Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Free Stuff: Electric Paper

Christmas has come and gone, but here is another gift to wrap up the year. Fifteen colorful paper patterns for you and yours:

Electric Paper Pack

Share and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Free Stuff: Candy Striper Paper Pack

More free paper packs today. This set is based on vertical and horizontal lines which you can print and use or simple take the .jpgs and import them into your favorite application. All of the paper packs, such as this one, should tile seamlessly, should you need them to.

Candy Striper Paper Pack

Share and enjoy!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Beta Part 2

Well, the beta format layout is ready (as you can see), but some of the tracking bits and Snap are broken. Hopefully I'll have these updated in the next couple of days.

As a tip for those of you looking to do the same in the future: before switching to the Blogger beta, create a seperate blog that is based off the exact same template (just copy and paste your template), naming it something like bluefishbowl-dev. Then after you switch to the Blogger beta, make all your adjustments to your development version. Once satisfied, then copy that over to the running version. This method has saved me a lot of headaches.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Argh - beta woes

I'm in the process of converting the blog to the new beta format...so please bear with us as we make the change...it's not as simple as they make it seem (if you are using customizations).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Free Stuff: Squared Paper Pack

And here's another set (fifteen .jpg pages in all), this time using squares with concentric base:

Squared Paper Pack

Share and enjoy!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Free Stuff: Concentric Paper Pack

I actually stumbled upon Filter Forge while browsing some of the various tutorial sites available on the web. After a closer look at their filter offerings, decided to download and try the application out on my own. A few filters later I realized that I could use Filter Forge to quickly generate unique patterns that could be used by anyone from digital scrapbookers, to standard scrappers, or even folks who want to add a little texture to their background.

So here is the first set, fifteen .jpg pages in all:

Concentric Paper Pack

Share and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Free Stuff: Lomography Photoshop Action

What is Lomography, you ask? According to the Lomographic Society International, in 1982:
General Igor Petrowitsch Kornitzky, right-hand man to the USSR Minister of Defense and Industry, slammed a little Japanese mini-camera onto the ornate desk of his comrade Michail Panfilowitsch Panfiloff. Mr Panfiloff, Director of the powerful LOMO Russian Arms and Optical factory, examined the camera closely, noting its sharp glass lens, extremely high light sensitivity and robust casing. The two gentlemen, realizing the superior nature and extreme potential of this strange little item, gave immediate orders to copy and improve the design - with the ultimate goal of producing the largest quantity possible for the pleasure and glory of the Soviet population. It was decided - every respectable Communist should have a LOMO KOMPAKT AUTOMAT of their own.

The LOMO LC-A was born, and millions of cameras were promptly produced and sold. The Soviets and their Socialist playmates in Vietnam, Cuba and East Germany snapped happily away throughout the nineteen eighties, fully documenting the last gasps of Communism, and the occasional beach vacation on the Black Sea.

The images taken with these little wonders are colorful, unique, and often times, quite amazing.

You can still pick up these cameras today, although you can reproduce this effect using Photoshop. So I've created a Lomography action so you can play with your own photos.

Lomography Photoshop CS2 Action

Here is a before & after shot example:

EsperFonto: Web based font suggestor

Need to determine what font is most appropriate for the task at hand? Thanks to Will Harris' EsperFonto, this is made somewhat easier. You simply put in the criteria you (or your client) is looking for, hit the Submit button, and EsperFonto builds a list of fonts that fit.

Hopefully there will be updates to the interface in the future, adding features such as a preview and perhaps even fonts to keep apart.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Free Stuff: Tu Casa Brush Set

Another free set of brushes - these in a much higher resolution and all based off objects I found in a friend's house. A great exercise in pattern picking and then crunching the pix into brushes that even I would be willing to use. As a side note, we found that CS2 brushes can be used with CS. If you have a version before CS, I'd like to know if the .abr files will work for you too. At the request of the home owner, the set is named Tu Casa:

Please note that each set is 5Mb. ;)

Tu Casa Photoshop CS2 Brush Set (.abr)

Tu Casa Brush Set (.png)

Share and enjoy!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Oh Snap!

I came across Snap Preview Anywhere while browsing Techcrunch, and have found it to be quite amusing. If you hover over some of the outside links here, you'll now notice a little preview window that will show you the site before you visit it. Nothing terribly important or useful, per se, but just a fun way to embellish one's site.

Some useful tips (from their page): Once you've generated the code, if you don't want it to preview every link on your site, change the query parameter from 'ap=1' to 'ap=0' (it will make more sense when you generate the code, trust me), then add a class (class="snap_preview") to your link. Secondly, you can remove the search bar from the pop-up by checking the box at the end of the process before you copy and paste it into your blog template or site. Their FAQ page has more details.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Free Stuff: Curls n Curves Brush Set

What's really sad about this set is the fact that I had to create it twice. Yes, twice. I accidentally selected only one of the brushes and saved the set. And then wanting to check my work, I cleared the brushes, loaded the set...oops...

Second time around I forced myself to create the .pngs as each brush was created. That way, just in case, I always had them saved in another format. A couple of these are in use on Jessie's blog (Curls 1 & 2, I believe).

So here is "Curls n Curves". 3 Curls, 3 Curves, and 4 Paisley in one shiny CS2 brush set, or a block of .pngs:

Curls n Curves CS2 Brush Set (.abr)

Curls n Curves Brush Set (.png)

Share and enjoy!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Jessie's New Banner

Every few weeks, I try to change my wife's blog header (sidebar link -> Jessie's Blog). It's a practice that forces me to try out new techniques while attempting to stay within the realms of what she might consider "cute". This new header used a few new things I've learned, one of which I've posted here. In the upper left corner is one of the glass buttons that I posted. The brown stamps are part of a new brush set I'm working on, and the layered torn paper look (I used this tutorial) is something I decided to try for the first time. Much to my dismay, I couldn't get the header background to match the main blog. Even the test files came out slightly more gray. Photoshop said the colors were the same, but when posted, it didn't match up. After boosting the brightness a bit, I finally came up with something that I was willing to deal with (although, if you look closely, you can still see where the header stops and the main wrapped file begins).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Free Stuff: Christmas Brush Set (.png)

And here is the .png set of the Christmas Brushes. I need to find a way (if one even exists) to make CS2 brushes more backwards compatible...

Free Stuff: Christmas Brush Set

With Christmas fast approaching, I thought it might be interesting to make a brush set (my first, no less). So here are ten Christmas related brushes, ready for CS2. Each of the brushes have a crackle effect, but unless you blow them up to at least close to their original size (400px or larger), you might not see it. I'll work on making them supersized .pngs soon.

Update: For those who downloaded the .abr file prior to 11.25.06, you'll need to redownload as the other set wasn't configured properly.

Christmas Brush Set (.abr)

Share and enjoy!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Free Stuff: A2P Action

This Photoshop action (a2p.atn) is based on the tutorial I found here (PhotoShop Lab) which describes an excellent way to make one's amateur photos more professional looking (hence the a2p name). The action only covers the steps up to the lens blur, from which point I always make my own adjustments, if I even feel that step necessary. All of the steps are created in non-destructive layers, so if you decide you don't care for the way the Levels values are set for one particular image, you can change it after running the filter. Click the photos (before and after) for full size images that will give you a much better feel for the changes.

A2P Photo Retouch Action

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Free stuff: Picasa

Picasa. One of the best free applications I've found (one of the many Google offers). While it doesn't really take the place of applications such as Photoshop, it does do a great job of organizing your photos. There are some excellent tools (such as an easy way to make collages, fix red eye, uploading pictures directly to Blogger, etc), and the new upload feature allows you to share your photos with those who aren't using Hello (another nice one).

As I tell people, I would have happily paid for this if I had found it before Google snatched it up to give away. And since it doesn't move your photos (unless you ask it to), and does non-destructive editing (unless you tell it differently), why not give it a try.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Brain Colors

While wandering around the web, I happened upon an interesting link covering the psychology of color. A read that I would highly recommend to anyone even remotely interested in art - it even includes little cards you can print out and reference (although I would probably just stick with the online versions). Strangely, they didn't link to this article on their new site, but the content is still available here.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fresh Fruit

Andrea originally put me on to Jason Gaylor's free brush sets (from DesignFruit). A huge mix of patterns and designs, all provided in a high-resolution Photoshop file. In the example, I used one of the Graffiti brushes to give this train shot a little more life.

Jason does have the vector art for these brush sets for sale on his site, which, if you are a heavy Illustrator user, might be well worth the cost.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Picture Pop

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But what if you want to narrow those words down to a very specific set. While browsing about this afternoon, I stumbled on a Photoshop technique for non-destructive way to create a color snapshot of a black and white photo. In the example here (my nephew with his mom), I modified things a bit, adding an extra tag box at the bottom (simply create another layer but in white and don't reduce the fill) for a caption plus running it through a photo-enhancing action I made.

You can even create multiple snapshots, but this requires a little extra work (a discussion for a later time, or send me a message if you would like an emailed explanation).

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Glass Buttons - Circular Thinking

As mentioned in our teaser post, here is the glass button template (.psd) and some example .png files. If you use the Photoshop file, you can change the button background color by modifying the "base circle" layer. You can then turn on visibility, and even change the color of any of the various shapes. Want to add your own shape? Simply create a new layer, make sure it's below the "highlight" layer, and wah-la! Then all you need to do is export as your favorite file type (or add a background and crop before exporting as we've done with the lightbulb example here).

Circular Glass Button Template (.psd)
Circular Glass Pack (.zip)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fontastic - Part II

Yet another great font site - TypeNow.net. This one has both free (over 6000) and commercial font listings along with links to font software, articles, books, and designer interviews. Some samples (Finding Nemo, Calvin and Hobbes, and ShowBoat) among the many and varied:

Share and enjoy!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


[stands in front of the room]
"Hi, my name is Dickie, and I've got a font addiction..."

How many of you would be sitting in the audience, waiting for your turn behind the podium? My guess is quite a few. And why not? They can provide a feeling for text somewhat akin to what background music can do for a movie (both good and bad).

One of my favorite font sites (and it happens to be a Scrapbooking site to boot) is ScrapVillage. Their free (very important thing here) font library is wide and varied. Even though you probably wouldn't use many of these fonts for business proposals (we'll cover another font set later for that purpose).

A few examples (Lemon Chicken, A Yummy Apology, and Wild Monkeys):

Share and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Just a little tease of what we have in store. These were based off inspiration from Andrea's blog (check the sidebar for the link), and her's from a commercial set. These are free. And so will many other things we have to show you. Don't like the icons in the center, don't care for the color of the stone? Want a square instead? Let us know! Inspired by what we see and hear, and eager to share our creativity with the world - welcome to The Blue Fishbowl. From tips & tricks to free graphics, cool links (such as Design Fruit) to fonts we've seen, patterns to helping you create your next blog header, we hope you can catch something exciting.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Introduction: The Blue Fishbowl

Welcome to the Blue Fishbowl! If you have something you'd like to share, drop us a line!