Hi friends! Today I've got some awesome news and a short history lesson. I own a domain! Isn't that exciting!? As much as I love this blog and have had a lot of traffic over the years which I (stupidly) missed out on monetizing from, there is only so much you can do with a Blogspot account. My new website is awesome, professional looking, mobile friendly, simple but sleek, and awesome. Plus with unlimited web space I don't need to worry about hosting project files and downloads on 3rd party sites. There are still new things I'd like to add to it like a portfolio and stuff but the site is up and running and all future tutorials and projects will be posted there. I will keep this blog open because there are tutorials I don't consider good enough to post on the new site but everything else will be on the new one. So please go join the BlendMode email list to keep up with everything.
Now, onto the history!
I've been doing graphic design for about 7 years now, and I'll bet you'll never guess how I started or first found out about graphic design and visual effects. Go on, guess...
You heard me right, lightsabers. In 2006 I had seen Star Wars for the first time, (I know you guys are probably saying, "What! How can you have just seen Star Wars in 2006? Weren't you a teenager!?" My parents have never liked it, ok?) After seeing the original trilogy I was completely absorbed in Lucas' magical galaxy far far away.
This is when I had an idea. I had previously used MS Paint to draw on pictures and stuff so why not use it to make lightsabers? It sounds easy enough so I used a picture of my brother and drew him a lightsaber. The result? The problem is MS Paint is a dinosaur among paint programs, not like a living, killing T-Rex, but as a decaying fossil with no use. The very limited abilities of Paint left a lot to be desired, the hilt looked ok but there was no glow around the blade other than some thin line of color. Not satisfied with the result, Google came to my aid.
I don't remember what I typed in or how long I searched but what I found was a list of programs other people had used to add lightsaber blades to their photos and videos. The first program on the list that was still supported, looked awesome, and more importantly was free was Gimp. I downloaded the latest version (2.2.something) and fired her up without any idea what I was doing. Somehow, I imported the picture, made a new layer, drew a red line where the blade would be, blurred it, changed the blend to 'Screen'...
...saved the picture and brought it back into Paint to draw the white part of the blade and print it!
I'm a genius. My teenager self thought it was a good idea to finish the picture in Paint. But that's not where the story ends. I kept playing with Gimp, not really sure what I was doing or how things worked. Now this is where I really got into design, one day on YouTube I decided to do a search. I typed in, "How to make lightsabers in Gimp" BOOM! This tutorial popped up. At the time this was the only lightsaber tutorial unlike now where you'll be bombarded with hundreds of people all teaching you the same technique and the same steps. Holy cow! My mind was blown by how simple yet screen accurate it was. I tried it and the picture came out better than ever! Now my thirst for knowledge kicked in and I started watching tutorial after tutorial, I discovered sites centered on Gimp tutorials and forums, I kept learning and learning and learning!
And look where I am now. I have a website, I have over 1800 subscribers and over 300,000 video views. I've had the privilege of working on a sci-fi web serial, logo designs, video production, and even lightsaber fights all because of curiosity and a love for glowing swords. So if you find something in a film, a picture, a magazine, and you'd like to learn how they did it don't be afraid to search, you might find a life-long hobby, or even make a career out of something you love.
See you at TheBlendMode.