Rise One More Time

I’m still having fun with the Rise Action with Photoshop. It has a really neat effect. This one didn’t come out perfect, but I’m still experimenting. Here are a few more attempts at this.



That last one looks impressive.

I have another admission. Remember when I mentioned that my brother plays Minecraft but I don’t? Well, it turns out I got hooked. I’ve been playing on some Minecraft servers that are public and popular and having a lot of fun with this game.

Here are a handful of the servers I am playing on.

  • Hypixel
  • Desteria
  • PrimeMC
  • ExtremeCraft

I think Hypixel is the best, but it depends on what you’re looking for. There’s a full list of the best Minecraft servers here:


And there are many other catalogs and lists if you just go on Google and search for “minecraft servers”

Once I discovered multi-player, I stopped teasing my brother for playing all the time and joined him!


Dressing Up Some Minecraft Maps

All my little brother does is play Minecraft. I never really got into it, but sometimes I watch him play and I can see why it’s so addicting and fun. Even though the blocky graphics seem more limiting than say, an XBox 360 game, you quickly learn just how creative the game can be.

One thing my little brother is really into lately is collecting and playing through custom Minecraft Maps. These are downloadable maps that other users create. You can load them into your game and play through them. Some are terrible. Some are beautiful.

I started to look through some of the more beautiful ones and thought I’d see if I could make the screenshots even more interesting with some Photoshop filters. Here’s my first pass.


This screenshot is from a Minecraft adventure map called Pandora. It’s loosely based on the world from the movie, The Hunger Games, and features a lot of epic outdoor scenery to explore.

Here is the same map screenshot, but presented in the style of an impasto painting.


And here it is again, this time in the style of a Claude Monet painting. I like to think that if Claude Monet were alive today, he would produce some really amazing Minecraft maps.





Rise Up and Shine

A few weeks ago, I shared an impasto style painting of a girl. Here is a photo illustration, done with a black white photo enhanced with a Photoshop action from sevenstyles called Rise. I really love the effect and will play with this some more to get the best output.

And here is another one, just for fun…

Before the Action


After the Action


I think I could have done the selection around her neck and arms a lot better but for a quick experiment this was very easy.

Poptropica Steamworks Island Walkthrough

Steamworks Island in Poptropica is a fun steampunk-themed island adventure where everyone seems to have disappeared and you have to figure out what happened! Here is the complete walkthrough with help from PoptropicaSecrets.com.

Main Street

Walk to the Clockwork Cantina and complete the gear puzzle. Put the two brownish gears on the ends and the three blue gears go in the middle. Turn the crank when they are all in place. Now pick up the Multitool that just seemed on the earth.

Now walk to the right and you’ll see a garbage bin. Jump up on it to get the Steam Battery.

Walk to the right again and go inside the Museum. Run to the right and you’ll see a huge machine that is yellow. Click on the blue lever to lift the arm. Then jump on the platforms and make your way to the upper-right corner. Watch out for the darker platforms which fall and will crumble when you step on them. Snatch the beaker that is dirty out of the display case. Then depart the museum.

Return to the Clockwork Cantina. Jump up and snap on the blue lever here. A mechanical ramp will extend. Run it up and leap onto the steam chutes to fly over the tower and up. You should land together with a glass dome. Use your multi tool then go down inside and to open it.

You are now inside the Mayor’s office. Check the note and the painting out on the typewriter, which give you an important number to remember for later: 0516. Leave the office, jump back down to the road and run to enter the zone that is next.

Gear Street

Pass by Sully’s shop and proceed to the blue building in the centre. This really is the living quarters. Jump up the platforms on the left side and after that run past the door. You’ll see a robot crab here. Jump up and land to get him bounce and flip over. When he does, he’ll drop Sully’s key. Pick up the robot crab and the key.

Drop down to the road and visit another building on the left. Jump up onto the steam chute and leap up to the roof. You will find a vintage vine here. Pick it up to place it in your backpack.

Run to the right until you get in front of Sully’s Steam Powered Paraphernalia store. There’s a Steam Terminal here. Use the steam battery in your backpack. You’ll get a puzzle here where you need to regulate the steam pressure in the terminal. The beginning pressure is 10 and the finishing pressure needs to be 5. You should adjust the valves to ensure that the pressure will lose five points as it travels to the ending.

Sully’s Store

You’ll locate a robot in the corner that is right once you get inside Sully’s. It is Sprocket! Ring the bell on the desk next to him to wake him up. Then go pick up the rubber mallet from the junk box.

Leave Sully’s and you will be followed by Sprocket. If you click on him you can ask him some questions. He’s not quite talkative but you’ll hear more from him after.

Head to the privilege to return to Main Street. Run all the way and then move onto the next zone, called the Hub.

The Hub

Run along the ramp until you get to a metal hatch that’s glowing red-hot, when you arrive in the Hub. If you try and snap it, you’ll see it is much too hot to touch. Walk up to it and use the robot crab in your backpack. Sprocket the robot then drop the inferior crab on top of the hatch and will take it. The hatch will be cooled down by the water from the robot so that it is possible to open up it.

Go down the hatch. When you get to the bottom of the ladder, Sprocket will appear pretty scared. Make your way down the conduits until you run into a plant monster living inside them. Use the old vine out of your backpack underneath the sign Caution: Hot Steam. This will spray on steam onto the plant beast and kill it. Go along to the bottom left of the room and you’ll locate the bottom of an elevator. Click on the round hatch above.

Now you will need to solve three amounts of a ball tilt maze game that’s a lot like the classic wooden box Labyrinth game. Spin the wheel either clockwise or counter-clockwise with your cursor to get the ball to the centre. The lift will power up, after you complete all three degrees.

Return back up out of the region to the road. Go a few steps to the right and jump up onto the spring. Next to another blue lever, you should land up after three leaps. Click the giant Hub wheel and the lever will start to go.

Go back down onto the road and run to the left. Jump up and grab the vines and climb up to a platform. Wait for the moving platform on the Hub wheel and leap onto it. Then jump off in the upper right corner (purpose for the yellow pipe). Walk to the right and use the steam valve to jump up and to the left. Continue moving until you get to the lift entry to the Captain’s Cabin. Then go inside.

A Sprocket will be caught by some, soon as you enter plant vines. Go down and click on the metal window shutters to snatch the vines and free him. When you do, he’ll speak to you personally for the first time and say, “Thank you.” Now it is possible to speak to him and ask him questions and hear his narrative.

Run to the right and use the moving platforms to get around the big painting. It is a replica of the painting.

Click on the dial at the bottom of the graphic. This is a combination lock. The blend is the amount from the mayor’s office: 0516. Starting with the innermost ring, click on each triangle to get the wheel. Then click it when it is pointing to the correct amount. The bands get faster so this can be tricky.

A secret door will open, when you get the blend right. Go interior and you’ll take Captain Ziggs’ room. Head to the left and pick up the bridge key (on the floor) and the Weed Whacker (upwards on the wall). Leave the room.

Go down and to the right and jump off the patio to return to the Hub zone. Go right until you get at the end to the Steam Terminal. Use the steam battery then solve the puzzle. It is just like the first one, but you need to correct the pressure from 10 to 16 (6). The bridge will lower and you’ll be able to run across, once you’re successful.

Production Zone

Take several steps to the right and hop on the spring to get to the platform above. There is a control panel here with three reddish levers and a green button. Move all the levers after which press on the green button. The giant wrecking ball will drop and hit the ground, creating a hole.


Jump down and go through the hole. Make the right path down and to the right and you’ll enter a mechanical room. First, press on the three red pressure pads on each side. Then you will need to press on the two remaining pads (the ones) at precisely the same time. Sprocket offer while you get the other to hold down one.

The machine will turn on and the stages that are moving above will begin turning. Use this to get up to the top of the room. There is a lever on the wall that is left. Click it to get another platform to go up and down. Then jump up to the right and use the stages and vines to get to some moving conveyer belt. Here you will need to prevent blobs that drop from a plant monster.

Continue across the vines and soon you’ll locate the Mech Steam Motor, one of two components you’ll need to repair the Mech. Continue on the vines and go to the Greenhouse.


Walk to the left for blending Herbicide and you’ll find an area. Pay attention to the chart on the wall. Use the dirty beaker from your back pack then fill it with three components blue, two parts green and four parts reddish. When you’re done, you will have some Herbicide Mixture.

Proceed to the platform and then up to the right above. Use the herbicide on the plant monster. It is going to shrink and vanish, showing a maintenance cabinet. Go inside.

There is an old custodian robot here. He’s holding onto the Living Quarters Access Key. Take it from him and he’ll get up and the alarm system will go off. You can’t leave the way that you came because the security system has a pressure hose that knocks you back. This is where I got stuck this walkthrough. Particular thanks to DR3 from the PoptropicaSecrets.com community who provided the following measure.

Go back from the care closet after which climb the vines above. Proceed to the left and you’ll see the glass dome has some tiny cracks that are white here. Use the rubber mallet from your back pack to smash a hole in the dome and escape.

Now run all the way back to Equipment Alley, which is on the left of Main Street.

Equipment Street Redux

When you arrive, head to the bottom of the living quarters building (blue) and jump on the lever on the gear’s right platform. This will increase the one.

Take several steps to the left, then jump up the stages to arrive at the doorway. Use your steam battery after which solve the steam valve puzzle. This time, you should correct the steam by -3 to get it from 10 to 7. The door will open. Go inside.

Living Quarters

Go click on the blue lever on the left to make the platform rise. Use it to get up to the next level and continue making your way up. Jump on the blue button on the floor to make the ladder rise. You will want to quickly jump up the ladder because it falls back down another or two later. When you arrive at the top left, there’s another door. Go through it.

Zack’s Room

Go as much as the top left corner and select the wall to solve the following puzzle, which is a timed game where you have to get the steam to go safely from one corner to the other. You must click the squares to reveal pipes underneath and then swap the pipes about to create a clear path. You’ll find three levels to get through.

Go outside and cross over the vine that acts as a tightrope all the way to the left, where you’ll locate the Mech Crank which will be the second piece you are required to repair the Mech in Sully’s Garage.

Jump down to the street below and go to Sully’s Garage.

Sully’s Garage

Use both the Steam Motor and the Mech Crank from your back pack on the Mech. It will likely be fixed and you can now walk around in the Mech. Is this the coolest thing in what or Poptropica? You will also get a teleporter device you can use to instantly travel back to the Mech from everywhere you go on Steamworks.

Walking in around to the left and the Mech, head out from the garage. There is a large doorway covered by vines. Attach from your back pack to the Mech after which use the spacebar to smash all the vines. Go through the doorway when it’s not unclear.

Storage Room

Now you’re inside a storage area. Make your path through, using the space bar to smash plant monsters that assault. At one point, you will need to leave power and your Mech up one of the lifts. Then return in the Mech and ride it up to the following platform.

Continue through this zone, killing plant monsters as you go until you be rid of him and get to the final plant giant in the room. Go to the next zone through the doorway.

Wind Zone

Go down the ramp to the left and you will find a giant windmill. Walk all the way up to the blades and Sprocket offer to help.

Depart the Mech and stand on the blades as they spin to ride nearly to the top. Then jump onto the platform above. Use your multi-tool to stop the blades. The door wills open.

Get back in the Mech and go through the doorway.

Hibernation Center

And we eventually learn the secret of what happened to all the inhabitants of Steamworks Island. First, depart the Mech and visit the machine. Use the multitool on it and the room will light up.

Zack will emerge from concealed hibernation chamber and he and Sprocket will be re-united. Sweet!

The mayor will even appear and tell you the story of what happened. Then you’ll see and hear bulges from below. There is still work to be done.

Jump up to the stages on the right and get the Toxic Blaster. Then get back in your Mech and attach it.

Take the lift down to the next zone.

Tunnel System

Go through the room and shoot down the attacking plants by using the spacebar to fire and aiming with the mouse. Kill all the plants.

You need to wind up on the platform just above the floor. If you miss it, you will need spin screw thing to raise yourself up and to stand on the bolt/ it.

There is a going platform here. Wait for it and then ride it across to the doorway and prepare for the final conflict…

Plant Hive

You’re now in the final boss battle. There are three boss monsters and to make things even more demanding, acid starts to fill the room from below. You must start over and lose, if you touch the acid. You just have a brief time to conquer each boss monster.

The essential technique for all three monsters will be to get up enough so that they try and strike at you with their heads. It is kind of like the Hydra from Mythology Island. You can shoot at them, causing a splat, when they do. Each monster has to be splatted three times and it’ll evaporate and you may proceed.

After you conquer the final plant monster, you’ll re appear next to the mayor, who will present the island medallion to you.

Impasto of a Blonde

Here is a photo painting done by a friend, who in turn painted her friend. It’s done in the style of an impasto painting. This is essentially a painting done with thick, textured paint. Or to quote my friend, “Impasto is a great technique for spending all of your money on paint.”

Here’s another painting, scanned into digital format and presented as a Mac screenshot (shown with Mac Preview).