Fumy 2.0 – a cool little graphics program

Cigarette and Smoke

Demo image made in 4 minutes with Fumy and Photoshop

Here’s a little program I love! I bought a program named Smoke some time ago, at a discounted price. I thought it looked like a cool, fun toy of a program, but it’s so much more! Smoke underwent a name change. It’s new name is Fumy, and the newly released version is  Fumy 2.0.

Painting in Fumy is like painting with smoke, or waves, or patterns or light. Version 1, with all it’s point updates was very cool – choose a style and some colors and then paint. You could place the end results into Photoshop documents (or simply create a stand-alone graphic). The only “real” limitation was that the end-result image was opaque. You could use any color background, but you created an opaque image for which you might have to use Blending Modes in Photoshop to influence the result.

Now, with version 2.0, we have layers! This means that not only can we create images with transparent backgrounds, but we also have some limited blending modes inside the program, and we also have the ability to export individual layers of our image.

The names of the controls present a bit of a learning curve: names like “Flow”, “Range”, “Intensity”, “Density”, “Fluency”, “Gravity”, and “Quality” may not make immediate sense, but that’s part of the idea of working in this Fumy. It’s all about experimentation (you all know that’s a BIG teaching point of mine anyway, right?)

Version 2.0 just came out a few days ago, so there’re still a few “issues” to resolve. For example, the tooltip names don’t align and so you have to trust the icon more than the name of the tool. Also, there seems to be a bit of a problem with the function of exporting individual layers, but you should also be aware that the developer is extremely responsive. I’ve had a few questions over the past couple of versions, and I received response emails the same day!

On top of all this coolness and fun, here’s the real kicker – I’d originally bought this program for $6 via Maczot.com. It was also included in a software bundle I’d purchased at MacLegion.com. But I never needed the new version. Every update has been free – and the recent UPGRADE was ALSO FREE! Any developer with such a cool product, who is so responsive, and has such generous upgrade policies should be commended! I encounter so many programs with ridiculous and draconian upgrade costs, I’m especially impressed by this (see Adobe’s new upgrade policies, for example!)

Despite the few bugs in this new version, I highly recommend it – and the developer. If the regular $19.99 seems a bit much, wait… you’ll see it in a bundle, I’m sure. Also, Neatberry (the developer) seems to have a slew of other cool programs. I’m looking forward to checking them out.

Oh, and the image you see in this post  was done using a stock image from stock.xchng, and a quick image from Fumy 2.0, created and composited in about 4 minutes using Photoshop.

Check out Fumy 2.0. Let me know what you think!

Wonderful Helvetica Based Logos

Okay – so many of you who have taken my design classes have seen me “pick on” the Helvetica font. As you know, although I consider it a classic, beautiful, clean and highly versatile, I have some issues with it’s built-in kerning at large sizes, so I usually use it for my kerning lessons.

So, today, Graphics.com posted a Facebook link to a great page with 40 great logos designed using Helvetica. Now, I don’t personally agree that all of these do, in fact, use Helvetica (eg: Nestlé, even if it started as Helvetica, didn’t remain Helvetica, IMO), but if you check these out, you’ll gain some great inspiration as to the effects of tracking and kerning, color, use of space, and all things typography and design. Check it out!


An Open Letter to Adobe, By Scott Kelby

Scott Kelby, the President of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals and the most prolific Photoshop author has written an open letter to Adobe regarding their impossible, draconian upgrade policies and plans for CS6. I completely agree with him and hope that Adobe pays attention.


Tutorial on the Painting with the History Paintbrush – Photoshop

Russell Brown (www.russellbrown.com) has created a really good tutorial on how to use the History Paintbrush in Photoshop.

Those of you who’ve taken my Photoshop classes know that I don’t often teach this tool. I actually think it’s an awesome tool – but of course I’m ALL about non-destructive techniques, and this isn’t one of them. This technique changes original pixels permanently (there are work-arounds, but they’re rather indirect). So, I recommend knowing how this tool works, what you can do with it, and then knowing you can use it for more of your “quick and dirty” retouching and repair needs.

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Photoshop Actions to Emulate Instagram Effects

I’m not always a fan of heavily processed images, but as a matter of artistic expression, I often like to “play” around with images for some cool effects. Since I got the iPhone, I’ve really liked a lot of the image looks that can be accomplished using Instagram. But, since most of my images are shot using my Nikon, and not my iPhone, I wanted to create a set of actions that would emulate Instagram while within Photoshop.

Turns out, I don’t have to! Daniel Box has already done a bunch of these, and he’s made the actions available for FREE (Thank you, Mr. Box!) He says they’re not “100% exact match, but they’re pretty darn great – and remember, you can still tweak your images in Photoshop to improve at will.

Check out the FREE action download at: http://dbox.tumblr.com/post/5426249009/instagram-filters-as-photoshop-actions

Online Set of Webinars – 24hourphotoshop.com

24HourPhotoshop.com is the first ever live, global, interactive event for the Photoshop community — 24 Hours of non-stop Photoshop!

On February 10th/11th, 2012, 24hourphotoshop.com (http://bit.ly/ooeAoc) will be offering over 100 sessions, with 50 instructors via online webinars. Some of the best instructors will be featured (with the exclusion of me, that is), and there are 3 pricing tiers: a limited Free track (requires pre-registration), an all-access $99 track, and an extended track (to see the webinars after the day is over) for $599. These are introductory rates.

I’ve never seen these before, so I can’t vouch for them specifically, but with the list of webinar leaders they have, this is bound to be a powerful day! There is a benefit to accessing as much as possible, live – you can ask questions of the instructors.

Making Selections with the Pen Tool in Photoshop

From PhotoshopEssentials.com, a clear (if not lengthy) tutorial on using the insanely powerful pen tool.

Don’t fear the Pen Tool!!!

If you find it too complicated, let me know, and I’ll make a little video tutorial or two to ease it up a bit.