Hopefully, April will be back to normal

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I am planning to move this blog back to its domain in April, provided that I can find hosting.  (I could also complete wipe out whatever was on there in my hosting account and re-install Wordpress on the host I was using but I’m tired of it going down randomly and I don’t want more hacking issues).

Maybe I won’t be so cheap this time and actually pay a bit for some hosting….as evidently you get what you pay for…hmpphh. I was using a free host previously (that let me install WordPress). It wasn’t too slow but it was very liable to randomly stop working. Another free host I’ve tried with WordPress…Freehostia was very, very slow (and updating didn’t work and it ran an old version of WordPress!) when I tried it a few years ago.

There is also a possibility that I stay here at wordpress.com and just map my domain but I would like the option to upload static webpages (for a few projects in the pipe) and I’ll like to customize my design.  So….

I will definitely install some sort of WP Security plug-in on my next install though!  Jeez!  (I got paranoid and already installed one the Foundation Equestrian site).

I’m too busy now but sometime in mid-late April I should work on finally a home (and hopefully redesigning) my blog.

Unknowledgeable Tutorials: Masking & Background Blurring

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Welcome to the first instalment of Jen teaches what she just learnt…on Google. In other words, a tutorial from someone who doesn’t know what the hell she is doing. Yay! I looked it up on Google and then did it and then lived to upload it and write about it! Previous to that experience, I didn’t make much experience with masks. The good thing about masks is that you can disable them and (sort of) move them around but I don’t know a ton about them.

Disclaimer: the writer of the author does not really know what is she is doing and is doing this for the first time after looking it up on Google and using a range of techniques found on various websites (although she didn’t actually look up painting the masks…that just came to her in an obvious way). Seriously.  Also, there may be an easier and/or better way to do this but the writer just doesn’t know it.

This will work in Photoshop Elements (9+), Photoshop (any…I think. ), probably GIMP or anything that supports layer masking. But I don’t use GIMP since it seems to take me forever to do anything in it!

We will turn this

into this

Wacom Graphire 3 & Bamboo Create Comparison

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Well, mostly hardware comparison since my Graphire doesn’t work properly (unless one long line drawing is your thing) and it isn’t recommended that you have two Wacom drivers on the same computer…so only the Bamboo can be active.

So I got a new graphics tablet for Christmas since my old one doesn’t really work properly anymore (well it works okay if you never want your line to end or as a mousepad). My tablet started spazzing out in 2008 since I have illustrations from 2008 that I finished with a mouse. (And most of the stuff I did in 2009 was from drawing did earlier but recoloured….).

Unlike some who are going from a older and/or smaller version of Bamboo to a Bamboo Create, I’m going from a Graphire 3 medium to a Bamboo Create. 10 years has passed since I got my first pen tablet.  The list price is/was the same for both tablets (about $200. A smaller version can be had for half the price or less but it does not have an eraser anymore.) They are roughly 3-5 generations apart (Graphire 3, Graphire 4, Bamboo, Bamboo 2nd Gen, Bamboo 3rd Gen)…well, there’s 3 generations between them and within the same category (Wacom’s consumer pen tablets).  What has changed? Is it better? Have I gotten any better at drawing since I was 13? Ha! Since 2003, I’ve been through quite a few computers (at least 2-3 I think), my monitor is now a widescreen flat panel and I’m now using Windows 7.

Model Graphire 3 6×8
Bamboo Create
Brand Wacom Wacom
Release Date 2003 (Sept) 2011 (Sept)
Size 10.8 x 10.1 x 0.71 in (physical)
8.22 x 5.94 inches (active area)
13.8 x 8.2 x 0.4 in (physical)
8.5 x 5.4 inches (active area)
Pressure levels 512 1024
Programmable buttons 2 on pen, 0 on tablet 2 on pen, 4 express keys on tablet
Additional input Wireless mouse (two buttons + scroll wheel) Multi-touch
Surface texture Smooth (plastic…unless you dirty it) Slightly textured/matte
Included software (all full versions)  Adobe Photoshop Elements 1 or 2?? (I think) & Corel Painter Classic (?). I really don’t remember anymore… Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, Corel Painter Essentials 4 & Autodesk Sketchbook Express

Some of the other specs on the Graphire3 are now hard to find and I don’t think I have the box anymore.

The Graphire3 also has an hard to pry “photo frame” cover which is can be used for tracing if you want (I rarely did that).  All mine has is the instructions for said photo frame shoved in.

Note: at the time of the Graphire 3, the Intuos professional tablet had 1024 pressure levels. As of Intuos 4, it has doubled.

Enough of the specs, let’s see the two tablets!