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Photo by hotblack on morgueFile.com
Photo by hotblack on morgueFile.com

Today we will look at:

  • Crop Tool
  • Image Adjustments:
    • Brightness/Contrast
    • Levels (Ctrl+L)
    • Curves (Ctrl+M)
    • Auto Tone (Shift+Ctrl+L)
    • Auto Contrast (Alt+Shift+Ctrl+L)
    • Auto Color (Shift+Ctrl+B
    • Vibrance
    • Hue/Saturation (Ctrl+U)
    • Photo Filter
    • Shadows/Highlights
  • Adjustment Layers
  • Tasks

Crop Tool

Follow the in-class instructions on how to use the Crop Tool or follow the tutorial below the image.

The crop tool works on two basic levels:

  • free-hand – simply select the crop tool (Shortcut C) [Visit Shortcutworld for more Photoshop Shortcutsand drag a window over your image. You can adjust the size of the crop selection by dragging the edges and corners. You can even rotate your crop selection (with CS4 or higher).
    Hit Enter to complete the crop action and accept the new size.
  • key in dimensions – after activating the crop tool enter the width: 500 (in px for web), the height: 600 (in px) and the resolution: 150 (72 is suitable for web)- the values need to be entered in the options bar (also called properties bar). See image below as an example. Next drag the crop window and press enter to except the change.
    Note that the window is restricted in its scale.
See the dimensions of the Crop Tool: 450px x 400px with 72ppi resolution.
See the dimensions of the Crop Tool: 450px x 400px with 72ppi resolution.

Cropping and Straightening Images in Photoshop Essentials

Cropping Tool in Photoshop Essentials

Brightness/Contrast

Follow the in-class demonstration. A nice and basic function, it allows you to change the brightness and correct the contrast. Move the slider to change the values.

Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast

Tick and untick the Preview box to observe the changes before accepting it.

Use the sliders. It is self explanatory.
Use the sliders. It is self explanatory.

Levels

With the Levels function you can adjust problems with tone (eg a photo that is very grey and does not show enough dark and light aspects) or colour related problems (eg too much blue).

The Short Cut: Ctrl+L (Cmd+L) or use: Image>Adjustments>Levels

Overview: follow my in-class introduction to how to use the Levels in simple steps. Use the attached photo by Matthew Bridges of the old house at a lake.

Photo by matthewbridges on morgueFile.com
Photo by matthewbridges on morgueFile.com
Image>Adjustments>Level
Image>Adjustments>Level

The easiest and most basic way to apply the Levels function is by moving the sliders for the highlight (white) and shadows (black) below the graph of the input levels inwards. Moving the highlight will brighten the image up and moving the shadow will darken the shadows.

This is a good basic function to start of with and it is useful for the majority of your photos, may they be basic shots or more sophisticated and at higher resolution.

Follow this tutorial to learn how to use the Level Adjustment more detailed and how to create an Adjustment Layer:

Fix Tone and Color with Levels in Photoshop – Photoshop Essentials

Improving Image Tone With Levels In Photoshop – Photoshop Essentials

Curves

Follow the in-class demonstration (shortcut: Ctrl+M or: Image>Adjustments>Curves). The Curves function is similar to the Level function, but the graph is a lot more visual and intuitive. You can manipulate it with your mouse.  See image:

Try the presets and see how it affects your image, and then manipulate the curve yourself.
Try the presets and see how it affects your image, and then manipulate the curve yourself.

Curves Tutorial on Photoshop Essentials

Auto Tone

The short cut is Shift+Ctrl+L (or: Image>Auto Tone). Follow the in-class demonstration. The Auto Tone function readjusts tonal settings in your image and in most cases this results in a crisper image with the click of a button. The Auto Tone option looks for the darkest and lightest points in an image and resets them to pure white and black, resulting in clearer tones.

Because  Auto Tone adjusts each color channel individually, it may remove color or introduce color casts.

Auto Contrast

Follow the in-class demonstration.

The short cut is Alt+Shift+Ctrl+L  (or: Image>Auto Contrast). Auto Contrast adjusts image contrast automatically, at the click of a button. Unlike Auto Tone it will not affect colours. It clips the shadow and highlight values in an image and then maps the remaining lightest and darkest pixels in the image to pure white and pure black . As a result the image will have lighter highlights anf darker shadows and a crisper contrast.

Auto Color

Follow the in-class demonstration.

The short cut is Shift+Ctrl+B  (or: Image>Auto Color)

Auto Color adjusts the contrast and color of an image. It is able to search images for shadows, midtones, and highlights. It then neutralizes the midtones using a target color of RGB 128 grey and clips the shadow and highlight pixels by 0.5%. Personally, and from experience it effects images less and Auto Contrast and Auto Tone bring more convincing changes in image quality.

Vibrance

Follow the in-class demonstration. Click: Image>Adjustments>Vibrance

As the name suggests this function will help you making a photo look more vibrant. Colours can be shown more intensely with higher saturation. It is easy to grasp this function, simply move the sliders to the right to increase vibrance or move them to the left to decrease vibrance.

Based on a photo by delboysafa from morgueFile.com
Based on a photo by delboysafa from morgueFile.com

Hue/Saturation

Follow the in-class demonstration.  (Ctrl+U or Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation)

Using Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer with a mask showing the original (yellow) below.
Using Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer with a mask showing the original (yellow) below.

Photo Filter

Photo Filter
Photo Filter

Follow the in-class demonstration. Press: Image>Adjustments>Photo Filter.

One of the best image adjustment options, you can select from a set of preset filters: use a warming filter to create a lighting sense that you would encounter indoors, in autumn (fall) or during a sunset when there are more yellow, orange and red colours around. Use a cool filter to create a typical outdoor setting or a winter atmosphere. You can tick the Color box and select your own colour or select a colour from the image itself (simply click on the part of the image).

You can also change the amount of density, more density results in a stronger impact of your filter. Find a level that you like – try to be more conservative and chose a little less density than you like for a print).

Shadows/Highlights

Follow the in-class demonstration. Click: Image>Adjustments>Shadows/Highlights.

With the shadows and highlights you can easily lighten up an underexposed, dark image. Use the functions sparsely to not overdo the changes, which can easily create an unrealistic look. The image shows the changes on a dark photo.

Based on photo by o0o0xmods0o0o from morgueFile.com
Based on photo by o0o0xmods0o0o from morgueFile.com

Use an Adjustment Layer

All the image adjustments that we have looked at above can be done directly to an image or in from of an adjustment layer. It is far better to create an adjustment layer, this allows you to create changes in form of a layer. You can always delete or hide the layer and your original image remains unaffected.

How do you create an adjustment layer?

With your original layer selected click on the Create a new fill or adjustment layer button and select what type of adjustment layer you want to create. Next do all the adjustments to it.

Alternatively you just click on the Adjustments tab and select the Adjustment Layer that you want to create.

(See image)

Create an Adjustment Layer
Create an Adjustment Layer

Task in Class

Perform these two tasks to show that you understood today’s class ( If you have missed this class you need to do this!!!)

  1. Use the image by Matthew Bridges (or select an alternative image). Use the crop tool and resize to 500px x 600px at 150ppi (resolution). Apply 6 different image adjustment layers and mask them off in strips (see examples of student work). Add titles to your strips.  E-mail the file to me as a PNG (not PSD) and keep a copy for yourself.
  2. In your second task I would like you to use Matthew Bridges’ image only. The photo is very grey and it looks foggy. I would like you to improve the image using any of the image adjustment functions that you have learnt about. When you are happy with the improved image e-mail me a PNG version of it (no need to crop the image).
    Create a before and after version of the image.

Student Submissions:

Work by Benan Ü
Work by Benan Ü
Work by Michael T
Work by Michael T
Work by Tristan S
Work by Tristan S
Work by Vlad K
Work by Vlad K
Work by Jo W
Work by Jo W
Work by Justin A
Work by Justin A

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 3    Class 4     Class 5     Class 6

Today we will look at:

  • Creative Commons
  • Layer Blending Modes
  • Layer Masks
  • Gradient Tool and Layer Mask
  • Today’s Task

We will focus the majority of today’s time on you practicing Photoshop. After the completion of your tasks I will expect you to stay and practice more. Class time is the time when I will be able to assist and the time for you to experiment with the software.

So, today we will have fun and afterwards will have some more fun until the imaginary bell rings to announce the end of class.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons or the Creative Commons License relates to a way to distribute content, such as photos and other images for free. Last week’s sample photo of the Ameland geese by F Schouwenburg is under the Creative Commons License.

Source: Flickr - photographer: Frans Schouwenburg
Source: Flickr – photographer: Frans Schouwenburg

Creative Commons are generally used for non-commercial and educational purpose. If someone makes a profit with a product they should pay for the image they use.

Generally, the author, creator or owner of the content needs to be mentioned. So, in short, when using images from Creative Commons sources ensure that you mention the source of your image.

This can be done in various ways. One would be to place a tag underneath the image with the source as you see it done in this blog.

CConFlickR
Creative Commons on FlickR

There are different forms of Creative Commons and it pays to read the details beforehand. To the right is another example from FlickR:

Examples of Creative Commons Resources

Try out the Links to Creative Commons to the right of this post:

Your task: find a photo to suit the themes Urban environment and blue skies with each search and download the image. Include the meta data of the photographer and source of website with the photo.

Try this link for more Creative Commons information.

Layer Blending Modes

First start a new Photoshop document. Place one of your new photos into it. Place your second photo as well.

The Layer Blending Mode can be accessed through the Layers panel. A text box (Win) with the word Normal or a small button (Mac) indicate the Layer Blending Mode box.

Look at your layer blending mode with the top layer active. Try the layer blending modes below and see how amazingly easy Photoshop lets you change the appearance by creating a blend between two images.

Now click on this link and access the tutorial on Layers TV Episode 105 about how to use the Layer Blending Mode.

Layer Mask

If you completely watched the tutorial in the link above, you will already know how to create a layer mask and can proceed to the task for today.

Last week we looked at clipping masks and today we look at a layer mask. The process is very similar. Make a selection on your active layer and click on the Layer Mask button (add a layer mask) beneath the Layers panel. Your selection is still visible and the rest has disappeared.

You can also create a layer mask from a selection by going to the main menu: Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection. (see image)

Layer_Mask

Alternatively (press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z) you can hide what you have selected: if you use the Layer Mask button press Alt at the same time to hide your selection with the Mask. You can do the same from the main menu: Layer>Layer Mask>Hide Selection.

While the layer mask is selected you will be in the mask mode. You can use the brush to add or take away from your layer mask. If you use the brush (while in mask mode) you can  make parts disappear by drawing with black as foreground colour. You can equally make things reappear by drawing with white as foreground colour.

Using Gradient Tool with Layer Mask

A good tool to use is the gradient tool with the layer mask. You can create a gradient mask that way, which means the image will gradually become invisible. See image below.

French Ancient City Banner
French Ancient City Banner – Source: Image Base – Free Stock Photography Click the image as a link.

You can see the gradient used on the right part of the image. This is how you do it:

  1. Create a new document (use dimensions below)
  2. Place an image and change size as you see fit (press Enter)
  3. Create a layer mask (click the layer mask button)
  4. Activate the gradient and drag from one part to another within the imageIf white is your foreground colour the image will become invisible in the direction of your dragging. If black was your foreground colour the image will be invisible on your first point and become visible in your dragging direction.

For a more detailed tutorial on how to use the Layer Mask in Photoshop go to: PhotoshopEssentials.com

Today’s Task

Create a banner for a website using two images that blend into each other (use Layer Blending Modes and Layer masks) with a title, either use your name or an imaginary title.

Image by Alvimann found on morgueFile.com
Image by Alvimann found on morgueFile.com
Image by Noboru found on morgueFile.com
Image by Noboru found on morgueFile.com
Urban Stories Banner by F.Viola
Urban Stories Banner by F.Viola

The images must suit the themes:

  • Urban environment
  • Blue Skies

Dimensions of banner: 980px(width) x 174px (height) 72ppi (resolution)

Task_New Document

Add a title to the banner, that preferably also blends with the background images. Save the file as a PNG file. Keep a copy of this file and the 2 images that you have used. Upload your work onto MyKangan.

Examples of Student Submissions:

Layer Blending  Masks Banner
Banner by Vlad K
Banner by Yong Wu
Banner by Yong W
Banner by Mike T
Banner by Mike T

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 3     Class 4      Class 5     Class 6

Welcome to your third Photoshop class. Be honest: did you practice what you have learnt last week? Make sure to practice Photoshop as much as you can, preferably daily. If you create a habit and make it fun your learning curve will be steep. If you are to busy to practice every day, try more than once a week.

Only practice will help you learn!Photo by  BreonWarwick on morgueFile
Only practice will help you learn! Photo by BreonWarwick on morgueFile

Today we will look at:

  1. The Layer panel
  2. How to create a new layer
  3. How to move layers
  4. How to make a layer active
  5. How to hide and show a layer
  6. How to link layers
  7. How to group layers
  8. How to delete layers
  9. How to draw shapes
  10. How to create a clipping mask
  11. How to use the Gaussian Blur
  12. How to rasterize a layer
  13. How to merge two layers and
  14. How to flatten an image

You can see that we will be rather busy. You will also need to provide me with an image as a result.

If you already now all of the tasks above you can do this straight away –

Your Tasks for this class:

Task 1 – Start a new document – 700x500px at 150ppi (pixels/inch) resolution and background contents set to transparent. Create a clipping mask with a rounded rectangle (fill most of the document space and with a 40px radius) of a photo of geese in Ameland, inthe Netherlands by Frans Schouwenburg. The photo is available under Creative Commons agreement and can be found on Flickr.com. If you cannot open the file get it from here:

Geese in Ameland, Photo by Frans Schouwenburg
Geese in Ameland, Photo by Frans Schouwenburg

Create a Gaussian blur (7.4px) of the clipping mask and flatten the image. Save as a JPEG with this title: Class3_T1_Your_full_name.jpg (example: Class3_T1_Toni_Varsetti.jpg). Upload the file to MyKangan and keep a copy of the JPEG.

Task 2 – Use the same document from task 1 or start a new document – 700x500px at 150ppi (pixels/inch) resolution and background contents set to transparent. Type the initials of your name in Impact Regular 200pt. If you have not done so in task 1, download the image of the geese in Ameland (see Task 1 for link). Place the file in your document (File>Place). When excepting the size make sure that the image is larger than the initials. Finally create a clipping mask (the photos should only appear inside the text now). Save the file as a PNG with this title: Class3_T2_Your_full_name.png (example: Class3_T2_Toni_Varsetti.png). Upload the file to MyKangan and keep a copy of the PNG.

The Layer Panel

The ability to create layers is a central aspect of Photoshop. It works like a collage, you place one photo on top of another and the one on top covers up the photos below it.

Layers Panel - Source: The Graphic Designer's Digital Toolkit, Alan Wood, 5th Edition, 2011
Layers Panel – Source: The Graphic Designer’s Digital Toolkit, Alan Wood, 5th Edition, 2011
layer_drop_menu
Layer Drop Menu Click image to see larger version

The Layer palette is located in the bottom right-hand corner with a tab called LAYERS. There are two menu items you should be aware of in the drop down main menu: Layers and Window.

Click on Layers to see a lot of actions that you can perform with layers. (See image) You can perform these functions directly from the layers palette as well, by clicking on the Layer Options Tab (small icon in the top right of the layers palette).

Click on Window in the main menu and see Layers ticked. This is were you can activate the Layer palette if you cannot see it on your screen. (If you are using a Windows PC notice the shortcut F7? This allows you to activate or deactivate the layers palette.)

Please read all the options of the image of the Layers panel (above) before advancing.

How to create a new Layer

  • You can simply click on the small icon in the Layers panel that looks like a sheet of paper (too slow)
  • You click on the Layer tab in the menu bar: Layer>New>Layer (too slow) or
  • You use the short cut: Ctrl+Shift+Alt+N (Mac: command+shift+option+N) – Nice! This will immediately create a new layer on top of your active layer.
  • You can use this short cut: Ctrl+Shift+N. This will open a options panel before the layer is created.
Layers in Photoshop are like a Collage of images stuck on top of each other...
Layers in Photoshop are like a Collage of images stuck on top of each other… Monkey photo by deanjenkins and Green photo by omdur, both on morgueFile

How to move a Layer

  • Drag the layer in the layer panel into the new position. You can move it up (=on top of other layers in the workspace) or down (it will be partly hidden by layers above. This is an easy and intuitive way. You will need to sometimes move it right between two layers and wait for a dark line to appear before releasing the layer.
  • You can also use the shortcuts: Ctrl+[ (or Cmd+[ on Mac) to move the layer up and Ctrl+] (or Cmd+] on Mac) to move the layer down.
  • You can use the Menu bar:  Layer>Arrange>Bring Forward (or Backward)

How to make a Layer active or inactive

A layer needs to be active for you to be able to work with the artwork on the layer. Photoshop allows you to work on one layer at the time.

  • The active layer is high-lighted or shaded (generally it is the layer with the blue background and white text in the layers panel.)
  • To activate a layer simply click on the layer in the layer panel

If you want to select numerous layers hold the Ctrl button (Mac: Cmd) while selecting more layers.

How to hide and show a Layer

You can make the content of a layer invisible by clicking on the eye icon in the Layers panel. Clicking it again will make the content visible.

How to link Layers

Linking layers can be done by selecting numerous layers (with Ctrl) and then clicking on the chain symbol in the Layers panel.

How to group Layers

Group layers by selecting numerous layers and then either pressing Ctrl+G (Mac Cmd+G) or create a new group by clicking the Create a new group icon in the Layers panel (it looks like a folder) and drag any layer you want into it.

How to delete Layers

The easiest way is to select the layer and hit Backspace; this happens immediately.

If you are the old school type you might to simply drag the layer into the bin icon or click the bin icon and press enter to delete the layer.

How to draw Shapes

Using the Custom Shape Tool to draw a Rabbit - The rabbit is below the grass
Using the Custom Shape Tool to draw a Rabbit – The rabbit is below the grass

Before you draw a shape place an image in the document (File>Place). In the example I have placed a photo of grass (found on http://www.morguefile.com > Petersphoto)

There are several tools that allow you to draw shapes. They basically draw vector graphic shapes that are linked to a layer. Try the Rounded Rectangle Tool tool. (If the tool is not visible, hold down the Rectangle tool near the bottom of the toolbox.) The shortcut is U – and Shift+U allows you to scroll through the tools options (it should be the second.)

Draw a rounded rectangle with a 25px radius (drag to draw). You will notice that drawing a shape will create a new layer as a default!

Try the other drawing tools as well.

I chose the rabbit custom shape. To find it choose the custom shape tool, it looks like a blob, see the sample images! Then go into the options menu bar and select the down arrow next to the custom shape (most likely a black arrow). This will open all the different custom shapes. Next click on the small outward arrow head in the top right of the box you have just opened. Select all and Ok. This will open all the custom shapes that Photoshop comes with. The rabbit should be in the selection.

How to create a Clipping Mask

The grass layer has been turned into a clipping mask with the shape of the rabbit below.
The grass layer has been turned into a clipping mask with the shape of the rabbit below.

Keep only one shape layer and delete all the others.

Place an image in the workspace: File>Place. Make sure the image is larger in size than the shape on the layer below. Right-click on your image layer and select Create Clipping Mask.

Male sure that you do this to your image layer and that the image layer is on top!!!

Your image layer has been reduced to the shape of the shape layer below. 🙂

  • Try to move just the image by selecting the image layer.
  • Try to move just the shape layer.

What is the difference?

How to use the Gaussian Blur

Make sure your shape thumbnail on your shape layer is selected. Go to the menu bar: Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and enter 7.4px for the Radius.

You should be prompted if you want to rasterize the layer. Click yes.

How to merge two Layers

Select two layers (left click + Ctrl) then right click and select Merge Layers.

How to flatten an Image

Right click on any layer and select Flatten Image or press Ctrl+Shift+E (Cmd+Shft+E on Mac)

Tasks

This completes today’s tutorials, please perform the below tasks:

Task 1 – Start a new document – 700x500px at 150ppi (pixels/inch) resolution and background contents set to transparent. Create a clipping mask with a rounded rectangle (fill most of the document space and with a 40px radius) of a photo of geese in Ameland, inthe Netherlands by Frans Schouwenburg. The photo is available under Creative Commons agreement and can be found on Flickr.com. Create a Gaussian blur (7.4px) of the clipping mask and flatten the image. Save as a JPEG with this title: Class3_T1_Your_full_name.jpg (example: Class3_T1_Toni_Varsetti.jpg). Upload the file to MyKangan and keep a copy of the JPEG.

Actually – in class we ended up straying and did the grassy rabbit instead. I am happy with either. See image:

Grassy Rabbits
Grassy Rabbits

Task 2 – Use the same document from task 1 or start a new document – 700x500px at 150ppi (pixels/inch) resolution and background contents set to transparent. Type the initials of your name in Impact Regular 200pt. If you have not done so in task 1, download the image of the geese in Ameland (see Task 1 for link). Place the file in your document (File>Place). When excepting the size make sure that the image is larger than the initials. Finally create a clipping mask (the photos should only appear inside the text now). Save the file as a PNG with this title: Class3_T2_Your_full_name.png (example: Class3_T2_Toni_Varsetti.png). Upload the file to MyKangan and keep a copy of the PNG.

Example:

Initials
Initials

Here is a link to a Clipping Mask tutorial on SalinStudio.com

Student Submissions:

Yong - Clipping Mask
Yong – Clipping Mask
Justin Clipping Mask
Justin Clipping Mask

This project below is used as part of a Media III project for a VCAL and VETiS group.

Develop a Campaign to Raise Awareness for an Endangered Species

Today we will look at a fictional project that you could easily turn into a real-world scenario: you will develop the outline of a Awareness campaign of an endangered species.

Image from morgueFile by lemai13
Image from morgueFile by lemai13

Step 1 – Research

First reseach what species are endangered. Spend 40 mins in class on the research. Collect your research in a digital format (Word or PowerPoint are fine). Why is the species endangered? What are the reasons?

You want to collect some information about the type of animal, its habitat and living conditions.

Look for data such as:

  • number of wild animals of that species
  • a figure to compare it to (eg in 1990 there were about 240,000, in 2009 there are an estimated 12,000 left.)

Step 2 – Create a Concept for a Fundraiser

Brainstorm a number of ideas for fundraisers or awareness raisers and platforms  that could be used for this purpose. A platform could be an online platform, such as a Social Media Site, or a magazine or other printed medium (poster).

Chose one main idea and describe it in your own words (include in your document).

Step 3 – Create a Visual for the Campaign

Create a basic visual, a flyer, poster, postcard or similar a banner that could be used on a website.

Include: A slogan, and three or more images.

When it comes to a slogan, I want to really dig deep and brainstorm ideas for a slogan. You want to consider

  • the plight, the struggle of the animal species and reflect that in that slogan as well as
  • the target audience that you are trying to reach – who do you want to reach?
  • the outcome that you are aiming for (eg Getting people to support an organisation with funds or sign a petition to a politician, or simply to learn and realise what is happening)

Upload Step 1 and 2 as pasted text here as a comment. Include your full name.

Links

This site is very useful in the context of a campaign:

Endangered Species 1: Why Are Species Endangered?

Upload Your Research by Posting a Comment!

Post your research and idea as a comment.

Based on photo by dhester from morgueFile.com
Based on photo by dhester from morgueFile.com

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 3     Class 4     Class 5     Class 6

Today’s Class

  • Feedback on both Assessments
  • Assessment Files
  • Adding Meta-data to an Image in Photoshop
  • Inspirations

Feedback on Both Assessments

I will walk around and provide feedback on your work. Make sure that you consider the Visual Hierarchy of your work.

Create a layout of your work from basic outlines and place numbers against the different elements or pieces.

Is there one element that stands out the most? Are they all equal? Boring!!! You want to create a piece that is dynamic! For it to be dynamic it needs:

  • some movement
  • an entry point to the work (this is the first piece or element in your visual hierarchy)
  • a second, third, and other pieces in your Visual Hierarchy
  • A focal point – this can be achieved by an arrow pointing, a person pointing, a person looking at the focal point, the direction of text, etc
Example for Visual Hierarchy - based ‘Think small’ Advertisement for VW Beetle by Helmut Krone, 1960
Example for Visual Hierarchy – based ‘Think small’ Advertisement for VW Beetle by Helmut Krone, 1960

The image of the Beetle advertisement by iconic graphic designer Helmut Krone is a good example for a clear Visual Hierarchy.

  1.  Product image – due to position (we are trained to look at the top left first), high contrast (darkness of the beetle against the white background helps to make it stand out), generous use of white space (makes the image visually more important).
  2. Heading – due to position (it is positioned on the path to the next elements), bold and larger than body text, high contrast.
  3. Body textposition and size of text area. You could argue that the logo is visually as important.
  4. Logo – position, size (opposed to text) and white space around the logo.

The advertisement can be found at the AIGA Design Archives (and many other sites).

Scale – play with the size of things! Do not accept the first concept that you create. Rearrange it and change the scale of one element. How does the work look if one element is much larger?

Playing with the scale should be a lot of fun! In illustrator you might need to group some elements (Ctrl+G/Cmd+G) and select with V, the Selection Tool and drag to increase or decrease.

Assessment Files

Below are copies of both your assessments:

Assessment 1 – Student Diary Cover

Assessment 2 – Design a GUI

Adding Meta-data to an Image in Photoshop

The easiest way to integrate Meta-data into a file in Photoshop is to open the File Info Sheet: click File>File Info from the drop menu or use the short cut: Shift+Ctrl+Alt+I to open the window.

Next enter your information into the text fields. You want to add a title, name of author (creator), description, keywords and a copyright status.

Shift+Ctrl+Alt+I or File>File Info...
Shift+Ctrl+Alt+I or File>File Info…
Example of File Info being filled in.
Example of File Info being filled in.

PS Screenshot - File Info 02

Inspirations for Your Assessments

We were discussing different trends and inspirations in class. Here are some ideas and inspirations. Click on the images to activate a Google Image Search for the type of images in the thumbnails.

Retro Book Cover Illustrations 50s - Click the image for a Google Search
Retro Book Cover Illustrations 50s – Click the image for a Google Search
Retro Futurism - Click the image for a Google Search
Retro Futurism – Click the image for a Google Search
Vintage Book Illustration - Click the image for a Google Search
Vintage Book Illustration – Click the image for a Google Search

Based on photo by hotblack from morgueFile.com
Based on photo by hotblack from morgueFile.com

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 3     Class 4     Class 5

Work on Assessments

Today you have a chance to work on your assessments in class and get my feedback on the work.

Assessment 1 – Research Assessment

Assessment 2 – Cert IV PGA – Operational Plan

Presentation by Manager Sangeeta Alex

Operational Plan 2013 – First in-class Presentation by Kangan Mangager

 

Inspired by photos by emlyn and clarita from morgueFile.com

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 3     Class 4      Class 5

Today’s Class

  • Talking About Inspiration and Good Design
  • Reflection Tutorial – Photoshop Workshop (in class)

Talking About Inspiration and Good Design

Following up on last week’s conversation about inspiration: I was extremely pleased with some of the works seen by students for student diary entries as well as the GUI workshop. It is good to see that you are being inspired by works that I introduced in class and that you take feedback on board.

It is important to question your work, to seek feedback and to refine it. It is never easy to produce work that will satisfy your own standard. You are actually lucky if you set a high standard for yourself, I often teach students who do not set a high standard and therefore just aim for mediocrity. Their work is generic and looks like something they have found on Google.

You want to aim to first understand a question.You can do this by looking at the design problem and creating a clear project outline, including a design brief, a close look at the target audience and the overall technical details.

Next you look at providing an answer, that suits the brief and that covers all the points of the project outline. If the answer reflects your style or has your signature, that is an added bonus.

Illustration by Kate Miller, found on DzineBlog.com
Illustration by Kate Miller, found on DzineBlog.com

As stated before you will find some inspirations in the artwork and design work of current practitioners and past masters. I have selected an inspiring post from Dzineblog for today:  Some Amazing Retro Style Illustrations Part 2

It looks at retro style illustrations and I appreciate the amount of texture and depth that can be found in a lot of the works.

Gary Neill

Below are illustrations by Gary Neill. His illustrations are rich in texture and show depth in the use of colour, tone and pattern. All his works are simple in shape and visually engaging. I like to look at his work, it makes me feel something, may this be happiness or a sense of wanting to explore the work in more detail. The orange and blue illustration is such a strong statement, it makes me think of online chatting, online dating or any form of digital interaction.

Gary Neill has created illustrations for impressive publications, such as The Guardian, The New York Times, The Economist, Business Week, New York Magazine, Wall Street Journal, The Times, The Independent, Saatchi & Saatchi, Mens Health, Wired, Sunday Telegraph, National Geographic, The Washington Post and many others. Explore his work in more detail on Gary Neill’s SiteGary Neill’s Tumblr SiteGoogle Image Search

Illustration by Gary Neill found on Dzineblog.com - http://garyneill.com/  http://garyneill.tumblr.com/
Illustration by Gary Neill found on Dzineblog.com – http://garyneill.com/ http://garyneill.tumblr.com/

The illustration below is a more sinister and serious work by Neill. It was used by The Economist and has a focus on torture applied by a government. We have all heard the saying an image says a thousand words and this illustration is a powerful attempt at raising awareness of torture happening nowadays and how different Western countries view it. I like the simplicity of the image and the use of only black and red. Red is always a strong colour to represent emotion and it is used here symbolic for blood. This is a link to the article The Dark Pursuit of the Truth – Spies, Torture and Terrorism.

Illustration by Gary Neill found on P.A.P.-Blog - http://garyneill.com/  http://garyneill.tumblr.com/
Illustration by Gary Neill found on P.A.P.-Bloghttp://garyneill.com/ http://garyneill.tumblr.com/

Tavis Coburn

The illustrations below are works by Tavis Coburn. His works look very retro and represent a style and feel often found in book cover illustrations and comics of the 1940s and 50s. The style is often referred to as Pulp Fiction – see this Google link for examples for Pulp Fiction book covers.

I find his work very appealing, the stylised use of halftone patterns can look cool – even though it has been overused in recent years. The image of the newly-weds has depth – the back ground is blue and white and mostly flat (except of a few scratch marks above her head), the couple are very textured in an over exposed halftone pattern, the dotted line and suitcase with money sit above it all and suggest that the bride is focusing on the money. The work is a dynamic play on figure/ground relation or negative and positive space.

Here are two links to video tutorials on how to create halftone patterns:

The images he uses look friendly as in the advertisments of the late 40s and 50s, but placed in our time they seem to criticise and poke fun at the consumerism of the 50s.  Explore Tavis Coburn’s work in more detail: Tavis Coburn’s Site, Google Image Search

Illustration by Tavis Coburn found on DzineBlog.com
Illustration by Tavis Coburn found on DzineBlog.com

The second illustration by Coburn is from an article predicting the future of iOS in 2011. What appeals to me is the bright colour scheme, the icons representing the infographic nature of mobile app design. Yet, the image looks like a SciFi take from the 1940s or 50s if not even earlier. I feel reminded of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Again, it seems that Coburn looks at our time through a mirror of the past.

Illustration: Tavis Coburn - Illustration for for an article predicting trends in Apple's mobile strategy. Found on: TavisCoburn.com
Illustration: Tavis Coburn – Illustration for for an article predicting trends in Apple’s mobile strategy. Found on: TavisCoburn.com

Jessie Ford

The illustrations by Jessie Ford have an appealing softness to them. Her work is retro and yet very contemporary. Her work looks very vector-based, it is rich in overlaying textures. I like how she uses dirty looking textures to add to an otherwise plain background. Her generous use of white space and rich textures with her vector graphic or stamped shapes is very attractive. It has depth and I always feel like looking at her work longer and a second time to see what it actually is.

Find her works at: Jessie Ford’s Site, Google Image Search

Illustration by Jessie Ford, found on DzineBlog.com
Illustration by Jessie Ford, found on DzineBlog.com

The second illustration has that simple texture that I described as dirt above. It is like rolling a drying roller brush with black paint over a rendered wall. The texture that she has applied to her illustration makes it more interesting and gives it depth. Without it it would look more digital and clean, maybe flat and polished. The grittier look of her work is strong.

Illustration by Jessie Ford, found on DzineBlog.com
Illustration by Jessie Ford, found on DzineBlog.com

Reflection Tutorial – Photoshop Workshop

This tutorial was listed in previous classes and will be presented today. It is a Photoshop tutorial that shows several easy to follow steps that will allow you to create the illusion of a glossy finish and reflections. This is very suitable for creating a glossy interface, buttons or logo, as well as adding a fold line to your work to make it look more realistic (as if scanned of a poster).

I suggest some alternative shortcuts to the steps used in the tutorial by Tutorial9.

Tutorial9 - Glossy Reflection
Tutorial9 – Reflection Tutorial

Follow the in-class presentation of this tutorial The 5 Essential Photoshop Reflections or complete it yourself.

1- Upload PSD

Upload the PSD file for the tutorial or use a PSD of your choice. You will need a basic button against a dark background.

2 – Create Basic Surface Reflection

  • Select Group 2, the layer with the cloud in it. Duplicate the layer by pressing Ctrl+J (Cmd+J).
  • Press Ctrl+T (Cmd+T) to activate Free Transform. Right click on the selected cloud and select Flip Vertical. The cloud will have flipped over.
  • Drag the cloud down manually while holding shift (to keep it aligned) or use your arrow keys (with shift – to go in larger steps) to move the cloud down.
  • Complete the Free Transform by pressing Enter or double clicking on the cloud.
Image 1 - Add a Layer Mask
Image 1 – Add a Layer Mask
  • Add a layer mask (click the button for layer mask – see image 1)
  • Press D (to reset the standard foreground/background colours to White and Black)
Image 2 - Apply a Gradient Mask
Image 2 – Apply a Gradient Mask
  • Activate the gradient tool (press G) and drag (while still in the mask mode – the mask needs to be outlined) from point 1 to point 2 (see image 2). Your reflection should be partly invisible.
  •  Last steps: apply the layer mask(right click on the layer text and select apply layer mask) and change the layer opacity to suit (I chose 65%).
Image 3 - Change Layer Opacity
Image 3 – Change Layer Opacity

3 – Create Environment Reflection

The Environmental Reflection is white on top and gets lighter towards the bottom.
The Environmental Reflection is white on top and gets lighter towards the bottom.

This reflection works in 2 mayor steps:

Make the Selection

  • Select the cloud on the layer Group 2. The fastest way is to hold Ctrl while you click the layer thumbnail.
  • Make a round selection with the Elliptical Marquee Tool (Shortcut: M or Shift+M to toggle between Rectangular and Elliptical Marquee) and drag it over the top part of the selection of the cloud. Make sure to hold Shift+Alt (or pressing the Intersect with Selection button in the options panel) while dragging your round selection.
  • The result should be a top part selection of the cloud with a arch at the bottom.

Apply a Gradient Fill

  • Create a new layer on top of the cloud layer (Group 2). Call it Env Reflection.
  • Make sure to have white as foreground colour.
  • Fill the new layer with a white to transparent gradient. Select Gradient Tool (Shortcut: G) and choose the option: Foreground to Transparent (in options panel). Drag the cursor from above towards the selection. This will apply the white. Try it a few times until happy.

Adjustments

  • Reduce the Opacity setting in the Layers Panel to reduce the intensity of the gradient.
  • Save your file for the Web: as a PNG.

4 – Create Glossy Reflection

The Glossy Reflection is transparent on top and gets whiter towards the bottom.
The Glossy Reflection is transparent on top and gets whiter towards the bottom.

Do everything as in the steps for the Environmental Reflection, except: call the layer Glossy Reflection and apply the gradient fill from the bottom up. This will make the cloud shape look like a glossy object.

Save your file for the Web: as a PNG.

5 – Create a Fold Line

The Fold line is doubled up and the flare gives it a bit of depth. Look at the Tutorial9 link for the flare.
The Fold line is doubled up and the flare gives it a bit of depth. Look at the Tutorial9 link for the flare.

The fold line is a good way to create the illusion that your artwork is a poster that has been scanned in. The illusion of the fold looks like the shade in a photo or worn.

Make the Selection

  • Select the cloud on the layer Group 2. The fastest way is to hold Ctrl while you click the layer thumbnail.
  • Make a straight selection with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (Shortcut: M or Shift+M to toggle between Rectangular and Elliptical Marquee) and drag it over the lower half of the selection of the cloud. Make sure to hold Shift+Alt (or pressing the Intersect with Selection button in the options panel) while dragging your selection.
  • The result should be a lower half selection of the cloud.

Apply the Darkness

  • Create a new layer on top of the cloud layer (Group 2). Call it Fold Line.
  • Make sure to have black as foreground colour (or simply press D).
  • Select the Brush Tool (Shortcut: B) and a size of 170 or more with a hardness of 0% (this can be found in the Options Panel under the brush tip (called brush preset picker).
  • The next bit is important: Do NOT draw inside your selection but a bit above it. The thickness and softness of the brush will still provide a hint of black.

Adjustments

  • Reduce the Opacity setting in the Layers Panel to reduce the intensity of the colour.
  • Copy and move that layer to get a more natural and slightly overlapping or blurred fold.
  • Save your file for the Web: as a PNG.

Feedback

I hope that you have enjoyed the tutorial. Please leave me your feedback in form of a comment. If the tutorial did not make sense to you, I would like to find out about that, so that it can be made clearer. Thanks!

Based on photo by dhester from morgueFile.com
Based on photo by dhester from morgueFile.com

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 3     Class 4     Class 5

Today’s Class

  • Feedback on your Student Diary Cover for Assessment 1
  • Work on Student Diary Cover
  • Inspirations

Progress with Assessment 1

Please open your assessment 1 – Student Diary Cover; I will walk around and look at everyone’s progress.

You will receive feedback and be able to work on your assessment.

Inspirations for Assessment 1 – Student Diary

You want to visit and bookmark these two online resources:

Typographic images can be a strong visual treatment of thought and ideas someone may have. The thoughts could be made visual in a comic-like sense.

The Face by drfranken
The Face by drfranken, found on ChromoArt.de
What Time is it Now? by King_Bobbles
What Time is it Now? by King_Bobbles, found on Templates Blog

Based on photo by hotblack from morgueFile.com
Based on photo by hotblack from morgueFile.com

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 3     Class 4     Class 5

Introduction

  • Hand in Assessment 1 by 11am
  • Assessment 2 Handout

Complete and Hand in Assessment 1

Your first assessment is due today and I will allow you to double check all the info rmation prior to handing it in. Check your answers with your team member. Make sure that all your details are listed (name and student ID). Upload the assessment on MyKangan.

Assessment 2

Create an operational plan for yourself. Pick a medium term goal for your career or education and list all the things that you need to plan for by answering the questions.

This can be done individually or in teams of 2.
Upload the assessment on MyKangan.

Due Date: 16/7/13

Assessment 2 – Cert IV PGA – Operational Plan

Below is an example of an approach to Assessment 2: Let’s say my overall goal is to learn Adobe Dreamweaver by 30 January 2014.

So, my clear objective would be to able to design a website in Dreamweaver with an interactive menu, a minimum of three linked pages (home, about us, portfolio) and images that upload. I will be able to include HTML, CSS, JavaScript or JQuery and XML elements.

Where am I now might be: my current Dreamweaver skills are very basic. I need to learn how to develop a web page to suit a specific layout. I need to learn how to add and link images, and add meta data to images. I need to be able to get a better overall understanding of the interface, at the moment I feel to intimidated by it.

The resources that I need are: a computer with Adobe Dreamweaver CS 6, the Internet, and an online tutorial site, eg Adobe TV, Digital Arts Online or Noupe.

I hope this gives you a bit of an idea, what is expected. Make it as realistic as you want.

Inspired by photos by emlyn and clarita from morgueFile.com

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 3     Class 4

Today’s Class

  • Talking about inspirations
  • Web Design – Photoshop Workshop (in class)

Talking about Inspiration

While you are a student you should be able to experiment as much as you can. I mean, you should claim your right to experiment in your work. Rather than always going for a conservative option.

On the other hand you never want to stop searching for inspiration in the work of others and in society, the built environment and nature in general.

As you could see with the first assessment – taking close-up photos can lead to unexpected results. Objects never look the same on screen as they do on the floor or in real life.

Close-up at Fed Square, Federico Viola 2013
Close-up at Fed Square, Federico Viola 2013, Found at p.ic

Some inspirations you will simply find in the artwork and design work of current practitioners and past masters. For current designers you want to look at sites and magazines such as Computer Arts and Computer Arts Projects, Mashable,  Design Envy and Dzineblog are just a few inspiring resources.

This week’s Visual Design Component Class covered links and some descriptions of some styles and movements that I relate to very much:

  • Swiss International Style
  • Constructivism (often called Russian Constructivism)
  • Vietnames Propaganda Poster
  • Photomontage

I highly recommend reading up on each and particularly looking at examples of the works. It is good to find out what stylistic choices each movement made and what ideas were big in their days.

Swiss International Style - Joseph Müller-Brockmann - Beethoven - found at www.designhistory.com
Swiss International Style – Joseph Müller-Brockmann – Beethoven Concert Poster – found at http://www.designhistory.com
Contemporary design in style of Construcitvism by Teo Brito found at LauraGreen92 - click image for more information and link to her blog
Contemporary design in style of Constructivism by Teo Brito found at LauraGreen92 – click image for more information and link to her WordPress blog

It is fine to be inspired by other artist’s and designer’s work. Actually, you should look for greatness in other works and reference their works. This is done by paying a tribute to the original artist in form of a homage.

Experimental Photomontage by Robert Heinecken
Experimental Photomontage by Robert Heinecken

Web Design – Photoshop Workshop

In-class workshop. We will continue to apply the grid system to a website design. This time we will apply the grid to a gallery. The design will depend on your choices of layout and number of thumbnails that you want to feature.

Screenshot - applying 960 Grid 12 Col layout from 960 Grid System
Screenshot – In-class Tutorial: Applying 960 Grid 12 Col layout from 960 Grid System
  1. Access the 960 Grid System site: http://960.gs/ and download their 960 Grid System Templates by pressing the ‘Big ol’ Download Button’. This will start the download of a comprehensive folder by Nathan Smith with 960 Grid System templates and plug-ins for Photoshop, DreamWeaver and many other programs.
  2. In template>Photoshop open the 960_grid_12_col template
  3. Save the file under a new name and in your class folder.
  4. Make sure the guides are visible (Command+; or Ctrl+;)
  5. Add horizontal guides (View>New Guide) at 245px, 255px, 265px, 500px, 510px, 520px, 755px, 765px, 775px and 1010px. Lock your guides (View>Lock Guides or Alt+Ctrl+;) These guides will make it easier to arrange your content and to allow for 10px margins.

    Setting the grid up.
    Setting the grid up.
  6. Use the M (Rectangular Marquee) Tool to create spaces for a banner, text content, image content and a menu. Fill the spaces with colour (Shift+F5). Place each on individual layers. Name the layers (banner, text content, etc)
  7. Place images (File>Place). Make sure that they are located on top of the layers with the colourboxes.
  8. Create Clipping Masks: make sure the banner image sits on top of the banner layer (with the colour space). Have only the layer with the image selected and right click on the active layer (beside the name of the layer) and click on Create Clipping Mask. Your image should take on the dimensions of the layer  below. – Alternatively you could use the short cut Ctrl+Alt+G (Cmd+Alt+G).

    Concept for Gallery Screnshot
    Concept for Gallery Screenshot

The 960_grid_12_col template is based on 12 columns. You can then place your text and images over 1, 2, 3 or more columns. The grid system allows you to organise your website in a visually pleasing way.