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Often, electronic devices from musical keyboards to computers and their software change the range of what can be created on them. In a way, the devices inhibit the creative process to its own parameters and the ways that it does things. And, in a way – these devices and their software change the use of them as creative tools by the very approach that is written into them. For instance, it is easy to use the computer and its graphic software, 3d modeling, and photoshop capabilities in certain ways that are mundane rather than creative. It is easy to end up doing that most of the time without ever expanding into the possibilities of the creative use of them. And, then its easy too, for the creative process to be altered by the software into a menu of things to do with designs that would not be purely creative, not meaning that it is bad at all – but here I wanted to show a path I used to manipulate the simple things found on any image viewer as a creative tool – like a paintbrush is a creative tool. It is free-form and creative in the same way and simply uses the computer’s possibilities to manipulate, change and “paint” new images from the old.

To anyone who uses the software creatively and professionally – this may be too old school, but it is fun and interesting along with being a great exercise to teach even very young children how the possibilities in the computer can awaken designs for new things in a very short period of time. The one thing I would say first is this, the habit of “save as” and give it another name at each small stage must be used to make this useful (AND NOT use the save button since it over-writes the design), because during the design process it is hard to see which designs have merit and may be worth saving or doing worlds of other things with them at another time. That said, I’m using one of the designs that I did as an example – it is called, Fancy Christmas Tree – and then became, “Just A Wild Horse” – “Strange Pony”.

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane

Yes, at this version – it was still messy because I had started adding color to it in the software, probably photoshop or paint or corel and then stopped to do something else.

Then, one day as I was playing in the computer files looking for something to open, it caught my attention so I played with it awhile using the image viewer’s filters – which gave these (in progression) –

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2-b_cr2-3

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2-b_cr2-3

First by stripping the color out of it and altering the strength of the lines using the sharpen tools, it made this – (seen above – stretched, seen below)

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2-b

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2-b

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2

Went back to the original colors and design after using “save as” to give the ones above, a different name designated by some extra letters in this case . . .

And, then I tried the design in a few other filter masks just to see how they would look – which gave these –

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cra

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cra

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr2

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr2

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I liked these a lot, but then I decided to try something else –

Using the lens filter, I started with this one (which is designated “A” and then onwards) and really began playing with the design, exploring, discovering and enjoying it in the process –

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- A

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- A

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- B

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- B

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- C

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- C

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Those may look exactly the same, but they are not and show why it is important to save at each step in the process – maybe later I will use any of those to go further in some different direction than I did the day I was doing this. And in the steps below, it is easy to see that I started adding and manipulating the design with the addition of colors and elements hand-rendered, but on the computer using a drawing program with the file image above (last in the group of three with the dual bubble lens effects applied to the original design.)

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- D

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- D

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So, above is the addition of some purples, deeper greens and manipulating the color with the airbrush and paintbrushes in free hand lines across the painting – also with the functions found on the paintbrush to alter the color wherever it intersects or overlays on another color . . .

And then, using the lens filter to bubble the design in a very narrow space on top of what was done above, gave this –

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- E

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- E

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And this – when done again –

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- F

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- F

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- G

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- G

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- H

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- H

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- I

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- I

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- J

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- J

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- K

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- K

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Somewhere along here was when I started noticing its “horse-ness” – which is why it became the image I call now, “Just A Wild Horse – Strange Pony” – but I was still manipulating the image with lens filters applied in distorting ways like I would use a paintbrush on a canvas – trying them different ways in the design using the window as it was open allowing me to change the parameters of the lens different ways and then staying with one and saving the design in that way, each with a new letter for each variation. (I could make an animation from these and now that I’m doing this – I will probably do that this afternoon or tonight to see how it would look – very nifty in all likelihood. I’ll have to find some music to go with it . . . )

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- L

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- L

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- M

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- M

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The thing about the computer and the creative process is that in doesn’t have to stay in progression – I often see something and go back to the design before the one I just saved to continue. That means, I save the one I just did and then maybe go back to one of the others to continue the process rather than moving forward just because that is where that line of work took me. Which is also why to save each design whether it seems worthwhile or not, and by reserving that judgment for later it also saves time trying to figure out if it is any good or not and the progression of creativity can simply continue to flow forwards, outwards, upside down, inside out, beyond the every day parameters and beyond whatever set in my imagination that I was constrained by in the first place . . .

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- N

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- N

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Something I don’t always do, which I did do here and should really be done on creative works like this in the computer, is to incorporate your name in the design’s file name so it is easier to keep up with which is which and later, much easier when posting or fiddling with it or trying to find it . . .

I happened to do that on this design, but too often I don’t and later it takes a lot more time dealing with it.

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- O

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- O

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Here it is really becoming a horse rather than something else and my intentions are heading in that direction once I had noticed it . . .

So I am moving into that way of looking at it with all the further changes that are being made using the bubble lens filters – above, it is easy to see the bubble down near the bottom which started to add the legs –

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- O-4

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- O-4

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- P

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- P

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And here is the final version – what started as a pencil drawing of a Christmas tree with an organic ornamental style to it, (among a series I was doing one day by hand) – became this “Just a Wild Horse – Strange Pony) design –

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xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- Q

xfancy christmas tree8 2 - cricketdiane - 2_cr- Q

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And here are some of the things I made with the “Just a Wild Horse – Strange Pony” design on Zazzle –
Somewhere I have the original scan of the pencil design that was used to make this and by the way, I don’t remember which of the progression of the designs were used to make these – but at some point, maybe I’ll figure that out if its important –

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&&

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I think one of the cutest of the products is the design applied to the doggy shirts – its just too cute . . .

But, that could just be my sense of humor about it – having a fashion designer tshirt on a doggy with a horse design abstract on it –

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So, I found one of the series of designs from which the rest of this is derived – the pencil scan of one of them is this – and then I had made about three others at the same time of each, one on blank typing / computer paper in the first place, one on doubled paper traced to get a symmetric or nearly symmetric design and then one on graph paper from those to use the design for something I was doing at the time –

Here is one of them in the series (there were about twenty original designs that day which yielded all the others on graph paper, then into the computer in a variety of designs, colors, alterations and versions, including the “just a wild horse – strange pony” design –

1-Ornamental1 - cricketdiane

1-Ornamental1 - cricketdiane

As I said, this is one of those designs done in pencil and scanned into the computer from the work I did that one day creating ornamental Christmas designs and the original file used for the “just a wild horse – strange pony” is among those. The similarity between its first design of the “fancy christmas tree” from which the wild horse design was created, looks a lot like this one was among the versions that created it as I was drawing by hand.

That’s why I say that the most magic thing I own is a pencil because inherent in it is all the possibilities in the universe – and this is one way the computer can be used as a tool for the very free-form style of creating that the pencil, the paintbrush and paints, sculpting and other tangible hands-on mediums provide. I like it.

– cricketdiane

By the way, this exercise through all its steps – is a great way for even very small children – pre-schoolers included – to learn how the computer can be used to do creative things quickly and in interesting, novel ways for awakening the love of learning, creativity and the idea of what possibilities can be done by simply trying it, exploring, discovering and saving the results as you go through the process. (and looking around, observing with the idea of finding new things to try using it to play with . . . _)

– cricketdiane

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fancy christmas tree8 cricketdiane

fancy christmas tree8 cricketdiane

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