Posted in Art, Diamond Painting

GemsFlows – Diamond Painting Log Book App

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about diamond painting. In fact, it’s sadly been a while since I worked on my diamond painting – I’ve been caught up in so many other things in my free time.

I’ve meant to get back to working on the project I started over the holidays. I even picked up a new art desk a few months back just to have a diamond painting station separate from my PC desk.

Thankfully, I ran across this new app that has got me working on my diamond painting again!

Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to keep a log of the diamond painting projects I completed. I’ve moved the pages a few times – once from my Sygnus.org blog to my Tumblr. Then I was considering moving them again to a Neocities site (I might still finish this).

Over the weekend, I ran across the GemsFlow app. Now that I’ve been using my Samsung tablet for exploring many apps that my tiny little iPhone has no room for, I hopped right into this and found it exactly what I needed in terms of keeping a personal diamond panting log.

So you can enter each diamond painting as a new project in this app. You can record things about it like the size, how many colors were in the kit, where you got it from, when you started and finished it, and a rating of how much you enjoyed it. If you want to do things like log hours, you can do that too.

You can also upload several pictures – such as in progress shots that you’ve taken of the project along the way.

Creating an optional account allows you to connect your data to the cloud where you can sync your logbook across several devices. This is a nice feature, though for now, I’m mostly interested in keeping it on my tablet.

GemsFlows as a company selling diamond paintings (including customs) is not one I’m familiar with. There is a storefront within the app, but I’ve never bought from them before. I might give one of their customs a shot somewhere down the line, though!

In searching, I did find another diamond painting log book app out there called AliDiamonds. I did download this and look at it a bit – it seems to be connected with AliExpress (a Chinese storefront that offers a huge number of diamond paintings).

When I first started diamond painting, I did order some from AliExpress. Though once COVID hit, getting non-essential imports from China closed down real fast, so I started turning towards more local options.

Diamond Painting shops in the US tend to be more expensive overall. However, the quality of kits from overseas can be a little iffy and they can take months to finally deliver.

When buying diamond paintings from US shops, you generally know that the cost goes into the quality of the kits you get. Also, many US shops work with the artists they feature within the kits and ensure the artists get a rightful royalty from the work.

So, all that to say that I’ve not purchased anything from AliExpress in over a year. And the AliDiamonds app, while it seemed to do about the same thing, also had ads strewn through it on top of a marketplace. This turned me off and made me settle on GemsFlow, which doesn’t have ads that I’ve seen.

I’ll probably still keep a log online because I just like having one out there to point to for those who are curious. But as a personal log, I’m happy to have a tablet app that I can pull out anytime and anywhere of my diamond painting projects.

Posted in Gaming

FlowScape: Painting a Digital Environment

FlowScape was a program that I picked up over the Steam winter sale at Syn’s suggestion. It’s not really a game, persay, but it has elements that make it feel game-like.

I’ve spent a little bit of time messing around with it so far – the idea was we could use it to make natural backgrounds for our webcomic art. So, I don’t have a full grasp on what all it can do and what the limitations might be. But from what I have experimented with, it should do what we need it to.

Flowscape isn’t just a digital art or 3D sculpting program. It’s pretty intuitive to use and it has very chill and relaxing background music that accompanies you while you play (some of the tracks were by Skyrim composer Jeremy Soule).

You can start with a random seed that plops down an environment and some animals and edit that if you want. Or, you can make a blank slate and do your own thing.

I rolled a few random seeds so you could see some of the variety in the starter environments you get.

Modifying the environment really is as easy as selecting plants, items or animals and “painting” them in with your mouse. It’s hard to explain, so I’m dropping a video here instead!

Steam reviews note that this is a great immersive program for worldbuilding and often used for creating atmospheres for tabletop gaming. And I can really see that. I’ve hardly scratched the surface of what this program can do, but as the video above shows, there’s quite a bit that can be done with it.

I’m not sure if they’ll ever open it up to something like the Steam Workshop, but having the community create assets for it would be absolutely incredible! While there’s not yet a Workshop built in, the Flowscape Discord has it covered:

I think I need to join this Discord. I’m sure there’s lots of inspiration to be had there!
(Note: And there is.)

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Heavensward’s End (No Spoilers), Level 60 Paladin & Fan Art

Last night, I finally completed leveling my Paladin to 60. Seeing that I hit 50 not all that long ago, and I actually got pretty lazy about leveling for a few weeks, that’s not too bad! I could certainly see myself using this route to level other jobs to 60 in the future.

Speaking of which, I’m trying to decide what job to tackle next. I have Ninja, Black Mage and Warrior all sitting in the mid 30s at this moment. I’m probably going to take on Black Mage simply because it shares gear with Summoner and eventually Red Mage, and that’ll allow me to consolidate gear on down the line. Who knows… I might end up liking Black Mage.

For now, my Paladin’s gear is pretty crappy, so I might still do a few hunts to at least get a set of ilvl 200 across the board. I do have a few higher level drops I’ve gathered, but for the most part, there’s a lot to upgrade.

The End of Heavensward

FFXIV dropped patch 3.56, which brought the end of the story for Heavensward. I won’t go into any details that include spoilers today. I’ll talk more about my impressions tomorrow.

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I’ll just say that finishing up this expansion through story reminded me why I’m still playing this game almost four years after I started. I’m not going to hype the story. I felt like it was a solid ending to one story… but more of a beginning to Stormblood than anything else. I enjoyed it, especially the characterization.

I’m also happy I switched back to a kitty for this before the story dropped. There’s just something about the Miqo’te’s  facial expressions that I missed when I switched to Elezen. My kitty has really grown on me in a short time.

In fact, I even sat down and drew my first ever piece of fan work for FFXIV. There’s something about my kitty’s hair that inspires art.

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Posted in Art, Webcomics

Wayrift – 14 Years of Webcomic Change

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This past week, our ongoing webcomic, Wayrift, celebrated 14 years of being online. This is not just online time, however, but 14 years of consistent updates, 3 times a week (now in full color). Every now and then, Syn and I take a week off for vacation. But even then, she sometimes draws humor comics or I post a sketch to fill in the blank.

Rather than post something sappy about the whole thing, I decide to post an art comparison of my style evolution instead. Inspired by a post about Twitter folks who are showing before and after shots of their work, I chose one of the oldest frames of Ben, drawn in 2003, to compare to one of the newer frames, drawn just a week or two ago.

Before someone does the math and says 2016 – 2003 = 13… not 14! The earliest comics from 2002 were scrapped and redrawn. So I don’t have 2002 stuff to show without digging for it.

Don’t laugh too hard at either of them! 😀