All posts by Shohini Sengupta

A very enthusiastic Writer, Blogger, Pianist, Vocalist and newbie Graphics artist, I love doodling pen and ink sketches and designing banners and CD covers. I am also a Biotech student and enjoy writing articles on new and exciting topics that catch my fancy between college and exams. :) My Twitter handle: @ShohiniBird

When Music is Seen and not Heard

What do you get when Art and Science shake hands and heartily greet each other? The answer is simple: innovation. There are many who agree that Art and Science are two sides of the same coin and that you cannot truly have one without the other. Artist Marco Fusinato is one such believer who has taken abstract art to a whole new level with his “Mass Black Implosion” collection.

Fusinato has applied mathematical transformations to sheet music delineating experimental compositions and literally made you “see” music. The artist has simply added a new dimension to the musical notes, which were, by themselves alluringly abstract. By line drawing over existing scores of avant garde music, Fusinato shows us what “free noise” would look like.

As a result, you find sound waves and equations staring back at you when you look at Fusinato’s Mass Black Implosion. No, this is not a case of synesthesia, but simply a testament to what the human mind can do! Those viewing Fusinato’s collection, can not only hear the musical compositions but they also have an idea of what the sound they hear would actually “look” like.

So when you now look at a piece of sheet music, would you find notes leaping out at you? Let us know!

[via io9 and Illusion 360]

Compare Photoshop files Layer by Layer with ComparePSD

Each and every one of us who has used Photoshop knows that when working on a big project it is prudent to keep saving copies of the same project as you progress. This is a   huge help as you can always go back to a previous version of your work if necessary, however, the problem lies in knowing the exact version of the project to go back to. Often, going through each and every file becomes too tedious a task. This greatly increases the amount of time spent on the project.

The good news for Windows users is that there is a free utility called ComparePSD that carries out a quick comparison of Photoshop PSD files on a layer-by-layer and effect-by-effect basis, making your search for that particular version of your work a whole lot easier!

You can select the files to be compared by right-clicking on them in Windows Explorer, meaning that the files can be selected from the folder itself without opening them first. ComparePSD will then show the files side by side and compare each and every layer in terms of the effects used in each layer, the layer visibility flags as well as the styling attributes. Thumbnails also contribute towards highlighting and making the differences more easy to detect.

The minimum OS requirement for ComparePSD is Windows XP.

The picture above offers a glimpse of how ComparePSD lists the differences between two selected PSD files.

Crayon Rockets zoom into the Nevada Sky

Do you remember the hours you spent coloring as a child with your favorite pack of crayons? I remember spending many an hour blissfully unaware of the rest of the world, creating my own world of electric-blue cats and buildings with purple roofs, with my trusted box of Crayola(TM) crayons by my side.

Now, although I’ve left those years far behind, my interest got piqued the moment I saw this post on a man launching crayon rockets on the Internet. Curiosity got the better of me and I immediately began to read.

John Croker, who has spent years pursuing his quirky hobby of Rocketry, launched his own armada of crayon rockets into the dry skies of Sierra Nevada after spending almost six years working on them. Inspired by a friend who had once mentioned that one of his rockets resembled a crayon, John decided to   make flying crayons a reality! Well, he didn’t actually charm a box of crayons to zoom out into the sky, but what he did was pretty close to it.

John built a pack of eight rod-shaped rockets with fins that looked exactly like larger-than-life Crayola(TM) crayons (minus the fins, of course) and made them fly out of what looked like a very large Crayola(TM) crayon box. Although only four out of the eight actually flew, not everyone can boast of making crayons fly a couple of thousand feet into the air! John has written extensively about the experience, along with how he built and painted his crayon rockets on his website.

It seems that even adults can make crayons can fly, and not just in their imaginations!

Create your own Abstract Wallpapers with X3Studios

We all love to personalize our computers to our taste, right? And the first step towards doing just that is putting up a great wallpaper! While it can be a lot of fun to surf through websites which offer loads of wallpapers for free download, after a lot of searching we often end up wishing for something a little more attuned to what we had in mind. The solution to this is simple: why not make your own wallpaper?

Abstract vector-based wallpapers are great ways to make your computer look more like an extension of your personality and X3Studios makes their creation extremely simple! With their free wallpaper creation tool, you would neither require Illustrator nor need to scour the web to build up a collection of stock images before you start work.

With the X3Studios tool, which you don’t even need to register for, your web browser will serve as your workstation (or play-station, if you, like me, find such creative work nothing short of fun). There will be a palette and element selection guide in the workspace set up in your browser and you will have free reign over all the numerous background textures and abstract design elements to do as you please with! All the elements selected by you can be customized with the help of   the sliders on your right that let you play around with brightness, color, saturation as well as element size and spatial orientation.

X3Studios scores over other image-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop with its extremely simple user interface which makes life easier for all the novices out there who would like to try their hand at something like this without feeling intimidated by the software!

To top it all, the wallpaper that you create can be downloaded at high resolutions ranging from 1024×768 to 1600×1200.

Lastly, you can also turn to the wallpapers saved by others for inspiration as well as download purposes. So go on ahead and let your creativity stretch its wings and take hold of your computer! Below is a glimpse of the one I created. Have fun making yours!

How to Create a Christmas Card from Scratch using Photoshop

Although the days of sending handmade Christmas cards to friends and family are gone, it is still possible to personally craft cards to give to loved ones using what technology has to offer! Creating a Christmas card from scratch is pretty easy actually. All you need is a little imagination and the knowledge of a few Photoshop tips and tricks which I will now share with you

Step 1: Let us begin with creating a new file. While opening a new file choose the A4 canvas size preset to get the right dimensions for the card. Once you’ve clicked on OK, unlock the Background layer by double clicking on it in the Layers tab. Also, create a new layer.

xmascard1

Step 2: Use the Line tool to draw two lines which will divide your page into 4 quarters. To make sure that the divisions are exact, make use of the rulers. To make the rulers visible just click on View -> Rulers.

xmascard2

How to Fix an Old Photo in Photoshop in 3 Easy Steps

Retouching pictures is an art in itself and image fixing can have many facets. You may have to restore an old picture, alter the lighting and color temperature, or do something very simple like removing the date or time signature automatically added by your camera to ruin your otherwise beautiful composition. (Usually, you can avoid this by switching the option off, but it helps to know how to remove it in case you, like I have on many occasions, forget to do so).

In today’s post, I will reveal a secret much guarded by photography studios and discuss how to do something that many people unknowingly consider rather complicated.

Let us start by assuming that you have an old picture. (Imagine a really old picture… like that of your grandparents’ when they were young and you will know what I’m talking about.) It is likely that even if you have it on disk, it’s a scanned version of an original which could do with some work. But then, you have your heart set of getting it framed, after all, it is such an adorable picture that brings back great memories for your mom and for that it needs to be fixed first. Here is how you can do it yourself:

The original sample I’ll be using to demonstrate is this it is an old photo of my own grandparents:

fix_old_photo_sample

Step 1: Open the picture in Adobe Photoshop and double click on Backgroundin the Layers tab to unlock it and make Layer 0 (circled).

fix_old_photo_step1

Step2: Select the Clone Stamp tool from the tool box and choose a suitable brush from the Brushes tab (circled). A brush size of 15 px seems suitable for my purpose, so I will go with that. Feel free to change according to your picture requirements though!

fix_old_photo_step2

Step 3: What I will be attempting to do is to clonecertain undamaged portions of the photograph (which are similar to the damaged portions) and stampthese onto the damaged parts (the torn areas in this picture). To do this you need to press and hold the Altbutton on your keyboard and then click on the area you want to clone from. You will find that the cursor changes its shape to a target sign (circled) when you press and hold Altand becomes normal again once you select your area. Now click the way you would for an ordinary brush over the damaged areas similar to the cloned portion to fix them.

fix_old_photo_step3

As you can see here, I’ve removed most of the damaged areas in the top left portion of the picture:

fix_old_photo_step3_b

Here is what the final restored image looks like:

fix_old_photo_final

Perfectly easy, right? Once you’re happy with the results just save the picture with a .jpg extension and you’re good to go!

Another application of this technique is when you want to remove time or date signatures from pictures taken using a digital camera.

The key here is to (a) Get the brush size right and (b) To click over the right areas, with these becoming instinctive once you get the hang of things! So go ahead with confidence and have fun breathing new life into all your old pictures!

How to Color Black and White Pictures using Photoshop in 10 Easy Steps

Suppose you have a Black & White picture and wish to add a dash of color to gray, there would be no need for you to run to the nearest studio. Instead, you can just use Adobe Photoshop right from home! It is simple enough to be carried out in 10 easy steps that I will demonstrate right now

Let’s say this picture is my B&W sample to be colored using Photoshop:

sampleoriginal

Here is how to go about the process:

Step 1: Right click on the picture in question and Open With Adobe Photoshop.

step1

Step 2: Double click on Background in the Layers tab and make Layer 0.

step2

Step 3: Now right click on layer 0 and select “Duplicate Layer”. This step is optional but I always prefer it as a precaution in case there is a need to go back to the original.

step3

Step 4: Use the Polygonal lasso tool (circled in red in the picture below) to slowly and carefully select the area you wish to color.

step4

Step 5: Once you have made your selection, click on Select from the menu bar and choose Feather. The box shown below appears. This option feathers the edges of your selection so that the color that you fill in does not look too artificial. Usually, 2 pixels works fine by me!

step5

Step 6: Then go to Image -> Adjustments -> Colour Balance as shown in the picture. below A dialogue box controlling color levels appears. Keep shifting around the color balance till you get the color of your choice by changing the Midtones, Shadows and Highlights. Just in case you have different selections that need the same shade of color, I’d advise you to note the RGB color levels and just input these in the boxes each time. This will spare you from having to tweak around each time to get that perfect match!

step6

Step 7: Once you’ve got the color you want, right click on the selection and choose “Deselect” from the pop down menu that appears.

step7

Step 8: Use the Polygonal lasso tool again to select another portion of the picture that you want to color and repeat steps 5 through 7.

step8

Step 9: When the entire picture has been colored (below) compare this with the original B&W picture. You can do this by making only Layer 0 visible (and not Layer 0 copy).

step9

Step 10. Now that you are satisfied with your work, delete Layer 0 and save your new image with a .jpg extension (not the default .psd extension) by clicking on File -> Save As…

Here is the final colored image:

samplecolored

And this was the colored picture that I had taken using my Nokia 5220 camera (I had converted it to B&W using Picasa for the purpose of this tutorial):

image0063

They both look pretty similar right? Looks like a job well done!

You can use this simple coloring technique to create stylish color accented pictures or even color drawings and sketches. Enjoy!

Top Theme Frameworks to build WordPress CMS Themes

Any WordPress user will find that there is a vast array of themes to choose from. However, very often there is a need to customize pre-existing themes to one’s own requirements for the best possible presentation of information. It is here that WordPress Theme Frameworks come in very handy.

The best and most useful WordPress Theme Frameworks are those which allow users to customize their themes in an organized visually appealing manner where information is not only in an easy-to-read format, but is also arranged in a useful systematic manner. Thematic is one such WordPress Theme Framework. Thematic is open-source, free, search engine optimized and gives users, especially beginners, an upper hand when it comes to adapting themes based on their custom needs.

thematic

ThemeHybrid is another good place for WordPress Theme Frameworks. It offers free service to members and has great community support for all your WordPress theme needs.

themehybrid

The modus operandi of Carrington, another WordPress Theme Framework, according to the site itself, is the creation of custom templates. It is a minimalist CMS theme for WordPress that chooses classy elegance to over-the-top designs and is perfect for those who prefer a more subtle style to something overtly showy. All downloads from here are free and GNU GPL v2 licensed.

carrington

Now for those who would prefer a lighter CMS theme for WordPress, the Whiteboard theme, designed by Brian Purkiss would fit the bill perfectly seeing that it is only 76KB. And so, you get a fast-loading theme, something that is a definite plus point as it would reduce the number of people who might just get bored while a page loads and go off to another site!

whiteboard

WP Framework also provides a clean and basic WordPress Theme Framework that is highly extensible, can be easily modified directly and stays abreast of the latest WordPress updates.

wpframework

After you choose and download the WordPress Theme Framework of your liking, you can let loose your creative ingenuity to blend content and design elements together in a manner that best suits your content.

10 Sites You can Download Free CSS Templates From

It is quite common for web pages to be personalized and the information they contain to be made more reader-friendly with the use of CSS or Cascading Style Sheets. The use of CSS not only improves the presentation of a web page, making it much more elegant and easy on the eyes, but it also allows greater adaption in the way you can present information on your web page.

Given the importance of CSS in web development, it is imperative to use the right CSS template to get the “look” and “feel” of your website right. And in vein of the philosophy followed by Techie Buzz to share technology related information, this post has compiled some useful websites from where you can download free CSS templates.

Here are 10 great sites you can download free CSS themes from:

One great website for this purpose is freeCSStemplates.org, where you can browse through an excellent collection of free CSS templates and preview each before downloading them.

freecsstemplatesdotorg

Free CSS .com is another such site where you will be enthralled by their collection of free downloadable CSS templates and layouts.

freecssdotcom

Although very similar in name to the first two sites mentioned, Free CSS Templates also offers an interesting range of CSS templates for your downloading pleasure, that too available in the easily and quickly downloadable .zip format. This site lets you use the downloaded CSS templates for both personal and commercial use provided that you take care to follow the license terms and make sure to give credit to the site by linking back to it.

freecsstemplates

Another helpful site from where you can download free CSS templates is styleshout.com, which, with its exhaustive content and elegant minimalist style is an example in itself.

styleshout

Of course, if you are still brimming with enthusiasm for more CSS themes, you could always head over to TemplateMo.com and browse through their collection of free CSS templates.

templatemo

CSSTemplates.NET is another site to provide you with more options.

csstemplatesdotnet

Again, GetCSSTemplates is also sure to serve as a good source of free CSS templates that you can use.

getcsstemplates

If you are still not satisfied, go for CSStemplatesforfree.com to download lightweight and free CSS templates.

csstemplatesforfree

Template Fusion will provide you with more choices still.

templatefusion

Lastly, another site that you could try out is Best Free Templates, which will also provide you with an excellent collection of free CSS templates for download and use.

bestfreetemplates

10 Awesome Design Inspiration Websites

So you have a free afternoon and think that it would be fun to tinker around with Photoshop for a while. Or perhaps you have a design project due which you would like to start working on. But when you load the software and sit before the canvas, you find yourself drawing a blank.   However, when the Internet is at your service, can inspiration be left far behind?

In this post I will be talking about websites that you can get design inspiration from. To make the list more diverse yet organized I will club together the websites according to the various design categories:

Logo Design

As logos present a concise pictorial representation of what a company is really about, they create the first impression that a consumer gets of the company. Presently, there is great demand for logo design with companies of all kinds fretting over The Logo that will help them get ahead of their competitors by appealing more to consumers.

One awesome website you can seek inspiration for logo design from is LogoPond. This website keeps stock of the finest logos submitted by designers from across the globe and you are sure to find lots of ideas going through these logos.

logopond

BuzzShout is another comprehensive listings site which has a wide range of inspiring logos stored in its database.

buzzshout

For more design ideas you could also try out LogoTwo which has a commendable collection of Web2.0 logo designs.

logotwo

Website Design

A good website with an elegant design is an absolute necessity in the corporate world. BestWebGallery offers a great collection of excellent design websites including both Flash and CSS based ones.

bestwebgallery

If you want design ideas for CSS based websites, look no further than CSS Based, where there are many beautifully designed websites listed.

CSSbased

Another great gallery for your perusal is CSS Hazard.

CSShazard

Print and Graphic Design

Graphic design is a diverse field and when you are looking for design ideas, you can easily find yourself spoilt for choice.

CDDesign.com is most inspiring if you are seeking design inspiration for CDs, cassettes and the like.

cddesign

On the other hand, if it is inspiration for poster design that you are looking for, check out this post on Bittbox.

bittbox

Even business cards can be made cool, as is evident from this list of interestingly designed business cards posted on All Graphic Design.

allgraphicdesign

Finally, if you are looking for something quirky, here is an archive of various kinds of packaging designs at Imaginary World.

imaginaryworld

The websites mentioned here are only a few of the tons of websites that you could turn to for design inspiration. Do feel free to mention any which you have personally liked in the comments. There can be no dearth of inspiration when life itself is inspiration, right? Enjoy!