5 Ways to Make Your Photoshop Life Easier

Image Source:  simpleicon.com
Image Source: simpleicon.com

Some very helpful information on how to organize and personalize your Photoshop workspace(s) to work better for the way YOU work.

I didn’t even realize I could change some of these options, so I shall have to do some experimenting of my own with these.

Source: 5 Ways to Make Your Photoshop Life Easier

2016 K&M School of Performing Arts Classes

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteI am very excited to announce the course listings for the K&M School of Performing Arts for 2016!!

I have spent the last month working on curriculum, changing some things, adding some things – all based on feedback and reflection from previous classes.

I have updated the K&M Course Listings to reflect the changes in the courses.  The basic topics/concepts covered in each course are listed.  You can now choose from courses in Choreography, Movers, Set Building, Costuming, and Advanced Choreography.

In addition, I am adding courses for learning the Artiste.  Currently registration is only open for the Intro to Artiste course.  If you have or plan to take advantage of Yummy’s discount offer for a HUD/palette combo, then this is the course for you!

Courses will be held on Sundays at 12pm SLT at the Kat & Mouse Theater.  There will be ‘homework’ for in-world skill assessments, as well as online assessments (assessments are not required).  For students who choose to complete all assessments, the school will keep a posted list of dancers/students who have successfully completed courses and demonstrated mastery of various skills.

I have listed the dates/times for both the Intro to Artiste and Movers courses.  The courses that will be taught following those will depend on interest.

I look forward to classes and hope to see you there!

Looking Forward to the New Year – Artiste Classes!

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteAfter a successful first-run of classes at K&M SOPA, I am working on revamping much of the curriculum.

In addition to the courses already offered, I am thrilled to announce that in 2016 I will be offering classes on The Artiste.

I will be teaching courses aimed at helping new owners/users to understand the main functions of the HUD and palette.

New users will create ‘working models’ for reference for various abilities of the HUD and palette.  These ‘working models’ are invaluable when working solo to re-create Artiste abilities.

In addition, Yummy will be teaching ‘Master’ level courses on various topics, including advanced features like the Thrower, Grouping functions, and Dance Diva.

Yummy has been writing a series of Tutorial articles on the Artiste to explain some of its capabilities and the thought process behind its creation.

In case you’ve missed them, you can find them under the ‘Product Reviews‘ page of the blog.

Tomorrow marks the start of the sale of the new Artiste product combos, which Yummy wrote about in Tutorial #1.

For those interested in a taste of what the Artiste can do, you can now purchase the following:

A-50: 1 NOCOPY/NOTRANS/MOD HUD      $5,000L
A-75: 1 NOCOPY/NOTRANS/MOD HUD & COPY/MOD Palette      $7,500L
A-100: 2 NOCOPY/NOTRANS/MOD HUDs & COPY/MOD Palette  $10,000L

The A-50, A-75, and A-100 are only guaranteed valid From December 1st, 2015 thru December 31st, 2015.

I am having to re-educate myself on some of the functions, because Yummy is constantly developing and adding to its capabilities. (Such a wonderful problem to have, right?!)

Once I have finished creating the curriculum, I will open registration for K&M SOPA classes, including those on the Artiste.  I anticipate that will happen mid to late December, with the classes actually beginning in January 2016.

In addition to the Artiste classes, I will also again be offering courses on choreography, dance tools, set building, etc.

What new skills would you like to gain in the new year?

Transforming Objects with Puppet Warp [UP21] | Photofocus

An interesting tool in Photoshop I’ve never used before.

I shall have to do some playing around and see what mischief I can make with it. 😛

Source: Transforming Objects with Puppet Warp [UP21] | Photofocus

PhotoPlus Expo…..Gear lust, and creative alternatives | DWPhotoworks Blog

Get Creative
Image Source: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

While this blog is about photography gear, I thought the underlying principle applied to dance as well.

Or anything, really.

It’s so easy to get caught in the trap of, “If I just had this tool, I could do this.”

I’ve heard people say, “When I win the lottery, . . . ” when talking about dance tools/gear they would like to buy.

I agree that tools are nice, but they are not the ‘be-all, end-all’ of creativity and performance.

Yes, perhaps others have newer, nicer tools than you do.

So what?

No one can buy creativity.

It can be the biggest, flashiest, filled with every tool you could imagine performance, and if there is no creative spark in it, it will fall flat.

So until you win the lottery, focus on what you DO have and how you can get creative with it!

Source: PhotoPlus Expo…..Gear lust, and creative alternatives | DWPhotoworks Blog

Photography Effects for Free!

Free
Image Source: http://www.whoishostingthis.com

A while ago, someone told me about a program you could use to enhance your photography.

They mentioned that it was free, which of course piqued my interest, because I’m frugal (cheap, miserly, whatever). 😛

It’s called Perfect Effects Free 9 (or my copy is, at least) and you can get it for free here.

The program contains over 50 free filters/effects that you can use to spice up your photography.

You do have to crop your picture in another program first, but then you can play around.

The program feels a bit like a stripped down Photoshop, which isn’t a bad thing.

You can still have layers, change blend modes, opacity, and you can adjust various features of the pre-built filters.

ChilliI thought I’d take a previous LOTD photo and show you what you can do with just a few minutes of playing around.

This is my original photo, just for comparison’s sake.

I just picked a few different filters at random to see what I could do.

The filters are organized by category, so it’s pretty simple to just dive in.

Be sure you know where the files are getting saved, I had to go searching for mine!

Here are 3 different filters, applied ‘as is’ using Perfect Effects.

Chill BordersChilli Grunge

Chilli SurrealI didn’t do anything to the photo other than apply the filters.  The first photo uses a black border filter, the second a ‘grunge’ filter, and the third a ‘surreal’ filter.

Using free tools like Perfect Effects, it’s easy to add some new filters/effects to your photography.

If you happen to use Photoshop, you can apply the filter, then save the photo as a .psd file, and the filter will be on its own layer when you open it in Photoshop.

The best part is that it’s free, so if you find that you don’t use it much, it hasn’t cost you anything!

On the other hand, you might just find yourself using it a lot, just because it’s fun. 😀

Now go play!

Perpetual Learner

Perpetual Student
Image Source: ellehull.co.uk

If I was independently wealthy, I’d be a perpetual student.

I’m curious about so many things, and there’s only so many hours in the day. 😀

Recently, my friend Nai told me about Creative Live.

I did some research and liked what I saw.

You can buy downloads of content on various subjects – business, crafting, photography, writing, you name it.

Or you can watch some of the classes for free when they are held live.

The downside of live classes is that they tend to be long – like all day.

I’m not wealthy, but I am lucky enough to be a SAHM.

So I can carve out time for the free classes.

It’s free and I learn stuff.

Win-win!!

The last few days I have been taking a Photoshop class.

It can get tedious (3 days of all day Photoshop?), but I am learning a lot.

The first day was spent on ‘key concepts’; many of those included things like using keyboard shortcuts.

I don’t generally use these, but since I started doing it, I know I’ve gotten faster at processing photos.

Such a timesaver!

I’ve also learned more about tools like the layer mask, clipping mask, and smart objects.

After the first day, I felt like my head would explode.

As I’ve begun taking photos in-world and posting to Flickr, I’ve wanted to do some cool effects, but I couldn’t figure out how to do what I wanted.

Thanks to the class, I now know how to approach what I want to do, and how not to ‘paint myself into a corner’ when it comes to using Photoshop.

Yesterday we learned about type tools, making reusable effects, and actions.

Today we will be learning about color techniques, layouts, and templates.

I’ve been taking notes, but I’m sure I’ll forget some things.

However, I’m looking forward to taking photos and experimenting with them using some of the techniques and tips I’ve learned.

It’s also actually made me excited to go out and try my hand at some photography in RL, so yay!

Who knows where this will lead?

To another class, probably.  😛

Why Are You Interested In Dance?

ILove DanceYesterday I had a long discussion with a friend about dance in SL.

The dance community, I feel, is rather fragmented.

You have performance dancers, like those in the Dance Queens group, and their audience.

But there are other dance ‘groups’ out there.

Cheerleading dance groups, dance groups which eschew the use of movers and focus on ‘live’ performances, tribute groups, and more.

There are also lots of people in SL who have never heard of or been to a dance performance.

My original intent for this blog was to be a place for dancers (and anyone interested in dance) to find helpful information, as I felt there was a lack in that area.

I’ve begun to wonder if the ‘niche’ I chose was too small.

So I decided to go back to basics and try to answer some questions.

♦ The first and most basic –

Why are you interested in dance?

Do you like to perform?

Do you like being on stage?

Do you like being the ‘star’ of the show?

♦ Second –

What do you what to learn and/or know about dance?

Do you want information on tools?

Helpful tips and tricks?

Reviews of performances and/or performers?

♦ Third –

Are there other areas related to dance that you are curious about?

Would you be interested in reading more about the creation process in dance?

Fill out the survey questions below and leave any comments you’d like.

Please be as specific and detailed as you want – I am genuinely curious. 😀

Success!!

This is how I felt after finishing this routine! Image Source: www.timothysykes.com
This is how I felt after finishing this routine!
Image Source: http://www.timothysykes.com

As many of you know, I have spent the last several weeks trying to learn a new system.

I was going to call it a HUD, but it’s really so much more than that.

The Artiste is a suite of products to help you, as a performer, do more.

Is it easy?

No.

Is it fast?

No.

Is it rewarding?

YES!!!!!

For me, this is a trailblazing product.  With the tools provided in the Artiste suite of products, I now have so many more creative options at my disposal.

Things that, previously, I would have had to either purchase, beg, borrow, steal, or sleep with a scripter to get.  😛

I have spent the few weeks on a roller coaster – up when I was successful at something, and down again when things didn’t go right.

Sometimes the downs weren’t my fault, most times they were.

I persevered.  Pure stubbornness.  Refusal to give up.

Sometimes I would have to walk away.

But I always came back.

After finally completing a routine, I am so excited about the many tools I still have left to learn.

What I accomplished may not seem like much to some.  I am so proud of this routine – because when I watch it, I see all the successes and failures, and how much I learned along the way.

Plus, I finally get to use these ADORABLE gingerbread avatars I got from the MadPea Scrumptious Sweets hunt.  (Created by Chandra Meehan at deviousMind – the hunt is still on, so head over there and pick them up yourself.  The HUD is $100L, but well worth the price, for these avatars alone!)

I hope you enjoy this little holiday routine as much as I do.

It’s Cold Outside

Merry Christmas!

Feeling Pumped!

Image Source:  http://www.soburlesqueblog.com
Image Source: http://www.soburlesqueblog.com

I’m feeling pretty pumped – trying out new things and doing well!

Tweaks needed, but hey – I’m forging ahead!