Photoshop Lessons – How to Photoshop Yourself In a Pop Up Tent With A Ferocious Wolf

Well, I don’t know about you dimwits, but I like wolves.  Always have.  In elementary school, the teachers were always going around asking questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” I’d shrug my shoulders.  I don’t know, “Blue.”  “Whad’ya wanna to be when you grow up?”  Once again a shrug.  Never gave it much thought, being that I was 8 1/2 years old and all.   So I’d say, “A school teacher so one day I can ask awesome questions just like you.”   And then the teachers would finally get around to asking the real gritty, meaty questions.  “What’s your favorite animal?”  Without hesitation, I would confidently respond, “Wolf.”

So as you can see, ever since I was a little kid I always liked wolves.

001 The Dimwit In A Pop Up Tent With A Ferocious Wolf

Today’s Photoshop lesson, I will be teaching you how to Photoshop yourself in a pop up tent with a ferocious wolf.  I know what you’re probably saying to yourself, “Man, that’s impossobile.  I can never learn to Photoshop myself in a pop up tent with a ferocious wolf.”  Wrong.  You just gotta believe, and with the aid of this tutorial, you’ll be off and howling in no time.  To the moon we go.

Step 1:  Put On Some Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet”

Whenever I’m Photoshopping myself in pop up tents with ferocious wolves, it’s all about setting the right mood.  The sound of rainforest and pan flutes are always a nice background music to work with,  but it’s not quite wolfy enough for this lesson.  We need something that howls.  Something that screams and gets the blood pumping a little.  I’m talking Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet” circa 1986, ladies and gentlemen.  Let’s get wild in the streets, shall we?  We definitely shall.

Step 2:  Lasso The Head Of A Smoking Hot Blond

002 The Dimwit With A Smoking Hot Blond In A Pop Up Tent

Above is the original, untouched photo that I’ll be working with for this tutorial.  As you can see, it’s me in the women’s changing room pop up tent with a smoking hot blond. While I have nothing against poking my head out of a pop up tent with a smoking hot blond, for this demonstration, we will be replacing her smiling face with a ferocious wolf.

If you’ve had a chance to read the sparkly vampire Twilight poster tutorial, then you’re aware that not only do I have a fondness for wolves, but I also have a deep appreciation for magnets.  So crank up some Jovi, whip your hair around like your all time favorite glam rocker, loosen up those neck muscles a bit, give a couple monster leg kicks, another hair whip or two, take a swig of water to stay hydrated, and go to the upper, left hand corner to select the Magnetic Lasso Tool, in that specific order.

003 Lasso The Head Of A Smoking Hot Blond

Once you’ve selected the Magnetic Lasso Tool, you’ll want to trace an outline of the area you want to remove.  Carefully make your selection of the smoking hot blond, then hit the delete button.  Boom shakalacka.  The smoking hot blond is no more and you should end up with a layer that looks like so.

004 What The Shit Is Bon Jovi Doing Here?

Hey, what the shit Jon Bon Jovi?  Well, sorry about that Photoshoppers.  Seems there’s a little cockblocking going on here, and somebody is having a little difficulty letting go of their glorious, glamorous, hair thrashing past.  Sorry Jon Bon Jovi, but you and your 7 foot tall, hair sprayed, lion’s mane need to go.  We have some more wolfing to do.

005 Get The Shit Out Of Here Jon Bon Jovi

Step 3:  Let’s Go Hunting For A Ferocious Wolf

So first things first.  We need a ferocious wolf.  I know just the place to go find one.  Do a Google search for “Ferocious Wolf” and select an image you like.  The more ferocious the better.  I would suggest choosing the wolf showing the most teeth to get the most of that ferocious look.  Here is the photo of the ferocious wolf that I have selected to use.

006 Ferocious Wolf

Step 4:  Lassoing The Head Of A Ferocious Wolf

Similar to how I lassoed the head of the smoking hot blond, I will be lassoing the head of the ferocious wolf.  Crank that mutha’ up about 10 decibles, give another whip of the hair, show that GD wolf who’s boss, and select the Magnetic Lasso Tool from the upper, left hand corner once again.

Carefully trace around the ferocious wolf head, and make a new isolated layer.  And no, Jon Bon Jovi, you’re not invited to the wolf head party.  You and your tight, leather pants and unbuttoned shirt need to stuff it somewhere in New Jersey.   Preferably in the bowels of the sewers of New Jersey, which shouldn’t be too hard to find since the entire state is a sewer.  No offense to anyone that lives in New Jersey.

Your ferocious wolf head isolated layer should look like something like this.

007 Isolated Layer Of The Ferocious Wolf Head

Step 4:  Blend The Ferocious Wolf Head In A Pop Up Tent

I’ll keep this brief.  Slippery When Wet clocks in at a mere 42:22, so we don’t have a whole lot of time for goofing.  Not when we’ve got some wolfing to do, so let’s finish this sonofabitch up.  So now that we got rid of the smoking hot blond, and have an isolated layer of the ferocious wolf head, it’s time to blend the two images.

And man, honest to God, these next 100 steps are so incredibly, freaking boring, and it’s probably the whole reason that I never went to my graphic design classes in college in the first place.  I”m just.  Do you ever regret things in your past?  Like, sit around and ever wonder how things would be any different today if you had made just a few different choices when you were younger?  If you would be living in a different state?  A different country, even?  Have a different career?  Maybe be with someone different, somebody at all?  If those few different choices would’ve made you wealthier, more successful? Happier?

Christ, Bon Jovi is giving me a pounding headache, so I’m gonna skip about the next 12 steps if that’s cool with you dimwits.   I knew I should’ve gone with White Snake, but it’s too late for that now.  We’re committed, so let’s wrap this up and send Jovi home packing.

So basically, I did some more lassoing, and traced the pop up tent so I could make a new layer, I added in a few slash marks to the pop up tent cause I thought it looked pretty cool and more ferocious, I added a layer mask and…

You know what.  I can’t even do it.  I can’t even pretend anymore.  Photoshop sucks the will to live right outta me.  Leaves me shriveled, dying, and makes me feel a little less of a human being every time I click on that smug looking PS logo.  Every time I see that bouncy ball opening up the program as if he’s excited, and knows that with each and every bounce, a little more of me dies inside.   I’m smashing this stereo.  Bon Jovi is really grinding my nerves.  Here’s your photo of the cockblocking, cock knocker Jon Bon Jovi, you dimwits.

008 The Bowels Of The Sewers Of New JerseyWelp, there you go.  Congratulations on making yourself in a pop up tent with a ferocious wolf.  Hope it was as wonderful of an experience as it was for me.  Join me next lesson as I teach you how to Photoshop Jon Bon Jovi’s Olivia Newtwon-John  looking hair into the bowels of the sewers of New Jersey.  Time for me to go howl at the moon with about a gallon of Jim Beam and a case of Milwalkees Best.

Ten Italy Postcards

There is this saying:  when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  That saying could certainly be applied to my current (lack of) work situation.  It’s been challenging in some ways.  But fortunately for you all, I decided to forego all of that tough get going hullabaloo and design some killer Italy postcards instead.

My aim is that these postcards will help supplement my income until work becomes steady again.  Shouldn’t be a problem considering the postcards are pretty choice and they more than likely will be flying off the shelf.  But don’t take my word for it.  Take the word from the following testimonial:

“These postcards are pretty choice.  You ever consider making postcards of tabby cats?  People go nuts over them orange tabby cats for some reason.  My favorite kind of cat is the calico.  I like that grumpy cat too.”  – Sara M.

There you have it.  The cost is one postcard for $0.35 or three postcards for $1.00.  I’m not all that business savvy when it comes to this kind of stuff.  I don’t have an online store set up or anything like that, so if you like what you see, just shoot me a message and we’ll work it out.  And if you don’t like what you see, fret not.  I’ll be designing a few other series of postcards in the near future, including but not limited to orange tabby cats.  Thanks and happy viewing.

1. Get Caught Up In It
001 Get Caught Up In It

2. I’m Dreaming Of Italy
002 Im Dreaming Of Italy

3. Rome
003 Rome - Youre Going To Love It Here

4. Like No Other Place On Earth
004 Like No Other Place On Earth

5. The Weather
005 Hows The Weather Down There3

6. The Accordion
006 Check Out This Guy Playing The Accordion

7. Like A Whole Other Country
007 Italy - Like A Whole Other Country

8. Don’t Try This At Home, Folks
008 Try It In Italy 2

9.  Died And Gone To Heaven
009 I Musta Died - The Colosseum2

10. Buon Giorno
010 Buon Giorno

Photoshop Lessons: How To Make Your Very Own Christmas Card

I love Christmastime, and unless you are a commie bastard, chances are you love Christmastime, too. All the decorated houses glowing at night, Nat King Cole singing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, gathering my nieces and nephews around the fireplace to tell them stories of Santa Claus dying in a tragic chimney accident.  There are so many wonderful Christmas traditions to take part in, but one of the traditions I look forward to most is giving and receiving Christmas cards.

‘Tis the season for giving, so I thought that I would share with you a little insider’s scoop into how I put this year’s Christmas card together.  Perhaps it will motivate you to create your very own Christmas card this year, or perhaps it will just provide further evidence into what a raving lunatic I am.  In either case, I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday.


Step #1
For this year’s Christmas card, I thought that it would be humorous to mimic those delightful photos you see online of screaming children sitting on Santa’s lap.  The first step was to take several photos of myself, and choose the best one to superimpose onto a background image in Photoshop.

I donned some glorious Christmas outfits, used Visine drops to create some fake tears, and turned my living room into a makeshift photo studio.  If you are a religious person, I would suggest that you pray the following prayer:  Abba, Father.  Dear, Yahweh. Please do not let the neighbors come over to borrow a cup of sugar while I’m wearing this ridiculous turtleneck and taking photos of myself crying in my own apartment, and please, Heavenly Father, do not let the FedEx guy come to the front door to deliver a package and see me like this, either.  All these things I ask in your precious and holy name.  Amen.  winner

Step #2
Now that I had the original photo of myself to work with, I needed to select a proper background image.  I opened the photo of myself in Photoshop, did a quick selection, cut myself from the original background, and superimposed myself onto a few different background images that I found on the interwebs.  Don’t worry about matching the lighting and making a perfect selection just yet.  These are just a few roughs to get a sense of which images will work best together.  winner background

Step #3
The final steps include blending the photos together, adjusting the lighting and shadows, fixing the color and saturation, creating a border, ect.  I won’t bore you with all the finite details, because it can be a rather tedious process.  But for those of you wanting to learn Photoshop a little better, go to the upper, left hand corner of the tools section, select the “Magic Wand” tool, right click your mouse, and shout “Abracadabra, kalamazoo!”  This is the Photoshop method that I tend to use the most, much to the chagrin of my college graphic design professor.    Magic

Step #4
The Christmas card is almost complete. All it needs now is a holiday greeting and a few final touches.  I settled on a really simple greeting – Happy Holidays! – but you can come up with your own greeting, like, “Merry Christmas, you fudge packing, dingleberries!,” or you could always use a more traditional saying, like, “Seasons Greetings.”  Whatever.

Since my Christmas card theme is all about happiness and joy, I decided to really emphasize this by including some of those photos of screaming children sitting on Santa’s lap as the last and final step.  If you do a Google search, you will find that there is an abundance of hysterical, sobbing kids to choose from, but I dwindled it down to just a few of my favorites.  Happy Holidays Christmas Card

I believe this concludes the Photoshop tutorial.  I hope that you found it helpful and inspiring.  Now go make your own Christmas card and spread some cheer this holiday season.  Good luck!

Introducing Ralph

Hi there my fellow dimwits.  I wanted to take a minute to introduce my big eared, snaggletoothed, lazy-eyed, bib overall, John Deere hat wearing friend, Ralph.

Ralph is my alter ego that I created about 6 years ago during the MySpace days.  I’m not so sure someone like me needs an alter ego, but Ralph just sorta happened like all great, happy accidents seem to do (isn’t that right Mom and Dad!).  I started Photoshopping my head onto the bodies of random photos that I found on the internet, mashed up the face a bit, played with the teeth a little, crossed up the eyes, and BOOM.  Ralph was born.

I created a MySpace and began posting funny photos, poems, essays, and letters that Ralph had written to people like the President, the Pope, his pastor, girlfriends, high school teachers, Chuck Woolery, and to the management of Ralph’s all time favorite restaurant – Kentucky Fried Chicken.  I also created a fake TV show called “Late Knight With Ralph” that Ralph filmed in his grandparents’ wood paneled basement with the help of his sweet 70 year old Gram acting as the camera operator and Ralph taking on the role of host.

Ralph would try to get famous guests on his show like Oprah Winfrey and Hulk Hogan, but he didn’t have a lot of success in the way of recruiting, so he would have to settle for interviewing whoever he could manage to scrounge up in his local neighborhood, like the post man or his crude, combative Uncle Rodger.   I would post the transcripts from the Late Knight show to Ralph’s MySpace.  It was pretty stinking hilarious.

Ralph had built up a bit of a cult following on MySpace.  He had fans from all over the US and a few fans from across the globe.  I never realized just how popular Ralph had gotten until I was working on a movie called “Smart People” in Pittsburgh.   I was talking with the production designer and somehow Ralph came up in conversation.  The designer mentioned that his high school son was a huge fan of Ralph, and he asked me if I had ever seen the Ralph MySpace.  I was kind of taken aback.  I told the him, “Yeah, I’m actually quite familiar with the site.  This is going to sound a little strange, but I’m Ralph.  I’m the guy who created the Ralph MySpace page.”

The designer was floored.  He called his son to tell him that he’s working on a movie with Ralph.  I ended up mailing his son a special gift and signed a card that included a silly note from his mischievous, snaggletoothed hero.

It was all really strange for me to be perfectly honest.  I was just some dude who sat in his bedroom writing goofy letters and making silly images on my laptop during my spare time.  I’m not sure what happened.  I guess I got overwhelmed, or felt guilty that I couldn’t respond to all the comments and messages.  It was all too much really, and I felt a tremendous sense of burden to entertain everyone.  One night, I took the MySpace site down completely.  Poof.  Just like that, Ralph was no more.

I don’t know why, but I guess I’ve been missing my hillbilly alter ego friend lately.  It was a little sad the way I had killed Ralph off without a proper goodbye to his fans.  I don’t know that I’m necessarily ready to revive Ralph completely, but I have been doing some new writing with his character.  I think it’s pretty funny, but I’ll let you guys be the judge.  I’ll be posting some new and old stuff periodically.

Just a quick set-up to give a little background information:  Ralph is 28, lives with his grandparents (Gram and Pap), feuds mightily with his Uncle Rodger, plays Dungeons and Dragons, idolizes WWF wrestling, blasts his favorite band ZZ Top, and loves, loves, loves chowing down on beef jerky.  The rest of his character I think you’ll catch on pretty quickly.

2012 Mayan Edition Wall Calendar

I went to college and took up studying graphic design.  It was during the mid to late 90’s, before everyone and their brother had a desktop computer and a laptop at their disposal.  I couldn’t afford a computer, nor all the software programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, so I was forced to go to the computer lab if I wanted to do my homework and master any design skills.  That was all well and good if you were a total nerdsley McGee, but I couldn’t stand being confined to a computer lab all day, so I played ultimate frisbee with my friends instead.

Even though frisbee was not officially recognized as a major by my university, it might as well have been, because tossing a frisbee around and graduating with a degree in Art is about the same level of uselessness if you want to go on and get a job upon graduation.

After college, I did manage to land a job as a juvenile youth counselor.  I held the job for a year and a half, got burnt out from counseling troubled teens with drug addictions and abandonment issues, but mostly I got burnt out from dealing with their no good, lame ass, pathetic excuse for parents.  It was a lot to take on as a 21 year old.  I was  basically a kid myself, so I quit my job as a juvenile youth counselor with no promise of another job on the horizon.  No worries, though.  I still had my frisbee and a degree in Art if all else failed.

I had saved up a decent chunk of money, bought a laptop, and sat in my parents’ basement teaching myself how to edit videos for nine months (talk about nerdsley McGee!).  Through a stroke of good luck and with a little determination on my part, I landed a job in the film industry.  I’ve been working on commercials and films ever since.  But along the way, I’ve tried to come up with ways to justify spending $60,000 on a college degree.  Mostly it manifests itself in designing cool covers for mix CD’s or photoshopping my friends’ faces onto sea otters.  Some would argue that alone is worth tens of thousands of dollars, but I felt I should probably do a bit more with it.

At the beginning of this year, I decided to design a wall calendar as an exercise to keep my graphic design skills sharpened in the event that I would ever want to do anything with it beyond making grossly mutated sea otters with human heads.  The idea for the wall calendar was inspired by this whole notion that the world is going to end on December 21, 2012.  Nothing like a little world annihilation to get the creative juices flowing, yeah?  I used images of myself, superimposed them onto various backgrounds, added some flames, an explosion here or there, a ferocious wolf, a collage with my girl Beyonce, and woolah!  The 2012 Mayan Edition wall calendar was born.

I realize it’s self-gratifying to make a wall calendar of myself, but cut me some slack.  $60,000 is a butt load of money.  I’m still paying off my student loans 14 years later.  I have to do something with the degree, so if I want to create a wall calendar with images of me celebrating the apocalypse, I’m going to create a wall calendar with images of me celebrating the apocalypse, doggonit.

The world is going to end soon ladies and gentlemen.  It’s a beautiful day outside today.  I think I’ll go toss the frisbee around…