Posts Tagged ‘class assignment’

Playing With Halftone Photoshop Effects

One of the assignments in my Photoshop class last week was to create a series of halftone looks by using the regular and color halftone filters in creative ways. I may have gone a bit too abstract on some, but it was interesting playing around with an effect I hadn’t used before.

I used a portrait I created of Evan — I started playing around with it for the Editorial Portrait assignment. And added various halftone masks, layers and effects.

The original portrait I created by compositing Evan, a Goose and a background that I took in Cambridge while punting

The original portrait I created by compositing Evan, a Goose and a background that I took in Cambridge while punting

A very simple, even halftone pattern with no variation in size in 50% gray

A very simple, even halftone pattern with no variation in size in 50% gray -- you can barely see it in this small version, it's just giving the photo its softness

This is sort of an old-timey look, and it was a required matched look for the assignment

This is sort of an old-timey look, and it was a required matched look for the assignment

Here I deconstructed the color halftone into layers of red, green and blue and applied different opacities and effects like strokes and drop shadows

Here I deconstructed the color halftone into layers of red, green and blue and applied different opacities and effects like strokes and drop shadows

Then I went even more abstract, again pulling apart the color channels, but also using an alternate color scheme

Then I went even more abstract, again pulling apart the color channels, but also using an alternate color scheme

If I had used a less detailed image, I could have gotten much more dramatic effects or created a more Pop Art feel. I sort of wish I’d gone that way, but this is a learning process… and I do love how these change so dramatically as they increase or decrease in size.

Creating Composited Portraits in Photoshop

The first big assignment in my Photoshop II class was creating two “editorial portraits” that could be part of one magazine article, somehow related and showed some of the personality of the subject.

When I took photos for the first week of class, I used my friends Guiselle and Kacie as models. I shot the photos in my apartment against a white background. I also took photos of Evan, but for this assignment, I decided that I wanted the fictional article I was putting these photos together for to be a series of profiles of strong women.

Guiselle's Portrait

Guiselle's Portrait - Click to view a larger version

I decided to use two sort of confrontational photos. In Guiselle’s she’s jumping — actually hurdling — right at you. She ran track in high school and college, and she’s now a lawyer. I felt that her intense look and body language pushed out of the frame, showed a lot of movement, and really showed a strong woman. The background I used was from Highgate Cemetery, and I decided to add the flowers in to add a fanciful element, add more color and visual interest, and soften the photo a bit.

Kacie's Portrait

Kacie's Portrait - Click to view a larger version

In Kacie’s photo, I placed her in front of a house, giving a “get off my lawn” sort of stare. Kacie is one of my funniest friends — and she’s actually started doing stand-up comedy. She also loves bizarre props, like Billy Bob teeth, rubber chickens, alligator feet and flamingos. I chose to take a photo of that building because of the skull stickers on the door and the truck in the lawn. And I added in the gas meter, sign, and flamingo to add some more interest and humor to the image, and to help balance it as well.

This was a really fun assignment, and I feel like I was able to capture my friends’ personalities quite well. It was a lot of work to get the photos to look like this, but I’m really happy with how they turned out.

Creating Custom Photoshop Flower Brushes

I’m taking a the UCLA Extension Photoshop II class, and it’s quite a step up from the Photoshop I class I took last quarter. It’s a lot more photo retouching and compositing, and we started the class by taking photos to use throughout the quarter.

One of this week’s assignments was creating a custom brush (to use instead of one of the default paintbrushes), and using it in a composition.

My set of flower brushes

My set of flower brushes

I ended up creating a few different flower brushes, and I then used them in various colors and sizes, and with different “jitter” settings to paint a funky background. As the background, they looked like they were screen printed, though I added some texture by putting in a stucco wall. I really like how they turned out, especially in combination as a background for Kacie’s photo, and can definitely see using them for future projects.

The flower brushes in use

The flower brushes in use

To create the brushes, I used photos of flowers that I took, and a few that I got from free (and royalty free) stock image site sxc.hu. I masked out the backgrounds, played with the levels and contrast, and made them black and white before defining them as brushes in the Edit menu.

You can download the set of brushes here if you’d like to use them for anything.

Illustrator Final Project: Designing a Beverage Label

Click to view a larger version

Click to view a larger version

My Illustrator class ended a couple of weeks ago, but I realized I forgot to post my final project — a beverage label designed by incorporating the things we’d learned in class.

I decided to design a label for sparkling water as Evan and I drink it all the time and we’ve even purchased a Soda-Club Stream machine to make our own sparkling water at home. So I took the shape of the Soda-Club bottle and decided to put a label on it.

Click to see a larger view

Click to see a larger view

Taking a closer look, you can see the detailed background I created with star shapes, bubble patterns and a gradient mesh to give it some brightness. I liked the idea of knock-out letters on black that would show a window to the background. I also wrote some rather silly rambling copy, found some neat drink recipes, and created the martini graphic

Click to see a larger view

Click to see a larger view

Though I feel it looks rather simple in the end, getting the layers of depth and texture took a long time, as did figuring out exactly how to place all the information I wanted on the bottle. I did keep in mind things like a UPC code and the recycling copy, but I have seen that printed directly on bottles before, so I thought that would be a good place to put those items to keep the actual labels less cluttered.

To get the label on the bottle, I used a 3-D mapping process in Illustrator. It has a lot of glitches and made Illustrator crash multiple times, so I gave up on doing the back label. It also weirdly distorts the label. Still, it’s neat to at least sort of get a visual of what the label would look like on an actual Soda-Club bottle.

Photoshop Final: Reworking the Towards Darkness Poster

towards darkness poster

For my Photoshop class final, I had to create a movie poster, real or fictional. If it was for a real movie, I had to make sure it was entirely original. The project was supposed to show a range of techniques we learned in the class.

I chose to rework the Towards Darkness poster — the film Evan edited a few years ago. I used images that I got off IMDb and the film’s site, as well as a few other images for textures. I then created a number of different layer masks to remove the images’ backgrounds, used lighting effects to bring out more detail and make the piece feel more coherent, created a custom textured background with layered images and lighting effects, and added text with various text effects to the poster.

I spent a lot of time playing around with the poster, and though I was working with a really limited number of images, I think I captured some of the essence of the film and created an interesting poster.

I really enjoyed learning more about Photoshop. Even though I was already using it daily, I learned many different ways to improve my workflow, create more sophisticated effects and manage my images more efficiently. I’m trying to decide what classes to sign up for this next quarter (starting in a week or so), and Photoshop II is high on the list of what I’d like to take. And if not this quarter, I’ll certainly take it sometime soon.

How to Photoshop a ‘Pencil Sketch’ – Fast

Last week’s Photoshop class assignment was so simple in concept that I was amazed it counted for a full grade. Our assignment: Create a pencil sketch using a technique our teacher showed us in lecture (which I’ll share with you in a moment). To get the base, black-and-white sketch, or the funky colored-pencil looking sketch takes about a minute or two.

Here’s what I did:

Pittsburgh Photo Original (Click for a Bigger View)

Pittsburgh Photo Original (Click for a Bigger View)

Pittsburgh Photo Pencil Sketch (Click for a Bigger View)

Pittsburgh Photo Pencil Sketch (Click for a Bigger View)

I used a photo I took in Pittsburgh, from the top of the Duquesne Incline. I added a small amount of complexity to the piece I turned in by adding a layer mask to color in only the incline car and some color adjustments to warm up the rest of the picture, but other than my indecisiveness and wanting to make it look perfect, as well as playing around with other images, this process is fast.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open the image file you want to use and Duplicate the Background layer
  2. Convert the Background Copy layer to a grayscale image with the Desaturate adjustment (IMAGE>ADJUSTMENTS>DESATURATE)
  3. Duplicate the Background Copy layer (the grayscale image) and invert it to a negative image (IMAGE>ADJUSTMENTS>INVERT)
  4. Change the Blending Mode of this negative image Layer from Normal to Color Dodge either directly in the Layers Palette or in the Layer Style menu — this step is sort of weird because it’ll look like your image disappeared
  5. Go to the Filter>Other menu and apply a 2 to 5 pixel Minimum Filter to the Inverted/Color Dodge layer (FILTER>OTHER>MINIMUM) — the bigger the number you choose, the thicker the lines will be

Note: to get the colored-in look, use a full-color Background Copy as the layer beneath the Inverted/Color Dodge layer.

One more example I created, this time a photo I took at the Getty that’s fully “colored in”:

Getty Photo Original (Click for a larger view)

Getty Photo Original (Click for a larger view)

Getty Photo Colored Pencil Sketch (Click for a larger view)

Getty Photo Colored Pencil Sketch (Click for a larger view)

Photoshop Class: Creating a Magazine Cover

Magazine cover mockup - Click for a larger view

Magazine cover mockup - Click for a larger view

For this Photoshop class assignment, we had to create a magazine cover layout, trace the magazine’s title, include at least 4 images, a number of blending modes and text effects, and of course the regular color and levels corrections.

I originally wanted to use one of our travel photos for the magazine cover, but I just wasn’t happy with how any of them really fit in the vertical magazine layout, so I went to Flickr and searched for some photos of Japan. I found this very pretty one that I felt would work perfectly with the layout I was thinking of, and I really started trying to figure out what I wanted on there.

I had hesitations about making the cover too crowded, but I wanted to make sure I had all the elements in place, and I wanted to try out some different ways to highlight information, and play with the blending and text styles. I also decided to go even further on the image adjustments, really pushing the color levels and oversaturating the image. I also used a separate filter for the sky area to make it more vibrant and colorful — it actually has a gradient overlaid on it to add the pinks. I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what colors to use for all the text, especially the title. And I found that coming up with the text was harder than I thought it would be.

Main cover photo courtesy of Chi King’s Flickr Stream