Favorite Quote: Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. Anon
Favorite Movie: Most have their good points...
Favorite Book: All kinds - read a lot
Favorite Bands: Lots! :o)
Favorite Songs: With 5,000+ itunes?!
Favorite Photoshop Tool: Apple+S?! Seriously, I love it all!
How did you get your PSC nickname?
My freelance business name is mellowdesign
What is your real name and age?
Melanie and...ahem! :oD
Where are you from and what do you like best about being there?
I'm from England - I like the colours of the seasons...umm...
What do you do to keep the bills paid?
Freelance graphic designer, mainly working from home and tutoring in CS apps/design.
What do you do in your spare time?
Too much! Errr - love chopping of course, also...music (sing and play flute), painting, photography, gym and bike, swimming, see friends, movies etc.! I'm also an active Christian so I'm involved in a local church - great fun! REALLY!
How did you find PSC, and what do you like most about the site?
I can't remember how I came across it but I've been here ever since! I like that it's a platform for different ages/abilities to hang out and have fun while getting Photoshop experience and improving/learning new stuff...never too old to learn!
If you could change one thing at PSC, what would it be and why?
Ooooh. Ummm. I think the one negative thing I've noticed is some of the in-fighting...be gr8 if those involved could let whatever bygones be bygones...chop and let chop :o)
Is there any other information about you would like to pass on?
Don't take it all too seriously!!!
How many hours per week do you spend on PSC?
Not enough of late :o( I can be found on facebook tho ;o)
What other sites, not Photoshop related, do you like to surf?
What tools do you use to chop?
My mothership is a Mac Pro (Dual-Core Intel Xeon) with 23" Apple screen...but I also have a MacBook Pro (useful for client visits/teaching etc.) OS X (10.6.3). I have an A4 Wacom tablet and pen which is great! Much better than ye olde mice! Chops are done in Photoshop CS4...
What gets your creative juices flowing, how do you create a masterpiece?
LOL!!! I never set out to create a masterpiece! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...so I chop for me...and if it gets votes, great - if not, no worries :o) I like chops where I can create an atmosphere/mood.
What inspires you?
God! I mean, it takes more faith NOT to believe! Also, design books, nature, weather, architecture, photography, websites...and stuff that makes you think...
Do you have a system? Does a chop have to be done a certain way following steps or are you a messy chopper and just go with the flow?
Messy chopper - go with the flow! Try different ingredients that 'feel' right and see where it all leads...but while also trying to maintain accuracy and flavour etc. I think my cooking method is very similar :oD
What style of chop do you prefer to create?
It totally depends on the source image and how it inspires me to take it forward...variety is the spice of life! I guess I resonate more with photo-realistic chops that have an essence of something about them...humour is a great asset!
Filters, brushes and techniques: Which do you use, and not use, and why?
I use masks a lot...I remember when they used to completely phase me and now I love 'em! I also like using the layer effects - but in a subtle way. I sometimes use filters, but I don't rely on them as they can look very cheesy...they have to merge with what the image is doing, rather than using them for their own sake. Gaussian blur is probably the most used - esp. for adding depth of field stuff...
When do you know that you have it just right, or is it constant changes up until, or after, you post?
I get to a stage where it feels 'just right' but I may look at it later (even once posted) if I feel it needs something added/removed to work better. It's all subjective I suppose.
What is the limit to what you will chop?
Very occasionally I'll chop something gory but I tend to steer clear of blood and gore, bad-taste stuff. Occasionally my chops will take on a 'spiritual' element (I hate the word 'religious'!)...but again it depends on the source. I'm not that keen on people chops - simply cos I'm not that good at 'em and they don't really do it for me! But others do it really well!
Are there any tips and/or tricks that you would like to pass along to less experienced choppers?
People tend to focus on different things...hmm...a general one is that in Photoshop you can change the grey background surrounding your image. At the bottom of your tools palette you can select different screen modes, and for each one you can customise the background colour. On a mac, just hold down Ctrl + click and you can choose Grey, Black, or Select Custom. Hope that helps someone!!! It's useful if you have a dark chop and need a lighter background or vice versa - or if you're designing for web and want to try different border colours...if you like one, just take a snapshop (Apple+Shift+4) and note the values...
What is your favorite type of source image, and why?
Any really because it's what inspires you and what you make of them... but I do get a bit bored by anything that seems to occur a lot in several days - cars, statues et al! Have I been here too long?!
There is often talk about how the source is used and to what extent it should be. What are your views on all sources, outside source use and animations?
I think people can do whatever they like - it's great to see the mix.
What is your preferred resource for outside source images?
Personal resources (old stock pics, photos I've taken, etc.)
In your opinion what makes a good chop?
Attention to detail, whatever the image kind. Something that looks like it's had some thought put into it and not just filter effects etc.
Do you have a system to get things started?
Sometimes I like music, sometimes peace and quiet! I tend to look through my images and see how I might merge them in...
Have you ever completed a chop and then decided not to enter it in the contest? If so, why?
Not a completed chop, but I've started chops and then either due to lack or time or interest, not completed.
After you finish your chop do you just post it or seek opinions of family and/or fellow choppers first?
Just post it! But now Advantage has run out...I have to be patient too!
If some one finds a fault in your work do you change it or stay with what you posted?
If I have time, and I agree with the suggestion I will try and change it. If I don't have time, or I'm not bothered or not in agreement, I'll leave it.
What qualities do you look for when deciding to vote on a chop?
Overall feel and quality of the chop...or if I find it funny I may vote on that.
Some member prefer not to vote for filtered chops or animations. Is there any particular style/type of chop you won't vote for?
I don't tend to vote for chops where I don't recognise the source image, or where it doesn't look as if much care has been taken...whether that's just using filters or the quality of the chop itself. I also am less inclined to vote when there is an obvious issue - if the perspective or something is way out...or blurring or resizing without thought etc...squashed images etc.!
Time is always a factor, how much time do you spend on a chop and how much time is too much?
Mainly and hour or so...but at the weekend I may spend longer if I have time or I'm particularly taken with a source image.
We all love to get votes. Now are you a constant vote checker or do you just let it go and check once a day? (be honest)
Mostly I just check once or so, usually when I go to do something else like check a pm or look at the foum stuff. Sometimes I forget altogether. I'm not convinced that votes in general are a true reflection of skill as we all vote subjectively and I'm sure there's voting done for friends. Personally I now don't look at the author of a chop until I've voted...it feels truer to me somehow...it's then about my likes/dislikes of a particular image rather than possibly about expectations of a well-known chopper. And generally we all do good chops and bad chops at some time!
What chop of yours did not do as well as you expected?
I don't really expect anything to be honest...if a chop gets lower votes than I considered, then it's just a case of it appealing more to me than others LOL! Or I'm aware of my lack of effort/short comings etc.!
What do you consider your best chop so far?
Well I've only won once so I guess it would be:
What do you consider your worst chop so far?
This one was done the quickest and with no real thought:
Who is your favorite chopper out there and why?
I don't have a favourite because I think there are many good choppers for different reasons...it's good to see what they do and learn from them. The main thing is to avoid a 'house style' just because you think it'll win votes - just experiment, have fun, and learn!
What do you NOT like to see in a chop, and why not?
I don't really care for very gory or devillish stuff...just doesn't float my boat.
What is the best chop of all time?
I've no idea! I don't think I've been here long enough to figure that! Because it's in the eye of the beholder, is there even such a thing?
Do you have any other PSC related comments to add?