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Line Dings are Fun!

Something brilliant, found at DaFONT: interconnecting "line dings" by Aenigma Fonts (Brian Kent). Each character will connect to any other to create decorative flourishes, and specific characters together will create symmetrical designs; you can see a couple of chains exampled at Brian's site, here, and I played around with a design for an imaginary book binding here. I completely adore this.

Lots more fun stuff to check out at Aenigma, too. And back at DaFONT, I'm also loving their big collection of retro fonts — especially, so far, Chocolate Box and Isadora. Note that DaFont allows you allows you to type in your own example text, by the way, so you can view font samples displaying the (short) text of your choice — very helpful when searching for just the right face for a specific logo or header (and lots of fun when playing with the line dings mentioned above). Also handy: if you see a font you like, you can click on the little plus sign next to the author's name see more offerings by that designer. Nice touches.

*by the way, you can pick up the tile I used on the book here.

Posted by taz on April 26, 2005 at 01:29 PM in Fonts | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Justine Cooper | Saved by Science

via, gorgeous photography by Justine Cooper at Kayashya Hildegrand Gallery: Saved by Science, large-format photographs of selections from the vast scientific collections stored in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Wow.

(Also, a note: We have two new OverAll pages, here and here. I especially like the last set, and especially the last tile of the last set. I have a beige/brown tint on these because I like the way it works with underlying color, but you can always desaturate to get rid of it.)

Posted by taz on April 26, 2005 at 11:40 AM in Art, Photography | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Make your own semi-transparent backgrounds

If you are familiar with Citrusmoon's "OverAlls" and would like to try making some of your own, I've written a wickedquick guide to doing it. Although it may look complicated at first glance, it really isn't at all, and using this method, you can create a semi-transparent tile from an existing design in about 30 seconds!

Before we jump in, I'd like to note that I've used a tile with a fairly bold design with a lot of white space for our practice session, not because this is necessarily the best type to use for an OverAll, but so that the results will be visually unambiguous in our sample images. So. Ready? Let's go...

The Steps:

In Photoshop or similar program that offers layers, open your original, opaque tile image. (If it's a .gif, be sure to change the image mode from "indexed" to "rgb").

Paste it over a background layer filled with the color of your choice. (The background is unimportant; it's only useful so you can see how your pattern looks over a color once it's been made semi-transparent.)


Add another layer over your tile image.

You are going to want to fill this layer with a checkerboard pattern of one-pixel squares. You can make this checkerboard fill on your own, but why not just use mine? Just save this .gif:


Yep, that's it - that tiny dot up there is a 4-pixel by 4-pixel square of alternating black and white pixels. Open it in your graphics program and save it as a fill pattern (In Photoshop, use "Edit: Define Pattern), then, with your fill tool set to "pattern", fill in the top layer with this tiny checkerboard pattern (it will appear grey).


Now, with your magic wand selection tool (with "contiguous" turned off), click anywhere on the layer, and you will have selected either all the black or all the white pixels.


Next, in your layers palette, turn this top layer off, and go to your middle (pattern) layer. You should still see that every other pixel is selected. Now press delete, or use "cut" from the Edit menu, and you will have deleted every other pixel from your middle tile layer.


Deselect, and you will see the color from the bottom background showing through. Now you can choose to either leave the color as it is, or desaturate it. (In PS, Image: Adjust: Desaturate).



And why not see what it looks like inverted?


Finally, turn off your bottom layer, and save as a .gif, with transparency turned on.



You can see what the resulting tiles turned out like on this page. Want to practice using the same tile I did? Here you go:


Now, go forth and have fun with semi-transparency!

Posted by taz on April 26, 2005 at 05:28 AM in Color, Photoshop, Tips | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Currently drooling...

AKVIS Software has some interesting products, and I am passionately coveting Chameleon for collage, a plug-in that blends cut-and-paste objects with their new backgrounds. It's really much too much for me to spend on something that I mostly only do as a hobby, but I'm going to download the free trial when I have a couple of not-so-busy days, and see how good they are at convincing me to unclench the money fist. Prognosis: not likely. Money fist is mighty, and $70 for a plug-in? Ouch. But, we'll see. I'm nothing if not capricious.

Posted by taz on April 25, 2005 at 12:16 AM in Photoshop | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ukiyo-e Prints

Lightning as represented in Japanese prints is just one of the great informational pages at, a site that's short on designerly fillips, and long on content, effort and soul.

With over 200 pages, the geography here can become quite a maze, delightful to  ramble through, but easy to become lost in. For a quick and dirty thumbnail gallery of its nearly 1,000 images, though, you can use google's image search of the site, to keep track of all the gems.Also note that many of the images are actually larger than they appear on the pages; if you are using Firefox or Mozilla, right-click on a picture and "view image" to see the larger size.

Here are a couple of tiles inspired by the site, and here is an example box using them.

Posted by taz on April 23, 2005 at 02:47 AM in Art | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rugged Art

Rugged Art. Art rugs. Yum.

Posted by taz on April 21, 2005 at 03:13 PM in Art | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack