Archive for the ‘Photoshop’ Category

Tutorial-Recreating Doily Design in Photoshop CS4

March 23, 2017

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Browsing the internet, I found this digital doily design by Hansje van Halem that incorporated a digital typeface with hand-drawn doily circles in Photoshop. After watching the short process video included in the post, I thought through how I might try something similar but without having to draw each circle by hand. Solution? Create a repeating pattern in Photoshop and apply some filters.

One caveat: were I to use this technique for an actual illustration piece, I would probably create several pattern swatches using different sized brushes. In this way I could scale the patterns to create the illusion of varied sizes around the edges.

Step 1: Create the pattern swatch. Create a new Photoshop file (800 pixels x 800 pixels)and fill it with black ‘crochet’ circles of different sizes. Under the FILTER menu, select OTHER –> OFFSET. Make sure the Undefined Areas are set to WRAP AROUND, then offset both vertical and horizontal settings by 400 pixels. Clean up the pattern and fill in any gaps before setting the OFFSET filter to -4000 pixels to return the swatch to its previous setup. Inspect the swatch then create the swatch using  EDIT–> DEFINE PATTERN. Repeat this step if you want a variety of swatches to choose from in order to mask the non-random nature of this method.

Step 2: Apply Pattern. Create a new Photoshop document. On a new layer, select EDIT–>FILL and select the pattern you just created. It may be useful to fill a large canvas, larger than your intended size. In the SELECT menu, choose COLOR RANGE and use the Eyedropper tool to select the white pixels then hit the DELETE key. This layer can then be copied into a third file with your final canvas size. In this way you can resize and rotate the artwork to further reduce the tiled pattern artifacting.

Step 3: Apply layer FX.  In the layer effects menu, give your artwork a COLOR OVERLAY (this is why we deleted the white pixels) and apply the BEVEL/EMBOSS effect to make the artwork appear to be embroidery thread. Play around with the settings. I chose the “emboss” setting and kept the depth fairly shallow, lowering the shading transparency. Duplicate this layer, changing the COLOR OVERLAY to a complementary color.

STEP 4: Create Embroidered Letter. On the duplicated embroidery layer, create a mask by either hand drawing a letter or making a selection from a type object. Clean up the edges where the two colors meet by adding and subtracting from the mask with the Pen tool.

These basic steps can be manipulated to create a whole range of styles and illustrations. Play around and adapt them to your ideas and creative projects.

 

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Chicken the Brave

October 1, 2016

I thought this would be a fun band name or kids illustrated book so I created a little hand drawn/digitally enhanced logotype. I had been looking at the fun, loose vector art of J. Otto Seibold and was enjoying his hand lettering style. After looking the letter forms over and doing a quick analysis, I jumped into sketching, followed by rounds of scanning and redrawing (both digitally in Photoshop and by hand) before vectorizing, doing some (slight) cleanup, and adding vector flourishes in Illustrator.

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chicken1 initial sketch

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one of several rounds of digital correction and play

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scan of a hand drawn cleanup on a light printout

Personal Typography project

September 3, 2016

One of the things I enjoy most about designing is the ability to create something out of nothing by first creating or assembling the component parts and arranging them in a visually interesting way.

Recently I’ve been hand-drawing typefaces and I thought it would be fun to create a font and use it as the base for creating posters from phrases, song lyrics and story titles. The key concept is to utilize or modify a single, self-created typeface to create a wide range of stylistic applications.

From an initial idea I created the letterforms below. Conscious of the fact that there are many flaws (especially in the odd stroke weights in several of the letters), I nevertheless decided to push ahead, modifying and improving the letterforms as I went. The 3 designs that I’ve finished so far were a lot of fun to work on and help me “learn” the strengths and weaknesses of the letter forms and relationships.

Process- Retro Poster

July 19, 2016

Poster_small_animated

Hand-lettering to Photoshop

June 21, 2016

Graphic for a visual presentation for elementary students. These are the main stages, although there were myriad intermediaries.

I began with a pencil sketched inked with sharpies. Once scanned I played around with the interaction of the letters. The slant created some dynamic interaction and minimized dead space. I printed the photoshopped sketch out, redrew the design using broad Prismacolor pens (chisel tip),  and rescanned. I realized that the “the” way out on the left forced an incorrect reading of the phrase. I threw the whole thing back into Photoshop and…voila!

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Graphite/Digital Overlay Illustration

February 21, 2016

I had attempted a “composite art” drawing previously, but I was inspired to attempt a more textural experiment with graphite after viewing Drew Shannon’s work. I scanned in the tracing paper separations then applied a color overlay to each layer (blending modes set to “overlay”). Some tweaking is still needed and, of course, the illustration needs to be more thought out but I do like the texture that the scanned pencils preserve.

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Process-Turkey time again

October 17, 2015

November is Thanksgiving season and that means I get to do a Turkey illustration. Each year I have tried to refine this process to increase my productivity. I think the current system is working, though there is always room for improvement.

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Process: Retro Robot Concert Poster

August 28, 2015

Preparing for another House Concert means creating another poster and flyer. Often I start by kicking around the words “House” and “Concert”. After a few dead ends I started thinking of “Retro Space Theme” as an idea. That didn’t go the way I had hoped, but did get me thinking about robots like the one from “Lost in Space”. Initially I thought I would make a crew of character robots to hold up and interact with the type. Since I’ve done character posters in the past, I recognized their secondary value as stickers/badges/giveaway items.

I tackled the project by research “robot-ish” components. The idea was to use the symbols palette in Illustrator to “frankenstein” a variety of figures from a collection of “bits”. I spent several hours making pieces, some of which I did not end up using, but since they are stored, maybe someday I will use them.

symbols

At this point I went back to my sketchbook since the robots I had tried to assemble were uninspired. I came up with an idea to do a “musical” robot, assembled from instruments (my first poster did something like this except with a Victorian house). I had hit on the idea of making the type for the word “house” be out of wire and the word concert out of metal. I hand-built the “concert” font after a quick sketch. Having already created a brush and 1/4″ cable symbol it was just a matter of finessing the script in order to be legible and have a flowy, cable-like personality. I went to work on the concert type and added gears and sprockets, repurposing my symbols to add that industrial touch.

Robo S

typography

typography wireframe

After the type was assembled I jumped into Photoshop and began building and importing vector graphics as needed. I had collected some vintage paper textures and distressed paper folds. I also had researched retro swatches and constructivist motifs…kind of. My first attempt was on target and I was pleased with the robot and the comedic element he played (rather than the brooding overlord I had first envisioned). There was too much wasted space, however. The names of the performers were too small. I stepped back and took a fresh look.

First Try

I was much happier with the second attempt. “House” and :”concert” were grouped more closely and more space was given to the musicians. I added some gradients behind the main text to give it more presence. Additionally, since I was able to drop the text down, more of my background “widget” wallpaper was visible. That had been made by simply selecting a number of my Illustrator symbols and turning them into silhouettes then arranging them in a grid.

Second Attempt

Below are some details. I ended up putting a halftone pattern behind the robot to bring him out better as well as redrawing the curve of his glass dome for the same reason.

detail 1 detail 2

Process: Concert Poster

July 26, 2015

Time again for a new concert promotional poster. For this one I wanted to play around with hand-drawn lettering and some fun characters. My initial sketches were scanned, resized in photoshop, printed, and redrawn before scanning in once more to serve as vector templates.

I opted to do the main coloring inside Illustrator since I could use the “Recolor Artwork” function to rapidly visualize swatch options.

Illustrator paths were imported into Photoshop as smart objects and texture, additional type, and layer adjustments were added.

Since the formats for the two pieces are radically different, I started with the poster first then transferred layer styles and effects into the Facebook header/ handbill format.

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Process – Pseudo-Screen Print Illustration

March 20, 2015

I found this illustration by Tim Gough , an out-0f-register screen print. Prints automatically have a bold, graphic quality that appeals to my design sensibility. I’m not sure if this is an actual print or a digitally created piece, but I liked it so much I wanted to try my hand at making a Photoshop version. Reverse engineering is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a great way to develop new skills and techniques and to think in a different way about image making.

The first image below shows a brush I created and the rough sketch I made to guide me. I took the brush and tweaked spacing, and size and angle jitters in the brush engine. Initially, I filled the area of the sketch with strokes then changed brush sizes and erased out. By doing a few layers of that I came up with a fun rough and “hairy” texture. I used the lasso tool to clean up areas that needed to be crisp as well as the type.

Lastly, I made 3 colored version (red, blue, yellow), set red and blue to 90% multiply and the yellow version to screen in the transparency/opacity options. Using the arrow keys I offset the layers to get the final effect. After seeing the finished version, I thought the type was too hard to read so I layered a Overlayed type copy on top which enabled me to make the monster’s claws more visible too.

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