tiled pattern:/li>
    • Option 1: Using GIMP, go to Filters > Map > Tile – make sure the height and width are linked, set the units to “%”, and input multiples of 100 for best results
    • Option 2: Using GIMP, go to Filters > Map > Small Tiles – this will shrink the size of your tiles to fit within the boundaries of the current image, but includes the ability to flip alternating tiles

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40% Off Zazzle Shirts – First Come Basis!

A combination of two discount codes will give one lucky person 40% off their custom Zazzle shirts!

I have a unique one-time-use code for 20% Off Shirts that I decided to offer as a gift to my readers.  The first person to use the code gets it.  Please use my referral link (costs you nothing!), and feel free to check out the shirts and other products in my Zazzle store.  The code can be used to buy any shirts on Zazzle, not just the ones in my store. Most shirts can customized, and you can buy as many as you want (in a single order) with these codes.  Finish your holiday shopping early!

ONE-TIME USE CODE: BEKCNTOHWGWNKEKSDEFC  (Valid through: 11/27/2012 4 AM PST; 20% off all shirt orders except screen-printed shirts)

AND through Monday this additional code will give you another 20% off your shirt order:  60ZCYBERSALE

ETA: As of Sunday afternoon, these codes are still valid and available.

Design: Jizo

Jizo by Seas Reflecting Starlight

Jizo (地蔵) is a Buddhist bodhisattva known as the guardian of travelers and children, particularly children who die before their parents die. He is one of the most popular figures in Japan, with statues commonly found along roadsides and in graveyards. Parents praying for the health of a sick child, or grieving and seeking protection for their child’s spirit, often clothe the statues. This art piece was inspired by a stone statue of Jizo at Daihonzan Miyoshinji (大本山妙心寺) in Kyoto, Japan.

Jizo is also popular in other parts of Asia, where his names include:

– Sanskrit: Kṣitigarbha क्षितिगर्भ
– Chinese: Dìzàng 地藏
– Korean: ji jang 지장
– Tibetan: sa yi snying po ས་ཡི་སྙིང་པོ
– Vietnamese: Địa Tạng Vương bồ tát
– Thai: Phra Kasiti Khappha Phothisat พระกษิติครรภโพธิสัตว์

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New Gallery Page for My Art and Photography

I’ve recently added a new Gallery page to make it easier to browse through my art and photography, with all of the thumbnails linking to their respective pages (preview below).  I’ve also heard rumor that Zazzle will be offering a major Black Friday sale, which means that there will be great deals on everything in my Inner Bodhisattva store.  So if you’d love a poster, t-shirt, mug, messenger bag, mouse pad, stationary, greeting card, or anything else with my art on it, you can find a bargain this Friday. If you have any specific requests, leave me a message and I’ll get back to you.

Gallery Preview:

Browsing for a specific piece of my art? This gallery of thumbnails link to the individual pages about the images.
Art available at my Inner Bodhisattva store:

Other original art:

Always more to learn

No matter how experienced people get with art programs, there is always more to learn.  After using MS Paint for at least 17 years (and other graphics programs before that), I thought I’d learned all that the very basic (but useful) program had to offer.  Then I stumbled upon a new trick the other day that I’d somehow missed.  I’d used the setting of foreground/background colors for the purposes of transparencies when copying and pasting, but I’d never tried using them for a simple recoloring with an eraser.