The Next Patch is …

… Quite possibly this one:
Wu's Salvage Yard
Wu’s a character, no doubt, and he’s got several yards and repair facilities across the ‘Verse. This patch is for the employees who work the orbital repair yard at LaGrange point 2 off Persephone.

Should I decide to sell this patch to the public, I will update the post. For now, I’ll just enjoy seeing it here.

Oh and for those who may be interested, the Chinese on the patch actually says “Wu almost new spaceship parts”. See the translation here.

Software: CS4
Size: 3000 x 3000 px
Resolution: 600 dpi
Classic Typewriter, Bold
American Captain Patrius 2 Free
Real virtue
Chinese characters in Adobe Heiti Std.


Three Covers

I love Moleskine Cahier journals. The craft paper covers just invite decoration once you get them home.

I love full-size shipping labels. They are easily found in any office supply store chain and are 8.5″ x 11.0″. And they can cover all but the largest Moleskine Cahier (19 x 25 cm) in one go.

So of course it wasn’t long before I started making digital collages to print on those labels to wrap around my bare-naked Cahiers.

Making the images involve indulging my vices on several levels: browsing my favorite public domain sites online, playing with texture images from my collections, and generally going nuts scrapbooking all the different elements together. Photoshop figures heavily into it, as is making brushes to use.

Suffice to say, I’m rather hooked on making collages. Below are three I made a few years ago. They printed up rather nicely on laser printers at a local office supply store. Once I trimmed the square corners round, they were a perfect fit.
Blue Binoculars
Blue Binocular Gears
Images sourced from The Graphics Fairy, Obsidian Dawn, and (formerly known as CG
Paris Sky, Alternate
Paris Sky, Alt.
This one is an alternate version of an image I made. I thought the line art in black made it too analogous in color scheme overall so I warmed things up by tweaking the line art from black to a warm reddish-brown. The response was overwhelmingly favorable and it was a favorite of the people I showed it to. (Ignore the letterboxing and the dotted guidelines. This was the best image saved in my files.)
Images sourced from The Graphics Fairy, Obsidian Dawn, and (formerly known as CG
Cover 5
Cover 5
I haven’t come up with a name for this one but it was also destined to be a cover label. Of the three, it was the least favorite of the people I showed it to but there’s something about this one I still rather like. I’ve kept it all these years and perhaps I’ll go back and tweak it. Or not. One of the purposes of keeping a portfolio is to preserve your mistakes as well as your successes. It’s hard to judge the level of either without both for comparison. (Despite the unintended letter boxing on this image, I think it could be trimmed down to make a nifty black border. It sets off the warm colors of this collage so well.)
Images sourced from The Graphics Fairy and SDW Haven.
I may do more of these. I’ve been feeling the itch to browse through my files and to refresh my memory of what I already have on hand …

… Of course, if I do that, I might not resurface for days. I have an awful lot of files.

Graves Registration Patch

UPDATE: 05 Jul 2016
The patch order is IN! The patches should hit my doorstep in 14 business days or less. When I get the patches, shipping will commence. Thank you, everyone, for making this happen.

UPDATE 30 Jun 2016: This patch run is ON! Collecting orders and payment now. See details in comments below!
Graves Registration Patch

As everyone might be aware, I’m an ardent fan of a certain sci-fi/western show by a certain genius (currently known for the Avengers movies and kicking the MCU into high gear …), a certain show that was killed mid-way through its first season by FOX.

Yes, I’m still a mite bitter about it. No, I won’t rant about it here.

I’ve got better things to do.

Like promote this nifty patch I’ve designed to expand the universe of that beloved show.

For those who may be interested, here’s the story for the patch:

After the U-War, massive numbers of the dead lay at Serenity Valley and elsewhere. They had to be identified and catalogued by name, DOB, POB, bio-stats, and SoCon number. The work has endured years beyond the end of the war and there are still those listed as missing. Remains do turn up periodically, found on Hera and other locations of major land battles, in the course of natural forces or human activity.

Once the remains have been identified against the database of the dead and the missing, they are sent on to surviving kin. The Graves Registration Department will diligently perform its duty until everyone comes home.

Serenity Valley is one of the locations the Graves Registration Department has established a physical facility to handle the sheer numbers awaiting identification. There are other such centers throughout the Verse during and after the conflict but unlike those others, which were clearly temporary, the one at Serenity Valley (and two other sites) are permanent. It is now part of the larger Serenity Valley Battlefield Memorial Park, ajacent to the Serenity Valley Visitor Center and Museum.

The Graves Registration Department is Federally funded but donations from citizens and corporations are always welcome.

Above is the manufacturer’s proof to show what my design will look like as an embroidered patch. It will have an iron-on backing and a merrowed edge. I’ve had a patch made by these folks before and the quality is top notch.

I will make a presentation card jacket for this patch, just as I did for my first patch: Rim Fire Mining Co.

As with anything I write out of fannish devotion, the backstory for the Graves Registration patch posted above will be appropriately edited and polished for the card jacket that will accompany the patch.

I will be up-front with you, because everyone needs to know what it’s gonna cost:

I’m pricing the patches as follows: $10 for 1, 3 for $25. Minimum run is 100 patches.

I need to pre-order 25 individual patches or 10 sets of 3-for-25 to break even and fund the run. Any patches after that will fund shipping. I’m donating my time and printing costs on the patch jackets.

Folks will say I’m shooting myself in the foot by telling y’all this but I’m not the sort that handles suspense well. If knowing the target nmbers will shorten the time we’re all waiting for a green light on the run, I’m all for it!

I am not taking money now. I am only taking pre-orders. If there is enough interest to fund the run, I will alert everyone by posting here and then AND ONLY THEN will I get shipping and billing information from those who pre-ordered their patches.

Beause of this, please only leave a serious order for what you will actually buy. I don’t want to disappoint anyone because half the pre-orders dried up from wishful thinking. I need an accurate count in order to fund the run.

If there isn’t enough interest to fund the run, then the patch will be put on hold and no one need pay anything.

It’s as simple as that.

Please leave your pre-order in the comments below. Thank you for your time and interest, everyone. If this run goes well, I will have more in the future!

Thank you, Spasiba, and Xie Xie, y’all!

A Tablet Reader for SF/NF campaign

As much as I hate tablets because of how their deficiencies have forced changes in the way things are done with all things computer, I have to admit that the future is pretty much going that way. While I don’t think that laptops or desktops will go away entirely, I think that tablets and their accessories will become the device most used. They’re too darned convenient when compared to laptops and much in the way that laptops trump desktops in convenience.

Convenience, it seems, trumps everything.

Even functionality. I’m still waiting for the tablet that will allow me to do everything I do on my laptop. For instance, this very second I am typing on a full keyboard, streaming internet radio, running CS4, using my WACOM Intuos4 graphics tablet, chatting with my friends on Hangouts, pasting text into a Word document and editing it (one of several open on my taskbar), and verifying ownership/authorship of an image on Google+. (More on that in a minute…)

Can a tablet do all that without crashing?

Seriously, can it?

Go check.

It’s okay. I’ll wait.

While I’m waiting, here’s the tablet I scratch-made in Photoshop:


Obviously, I need to finesse the gradient overlays better and sooner or later I will either have to give in and learn Illustrator for the sake of smoother edges on my shapes, or jack up the resolution to 600 dpi.

Now about that pretty picture I slid under the tablet screen …

The photographer is Brian Matiash and you can find this photo on his post to Google+, here.

I want to be absolutely clear: I do not own the photo and by posting an image of it here I am not claiming ownership. I just needed something pretty for the screen image and the green set off the greys and blacks so well. As the picture was labled “Shared Publicly” and it was part of the background slideshow on the Google Hangouts webpage, I thought I could use it as long as I gave credit and didn’t make any money off it. This blog of mine isn’t ad-driven or monetized in any way, so I think I’m in the clear.

Please go and look at Brian Matiash’s photos—they’re all mouthwateringly gorgeous! You can find his website, here.

Software: CS4
Resolution: 300 dpi
Screen Image: Photo Image by Brian Matiash

A Variation of Lily, 15 x 9

Lily 15x9, Wrapped

Having done Lily 15 x 9, I wondered if I could make it repeat horizontally. So far, I think I’ve managed it. 😉

If I were to do this again, I would take better pains to alternate the corners. It doesn’t show too badly above but at 3x repeat, it looks a touch too magenta pink along the top and the lower corner to the right of the butterfly looks a little unbalanced.

Nevertheless, I think it looks rather nice for a first attempt. I might inflict more of this sort of thing.

Stay tuned!

Software: CS4 Extended
Resolution: 300 dpi
Size: 15 x 9 inches

Image credits:
The Graphics Fairy: aged paper background, florals, stamps, all-seeing-eye, handwriting, post card, and butterflies; public domain Gibson girl image, royalty free
Creative Market: Antique Maps, by Greta Ivy; It’s extremely faint but it’s in there. Used with extended license
2 Lil’ Owls: grunge background, purchased as part of a 3rd-party bundle with extended license

All images in public domain or used with extended license permissions/royalty free permissions.

Lily, 15 x 9

Lily 15x9

As a variation on a theme to another image posted here, I thought to go a little bigger. This was made to cover the largest of the Moleskine Cahier notebooks, the 7.5″ x 9″. Of course, that means the wrap-around cover would be 15″ x 9″, as the title suggests. It’s a little oversized for a home printer, but I hope it can be done at a Kinko’s or an office supplies store with printing services.

To visualize it as a book cover, align the edge of a sheet of paper along the empty space between the words “Carte Postale” at the center top, where the spine of the notebook would go.

Software: CS4 Extended
Resolution: 300 dpi
Size: 15 x 9 inches

Image credits:
The Graphics Fairy: aged paper background, florals, stamps, all-seeing-eye, handwriting, post card, and butterflies; public domain Gibson girl image, royalty free
Creative Market: Antique Maps, by Greta Ivy; It’s extremely faint but it’s in there. Used with extended license
2 Lil’ Owls: grunge background, purchased as part of a 3rd-party bundle with extended license

All images in public domain or used with extended license permissions/royalty free permissions.

Early Efforts at Game Mapping

Someone was kind enough to leave a comment inquiring about my work. Here are a few of my early efforts at making dungeon map objects, or so they were called when I stumbled across, a forum that specialized in making them for fantasy gaming.

(Although would you still call them dungeon map objects if they’re used in a sci-fi setting? I settled on the term “Game Map Objects” but am not entirely convinced it suffices. What say you, gentle readers? What would you call them?)

I’ve a chair, a simple office task chair that I ginned up using a leather swatch I found online. Hideously blown up, of course. At the time, I had barely an idea what dpi was much less what to do with it. 72 dpi seemed as good as any other so when I made this at 200 dpi (OMG 200!), I thought I was really pulling out all the stops.


If only I thought to make it more than 200 pixels on a side.

The leather chair was simply a round selection copied over and oval-selected/cut/pasted and then pillow embossed with the fill set to 0%. That gave me the seams without actually having to see where the pasted selection overlapped. It worked reasonably well. I remember being thrilled to discover the fill and the pillow emboss settings.
Leather Task Chair          Upholstered Couch          Upholstered Chair 
The couch and the upholstered chair are really simple pieces made out of a fabric swatch I found online. Just cut to shape, add a bevel/emboss to it (but play with the contour), and construct it out of the shapes. It’s like Lego bricks, really.

And it shows in places. I did what I could to soften the blow by painting in shadows with a soft diffuse brush, but … They are all very much learning curve pieces.

Next up, I take a stab at making a deck plan with all the fiddly bits I’m fond of: furnishings, textures, and surfaces. Look for the post soon.

Thank you for visiting!

Created in CS4 Extended; 200 dpi; texture swatches cadged from internet

Three Moons Tea

Every once in a while, I get nostalgic for a little sci-fi western show that got cancelled halfway through its first season. I lie awake at night thinking of what might have been and what it might have looked like.

It’s a contents of the refrigerator, color of the carpets kind of thing.

When it happens, I do stuff like this:

Three Moons Tea lid label

And this:

Three Moons Tea label

The large label is sized to wrap perfectly around a Republic of Tea can and the round label at the top is sized to go on the lid, Republic of Tea fashion.

Times New Roman
Metropolis Ornaments

Art Deco Frame:
Art Deco Frames and Backgrounds, Vol.2 (I love this artist’s style and his Photoshop products are top notch.)

Software: Adobe Photoshop CS4
Image Resolution: 300 dpi

Little Blue Planet


This was a fun little piece. Of course, by the time I made this one, starfields were dead easy. I wanted to see if I could make a planet with realistic land formations without having to shell out money to buy software specializing in planet making.

So I grabbed a picture I’d taken of some random stone texture and played around with layer adjustments and blend modes to make the crinkly land texture, then saved it as an image.

After that, it was pretty straightforward, like following a recipe:

(Paraphrasing here….)

1. Make a blue dot in a new Photoshop document
2. Select a range of colors from the texture image I made and paste a copy of it on a separate layer above the blue. Crop where needed.
3. Merge the layers. Sphereize.
4. Make a separate Photoshop document.
5. Choose a rough brush, set foreground color to white, and make some broad swirly strokes. Distort by swirling, add motion blur, and voila! Clouds!
6. Transfer cloud image layer to the planet doc, putting it on top of the merged blue/land texture layer. Sphereize cloud layer.
7. Group all the layers into a group folder to use later.
8. Turn off background image. Make a thumbnail image all layers. The thumbnail will have only the planet and clouds on it. Turn background image back on.
9. On the thumbnail image, make atmo by adding outer glow, inner glow, inner shadow. When it looks good, make another thumbnail of all the layers.
10. On this new thumbnail, add a lens flare for a finishing touch. It’s not necessary but I like the effect.

I haven’t made any more, but maybe I’ll get back to it. When I do, I’ll post them here.

Software: Adobe Photoshop CS4
Image Resolution: 300 dpi