Category: Student work

Illustration – Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi

As part of the spring term TY1SK module, I completed a range of design tasks to improve and build my Adobe software skills. Here’s a blog post about my ‘Drawing Vector Objects’ task, where I made an illustration for a social media banner about Yaa Gyasi’s book ‘Homegoing’. Throughout my design process, I took several screenshots to help explain how I ended up with my final design.


Design ideas and design process 

According to my research into this book, the author is a Ghanaian-American. Ideally, I’d like to create something unique to her country. In Ghana, hibiscus (flower) is a very popular flower. To create the background pattern, I’ll use Ghana’s flag colors, but in pastels. 

Figure 1. Inspiration and sketch, color swatches

As the design process went on, my Illustrator skills improved a lot.
My first step was creating a background pattern, but watching tutorials helped me get a better solution in the end.

Figure 2-4. This is a screenshot of the process I used to create a background pattern. I selected all three colors and then chose Object – Pattern – Make from the menu bar. After selecting the proper options to rotate this pattern, I was able to see how it would look later on. The pattern was saved in the Swatches panel, and then a rectangle was drawn using the Rectangle Tool, which was already filled with the pattern. In the last image, we can see the final pattern for the background.

Figure 5. Tracing the initial sketch

The final design was achieved using the Pen Tool, which allowed me to follow my plan and bring it to life this vector-based illustration.

Software tutorials

During my pattern creation process, I encountered a problem, and it took me a while to resolve it. The problem I experienced was that I was unable to obtain a rotated version of my pattern. To achieve the desired result, I set some pattern options (Tile type: Brick by Row, 1/3) and then used the Rotate Tool to achieve the desired result.

Figure 6. Setting Pattern Options                         Figure 7. Rotate the pattern using Rotate Tool

There were several software tutorials provided in the brief that showed a partial solution to this problem. However, this was not sufficient, so I searched for further online tutorials that provided me with the necessary information. I found this particular tutorial where I learned about Pattern Options and how to set them correctly.

The following is another very interesting tutorial I found useful:


Design resources and articles

When searching for research sources, I became interested in the book’s story. An African family and their descendants are traced through generations in this novel, beginning with two sisters in 18th century Ghana – one who stayed and one who was shipped to the United States.

To avoid copying and pasting the original cover page, I conducted additional research on Ghana as a country and its characteristics. As a result, I decided to use the colors of the country’s flag (red, green, yellow, black) and the emblematic flower hibiscus, which gave the banner a distinct African feel.

As part of my research, I read a number of reviews from famous newspaper websites in order to gather as much information as possible regarding the book and the author. For example:

and many more…


Learning throughout the module

It was a very helpful experience completing this module’s tasks as it allowed me to gain a better understanding of Adobe software. Despite this, I can clearly state that it was somewhat time-consuming to watch a variety of online tutorials until I discovered the right ones for my specific needs. Despite this, I was able to learn a little bit from each of them. The time I took to complete this task was definitely worth it, and I am looking forward to working on more of them in the future.

Taking the last two quizzes, I realized I still need to continue watching instructional tutorials and lessons, which I presumewill give me more confidence in completing and designing my own projects in the future.


Learning After Effects Fundamentals

After Effects



1. Design ideas and design process

Having used After Effects very little before this task (under 2 hours), I wanted to make sure my design ideas covered a wide range of skills and complexity. I needed to develop my software skills in After Effects so that I could better understand the programme. My first design idea was a simple fade from black to orange, and I experimented with some basic text animation.

My second design idea was much more refined, making use of more intricate features such as layer mask and smart animating the text to create a custom effect.

My third design idea was based upon my experiences from existing media. I remember seeing an advert on YouTube for a speed reader that had words flashing in the same place. I liked the effect it caused, it was memorable and got the message out very quickly, in an understandable manner for any audiences.

I think my most effective idea was the second idea, although I liked the third one the most because I made it without a tutorial, which meant it was rewarding when I encountered problems and solved them. Design idea 2 made use of some more intricate features of Adobe After Effects, such as utilising layer masks and animating objects. The design featured the title of the podcast, ‘Type Talk’, and from behind that the words ‘a podcast’ emerged. The tutorial I followed for design idea 2 taught me how to use layer masks to create layering effects in After Effects, encouraging me to play with the settings when animating with the mask applied. I considered the use of colour in my design, with the title being more dominant as white, and the extra info being dark grey. This created an interesting composition because the focus of the gif is on the moving object, however the colour hierarchy suggests that the focus should be given to the title, which was not animated.

I began the process by making shape layers and adding text [fig 1 & 2]. I needed to get all the design elements on the page before I could start animating. I added the line in the middle as a shape, and the text where I wanted their final positions to be. I followed a tutorial explaining how to set up and use layer masks and the track matte feature [fig 3 & 4]. This allowed me to use the animation features [fig 5], hiding the secondary text behind the primary text, creating the effect of the secondary text sliding out from the white line in the middle [fig 6].


Creating a shape layer [fig 1]
Editing text in the character panel [fig 2]
Creating a layer mask [fig 3]
Using the track matte feature [fig 4]
Using the animation features [fig 5]
Using layer masks to hide the secondary text [fig 6]

2. Software tutorials

I primarily used software tutorials to develop my technical ability. I had minimal experience of Adobe After Effects before this task, so I used tutorials to speed up my learning curve. In the first design that I created, I used the fade tutorial to show me the basics of adding effects to objects and how to make two effects run simultaneously. (After Effects CC : How to Fade in and Fade Out) This tutorial helped me understanding how to apply effects, and to begin to understand how to use keyframes to change an effects properties.

For my second design idea, I chose a more complex animation to create, but chose one with a tutorial I could follow closely. (After Effects Simple Line Text Reveal Intro Animation Tutorial ) This would allow me to understand some of the more complex features of After Effects, further developing my software skills so that I could create my own animation without any help from tutorials in my final idea. I also had to use tutorials to help me solve smaller technical issues, (How to Enable Track matte in after effects CC) such as when following the text reveal tutorial, he had an option selected that was showing track matte, but I had to click on some buttons to be able to access the track matte feature.

The most comprehensive tutorial I followed was the After Effects Simple Line Text Reveal Intro Animation Tutorial, as it had chapters describing what was happening in which part of the video, and that enabled me to return to the video to see what I did not understand fully and have a recap. One area of the video highlighted that I did not understand was using the graph editor on individual keyframes. Consequently, if I wanted to develop my After Effect skills, I would look for a more specific tutorial or article explain how the graph editor works.


3. Design resources and articles

As I stated earlier, I had little experience of using After Effects before this task. I used the articles below to refresh my knowledge of what After Effects was used for and what it was capable of. Both articles proved useful in explaining to me what After Effects did, making me feel like I understood its capabilities more. Consequently, this meant I felt more confident in creating my GIFs, either when following a tutorial or creating my own idea.

What is After Effects | Comprehensive Guide to What is After Effects?

How to Use After Effects? | Basic After Effects Skills You Should Know 

I used this forum to help me solve a specific problem I was facing. When trying to create the desired ‘buzz words’ effect for my third idea, I was struggling to apply the animation correctly. The forum below helped me correct the animation, meaning I could edit how fast the buzz words appeared.

Solved: Pop Buzz Words – Adobe Support Community – 9821097

My inspiration for ideas was based upon general media that I had seen before. The third idea, which I believe was my most independent and creative idea, was based upon some previous advertisements I had seen. I cannot remember the brand, but it was for a speed-reading tool that made text you were reading appear in the same place. The theory of the advert was that you could read faster when words flashed in the same place, upping your words per minute. I remember thinking the effect was successful and wanted to replicate it in one of my designs.


4. Learning throughout the module

Throughout the module, I definitely improved my skills in After Effects by a large margin, improving a wide variety skills. I began the module with little experience and ended it with three pleasing designs and several extra hours experience spent using After Effects. I learnt how to perform basic functions like adding layers and editing keyframes, as well as exploring more complex features such as using layer masks and combining that with an animation.

On a broader note, I noticed an increase in my results on the scored quiz between the start and the end of the module, as well as an increase in confidence in my ability on certain areas in the quiz. I would say that overall, this module was a success as I developed my technical abilities significantly. I feel that sometimes I could have made more coherent designs, however when remembering that I was deliberately choosing areas of design that I am weaker at, I am pleased with my designs.


Creative Images-Photoshop


The task was to develop creative images by editing them in Adobe Photoshop. In this post, I will explain my design process of the three designs.

Design 1: Use of Adjustment Layers

I chose an image of a stack of pebbles after exploring Pixabay. I used this image for my designs.

Stack of pebbles







First, I opened the file in Photoshop and adjusted the colour balance of the image. I did this by clicking on Image, then Adjustments and then selecting the Colour Balance option. 

Adjusting the colour balance of the image

After adjusting the colour balance values, I altered the brightness and contrast of the image. The Brightness and Contrast option is also found in Adjustments.

Adjusting the brightness and contrast of the image

Lastly, I increased the vibrance and saturation of the image. The Vibrance option is found in Adjustments. 

Adjusting the vibrance and saturation of the image

After editing the image, I was pleased with the result as the image was dull and gloomy before. 




Design 2: Combining Black and White with Colour

For this design, I added a Black and White adjustment layer. It is found in the layers panel, in the fill or adjustment layers option, which is situated at the bottom right corner of the screen.

Adding a black and white adjustment layer to the image

Then I selected the layer mask of the adjustment layer and used the brush tool with black colour to paint over the areas where I needed colour. The black colour reveals the image below the mask, while the white colour adds the mask. 

Using the brush tool on the layer mask to reveal the image below

I was quite happy with the final result as the stack of pebbles stood out from the rest of the pebbles. 


Design 3: Blending Modes

First, I created a new layer above the image. On this layer, I added colours with the brush tool on some of the pebbles. 

Adding colours with the brush tool

Next, I changed the blending mode of this layer to Overlay. The blending mode options are found in the layers panel, which is situated at the bottom right corner of the screen. 

Changing the blending mode to overlay

Lastly, I reduced the opacity of the layer so that the colour values match with the colours of the stack of pebbles. 

Reducing the opacity of the image

I was satisfied with the result as now some more colour was added to the image. 


Final Designs

Design 1: Use of Adjustment Layers


Design 2: Combining Black and White with Colour


Design 3: Blending Modes

Design Resources



These tutorials helped me improve my software skills. I discovered all the adjustments layers and blending modes and learnt how to use them effectively. I also learnt about layer masks. These tutorials were very useful for my design process.


During the course of this module, I learnt many new software skills in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and After Effects like changing the background colour, creating logos, formatting texts, editing pictures, drawing vector images, adjusting image quality, creating gifs, working with layers and many more. The skill I enjoyed the most was animating text in Adobe After Effects. These skills are useful for my other projects as well.





Design animation: After Effects

Design Ideas and Design Process

Design idea:

For my initial design, I adopted a strategic approach to delve deeper into vector animation, utilizing various flows and movements to enrich the animation. My aim was to experiment with an array of text flow/effects, as well as diverse shapes and strokes to push the boundaries of creative possibility. As such, I made the deliberate choice to refresh my knowledge on the application of the bounce effect to my text. Given my previous experience with the After Effects program, it didn’t take me long to familiarise myself to the various tools and processes involved. To infuse my animation with a fun and lively theme, I recognized the need to incorporate a palette of vibrant and bold hues. Therefore, I opted to introduce an array of bright colours to my design, in order to add playfulness into the final product.

Design process:

I had used the ellipse tool and hide the fill colour to only make the stroke visible. Then, I used different settings such as stroke width to control the thickness of the stroke. For the keyframes, I had experimented the timeframes as well so that my animation does not look too awkward.

Intermediate process of the first stroke animation
The settings and keyframe for the animation (Purple stroke)

Upon completing the initial stroke animation, I made the decision to duplicate the animation, while simultaneously adjusting the stroke settings, colour scheme, and key frames to give it a fresh new look.

keyframe settings for different stroke animations
intermediate process of adjusting keyframe settings in another element
after duplicating and adjusting set of keyframes for all other elements

In order to further complement the lively and energetic aesthetic of the animation, I chose to incorporate a bouncy effect to the text element. Additionally, I explored the “Wiggle: position” effect within After Effects, which I discovered added some motion and dynamism to the text. I used these techniques to add playfulness to the animation, while still keeping it coherent and fluid.

wiggle – effect on my text layer
the text settings underneath the layer

Here are the final results:



Design idea:

I wanted to create a school-themed animation for my second design, so I learned how to make a handwriting text effect. It was difficult to figure out at first, but I eventually discovered that changing the color tones can alter the handwriting effect. I chose to use a “school” theme for the design because I believed it would make the podcast more appealing and helpful to those who are interested in its topics and discussions.

Design Process:

From the text layer, I right clicked it and went to Camera > Create mask from text. From there, I searched up “Stroke” from the effects bar and applied it to my text layer.

Create mask from text
Stroke settings on text layer

As for the podcast icon, I decided to use the brush overlay effect which was something I frequently. I then applied the Luma Matte tool on my image layer and linked the video overlay to the image layer.

Applying Luma Matte to image layer
Brush overlay effect on the image layer

Moreover, I wanted to add a playful element so I decided to use the shape layer to make a smiley face by experimenting on the end and start keyframes as well as the stroke width. This had a similar process to the ellipse stroke animation on my first design.

Shape layer keyframes

After that, I organised all my elements into one composition and placed them on top of a notebook image layer. For the final touch, I decided to explore the turbulent displace effect. Since I wanted to make a crumpled paper effect, I decided to use that and set my time to “time6*”. Moreover, I used the positions composition and scale composition to make some movements on my final product.

my keyframe and random seed (turbulent displace) settings
turbulent displace settings

Here are the final results:


Design Idea:

In creating my final animation, I made the deliberate choice to focus on the use of transition effects with vector shapes, as I believed this approach would offer an exciting opportunity for experimentation and creative expression. What drew me in particular to the use of transitions in vector animations was the unique and appealing visual effect that it creates, something that I found both intriguing and captivating. By using transitions, I felt I could add an extra layer of dynamism and depth to my animation, making it all the more engaging and immersive for viewers.

Design Process:

I started of by doing pop ups of tiny circles by using the ellipse tool and the scale composition.

tiny circle pop ups with the scale composition keyframes

After that, I pre-composed it and placed a navy blue shape as a background then added another ellipse shape in the centre. To create my transition, I used the scale composition and increased the scale of the orange ellipse and transitioned it into a new background layer.

first few frames of scaling
final frames of the ellipse tool with keyframes

For my text, I used a masking effect with the shape tool and made my text appear halfway the composition. Other than that, I added some stroke animations to my project file because I thought it looked too empty. Additionally, I did a pop up transition with the headset image.

masking text effect with keyframes

Here are the final results:


Software Tutorials:

I learned most of my software tutorials from YouTube. Although I have extensive experience with After Effects, I still used tutorials to refresh my memory. One important thing I remembered is the use of motion blur and keyframe graphs, particularly easy in, easy out, which is a fundamental knowledge any animator should possess to create smooth and fluid animations. For my first design, I watched a tutorial on the pop-up circle animation and bouncy text, which taught me that even the simplest vector animations can be unique and attractive. I also learned to access different text layer settings and keyframes for text animation, without relying on the effects tab.

In my second design, I explored handwriting text and brush overlay animation, and learned that pre-composing layers can help organize project files better. I also discovered that changing the random seed option (click + alt) in the effects tab can alter the timing of the turbulent displace effect. For my third design, I watched tutorials on text masking and vector transition. Although I had covered most of the basics in my past experiences, my goal was to explore new creative possibilities for achieving a professional look with the use of vector shapes. I also realized the potential for creating engaging cartoon vector animations for various types of advertisements. This approach could help me enhance my creative skills and create better, visually appealing transitions in future projects.

Here are some of the other tutorials I used:



Design Resources and Article:

When I was using the Luma Matte tool, I faced a challenge when a software update changed the process of using the track matte tool. But I managed to overcome this hurdle by linking my image or video layer to the overlay video and then clicking on the tiny box on the left to apply the Luma Matte effect.

I also learned that the brush overlay video needs to be in black and white to work effectively. While some people use green screens, I found the alternative way to be more distinctive. This experience sparked my curiosity in exploring other matte tools like alpha matte and chroma key for using green screens.

To resolve the issue and learn the updated process of using the tool, I used a website/resource that was helpful in familiarizing myself with the new placements of the tools.

Learning throughout the module

In my journey of learning digital design, I have come across some important techniques in Photoshop and Illustrator that have helped me in creating high-quality designs. One such technique that I learned in Photoshop is the use of the lasso tool for cutting images from their background. The add and subtract options of the lasso tool proved to be very useful in achieving the desired level of accuracy while selecting and isolating an image. Another technique that I became familiar with in Photoshop is the use of clipping masks. Clipping masks have proved to be a very effective tool in adding texture and depth to images.

In Illustrator, I discovered the importance of using grids when designing logos. I have learned that creative grid design can greatly enhance the overall look and feel of a logo. Following tutorials blindly may not always give the desired results, and it is essential to explore and experiment with different grid designs to create unique and visually appealing logos. With these techniques, I am confident that I can continue to improve my digital design skills and create designs that are both aesthetically pleasing and effective.



Developing Illustrator Skills

Editing Letterforms


Design Process

For this task, I set myself a small set of vague briefs based on 3 companies, a children’s games company, a traditional accounting company and a modern design company. I did this with the purpose of developing a professional level process and practicing working to a brief like I would in the professional world.

Games Company

For the games company, I wanted to keep a playful fun feel. To do this, I had to alter letter forms and round the edges and corners of my fonts. The leaning letters also reinforces the idea of friendliness within the design.

Final design idea for the children’s games company


Accounting Company

The traditional accounting company needed a different feel. People look for an accounting company that they can trust to deal with their finances correctly. Therefore, a traditional and professional feel would be perfect for this company. I adjusted the width of the letterforms to increase the contrast and also used the J like a power in mathematics as another way of showing mathematical prowess.

Final idea for the traditional accounting business


Design Company

I began my process by researching design companies and the trends and styles their logos use. From my research, I found that design companies generally aim to represent their professionalism, skill and ability to keep up with trends within their logos. Companies that also typically aim to represent these things within their logos are technology and clothing companies.


Nasa logo

Under Armour Logo Png Outlet, 51% OFF |


As you can see in the examples above, many of the logo designs are mainly comprised of simple geometric shapes which can be seen for many of the logos you know and love. The use of sans-serif typefaces also can be seen which is common for companies attempting to give a modern feeling to their logos.

After researching I began sketching out potential ideas for my design whilst baring in mind the skills I would have to use within illustrator. I used sets of triangle rulers and a protractor to ensure I used the geometric shapes in my designs. I first sketched a set of concepts and then sketched out different variations of the concept I felt encapsulated the idea of a design company the best.

Original set of sketches                     Advanced sketches

Final sketch

Whilst creating the design in Illustrator, I adjusted the sketch to change the circle in the letter j into a square to become more uniform with the rest of the design.

Illustrator process of the creation of the design

Finally, I added some logo text and experimented with different colour schemes that could fit the aims of my design. I settled with the colour brown as it adds a sense of reliability to the design using colour psychology.

Colour experiments                                                  Final design


Software Tutorials

The first tutorial that I used for this task was A video tutorial explaining the basics of using illustrators varying tools to create specifically letter logos. The video demonstrated how to use the shape builder which was extremely helpful within this project. The use of various geometric shapes to create the logos rather than using drawing skills has been demonstrated and spoken about as a common practice within Logo design therefore learning this skill was essential.

Another tutorial I found was not completely relevant to my work as I did not use any overlapping letters within my Logo designs. However, this video was my first time learning about how and why you should change text into outlines. It is one of the most essential pieces of information I learnt for this task.

Finally, the last skill I would like to improve is my ability to use the pen tool. I would like to improve this skill as it is another essential for logo design. It can broaden my range of plausible ideas as I will be confident in my ability to create any style of logo and will eventually lead to an improvement in logo concept and create a cleaner look.


Design Resources and Articles

In this post, I have mentioned various sources previously that have both inspired my designs as well as helped me learn essential components within logo design. Another article that I used was This article explains many famous rebrands and logos and breaks down the reasoning for many different design decisions. For example, the recent Peugeot logo uses more “elegant” and “streamlined” elements to mark the brands “upmarket growth” as well as being an attempt to “keep pace with its products”. I used ideas like these in an attempt to help each logo feel like they belong within their each independent sectors.

I also used the book Logo Design Love by David Airey which helped me understand brand identities and how logos should embody them. This helped me understand the above article and how the small elements of a logo that could be seen as unintentional or just unimportant can reshape a brand and the effect the logo gives on the viewer.


Learning Throughout the Module

I improved many skills during this module. Firstly, I improved my ability to use many different pieces of software a lot more efficiently as well as learning how to use different features within these softwares. This has overall improved me as a designer as it has allowed me to explore more interesting and thought provoking concepts whilst being confident that I can transform my ideas into professional standard designs.

Secondly, and most importantly, I have improved my process as a designer. The design process is unique to each designer and is the building block of your work. During this module, I have tapered my design process into a more efficient and effective method to ensure I produce my highest level of work. This improvement will be extremely beneficial for my time at the university as well as even going as far as benefiting my career.

Designing a podcast banner for Facebook using Illustrator

Design ideas and design process

The book I was designing the podcast cover for, which the design was also based off of.

After looking at the book cover I was designing the podcast cover for, I already had an idea in mind where I would utilise the diamond shapes of the cover to create an engaging and aesthetic Facebook banner. I’d also decided to use the cover’s same colour palette to create an effective link between the banner and book.

After using the eyedropper tool to get the exact colour swatches from the book, I decided to use the oranges and reds for the background, and the navy blue for the text since the blue would be easiest to read, due to its darker shade, and the oranges and red would allow me to create eye-catching contrasts in colours which would be highlighted through the diamond shapes I’d planned to use.

For the background base colour, I made sure to use the lightest orange to create a stronger contrast with the darker shades of diamonds that would be placed on top of it.

Here I create a white diamond shape for my text using the line tool, before joining then using the join path tool (ctrl+J) and filling it in white.
I copied the initial lines of the white diamond and enlarged it slightly to use as a guide for where the smaller diamonds, created with the same method as the white diamond, would line up, so they would remain even and uniform.
I copied and pasted the completed diamonds section and transformed them (rotated, reflected) to fit the other areas of the banner to maintain uniformity.

With the diamond shapes being the highlight of the banner, I decided to outline them in black to emphasise their shape whilst also making it more eye catching, further highlighting the contrasting colours.

After outlining the diamonds in black.

As seen above, I then added my text and used a font that I thought was most similar to the font used in the book cover: I used Haettenschweiler.

However, I thought the white diamond text box looked too plain, since there was a mass of negative space, and so I decided to resolve this problem by implementing the flowers from the book cover. I altered them slightly, so they were not completely identical so there was some sort of differentiating factor from the podcast and book. I created the flower shape by placing 6 identical circles into a flower shape, before merging them into one using the pathfinder tool.

The finished product

Then, I duplicated the flowers and adjusted their sizes to fit within the white diamond text box, varying sizes to fill up majority of the negative space, whilst not making it look cramped. I also varied the sizes and ensured they were never bigger than the text to not draw attention away from the text, a important focal part of the banner, whilst still allowing the flowers to maintain a presence. I then added strokes using the pen and curvature tool to add movement and link the typography, inspired by another element from the original book cover, the flower stems.

I also changed part of the text format, as I thought it initially looked plain and boring, and so I made the author text line have inverted colours, with a white fill and dark blue outline; I thought this was especially effective as it not only made the title look more exciting but highlighted the author’s importance.


Software tutorials

The provided tutorials helped refresh my memory of what I knew, as I had prior, although basic, knowledge of Illustrator from past tasks. Two new tutorials I did use, however, were:

The first tutorial informed me of the pathfinder tool, helping me create the flower shapes, as well as understanding the tool’s other functions.

The second tutorial informed me of the join paths function, which helped me create the diamond shapes, as I used separate lines to create them.


Design resources and articles

This article inspired this design, as it showed me how effective simple shapes could be when designed compellingly, hence my focus on the diamond shapes.


Learning throughout the module

Across the module, I have not only improved my prior skills in Photoshop, but learned and developed new skills in Illustrator, InDesign and After Effects. I learnt how to create and manipulate shapes efficiently in Illustrator using tools ranging from the shape tools, the line tool, the curvature tool and the pathfinder tool; at the start, I relied on simply changing the shape until it looked like I wanted, rather than fully understanding the process and so once I educated myself on the tools functions better, I was able to create shapes I wanted both easier and in shorter time. One of my wrong answers in the quiz at the beginning of the module was choosing Excel as most suitable to create a table, as I didn’t know there was a table creation tool in InDesign, so I enjoyed discovering and experimenting with that, although I hope to further develop my skills in making more complex looking tables. Despite the singular task in After Effects, I enjoyed it immensely, as animation is a sector of Graphic Design that I would like to become one of my strong points, and found dedicating a week to tutorials and articles learning about the program effective in helping me have a basic, solid foundation and understanding of the program.

Creating Shapes in Illustrator


Design ideas & design process

For this task I created a social media banner to accompany a podcast for ‘Homegoing’ by Yaa Gyasi. This illustration was one that is inspired by the book cover.

Homegoing book cover
Book cover for ‘Homegoing’ by Yaa Gyasi

I took inspiration from the flowers going up each side of the cover. They looked like simple enough shapes to recreate and an integral part of the design which would create a good link between my social banner design and the book cover. I used the pencil tool to draw the stem and then used the circular tool to create a smooth circle. I then added many smaller circles around the edge and merged the shapes together. This allowed me to create the cloud-like effect of the flowers. For the petals I again used the pencil tool to draw the outline and duplicated the shape for multiple petals. Once I had 1-2 different flowers I just duplicated them to give me multiple flowers across the front of the banner.

Creating the flowers
Creating the flowers





Duplicated flowers

I then moved onto the background. I wanted to use the same colours as the book cover to keep them closely related but I used different shapes. I decided to use a series of wave-like shapes to create a background that was completely original.


After creating the background I added ‘Homegoing’ in the font Futura. I picked this font as it resembled the one used on the book cover but instead of red I chose black to keep it from blending into the background. This font is thick and heavy which makes the text stand out.

Social Media banner


Software tutorials

The task provided me with software tutorials I was able to use and watch prior to starting this task. The first tutorial I watched taught me about using the pencil tool to draw shapes and adjusting the smoothness setting to prevent getting rough lines. This is what allowed me to draw the stems of the flowers I used above. The tutorial also showed how you can edit paths you made by using the pen tool to allow you to achieve the exact shape.

The second tutorial went more in-depth about the pencil tool and shortcuts to draw straight lines. It then talked about the curvature tool where you can set anchor points a long a straight line and make it curved.

Another tutorial allowed me to learn about creating shapes and combining many smaller shapes to create a more detailed shape. This is the technique I used to create the ‘petals’ of the flowers above.

Along with these tutorials I found some of my own online that helped me better understand the tools I needed to use for this task.

Here are a few I found and used to help me with this task.


Design resources and articles

I also found some other resources online that went through creating, combining and cutting shapes to achieve the final shape I wanted. This was the main skill I needed for this task as this allowed me to create the main focus point of the banner, the flowers. It is also the skill I used to create the different coloured waves for my background.


Learning across the module 

Across the whole module I have learned a variety of new skills on multiple softwares, some of which I have never used before. I have learned the basics of After Effects to create animated text and shapes along a timeline to produce a GIF. I have developed my InDesign skills which has also helped me across other modules. I have also been able to learn more about tools in Photoshop, cutting out images cleanly and precisely, editing images, and being able to make different images work together.

I am now used to saving files in different formats that allow me to use them across different softwares. Many problems can arise from not saving files properly and using the wrong formats which prevent you from opening them in certain softwares. I have gained good experience in saving files correctly which immediately prevents problems from occurring.

Altering Reality with a Couple of Clicks

Photoshop is arguably one of the most popular pieces of design software, used by over 90% of professionals. In the industry, photoshop is primarily used for small clean-ups and corrections, but what can we do with it when unrestrained and opened up to a new plane of imagination?

Design ideas and design process

Design 1

Final Edit
Final Edit


For the first edit I wanted to make sure I had a good grasp on the tools I learned from the ‘Editing Images’ task. I decided to make a collage style image so that I could focus on each of the individual elements, and then putting them together. To begin, I created a new fill layer on the document, and set the colour to a dull yellow colour. Then I needed to create the arch shape, in order to do so, I used the shape tool to draw a rectangle and circle then combined them to create the arch. Next, I created a new layer and made the fill a light sky blue and used a downloaded brush to paint clouds, effectively making a sky background. To apply this only to the arch, I masked it by selecting the blue layer and holding down option (alt), which gives the option to create a mask that only applies to the layer below it, in this case the arch shape. Now that the background was complete, I inserted the main subject. I did this by using the select subject feature on the original image, then copying the selection into my main document. To get his elbow outside of the arch, I created a layer mask and used the brush tool to erase the corresponding mask area. For the flowers, I decided to go with pink and white as they provide a nice contrast to the background while also complementing the subject’s shirt. I places the flowers in and arranged them in a way that frames the subject. To create some depth, I repeated the same steps as before the bring the areas of some of the flowers forward. As a finishing touch I added some text as there was a lot of lank space, as the subject is a member of a group I like, I added some text relevant to that aspect.

Design 2

Final edit

After refining my skills with my first edit, I decided that I wanted to try and create something more complex and more diverse in terms of the tools that need to be used. Whilst looking for tutorials I came across one on how to make a flower face cut out image and chose to follow this one. I started by importing the photo into photoshop and using the pen tool to draw paths around the areas that I wanted to cut out. Then I right clicked on the path and chose ‘make selection’ then pressed M for the marquee tool make the path into a selection, after this I right clicked again and chose ‘copy via cut’ to separate the selection from the main photo. I also created a solid black layer under the original photo to serve as a background for the cut out areas. Next I used a bevel & emboss effect in the cut out areas to give them more depth. I then placed in the flowers I wanted to use and changed the hue and saturation of them so that the colours and brightness would match well with the purples and blues in the photo. I arranged the flowers as I wanted them to appear in the edit, then went to the main photo layer, held down control and clicked on it to create a selection, then went to my flower layer and created a mask on it and pressed control + I to invert it. This allowed me to then use the brush tool to paint over parts of the flower that I wanted to appear i front if the photo, to create the effect that the flowers are growing outwards. To finish it off, I reselected in the visibility for the cut out parts and readjusted them in a way that was distinguishable from the rest of the face, but not too isolated.

Design 3


Final Edit

This edit is far simpler in comparison to the first two, however I thought it was important to not only focus on changing the main subject if the image, but also pay attention to the background and how it can alter the impression a photo makes on us. I started this edit by cropping the original image and placing it into photoshop as well as the new background on another layer. I then went to Select > Select and mask, then pressed select subject, this selected the person in the image, I could then use the sliders to refine the selection if I wanted to. This then created a mask which isolated the subject and brought it in front of the new background. Now I had to change the lighting of the subject to match the background. I did this by going to Filter > Neural filters > harmonisation, which analyses the two images and adjusts them to match. However after applying the filter I wasn’t satisfied, so went back and adjusted the saturation and CMYK sliders until I was happy.

Software Tutorials

As I have no prior experience with photoshop, I mainly used lengthier Youtube tutorials that went into more depth and explained each tool. I had no confidence with the tools, however after watching and following the tutorials, I feel that my skills have made a significant improvement.

As the first edit built practised knowledge I learned from a different task, I did not use a tutorial so that I could make sure I actually understood what I was doing.

This tutorial on how to make a flower face image guided me through the second edit. It mainly utilises creating masks from specific selections so that they can be added to or subtracted from, for example when choosing how much f the flowers I wanted to have ‘outside’ of the face. The tutorial was very clear and showed the progression through each step well, so it was easy to follow along and see the effect of each step which was a major aid in learning about what he use of each step was.

Changing a background of an image was much easier than expected thanks to Adobe’s analysis software, Adobe Sensei. This has made things such as selecting the main subject or the background of an image much easier, and needing less fine tuning from the designer themselves. This also applies to matching the lighting of the subject to the new background using the neural filters. Even though this technology is making these editing process much easier, it is still important that we implement our own flair and opinion, for example when using the harmonisation filter, I did not think Adobe’s result worked, so had to make adjustments myself.

In future projects, I would like to begin using tools that I have not used in this task, and explore further into the full range of photoshop’s abilities.

Design resources and articles


My sources of inspiration for these edits were these projects that I found on Behance while looking through the ‘Photoshop’ tag. I really liked the first two images as they caught my eye straight away with the bold colour palette and layering of the different layers. This helped inform my decision to implement this effect in my own design, as well as the the bevel and emboss feature that is used on the skin cut-outs.

The second two photos are my inspiration for my third edit. I found the one with the mushroom was so fun and really tells a story just from one picture. On the other hand, the cloud edit is dramatic in a way that leaves you to think, and the way the lighting matches both the person and the background made me want to try and achieve that effect in my own work.



Learning across the module

As a whole, this module has immensely improved my design skills and sparked new interests in different softwares. The first part of the module began to develop our understanding of each piece of software, and now we have developed our skills and are practicing them as professional designers would. I think this development is really shown throughout my work, not only in the final piece but especially in the process, the steps that I am taking to reach the end goal have become more refined. This shows me that I have achieved one of the goals I set for myself at the end of the first submission: “I feel that I need to improve my efficiency in using the program by learning more keyboard shortcuts past the realm of basic ones like the selection arrows and the pen tools”. The other goal for myself,  “I would also like to improve on the way I view my own work, because at times I find myself being caught up in details that don’t end up being necessary, and trying to overcomplicate designs to make them look more complex when they don’t need to be.”, I think I have improved on this, but have yet to fully conquer it, though this only means I have more opportunities to learn.

TY1SK- spring board blog post

  1. my design and process: 

For the photoshop task, I decided to choose creative images. This caught my eye as it would teach me how to alter an image in 3 ways. The process started with choosing a photo. This was an important step as I wanted a photo versatile enough so that I would have lots of options on how to alter the photo. Initially I wanted to use a flower as the contrasting colours could be used to make an interesting effect. However, most flower images had little backgrounds with not much going on. In the end I settled on a flower field that had a big sky and lots of colours and shapes. 

The first task was to combine colour and monochrome. I had so many ideas for example, I wanted to make the sky the only thing monochrome to make a nice bold contrast between the sky and the clouds. However, I didn’t think it was very powerful and didn’t really say anything. Instead, I selected most, but not all, of the field of multi coloured flowers and kept them in colour whereas everything else was turned into black and white. This gave the image power with the impression of there’s a silver lining under every dark cloud. I was very happy with the end result. 

For the next task we had to alter the image in some way. I chose to change the colour of the sky; this was hard due to the blue of the sky peeking through the trees. This inspired my next task to change the reality of the image. So, I downloaded some images of dinosaurs and made them into Png’s using photoshop. I then added them to my image giving the illusion the 2 dinosaurs are looking at the flying dinosaur. 

  1. software tutorials:

For this task I had to use many tutorials and articles to assist me in creating these images as I have little knowledge on photoshop. There were 3 main sources I used. 

Getting started with Photoshop in 10 minutes (Beginners Tutorial) 

This explained many things, for example, how to

 use and make layers. This was very important as using layers is possibly the most important tool in photoshop. Without this video this task would have taken much longer. How to Create Stunning Black & White Images in Photoshop 

This was another video I used to teach me how to use the monochrome effect. Even though it technically only taught me how to create black and white images, along the way I saw where the other effects lived and how they worked. 

  1. Design recourses and articles

Over this task I had to gather inspiration I did this via creating a mood board on BeHance. This helped me gather inspiration and adjust / improve my work as I went. An example of this is, when I was creating my black and white task I struggled to put some emotion into my image. By consulting my mood board and adding to it, I gathered an idea of what I wanted it to say. 

  1. Learning across the module

Over the course of this module I have gathered many new skills. Such as, after effects. Learning After effects was extremely hard. The videos on how to use the program were very uninformative and made me more confused. This was certainly the hardest task I had to do. However, by the end I knew how to use key parts of this program effectively. Another key part I learnt was premier pro. This was challenging as it was another program I had never used before. However, there was a lot more Resorces to teach me how to use it. By the end of the screen casting task I moderately understood the software and could use it confidently. 

photoshop- creative images

Design ideas and design process

This task was asked to cut out part of the image and my original image that I have used to make this is a scenery of the mountains. I used the magnetic lasso tool to outline the part that I wanted removed and edited it out with the tools. This part may have been the most challenging and required a few trials before getting it correctly.

This task is where we were asked to produce part of the image into black and white. I chose to only leave the mountains in colour so that it stands out more in comparison to the rest of the image. In order to create this I used the magnetic lasso effect to chose what I did not want in black and white and added it to a new layer, to make the image black and white the tool was found in adjustments.

This is the task where I developed the most on photoshop. In order to create this image I cut out the background and added a new layer to remove the sky out from the image and added and image of the galaxy to replace the sky. For it to look better, I went to image and changed the brightness and contrast. For the rest of the image I used colour balance to improve the image and make it have more vibrant colours.

software tutorials

The software tutorials were very useful for the photoshop tasks as I have never produced either of those before so they were of great help. The first tutorial was about how to cut out part of an image from the whole image. There it showed how to use the magnetic lasso tool properly for when in need to remove some properties from the background. At first I found it quite complicated but with the use and understanding of the tutorial it made it easier for me. The second tutorial was on how to make the background black and white which was also something I had not tried as a tool before therefore it was interesting to find out how. However, I feel that I still have room for improvement for cutting out an image and could look much more accurate in some areas for the next task. The tutorials did help me learn two new skills which was very interesting.

learning across the module

In this module I have learnt several skills mostly ones using the magnetic lasso tool where I used them to cut out images and make images in black and white. These tools were found to be of great use in the tasks and for tasks to come along afterwards. Furthermore, I have never created a table using indesign before therefore this was a new skill I learnt too. One of my favourite skills during the module that I learnt to use was creating a 3 dimensional effect for my logo- initials on illustrator which was fun and fascinating to create.