Create Patterns And Vectors From Any Image 

Today we explore Aaron’s new favorite tool in Photoshop, Create from Image! Learn how to use any photo to create custom graphics and color themes, and then save those graphics and themes to your Libraries to use again at any time. The perfect tool for making logos, advertisements, and website designs!

This is a just a quick look at this powerful and versatile tool. If you want to learn more, be sure to experiment with it by creating your own patterns, shapes, and color palettes in Photoshop!

Daily Inspiration: Meet Stephanie Rizo (VoyageLA Interview)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Rizo.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
It all started when I was just a little kid. I loved getting up early to watch all the Saturday morning Cartoons and reading the newspaper comic strips that my dad would bring. My family is a very creative bunch and have always been supportive in the arts, so it was no surprise that I started to become interested in drawing. I was always drawing on any kind of paper I could get my hands-on like receipts, accidental print paper, napkins at restaurants while we waited for our food or getting in trouble at school for doodling animals on the math homework. My mom would take my sister and I often to the library and it was then when I discovered “how to draw” books. I couldn’t believe there was a book that could teach you how to draw animals and people. I was always leaving the library with too many books that my little body could carry, I mean I was just so excited! It was one particular trip to the library that I came across one of my first “art of” books. It was a wide landscape book that was popping out of the bookshelf, it caught my eye and I pulled it out. It was Tarzan art of book, I felt like I had just found gold. As I flipped through the pages, I was inspired by all the beautiful art that the book was filled with, from Character Design, Background paintings and visual development. Then I saw these very expressive animated drawings that Glen Kean had drawn, it read that he was a character animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios. That’s when I knew that I wanted to work in animation!

As I got older graduating from Highschool in 2010, I headed to Orange Coast Community College. My goal was to finish my GED and transfer to an art school or university. During this time, I learned about the college’s Narrative illustration program and the art center on campus. It was really awesome because that is where I met some of my closest friends and created such a fun art community. We each realized that we had the same goals of wanting to improve, work hard and do as much drawing as we could. Since we all wanted to up our skills and portfolios for art school, we started to attend CTN (Creative Talent Network) back in 2013. It was such a great time to meet artist that inspired us and get feedback on our work. Once I had a portfolio ready and GED done, I was accepted to Laguna college of art and Design. It was the closest art school in southern California and found that their animation program was great. Though I was thankful for some scholarships that I was able to receive, I still had to take on a big loan for the next four years. Being a first-generation Mexican- American, I have been fortunate to have love and support from my family the moment I knew I wanted to become an artist and of course, they were worried of the challenges that I would have to face but they were and have been always cheering me on. So, I felt that this was too much of a debt to take. I knew that a lot of these classes I could take Online and at community college. I wanted to make my parents proud and still get an education but with an affordable budget, we could manage.

I returned to Orange Coast to finish the Narrative Illustration program. Once I started this art journey, I knew I had to work a lot more in finding different kinds of resources to expand my knowledge of the fundamentals in animation and the industry. I was still keeping in touch with my close art friends and one of them ( Victor Calleja) had been attending Cal State Fullerton and they told me about a club called PMC (pencil Mileage club) The club would bring in speakers once a week, who have been working in animation/ illustration/ Entertainment and share their experience and journey. So, I would sneak into these events and take as much notes as I could, to just absorb as much knowledge. In 2015- 2016, I finished the Narrative illustration program and was thinking about the next step to take. I was still working on my portfolio and applying to any jobs or internships but all I got was rejection letters. Though I felt defeated, I knew that I had to keep pushing and work harder, I kept attending CTN every year and there I learned about Schoolsim courses run by Bobby Chiu. They were great because they offered classes with instructors who have worked in the animation industry at an affordable price! I also came across Chris Oatley Academy as well, what I loved about his courses was that he didn’t teach you how to draw but it was more about understanding the animation pipeline and expanding your knowledge in storytelling. Then Eva Lacy reached out to me on Instagram to see if I was interested in participating at her pop-up event called The Artist Lodge. She had seen my work and felt that I would be a good fit for it. I was nervous about it because I didn’t think people would be interested in buying my work but I took the chance and went for it. It was a great experience and gave me a lot of confidence and motivation to share more of my work on Instagram. As I kept posting my art online and shared my work, it leads an awesome opportunity to do some Freelance Character Design work on Unikitty T.V show at Warner Bros. Andrea Fernandez had found my art and passed my work along to Lyn Wang. I was thrilled they had reached out! Even though it was only for a short amount of time, it was a great experience and learned so much on the job.

At this time, I was working at Starbucks during the day and freelance at Night. Even though I was getting a taste of what it was like to work for a studio as a freelancer, my goal was to work at a studio full time. One-night PMC had a special alumni speaker event and had some really awesome artists to talk about their journey. One of them was Matt Roberts, a recruiter for Walt Disney. After that wonderful talk, I decided to introduce myself and share a visual development art book my partner and I made. He thought it was awesome and liked to work and kept it. We thought it was awesome and didn’t think much of it after that night. Time passed and one day Matt reached out to me and asked if I was interested in applying towards the storyboard apprenticeship program. I was happy he had reached out but also conflicted because I was focused on character Design and not story. But I took the “Leap of faith” and said yes. I had about 1-2omths to work on a storyboard portfolio. I was freaking out and stressed, for the next few weeks I did everything I could to learn about boards, references and thing of a story to tell for my portfolio. Once I wrapped that up, I applied and hoped for the best. A couple of weeks later, I was told I was accepted for an interview at the studio, and after that I received a call asking if I wanted to be part of the program and I said YES. I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe it was actually happening.

I joined the program in 2018 and it lasted a yearlong and it was the most fun and exciting experience. Though I felt like I was thrown at the deep end of the pool, I wasn’t alone. I got to work with such talented artists in the program with me, Allen Ostergar, Alishea Gibson, Hillary Bradfield and Morin Halperin. I learned so much from each of them and it was awesome to see a diverse group with different backgrounds pushing each other to learn as much as we could about storytelling. Also, some of the most talented and well-known artists became our mentors. Michael Herrera was my mentor and taught me so much. He pushed me to do my best and always was so encouraging and patient with me. After a year of training, the apprenticeship wrapped up in 2019 and it was time for my next adventure.

I was unemployed for about three months, but it wasn’t long till Sony reached out to me about a possible job opportunity working as a story artist. I had always admired Sony animation films and loved how fun and animated their stories so I was very excited. I later find out that the position was for the sequel on Spider-Verse! I owe many thanks for Miguel Jiron for passing my work along and be part of the Spidey team. I was so thrilled to be working with some incredible people like our Directors Justin Thompson and Joaquim Dos Santos, the story crew and art department have been such an inspiration and I am learning so much with this incredible team. I still can’t believe I have been so lucky to experience so much in such little time. I am very thankful for all the support I have had along the way from my friends, family, mentors, instructors who have been pushing me to do my best. I am forever grateful for everyone who has had faith in me becoming an artist because if it wasn’t for their endless support and motivation, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The challenges came from the choices I made from the get go. Since I didn’t take the traditional art school path, I had to find my own sources, community and classes. Post-Graduation, I started to work at Starbucks as a barista. I really enjoyed that time there because I was able to expand my communication skills and customer service. Though I enjoyed making latte foam art on customer drinks, I would daydream and wish I was at home drawing, working on my portfolio. There were days where I just felt defeated and time was just passing me by. I would spiral to think that perhaps it was a mistake that I didn’t attend Art school and things would have been easier? I kept feeling this pressure from my parents to make them proud even though they have been supportive of my career path, I still didn’t want to let them down.

What really helped to keep myself motivated was attending Speaker events, whether it be at Cal State Fullerton or gallery events and Workshops. As things started to look up when I started the Story Apprentice program at Disney, it was another challenge. Since I started college, my goal was to work as a Character Designer, I mean I really liked every aspect of the animation pipeline but creating characters was my sweet spot. So, when this opportunity came to me, it felt like I was thrown into the deep end of the pool. I had only learned how to “float” and there was so much for me to learn about being a Story artist. I feel very fortunate to have had a great mentor along the way to help me understand and have a voice with my art. I feel very blessed to have these opportunities come my way, but I will say that each one comes with their own challenges and obstacles that help us learn and grow as artists.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a Character Designer and Story artist working in the Animation industry for Film & T.V.

I specialize in creating Character Design and Stories that have emotion, energy and giving characters life. I like to exaggerate emotions with drawings and it’s fun to see how people connect with these designs.

I am known for drawing lots of animal character designs and illustrations. I have a lot of fun learning about animals and creating characters, whether it be that they are drinking coffee or skateboarding.

I am most proud of how far along I’ve come. Being a First-Generation Queer Mexican-American Women, I feel blessed to have these opportunities come my way. I am always so great full for those who have believed in me and that my work has impacted them in some kind of way.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
I would say the most important thing I have learned along my journey is taking that “leap of faith”. There were times that I was just afraid of failing or not trying something because I felt that I was not ready for it. It is not easy but you have to follow that gut feeling.

Source: VoyageLA

Microsoft Is Selling Ugly Windows MS Paint-Themed Holiday Christmas Sweaters, With Proceeds Benefiting Girls Who Code

Microsoft has unveiled a clothing line of Windows “ugly” sweaters ahead of the Christmas holiday season. 

The fashion line features three designs inspired by the nostalgic MS Paint, Windows 95, and Windows XP, with each piece of outerwear being priced at US$69.99. 

“No matter your skill at painting (or MS Paint), you’re sure to be a work of art in this ‘Untitled – Paint’ masterpiece,” Microsoft wrote. 

A portion of the proceeds will head towards Girls Who Code, a nonprofit focused on closing the gender gap in the tech industry. 

Source: DesignTAXI

Mississippi Approves New Flag Design – Had Been The Last State In The Country To Feature An Image Of The Confederate Battle Flag

The new design, which includes a magnolia blossom, was selected by a state commission in September to be put on the November ballot. The final decision came down to the magnolia image and the “Great River Flag,” which featured a shield with white and red stripes and a symbol representing the Mississippi River.

The flag featuring Confederate imagery was officially retired in June after protests against racial injustice and police brutality led numerous states to reckon with the history behind such symbols.

“Our flag should reflect the beauty and good in all of us. It should represent a state that deserves a positive image,” Rocky Vaughan, designer of the magnolia flag, said in a statement in September.

“The New Magnolia Flag represents the warmth and strength of the good people of Mississippi. Now is the time we show the world that we’re from Mississippi, the Magnolia State,” he added.

Source: The Hill

Software Engineer Rashiq Zahid Creates Website That Knows If Your Local McDonald’s Ice Cream Machine Is Broken

There’s a tired joke about McDonald’s chronically broken ice cream machines. You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, and 24-year-old software engineer Rashiq Zahid has heard it.

Fortunately, one of us—the engineer, of course—found a way to protect McDonald’s fans from the age-old disappointment of heading all the way to a store only to be told the ice cream machine isn’t working. Zahid calls his new masterpiece mcbroken, and it actually appears to work.

In simple terms, because, let’s be real, most of us don’t know what the hell reverse engineering an internal API means, mcbroken acts as a bot that tests the availability of ice cream sundaes at every US location every 30 minutes. It does so by trying to add a sundae to the cart on McDonald’s mobile app.

If the app fails to add a sundae to the cart because ice cream is unavailable at that location, that spot is marked with a red dot on the map. If the app succeeds at adding a sundae to the cart, it means ice cream is available at that location, earning the spot a green dot on the map.

Source: Thrillist

The History of Ballot Design is the History of Democracy – As millions of Americans begin to head to the polls, here’s how our printed ballots have evolved

1) Early Ballots

Early ballots were printed using letterpress with the voter writing in the candidates name by hand. These pre-printed tickets from the 1850s made it easy confirm the sale of intoxicating liquors in Boston.

2) Ballots as Propaganda

Ballots were often used to illustrate a particular party platform, like this vivid anti-Chinese ticket for the Workingmen’s party in San Francisco. Several parties touted the protection of White labor, culminating in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the first federal law barring a specific ethnicity from immigrating to America.

3) Impressive Displays of Typographic Grandstanding

The mid- and late-nineteenth century was a period of heavy experimentation in the printing world. Wood type, metal type, and lithography were often combined, creating layouts that are impressive displays of typographic grandstanding.

4) DIY Ballots

Ballot modifications were not discouraged by political parties and were so habitual that small strips of gummed paper called “pasters” would be sent to voters or handed out at the polls. Glue pots were provided at polling stations so voters could literally stick alternative candidates’ names on top of the printed ones. Ballots layouts became more elaborate as a reflection of the period style, but also served as an attempt to foil pasting efforts with serpentine typesetting.

5) The Australian Ballot

The adoption of the new Australian ballot format in the late 1880s was a radical shift in format, but these examples are more aligned with ballots we recognize today. Mandated by the government, all candidates were listed by office and the ballot was cast in private. Despite the regulations, modifications still persisted, like this New York ballot from 1914 that used tiny emblems to denote party affiliation. Voters were now able to freely select candidates across different parties, but detractors claimed the layout was too arduous as the volume of candidates and offices necessitated sometimes huge and unwieldy trim sizes. 

Ballot reformers like civic activist Richard Childs proposed ‘short ballots’ to simplify the decision making process and make it easier for the average voter. “The people must take an interest in all their electoral work if they are to be masters. If they do not take an interest in a given ballot, there are two solutions—change the people or change the ballot,” he wrote in his 1911 book, Short Ballot Principles. “As the people are too big to be spanked, and since human nature in the mass responds but slowly to prayer, it is good sense to change the ballot.”

Source: AIGA