Creative Images in Photoshop

Design ideas and design process

Combining black/white and colour

For my first design, I selected an image of a girl with paint on her hands and face. I wanted to make the paint the main focus of the image so I decided to keep only those parts in colour.

I used the quick selection tool to select the parts of the image I wanted to keep in colour (the paint on the girl’s hands and face)
I then refined my selection by pressing the ‘select and mask’ tool where I could select or unselect the detailed areas around the fingers to make sure everything was selected
I then pressed cmd+j on my laptop to create a new layer with my selection
Then I locked the new layer, went back to the first layer and selected the ‘black and white’ option to change the background.

Overall, I was happy with this result as the colours of the paint, being the main focus really stands out from the black and white background which is effective when drawing the viewers’ eye. This task helped me to understand how to use the quick selection tool and to see how I could refine my selection by clicking ‘select and mask’ to include the fine details of the hand and face.

Altering the background of a photo

For my second design, I took an image of a dull landscape, where I wanted to replace the sky for a bright blue sky.

main image to change background of
background I want to use
Using the quick selection tool, I selected the sky, then clicked on ‘select and mask’ to refine my selection so that every detail is captured
I pressed cmd+j on my keyboard which created a new layer for my selection
I then moved the new layer over the original one so that it could be seen
I then adjusted the hue/saturation and brightness/contrast levels to maintain the same colour, light and shades throughout, matching the foreground with the background

The results were successful as the image looks realistic as if it had a bright blue sky to begin with. This task helped me to become more familiar with the quick selection and ‘select and mask’ tool and to adjust the hue/saturation levels to match with the original image. To improve, perhaps I could have moved the sky down or enlarged it as you can see the foreground of the background image which does not match the colours exactly.

Altering reality of a photo

I selected an image with a doorway where I could replace the entrance with another world to alter reality
I chose this image of a road with a vibrant sky to contrast with the white of the original image
I cropped the image to fit into the size of the door frame

From here onwards, I experimented with different ways of seeing how I could create more depth into this frame as it seemed to look too flat and simple.

I first tried selecting the frame to create a glow/shadow effect, however, it did not match with the different tones and lighting the image in the door had
Next, I wanted to create a beam of light using the pen tool, filling it in and changing the opacity, however, the lines seemed too sharp and again, there was the issue of flat tones and lighting which did not match the scenery
So instead, I experimented with the brush tool, matched the colours to the ones in the scene, reduced the opacity and drew over the door areas where the image touches to create a reflection as if the door really does lead you into that road
I also created highlights over the floor to create a grand entrance towards the doorway


The results of my third design were quite successful as the brush tool enhanced the features of the sunset as if it was really projecting outside into the room, however, I do think with some more detail, for example, adding more shadow around the door frame could bring a more in-depth alter reality.

Software tutorials

These tutorials were very useful in the fact that they were quick and easy to follow. Even though I have use photoshop in the past,  I was not familiar with all the tools so these tutorials helped me to get more familiar with the quick selection tool when changing the colour of a specific section or changing the background of an image.

How to Color Part of an Image in Photoshop! Partial Black and white in Photoshop! Partly B+W

How to Use Layer Masking: Photoshop | Adobe Creative Cloud

I did not use the third tutorial in my final design, however, it did help me to understand more about lighting and the direction it travels which I incorporated in my third design.

I would like to further my skills and knowledge of using the drop shadow tool in photoshop as this could have brought out some of my designs more and add more depth to it.

Design resources and articles

This page inspired to me choose an image with a variety of bold colours to make them stand out more by making the rest of the image black and white.

I was inspired by this page to enhance the background by changing it entirely to a bright blue sky and match it to the same tones as the original image.

I was inspired by the first two images on this page when creating an altered reality of overlapping a scene on top of another one to look like you could walk through it.

Learning across the module

Across the module, I have improved my skills in photoshop such as using the quick selection tool to remove/change backgrounds. I have also learnt how to use the clone stamp tool to help me remove unnecessary objects in the background. I have also improved my illustrator skills in creating a variety of different shapes for my text using the effects tool. Furthermore, I really enjoyed creating the gifs in AfterEffects and since I had never used that software before, the tutorials I watched were very useful and I feel confident in using this software again.

My Podcast Cover

Design Ideas and Process

sketch ideas

When planning,  I first researched different podcast covers for inspiration and used them to create a mood board for myself when sketching out my initial ideas. I came up with six different ideas and used three of these to create some covers.

step by step process
final design 1

For the first cover, I was inspired by the pink podcast cover in my mood board of a boy shouting through a mic, and words flowing out through it, imitating the noise level. I first took a picture of a mic I had back at home and used the eraser tool to remove the background. Then I added text and warped it to create a horizontal distortion as if the words are coming out through the mic. To add to this sound imagery, I put in some triangle shapes behind the words to emphasise this distortion and to create a direction of where the sound is coming from. I thought the background was a bit plain so I added some swirls around the centre representing the wires coming out from the mic, however, I thought it was too distracting so I removed it later. In terms of colour scheme and typeface, I went with a retro theme of pastels and a display typeface to make it more eye-catching.

step by step process
final design 2

For my second podcast cover, I thought that both music and podcasts came under a similar category as they both require listening to which is why I was inspired by vinyl and record designs. I first created the basic shape of a vinyl and added details using the shape tool. I then wrote the text for the podcast and used the warp arc effect to make the words fit around in a circle. However, I had a few issues with this as the text distorted a bit too much to the point where it was hard to read, and each of the lines became different sizes, creating a hierarchy I did not intend to make. Therefore, I changed the warp effect to the ‘buldge’ one, creating a fish-eye kind of perspective. This worked out a lot better and now looks more balanced. In terms of colour, I used quite a classic scheme for records: yellow, red and black. Then, I used a hint of green to mention the “podcast” bit, which comes to think about it now, may be hard to see over the dark red, but overall I am quite happy with this design. This piece allowed me to further develop my software skills by exploring and using the tools in Photoshop and arranging shapes and colours to create a visual of a vinyl. This is probably my favourite design out of the three as I like the visual look in terms of shape and colour, and how even and symmetrical everything is.

step by step process
final design 3

For my third podcast cover, I wanted to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere through the use of headphones and a dark background. It was hard to draw headphones free-handedly, so I made use of the shapes tool again to create an overlay of circles and rectangles to make that shape. Overall, I think that this cover could be improved in terms of relating it more to Typography and Graphic Communication, focussing less on atmosphere and more on communicating the actual message.

Software tutorials

Even though I have used photoshop in the past, I am still quite new to all the tools and techniques, therefore, these two beginner links really helped me come to grips with them.

For my third podcast cover, I used this link to help me with my illustration of headphones. I learnt how to use the different shape tools to accurately compose each part, and grasped the process of duplicating, reflecting and rotating in order to make everything symmetrical and even.

Software skills I want to develop further in Photoshop are creating more complex illustrations and possibly freehanded ones. Also, as Photoshop is mainly used to edit photos, I could have incorporated more images which would have developed my photo editing and manipulation skills.

Design resources and articles

How to design a podcast cover: the ultimate guide – 99designs

How to Design Stunning Podcast Cover Art That Stands Out in iTunes

These four links were the main sources of inspiration for my podcast cover designs.  They helped me in terms of colour scheme, layout and imagery that I could include. I particularly liked the ones with bold colours and display font which really stood out to me. I hoped to do the same with my covers, such as using a bright yellow background to grab the viewer’s attention. I also learnt the importance of ‘simplicity is key’ when looking at these existing podcast covers as they all have a common feature of simplifying shapes and text in order to communicate a more clear and effective message to the viewer.

Reading Film Theatre Cinema Listing

For my cinema listing design, I decided to aim my first one for ‘A retired doctor and her husband, both of who have a passion for old Hollywood’. When researching, I looked at old, vintage Hollywood cinema listings, movie posters and screen prints in order to help me with the colour scheme, layout and font. I first chose quite a bold font for the title, however, I did not really like it when I wrote the rest of the information out as it did not have the old style Hollywood theatre feel that I wanted. So I searched for more fonts and found a very eye-catching, retro style one which felt very suitable for the theme.

I then looked at colours and thought that red and black had a very distinct look, which is quite conventional when looking back to older cinema listings. When focussing on the text of information, I decided to order the films in terms of age rating; the films more appropriate for older couples would be first, then the more family friendly ones would be at the bottom. However, after the feedback session on Friday, I realised that this order could be slightly misleading as all the dates are jumbled up and in most cases, people would not read this listing in order from top to bottom, but instead, scan through and see the films that look most interesting for them. Therefore, I decided to group them into adult and family films, then order them by date.

For my second cinema listing sheet, I wanted it to target ‘A father with two children under 10’. I copied the same layout from my first one over and changed the font to make it more exciting and fun. Then I also changed the colour from red to yellow, again to make it seem brighter, happier and more inviting to a younger audience.

And similar to my other one, I decided to group them again by age and date by boxing up the family friendly ones and putting them at the top, and then leaving the other non kid friendly ones for adults to browse around in their own time.

Peter Pan

As I have never worked with Indesign, I thought James’ tutorial was very useful in knowing the basic techniques within this software. I found the paragraph style very useful and the different layers you could add and lock so that it is easier to adjust specific images/text at a time.

For my second book cover design, I did Peter Pan and got inspiration from the illustrations from the book and also the 2003 movie. For the background, I used a one of the scenes from the Peter Pan movie, where they are flying to Neverland and I really like how movement can be captured at the top, which will draw the reader into the book and make them question where they are going. For the bottom image, I used the same scene and just split the image in half so that the cover flows from top to bottom. For the middle section, I overlaid a yellow background on top of the scene where Wendy looks out of her window, with a big bright moon in the centre, adjusting the transparency levels to a 50% and 80%. I really like this result as again, this gives the reader a preview of the storyline, but also makes the book come to life in a way compared to if it was just a solid yellow background.

Overall, I am very happy with this design as the story of Peter Pan is meant to be described as magical and thrilling, and I think I have managed to achieve these two things with the vibrant colours, use of space, font and images.

If I were to improve part of it, I would maybe change the colour of the font where it says ‘One of the most magical stories ever written’, making it bolder or even brighter. I could have used the effects tool to add some glimmer/shine around it to enhance the ‘magical’ bit of the review.

70s Retro Themed Logo Design

For my logo trends design, I picked the theme of 70s retro style. I first created a mood board of the 70s retro styled interior design which featured lots of interesting patterns such as floral, geometric, seamless swirls, psychedelic patterns etc… I really liked how colourful and bold everything was, but still had an elegant feel to it. I then looked at fonts, logos and brands in this era which matched very well to this retro theme. I again really liked how the text is really vivd and eye-catching, with lots of colours, making me feel rather happy and excited.

And so with this research, I wanted to mirror this kind of excitement I felt when looking at this style and put it into my logo. I started off with the font and colours. I was inspired by the Bee Gees ‘Staying Alive’ title in my second mood board and decided to use these shades of pink and a similar font. 

I then created a ring of circles with pastel colours of the rainbow, imitating a vinyl to possibly have a music theme, linked with the Bee Gees and the retro themed music at the time. I got inspiration from my second mood board again where it looks like there are an array of records lined up beside each other. I thought this would be a good way to encapsulate my name (my brand) within the circle to give it a clear central focus. When putting my name in the middle, I thought it looked quite bland so looking back at my mood board, I saw a splatter-like shape and thought it would be nice to add behind my name to look like it was popping out, giving it more texture and depth. I originally drew a black splatter with a turquoise outline, however, it was slightly too harsh to the eye, so after some debate around colour, I changed it to white with a pastel purple outline, making it easier to read the logo.

Overall, I am generally happy with my design as I think it fits very well with the theme of 70s retro style. I also like how colourful it is which will capture the attention of viewers. If i had more time, I would probably reconfigure the splatter behind and continue to experiment with colours as I still think the white is too bland. Maybe I could have incorporated another retro themed pattern within it.

Lettering in the Environment

As I was taking pictures of different letter forms, I focused on texture, lighting and shadow. I like how each of the letters shown in the collage above either have a rough/smooth texture in the background or in the actual text. I found it really interesting how the blue ‘E’, painted on a white, textured brick wall, could still convey straight lines even though it was painted on an uneven wall. This is when I looked closer and noticed that the paint had been applied in a jagged format so when looking from a further distance, it almost created an illusion that the lines were straight, when in fact, they were actually uneven. Another form I liked was the ‘ROYAL’ one at the top right as the smooth texture that created reflections in the light and gold colour really brought out the ‘royalty’ of the text, making it really fit in with its purpose.


For my book design, I chose the theme ‘Staircase’ and started off with the front cover. The cover already had an image of a girl who looked quite scared with a building which looked like a Sanatorium behind her. Therefore, I instantly used the building and cut out its windows so viewers can have a mini preview into the building before properly entering/opening the book. I put a mask over the girl’s face to represent those with an unknown illness who are about to enter the Sanatorium. I covered the title using masking tape and wrote tally’s of 7 to represent the seven lives each of the patients have before death.

When designing the inside of the book, I created a staircase with seven steps, representing the seven floors in the Sanatorium. I created a border around it so the reader can still see the page numbers, but also so that when you close the book, it looks like a normal book, but in actual fact, the reader gets deceived when opening it, just like the man who was deceived when he was constantly moved down a floor until death.


I played around with light and shadow to create a more ominous atmosphere which I think was successful as you can really see the depth of each stair and how deep it really goes.

Medicine Conveyor Vending Machine

For my ideal gift project, my partner gave three interesting facts about herself:

  1. She eats a lot of medicine
  2. She likes listening to music
  3. She likes writing in Chinese

Unfortunately, I could not include the third point, however,  I have used the first two facts to create a vending machine where you select a pill you want to take, then use the handle to turn the conveyor belt inside to the right pill. Whilst you are turning the handle, her favourite song will be playing through the speaker at the top. The pattern and colours of the machine have been inspired by the album cover of her favourite song, ‘Cherry Bomb’ by NCT 127.