Stuffed Shells Recipe

•January 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Stuffed Shells Recipe:

This recipe was modified from the book, “Cook This, Not That.” (I highly recommend this cookbook!!!)

Ingredients:

5 Members Mark (Sams/Walmart Brand) Spinach and Asiago Sausages

About 20 Large Pasta Shells

Half Container of Richotta Cheese

Pasta Sauce

Handfull of favorite Italian Cheese

Boil enough water to cook the pasta Shells (you should know the drill). When the pasta is finished cool it off by running it under cool water and set aside.

Remove the sausage from the casing and brown it up in a skillet. When finished, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. I unceremoniously dumped the sausage in a mixing bowl and used my spatula to break it up more (I had a bit of a problem getting the large chunks of sausage to break up in the skillet, since it was pre-cooked). Add about half a container of ricotta cheese (about 1 cup) to the sausage and mixed together with the spatula I had been using. (I didnt want to clean more dishes than necessary.)

Preheat the oven to about 400F, coat the bottom of a decent sized oven safe container with pasta sauce. Start to spoon the sausage/cheese mixture into your prepared large pasta shells, and place them in your pan. Cover with a generous amount of pasta sause, then Mozzarella cheese, cover with tin foil and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil, bake for 10 more minutes until the cheese and sauce our bubbling.

It’s yummy. Try it.

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Just A Test

•January 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’m trying out a cloud based writing program called QuietWrite which I found on LifeHacker. Since right now I use a lot of cloud based programs due to iPad limitations, this is something I’m interested in. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog, so it might be worth trying this out and seeing how well it links up…

“Sketching” apps for the iPad

•August 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, as I was going to do some though sharing on the pixel based programs for the iPad (I don’t feel like enough of an artistic expert to do a full review), I had some money burning a hole in my pocket, and I decided that I would purchase an iTunes card, and in turn purchased some “sketching” programs.

First, I want to say that even though I really like the way these programs work, they almost feel like they are cheating a bit.  Basically, each of these programs seem to use similar code to apply a mathematical algorithm (some sort of fancy process) to sketch/brush strokes to give a cool artsy look to a sketch.

The ones I purchased are:
Qvik Sketch ($.99 from iTunes)
OmniSketch ($1.99 from iTunes)
LiveSketch HD ($.99 from iTunes)

All of them seems to be similarly related to a HTML 5 based procedural drawing program called Harmony, which is free and can actually be used on the iPad and iPhone.

Here are a couple of images. By the way, the cork background is actually from a screen capture from a program called Corkulous for the iPad (which is REALLY cool).

Drawn using the three programs on the post it

A Zombie:

OmniSketch Zombie

(sorry about the really low res… it didn’t transfer over well)

And a Demon WIP from my Corkulous Board.

Drawn in Qvik Sketch and colored in Sketchbook Pro

My thoughts on these programs are pretty much the same across the board. They are very cool for creating really impressive looking sketches in a very short amount of time, but they really do feel like they’re cheating a bit. I think these types of sketching programs would be very useful for small studios and for idea generation. I’m not saying that I won’t be using them, because they do allow the user to put some really impressive sketches together very quick…

Now since they are all about the same, this is my thoughts on them. My favorite program is Qvik Sketch. Since it is a bit more friendly with the color wheel and allows you to create an easily accessible pallet. Just make sure you don’t lose your black and white settings (for any of these programs, because the color wheel is a pain to get to the exact color you want).  Qvik sketch also has a “sketch reset” button, which starts the procedural doo-hicky all over again, and it has been very useful for getting close into the image for detail work. Plus, as of yesterday (things change so don’t quote me), it works for both the iPad and the iPhone.

Omnisketch is my second favorite since it has a mirror component and does some similar things (for idea generation purposes) to Alchemy (an art program for PC, Mac, and Linux that’s worth checking out).

Finally, I probably should have saved the dollar and skipped out on LiveSketch HD.  I found it to be lacking in the options that the others have.

If anyone is interested in any of these programs, but is unsure if they would work for you, first try out the HTML 5 Harmony Program above, and see if you like what you have created.

I really think that each of these programs would be amazing when put in the hands of some really talented artists, and as a part of a workflow that includes many of the “traditional” digital art programs people are accustomed to.

Some Time with Brushes (iPad)

•August 3, 2010 • 2 Comments

I’ve decided that I wanted to “test drive” some of the available painting and drawing applications for the iPad. For the next couple of nights, I’m planning on spending time drawing, sketching, and painting using some of the applications that I’ve purchased for my iPad, and I will then write about my opinion of the apps. I have purchased both pixel based and vector based programs, and am planning on covering both types.

First, pixel based programs, which for people that don’t know the difference, use dots (pixels) to create art. These are what people who paint typically think of then they think of painting programs.

I have first started with Brushes to create the image below. Partly because I have used Brushes on the iPhone, and because it was mentioned in a recent ImagineFX article, and I wanted to give it some time.

Things that I really like about brushes are the things that many people who have reviewed the program have also said they liked. It is reliable in that (so far) it hasn’t crashed on me. It supports layers and allows the user to export his/her work to Photoshop, GIMP, or your other painting program at your disposal that supports PSD. It also has the blending modes for the layers that many of us have become accustomed to, such as multiply, add, subtract, and overlay (I think there’s another, but right now it escapes my mind), also you can adjust the layer transparency which allows for you to sketch and paint in the same program on different layers.

As for the brushes, you get plenty, and you are given the ability to edit the transparency/opacity and size of the given brushes. Plus you can also change the spacing of the brushes. In addition to those options a user will have the ability to turn on brush effects that change the size and opacity of the brushed based on the speed that the painter moves his/her finger (or stylus if you have one).

Colors are like many of the higher end painting programs, whereas the artist has the ability to choose unlimited options from a color wheel as well as light/dark, and transparency sliders.

All in all this is a great program, my only complaint is the same one that I know I’ll have for another program that I will use later. Smaller size brushes look more pixelated and seem to be missing the smooth feeling that many people hope for when working with closer detail.

Now the icing on the cake is the ability to view all of your paint strokes after the painting has been completed. There is a companion program (brushes viewer) that allows the user to import the session to a Mac and export a QuickTime video, however, I don’t have a Mac and currently, I don’t have access to that function. When I emailed the company asking about this feature, they quickly replied and said that this is something they are working on, so I am hopeful that this will be included in the near future.

iDraft iPad App

•July 13, 2010 • 1 Comment

I ran across this pretty cool program for the iPad call iDraft by Wondershare. It’s currently a free app, but I’m assuming that will one day change. Basically the app works as a quick idea sketchbook. The cool thing is that you can save and share your entire note pad as a PDF. I’m hoping to see some editions to the features, but for a free app, I’m rather impressed.

Pros: very minimalist design, export entire sketchbook as a PDF, or a page as a png. Create and manage multiple notebooks, idea books, or whatever you want to call them. It’s free.

Cons: minimalist tool set, very limited color palette, some reviewers complain about the UI (it’s not bad at all).

Things I’d like to see that I think would make this a remarkable sketchbook:
Opacity options for the pen; Color wheel or more colors, size and opacity options for the eraser tool.

Again, I think of this as a very cool and quick sketch tool or idea generator, NOT a full feature art program, like Brushes, Layers, Sketchbook Pro, or any of the others out there. Check it out!

Back at it again

•July 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This summer, I used some of my extra money to purchase an iPad. I know there are haters of Apple products out there, and I would have loved to hold out until someone else made a more “open” system, however, I fear that I would have been waiting indefinitely.

I’m thinking about refocusing this blog, not just on art, but as a focus on all the things I find enjoyment in from (yes) art, to cooking, to writing, to video production. I used to spend a lot of time on this site, and I am planning on starting up again.

Back to the iPad. I have purchased many of the available art applications that are the big hitter: Autodesk – Sketchbook Pro, Layers, and ArtStudio. I’ll probably purchase Brushes soon, and I’ll wait paitently for Colors! to release an iPad version of their program.  I’ll do a write up of them when I get a chance, but this is more of an update for me.

So, the iPad… I love it. I also bought a Ten One Stylus for Art, and now I’m able to take a portable sketchpad and journal with me pretty much everywhere I go. More on this later too.

Really, I wanted to post a couple of images I’ve been working on.  First, “the WubWub.” I have a story bouncing around in my head that I want to write, and this is a character. All done on Sketchbook Pro (from Autodesk):

And second, the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots from an Imagine FX challenge. This was done mostly using Sketchbook Pro for the iPad, but I did some work in Photoshop too.

I need to leave now, but when I get a chance, I’ll write about the different art apps as well as other things that are useful about the iPad.

A little bit of modeling

•May 27, 2010 • 1 Comment

Well, I should have been working, but instead, I sat down in front of my computer and started sculpting in Blender.  I thought to myself, this should only be about 30 minutes.

Then the sculpting was over, and I thought, “well maybe I could retop the guy and clean him up a bit.

About 3 hours later, I ended up with this:

Of course there’s still a ton of things that I would like to do with it, however, I really need to work around the house.
I guess skinning, coloring, texturing, and eventually rigging will have to wait for another day…

But maybe we’re looking at another Summer Fight Club  contestant.