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I always take progress shots of my work at regular intervals. In the case of 'Templar', which took a fair amount of time, this ended up with about 35 different shots. I thought I'd show about half of them here rather than have them sit about unseen.

I made a couple of different versions of my recent cakes wallpaper and thought I'd stick them here as I haven't got much else to do with them:

as well as the slightly more frenetic:

The thing about these two is that they are fully tileable. So if you want to use them as a wallpaper, just set them to tile, rather than stretch or centre and they should seamlessly fill any sized desktop.

Personally I think they could make nice wrapping paper or laptop covers or something like that as well. If I had the time I would probably pursue that thought.

On an unrelated note I finally updated my website fairly recently, after almost 5 years of the old design. Unfortunately due to changing hosts and stats packages over the years, as well as some periods of outages, I've lost track of the exact numbers of visitors it has received. I can with some confidence say now that it has passed the 5 million mark (probably somewhere around 5.2 by now), which is nice.
While I'm waiting around for some boring renders to finish, I thought it would be best to follow on my post about old games with another. I've only had a year and a half to think about what I should put in the list this time and have come up with another 6 classics.

Now as before if anyone has some old games (pre-2000 I'll say, one of mine only just sneaks in there) that I've forgotten about I'd love to hear them. I fear the part of my brain that remembers that far back has been eroded away by excessive redbull and porn.

So in no particular order (with the last one as an exception) here they are:

1) Cannon Fodder

Just 4 little guys against approximately 1 billion faceless enemy soldiers, tanks, helicopters and, oddly enough, garden sheds. Massively difficult (as pretty much all games were compared to modern ones), hugely violent and managed to build genuine affection between you and your guys.

When one finally caught a packet and ended up as another cross on Boot hill, you couldn't help but stand up and salute. I could actually, but I'm more cynical than most.

2) Transport tycoon

Don't like trains? Then fuck off, you're no use here! If you did, like me, then there was no better game than this for spodding around building transport links between imaginary towns and places of industry. The point? None really, apart from the near impossible feat of losing and going bankrupt you just played to build up a vast empire then sit back and watch it run. A bit like a train set but without most of the effort or anything to show at the end. You couldn't even blow it all up when you got bored with a random earthquake or UFO attack like in Sim City.

Amazingly it's so popular that a freeware, massively extended version is still available today. I haven't checked it out, but it looks like the real deal (google openttd if interested).

3) Counter-strike

The fact that this game classifies as old (released 1999) makes me a little depressed as I remember playing it months after it first appeared, in beta version 2. Is it the best online game ever? Not quite, but almost. No other game has quite had the ability to satisfy as much as this did with a well placed kill shot. A moment later it could then make you bite your own fists off in frustration when your bullets randomly spray about 300 metres from where you're aiming.

I sank (wasted) far too many hours on this game over the years, right up until it reached its final iteration with version 1.6. Unfortunately the release of its better looking, but spongier feeling, sequel CS:Source drained most of its players. It was also plagued by cheating titbags.

4) Syndicate

A true classic, unique and never bettered. You controlled 4 bionically enhanced agents from your control blimp, and made them do your bidding for the good of... someone I can't remember. Some evil corporation I think, probably why it's called Syndicate now I think about it. I also can't remember what these tasks you had them do actually were, but they generally involved using miniguns to blow away crowds of dopey civilans because they were in your way.

Just about every destructive weapon imaginable was at your disposal, but if that wasn't enough there was always the 'persuadatron'. Using it you could take control of crowds of innocents, make them pick up guns, then march in front of you as a human meat shield, wasting the bad guys' ammunition. Once they'd done their job, you just steppred over their smoking corpses and popped the bad guys with a well placed missle from your hand held missle pistol. Perfect.

5) Monkey island

I need say little about this game. Although the sequel is arguably better, this is a game that defined a generation of gamers' wasted childhoods. Recently remade with updated graphics (that somehow look worse than the original) and voice dialogue, it's still as good as it was back then. Play this, play the sequel and ignore everything after that.

You fight like a dairy farmer! _________________________

6) X-Com: Terror from the deep

I've left the best till last. This is what a true classic is, unique (ok it's a sequel, I'll get to that), complex, immersive and generally utterly brilliant.

The sequel to UFO: Enemy unknown (aka  X-com: ufo defense), it takes the first game, makes it about 100x harder, scarier and polishes off a lot of the rough edges. I can't remember how long I played this for before discovering there was a bug in the original version which meant you couldn't actually complete it, but if I could it was serve as testament to its brilliance.

The sight of an alien lurking off in the darkness just as your guys run out of action points is one of the most stomach lurching events in game history. Aliens came in myriad forms, but being attacked by floating brains, bulbous headed midgets and lobsters who walked around like men and carried guns all helped added to the charm.

On top of the murky graphics, where what you couldn't see was scarier than what you could, there was excellent 8 bit music which would be soft and gentle most of the time then suddenly crash in when nothing was actually going on and make you shit your pants. Awesome.

That's that for now, bye.
I like computer games, or I liked them that is. Since discovering Photoshop however many years ago now they have been pushed to the sidelines to the extent that I don't really have time for them any more. Which is a shame as given the advances in technology they are probably pretty fantastic these days. Once I would have killed to be able to play on the sort of system I have now, now the only games I play are stupid Flash based ones when I'm bored that probably use about 1% of the computer's power.

Anyway I felt like reminiscing a bit about some old games that I liked, to see if anyone else there remembers/played them and what you liked. I've just chosen a few games that stick out in my mind. I've tried to select slightly more obscure ones rather than the more obvious stuff that everyone will know. I'd love to hear what other people remember (if any) from their youth as enjoying, the more obscure and old the better!

1) Voodoo Nightmare

Now this is a really obscure one, back in the days of the Amiga when upgrading to 1MB of RAM was a big deal. All I remember of the game was that is was absolutely huge. You could spend forever exploring the world which was something quite rare for games back then.

It involved jumping around on spiders and helping monkies find bananas and that sort of bollocks. I seem to remember it was said noone had ever completed it, it was so big, I certainly never got anywhere near.

2) Speedball 2

This is a classic, and I'm sure that everyone who played it will remember it well. From the Amiga again, it was a futuristic sports game that took heavy influence from Rollerball. Except for Sensible Soccer, I never knew a sports game that was anywhere as intuitive or as fun to play, and with only one control that did everything it was incredibly easy to pick up.

You get the idea of the sort of game it was if I tell you you scored as many points for critically injuring an enemy player as you did for scoring a goal. Brutal.

3) Crusader no remorse (and the sequel no regret)

A bit more obscure this one, it was an isometric action/adventure for the PC. You went through missions, performing objectives (usually blowing stuff up) killing everyone and everything in your parth with successively more obscene and violent guns.

Its adventure elements were rather weak, usually involving needing a code to get through a door. Luckily it was pretty much always the case that some dick had left the code up on his computer screen right next to the door. I seem to remember the 'ultra-violet' gun as being patricularly ridiculous with its flesh melting properties.

4) Little Big Adventure (and LBA2)

A French isometric adventure game for the PC, easily one of my favourite games ever. Amazing graphics for the time, a huge world and clever story line. Great voice acting and an immersive environment. The sequel was just as good, although suffered from the usual sequel thing of not being quite as suprising as you've seen a lot of it before and expect a lot (Half-life 2 suffered from the same thing).

5) Total annihilation

This was the best RTS (real time strategy) game of all time. While the boys were messing about with Starcraft and its cartoony nonsense the men were trying to control up to 1000 units at a time in TA and blowing eachother up on a scale not seen before. The problem was that it was so ahead of its time that it brought any pc at the time to its knees trying to run it. The storyline was also pants, but the multiplayer unparallelled.

6) TFC

Definitely a more known one, at the time I think it was the 2nd most popular online game only losing out to counter-strike. It was a remake of Quake World team fortress for Quake, and went on eventually to be remade into TF2.

I wasted a huge amount of time on this before I eventually quit (around the time I discovered Photoshop, hmmm) playing in several online teams. Possibly the most fun I ever had in a game, playing in a team online really takes it into a different realm, it makes me wish I had loads of spare time now to online game. Some things I think you can never go back to though, they will only disappoint you...

Honourable mentions go to: Cannon Fodder, Syndicate, Ascendancy, Monkey island, C&C, Street fighter 2, Mariokart, Gauntlet, Populus, Shadow of the Beast, and loads of other old games I've forgotten in my dotage.
Now I've written a few tutorials, I gave links to all of them in my last journal in fact, and I know quite a few other designers who write tutorials. I'm sure like me they do this to help out others with tips and techniques so that they can then use them for their own purposes. I write these in the knowledge that people will use them to produce images similar to mine, however I have enough confidence in the quality of my work to not be bothered by this. That's all fine.

However I have been getting a steady stream of notes and emails about people who have obviously either used my tutorials or just directly copied my pictures and have failed to leave any acknowledgements. That is their prerogative but I do find it a little rude. Surely if you follow a guide to produce a picture, some credit is due to the writer and passing it off as entirely original work is somewhat dishonest.

These are just a few of the images I have been made aware of which seem to entirely fail to mention any tutorial followed, or inspiration taken. Often going as far as using exactly the same program settings and font. Any reference or acknowledgement is enough, I'm not asking anyone to email me or tell me that they've used my tutorial, but at least let people who view the work know that you've had help.

If a tutorial has been used but heavily expanded on, just used as a base, then I don't mind so much not being acknowledged. As long as there is a high amount of input by the creator. In that case it can be see as using stock, yes it is part of the image but not a significant amount. I don't expect us all to start giving thanks to Adobe or computer manufacturers because they played some part in the image making.

Now I'm sure in some cases this may be entirely honest but I am also sure that a decent number are quite aware of where they got their ideas/techinques from:

(Specifically these:……)……………………………………………………………………

As I said these are just a few as a quick search of DA and other graphic sites turned up many more.

Now as I mentioned I'm sure of these are innocent as amazingly it seems that some people are quite happy just copying my tutorials themselves:… this, "unique text", yeah, highly unique)…

So some of the images before might have been done from these knock off tuts, however in that case they should have reference them instead if they were unaware of mine.

I point this out not just as someone who's a bit pissed off at mine and other tutorial writers' work not being acknowledged but as advice to those who do it. Producing work like this isn't going to impress anyone in the know, and is not going to help advance either your skills or personal style. Only by moving outside of the safe world of tutorials or homages can you move forward. If you are not interested in that then at least have the courtesy to reference the creator of the method you are using.

I've produced a few tutorials now and get asked about where they can be found quite often so I thought I would produce a full list. Not all of these are available for free online but back issues of the magazines they appear in are generally still available.

Fresh science word

Photoshop type tutorial produced for Computer Arts issue 152.
Available online here.



Abstract tutorial produced for Advanced Photoshop issue 43.



Complete picture walkthrough produced for PSDTUTS.
Available online here.



Photo blending tutorial produced for Digital Arts.
Available online here.


Robot rock

Abstract Poser and Photoshop tutorial produced for Advanced Photoshop issue 42.



3D type tutorial produced for Digital Arts.
Available online here.


shiny shiny

Geometric 3D Photoshop tutorial produced for Advanced Photoshop issue 48.


Old tutorials

These are all from a few years ago when I still had enough spare time to knock out the odd tutorial now and then for no reason other than self amusement.
They are all still available on my website but require a bit of digging to find. They are mostly written for version CS or earlier and may be a little dated, hopefully there's still some good stuff in there though.

Layer styles
Dashed stroke
Soft blend
Optimising Photoshop
Clear plastic
Burnt paper
Perfect Extractions
Quick photo touchup
Layer masks
The edge
Corroded metal

That's all of them I think, hope you find them useful.


This month received its millionth visitor! I think a decent number of those would have gone there straight from here, so I just wanted to give a huge thank you to those that are among that number :]

It's been about 3 and a half years since I launched the site now. In the whole of 2004 when it started, the site managed the grand total of 18,000 or so visits. Last year it got 400,000 and has racked up abother 560,000 so far this year, using about 2.1 Terabytes of bandwidth in the process... and to think I only pay £5 a month hosting ;) Anyway cheers again and here's to the next mil.

Some far more interesting news is that Depthcore has released its 32nd pack (or whatever we're calling them now), Temple. To say it's the best so far doesn't do justice to some of the stunning work it contains. Jerico's piece in particular is guaranteed to make your eyes pop straight through your monitor. I'm disappointed I have had to much work to take part but hopefully will get the chance again in the near future. Go check it out, seriously.
60 Unite for children

This month finally sees the release of '60 unite for Children', a book bringing together work by 60 artists and illustrators for UNICEF. I'm very proud to have been included in this and urge everyone to buy a copy, all profits go directly to UNICEF.

Went away for a weekend and came back to a suspiciously large 1,100 or so new messages. Turns out Type had been given a DD about 18 months after it was released, how weird. I never get why it's the most popular to be honest.

Looks like a laugh, I'll be going down and hope anyone who lives nearby can make it too :)

Oh and just upgraded too so I can have a second pc for emergencies. New one seems pretty nifty at CS3.

Oh and another thing, do you ever get lost in your own computer? A while ago Windows decided to randomly swap my drive letters around and I couldn't find a file I was looking for for ages... I think I need that google desktop search thing or something.


Tutorial now online here:… have put a cut down version online. Seems like the images are broken at the moment, hope they fix that at some point soon. Silly CMS systems *tsk*


One of those rather boring self promotional journals this time around. The image above is actually something I did for a tutorial in this month's issue of Digital Arts magazine. Finally giving away those shiny 3D text secrets ;) The use of the word 'fresh' was meant to be a bit ironic as I am asked to do this style of lettering so often now it has become anything but fresh. Not to mention the mass of 'heavily inspired' pictures I have seen by others. Anyhow, it helps pay the bills :}


The above stats are a 6 monthly report of how is doing. There's been some vague growth this year but not much really. It's not surprising considering the lack of updates though, I really need to redesign that sucker at some point...

Buy high quality prints

I have also started selling high quality prints with, a new startup where a select group of artists can sell prints of a quality not normally offered by art sites. It's not really meant to compete with my DA prints as these are generally high quality wood or canvas sizes up to enormous sizes, and priced accordingly. And yes I realise the irony of my last journal and their website, but I'm assured it's only a temporary design :}

and that's yer lot.

P.S. Job done with the rippers


One of those rather boring self promotional journals this time around. The image above is actually something I did for a tutorial in this month's issue of Digital Arts magazine. Finally giving away those shiny 3D text secrets ;) The use of the word 'fresh' was meant to be a bit ironic as I am asked to do this style of lettering so often now it has become anything but fresh. Not to mention the mass of 'heavily inspired' pictures I have seen by others. Anyhow, it helps pay the bills :}


The above stats are a 6 monthly report of how is doing. There's been some vague growth this year but not much really. It's not surprising considering the lack of updates though, I really need to redesign that sucker at some point...

Buy high quality prints

I have also started selling high quality prints with, a new startup where a select group of artists can sell prints of a quality not normally offered by art sites. It's not really meant to compete with my DA prints as these are generally high quality wood or canvas sizes up to enormous sizes, and priced accordingly. And yes I realise the irony of my last journal and their website, but I'm assured it's only a temporary design :}

and that's yer lot.

<img src="…" alt="stop it" width="414" height=""339>

Bit of a ranty update today, and it regards the image above. You will probably recognise the shapes above as this style has become massively popular recently. The stock used is readily available and took less than 2 minutes of googling to find. Another 10 minutes was spent overlaying it on some text and adding appropriate masking and the image was done.

Now I have no problem with curly ornaments or vector stock, I love them and they look great. In this case however the style of curls is very particular, and pretty much an exact copy of Si Scott's excellent work. As with all popular styles though people want to imitate it. With the introduction of this stock (I've seen several versions by the way, none by Si) I am seeing loads of cheap Si Scott ripoffs appearing all over the place. I've seen it on covers of magazines, commercial adverts and personal artwork. Nearly every time it's the same couple of shapes being used again and again, indicating that they've all come from the same stock.

I hope this doesn't affect you, but I am pleading with designers out there to stop using this stock and stop cheapening the style. The work I'm seeing is never more than a poor imitation of the original. In other cases imitating good designers can help learning, but when a piece of stock is simply being pasted into a picture, I'm not anything is being gained. Right, rant over.

On a different note, here's a site to inspire/depress you in equal measures. It certainly made my jaw drop:…

So I'm bored again, waiting for some files to turn up. So I thought I would just post a bunch of Photoshop tips and shortcuts off the top of my head, as there are hundreds of ways to improve your productivity in PS of which these are a good selection. So in no particular order, here are a random bunch of these tips (WRITTEN FOR CS2, SOME MIGHT NOT WORK IN OTHER VERSIONS)

Holding down ALT while using the move key will create a copy of the layer which you then move.

Holding down ALT + SHIFT on a thumbnail while opening a .psd from within Photoshop will open a flattened version of the file, useful for big files when you only want the flat version.

Holding down ALT while cicking on a thumbnail of a layer mask will show you the mask in the main view window.

Holding down CTRL before using the move tool and then clicking on an object will automatically select the layer that that object is in. However Photoshop can get confused if a lot of blending modes/opacities are being used and it might not be able to work out the layer you actually want.

Holding down CTRL + SHIFT before using the move tool and clicking on multiple layers will select all of the layers that you click on.

Clicking inbetween letters while using the Type tool, then holding down ALT and using the left and right cursor keys allow you to adjust the kerning between letters precisely.

You can move layer masks from one layer to another just by clicking and dragging their thumbnails between layers. Holding down ALT while doing it will copy the mask rather than move it.

To complete a transformation, just double click inside the transform box area, or press enter if the box is too small. Pressing escape will get you out of transformation mode and revert you to the original version.

Holding down ALT and clicking on the eye next to a layers thumbnail will turn off the visibility of all other layers. Clicking it again returns it to the previous state.

Holding down SHIFT while using the move tool locks the movement to the x or y axis.

Holding down ALT while using the polygon lasso tool then clicking and moving the mouse switches to normal lasso until you release the mouse button.

Change layer opacity quickly by using the number keys. Pressing 5 will set it to 50%, 8 to 80% etc. Pressing 2 numbers quickly allows you to do inbetweens, eg pressing 4 and then 5 quickly sets it to 45%.

Double clicking within Photoshop, but outside of a canvas window opens the open dialogue.

Holding down ALT while using the brush tool temporarily selects the eye dropper tool.

Use multiple layer masks on one layer by putting it into an empty layer group and adding a mask to that. You can then stack up groups inside eachother and get even more.

Holding down ALT while adding a layer mask automatically makes it the opposite of whatever you have selected.

CTRL + SHIFT + F is the fade command, learn it, use it. One of the most important tools in PS.

phew enough for now I think, if you want to add your own I don't mind, but try and not make them completely obvious ones like ctrl + d being deselect or something, this ain't a noobie forum!

Here's the blurb I wrote for my website coz I'm lazy:


2006 was a year of growth here. From 50,000 visitors in 2005 to 420,000 last year. A terrabyte of bandwidth used and just over 10,000 emails received. So I have to say a big thanks to everyone who came here and helped make it such a good year!

Anyway enough of that ancient history, it's 2007 and I want this to be a year of change. Digital art moves at such a pace that what looked cool last year is already starting to look stale. I'm going to try and inject a big dose of innovation to keep things fresh around here, even if it means pulling this whole place apart and starting again.

In the meantime, I am excessively busy with various exciting projects coming up, most of which I can't give more details on just yet. However I am pleased to announce I will be taking part in inkthis 2 which looks to be a very exciting project. Oh and some new art is on it's way and all the usual stuff.


More specifically for DA, I must been asked 100 times now about the 3D lettering I do which I find astonishing seeing as how shoddy they are. Once and for all, rather than write a tutorial which I don't have time to or want to as I'm bored of them, this is how they are made.

I get the basic letters out of Xara 3D, they are then imported into PS where they are positioned, relit, recoloured and restyled using a varierty of different methods. I find them quite tedious to produce actually, the most boring bit of the picture.

Anyway on a lighter note, happy new year! Unfortunately that means it's January and everything is grey and boring :-( Bah

Oops I'm writing a proper update type thing in the next few days but for now I'm going to bother you all by telling you I've just joined MySpace (ugh).

So add me, don't add me, I don't care really! *sniff*. I resisted for as long as I could, I'm sorry :(

*schwing* Interview at the LCS, go read some of this nonsense.

Busy times here at Shiny HQ, 120k visitors in October, almost 250 gigs bandwidth. Not quite sure what's going on, but I'm not complaining...


More importantly, after a few months of down time and furious work in the background, Depthcore version 6 is finally here. With a new art pack, forums, member features, news portal and much much more it's pretty amazing. Even I'm gobsmacked and I knew most of what was coming! Big props to Justin and Brian for all their work, I think it's more than worth it. Hopefully I'll be submitting stuff there again in the future.

Go see it!

DC rox

I'll be popping up in a few mags this month as well. Checkout a profile and interview with me in Computer Arts Projects, as well as a double page illustration in Digit and a cover pic for Computer Music Specials mag. For readers in China, there will be an interview and front cover for CG Times magazine, and for those in Russia another interview in Khoolifan mag. Hopefully a few other bits and bobs will be happening as well, but at the moment I really want to get back to producing a few personal pics. I've been over enthusiastic in accepting commissions and although they're good for me, I have a few ideas floating around I want to have a go at making but don't have the time right now... on the other hand I've just got a lovely new black ipod nano with some of the cash from mags, and all I can say is phhhhwooooar. Kudos to Apple, they know how to design stuff :}
What? I've updated something? Shocking! Hello, hope you're all doing fine. Just a small update to say that you can now buy 2 different shinybinary t-shirts at the Imaginary Foundation:

T-shirts at the Imaginary Foundation

Shinybinary t-shirts
P.S. Many thanks to Jess for modelling :)

You can also see a new improved version of Athena on the cover of this month's Digit magazine, which is pretty cool as it's a mag I actually read


I have a few projects on my mind now that I want to start working on soon, and expect a few more magazine things in the near future.

buy em

After many months of hard designing, coding, writing and slacking off playing pointless Flash games, version 2 is finally here. It's a fairly radical change in style from version 1, and I know some people will miss the nature orientated look that has come to be associated with this site. However change is nearly always a good thing, and I am happy with the direction I have taken things in.

I hope you enjoy it, and look forward to any feedback you might want to send me. *Phew* I think I've earned a bit of a lie down.

Read more detail here.

Or more importantly, go and see it!

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buy em

So yes, in the last month or so more has been going on for me offline than on. Firstly the July issue of Computer Arts Projects contains 2 illustrations by me. 'Type tips' is a double page spread fronting up an article on expert typography tips. 'Type' is give a full A4 page fronting up a tutorial on making your own fonts, and also appears on the CD and CD case that come with the mag. There's a little bit of blurb about me at the front but nothing particularly interesting (probably my fault for being too boring!)

Secondly I have been featured in the latest issue of a Chinese design mag called idea design. I am given a full 10 pages with a load of my pictures and a small interview. You can see what it looks like by clicking the pic below:


The photos were actually taken by loveisickprojekt who is also featured in the issue as I have been too lazy to scan it in myself, so many thanks to him! I actually recommend buying this if you live out east as there is some very cool stuff in it. To be honest most of my stuff looks pants in comparison. I won't tell you what was in the interview as it wasn't very interesting and I can't actually remember.

Now back to spending a bit of time in the sun and watching as much football as is humanly possible ;}

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