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Walkin’ the walk. Back to Andy Hero…

After a long hiatus, I am back to working on Andy Hero of Brooklyn.  Why?

I keep telling other people to work on their own stuff, and I feel like a hypocrite.

I have more of the skills I need to do it right.

It’s killing me not to.  I have a ton of notes and great advice from people who really care, and I want to use it to make the Great American Graphic Novel.  I am moved to create beauty.

Andy Hero - 25 pages - for subway 002 1.27.152

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The Manhattan Bridge is lucky!

I’ve noticed that whenever I board the B or Q trains to Manhattan, I always sell more than one copy of “Andy Hero” between Dekalb and Canal (for the Q) or between Dekalb and Grand (for the B).

Just today I sold FOUR copies on the bridge!  And in one car!

Go me!

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I was selling Andy Hero of Brooklyn! on the MTA just a few days ago, and a customer became my first Andy Hero twitter fan!

Apparently he gets around.  He was at the Istanbul and New Zealand ‘Zine fests.  Wow!

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Illustrator CS4: Breaking Links Between Photoshop and Illustrator.

In the past you may have imported, say a blue circle from a SOURCE FILE in Photoshop, into a TARGET FILE in Illustrator containing, say, a red square.  Then you saved the Illustrator file, and forgot about it.  If imported incorrectly (and you can’t just Edit/Copy from PS and then Edit/Paste into ILL), it caused an error message when you opened the Illustrator file much later on, which brought you here to get a solution.  Welcome!

What happened, technically and behind the scenes, is that a LINK was created between the PS image and ILL.  The terrific idea behind linking is that whenever you change the PS image, it will automatically update every ILL file that imported that image.   This is a great feature when operating under strict controls that never change.  But it causes error messages and a lot of headaches when, likely, the source file in Photoshop changed significantly (like a name change) or was deleted to free up space, or any number of other situations.

This is my solution, and it involves breaking the link:

In Illustrator:  I found the best process is to start by opening a new blank file, and NOT work immediately with the target file.

Click File / Place

Choose the source Photoshop file to import

Click OK, and the imported file opens in Illustrator.

Select the desired layer, and copy

Now go to your target file

Click Edit / Paste in Front

Open Links Panel

In Links Panel, open fly-away menu

Click Embed Image

Dialog box pops up

Click Convert Layers to Objects

Ok

Rename layer!!!!!!

File / Save target file

Close and reopen to double-check if the Link is broken, so no future mishaps with deleted linked files.

No more linked images, no more headaches.

GOOD LUCK!

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“My results are negative? NO! NO! Why, God? Why? Why?”

“But George, negative is good.  That means everything is OK.”

“Oh…”

—  Seinfeld

—————————————————————

Doctors need serious lessons in bedside manner because their standard jargon flies right over patients heads.

“Mr. Greene.  I’m calling from the ________ Medical Center with your results!  On the biopsy the results show an atypical mole that exhibits a negative trend towards melanoma and static trend towards common dysplastic nevus!  Do you have any questions?”

Or something like that.

Couldn’t they have just said, “Mr. Greene?  _________ Medical Center here.  All clear!  That little spot we took off your back was worry-free and your insurance covered everything.  Have a nice day!  God Bless Obamacare!”   You get it?  Maybe couch their language with positive terms at least?

Their good news just took ten years off my life!

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One Step Behind the Sun: Quick Animation!

Some panels from my short story “One Step Behind the Sun” that I felt like animating today.
Used Illustrator, Photoshop, Power Point, and Camtasia Studio 8.

GENERAL PROCESS:

All my illustrations are made with a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator.  In a nutshell, Photoshop lets me sketch out the base drawing of a Nomad Woman, then I import that base into Illustrator.  In ILL, multiple layers are set over the Nomad Woman and then I dedicate each layer to tracing over a particular part of her (the hand, the skull, the face, the legs, etc.) with the Pen Tool.  The Pen tool in ILL is dynamite for exactitude and sharp image creation, while PS is more for editing previously created images.  Once the tracings (AKA ‘Paths’) are created with the Pen Tool I just choose a preset stroke weight and brush style, and it all “magically” turns into the look I need.  Original images like of the woman, the bearded man, the child, the grazing Land Beast, etc., each image can take an average of a day just because I want to get it right.  I have a certain look in mind, and I do my best to achieve that.  Some images come very quickly, others not so quickly.  In some cases, I do use Live Trace with Live Paint to create an outline I can work with, but that trick definitely doesn’t work the way I need with all images, and it can create artistic obstacles in other areas as well.

As for the animation itself, I took the final ILL files and turned them into JPG images.  I put the JPG images into an animated PowerPoint slideshow.  Then I recorded that slide show with Camtasia.  The I turned the Camtasia file into an Mp4, and uploaded it to YouTube.  Then I copied the YouTube address and put into my WordPress post for all to see.

The whole process sounds ridiculously retarded, and it probably is.  However, being a hermit, I haven’t discovered a better way yet.  If you know of any ways to save time, please let me know.

J. Greene

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Illustrator CS4: Live Trace and Live Paint together

I found a silhouetted image on line.  All black.  I needed the shape of it, not the interior color.

I used Live Trace and Live Paint to strip the image of everything but the outline.

  1. Copy the image to Photoshop.
  2. Erase the background any way you choose, leaving only the image itself.
  3. Save it as a .PSD file.
  4. Close it.
  5. Open Illustrator.
  6. File/Open the .PSD file
  7. Choose “Convert Layers to Objects”
  8. Click OK.
  9. There may be more than one layer that appears in your Illy file.
  10. Click the Target of the layer you want to work with, AKA Select the image
  11. Click the Object menu / Live Trace / Tracing Options.
  12. Check “Preview”, Check Strokes, under the View section choose Raster / No Image, and Vector / Outlines.
  13. Optional:  click Save Preset.
  14. Click Trace.
  15. Object /  Live Paint / Make
  16. Now you can edit the outline as well as the fill.

Very useful if the image you want to work with is relatively simple.  Please feel free to add suggestions if you have other scenarios.