Ocean travel without a boat

Journal of Peter Greenwell

Category: images

The festival poster project

This is for a visual design assignment I did for university. The finished design is included. Couldn’t get that text how I wanted it.


The second project was a poster for a festival, which stressed a family-friendly music and cultural experience where camping and food was available, and transport to the venue was also provided. This project was also to be created in Photoshop CC or earlier, at A4 size, 300 dpi with a CMYK colour format designed for printing. With this, I chose a psychedelic theme, which emphasised the happy and carefree nature of the festival.


As well as the tutorials for image manipulation provided by the university for this course, I used several I found on the internet, particularly for the creation of the poster which implemented Photoshop’s Smart Object feature (Blue Lightning TV 2014). The festival poster required a different approach. Here, there was an emphasis on the cultural and carnival nature of the festival, with a stress on it being a family-friendly event. I went with a psychedelic approach, framing a central character, a public domain photo of entertainer, the Big Bopper (Wikimedia Commons 2015), with bubbly text, tinted with a rainbow gradient. The top half of the poster listed the musical acts that would be in attendance where the bottom half listed the details of the festivals such as amenities, the cost and the location. The font used was Bell Bottom Laser, also sourced from www.dafont.com, which loaned the text an appropriate psychedelic feel.

Methods used

This was a lot more challenging to create as it involved smart objects, clipping and grouping layers.
• Selecting canvas size, dpi scale, CMYK colour space and bit depth.
• Changing the background to a background layer using the layer’s context tool.
• Applying a gradient theme to a layer.
• Adding a ripple effect border to that layer.
• Using the magic wand tool to separate the Big Bopper from its background, using the default settings of the tool. The magic wand tool was the most effective to use on this occasion as the Big Bopper stood out from the background.
• Importing the Big Bopper as a png file with alpha transparency so the background blends in with the poster image.
• Using the move tool and the transform tool to place and size the Big Bopper onto the poster image, as a new layer.
• Using the Desaturate function (Ctrl-Shift-U) to make the Big Bopper greyscale.
• Using the Solarize function with a setting of 3 to add a solarising effect to the Big Bopper.
• Applying a gradient to the Big Bopper using the layer’s context menu with gradient fill.
• Adding a clipping feature to the Big Bopper layer so the applied gradient and visual effects would apply to that layer and no other.
• Adding text using the Bell Bottom Laser font.
• Moving and resizing text with the move and transform tools.
• Converting each text layer to a raster using the rasterize layer context menu option. This was to enable effects to applied to the text.
• Selecting all of the text using Control-Click and added them to a new layer group.
• Using the gradient fill context menu option to add a gradient to the text.
• Using an outer glow context menu option to add a border to the text to properly separate it from the background layer, and aid in avoiding eye strain.
• Using the move tool to position the grouped text layer.
• Using the transform tool and warp tool to select the grouped text and apply a deformation to the grouped layer. By grouping all of the text, it made deforming the text around the Big Bopper easier.

The festival poster

The festival poster

The funky frog project

This is for a visual design assignment I did for university. The finished design is included.


In assignment 1, we were required to create two screen layouts. The first of these was a web page mockup using either Funky Frog or Down Under Reef Holidays as the basis for the design. I chose to use Funky Frog as I felt it would be a more stimulating project to create. The mockup was to be designed in Adobe Photoshop CC or earlier, at 1024×768, at 96 dpi, and in 8-bit RGB colour format.


The aims for the web site mockup was to present an eye-catching site that demonstrated visual flair, ease of navigation, and to leave a visitor in no doubt as to what the theme of the site was. The colour most associated with frogs is green, and the mockup makes liberal use of the colour. The logo banner is is written in the Weltron Special Power font, which was obtained from the font repository www.dafont.com (2018). This font has a suitably “funky” appearance which does not trade style for legibility. The remainder of the site’s text is in the Verdana font, created by Microsoft for excellent screen legibility (Microsoft 2017). There is also an image of a frog, manipulated in Photoshop, that blends in well with the funky theme. The frog image was sourced from a wallpaper website (firsthdwallpapers.com 2013).

Methods used

Adobe Photoshop CS6 on Windows 7 was used. Withal, I found using Photoshop a challenge, as most of my image manipulation has been done with the open source GIMP program, Although the two share many common features, they are different enough in implementation to cause some confusion. When adding text to the image, I encountered a punctuation positioning bug that required searching for a solution, which I found (Digital Hippies 2013). In conclusion, the creation of these two graphics was certainly an educational process.

• Selecting canvas size, dpi, colour mode and bit depth from Photoshop’s new image dialogue.
• Working with layers, how to rename layers, hide them, duplicate them, and move them up and down the layer view.
• Changing the background to a background layer using the layer’s context tool.
• Using the blending mode context option, selecting gradient fill from the options, selecting gradient colours and orientation, placing a gradient onto a layer.
• Using the colour selection dialogue to change colours. Entering HTML hexadecimal codes for the colours, e.g #ffffff for white.
• Adding text using the text tool, changing font type, size, colour fill
• Positioning text using the move tool, resizing text using the transform tool, adding drop shadow effects to the text.
• Using the shape tool to draw rectangles, with both sharp and rounded edges. These were used for the navigation bar, the example drop down menu, and the black vertical dividers.
• Using the lasso tool to remove the frog image from its background. I attempted to use the quick selection and magic wand tools, but could not find the right tolerance to separate the image from the background effectively. I ensured that anti-aliasing was set to remove any jagged edges.
• Using the eraser tool to clean up the edges around the separated image of the frog, ensuring that anti-aliasing was set for this tool as well.
• Importing the frog image as a png file with alpha transparency, allowing it to blend in with the gradient theme of the background. Positioning the image using the move tool, and the transform tool to resize it to suit the overall web page.
• Using the shape tool to create the three panels: the main body panel, the sidebar panel and the sale panel at the upper right. Using the fill tool to give colour to these panels. Using the layer’s context menu to add drop shadows to each of the panels.
• Using the layer list to place the main body text panel underneath the drop down menu.
• Using copy and paste techniques to add illustrative graphics to the image, such as the Facebook image, the treble clef, and the mobile phone graphics.
• Using the move tool and the transform tool to position and size these graphics.
• Using the text tool to place other text, such as the phone number, the copyright, and the panel text. Using the move and transform tools to position and size the text.

funky frog

The funky frog website mockup

A day out in Loadstone

My wife, my youngest daughter and I went for a drive to Loadstone today, a location about 25 kilometres north of Kyogle along the Lions Road for her equine psychotherapy.  It is very scenic country, and i’m familiar with it as I had relatives living a bit farther south of this location at Mt. Lion.

The horse my daughter drew

Millie the horse

The horses

The horses.

Pine plantation

Pine plantation

The pine plantation, and McPherson's Range.

The pine plantation

Land and tree-scape

Land and tree-scape

McPherson's Range

McPherson’s Range

Dry spell

Lots of things happening but nothing solid to put down here just yet, so…

keep calm

…and I’ll try to add to mine.

Elder Scrolls Online – patcher overdrive

Elder Scrolls Online had their first significant patch overnight. Anyhow, it went beyond 100% when patching. Over-eagerness to please?


Gaming during my uni break

I’ve been catching up on some gaming while in between semesters at university. I’ve returned to Rift after seeing my wife take advantage of a deal the gaming app Raptr was doing. I played Rift when it first came out (after beta-testing it) and I found it then to be a ho-hum game that trod a similar path to many before it. This time around, it seems more fun. I highly doubt it’ll be the keeper that either Everquest 2 or Lord of the Rings Online is but we’ll see.

I also gave the free-to-play game Dragon’s Prophet a whirl. Sure, it’s nothing special either but you can’t beat free.

Lord of the Rings Online has been getting a workout too. I’ve played bits and pieces of Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 here and there. Logically, I also gave Skyrim an airing.

Some screenies.


My Rift character Himalia


My character and Isabella getting it on in DA2

My character and Isabella getting it on in DA2

Running Stonekeep in DOSBox

This is using the latest make of DOSBox. This guide would also work well for anyone who’s bought the game through GOG. You just need to ignore the install bit and refer to changing screen size only.

To avoid old hoary games playing in a tiny-assed window on my monitor, I changed the relevant lines in dosbox.conf to read:

dosbox settings

You cannot resize the window (apart from alt-entering it to fullscreen), if output is set to surface. Setting it to opengl (assuming you’re using manufacturer’s drivers, not OS native ones – this is important!) allows you to resize it, which I’ve done by replacing the default window resolution setting to 1024×768. This works like a charm for Stonekeep. Alt-entering it makes it looks awful, pixellates it, and if you’re using a widescreen monitor, it stretches it unnaturally.

Stick your Stonekeep CD in the drive (this assumes you have a legal copy, right?). Install and start DOSBox being mindful of the suggestions above.


Mount your hard drive and CD drive by doing:

mount c c:dir where dir is the directory on your hard drive you want to mount. For the sake of this tutorial I installed Stonekeep on my D: drive (hence the line on the above screenshot). Your mileage may vary.

Mount the CD by doing:

mount d d: -t cdrom where d is your CD’s drive letter.

Install Stonekeep, switching to the CD by doing d: then install. Do not install it in the default location it puts there. Change it to something simple like c:SK. Let it do its thing. The verifying copied files dialogue may take some time to get through, and it may appear it’s hung. It hasn’t – let it go – it’ll pass it. Once to the setup screen, configure digital and normal sound and movie resolution. Then exit.

Then navigate to where you installed Stonekeep (i.e c:sk) and type SK.

Enjoy that kick-ass intro and the retro gaming.

Stonekeep in dosbox

An ode to the Commonlands

This is about Everquest 2’s Commonlands not Everquest 1. In the prior game they were two zones, East and West but I believe they’ve since been merged.

commonlands 1

Sunset between the towers

I have a love affair with this zone. This is where Sony got it right with zone design. Later levels in EQ2 follow the same pattern – large convoluted areas cordoned off by super-high cliffs. Compare this to the Moors of Ykesha, which is an island suspended on an 8000 feet cliff! That’s how they all are now – vast cliffs everywhere. In contrast, the Commonlands is a huge plain, easily traversable. It’s perfect.

That’s not to say there’s no variety – there is. It has it all, canals, ponds, streams, bridges, docks, ruins, deserts, gorges, villages, caves and even a few graveyards to spice things up. It lacks a forest, but if you really need that, go next door to Nektulos Forest.

Highlights of the zone include: the Crossroads in the central eastern past, which is a quest hub for lowbie evil characters. Wailing Caves in the north-east, which is a lowbie dungeon. Farther west, there’s the Dog Trapper lake and the entrance to Darklight Woods. The wizard spires are in this vicinity too. To the south is the realm of the Bloodskull orcs, farther west is the Ruins of Val’Marr with its resident High Priest, and the Lady Anyanka Polevshi, a ghost. Lions and wisps live north of here, at the Druid Rings and just north of that is the Tower of Zarvonn.

Something for everyone and it manages to be both logically laid and out and well-spread and not divided by mountain walls like other zones are. It’s all good.

The soaring mountains...

Those soaring mountains…