sketching article from

Twenty tips to start sketching – Creative Bloq

If you don’t want to read my article, here is the direct link to

Back in the day when I dreamed of being an artist, I would spend hours drawing in the hope of being successful. To this day I don’t think that I actually knew what, ‘successful’ meant to me, at least in the broader sense. I guess that I just wanted people to like the results of my hours and hours of sitting at the dining room table drawing cars and monsters (yes, I drew monsters *sigh). The truth though is that I gave up before I ever got the adulation that I so craved. Oh, my girlfriend said that she liked my work, and maybe some friends gave a compliment here and there, but the vast majority of the people that saw my renderings just kind of nodded their head and maybe mumbled something positive. I wasn’t naive or stupid I knew my work wasn’t very good, but it probably took me about a year before I realized that I never really understood how to draw. I would buy books and look through magazines to get some hint on how to make my work look like the pros, but I could never manage to make the vampire or Ford Mustang look like I wanted it to. So I eventually gave up.

I think a lot of people go through something like what I did so many years ago, especially when it comes to artistic endeavors. The one statement I hear more than the, “I’m not very good at math.” comment is, “I don’t have an artistic eye.” sometimes it’s a variation like, “I don’t have an artistic bone in my body.”

“I wasn’t naive or stupid I knew my work wasn’t very good, but it probably took me about a year before I realized that I never really understood…”
The truth is I don’t necessarily believe them. I teach in the art field and my experience tells me that everyone is artistic in some way. It may not be drawing, but maybe something else like pottery or painting, or even some sort of craft. I sincerely believe that everyone can be artistic if they first, have guidance and second, they spend the time needed. For me back about thirty years ago I spent the time, but never really had anyone that would help me. The internet wasn’t a thing back then, and most people didn’t either know how to help me, or maybe they didn’t see any hope for me. The result was that I gave up.

source: (used without permission)

I recently read an article at Creative Bloq entitled, “20 sketching tips to help you make your first marks.” I wouldn’t say that it’s a great article, but I will say that I wish I would have had something like this way back in the day. Like I mentioned, I didn’t have any guidance and to see these tips laid out in the way that the author lays them out is something I would have definitely benefited from. The article describes and gives examples of the different types and hardness of pencils and then gives clear examples of the principals of design. They go into symmetry and using textures, these are all the things that I teach in my classes so trust me when I say that this is a great resource to read, or even just to bookmark in case you ever feel like sketching.

I do want to mention something that I don’t like about Creative Bloq though. The site is there to make money and unfortunately they tend to try to push people to purchase something, which I understand, they have to pay the rent. The problem that I usually have with sites like this is that I feel like they are trying to trick me. So although I didn’t see anything that looked spammy in this article, some of their articles will suggest that you buy something or refer you to an affiliate site where they can make a commission on you.

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Increasing the resolution of an image

If you don’t want to read the article, you can skip to the tutorial near the bottom of the page.

I recently completed an article on the problems of increasing the resolution of a low resolution image. The basics of it is that there is a rule in computer graphics that states that if you want a high resolution image you must start with a high resolution image. In nearly all cases this is true, but like I mentioned in the other article Adobe, the makers of Photoshop is working towards automating the process using a kind of AI to increase the amount of pixels in an inch (ppi) and still retain the same look of the original image.

For this article I want to go over the process of making a low resolution image print-ready, 72 ppi to 300 dpi, in Photoshop. Before we start though, I want to make sure that I acknowledge that you have always been able to do this manually. What I mean is that if you have the time and patience to sit and use multiple filters, tools, and effects in PS you could probably get close to a good final product. The truth though is that few of us have the patience to actually do this. It also takes a good artistic eye to know that you aren’t destroying the overall ‘look’ of the image. The last thing you want is to have a high resolution image of a plastic looking model (unless the model was plastic to start with). So this article is using automated processes to have PS do the grunt work.

I want to do a shout-out to the inspiration for this tutorial to the Youtube channel, piximperfect. If you are the type of person that prefers a video over a written tutorial, then head over to youtube to watch his/their video.

Software needed

You will need to use a Creative Cloud (CC) version of PS to be able to use the tools I do in this tutorial. If you don’t have a CC version you can still use a more manual way of accomplishing the tutorial, but I won’t be going over it here.

The easiest way to increase the resolution

PPI refers to pixels per inch and is the unit of measurement on a computer screen. DPI means dots per inch and is specific to printing. They are typically used interchangeably.
Now what I’m going to describe here is kind of a cheat. What I mean by this is that you really don’t have any work to do assuming that the dimensions of your image is very large. Let’s take a 72ppi, 1000 x 1000 pixel image (converted to inches is 14″ x 14″) and increase the resolution.

In PS go to Image/Image Size and in the dialog window, simply increase the resolution to 300 ppi. What you should see is that the dimensions of the image are now smaller. The once 14″ x 14″ image is now changed to 3.333 x 3.333 inches. Note, if you didn’t get that result, make sure that “Resample” is not checked.


Congratulations, if the dimensions of the image fits the size that you needed, then you’re done and nothing else is needed.

So what happened? This can kind of be a little confusing but it makes complete sense if you look at it through math. The 14″ x 14″ image has been reduced the same ratio as the resolution has been increased. So we started with 72 ppi and increased it to 300 ppi, we divide 300 by 72 and we come up with 4.17, yeah? Now we divide the 14″ dimension by 4.17 and we should get 3.35″ taking rounding into consideration. What used to take 72 pixels per inch to show now takes 300, so 14″  becomes 3.35.”

If you remember when changing the resolution, that size of the image is inversely proportional to the resolution of the image you should not have any problems. This works for decreasing the resolution as well.

Examples of the result of changing dimensions of an image

Original dimensions in pixels per inchOriginal ResolutionChanged resolutionResult dimensions in pixels per inchComments
1200 x 1200300 ppi150 ppi2400 x 2400We decreased the resolution by half, so we doubled the dimensions.
350 x 70072 ppi300 ppi84 x 168We increased the resolution which decreased the dimensions.
425 x 300150 ppi72 ppi885 x 624150 to 72 increases the dimensions by a factor of 2.08

What resolution should you use?

I wanted to touch on this before we moved over to PS. It is directly relatable to what size your image must be for certain purposes. For example, what resolution do you need for an image that will be displayed on a web page? What about the resolution for something that you are going to print? I’ve included another table to help you decide what your resolution should be for the intended use.

Intended use of the imageMinimum ppi/dpiOptimal sizeAdditional sizes used in ppi/dpi
Optimized Web Documents (pdf)72150300
Print Low Resolution150150
Print High Resolution300300
Apps IOS160326Too many to list

Finally, we can now move over to PS to let Adobe’s new, almost AI technology  help us with the process.

If PS isn’t opened yet, open it up and add your chosen image that you want to increase the ppi with.  Remember, dimensions matter.

Go to Photoshop/Preferences/Technology Previews

When the dialog box opens tick the box labeled “Enable Preserve Details 2.0 Upscale.”


changing prefs

Now go to Image/Image Size in the menubar

After the dialog box opens, you will need to click on the dropdown menu (probably says, Automatic) and select Preserve Details 2.0

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Now change the resolution of your image

You’re almost done, the last thing that you need to do is adjust the “Reduce Noise” slider to fit your preferences. You might find it easier to judge the results of your changes by zooming in on an area of the image that has a lot of detail in the preview window.

screen grab fromPS


Alright, so that’s basically it. Assuming that you’ve got the correct size and ppi for your intended use, and maybe more importantly, you’ve got an image that isn’t pixelated or blurry, you are good to go.

One thing to remember.

This technology is new”er” and I still get mixed results using it. You should not expect that every image that you want to increase the resolution will turn out perfect using this method or any other. Until the software is able to understand what the image is, and is able to determine “rough” areas that need work, it is ultimately up to you to make final decisions. The best result you will get though is starting with a high resolution image.

low resolution image

Why you can’t increase the resolution of an image

low resolution imageOne of the core understandings in computer graphics is that if you want a high resolution image, you must start with a high resolution image. Forget all the tv shows that you’ve seen where the person is standing behind a computer technician asking them, “Can you sharpen the image a little more?” The computer technician  maybe clicks a few buttons and the suddenly the license plate that was too blurry to read becomes crystal clear. It’s a miracle, the computer can do anything! Sorry, that isn’t real life, at least with current technology. A computer can do a lot of things, but when it comes to enhancing low resolution imagery the computer at best must ‘guess’ what the image is.

To understand this concept it helps if you understand the way an image is formed on the computer. If you were to zoom in as far as you could on any image, you would see a collection of different colored squares, these squares are called pixels. To a computer, that image isn’t a photo of anything, it is just as I said, a series of pixels placed in a particular way that when viewed by humans looks like you, your dog, Continue reading

wire framing image

All this talk about wireframing…

wire framing imageSo lately I’ve been trying to get into wireframing as the first step in the process of creating an web site. I’ve gone into detail about why I think it’s important in a few articles. If you’re interested in the subject I suggest that you search for wireframing. The main idea is to remove some of the waste of designing a site with expected elements. The truth is, is that many times you don’t know what those elements are going to be, so jumping into Illustrator or Photoshop to layout your design can waste a lot of time.

I just read an article, “12 Practical Tips for Creating Better Wireframes” that seemed to Continue reading

Balsamiq Wireframe

Learning Balsamiq: Starting the Wireframe PT. 2

At this point you should have Balsamiq installed on your computer to begin wireframing the proposed site. For more information about what I’m doing I’ve written an article and posted a video that should get you up to speed. The video is only about 4 minutes so if you’re not sure what this is about, please take a moment to watch it. The link to both the article and the video is here.

In this article and video I jump into Balsamiq and start with the layout. I make some mistakes along the way and I ended up clipping off about 3 minutes of the video because I made a very big mistake. I made the error of thinking that if I added a link that saved it to a duplicate page, that the link would be transferred over to the page Balsamiq created. Oh well, did I mention I’m learning? 🙂

The video goes over the menu, canvas, option window and adding assets. I touch on how to crop an image and changing items on different elements on the canvas.

The video is located on youtube at