Author: Megan Hancox

Getting creative with Photoshop

Design ideas and design process

The task I chose for week one was the Creative Images Photoshop task where we were free to create any sort of image which distorted reality in some kind of way and demonstrated progression in our photoshop skills. I liked the idea of this because we had complete freedom with our designs to make anything we wanted rather than a set goal to complete. For the first design, I wanted to create something interesting with an eye. I had the idea to only have the iris in colour so made an adjustment layer to convert the image to black and white, then used the brush tool to add colour back to the eye. I added images of a forest, moon and starry sky using layers and clipping masks with the quick selection tool. I discovered that the refine edge brush tool was really useful to capture the small details of the trees. After this I used the brush tool to get rid of the the areas of the images that I didn’t want to be visible, so that they were positioned how I wanted them inside the shape of the eye. I also used the gradient tool to blend them in, as well as changing the opacity on my brush and using this around the edges.

With my second design I used the same process of clipping masks, while adding some more adjustment layers to alter the effects of the image in the sky, and to make the girl look more blue so that she fitted into the sky better.

For my final design I used two images together and experimented with how I could combine them. I used an image of a girl and the umbrella as the base layer and then imported the lightning as a layer on top of this. A challenge I overcame here was that I wanted to integrate the entire image with the girl and the rain drops with the lightning, so i reduced the opacity, however this faded away the girl too. So again, I used the brush tool to make the parts I wanted 100% opacity by removing the foreground photo from these sections, while the rain drops and the background of the photo were faded in order to blend with the lightning photo. Lastly, I used the eraser tool over the shape of the umbrella to make it appear in full colour and solidity.

Design 1 – Creative Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design 1 process layering process

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design 1 process showing layers and masks
Design 2 – Creative Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design 2 process layer adjustments

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design 2 process showing adjustments and layers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design 3 – Creative Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design 3 process showing original image

 

 

Software tutorials

I watched some tutorials in order to learn some more complex tools and techniques in Photoshop. I started off by watching the photoshop tutorial on layers and layer masks on youtube which really helped me get to grips with how layers can be used in different ways to your advantage. I hadn’t understood how layers worked before this, and now I can easily integrate images using layers. I then looked at the adobe tutorial ‘combine black and white with colour in a photo’ which gave me more of an understanding about how the layers work and the use of adjustment layers. The next tutorial I watched was the adobe youtube video: How to use layer masking, which gave me some more complex information on how to integrate different images by removing parts of one image and showing parts of another. In addition, I used the adobe tutorial: How to make a photo composite in photoshop, which demonstrated the steps of using layers masks to get the final piece. All my tutorials were based on what layers are and how they work, which gave me lots of really useful knowledge for improving my photoshop skills. After using these tutorials I was able to create new layers, use the quick selection tool to cut out images, use the brush tools to control areas of clipping masks, and add adjustments to the colour settings.

https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/how-to/black-and-white-with-color-photo.html

https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/how-to/composite-photo.html

 

Resources for research and inspiration

For sources of inspiration, I browsed through examples of photoshop creative images on the web which helped me brainstorm ideas of my own. I especially found that Pinterest was full of creative images and I saw many examples of photoshopped eyes which stemmed by idea for my first design. It was really fascinating to see other people’s ideas of how they can distort reality by using ordinary subjects and placing then in unusual contexts as well as editing the colours and shapes. Also, browsing through creative instagram accounts gave me lots of inspiration as I admired other’s work, and even just searching #photoshop resulted in lots of amazing photoshopped art. Additionally, I used Pixabay to search for all the images that I used in this design task, and some of the photos gave me inspiration and ideas for how I could use them. Finally, having looked on our spring term Padlet wall, I could see what creative images some of my fellow students had come up with which inspired my own designs and gave me some direction in what sort of image to design and create. I really enjoyed looking at other’s work, especially students who were at my level of photoshop skill because it gave me a rough idea of what I might be able to achieve myself.

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/search/pins/?q=photoshop%20art&rs=typed&term_meta[]=photoshop%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=art%7Ctyped

 

Getting to know Photoshop & designing podcast covers

Design ideas & design process

Our task for this project was to design and create three different podcast covers for a Typography and Graphic Communication podcast using Adobe Photoshop. Having never used photoshop before, this was a great opportunity for me to familiarise myself with the software and get to know the basic tools. Our podcast covers were to be a combination of image and text, but we were free to be completely creative with our ideas. My initial idea was to a create a tree from individual letters, to represent the importance of typography in everyday life and to give an indication to the general topics of the podcast. I found an image of a tree that i liked and placed it into photoshop before adding lots of individual letters to the shape of the tree. This took time but i then learnt how to duplicate things which made it a lot easier. I also cut out an image of a sun and added this in to the image, because i wanted to experiment cutting up and adding images. During the process of the second design, I learnt about cutting images and using layers to show different parts which allowed me to replace the tea with coloured liquid by initially cutting out the shape of the normal tea splash. I wanted to use a fairly normal image and to add a creative spark to it with the watercolour splash, and had seen similar designs like this previously which is where my inspiration came from. For the third design, my idea was to have the text merging into the image as if it were a reflection. I changed the format of the text so it appeared as if it was on the floor by adjusting the angle, following the reflection of the yellow door. I also used the dodge tool to lighten the colours of the door. My first design idea was my favourite, so I developed this more by warping the podcast title text so that it appeared as part of the sky.

My first podcast cover design idea – tree
My second podcast cover design idea – tea
My third podcast cover design idea – yellow door
Demonstration of how I learnt to work with different layers in order to manipulate an image
Using tools to warp and distort the text
using the dodge tool to lighten areas
Showing how i used an image and built on it using layers
Distorting the text to make it fit into the sky
using the blur tool to soften the edges

 


Software tutorials

To begin with, I watched Rachel’s video first which showed me how to set up and create a new file in photoshop, place images into the file and combine them, as well as demonstrating how layers work. This was useful in understanding the basics of photoshop and how it works. There were certain keyboard shortcuts that I took in from the video such as “Command T” to transform images which was really helpful as it simplified the learning process. When I had further queries about what tool to use i would search up what I needed on google or watch some different tutorials which really helped. I watched the video thread titled ‘Get to know photoshop’ which contained clips about opening images, saving work, and generally getting to know the work space area. I then watched the adobe tutorial on working with layers, which was really helpful in understanding how they work and why they should be used. I found the youtube channel Adobe Creative cloud useful for general tutorials on getting started and using photoshop. I also used Terry White’s youtube video tutorials on photoshop. This was helpful as i didn’t know what each of the photoshop tools did before so I learnt the uses of some of the important ones such as the cropping tool. Another adobe tutorial i found useful was the one about working with and combining images.

https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/photoshop/how-to/combining-images-basics.html?playlist=/services/playlist.helpx/products:SG_PHOTOSHOP_1_1/learn-path:get-started/set-header:ccx-designer/playlist:ccl-get-started-2/en_GB.json&ref=helpx.adobe.com


Resources for research and inspiration

I wanted to get some general podcast cover inspiration, so I went to Spotify and had a browse through different podcasts, paying close attention to the details of the image provided to get a feel for what i should include in my image. I asked myself what each image was trying to say and if it interested me, then why? I found that most of the covers incorporated bright colours to catch the eye of the viewer, and the name of the podcast was usually embedded into the image. I then used the free image site pixabey, in order to search for free, high quality images that I could use in my designs. For my first design I started searching for photos of trees made out of letters, but there were none that I particularly liked or were what i was imagining in my head, so I changed my mind and browsed images of just trees, thinking that I could create the lettering effect myself. For inspiration, I looked at Matthew Price’s article ‘How to design a podcast cover: the ultimate guide’ which gave me lots of helpful information and tips on the design process, and here i got to see lots of examples to learn from. For a further introduction into Photoshop and for future inspiration, I looked at the step by step tutorial on How Amr Elshamy created “Round things”. This was really fascinating as you get to see the amazing finished product and are walked through the different stages of the process as well as the tools used.

https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/photoshop/how-to/use-polar-coordinates-filter.html?playlist=/services/playlist.helpx/products:SG_PHOTOSHOP_1_1/learn-path:key-techniques/playlist:topic/set-header:get-inspired/en_GB.json&ref=helpx.adobe.com

How to create the perfect present

Ideal gift

Kim’s project 2

Our task was to come to the session with 3 facts about ourselves and share these with a classmate. Using these facts, we then had to brainstorm and sketch out ideas of what could be considered the perfect gift for this person. The facts that my partner gave me were that her family name is ‘The Angels’ in Spanish, her family works with fire arms for their job, and that she once met Bruce Forsyth. We were then given some random words that we had to try to incorporate into our design. One of my random words was banana. My finished design was a trophy of an angel holding a banana gun.  The thought behind this is quite self explanatory, but I chose for it to be a trophy ornament because when she said Bruce Forsyth I thought of Strictly Come Dancing and the trophy.

A Penguin Book cover with a twist

During our Integrated design methods technical session, we were practising using adobe InDesign and started out by replicating a classic Penguin Book cover. This really helped me get to know my way around the software as it was not something I was previously familiar with. It took a little time and patience for me to get thew hang of it, but I feel like I made significant progress in familiarising myself with adobe programmes. We were then asked to use what we had learnt from this session and apply it to our own version of a Penguin Book cover. This could be whatever we chose, but we had to make it ‘clever’. I chose to design a penguin themed book cover for ‘Fifty shades of Grey’ as I thought this would be an interesting theme. I achieved this by using the base of the classic penguin book cover that we created in this session and then began to change each section, take away parts and add new elements. I replaced the penguin books cloud logo at the top of the page with an image of lips, to echo the erotic and romantic nature of the book. In addition, I replaced the typical penguin icon at the bottom with a couple of romantic penguins as I thought this was a fun play on the original logo.

I found this task to be incredibly useful on developing my digital design skills and it gave me the freedom to create a playful design and have a bit of fun while experimenting and learning. There’s still a lot I need to learn when it comes to the technicalities of using InDesign but I already feel a lot more confident in working with adobe softwares as I had to use photoshop as well in order to create and cut out some of the images.

Please mind the gap between your letters

Mind the gap

Gerry’s task 

Gerry gave us two tasks for the day. The first was to look at the typeface that the word ‘hesion’ was written in for us, and to then imitate this and write ‘cadbury’ in the same font below. This was trickier than I thought as we had to imagine what the letters in ‘cadbury’ would look like, by using parts of the other letters in ‘hesion’ and analysing their shape, size and features. For example, one of the fonts had serifs and the other one didn’t, so I tried this task in both ways. I learnt that the most effective way for me to achieve the best outcome with my letters was to start by sketching out each letterform until it looked right. Then I would draw the outlines of each letter using a fine-liner and a ruler to sharpen the edges, and finally to fill in each shape using a thick marker pen. This way, I could achieve good, solid letterforms.

The afternoon task Gerry gave us was to fill in the gaps of letters which were only half printed and had missing parts. So we had to take what we could see from a section of each letter and use this to design the rest. There was some room to be creative, but we also had to make sure that the letters looked natural and each part blended in well to the other.

I liked this mini project, as it involved more hands-on sketching and enabled me to practice drawing different typefaces while encouraging me to look more closely at individual letters, rather than the font as a whole.

Transmogrification of my initials

Creating a monogram

Kim’s project

In today’s brief, our task was simple: to create a graphic representation of our initials. I began by sketching out some initial ideas using the Garamond font, as I liked the serifs that this typeface contained. I brainstormed some ways of how I could combine my initials ‘M’ and ‘H’. These two letters have similar forms, so I tested out different ways of intertwining them in an interesting way. I found that drawing the ‘M’ and ‘H’ separately and then photocopying them in different sizes allowed me to quickly experiment by cutting them out and rotating and shifting the letters to find a monogram that worked, before sticking them onto my page as a series of experiments. This was an efficient and effective way to work for me and produced quick results, rather than sketching out the letters each time to come up with a different design.

After having chosen the compositions that I liked best, I decided to develop my ideas further with use of colour. One idea I tried was inverting the white background and black letterform to create black negative space and a white monogram. I liked the finished look of this, and then proceeded to try a combination of  black and white negative space, switching between the two in different sections of the letterform. I tried this with coloured pens as well, which i liked, but not as much as the black and white one. So, to finish, I drew out the black and white version in a slightly bigger size to produce a final, neat piece.

I really enjoyed this task and the way it encouraged me to think about design in simple letterforms, I effectively developed and created my own glyph based on my two initials which I thought was really fun and creative!

Opening my eyes to the words around me

Lettering in the environment 

Eric’s task

For today’s mini project, we were asked to go out into the environment, around the university campus or out into town, and photograph lettering that we come across. We were not restricted in any way with what lettering we could take photos of, it could be anything from road markings, to building names and sign posts. Anything that we came across that interested us, we were told to photograph using different angles, lighting and compositions. This task really made me aware of my surroundings and I started to notice little things that I never did before. For example, the fonts and colours, the materials used, the shapes and techniques of the words displayed all around me. Actively seeking different forms of lettering around me enabled me to analyse the typography used to convey a message, instruction or display information and the effect it may have on the reader.

I came back with a series of photographs taken of all different words, phrases and names that I had found. We were then asked to sort these photos into groups of our choice. I chose 4 different themes which linked certain photos together and compared and contrasted them with my group. I found this project to be a fun way to learn about lettering in the environment and I came away feeling like my eyes had been opened to noticing new things.

 

 

 

What makes a book ‘a book’?

Broken Narratives

Berta’s mini book project

My first mini project since studying Graphic Communication started with Berta’s book project: Broken Narratives. We were given a brief asking us to work on the design of a book using a selected theme. Mine was ‘staircase’, and my task was to use this as a starting point to redesign the book in front of me through means of cutting, sticking, and experimenting, and relate the design in some way to the plot of my theme. The idea was to use destruction to enhance our creativity, and to try to break the rules of what we might usually perceive a normal book to look like.

Staircase‘ is about a man who arrives at a Sanatorium with a mild case of a disease. The 7 floors of the hospital represent the extent of the disease, and the lower the floor, the closer the patient is to death. The man in the story is gradually moved down each floor, so i wanted to use the image of a descending staircase in my book design to echo the storyline.

After ripping out pages and experimenting with the ways in which I could incorporate a staircase into the book, i begun by cutting out some 3D steps of the front cover and sticking some relevant words beneath each step, eg ‘down’, ‘condition’. I used cut outs of short paragraphs to create a pattern in the shape of a staircase on the front cover around the 3D steps but wanted to extend this idea further in a more engaging way for the reader. This led me to question the form of the pages within the book, thus I began trimming each page from start to finish of the book so that each page got smaller and smaller, creating a downwards slope to represent the descent of the patient down each floor. Other elements I incorporated were a cutout of some stairs using negative space on the back cover of the book, and a set of stairs emerging from the title page.

This project allowed me to have fun with experimentation in book design, create a new visual dimension to my book and encouraged me to gain a new perspective to explore what defines a book.