Category Archives: Writing

TAF, books, upcoming writing things, etc. Any/everything having to do with writing.

(I Wanna) Blow Your Mind (Preview)

Written: 20.03.04

Words: 2,286

Inspired by the deleted song Get This Right from the Frozen 2 soundtrack.

You can listen to the song here!

NFF


“Uh… hi,” she gave him an unsure smile, clearly surprised.

“Hi,” he took a step to the side and gestured, “Come in.”

“… Okay,” she stepped in, and gasped, taking in the small candle lit dinner, “what is all this?”

“Ssshhh,” he took her hand, leading her over to the table, pulling out the chair for her, “M’lady.”

She snorted, shaking her head, “Thanks.” She tucked herself in to the table, concerned eyes following him as he turned to the stove, placing the pot of mac and cheese down, “You cooked?” Her concerned eyes found his face, “Are you dying?”

“What? No,” he chuckled and sat down, beginning to spoon some of the noodles onto her plate, “Can’t I do something nice for you?”

“Not two nights in a row.” A small smile tugged at the corner of her mouth, “Are you gonna stick me with the bill tonight, too?”

He ignored the stab to his heart and shook his head, “I’m sorry about that.”

“It’s fine, I’m just… concerned,” she placed a hand on his, stopping him from spooning out his own dinner and their eyes met, “Is everything okay?”

“Everything’s great.” His face fell at the disbelieving look on her face and he let out a heavy sigh, “Actually, no,” he replaced the spoon, closing his eyes as he gathered his nerve, “everything’s not okay. There’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you, for a while now, and I-”

“Oh my God!”

“I know, but let me finish.”

“The table!”

“The table?” He heard her chair scrape against the floor and opened his eyes, seeing the knocked over candle and the quickly spreading fire. “Shit!”

He leapt toward the kitchen, yanking the faucet out of it’s holder before spraying it haphazardly at the table. The fire alarm began blaring then, just as the flames began to die down, shit! He sighed in defeat before replacing the faucet, grabbing a towel to wave at the alarm, I can’t believe I screwed this up again!


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Pendant (Preview)

Started: 14.02.27

Finished: 20.03.31

Words: 5,713

Destiel, Sabriel


Sam!”

A hand slapped itself over Gabriels’ mouth, “Are you trying to get us killed?” Cas narrowed his eyes, voice barely above a whisper, “I said last we knew it was empty.”

Gabriel glared at the angel but nodded, allowing him to remove his hand, “I can’t believe you sent him here alone.”

Dean cocked an eyebrow as he checked the perimeter, “Are you forgetting he used to hunt all the time alone?”

“And look at what that got him.” Gabriel trailed behind the pair, ticking the items off on his fingers, “Addicted to demon blood, possessed by Luci, thrown into the Cage, soulless-”

“I don’t need a play-by-play,” Dean spun around to face the angel, “I was the one who was there, remember?”

“And maybe if you did a better job-”

“If I recall,” The blonde rushed the angel, pinning him against the wall, “It was your family that started the shit-storm me and my brother went through. So if anyone is to blame, it’d be you.”

“Dean.” Cas’ warning made the blonde drop him. He joined the trench-coated angel a few steps away, starring up at the stairs, “He shouldn’t have gotten too far.”

Gabriel shook his head, “If you had just listened to me-”

“Oh, here we go.” Dean rolled his eyes as they started up the stairs, “All hail the great know-it-all.”

“Well I have been around longer than your puny brain can comprehend. Think that gives me a bit of an edge, don’t you?”

“Gives you more time to make mistakes, maybe.”

“Stop it.” Cas stopped in the middle of the hall, blasting all the doors open, shoulders slumping as they were all empty, “This doesn’t make sense.”

“What?”

“We were only a few seconds behind him,” Cas frowned, eyes narrowing as he thought, “He should’ve still been standing downstairs.”

“So… what? Something took him?”

“No shit, Sherlock.”

Dean shook his head, ignoring the comment as he turned back to his boyfriend, “I thought this place was warded?”

Gabriel let out a low whistle, “How short is your memory?” At the blank stares he let out a sigh, “The demons joined the party around the time Dean got surrounded by vamps, remember?”

Cas shook his head, “I came back after and finished the warding.”

Gabriel raised an eyebrow, “You expect me to believe you came back here, after it was overrun by monsters, defeated all of them – alone – and then warded the place?” He turned disbelieving eyes to the hunter, “Do you buy that?”

Dean held up his hands in mock surrender as he shrugged, “I didn’t go back with him.”

Cas huffed before pushing past the men, making his way toward the stairs, “I can prove it.”

They followed him down the staircase, toward the back door. He ripped a strip of wallpaper off the wall, revealing painted sigils, “See?” His brows furrowed as he saw the sigils, “Wait… this isn’t right.” He ripped off another few strips of wallpaper, swallowing thickly as he revealed some of the sigils had been scribbled over.  He took a few steps back from the wall, head tilting as he starred at it. “I… don’t understand.”

“What’s wrong with it?” Dean held up his hand as Gabriel opened his mouth, “Aside from the obvious?”

The raven-haired angel shook his head, “This warding prevented them from getting in. But they would’ve had to come inside to disable them this way.”

“… And?”

“Not the brightest bulb, are you, Dean-O?” At the hunters’ look Gabriel let out a dramatic sigh, “A monster would’ve just created an earthquake or something to break the warding from the outside. But these were scribbled out, which means-

“They would’ve had human help.”

“Well, give the man a cigar.” Gabriel rolled his eyes before bringing his hand up to rub his chin as he thought, “So… who does Sam know who’d be willing to work with monsters?”

“Whoa,” Dean held up his hands, brows furrowing, “What makes you think it’s someone Sam knew?”

“Well he’s not here, is he?” Gabriel gestured to the empty house, “And – assuming Bro here didn’t zap him somewhere else – since there’s no signs of a struggle, that means he went with whoever it was willingly.”

“I sent him here.” Cas finally turned from the wall, “Whoever it is must also have the necklace.”

“Okay, so…” the blonde looked between the two angels, “who would Sam trust?”

 

 

Sam couldn’t tear his eyes away from the blonde in the drivers’ seat. It had been so long since he’d seen her. Even longer since he’d seen her smiling, and although he wasn’t happy to learn she’d been hunting, he was just grateful to be within arms reach of her again. She was right there.

He couldn’t wrap his brain around it, he had watched her burn to death on the ceiling – and yet here she was, tapping her thumb against the steering wheel in time with the music. Just like she used to. He was doing his best to ignore the small part of him that told him something wasn’t right. He wasn’t stupid, when did these things ever not come with a price? But she’d passed every test he’d given her with flying colours, so he decided he would let himself enjoy it, at least for a little while.

“Will you quit starring?” Jess flashed him that gorgeous smile he’d forgotten all about, flicking her eyes off the road for a moment, “It’s starting to get creepy.”


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Spot Brightening (PHSH Effect #12)

Spot Brightening is a very important skill to have. Sometimes – for whatever reason – an image will come out with a dark spot, or will have weird lighting. Spot-treating images can be an immensely helpful tool in your PHSH arsenal, especially with summer right around the corner, you know you always get that one Beach Day pic where there’s too many shadows.

And, like most of the other effects I’ve shown you, it’s secretly really easy once you know what to do.

I’m going to use the teaser image from last month, even though most of it is dark already. I think keeping the images consistent is helpful when needing to look back at the effects while you practice them. So, for simplicity sake, we’ll be using the Match image:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - Match OG Pic - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

Step 1: Start a new Work File/Document/Whatever-You-Want-to-Call-It in PHSH and drag/drop the image into it. Don’t forget to resize so it fits into your work space.

Step 2. Using the Elliptical Selection Tool, select the head of the match, and a bit of the flame.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - Selected Match Head - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

Step 3. With the head still selected, go up to Image – Adjustments – Brightness/Contrast

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - Image Adjustments Brightness/Contrast - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

Step 4. In the Brightness/Contrast box, slide the Brightness slider toward the right to brighten the selection. Sliding it in the opposite direction will make the selection darker.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - Brightness Dialogue Box - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

Step 4. Once you’re happy with the Brightness, click Okay to make the transformation stick to the picture – or, if you are in the Brightness/Contrast by accident, you can always Cancel to undo the change. (One of the great things PHSH has for most of the effects is the Live Preview, so while you’re playing with Brightness/Contrast, colours, etc. you can actively see what you’re changing on the image)

If, for instance, you need to make the selected area brighter than the slider will let you, you can hit ‘Okay’, stay on the selected area and then re-brighten it to whatever you need.

For instance, I brightened the picture at first to +64:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - 64 Bright - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

But if I needed it brighter, I could go back in and:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - 27+ Bright - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

And so on, and so forth, until my hearts’ content:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - 91+ Brightened - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - 45+ Brightened - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - 150+ Brightened - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, picture manip, photo manip

You could basically do this until there is just a white hole in the middle of the picture.

Yep, that’s literally all there is to it.

I mean, there is another way you could do this – but that involves a hell of a lot more steps and Layer Masks – it just gets waaay too complicated. Which, truthfully, was the way I learned how to do it first before figuring out this easy way, and since these tutorials are here to make your lives easier, I’ll just refrain from sharing that overly-long pain-in-the-ass way.

Thank me later!

Aaand I don’t want you to get disappointed or anything, but this will be the last PHSH tutorial until October. Since I’ve started No. Mad. I’ll be focusing more on that for the next few months. Think of this time off as extra time for you to practice all the effects you’ve learned thus far.


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Going Back

Started: 19.03.04

Finished: 20.03.05

Words: 381

Sabriel


“You’re insane!”

Gabriel just winked at the giant before turning back to the vines in front of him.

“We’re gonna get caught!”

“Not if you shut up about it!”

Sam shook his head, what’s wrong with him? Gabe said he had a surprise for their first wedding anniversary that Sam was sure to love – and he appreciated the gesture, really, he did – but it wasn’t like Gabe could’ve known the bowling alley they had their first date in all those years ago was shut down – not like it was doing that well when we’d went to begin with – so they were both understandably disheartened seeing it was now abandoned. Nothing to do, right? It’s not like either of them had bolt cutters.

So when Gabe also suggested Sam ‘wait here while I find a way in’ well, he knew he was in for a wild night. Did he think his better half was going to attempt scaling the side of the building? Absolutely fucking not. And yet…

“Yo, Sammich, quit daydreaming! You’re supposed to be a look out.”

“Pfft nobody’s around, relax,” he took a pre-emptive look around anyway, just in case.

“He says to the guy scaling a building.”

“You knew what I meant!” The giant took a charged step forward as the man slipped, “Be careful, will you? I’d hate to spend the night burying you.”

“I know something you wouldn’t mind burying.”

Sam rolled his eyes, of course he had to go there… when he turned back to the wall, his eyebrows rose in surprise, his beloved was no longer hanging there, oh no… Sam rushed closer to the base of the wall, frantic eyes searching the dark, you didn’t fall, you didn’t fall, you didn’t-

Jumping with surprise at the sound of rattling chains, he turned to his left and saw his lover, giant smirk on his face as the chains fell from the gate. He threw the gate open with all his strength, smile only growing as they clashed loudly against the sides of the wall.

Sam smacked his arm, sighing with relief, “Don’t do that!”

“What can I say, Sammy?” He linked the giants’ arm in his before leading them to the front door of the bowling alley, “I’m good at finding a way in.”


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I’ll Do Bad Things (Preview)

Started: 19.09.12

Finished: 20.03.05

Words: 5,317

Destiel (ish)


“For fucks’ sake!” The ski-masked man by the entrance took a few steps toward a man on the ground who was sobbing uncontrollably, raising his gun, “If you don’t stop crying, I swear to God I will blow your fucking head off!”

The man let out another wailing cry, hastily swiping his shaking hands at his eyes, “I-I’m sorry! I’m s-sorry!” The lady beside him inched closer as the guy turned back to the front doors, wrapping her arm around him and shushing him.

Dean watched as the other bank robber rolled his eyes before turning back to the vault in front of him, shoveling more money into the already overflowing duffle bag. He glanced behind him, toward the back exit, eyebrows raising as it was completely uncovered. There’s no way they’re that stupid. He craned his neck around the corner, trying to get a better look at the back door. He couldn’t help keeping the smirk off his face as he began slowly sliding himself backward, neither man looking up at the noise, pfft, amateurs.

He swallowed a chuckle as he got himself out in the middle of the floor, halfway between where he’d been sitting and the back exit. I can’t believe they didn’t think to-

Hey!”

Dean froze, eyes on the men in front of him, brows furrowing as neither turned around to face him.

“What the hell are you doing?”

Dean looked to the robber standing in front of the entrance, mask dripping from his hand. The robber turned confused eyes to his partner, “What?”

“You idiot!” The robber in front of the vault took a few steps closer, hands balling into fists at his sides, “Put your mask back on!”

“It’s too hot!”

“They have cameras in here, dipshit.”

“So?”

The shorter robber sighed, bringing a hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose, “Why do you think we’re wearing masks?”

“Uhm…” The robber in front of the doors rubbed a hand at the back of his neck, “Cause… that’s what they wear in the movies?”

Dean bit the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling, wow. And I thought Sammy was bad at this…

“Because they don’t want the hostages,” the robber kept his voice careful, gesturing to the people cowering on the floor, “to identify them.” At the blank stare from his partner he huffed, “So they don’t go to jail!”

The taller mans’ eyes widened with realization and he pulled his mask back over his head, “Better?”

The shorter robber shook his head again before walking the short distance back over to the vault, pausing in the middle of the floor, “Where’s the other bag?”

“What other bag?”

“Are you joking?” He spun around, eyes frantic, “The first bag I filled with-” He spotted Dean and froze, mid-circle, “Hey!”

Shit. Dean swallowed and tried not to look as guilty as he suddenly felt.

The shorter robber came over, grabbing his gun off the table, “Whatcha doing all the way over here?”

Dean was momentarily stunned at the piercing blue eyes starring at him from the depths of the black mask, damn…

“Well?”

He shook his head, swallowing thickly, “I, uh, I just needed to pee.” At the look, he raised his hands in mock surrender, “I figured I should go now before shit really hit the fan.”

“What are you talking about?” The robber at the front entrance took a few steps toward him, “What shit is about to hit the fan?”

Dean blinked in surprise, “You mean you guys don’t….” He swallowed again, “D-didn’t you guys case this joint before deciding to rob it?”

The blue eyed robber narrowed his eyes, “Of course we cased it.” He gave him a once over, “…Why?”

“Well, when you came in, neither of you asked about the silent alarm, so I just-”

“Whoa, whoa, wait,” the stupid one raised a hand to silence him, “What’s a silent alarm?”

Dean looked between the men, they can’t be serious…

The men shared a look before the blue eyed one shook his head, “I didn’t see anything about a silent alarm on the blue prints.”

Dean did his best to swallow his chuckle as he pointed toward the vault, “See that little white box that’s under the door? The one that’s practically touching the floor and flashing red? That’s a silent alarm. You didn’t ask any of the tellers for the code, so as soon as you walked into the vault, it was activated.”

“You can not be serious…” Blue Eyes ran a hand down his masked face, “We’re so fucked.”

“I don’t think so. We haven’t heard any-” Door Robber cut himself off, head whipping up to the front doors as they heard sirens in the distance, “Fuck.” He turned back to Dean, “What do we do?”

“Wha-?” Dean scoffed, “You’re asking me?”


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Opacity (PHSH Effect #11)

Now that we’ve begun to get into some of the harder/less beginner-type effects, it occurred to me: I never addressed one of the simplest effects you can use to up your Photoshop game: changing a pictures’ opacity.

This can be super helpful if you need to add a background to your image, or need to add layers of pictures upon pictures.

So let’s get into it:

Step 1. You’re gonna need some pictures.

Let’s say you want to add this

To the background of this:

Step 1 is to open both the pictures, and a new document/project for you to work on.

Step 2: Drag the images into your working document, as I showed you in the Intro.

Step 3. Resize them so they fit into the document.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Both Pics Opened - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Now, we’re actually first going to have to use a different technique. Because the foreground picture with the shell already has a sky background, we’re going to have to remove that. To see how to do this, you can go look back over this tutorial.

Actually, never mind – I’m going to be using an even simpler way.

We’ll still be using the Quick Selection tool, and selecting the shell and the sand.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Selected Shell and Sand - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Now, instead of going up to Selection and doing the Refined Edge stuff, we’re just gonna right-click, and click on Select Inverse.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Selected Inverse - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Go to the Erase tool, and erase the background.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Erasing Background - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

And boom! Don’t forget to go back to the Quick Select tool, right-click and Un-Select the selection so we can move on. This is basically a faster way to erase, so it’s great to have in your arsenal. (Especially if you’re doing collages, it will shave a lot of time from your work)

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Erased Background - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Step 4. As you can see, the sunset picture doesn’t cover the entirety of the work file. This means we’re going to have to use another technique I already showed you: Content-Awareness Scaling.

For this picture, the Alpha 1 layer is going to be the sun, so it doesn’t get all stretched out.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - CAS Sunset - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - CAS w Shell - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Now that the sunset takes up the whole background, the shell looks out of place, and the sun is too low. So we’re going to drag the sunset picture up, until the shell is at the edge of the water.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Shell at Edge of Water - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Yes, we probably didn’t need to Content Awareness Scale the image as much as we did, since we just needed a bit more sky, but it’s always good to have too much of an image than too little. If you wanted to change the image location again, you would be able to.

Step 5. To make the Dark Background, we’re going to add a Colour Layer under the other two pictures.

Because this is the darker background, we’re going to use a dark grey.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Colour Layer Select - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Colour Layer Colour Selection - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Colour Layer UNDER - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Step 6. And now for the part you all came for: changing the Opacity of a picture.

The Opacity filter is in the Layers Panel, on the top right.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Click on the little drop-down arrow to change the opacity of a picture. This will make a picture appear more or less see-through.

Because we want to be able to see a bit of the background through the pictures, we’ll be lowering the opacity just a bit.

Make sure you’re changing the opacity of the correct layer.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Background Opacity Less - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Foreground Opacity Too Low - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Notice how if you make the Opacity of the Shell picture too low, the background pic will start to show through? This can be useful in collages, or if you need to overlap a bunch of pictures, but for this simple tutorial, it’s too much. I’m going to lower the Opacity to just 90, so that we get some of the dark grey of the background, without the harsh line of the sunset picture showing through.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Foreground Opacity Just Right - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Now, because the sand is a much lighter colour, you may choose to Burn the picture as well, if you really want to get it to match.

You don’t always end up with a similar to Burned effect, like in the Light background.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Light Background - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

It depends on the pictures themselves, mostly and what the colour schemes already are.

One good thing about adding the Colour Layer is that if you don’t like the background colour that is showing through, you can always change the colour to get the desired effect.

For example:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Red Background - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Changing the background colour to Red gives the picture a warmer feel

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Opacity - Blue Background - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

Whereas Blue gives a completely different vibe.

Play around with the colours and Opacity percents to see the different effects you can get.

Once you get the background colour you want, you’re done! Just be sure to save your work.

That wasn’t too hard, right? And you got to practice some other effect skills – see how the skills build on top of each other? Most pic manips will require some combination of the effects I’ve shown you, so it’s good to practice combining them to see what you can come up with, and which effects you like best.

Next month I’ll show you how to take this:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening Match OG Image - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip

and brighten a specific spot on an image, like this:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Spot Brightening - phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial, phsh, pciture manip, photo manip


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