How to create a 3D spinning sphere in Photoshop CS6

How to create a 3D spinning sphere in Photoshop CS6

ADOBE Photoshop CS3 Extended has some hidden gems that were part of the Ycademy Seminar August 2012 – one of them being the new 3D feature! It means that we can work in 2D as well as 3D now. After some initial startup exercises, I felt tempted to replace the sphere on the logo slide for Psychic Readings Online; so the question was how to create a 3D spinning sphere in Photoshop CS6 ?

Psychic Readings Online Spinning Sphere for Delia O'Riordan

How to create a 3D spinning sphere in Photoshop CS6

Here are the first basic steps on how to create a 3D spinning sphere in Photoshop CS6. Please note that this is just the beginning. There is much sophistication that can be added, but I record this also for me to remember in case I get distracted for too long with some other work and forget some important little points. We need to exercise these things like playing the piano every day, but Ycademy Seminars are explosive in content and knowledge provided, so it’s not only the globe that spins at the end of the day but also one’s head, at least mine!

First, in your normal screen mode in Photoshop CS6 Extended (meaning you see 3D in the top bar, meaning you have this feature), pull in a picture as a background. In my case it was the entire slide without the globe, but for this exercise I redid the process with a black and white digital photo I took in Cape Town a few weeks ago. Double-click your background layer so it is not locked.

Second, add a transparent layer. We now want to insert a sphere on this background – in my case the one I wish to transform into a spinning and slightly transparent ball. OK! What you do is this: click on 3D at the top, follow > New mesh from layer > Mesh preset > Sphere!

How to design a basic 3D spinning sphere in Photoshop CS6 Extended

When you do this, you are invited to switch over to 3D – which is what you do.
You now arrive on the 3D plane, which reflects also top right, where you might have been on the “Essentials” or “Photography” work space where we normally work for 2D tasks.

The 3D plane in Photoshop CS6 Extended

Voila, you are in the 3D plane in Photoshop CS6 Extended!

On my example, you see the huge sphere on the black and white background photo on the Scene to the left with a little tab “Create Video Timeline” underneath.

On the right space, middle, you see three tabs: 3D, Layers and Channels. We come from Layers (open it and you see them in there) and we now work in 3D.

Make sure you open 3D – then you see in there Environment, Scene with Current View underneath, Sphere with Sphere Material underneath, and Infinite Light. I write these expressions bold here so we learn and remember the terminology. But I keep it very basic.

You also find 4 little icons inbetween 3D, Layers, Channels and Environment, which will always bring you back to these positions; just hover over them or press them to see.

Important now is to realise that each of the above (bold) items are linked directly to their own Properties panel! This gives us a lot of good, fast workflow and I encourage you to scroll through all of them to get the picture.

I want to work forward here now and click on Sphere under 3D. Immediately, I see the corresponding Properties Panel, which gives me the “Mesh” (meaning the object, i.e. the sphere) , where I can select/deselect for instance the cast shadow. And it gives me the “Coordinates” (the second icon at the top there).

Once I open the Coordinates panel, I get the X, Y and Z axis – all of which are needed to position my sphere.

Important: as my sphere is very probably not in the size nor position I want it for my picture, we need to correct that before opening the Video Timeline. Why? Well, each move is recorded. We want the freedom of finding the absolute correct size and position first – and if we look at the big sphere itself, we see the green vertical axis (Y), the red horizontal axis (X) and the Z axis, with a blue center dot. Hover over the blue dot and you see a yellow little square. Hover, rotate, click and see how you can move or rotate the sphere. Most importantly for me, I first want to scale it to the exact size I need. So the command I need to find for that – right here – is “Scale uniformly“.

How to design a basic 3D spinning sphere in Photoshop CS6 Extended

How to resize your sphere

Due to sound problems during the seminar, I never heard and consequently never ‘got this’, which made my life pretty hard. So here is where, when and how to resize the sphere – scale uniformly! My sphere now hovers over the water and I decided to leave a shadow for the time being! If you wish to move the sphere higher up or to the side, do so along the Y or X axis. It should be pretty clear.

I save this into my 3D folder. You just never know.

Great! Now that our sphere is well positioned, we want to see it with another skin, another color or texture in other words. For this click on “Sphere Material” under 3D and the corresponding Properties panels opens at the top right, giving us lots of options. Click on the dropdown to the far right and play with diverse options, remembering that this is just a start.

Once you made a selection, click on “Diffuse” to get the colour picker and change your colour if you wish. Click on the little folder next to “Diffuse” and load any texture or picture you wish to wrap around this sphere! Play with the sliders defining Reflection, Opacity etc and why not pull in another background picture via “Bump“? See the effect! Move the slider to see the degree of extrusion! While we want to learn how to use the tool, it’s always fascinating to see the effects we get that are a bit beyond our control!

You may want to go on “Current View” to look at your scene from different angles under “View” and change the focal length (FOV). Just see what happens and find what appeals to you – this is a learning exercise and this includes experimenting with our tool.

How to design a basic 3D spinning sphere in Photoshop CS6 Extended

How to use the Video Timeline

Once your position is defined and you are happy to get into spinning mode, save your project once more and then, while being on “Scene” on 3D, click on “Create Video Timeline” at the bottom and select “Create Video Timeline“.

Your video timeline opens with your sphere layer at the top. Click the dropdown so this section expands. You see the violet timeline goes until 10 seconds, defined in frames per second.

3D spinning sphere on Photoshop CS6 by Bianca Gubalke

We only focus on this section now:

First, we want to set a keyframe as this is when our action starts: from keyframe onwards until the end keyframe. We do this by clicking on the little ‘clock’ next to 3D Scene position (and we are still on 3D Scene of course).

We immediately observe that a yellow diamond (also galled ‘losange’ in French) is set at the beginning of our timeline. Right at the bottom you see: 0:00:00:00 (30.00 fps). Here you can always double-check that you hit the exact frame in whatever you do.

What shall we do?

Let’s have this sphere spin around its Y-axis – say 180 degrees in 2:00 seconds and a full 360 degrees in 4:00 seconds – that’s our spin objective now.

So we pull the blue keyhead to exactly 2:00f. Now we need to set the angle. This we do on the right top side, under Properties > Coordinates. We get the 3 lines of coordinates. In the center of the Y coordinate we see O degrees – and this we want to spin by 180 degrees anti-clockwise; so we delete O and insert -180 degrees and hit ENTER.

Back on our timeline, we immediately see a white diamond (losange) on our 2:00 line.

We repeat the same with 4:00f and -360 degrees – watching what happens with our globe as we hit ENTER. It moves! So this is basically our first animation.

We shorten the piece to be rendered to 4:01 by pulling the keyhead to 4:01 and then grabbing the vertical little time blocker on the far right and pulling it over. It snaps to 4:01 and we see that the workspace underneath is reduced to 4:01 – giving us far less to render. As we want this spin to repeat forever, there is no need to do more.

Note: there seems to be a bug on 3D timeline that the rendering goes to 3:29 instead of 4:00. This we remedy by ending on 4:01 instead of 4:00. Just a tip…

Time to check our spin! On the far left under Timeline, bring the keyheader back to its start position and hit on START! There’s your first spin!

Loading your spinning sphere as a GIF

Save it and then, to see it in a browser or even insert it in a website or wherever, click on Save for Web and save it as a GIF. As you see on my screenshot, it is important to ensure that you select GIF, Adaptive (instead of Selective as that changes the colours), Tick Transparency, Untick “convert to sRGB, and at the bottom, under “Animation” change from ‘once’ to ‘forever‘ to get a loop.

3D spinning sphere image by Bianca Gubalke

Check it from your folder or load it to your server and see the result of your first 3D spinning sphere creation on the new Photoshop CS6 Extended. You can see the sphere spinning beautifully HERE, slide 2 at the top.

This is just the beginning… but it’s what we need to get right before digging deeper into the many features and options! Have Fun!

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New journey for Neil Armstrong

New journey for Neil Armstrong

Wishing Neil Armstrong well on his new journey, I will never forget when, as a young girl, I waited patiently for a big moment to happen in world history. I remember that quiet, serene night. A large beautiful moon was reflecting in the Glienicker See, erasing the notion of separation, the fact that in those days Berlin was separated with a distinct and fiercely controlled border running through exactly this lake.

Neil Armstrong on Wikipedia

Lying on the carpet in front of the television, my head resting on basset hound “Mr.”, my eyes shifted between the developments on the screen – which showed pictures of Apollo 11 and Mission Control in Houston, USA, in black and white at the time – and that bright moon shining through the open window, setting my imagination totally of fire! Being here and there at the same time, thinking ‘realistically’ beyond limits – what a thrill!

The rest of the house had gone to bed; I was far too excited! I wanted to be in the moment and see that extraordinary first step onto the moon, the ‘real’ man in the moon’!

Back then, having just arrived from South West Africa, it was also my first contact with television! Those were the days…

New journey for Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong had to take over manual control and the historic landing on the moon took place at 20:17:39 UTC on 20th July, 1969! Needless to say that by that time – in the early morning hours in Berlin – I was wide awake and my eyes were glued to the screen!

About seven hours later, after completing all their technical tasks according to a specific program planned to the minute, Neil Armstrong was the first man stepping onto the moon and his words will never be forgotten: “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”
He took most photos himself on a single Hasselblad camera.

A little later, Buzz Aldrin joined him and they planted the flag of the USA on the moon. President Richard Nixon called “the moon” from his office, speaking for about 1 minute; Neil Armstrong responded for about 30 seconds.

When his proclamation was rebroadcast by BBC, the world population was about 3.631 billion people and the estimated global audience at that moment was 450 million listeners.

Neil Armstrong died on 25th August, 2012, aged 82 years – in the middle of the ‘digital age’ with a world that has totally changed since that first step on the moon. When this brave US astronaut spoke in Congress in 2011, he said ”ideological differences fade in the presence of the overpowering force of pride in what we do”.

These words contain a big Truth that holds much of what would help struggling countries to find their identities and get back on their feet again today.
We think of this great man on his new journey.

Cycads in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Cycads in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

As Cape Town enjoyed its first beautiful spring day today we decided to see the cycads in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on the magic eastern slope of Table Mountain. It couldn’t have been a better day; the air was crystal clear, the sun shining without being too hot, and all colours were lush from weeks of continuous rains and beaming in the sparkling morning light.

Cycads in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape TOwn - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

Cycads in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Cycads belong to the Cycadophyta family and were very common during the Jurassic period. They haven’t really changed.

Cycads in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape TOwn - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

Today, if ever there would be a sequel to “Jurassic Park”, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens with its spectacular wealth of huge old as well as young cycads should be first choice as a prime location. A while ago I was told by a local cycad grower that some of these magnificent (and extremely expensive) plants may face extinction through loss of their natural habitat and theft instigated by ruthless collectors, and that their numbers are closely monitored today (with certificates).

Cycads in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape TOwn - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

Interestingly, cycads bear their naked, unfertilized seeds in the open to be fertilized by pollination, often through a specific beetle. As you see on my photo, at some stage the seeds are covered by nylon bags to probably protect them against hungry birds and squirrels as well and possibly the odd afficinado who cannot resist the temptation to pinch a seed and possibly grow one of these plants in his own collection!

Cycads in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape TOwn - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

If you come to Cape Town, South Africa, make sure you visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens NOW; while the spring flowers are not out yet, the cycads are well worth the journey; you don’t often see them like that.

Psychic Readings History

Psychic Readings History

If we look into the History of Psychic Readings we want to remember that the origin of the word “psychic” is derived from the good old Greek word psychikos meaning “mind, mental, of the mind“. Besides, in Greek mythology the maiden with the name ‘Psyche’ – meaning breath, blow, live – was the deification of the soul. So here we have a very interesting and thought-provoking combination of mind and soul that has its roots far back in ancient times. This is probably the environment a genuine psychic or psychic reader operates in. One name that comes up immediately when thinking of a genuine psychic is Edgar Cayce (1877–1945). Even though we still do not know how exactly the process worked or works, everything was well documented and proven. I wouldn’t be surprised if we found possible solutions to many problems today in the wealth of material and books he left. It’s just a matter of ‘seeing’ and ‘understanding’ – which brings us back to the mind and soul.

Orange Butterfly Image by Bianca Gubalke

Psychic Readings History

Psychic Readings History is an area that certainly interests many of us from very different angles – as what exactly is the mind? What is the soul? Where does it come from? Where does it go to? Why do illnesses of the mind and soul grow so rapidly these days that they occupy position 2 in terms of diseases according to WHO?

While an incredible amount of knowledge and scientifically proven results and data have been accumulated over the past years, lots of it freely available on the Internet for those who really want to know (just see today’s amazing example HERE) much remains to be discovered as “…there’s more between heaven and earth than the human mind can perceive”.

Why am I writing about a topic like Psychic Readings History anyway? The answer is that I designed the website PSYCHIC READINGS ONLINE with an Irish touch for psychic Delia O’Riordan (Just Ask Delia) about a year ago and I keep monitoring and tracking results in terms of Google rankings.

Psychic Readings on Google

A psychic reader is a consultant who provides guidance in certain life situations, when people find themselves at crossroads or when an independent ‘mirror’ is needed, despite the fact that we might well know the answer deep inside but we are desperate for a discreet form of confirmation. Looking back on decades of successful work in her field of expertise and many satisfied clients, Delia O’Riordan decided to establish herself online. She writes remarkable and extremely well researched articles and reviews that I can only recommend to anyone interested in this area and looking for high quality reading. The point however is: if your article about Psychic Readings does not appear on Google Top 10 nobody will find and, consequently, read it. Virtual world or not, in a way you simply don’t exist – period!

Psychic Readings Transformation Image by Psychic Delia O'Riordan

So how do we ensure Psychic Delia is being found on Google Top 10?

First, we use the brilliant WordPress based Semiomantics XO script. Second, we have regular, high quality content. Third, we keep an eye on Google algorhythms and other changes and developments to ensure high rankings. The world changes – the Internet does so even faster!

Psychic Readings Self-Transformation on Google

We just took two recent articles – Psychic Readings Transformation (22,1 million search results) and Psychic Readings Self-Transformation (1,85 million search results) – and checked their positioning on Google. Lo and behold – we look at Google Number One and Google Number Two positions. You agree… these are absolutely smashing results!

Whether your website is about Psychic Readings Online, Best Wedding Venues or Super Yachts of the Rich – with Semiomantics and its focus on support and maintenance even after the website has been completed, you will have a guaranteed winner!

PayPal South Africa

PayPal South Africa

One of the positive results in the wake of the FIFA Soccer World Cup 2010 in South Africa was the fact that, finally, we got the ‘real’ PayPal South Africa. Great start!

PayPal South Africa 2012

Sure, South Africans did have PayPal accounts as millions of other people in most developed countries around the world, however, we were restricted to making payments, meaning money out – to acquire any products, goods or services – but we could not receive nor withdraw money to any of our bank accounts, meaning no money in! This obviously cut us off from all forms of online business. Smart economists certainly calculated what this meant in terms of loss in revenue, business development and general growth over the years, not to speak of what it meant for our ranking as a nation on the international list of dynamic, emerging economies.

About one and a half years ago all this changed… or almost.

PayPal South Africa

So where are we today with PayPal South Africa? Meanwhile we are past the middle of 2012!

PayPal Withdrawals now available with all South African Banks

“PayPal withdrawals now available with all South African Banks” was the headline of a relatively outdated article (Nov. 2011) my friend Hanno Coetzee from Lalakoi Publishing fished from the Internet today, according to which – as it seems – FNB has no longer exclusivity when it comes to withdrawing your PayPal funds to your South African bank account. Before it was restricted to only FNB; now it could be to any bank – ABSA, Standard Bank or Nedbank to name just a few.

This sounds like the next step in our “Long Walk to Freedom” when it comes to getting to the same level the rest of the modern world enjoys in this environment.

What has not changed is that you are still required to create a free FNB online banking account and profile to link with your PayPal account – whether you are an FNB client or not. As is stated in the document, this is based on the current reporting requirements of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), in other words to keep control of the various transactions within strict exchange control rules.

“FNB and PayPal have a similar focus on innovation, so it makes sense that we would work with FNB to make online payments even easier for merchants and consumers in South Africa,” said Oded Zehavi, head of PayPal’s business in Israel and South Africa. “With South Africa’s solid financial infrastructure and its status as one of the continent’s largest economies, we have seen great strides in eCommerce in this market.” […]

Well, it’s about time…. and by no means an ‘innovation’; rather a question of catching up with the rest of the world!

What also remains to be seen is for how long South Africans have to withdraw any funds they receive in PayPal to their respective bank accounts within 30 days. As all transactions are a cost factor and only in favour of the banks (…first you have to withdraw to your bank account… then you need the money to pay something and the money goes back into your PayPal!!!…), I hope we catch up with modern nations on this issue as well.

The fact is that PayPal keeps perfect and very detailed records (History) of all transactions in and out that can be downloaded and printed for accounting reasons. Everything is tracked and ‘controllable’ – a perfect mirror of one’s online money movement footprint. So to the consumer this is a total waste of time and money. Lifting this requirement as soon as possible would make a lot of sense – or?

BulletProof Security Updates

BulletProof Security Updates

When you go for a long hike in the mountains you usually take a few items along to protect yourself… just in case – be it a mobile phone, water, a hat, solid shoes or a dog. When you are active on the Internet, you investigate methods and ways of how to protect your website or blog against… well, let’s call them ‘intruders’. You know what I mean. Installing your chosen form of security and setting it up is great, but don’t neglect or ignore occasional updates. These are usually security updates, meaning that some spiffy loopholes were discovered and closed off. As there has just been a BulletProof Security Update – and many of our Ycademy Members use this program – here’s some advice on what to do once you have clicked on “update” in your Plugins section (Dashboard).

Noordhoek Mountain Path Image by Bianca Gubalke

BulletProof Security Updates

Don’t think you’re done once you’ve clicked on your BulletProof Security Updates!

What you want to do is go to “BPS Security” further down on your menu and click on it to open the BulletProof section. Check under BP SECURITY STATUS whether everything is still green – which will most likely no longer be the case! Heck, what now?

No panic, these are the few steps to be taken to ‘get green’ again – meaning you’re on the safe side… as far as that is possible in life :)

First, go to BACKUP & RESTORE.

Tick Nr. 3 at the bottom and Backup Master Files

Tick Nr. 1 at the top and Backup Files

Do NOT tick RESTORE obviously.

Check again under BP SECURITY STATUS as to how much RED is left. Probably there is…

Now go to SECURITY MODES and click BACKUP from the BOTTOM! Do all 4 sections, but start at the bottom! All should be fine and click OK when you get the popup.

Now go back to BP Security Status and check that all is green – it should be!

I hope this helped! Enjoy your website and be safe!