Friday, May 30, 2014

Great Tutorials for Creating Butterflies in Photoshop

The other day, my mother, recently widowed after 70 years of marriage to my beloved dad, received a card containing an inspirational verse. It came from a family friend, who volunteers at a hospice. As a volunteer at a hospice she is well versed in what words can support a person through grief and ease their pain.

While her prose was touching, what struck me first were the graphics she had used to enhance the front. Two gorgeous iridescent butterflies helped to convey what was the perfect message of solace and peace. 

Butterflies have long been symbols of hope in bereavement. I know that I felt comforted simply looking at them. Yet, somewhat holographic and full of bold colour they were also tiny works of art. 

Captivated by the aura and beauty of butterflies, I was quite intrigued by the design and details. Eventually, my mind turned to the fun in being able to create images such as this and once again to the magic we create with Photoshop. 

As always, a quick search on Google for butterfly projects, resulted in several options, from animations to scenes. Here are just a few of my discoveries:

Create a Butterfly in Photoshop

Animating a Butterfly

Make a Beautiful Spring Butterfly Scene

Create a Butterfly Wing Curl

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Beautiful Butterfly Photos

Doing the dishes the other day, I glanced outside the window and my attention was diverted by a pretty butterfly. For several seconds I watched it flutter and float before moving out of my view.

As enchanted as I was by this pleasant interlude in my day, as eloquent as I might try to be in telling you about it, I know that I can't do the image justice.

A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. We can talk about life, about wonder, about news, as graphically or descriptively as we like, but only with visual enhancement can curiosity and interest be truly sated.

Photographs also help us to feel and understand. They can be powerful, enigmatic and truthful. Perhaps, most important, however, is how they can open our eyes to the beauty around us. Often in day-to-day living we forget to pay attention. Still-life, however, compels us to stop and study, to take in the essence of what we are seeing. You can savour a sunset or much-loved face, every facet, every element.

A picture is also able to capture and hold the elusive. For example, while spying a butterfly can be a delight, keeping them in sight isn't always easy. Flirtatious and shy, they don't generally sit still for close scrutiny. Their special beauty in photos, however, such as those in the collections here, can be enjoyed with no time limit.

National Geographic Butterflies

25 Beautiful Butterfly Pictures

Gorgeous Photos of Butterflies

iPHOTOS.com Butterflies

Acclaim Images Butterfly Photos

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Best Butterfly Illustrations on the Web

A few years ago, when a long-time friend passed away,  I considered what I might offer his family as a gesture of condolence. Though my mind flipped through several ideas, one kept coming up again and again — a butterfly bush.

Trees and shrubs are often viewed as symbols of eternity and therefore given as memorials for loved ones. One, therefore, that had the added feature of attracting butterflies was clearly the perfect choice.

Butterflies provide solace and comfort to many people at the time of a bereavement. Their gentle grace brings closer the presence of a lost loved one. Many believe they are a sign from above that the one they mourn is fine.

Another friend of mine, who had tragically lost her niece, was working in the garden when grief suddenly overcame her. Sobbing, she turned away from her work to sit, and discovered that her backyard was full of butterflies, dancing lightly on the gentle breeze.

It's little wonder with stories such as this that their image often graces literary work on grieving and healing. They are etched in stone on memorials and used as decorative touches on everything from windchimes to jewellery.

If you are looking for butterfly images for designs and/or projects, then here are some of the best I found on the web:

Clipart.com Butterfly Illustrations

iCLIPART.com Butterfly Illustrations

Acclaim Images Butterfly Illustrations

ClipartGuide Butterflies

ClickArt Online Butterflies

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top Tips for Photographing Butterflies

Spring and summer provides professional and amateur photographers with boundless subjects for their work. From the first bursts of life through rich, dark soil, to the cornucopia of colour in a garden the eyes are treated to a burgeoning world of texture and hue.

Wildlife comes out of hiding to celebrate the lush newness of nature, insects, birds and amphibians rejoice in song and activity.

An obvious favourite subject, given its beauty and variety, is the butterfly. Whether sitting quietly on a flower, wings wafting like gently-blowing fans, or flitting along on a soft breeze, their appeal is undeniable.  Patient shutterbugs zoom in for closeups of this pretty insect on dewy petals or waiting, wings spread, on a warm rock.

Perhaps it's the short life span, but butterflies are not generally known to sit still long. And skittish by nature they don't often tolerate someone moving in too close. I had my moment several summers ago, though, when a group of Monarchs cavorted for me on some Scotch thistles at the beach. Had I not known better I would have sworn they were performing just for the camera, as they set themselves up in various poses and held them long enough for me to snap some photos.

I did win a prize or two for the end result, but I have never doubted for a minute that something magical happened that day and the photographs I captured was less about anything I did than they were about a special moment in time.  I simply got lucky.

Luck, however, isn't always something we can rely on. Here are some informative sites with great tips on how to capture the elegant, though occasionally elusive, butterfly through the lens of your camera:

DPS 8 Tips for Photographing Butterflies

Photographing Butterflies in the Wild

Composition Tips for Butterfly Photography

Get the Most From Your Butterfly Hunt

Butterfly Photography Tips

Monday, May 26, 2014

Great Butterfly Animations

One of my favourite things about summer is the return of the butterfly. Sitting on the deck on a sultry afternoon, I am enchanted by their graceful dance as they flit from flower to flower.  They are poetry in motion; their eye-catching colours and markings an aesthetic delight.

Thinking back to childhood, a time when the world around us is full of wonder, is there any other insect that can inspire such awe? My little granddaughter spied an ant the other day, her first. She hunkered down on her haunches and was quite fascinated by this tiny new creature until, out of the corner of her eye, she spied the fluttering of a passing butterfly.  Her new friend abandoned, she gleefully followed its graceful path.

I don't know anyone who would deny the beauty of a butterfly. Some find them symbols of inspiration or comfort. Others simply appreciate them for their utilitarian purpose, as cross-pollinators. Some, such as myself and my sweet grandchild, are happy to watch them. So for those equally captivated by this gentle insect, I offer here are some adorable animations:

AnimationFactory Butterflies