Secrets of the Pros TM
20 Top Artists and
Designers Face Off Mark Clarkson
San Francisco â€˘ London
Photoshop Secrets of the Pros
Secrets of the Pros TM
20 Top Artists and
Designers Face Off Mark Clarkson
San Francisco â€˘ London
Director, Print Design and Composition:
Book Cover, Interior Design, and Composition:
Mark Ong, Side By Side Studios
Darcey Maurer, Laurie O’Connell, Nancy Riddiough, Sarah Tannehill
Front Cover Images:
Isaac Epp and Matt Riddle (top left); Bas Hijmans and Evan Alexander (center); Christine Smart (bottom left); Bob Gundu and Farhez Rayani (bottom center); Richard Llewellyn and John Henry Donovan (bottom right)
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For Dad, who always took the time to explain.
Acknowledgments Thanks to Bonnie Bills for believing in this book, and to Pete Gaughan for helping me keep track of the thousands of pieces that went into it. Thanks to Jim Coudal and the folks at Coudal Partners for formalizing Photoshop Tennis and thrusting it into the spotlight. Thanks to Thomas Knoll for inventing the world’s greatest piece of software, and to Thomas Edison for inventing the electricity that makes my computers go. Hugs to my family for their phenomenal forbearance and support during the difficult birthing process. And a big shout out to everybody at We’re Here (www.were-here.com) and 12Stone (www.12stone.com), where I learned to play Photoshop Tennis and still do. (Phantom, it’s still your turn to volley.)
About the Author
Mark Clarkson has been a professional writer since 1987, when he and the corporate world decided they’d had just about enough of each other. The state of PC graphics was almost unbelievably grim back then, but he patiently waited the six years necessary for Adobe Photoshop to arrive. He has used it almost daily ever since. Clarkson’s books span a wide range of subjects including artificial life, animated cartoons, BattleBots, and Photoshop. He lives with his wife
and two children in Wichita, Kansas, and rarely
Years as a Photoshop designer: Depends on who’s keeping score.
leaves the basement. He is a cartoonist, a 3D ani-
First version of Photoshop: 2.5
mator, and, despite an unseemly penchant for
Area of specialty: Generalization
semicolons, a pretty good writer.
Non-digital art medium: Lego Duplos
Favorite non-Photoshop software: Macromedia Flash, LightWave 3D, Microsoft Word. How has Photoshop changed the design field: Are you kidding me? At this point, Photoshop is the design field. Height: 18,288,702,003 angstroms. More or less. Favorite color: Radio If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be: A Mouli Favorite TV shows: King of the Hill, Egg Dance: Not if I’m sober. Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: Layers, layers, layers Comfort food: Barbeque potato chips Favorite motion picture: Lawrence of Arabia Favorite read: Science fiction Web site I visit too often: news.google.com
if the Mona Lisa is hanging in the forest and no one’s around to see it, is it still art?
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers The History of Photoshop Tennis Everybody Plays Photoshop Tennis Rules (Such as They Are) The Matches in This Book About the CD Keyboard Conventions
1 2 4 6 9 12 13
Isaac Epp vs. Matt Riddle
Shaun Inman vs. Leslie Cabarga
Eric Jordan vs. Benoit Falardeau
Roddy Llewellyn vs. John Henry Donovan
Audrey Mantey vs. Joen Asmussen
Bas Hijmans vs. Evan Alexander
Christine Smart vs. Manuel Clement
Bob Gundu vs. Farhez Rayani
Michelle Kwajafa vs. Nate Smith
Dave Bedingfield vs. Walt Dietrich
Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Photoshop Tennis Real Designers Do Less, Get Paid More Master the Basics Three Words: Layers, Layers, Layers Blend to Win Preserve Your Elements You Can Never Have Too Many Brushes Add Some Texture Filter in Moderation Don’t Think
254 254 256 256 257 259 260 261 262 262
What’s on the Companion CD
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
I read an anecdote once, about a man and his son playing Frisbee in Europe. A passerby, who had never seen a Frisbee before, came up and asked, “How do you tell who’s winning?” That’s exactly how I felt when I first stumbled onto Photoshop Tennis in 2001 at a forum at the We’re Here website (www.were-here.com) where the sport was played. “Photoshop Tennis?” said I. “Just what the hell is Photoshop Tennis?” Even after watching for a while, I wasn’t entirely certain what I was looking at. I browsed through the images being produced, and I was hooked immediately. This stuff was great! But how were they doing it? Why were they doing it? What were the rules? Who was winning? And, you may be asking yourself, what does it have to do with Photoshop Secrets of the Pros? Hang on, and I’ll tell ya.
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
Photoshop Tennis (PT), defined most broadly, is two or more Photoshop artists trading images back and forth. As you watch the images in a PT match evolve, it is often far from clear exactly how a particular image has been arrived at, and the artists rarely say. The point is the result, not the process. But as a Photoshop aficionado myself, I do wonder, how’d they do that? How did they build those great photo collages? How did they composite those photos so seamlessly? Where did they get the ideas? Do professional designers use Photoshop the same way as the rest of us? Or do they know of special techniques, accessible only by the initiated? That, my friends, is what this book is all about. Photoshop Tennis, it occurred to me, was the perfect vehicle for peering inside designers’ intricate little heads. What better way to gain insight into their creative processes than to accelerate them to near–light speed, slam them into each other, and watch the pixels fly off? Metaphorically, at least. I realized I could use Photoshop Tennis to bring together talented, creative people in a collision of differing tastes, tools, backgrounds, and expectations. Pitting men against women, web designers against illustrators, Holland against New York. A series of Photoshop Tennis matches would provide the rare opportunity to watch designers at work; to see which tools they reach for most often and how they use them; to eavesdrop
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
on their interior monologues as they make creative decisions, unfettered by client tastes and business exigencies. For this book, I’ve brought together 20 talented artists and designers to face off, two at a time. You get to watch as they build, battle, and collaborate, slamming pieces of highresolution art back and forth for your edification and, sometimes, amusement. Everybody wins. What could be more fun?
The History of Photoshop Tennis How often, I wonder, in the history of humankind, has a sport been invented on purpose? How often did someone sit down and say, “I’m going to invent a new sport … something involving a ball and maybe some sticks,” and then do so? Knowing nothing whatsoever about the history of sports, I’ll offer the expert opinion that it was very seldom. Usually, people were playing for a while before they realized they had a sport on their hands: “Hey Ugg, this throwing a rock back and forth is kind of cool. Let’s play again tomorrow.” Before long, the rules, vague at first, are codified: ■
Smooth rocks are better than pointy rocks.
Whoever throws the rock into the bear’s cave has to retrieve it.
No throwing the rock directly at your opponent’s head.
No cavegirls allowed. That’s exactly how it happened with Photoshop Tennis … well, except for the part about the cavegirls. And the rocks. But nobody set out to create a game called Photoshop Tennis. In fact, the exact origins of the sport are obscure; we can never know when the first two designers started passing Photoshop files back and forth for fun. Australian designer Justin Fox may have been the first person to put such a
project online (www.bloop.org/choco/versus/) when he began the Versus Project in early 1999. In the Versus Project, two Photoshop designers took turns reinterpreting each other’s art, taking no more than one hour. The process repeated until one or the other designer got tired or gave up. Fox also created Visual Dialogue—“a conversation between
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
two or more creatives […] conversing with images”—on Australian INfront (www.australianinfront.com.au) later in 1999.
Photoshop Tennis, in the format I employ in this book, was invented by accident at the Chicago-based design firm Coudal Partners (www.coudal.com), one lazy Friday afternoon in the summer of 2001. “We were just goofing around on a Friday,” recalls Jim Coudal, “trying to avoid work. I made a Photoshop image and sent it over the LAN to [Creative Director] Susan Everett. I said ‘add a layer and send it back.’ She added a layer to it and sent it back to me, and I added a layer and sent it back to her, and that was very fun, and we didn’t do anything but that for a while.” “We said it was like tennis,” says Coudal. “We laughed at that: Photoshop Tennis.” The activity caught on throughout Coudal Partners, and they hosted their first “official” live Photoshop Tennis match, on their site, August 10, 2001 (Figure 1). It featured Michael Schmidt from K10K and author/artist Michelangelo Capraro from hopbot in San Francisco, with play-by-play commentary by Rosecrans Baldwin. To give the matches a context, Coudal Partners invented the RGB Cup Photoshop Tennis Championship (Figure 2). They create a unique promotional poster for each match. Michael Schmidt and Michelangelo Capraro
1. Volley 8 from the first official Photoshop Tennis match. Michael Schmidt slams the image back with a wicked, multicolor backspin.
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
Jim Coudal, coudal.com X-ray provided and © Victor Micallef, unusualxrays.com
2.To help promote Photoshop Tennis, Coudal Partners invented the RGB Cup.
Everybody Plays The word is definitely out about Photoshop Tennis, and designers all over the world are anxious to throw down the gauntlet and show off their chops. A search of the web turns up dozens of places where designers are engaged in a little of the old back-and-forth, whether it’s personal matches between two designers or an active community of players inhabiting a public forum or newsgroup. Coudal’s Photoshop Tennis site and INfront’s Visual Dialogue site are still up and active; coudal.com is conducting an invitational tournament that continues its status as the biggest PT event site. Designer Shaun Inman’s Designologue (www.designologue.com) offers various spins on the Photoshop Tennis idea. Inman, who appears in Match 2 in this book, defines a designologue as a conversation between two designers in the medium they understand best: design. You’ll also find them swapping PSDs—and other image formats—at plenty of forums, including these: Digikitten
The Flashkit Arena
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
We're Over There
Creative Flight Club
Historical Co-op Play Collaborative graphic art is nothing new, of course. It has ancient roots, stretching back, at least, to a collaborative charcoal-on-limestone project that started on a lazy Friday afternoon in Chauvet, France, back in the summer of 29,892 B.C. Check out the results on the web at www.culture.fr/culture/arcnat/chauvet/en/index.html. More than 30,000 years later, surrealists, who favored suggestive and ambiguous titles, enjoyed a game called The Exquisite Corpse. The idea of the game is for two or more artists to collaborate—without benefit of actually seeing the others’ work. Sometimes the game is played by adding words, one by one, to build up phrases, sentences, and stories— without, of course, being able to see the words that have come before. Sometimes the game is played with drawings and paintings on paper, folded so that the previous artist’s work, or most of it, is hidden. The Exquisite Corpse is alive and well in the digital age. Applications such as Photoshop and e-mail make it easier than ever for artists to collaborate and to stitch everything together again at the end. For some interesting examples, check out the Digital Exquisite Corpse project at www.corpse.org/issue_7/gallery/yow2.htm. The artists of the Digital Exquisite Corpse have been collaborating since 1997 and still have never met.
Copyright David Walters,
Copyright David Walters,
and Lawrence R. Parkes
and Lawrence R. Parkes
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
As Photoshop Tennis’ popularity has spread, the number of variants has grown as well. I’ve seen matches with tall skinny images; matches with short wide images; and matches in which the size and aspect ratio of the images changes from volley to volley; matches with huge images, tiny, icon-sized images (Figure 3), and even one-pixel images;
3.This tiny image is from a 64×64-pixel “thumbnail” bout.
matches in which every volley comes from a different designer; and even team battles between different communities of designers. Perhaps the most popular derivative of Photoshop Tennis is the Photoshop mural, or “quilt.” In these large, collaborative projects, like the one in Figure 4, everyone’s work is preserved; rather than
placing new layers over previous layers, players add them to the side of previous layers, building sideways or sometimes up and down. You’ll likely find murals anywhere you find an active community of Photoshop Tennis players. For an excellent example of the genre, visit the Versus Project (at cubadust.com), run by Photoshop Tennis veteran Jonas Ring. Cave drawings notwithstanding, there’s never been a better
time, in the history of the world, for collaborative art. The possibilities are quite literally limitless. PowerPoint Tennis? Been done. Flash Football? Somebody’s playing a game right now. Go out and get you some.
Photoshop Tennis Rules (Such as They Are) It turns out that the rules of Photoshop Tennis, like the rules of Frisbee, are whatever you want them to be. Players pass images back and forth, making changes as they go; beyond that, there’s really no saying what a match might be like, although players usually agree to a set of “house rules” before starting: number of rounds, black-and-
white, use (or prohibition) of typography, or whatever. If you’re a quick study, that’s all you need to know. Feel free to skip ahead to the next chapter and start enjoying the matches. 4.This Photoshop mural was created especially for this book by these fine artists.
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
Photoshop Tennis matches are not limited to images and effects created entirely within Photoshop. Photoshop is a near-universal tool for 21st century artists, bringing together elements from every digital (and digitizable) medium: scanned artwork, type, illustration, photography (Figure 5), or 3D software such as Maya, 3DS Max, and LightWave 3D (Figure 6). The typical match is between two designers and lasts for 10 volleys, 5 per player, but individual matches can be longer or shorter. Designers having a really good time may agree to extend the match by a few volleys, or a player who feels they have been sufficiently humiliated may choose to drop out early. Everyone agrees on the number of volleys beforehand, as well as on image size, color space, theme (images of war, images of food, images of bugs—such as Figure 7), and so forth, in advance.
5. (left)“Outside” images such as digital photography can provide the raw material for a Photoshop Tennis volley. 6. (above) Some players build elements in other apps, such as Poser, Illustrator, or (here) LightWave 3D.
Jim Coudal, coudal.com
Still here? Okay, a few more details, just for you.
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
7.You can do a lot with some simple bugs.
8.Will this be a drab match? An old-fashioned fight? Or a family game?
9. Now you canâ€™t see Gram and Gran at all.
One player is chosen to create the first image. This first volley, called the serve (Figure 8), will more often than not set the tone for the entire match. The next player has a number of options. They might just throw a new layer on top of the previous layer, completely obscuring the other designerâ€™s work (like the volley in Figure 9) but, hopefully, continuing or expanding on some element or elements in that image.
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
10.This new layer will be blended with Figure 9 to create a new volley.
11.The result of Figure 10 blended with Figure 9.
Or they may decide to blend a new layer (Figure 10) into the previous image, obscuring some parts while revealing or even enhancing others, combining the two images into one with the countless methods available with Photoshop. These include darkening, lightening, and multiplying, transferring color, saturation, or luminance, casting shadows, and so forth, but leaving some measure of transparency. The resulting image retains at least some aspects of the underlying image: colors, bright or dark spots, and so forth, depending on the blending mode(s) used. In actual play, a designer rarely slips a single layer on top of the previous layer. Rather, the volleys are often surprisingly complex and may contain a dozen or more layers, which are folded together with each other and the previous image(s) to create something new and unexpected. Figure 12 shows an example of such depth.
The Matches in This Book This book is not version-specific; some of the participating artists used the latest version of Photoshop, and others are variously out of date. Most of the techniques they employed
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
have been available in Photoshop for many years. The book is divided into 10 chapters, each detailing one hard-fought match between two Photoshop artists. Each match consists of 10 volleys, 5 per player. After introductions have been made, each new image—each “volley”—is featured and dissected in its own two-page spread. Simply turn the pages to watch the pretty pictures evolve. Or tarry a bit at each volley and read about what that artist was thinking and what tools and techniques they used to create their striking work. Photoshop Tennis is especially exhila12.This volley uses no fewer than 16 layers to achieve its effect.
rating because the players make themselves more vulnerable than traditional artists by working in public. Picasso could spend days, months, or years working on a painting if he wanted to, and, if it didn’t suit him, he could always burn it or paint over it. No one would be the wiser. But a Photoshop Tennis player, like an X Games athlete, has to hang it all out, right now, in front of the world; and if they trip, everyone gets to watch them fall. We worked hard to preserve that atmosphere of possibility and risk in the preparation of this book. Each match played out in real time, over the course of about 24 hours, with the artists getting one to two hours to create each volley—and, of course, to take extensive notes on tools and techniques for my further edification and yours. There were no take-backs. No do-overs. We didn’t let each designer drop their least attractive image. We didn’t re-create the images in a studio later, using advanced computer technology. This is real art, done on the fly. Everything happened just as you see it here. The idea was to maximize the artists’ creativity and inventiveness. We asked them to avoid copyright violations, misappropriation of corporate logos, and needlessly shocking imagery, but other than that we gave them complete free rein.
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
Consequently, you might see something a little “edgy” from time to time (depending on where your personal edgy-meter is set). If that’s cool with you, you’re welcome. If that makes you a little nervous, I hope you’ll bear with me. I trust you’ll find it worthwhile, because these folks are good. Anybody can run a few stock filters on an image and make … something. But it takes much more than that to make a piece of art or even to aspire to make a piece of art, in an hour—especially with the understanding that everybody gets to see the results, no matter what they are. For the 10-volley matches in this book, artists worked in RGB color space at either 1900×1250 pixels (landscape), 1575×1575 pixels (square), or 1250×1900 (portrait). These relatively large file sizes assured that the final images would look all sexy when printed in this book. The rules are simple. The results speak for themselves. Questions? Comments? Want to learn more? Want to send me some fan mail (or hate mail?) Drop by www.photoshoptennisthebook.com. Enjoy!
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers
About the CD On the companion CD-ROM, I’ve included these bonus tools to help you grow your skill set: Volley images I’ve provided flat, full-resolution versions of all 100 volley images from these matches. (These images are for readers’ personal viewing only and may not be redistributed in any way.) Adobe Illustrator Macromedia Flash Macromedia FreeHand Signwave Auto-Illustrator
The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers Mark Clarkson Jason Pratt
Photoshop is popular on both the Macintosh and
Keyboard Conventions Windows operating systems. This book always gives shortcuts for both so that users on either platform can successfully follow along. I’ll give the shortcuts for both Mac and Windows keys at the same time. Windows
Photoshop—Command+O on the Mac and
For example, the shortcut to open a file in
Ctrl+O in Windows—would be given as Command/Ctrl+O.
“No Strangers”: Sonus vs. Tha Riddla
These contestants are no strangers to Photoshop
same room at the same time. “I was really sur-
Tennis or to each other. Both are past residents of
prised,” says Epp. “Once we were actually right in
Bloomington, Indiana, where they attended Indi-
front of each other designing, the camaraderie
ana University and, later, worked in the web devel-
level jumped right up. Ten minutes was probably
opment division of the Hirons and Company
too much pressure, but having the other guy right
there while you’re working went really, really well.”
Both Isaac “Sonus” Epp and Matt “Tha Rid-
Now the two are talking about putting
dla” Riddle wanted very much to get into Photo-
together a gallery show to exhibit the highlights
shop Tennis, but they were new and shy and hesi-
and processes of different really cool battles and, at
tant about challenging others to a competition
the same time, feature rotating artists throwing
they weren’t sure they understood. Instead, they
down live in front of everybody.
began by battling each other and still do so regu-
Turning to our battle here, expect no nasty
larly. In fact, during one holiday visit, the two had
slams and trash talking from these two guys. But
an in-house battle at Riddle’s Chicago apartment.
expect a great match, nonetheless—familiarity
At a maximum of 10 minutes per volley, that match
breeds content—and one that serves as an excel-
pushed the time factor to the extreme and added
lent example of the format, style, and intensity of
the unusual factor of placing both players in the
Spectator commentary is a big part of Photoshop Tennis as it is played online. To give you a little taste, weâ€™ve invited Walt Dietrich, whose own match appears in chapter 10, to sit in as a guest commentator for this first match. Walt lends his insight into the tasty treats offered up by Epp and Riddle, in the style of Iron Chef. Allez Cuisine!
Designers Match 1: Sonus vs. Tha Riddla
San Francisco–based web designer Isaac Epp works mostly in Flash animation and ActionScript, but he finds Photoshop an essential piece of the puzzle: “Anybody doing digital design or artwork has to be adept at Photoshop.” His co-workers at e-learning company Vitesse Learning tend to have Flash, programming, and instructional design backgrounds, says Epp. “With my Photoshop and advertising background, I’m a
Isaac “Sonus” Epp Years as a Photoshop designer: About six
different-colored egg.” Epp is also a former philosophy major and a
Specialty: Typography Photoshop Tennis… really keeps your design skills sharp and keeps you abreast of design trends.
classically trained violinist and composes music he describes as “jazz-influenced, laid-back, downtempo trip-hop.”
Nondigital art medium: Music Favorite non-Photoshop software: Flash
Although Epp has taken part in dozens of
Favorite Photoshop filter: Anything but Emboss
online Photoshop Tennis matches, he found that
Photoshop is… to designers what a hammer is to a carpenter.
working at print resolution changed the rules. “You
If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be… a food processor. Without it, there would be no pesto.Without pesto, what is life?
get away with online, at low resolution. I was so
Music to play Photoshop Tennis by: My own, Miles Davis, Portishead, Massive Attack,Tricky, Mozart, Björk, PJHarvey, Radiohead Comfort food: Taco Bell Hardshell Taco Supreme with no meat. Mmmmmm…
can’t fudge and get away with the things you can worried about artifacts, and making sure everything was going to look good in print, that I was printing my work every few minutes.” www.fluidformdesign.com
Best work I ever lost in a computer crash: About 50 tracks I recorded over a span of about 3 months. It still hurts. Favorite read: James Clavell’s Asia saga Political bent: San Francisco liberal If I didn’t have Photoshop, I’d be… a person with more free time and less money They’ll identify my body by… the small birthmark on my [behind], inherited from my Native American forebears
a different-colored egg
Matt Riddle has been a Photoshop maven for six years, since he encountered the program in a digital photography class at Indiana University. “With digital photography you can really take control of your photographs,” he says. “In a traditional photograph, accidental elements or plain happenstance can combine to make the image magical. But there has to be a purpose for everything in a digital image. ‘Why is this element in the picture? Why here instead of there? Do I want that leaf falling off the tree?’” He landed an internship at Hirons and Com-
Matt “Tha Riddla” Riddle Years as a Photoshop designer: 6 Area of specialty: Web layout
pany, where he did web design and development.
Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: Expanding creativity, pushing my limits
“That job started my education in design,” he says.
Nondigital art medium: Photography
“Isaac got me that job. He also introduced me to
Favorite non-Photoshop software: Quake 3, Urban Terror Mod
the design elements of art. He was the first person I ever talked to about design sense. I owe him a lot.” Riddle recently moved to Chicago, where he is doing freelance web design. But he’s not com-
Favorite Photoshop filter: Layer blending modes Photoshop has… grayed the line between the real and the created in design/photography.
pletely a Lone Ranger; the strength of his Photo-
If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be… a cheese grater—I love me some Parmesan
shop Tennis work demonstrates his ability to create
Comfort food: Oreos
in a group environment.
Favorite TV show: Good Eats
Best work I ever lost in a computer crash: A year’s worth of Photoshop Tennis matches Favorite motion picture: Raising Arizona Favorite read: Photography books Favorite sport: Soccer (both playing and watching) Political bent: San Francisco liberal If I didn’t have Photoshop, I’d be… playing Street Fighter They’ll identify my body by… my soul patch
a purpose for everything
Volley 1: Isaac Epp In Photoshop Tennis, having the serve can be seen
pulled the two halves apart. Last, he stretched the
as either an advantage or a disadvantage; since
vertical line to extend all the way between the two
there is no previous image to build on, the
halves, resulting in a tall, thin bracket.
designer is starting with a blank canvas … er … a
Epp copied the bracket’s inner line, pasted it
blank screen. “I started out with a photograph I took
on a new layer, and then used the Free Transform
of power lines with a Minolta Dimage X digital
command (Edit → Free Transform) to rotate and
camera,” Epp says. “I felt the blue gradient of the
stretch it to make the horizontal line. He used a
sky was really striking and would be a nice starting
mask to hide part of the horizontal line, and then
off point. I was playing with the idea of mimicking
he copied a portion and tilted it at a 45-degree
the gradient of the photo to fill the background,
angle to help imply visual motion across the gradi-
cutting out the power lines, and then duplicating
ent. “I used a mask,” he says, “because I wasn’t sure
them for a texture across the canvas.” But not every
that the 45-degree angle would work, and I wanted
idea works out, and Epp couldn’t get a texture he
to be able to go back with little effort.”
was happy with: “I tried to liquify the ends of the
That done, Epp wanted to give the image
lines to create organic interest, but that failed too.
more life. “I had the idea to wear away a few cor-
In the end, all I kept of this effort was the back-
ners. I used the Eraser tool in Paintbrush mode.”
Epp selected a stock Adobe brush that he calls
Now it was time for a little foreground text to
“bristle star” because its shape resembles a marine
add interest to the image. “I love playing with
bristle star. “When used in rough, uneven strokes,
fonts,” says Epp. “Chalet is my favorite and most
this brush can give a nice worn, streaky, or torn
versatile modern font family, so I chose that. I
look to edges. It was at 100% opacity in most cases.”
wanted to keep the battle open—this was only a serve after all—so I kept the text to the point.” Epp conceived of the bracket and bent line as
Next, he applied the Liquify filter (Filter → Liquify) to create the cloud-flame effect. “I was really happy with the clean result,” says Epp.
a way to give the text a connection to the rest of the image. He wanted the bracket large enough to enclose the text, but simply dialing up the font size resulted in a line weight that was too thick. To keep the line weight thin, he started with a smaller bracket and rendered the type (Layer → Rasterize → Type). Next, he cut the bracket in half and
From Battle Dome Stadium, today’s theme ingredient is sky blue! Announcer: “Master of Photoshop cuisine Sonus-san serves up a dish of sky blue, delicately balanced with just a touch of vector line.” Reporter: “It is said that Sonus-san learned to draw fine omelets at the age of eight.” Celebrity Guest #1: “These are clouds with crab claws, hmm? Interesting.”
this was only a serve after all 18
1. Epp started with a digital photograph of some power lines.
2. He played around with the lines…
3. … but failed to liquify them into something pleasing.
4. All that remained was the background gradient.
5. Stretching a square bracket to a new height
6.The Photoshop “bristle star” brush
7. Rough strokes give a torn look to the edges.
8.The Liquify filter turns torn edges into clouds.
Volley 2: Matt Riddle “I liked Sonus’s image and composition,” says Matt
case, Riddle felt that the Hard Light mode pre-
Riddle. “It was very minimal.” A minimal image is a
sented his added clouds to their best advantage.
good thing this early in the match, Riddle believes.
Riddle wasn’t content to simply stack layers;
“It is often hard to work off a highly complex
he masked out parts of the image, in effect erasing
them from the final composited image, choosing
Riddle duplicated Epp’s serve several times,
which details to accent. “I use a mask instead of
on different layers, and combined them with differ-
erasing,” says Epp, “because you can’t restore an
ent blend modes—Exclusion, Darken, and Nor-
erased image.” With a mask, on the other hand,
mal. Newcomers to Photoshop often overlook this
“erased” portions can be restored or expanded
technique, but it can yield interesting and unex-
upon with a simple swipe of the Paintbrush tool.
“About halfway through, I decided that I did-
Riddle next looked for a theme on which to
n’t like my color palette any more, so I added a
base his volley. He found Sonus’s serve evocative
Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (Layer → New
of the clouds and sky; that became his theme.
Adjustment Layer → Hue/Saturation) to create the
He nabbed an appropriate image of crepuscular
1. Initial experimentation duplicating the original image and testing different blend modes
4. Riddle played around with several ideas for incorporating the previous volley’s text before starting anew on a field of white.
2. A stock image of clouds from STOCK.XCHNG
3.The stock cloud photo blended in with Hard Light
rays streaming from the clouds at Inertia
He played around with several unsatisfactory
STOCK.XCHNG (http://stock.d2.hu/) and
ideas for the volley number text before deciding to
dropped it in to see how it looked.
place the volley number on a newly created field of
“After I find an image that I want to use,” says
white. That field of white looked just a little too
Riddle, “the first thing that I usually do is run
plain for Riddle’s taste, so he added a stock texture
through all the blend modes and move it around
via Hard Light mode. Finally, he used a color over-
in the layer stack to see if anything catches my eye
lay (Layer → Layer Style → Cover Overlay) to bring
or sparks a new idea.” It pays to experiment; even
the text in line with the aquamarine color palette.
Photoshop veterans who use the program daily can still be surprised at the results of different blend modes and combinations of blend modes. In this
5. Adding a little texture, via a stock photo, to the white field, in Hard Light mode
6. Riddle used a Color Overlay layer style to match the text area with the rest of the image.
I didnâ€™t like my color palette
Volley 3: Isaac Epp Isaac Epp admits that Riddle’s volley left him a bit
separate layers. He repositioned each layer to the
stumped. “His image was really beautiful,” he says.
right of the last and made each progressively
“But I wanted to move away from the cloud/sky
lighter by 25% (Hue/Saturation/Lightness, Com-
theme, at least a little, because I was worried we
mand/Ctrl+U). This created a sort of visual echo
might end up in a pigeonhole later.”
of the image across the canvas.
Epp began by adjusting the hue and satura-
Next, he wore away at the area after the word
tion of the image (Command/Ctrl+U), deepening
round in the most dominant image, using the bris-
the colors and bringing the palette back toward
tle star brush again. “It’s really nice for rough,
pure blue. He replaced the word Round from his
streaky edges,” he says. He color-balanced the
original serve above the horizontal line.
photo of the wet and runny number 3 and placed it
Next, it was back to the digital camera. Epp printed his work so far, held it up to the window, and took a digital photograph of it.
behind the photos, in the newly worn hole. Finally, he completed the widescreen effect by adding simple blocks of white at the top and
“Volley numbers have played a significant part in the designs so far,” he says. “I wanted to do a
bottom of the picture. Epp next added new text elements to the
really creative treatment on the number for this
theme: his and Riddle’s hometowns (San Francisco
volley. I took a STABILO watercolor pencil, scrib-
and Chicago, respectively) and the words Doin’ It
bled a 3 onto some sketch paper, and then ran
water over it for a few seconds. Next, I crumpled
At the last minute, Epp realized that he had
up the paper to give it texture, stuck it to the back
neglected to delete Riddle’s “Round 2” text from
of a wet, clear shower curtain, and took a picture.”
the image: “I used the Poly-Select tool to select a
Epp imported both photos into Photoshop.
healthy area around the text and used the Stamp
“I wanted to create a really wide widescreen
tool to fill the selected area. When used well, the
look,” he says. To accomplish this he scaled the
Stamp tool can be the best photo manipulation
photo down and then copied it five times onto five
tool in Photoshop.”
1. Epp first changed the hue and saturation, moving the palette away from green and back to pure blue.
2. He printed an interim image, held it at arm’s length, and snapped a digital photo.
3. A digital photo of a soggy number 3
4. A progression of images, each 25% lighter than the last
In the bowl, cloud pieces, thumb, garlic, sesame oil, black pepper, soy sauce, chicken oil, cornstarch, and lots of white space. Guest #2: “Is he holding slices of volley 2?” Reporter: “Yes, yes… thin slices of volley 2, balanced in white space.”
5. Using the Stamp tool to erase the last volley’s text
might end up in a pigeonhole
Volley 4: Matt Riddle When Matt Riddle saw Epp’s volley, he was imme-
the bottom,” says Riddle, “where the bridge and
diately hit with the idea of somehow using the
the water both go black.” But a successful blending
Golden Gate Bridge to connect the skylines of the
process eluded him. “I made about ten failed
two cities, San Francisco and Chicago. “I had this
attempts at blending the two images,” he says. “I
idea,” he says, “but I was unable to find images that
tried duplicating the Chicago side and fading it out
I wanted to use. I started working, but it wasn’t
on the other end and several other things, but
1. Multiple copies and the Hard Light blend mode add color and texture to the bridge.
none came out looking even halfway decent. “I ended up masking off the sky from most of the Chicago image to let the old image show through. I liked the way the sky 3.The Chicago skyline, blended into place
faded in the original image of Chicago, but I didn’t know how I
was going to use it.” Ironically, in the end he used 2. A stock photo of the Chicago skyline
the fading sky by erasing—or masking—most of it from view.
coming out as I had hoped. I began to get frus-
Riddle felt he needed more compositional
trated, which led to indecision.” But this is Photo-
elements to fill in the space and balance the overall
shop Tennis. The clock was running, and there was
image. He sampled the red from his hard-lit bridge
no choice but to go forward.
image and used that for accents such as the hori-
In keeping with his inspiration, Riddle started by adding a stock photo of the Golden Gate Bridge to the mix. He eventually stacked three
zontal line and text at the top of the page and the large dingbat below the bridge. Riddle used masks to insert a block of pure
duplicate copies of the bridge, each using the Hard
black beneath the Chicago waters, to erase the
Light blend mode to drastically alter the look of
Chicago sky and part of the previous volley, and to
the original photo.
create the red horizontal line at top. A little text
Next came an image of the Chicago skyline. “I wanted to blend the two halves of the image at
finishes off the volley.
“This was a difficult volley for me,” says Rid-
The way the circular object from the previous
dle. “I was frustrated with this image throughout
image alights perfectly on the crossbeam of the
the entire creation,” he admits, “yet, somehow, at
bridge. “I didn’t even realize it, but when I showed
the end I am happy with it.”
it to Isaac Epp, it was one of the first things that he
“Sometimes things just fall into your lap
noticed. Sometimes you get happy accidents.”
when you are working,” he says. Example?
A second-course cityscape blend with fennel, red vectors, giblet, and a little added olive oil. Guest #2: “Riddla-san uses kani abura (crab oil)—a rare seasoning for sure.” Guest #1: “Ginger, scallion, Golden Gate Bridge, and just a visible portion of volley 3.”
things fall into your lap
Volley 5: Isaac Epp “I was inspired by Matt Riddle’s last image,” says
The surreal skyline image went on top of that
Isaac Epp. “It’s intense. The rough edges felt heavy
photo. “I still had a lot of white space in the
and stressful. I decided to take the next round into
image,” says Epp. “It was killing the mood a bit, so I
the expressively stressful and surreal.”
brought in another moody digital photograph to
He started by completely desaturating the image. “I wanted to create a Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
fill it in with.” “I wanted to accentuate the fact that the
feel to the piece,” he says, “so I had to start with
Golden Gate Bridge element resembled a clock, so
some black and white.”
I built some really exaggerated clock dial arms in
Next, Epp saved the desaturated image as a
Flash. I made them a super-saturated red to draw a
bitmap and imported it into Macromedia Flash
lot of attention to them and set them to 5 o’clock
MX. “I do quite a bit of Flash design,” he says. “I
since this was volley number 5.” The addition of
wanted to play with Flash’s native toolset for a while
some numbers completes the transformation of
to achieve a distorted, surreal look.”
Golden Gate Bridge into a clock tower.
Epp used Flash’s Trace Bitmap command to
“I saw a really interesting curve in the top of
turn the imported bitmap into a piece of vector art;
the skyline,” says Epp. “I wanted to add another
he then transformed and stretched elements to
element to the image to accentuate it. I took a digi-
exaggerate details of the Chicago skyline. “I really
tal photograph of my eye, imported it into Photo-
was enjoying the circle/dial element Riddla added
shop, and duplicated the layer. On one layer I
to the Golden Gate Bridge element and wanted to
desaturated the eye and used the Stamp tool to get
accentuate it, so I selected the area around it and
rid of the iris and pupil. On the second layer, I left
blew it up. As I did this, it started looking more and
the color but knocked back the opacity to 40% and
more like a giant clock tower. I went with that.”
changed the scale relative to the black-and-white
When he was satisfied with the distorted results, he
version to give an eerie, cataract look.” A shade of
exported the image as an EPS file and then
The Twilight Zone enters The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
imported that into Photoshop. Epp wrote the number 5 on a fogged-up win-
“This volley was the most fun for me so far!” says Epp. “I was buzzing when I was done.”
dow with the tip of his finger and took a digital photograph. He desaturated the photo (Image → Adjust → Hue/Saturation), played with the curves a bit (Image → Adjust → Curves), and then blended the photo’s edges with a masked gradient. “Masked gradients are a really cool way to get pho-
Pan-blackened cityscape, billboard, [yes] red vectors with an added eyeball. Guest #3: “Sonus-san makes a subtle change to the dark palette.” Guest #2: “Ah, the eyeball! A favorite ingredient of artistic chefs.” Guest #3: “I think it will be steamed.”
tos to cooperate with each other in tough design situations,” he says.
The Twilight Zone enters 26
1. Epp begins by recasting the image in black and white.
2. Converted into vector format in Flash MX, the image gets distorted.
3. A digital photo of the number five, drawn on a fogged-up window
6.The red clock hands, made in Flash, are set to 5 o’clock because it’s volley 5. 5. Some foggy black-and-white imagery adds to the mood.
7.The artist’s own eye enters the fray.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
4. A gradient mask helps blend the photo into the background.
Volley 6: Matt Riddle Coming into volley 6, Matt Riddle is confronted with an image turned almost completely vector.
“This was fine with me,” says Riddle. “I wanted to
A layer mask selectively hides part of the image on the layer with which it is associated.You can create a layer mask in several ways. You can highlight a layer in the Layers palette and choose Layer → Add Layer Mask → Reveal/Hide All. Reveal All creates a completely transparent mask; Hide All creates an opaque mask. Black areas of a mask are transparent, white areas are opaque (masked), and gray areas are translucent. (You can also create a new layer mask by clicking the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers palette.)
go the vector route at some point anyway.” He liked the contrast of the sky and buildings, but felt the need to change the overall look of the picture, to move away from the skyline theme and to add color back in. To add color, Riddle created a copy of the main image and placed a green color overlay (Layer → Layer Style → Color Overlay) on it, at 76% transparency. This green contrasts with the striking, saturated red color of the clock hands, which Riddle planned to use later. Next, he created a fine grid pattern and used the Paint Bucket to fill a new layer with it. The new layer was blended into the mix in Lighten mode. He next copied the original image onto a new layer and applied the Hard Light blend mode to it. “It created a white, blown-out look to the eye that I liked,” he says. Riddle still wanted to drastically change the look of the image, moving away from the skyline motif. He selected a square area of the skyline with the Marquee tool and copied and pasted into a new file. He used the Polar Coordinates filter (Filters → Distort → Polar Coordinates) to create a dis-
A second thumbnail appears on your Layers palette beside the image it is masking. Click the mask thumbnail, and you can use the Paintbrush,Airbrush, Pencil, Paint Bucket, or any drawing or painting tool to modify your mask and hide or reveal parts of its associated image. You can use layers to blend pictures together, by creating a mask on one of the pictures and airbrushing the mask with the feathered brushes or custom brushes to create a smooth blended look. Blends can be seamless, since you have total control over what is visible and what is not. The original image is never touched. If you erase too much, you can simply paint the mask back in.
torted version of the skyline. He then copied this new image and pasted it back into his volley multiple times, on multiple new layers with different blend modes, to alter various sections of the skyline. He partially masked these layers to help blend them in. “Last, I selected and copied the hands of the clock from the original image, pasted them on top of everything, and added some accents to finish off the piece.”
Riddle created a layer mask by selecting all the black pixels (Select → Color Range) and then choosing Layer → Add Layer Mask → Reveal Selection.This masked off all the nonblack areas of the image, leaving only the black portion visible.
1. A green color overlay brings color back into the picture.
2. Riddle filled a layer with a fine grid and added it in Lighten mode.
3. A second copy of the original image, applied in Hard Light mode, blows out the highlights.
4. A section of the skyline, distorted with the Polar Coordinates filter
5.The partially altered skyline
a white, blown-out look to the eye
Volley 7: Isaac Epp This round Epp felt like taking the image out of
typeface. “I played around with different colors
the screen again, so he started by, once again,
and effects before deciding on a nice vivid red,
printing Riddla’s image. He used red paint to put
playing off the immense vividness of Riddla’s past
on the text Round and the # character to cross out
the previous round number. He threw the image
“I added an image of a real frame to the out-
down in the tub, ran some water over it, and took
line of the canvas and encased the interior of the
frame with a rich blood-red color, catering to the
After importing the photo into Photoshop, he cranked the saturation way up (Image → Adjust
rough occult feel of the image. “Finally, it came to me what to do with the
→ Hue/Saturation). This had the effect of render-
light bulb: it needed to be within the added frame,
ing the text completely illegible. To compensate,
and it needed more dirt to fit in with the round’s
he created a second copy of the photo on a new layer above the first and turned the saturation all the way down in this one. “I masked out the undersaturated photo and used damaged and organiclooking brushes to eat away at the mask, leaving the area around the text visible.” “The saturated version was just too blown out to be read clearly,” he says. “Stacking the two
Custom Brushes Ragged, torn, or dirty brushes are essential to producing organic or grungy effects.“For all the grunge and dirt in this volley,” says Epp,“I used some of my own custom brushes as well as a fantastic collection from another design battle champion, Jerkstore (thanks for the brushes!)”
images gave a nice, lasting impression of vivid color while remaining perfectly legible.” Epp continued with the distressed brushes, painting black around the photo to create a dirty border to frame the image. He used segments of different letters from the overflourished Edwardian Script font to create a tentacle form. He placed the result emerging from the bath tub drain in the image. “I included an image of a light bulb,” says Epp, “but the treatment of the light bulb wasn’t quite right. It didn’t come to me until later how to fix it.” For the volley number, Epp had taken a digital photograph of a length of rope in the form of a 7 but didn’t think it worked in the image. Instead,
Photoshop ships with lots of brushes, and thousands more are available for download from the Internet. Better yet, it’s easy to create your own custom brushes in Photoshop. You can turn any image or any portion of any image into a new brush. Simply select an area with any of Photoshop’s selection tools and choose Edit → Define Brush. Voilá! A new brush. Photoshop offers a positively stupefying array of options to further refine how the brush works when applied: its size, rotation, scattering, roundness, hardness, brush dynamics, spacing, and more.
he opted to use a type 7 in the Edwardian Script
I was feeling really visceral 30
1. Red paint, water, and oversaturation render the words hard to read.
2. Figure 1, desaturated and masked
3. A distressed, dirty frame, painted with distressed brushes
4. Parts of different letters from a flourishy font result in writhing tentacles.
5. All elements of the image are running “down the drain.”
theme. I hid it beneath the layer of filth and ate away at the dirt’s edge. “I was feeling really visceral this round, and I think it shows. The image ended up being rather intense and gritty. It is kind of funny that in this battle I used a lot more grime and complexity than I usually use. In fact, I’m typically known for more modern, minimal designs, but I’m never one to turn down inspiration when it strikes.”
6. Epp added in a digital photo of a bare light bulb, but wasn’t happy with the final effect until he dirtied it up.
Volley 8: Matt Riddle “I loved the image from volley 7,” says Matt Riddle.
distort individual channels—distorting the red
“I was especially inspired by the shape that was
channel, for example, while leaving the green and
made by the large text on the left of the image. It
blue channels unaffected.
was portions of letters in some script font. I decided to make that the focus of my new image.” Riddle first selected all the black areas of the image (Select → Color Range). He created a new layer and added a layer mask based on that selection (Layer → Add Layer Mask → Reveal Selection). Next, he began exploring his fonts until he
“I pared down my layers and channels to make the image a little less busy and chaotic, although it is still highly chaotic, which I really enjoyed.” He duplicated the original “tentacle” shape and put it in the upper corner. “I started feeling that the background of the original image was too
found one that was highly decorative and included
distracting,” says Riddle, “so I made a layer of sim-
ligatures, ornamentals, and special characters for
ply white to put focus on the textual elements and
1. Riddle selected the black areas of the previous volley and created a new layer mask from those.
2. He liked the abstract look of decorative characters run together.
3. New masks and overlays based on distorted selections
first and last letters with extensive decoration—
make it a bit more ‘graphic.’ I also added a band of
Poetica Supp Ligatures.
tan color to break up the background and high-
Riddle tried using selections to create new
light the round number.”
masks and overlays in the image. He first selected the text, and then he saved the selection as a new channel (Select → Save Selection). He then distorted the new channel with filters, while leaving the Red, Green, and Blue channels untouched. He also created new layer masks using these distorted channels. You can produce some interesting, and often unpredictable, effects with this technique, he says. In fact, on a flattened image (that is, a file with only one layer), you can use filters and other tools to
“When working with symbol fonts or decorative fonts,” says Riddle,“I generally make a new layer containing every character on the keyboard in that font.That way I can see what I have to work with. I also use that layer as resource material for creating more type: I can simply duplicate the layer and then subtract what I don’t want.” But in this instance, Riddle decided that he liked the abstract nature of all the decorative characters running together and kept it as a primary design element for the final image.
4. Even after paring down the layers, the image remains chaotic.
The sauce for this main dish contains red and black vector shapes, type, papaya, fennel, tomato, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and, of course, white space. Guest #2: “Vector shapes and papaya, wonderful.” Guest #1: “How do we eat it?”
5. A copy of the “tentacle,” placed in the upper-right corner
I can see what I have to work with
Volley 9: Isaac Epp “I wanted to finish strong,” says Epp. “I was initially
leave the stronger images untouched, as part of the
stumped by Riddla’s previous volley. It was really
purity, refinement, and serenity of the image,” he
intense and graphically exaggerated. I couldn’t just
says. “I took the previous volley, masked it, and used
add more elements. That would have created a
the Soft Light blend on top of the photograph.
mess of details, with no focus.” After puzzling for a while, Epp decided to
“Next, I began laying out some type.” In fact, he added a lot of type. “I went a little overboard
turn the whole design problem on its head: to start
with the text layout.” He used a temporary black
afresh with a new canvas and a new color palette.
layer to provide a nice contrasty background to
Then, he would add the previous volley back as a
work against. When he was done, he hid the black
design element in the new image.
layer and painted in some white areas on a new
For the source material for his new canvas, Epp went back to digital photographs. He
layer beneath the text, helping the text stand out against the somewhat cluttered background.
searched through photos taken for earlier rounds
“The other photos had a soft quality to
but never used. “I found a
them,” he says, “so I used the Blur tool with an
really strong set of black and
asymmetrical brush to soften the edges of some of
1. Epp selected a set of black-and-white digital photos as the basis for his volley.
white photos involving a window, fog, power lines,
the design details. I also added some shading
within the curved mask.”
Epp laid out a symmetrical grid of six squares
After 16 hours, Epp is done with the match.
with rounded edges. He imported his photos onto
“What an amazing day. I feel creatively drained.
separate layers, arranged them, and masked them
Typically a battle this epic would take days and
with the rounded squares.
probably weeks. I can look back and see the pro-
Epp picked what he considered the weakest of the six images, the one at the lower right, to lay type and other design elements over. “I wanted to
gression of the battle thus far and really smile. The evolution of the images was absolutely amazing.”
2.This grid of rounded squares will serve as a mask for the photos.
3.The photos laid out within the grid
4.The previous image and the volley number blended in with Soft Light
leave the stronger images untouched
5. A temporary black background makes type easier to see.
Volley 10: Matt Riddle Riddle decided to continue with Epp’s movement
plished this by placing a new Hue/Saturation layer
away from chaos and toward simplicity. “I wanted
(Layer → New Adjustment Layer → Hue/Satura-
to keep this last volley nice and minimal,” he says,
tion) over the droplets of water. I changed the hue
“yet still pay attention and homage to the previous
by +160, converting the blues into reds and
oranges, and increased the saturation slightly.
He started by shrinking, rotating, and dupli-
“Then I masked off portions of the image to ease
cating the original image to create a grid on the
the transition and give me space to add more
right. He inverted the colors of the original image
(Image → Adjustments → Invert) to make a nega-
“To finish, I added a line element, text, and
tive, and he bumped up the contrast with an adjust-
color accents on opposite corners of the image to
ment layer (Layer → New Adjustment Layer →
balance and tie the two colors together.”
And that’s it for match 1, a stunning match
“I was originally going to take elements of the image and stretch them across the canvas,” he says,
that’s taken us full circle, from clean and simple to wild and chaotic and back again.
“making multiple stretches and matching elements in the two copies of the original image. Needless to say, this attempt failed.” Epp wanted to add color back into the image. “The photographs, with all of their windows
1.Volley 9 shrunk and rotated 90 degrees
and condensation, reminded me
2. A failed attempt to create something interesting by stretching elements from the previous volley
of being trapped inside on a rainy day and longing to go outside. I chose a blue to go with that.” He added the blue color by creating color overlays on the layers with the grid of small images (Layer → Layer Style → Color Overlay). “I decided to use water as my linking element between old and new, so I found an image on a stock photography site of droplets of water on a tar-
Guest #1: “I enjoyed all 10 dishes!” Guest #2: “This was a very stylish battle. I don’t believe we will be able to declare a decisive victory by either chef.” Guest #3: “I agree. Simple but complex.” Guest #2: “A superb fusion of so many tasty colors.” Guest #1: “My first tasting challenge was a lot more difficult than I expected. I wish to name both as winners. Must not the rules allow this?”
paulin. I wanted a contrasting color to make it stand out, thus the red, orange and yellow. I accom-
trapped inside on a rainy day 36
4. A stock photo of water drops on a tarp
3. Riddle changed the color to blue, to match the feeling of a rainy day.
5. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer changes the water from blue to orange and red.
“Grow Up!”: Shaun Inman vs. Leslie Cabarga Next up, we’ve got a couple of designers who couldn’t be more different. On your left, warming up for the serve, youthful, and full of beans: web designer and experienced Photoshop warrior Shaun Inman. And on your right, sadder but wiser: designer, fontographer, and Betty Boop fanatic, Leslie Cabarga. Although Cabarga has been a designer and an author for longer than he likes to admit, this is his first time to face off on the field of honor with another designer. Inman, on the other hand, has been here many times before and is anxious to teach the old man a few new tricks. Get ready to watch the sparks fly.
Designers Match 2: Inman vs. Cabarga
Shaun Inman became a graphic designer thanks to a little misunderstanding. One day in junior high, Inman recalls, “my art teacher was critiquing a charcoal rendering. She said, ‘Your work is very graphic.’ The next day we had a presentation from a woman representing the Savannah College of Art and Design, and she mentioned that one of her majors was graphic
Shaun Inman Years using Photoshop: 5 First version of Photoshop I used: 5.5
design. I thought, well, my art is graphic; maybe I’ll do graphic design. Just a stupid connection, but then I found out what graphic design was all about,
Area of specialty: Web design/development
and I rode it. Then, when I discovered web design,
Nondigital art medium: Acoustic guitar/songwriting
I just clicked with the whole coding aspect, under-
Favorite non-Photoshop software: BBEdit, although Microsoft PowerPoint is a close second. No, no, I jest.
neath the design.”
Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: The Outer Glow layer style on 8-pixel type with the blend mode set to Normal, spread set to 100%, size set to 1px, using a color that has good contrast with the type but less contrast with the background. It creates a 1px aliased line around the type (not the anti-aliased line you get with a 1px stroke layer effect) and makes the text pop off the background without having to increase the contrast of the text or background color.
Now a graduate of Savannah College, Inman currently does web design at Baltimore-based Silverpoint (www.silverpoint.net). He also built and operates Designologue, a site for artists to face off in Photoshop Tennis–like “design dialogues.” Drop by and show off your chops. www.shauninman.com
Height: 4" shorter than my girlfriend. Music I listen to while playing Photoshop Tennis: Roni Size,“New Forms”; DJ Shadow,“Endtroducing...”; Radiohead,“Kid A” and “Amnesiac”; Boards of Canada,“Geogaddi”; Nathaniel Merriweather a.k.a. Dan the Automator,“Loveage: Songs to Make Love to your Old Lady By”; I, Cactus. Favorite TV show: The Simpsons Favorite motion picture: TRON
my art is graphic; maybe I’ll do graphic design
Website I visit too often: www.k10k.net and www.designologue.com
Leslie Cabarga is a designer of logos, fonts, and websites and the author of more than two dozen books, including The Fleischer Story, Dynamic Black and White Illustrations, and the absolutely indispensable Designer’s Guide to Color Combinations. Mr. Cabarga is a self-described plant psychic and “greatest authority in the world on Betty Boop.” “I must admit to mixed emotions,” says Cabarga, “when I see my Boop paintings being reused over and over again by other licensees without paying me again. But after all, isn’t plagiarism the sincerest form of flattery? And really, money isn’t everything when it comes to flying the Betty Boop banner high above everything.” www.flashfonts.com
Leslie Cabarga Years as a Photoshop designer: 13 Area of specialty: Illustration Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: The challenge of the time constraint Least favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: Doesn’t pay Nondigital art medium: Woodworking Favorite non-Photoshop software: Fontographer Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: Unsharp Mask How Photoshop has changed the design field: It has put stripping (formerly of negatives!) into the hands of the designer, instead of the disinterested printer’s assistant, so the quality and complexity of our layouts have increased dramatically. Height:Variable Astrological sign: Librarian Comfort food: Ben and Jerry’s
plagiarism the sincerest form of flattery?
Best work I ever lost in a computer crash: Half of my biggest-selling book, Designer’s Guide to Color Combinations. I had to pay $1000 to retrieve (part of it) from the hard drive. Dance: Roller disco Favorite read: A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn Political bent: Left of Left If I didn’t have Photoshop, I’d be … on eBay looking for a copy. Website I visit too often: eBay
Volley 1: Shaun Inman “I started with this question in my head,” says
To join the two sides of the composition,
Shaun Inman. “If you create something in a vac-
Inman created a single large plus sign, centered
uum, does it suck? I developed that into ‘White On
within the composition. He converted the charac-
White: Creation and the vacuum.’”
ter to a shape (Layer → Type → Convert To Shape)
Inman began by creating a lighter-than-light
and gave it a subtle drop shadow to keep it from
base layer. On a white background, he placed some
disappearing into the white background entirely.
vector artwork he had created in Auto-Illustrator, a
Inman felt the right side of the composition
program that specializes in generating random vec-
still needed more texture. To create the diagonal
tor shapes or distorting existing ones. “I used Auto-
stripes there, he started with a dark-brown capital
Illustrator for interpolating two shapes, created in
U, again in the Pakt typeface. He converted the let-
Adobe Illustrator,” says Inman. “The graphics that I
ter to a shape and used the Direct Selection tool to
used were created over a year ago, while the appli-
stretch the letter, extending it vertically. He rotated
cation was still in public beta.” He imported one of
it 45 degrees (Edit → Free Transform + Shift) and
these graphics, exported from Auto-Illustrator as
duplicated the layer several times, stretching and
an EPS, into a new background layer in his Photo-
resizing the duplicates, to create a pattern of
stretched lines. When he was happy with the
He added the white text White on White and Creation and the vacuum. Go., at the bottom left, in
results, he flattened the layers. He repeated the process twice more, creating
the Pakt typeface from YouWorkForThem
slightly different arrangements. He set these diago-
(www.youworkforthem.com). To break the white-on-
nal layers in Overlay mode, which darkens the
white text out from the background, he added a
wood texture underneath while remaining invisi-
very light 15% drop shadow to the text, using layer
ble over the white background.
effects (Layer → Layer Style → Drop Shadow). Inman wanted to add some contrasting pho-
Finally, he added the words Origin 001— again in white in the Pakt typeface—to the very
tographic texture to the mix. Using a digital cam-
center of the plus sign. He gave them the familiar,
era borrowed from a friend, he took a photo of his
faint 15% drop shadow.
bedroom door. He imported the photo into Photoshop on a new layer and positioned the dark wood to cover the right side of the canvas. He then cre-
Inman’s soundtrack for this volley: BT, Move-
ated a new layer beneath the door, used the Poly-
ment in Still Life.
gon Lasso tool to select a block slightly larger than the door above, and filled the selection with a solid maroon color, which appears as a broad line separating the wood from the white.
something in a vacuum 42
1. Auto-Illustrator interpolates between shapes.
2. A white-on-white background, created in Auto-Illustrator
5. Inman placed diagonal arrangements, built up from U’s, over the dark wood in Overlay mode.
6. He used plenty of Guide lines to keep things properly oriented.
3. A piece of Inman’s bedroom door provides texture and contrast.
4. Inman converted a U to a shape and rotated it 45 degrees.
7. Inman tried out and discarded various ideas …
… including this ladder.
Volley 2: Leslie Cabarga The open white-on-white area at the left of Inman’s
select the hand and brush, and then deleted the
volley seemed to beg to be filled with something.
background from around them. He repositioned
But what? “I used cigar box art,” says Leslie
the hand so that the brush appeared to be paint-
Cabarga, “because I had it, and it was original art so
ing the cigar label portrait. The brush needed
I knew it would scan well. Also, I love contrasting
some paint, so he created a new layer above the
textures in art: the rich painterly effect of the cigar
hand and brush and used Photoshop’s Airbrush
art contrasted with the clean simple lines of my
tool to paint in a blob of paint over the tip of the
He scanned the art into a new Photoshop
Finally, he used his Wacom digitizing tablet
document and then cropped it to the area immedi-
and Photoshop’s Paintbrush tool to write “I take it,
ately surrounding the face. He copied and pasted
this is my side to work?” by hand.
the face into his working document and slid it to the left to cover the white part of the background. Cabarga wanted to create the impression that
The perspective of the finished piece seems … odd. Are we looking down on the hand from above? Is it upside down? “I see the art being
the face was in the process of being painted and
a window into another world,” says Cabarga. “What
still unfinished. He created a layer mask (Layer →
we’re seeing is a paper’s eye view, looking up from
Add Layer Mask → Hide All), which masked out
beneath the drawing board at what’s going on out-
the entire layer, and then he used the Paintbrush
side the sheet of drawing paper.”
tool to paint in white on the mask, revealing parts of the head. To keep the painting beneath the brown half of the background, Cabarga duplicated Inman’s volley and placed the duplicate layer above the painted face. He selected the white and near white parts of the duplicate level (Select → Color Range) and
1. Cigar box art from the 1800s
deleted them to reveal the paint-
2.The cigar portrait placed in the composition
ing beneath. If the face was being painted, someone needed to be painting it. “The hand is mine,” says Cabarga. “I simply grabbed a paintbrush and placed my hand on my four-year-old Epson Expression 636 scanner.” He placed the scan on a new layer in his composition, used the Pen tool to
“The cigar box art is original art, given to me by the late Clarence Hornung, an illustrator, who had it in his collection.The art was a presentation sample that would have been shown to a client prior to printing. It is over 100 years old.”
paper’s eye view 44
4. Cabarga gave the brush a little requisite paint … 3. Cabarga scanned in his own hand, holding a brush.
… with the Photoshop Airbrush tool.
“A flatbed scanner can scan 3D objects,” says Cabarga,“but it’s hard to predict what the angle will look like. I’ve done animated Flash sequences on my website, using my hand in two positions. I flip back and forth between the two as the hand seems to draw. Again it’s those contrasts between the realism and the line art that I love.”
Volley 3: Shaun Inman “I felt that Leslie’s direction was far too literal,” says
says Inman, “to tile like it was going out of style.”
Shaun Inman. “I’m not one for literal visual dialogue;
He grouped all the Cyclops layers together within a
I feel it limits the conversation—not to mention
new layer set and then duplicated that layer set. He
being more difficult to do well in the short amount of
flipped the duplicate, vertically, and repositioned it
time that we had to complete each image.”
so that the eyes all lined up, once again. He
Inman began by selecting the left half of the
merged all the layers within both layer sets into a
face from Cabarga’s volley, using the Marquee tool.
single layer, which he resized and rotated 45
He copied and pasted the selection onto a new
layer and then slid it to the right so that the left eye
He duplicated this smaller, conjoined
in the new layer overlapped the right eye in the
Cyclops head and repositioned the duplicate
background. He set the new layer in Screen mode
layer—ahem—by eye. Next, he merged the two lay-
and created a slightly blurred layer mask to soften
ers and then duplicated the new merged layer. He
the sharp edge. The new layer didn’t show up very
repositioned the duplicate again, repeating the
well, so he duplicated it (Command/Ctrl+J) to
process until he had filled the canvas with a repeat-
strengthen the effect. Next he duplicated both new
ing wallpaper pattern. This process has the added
layers, flipped them horizontally (Edit → Trans-
advantage of retaining any heads or parts of heads
form → Flip Horizontal), and slid them into posi-
that go off the canvas, allowing them to be moved
tion so that, again, all the eyes lined up. The over-
back into view later. Inman wound up with two
all effect is of a balloon-headed Cyclops. Why a Cyclops? “That was a happy accident,” says Inman. “I was trying to illustrate crumbling up his last comment and ‘throwing it anywhere.’” Finally, Inman created a new layer over the Cyclops and filled it with white. He used the Marquee tool to select and delete the portion directly over the Cyclops, leaving the white to block out the background layer everywhere else. element, Inman needed a background. “Time,”
1. Inman constructed the Cyclops from the head in Cabarga’s volley, placing the left half of the face over the right so that the eyes lined up and then duplicating and flipping the results horizontally.
2. Next he duplicated the Cyclops’s head, aligned the eyes once again …
3. Inman duplicated the tiled Cyclops again and again, creating a background wallpaper.
With the Cyclops in place for a foreground
… and then rotated and flipped.
4.The brown U elements from Volley 1 reappear.
layers, each half full of Cyclopses. He set these wall-
large Cyclops head. This time, he set the diagonal
paper layers in Multiply mode.
layers in Normal mode, revealing the curves on
“The lack of a mouth on Balloon Head
their ends and completely masking the back-
started to bother me,” says Inman, “so I X’d it out
ground underneath. He also brought back the plus
using a Pakt plus sign rotated … guess … 45
sign. “The match had to have some continuity,”
degrees!” To emphasize the X, he added a 2-pixel
says Inman. He changed the text with the plus sign
width stroke around the border, as well as a dark
to Mi Corte, Su Corte (My court is your court).
outer glow, both courtesy of layer effects. He brought his diagonal U layers in from Volley 1 and placed them on new layers behind the
“‘Just throw your stuff anywhere’ plays off the fact that I plastered the canvas with his illustration,” says Inman. “This is definitely my favorite volley,” says
Inman. “The 45-degree Cyclopses look a little like
Bassdrive.com. “Playing guitar occasionally while I think…”
two dismembered businessmen’s hands shaking.”
the lack of a mouth started to bother me
Volley 4: Leslie Cabarga Leslie Cabarga began Volley 4 by spattering black
inverted the colors (Image → Adjust → Invert), ren-
ink on a piece of paper and scanning it into Photo-
dering the dictionary text as white on black, and
shop … after it had dried a bit, I presume. “The ink
used Free Transform to skew it into a position with
effect was just an abstract gimmick,” says Cabarga.
a little more perspective. With the Eraser tool and
“There’s no greater meaning than to create
a large, soft brush, he faded the text toward the
another contrast between slick and grunge.”
To begin his composition, Cabarga brought
Next, Cabarga used the Macro setting on his
Inman’s volley in as a background and then semi-
Olympus Camedia C-5050 digital camera to take a
filled it in a novel way. He sampled the brown from
close-up of a small, stainless steel ball, about 1.5
Inman’s volley, created a new layer above the back-
inches in diameter. “I was delighted that my reflec-
ground, and filled in with the sampled brown
tion did indeed appear in it,” he says. He imported
color. By setting this new layer in Darken mode, he
the photo into a new Photoshop document and
filled in all the light values and hid the brown U
used the Blur tool to remove some distracting
elements, as well, while still allowing random bits
detail beneath his image. “I wanted the ball to read
of flotsam to poke through. “I wanted a good con-
as a mass, rather than as a confusion of unrelated
trast with the ink splotches,” he says.
tones,” he says. He selected the ball with the Ellipti-
Next, he selected the dark, inked parts of the
cal Marquee tool and pasted it on a new layer in his
spattered-ink scan and copied and pasted them
composition, using layer effects to give it a yellow
into a new layer in his composition.
glow (Layer → Layer Style → Outer Glow).
1. Ink spots
3.The ink spots laid on top
2. Cabarga began by filling the previous volley with brown.
Cabarga next scanned a page from an old
4. A scan from an old slang dictionary
He selected the white cross from Inman’s vol-
slang dictionary into a new Photoshop file, selected
ley and pasted it on a new layer, rotating it 180
the scan, and copied it to the Clipboard. He
degrees to stand the text on its head.
returned to his composition and used the Magic
Finally, he fired up Adobe Illustrator to cre-
Wand tool to select the dark areas on the ink-spot
ate the crossed text element that overlays the white
layer. With that selection active, he chose Edit →
cross and copied and pasted it as pixels into his
Paste Into to paste the dictionary page from the
Photoshop composition. “The lettering is in
Clipboard into a new layer, using the ink-spot selec-
Generik,” says Cabarga, “which is one of my own
tion to automatically create a layer mask. He
fonts. I used the phrase the cross is sacrosanct because
Cabarga has been designing fonts since
5. Dictionary text pasted into the ink spots and inverted 6. Cabarga captures a self-portrait in a small steel ball.
I liked the idea of including Inman’s cross from Volley 1 in every volley, and it seemed he went along with it too. Everything could be edited and changed but the cross, which was... sacrosanct.”
1990. “I’ve always done my own lettering for my illustrations, so the step to font design was a natural one. Among my most popular fonts are Magneto Bold and Streamline, both Art Deco–style connected scripts that I see virtually everywhere, including on porn websites (friends tell me, that is!), on myriad book covers, and even on the logo of a car wash down the street from me. Naturally, whenever possible I use my own fonts in my work, but only when mine are the right ones to use. Otherwise, I used whomever’s font is most appropriate.”
just an abstract gimmick
Volley 5: Shaun Inman “I had no idea what was going on at this point,” says
Next, he copied Cabarga’s volley to a new
Shaun Inman. “I was discombobulated. I made an
layer, resized it to the same dimensions as the file
aborted attempt at building a tile out of that glow-
folder (Edit → Transform → Scale), and altered its
ing ball-bearing. I even scanned a couple of open
perspective (Edit → Transform → Perspective) to
garlic pill tins to use as a ‘Take a pill’ response. But
match that of the file folder. Since this produced
after numerous, frustrating failed attempts to cope,
the very blurring he had worked to avoid with the
I gave up and wiped everything with gray.”
file folder and arrow, Inman next ran the layer through the Mosaic filter (Filter → Pixelate →
Mind clear and blank slate at the ready, Inman began taking screen shots of various system
Mosaic) with a cell size of 16 pixels, breaking the
elements—file folders and so forth—and pasted
image up into distinct squares sized to match the
1. A failed attempt to build a volley from tiled copies of Volley 4’s steel ball
2. Inman took screen shots of system elements and blew them up to 1600% of their normal size.
3. A file folder, similarly blown up
them into a new Photoshop file. Next, he zoomed
pixels on the blown-up system elements. He cre-
all the way in to 1600% and took another screen
ated the pixelated black border by hand with the
shot to capture the oversized, pixelated graphic. “I
Marquee tool, 16 pixels at a time.
did it this way instead of resizing the image,” says
The text is in the 04b03 Bitmap font from
Inman, “because resizing blurs the hard line
http://04.jp.org/. Inman drew the bevel around
the letters by hand, using the Pencil tool.
He chose two elements: a standard Mac operating system file folder, and an arrow from Microsoft’s Entourage e-mail program. He used Hue/Saturation to desaturate and then to recolorize the elements.
Inman’s soundtrack: Queens of the Stone Age.
I have no idea what’s going on 50
4.Volley 5 resized to fit the file folder …
… skewed …
… and pixelated
Volley 6: Leslie Cabarga “I wanted to reverse the last volley’s low-resolution
copied the two folder halves to the Clipboard and
treatment,” says Leslie Cabarga, “which I liked,
pasted them as pixels into new layers in his Photo-
shop document. “I added shadows on the folder to
He began by actually increasing the low-resolu-
make it more realistic in space,” says Cabarga.
tion appearance of Inman’s volley, selecting a small
Using the Polygon Lasso tool, he selected a rectan-
section of Inman’s volley with the Marquee tool
gular area extending from the bottom of the file
and stretching it to fill the entire canvas with a
folder, hand painted a blue-gray shadow in place on
handful of lightly blurred pixels. To create more of
a new layer, and then set the layer to Multiply mode.
a sense of depth, he created a new layer above the
Cabarga duplicated Inman’s volley on a new
background and used the Airbrush tool to paint in
layer between the front and back halves of the file
1. Cabarga grabbed a small selection of Volley 5 and stretched it to fill the canvas.
2. A simple shadow gives a sense of depth.
a large, black shadow over the top, creating a bit of
folder. He used the Free Transform tool (Com-
a spotlight effect to draw the eye to the middle of
mand/Ctrl+T) to shrink and rotate the image,
placing it so that it was going into the file folder. “I
Next, he opened Illustrator and imported
sort of chopped into his image,” says Cabarga,
Inman’s volley. Using that volley as a background,
“using the Smudge tool to get the funny nicks in
he traced the folder to create a high-resolution ver-
sion. He actually created two tracings of the file folder—one of the front and one of the back. He
Finally, he also added the text DISCARD to the folder tab.
“Cabarga’s volley clearly echoes Inman’s last,” says a spectator. “Replacing the pixelated file folder with a semirealistic file folder doesn’t really add much new to the mix.” 3.The simple file folder was created in Illustrator in two halves, to allow Volley 5 to go in between.
reverse the low-resolution treatment
Volley 7: Shaun Inman “Okay, stop. Wrong way. Wipe,” says Shaun Inman.
and set the duplicate in
“I dropped in what I felt was an appropriate photo-
Darken mode. He used
graph and resorted to the single-pixel stretch.”
a layer mask to knock
A digital photo, I presume? “Nope,” says
out the center part of
Inman. “that was an analog photo I took at a Dairy
the sign, preventing the
Queen in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania, with a Vivitar
new layer from darken-
3300SE. I took the photo over two years ago and
ing the underlying
only recently had it developed. I scanned it on a
Next came a scan
Inman placed the scan on a new layer in his
of a folded piece of
Photoshop document. He rotated it 90 degrees
white card stock, on a
clockwise to better fit the horizontal composition.
new layer in Multiply
Now, Inman began the pixel calisthenics
mode. Inman used a
referred to in the fin-
1. A highway sign forms the basis of this volley.
ished image. He began by duplicating the photo layer and then used the Marquee tool (M) to select a very narrow vertical rectangle of the image. Using the Free Transform tool
2. Inman rotated the photo 90 degrees and stretched a narrow band of pixels to fill the right half of the canvas.
3. He used a mask to ease the transition …
… and then stretched some pixels from the other side, darkening the red bars to match the rest of the sign.
(Ctrl+T), he stretched this narrow selection until it filled the right half of
layer mask to hide most of the scan, leaving just a
the image, obscuring the top of the Do Not Enter
subtle crease to accent the apparent vertical seam
sign. He added layer mask to ease the transition
above/to the right of the word ENTER. The accent
between the stretched layer and the underlying
was, in fact, too subtle; Inman duplicated the layer
to double its effect. He duplicated the original photo layer and
To give the white area a little texture, Inman
repeated the process, this time grabbing a narrow
dropped in another old graphic done in Auto-Illus-
vertical band from near the middle of the Do Not
trator. He set the new layer in Multiply mode and
Enter sign and stretching it to the right. He set this
created a layer mask to eliminate portions that
new layer in Hard Light mode, which allowed the
overlaid the red parts of the sign.
white to show through but resulted in reds that
To make the label, Inman created a new
were too bright to match the rest of the sign. To
shape layer with a white rectangle, set to 60% opac-
compensate, Inman duplicated the stretched layer
ity, and gave it a light drop shadow to break it out
from the white background. He added the words Engage Auto-Pilot. Finally, he brought back the white plus sign from previous volleys, this time placing the words Too Late in the center. All text is in the Pakt Regular and Pakt Black typefaces. So what, exactly, does it all mean? “The piece explains itself,” Inman asserts.
Inman’s soundtrack this time: “Listening to myself curse under my breath.”
a Dairy Queen in Shartlesville
4. A close-up of the label reveals some subtleties of detail and texture.
Volley 8: Leslie Cabarga “The idea is to make something of what you’ve
text—done in Bodoni Poster Italic—in Multiply
been lobbed,” says Leslie Cabarga, “so I got the
mode to allow it to blend with the background.
idea of rearranging the letters to form new words.”
The Otto Pilote text, in MekaniK Plain, was white-on-
A little cut-and-paste fooling around with the Mar-
white, a la Inman’s volley; Cabarga added a drop
quee tool, and Cabarga transformed EN-ER and
shadow to increase the text’s visibility.
WRONG into NEVER GROWN.
Next Cabarga needed art to match his
This in turn suggested, via a process doubt-
concept. “The clip-art images of the baby, the
less better left unexamined, “A Child’s Garden of
truck, and the Muench Scream were all things I’d
Adversity,” the story of Otto Pilote. (Get it? Auto-
scanned and auto-traced in Illustrator some time
pilot? Huh? Huh?) Cabarga created the new text
ago and had in my files,” he says. He placed each
1. Cabarga began by rearranging letters cut from Inman’s volley to form new words.
2. Clip-art graphics created in Adobe Illustrator …
… form the basis for the new composition.
3. Spirographical background elements were also created in Illustrator.
4. Cabarga set the blue text in Multiply mode and dropped a shadow under the white text …
… to blend them into, and break them out of, the background, respectively.
elements in Adobe Illustrator. “I always add type in
piece of art on its own layer and positioned them
Illustrator,” says Cabarga, “because Photoshop’s
Type tool is too clunky for me.” He copied each
To create a background to fill the blank
text element to the Clipboard, switched to Photo-
whiteness, Cabarga returned to Illustrator. He
shop, and the pasted the text to a new layer (Edit →
made Spirograph-style swirls by first creating a sim-
Paste As Pixels). Cabarga set the Child’s Garden
ple curved shape and then rotating it once while
making a copy. Using Illustrator’s Duplicate com-
pasted it as pixels on a new layer in his Photoshop
mand, he repeated the rotate-and-copy operation a
composition, beneath the text and graphic ele-
multitude of times. “Command/Ctrl+D repeats the
ments. He duplicated the new spiral layer, offset
last command until your finger comes up,” says
the duplicate slightly, and then tweaked the colors
Cabarga. He copied the spiral from Illustrator and
of both layers (Edit → Adjust → Hue/Saturation) to fit into the composition. The resulting spirals
Cabarga has scattered Inman’s careful pseudosymmetry to the four winds to create this rather unsettling tableau. “Even the colors speak to me of injury and used Band-Aids. On the bright side, I’d rather return to kindergarten than high school.”
echo the vector shape in the background of Inman’s volley. Cabarga finished by fine-tuning the position of the various elements, placing a copy of the white cross on a new layer above the doll’s chest and adding of a huge set of quotation marks around the title.
make something of what you’ve been lobbed
Volley 9: Shaun Inman “Is he mocking me or just being playful?” wonders
He created a new layer set and placed the var-
Shaun Inman. “Frankly, I didn’t care. I went to bed.
ious parts of the GROW UP text in it. Next, he used
I got up and scanned the newspaper for texture.”
the Paintbrush tool to paint a nice grungy layer set
Inman started by creating a new layer set and placing a copy of Cabarga’s volley in it. Then, using
mask. The word otto was created by a similar
the Pen tool, he drew a path around the baby and
process, using the letters to from a scan of a news-
used that path to create a vector mask for the
paper page. He duplicated the to layer, flipped it
entire layer set (Layer → Add Vector Mask → Cur-
horizontally, and used the Clone Stamp tool to
rent Path). This cut the baby out from its back-
patch the gaps between the two halves. Again, he
ground without touching the original art. It also
created a new layer set and painted a grungy layer
meant that any new layers placed in this layer set
set mask for the set to further distress the text.
would automatically be cropped to the shape of the baby. To grunge the baby up, Inman placed a scan
Inman placed the red newspaper scan on a new layer in Multiply mode to give the entire com-
1.With a lot of judicious cutting, pasting, and cloning, Inman transforms OR into UP.
of a red newspaper page into the layer set, on a new layer above the baby, in Multiply mode. To intensify the effect, he duplicated the red newspaper layer. (With the vector mask in effect,
2.This chunk of the word Boston will become otto.
3.This grunge map, used as a layer set mask …
… gives the volley title …
… a little more grunge.
the newspaper layers are automatically trimmed to fit over the baby.) He further
position a wrinkly pink texture. He added another
grunged the baby up by creating a layer set mask
scan of another newspaper page, this one black
and painting out sections of the baby with some
with white text, on a new layer and used a layer
brushes from Nocturna.net.
mask to cut out a small plus sign at the top left.
Next, turnabout is fair play. Inman appropri-
He reintroduced the U shapes from his previ-
ated Cabarga’s trick of rearranging letters to form
ous volleys, placing several copies in a new layer set
new words, turning GROWN into GROW UP. This
in Color mode and using a layer mask to constrain
took a little bit of surgery, but he successfully sliced
them to the black vertical bar.
the O into a serviceable U and chopped one leg off the R to turn it into a P.
Finally, he used the Pen tool again to create a selection around the dump truck and copied and
pasted it to a new layer. “I used the Polygon Lasso tool to ‘draw’ the missing parts of the truck as a selection,” says Inman, “and then filled it with color.” He used the
4. Inman isolated the baby …
Circle Shape tool and the Skew Transform tool (Edit → Trans-
… colored and textured it with scans of pink newspaper …
… grunged it some more with a layer mask, and dropped it to the bottom of the canvas.
5.The truck from Volley 8, restored and cloned
form → Skew) to polish up the curve of the wheel. Next he rotated the truck—by not quite 45 degrees this time—and tiled it manually to fill the canvas, using the same technique as for the Cyclops in Volley 3. He placed the new layer filled with tiled trucks at the top of the layer stack and set it to Color Burn mode.
“When I use freely distributed brushes to distress an image,” says Inman, “I try to use them sparingly around the edges or layer them in a way to make their use unique. I also tend to use them on a layer mask so the original art isn’t ruined.”
mocking me or just being playful
Volley 10: Leslie Cabarga “This volley took the most time,” says Leslie
into a new layer in his mule file. Using the Magic
Cabarga, “because I had to create the dimensional
Wand tool, he selected the face of each box and
boxes in Illustrator.”
deleted it, leaving only the white stroked boxes
When the boxes were finished, Cabarga
visible on top of the captured segments of Inman’s
copied them and pasted them into a new Photo-
volley. “Now all of Shaun’s square clips had neat
shop “mule file.” Cabarga made the mule file 2268
white outlines around them,” says Cabarga.
× 1872 pixels—larger than the 1900 × 1250 image
He flattened the mule file, copied and pasted
size for the match—to give himself plenty of room
it into his volley document, scanned an old clip-art
to work on boxes that would be outside the frame
figure of a tennis player, and pasted it on top of the
in the final composition.
Back in Illustrator, Cabarga created a grid with a cell size that matched the size of the faces on
Back to Illustrator for one final job. Cabarga set the type That was fun around a curve, made a
his boxes. He copied the grid and pasted it into his actual volley file, on top of Inman’s volley. On the grid layer, Cabarga used the Magic Wand tool, clicking in the center of the topleft box to select a
1. A grid of colored cubes, created in Adobe Illustrator
One by one, the faces are covered with squares …
… cut from Volley 9.
square area the same size as the faces on his boxes. With the selection
copy of the text, and manually manipulated the
still active, he clicked the background layer hold-
points to create a nice, black drop shadow. He
ing Inman’s volley and copied the selected pixels
copied the text and the drop shadow and pasted
to the Clipboard. Returning to his mule file, he
them onto separate new layers in his Photoshop
pasted the newly copied square onto a new layer
composition. Finally, he used the Eraser tool to
and moved it into position over the face of the top-
fade the drop shadow slightly toward its inner
He repeated the operation, selecting different segments of Inman’s volley and pasting them onto the boxes in the mule file, until the fronts of all the boxes were covered. In Illustrator, Cabarga changed the boxes, giving them all white outlines and the same color fill. He copied the results and then pasted them
“Mule file” is the name Cabarga gives to working files in which certain tasks are done to be pasted into the actual file.The “mule” carries the burden of a certain complex task, but such files aren’t actually used in print; they’re just copied from.
2.The grid of cubes with a different color scheme
The faces cut out to reveal the images beneath
3. An old-timey tennis player to smack the final volley home
4. A blocky drop shadow, built by hand in Illustrator
Cabarga has done five collections of â€™20s through â€™50s clip art for Dover Books.The tennis player in this volley was from one of them.
never meant to be part of the finished product
“Tears from the Moon”: Eric Jordan vs. Benoit Falardeau Eric Jordan and Benoit Falardeau are not exactly the odd couple, but if they shared a design studio, it might make for an interesting new reality show. Jordan favors neat, bold design with clean lines and lots of ittybitty text elements thrown around. Falardeau’s designs, on the other hand, run to lots of heavy textures filled with noise, grunge, and scratches. I thought I’d throw them together and see what came of it. What happens when two designers with opposite styles have to work together on the same piece of collaborative artwork? Will Falardeau submit to Jordan’s clean lines, or will he insist on keeping things dense and messy? Will Jordan persist in cleaning up after every volley, or will he give in to the chaos? Read on; I’m not telling.
Tears from the Moon
Designers Match 3: Jordan vs. Falardeau
Flash, Photoshop, and 3D Master Eric Jordan is the president of, and creative visionary behind, 2advanced Studios. Jordan leads a team of cuttingedge web designers and developers who create unique and compelling websites for companies throughout the world, and he has achieved significant acclaim for his studio’s online presence and portfolio.
Eric Jordan Years as a Photoshop designer: 7 Area of specialty: Flash web design and full-motion video graphics Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: The intricate communication that goes on beneath the design
Jordan has also served as a contributing author to internationally published motion graphics titles, magazines, and books, including New Masters of Flash, The Flash 5 Bible, The Flash MX Bible, Flash 5 Creative Web Animation, and Flash MX Magic. www.2advanced.com
Least favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: Time limits Nondigital art medium: Black-and-white illustration Favorite non-Photoshop software: Adobe After Effects Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: Blend Mode → Overlay Photoshop has: injected steroids into illustration, painting, and photography. If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be … a subzero chrome refrigerator with Internet access. Music I listen to while playing Photoshop Tennis: Progressive Trance & breakbeats Comfort food: Red wine … wait, is that a food? Favorite TV show: TV rots your brain. Best work I ever lost in a computer crash: Preliminary designs for 2advanced version 4, when cats yanked the FireWire drive off my desk. Political bent: Is that the stuff they are always talking about on CNN? If I didn’t have Photoshop, I’d be… illustrating comic books, and broke. Website I visit too often: support.microsoft.com They’ll identify my body by … the keyboard indentations in my fingertips.
Photoshop has injected steroids into illustration, painting, and photography
Tears from the Moon
Benoit Falardeau was always attracted to the arts. As a boy, he filled his school books with drawings; he went on to study visual arts at Valleyfield College and then multimedia design at the International Academy of Design in Montreal. At the Academy of Design, Falardeau began to encounter websites conceived as highly experimental graphic projects. These high-design sites sparked a new passion for graphic design. Falardeau saw in the web a contemporary form of artistic expression and a gallery open to the whole world. Falardeau has largely forsaken pencils and paint for a computer mouse. He currently works as a designer for
Benoit Falardeau Years as a Photoshop designer: 5 Area of specialty: Web design, poster design, and motion graphics Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: Interaction with another designer and the liberty of creating anything you want and seeing what the adversary will do.
and does freelance
Least favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: Sometimes youâ€™re too tired to continue but you need to!
design work. His goal is
Nondigital art medium: Drawing, electric guitar
to continue to evolve as
Favorite non-Photoshop software: Adobe After Effects
a designer and to have fun with his work, which is also his passion. www.benfal.com
Height: As tall as a pile of 177 CDs Music I listen to while playing Photoshop Tennis: Neutral Milk Hotel, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, Radiohead Best work I ever lost in a computer crash: I wrote my name on a CD with an ink pen, but I wrote so hard that I scrapped the CD and a video I did. I never found the original files : ( Favorite motion picture: A Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick Political bent: Nothing is real. Website I visit too often: amazon.com (too much stuff there)
Iâ€™ve never stopped creating
Volley 1: Eric Jordan “Lately I have been very into photography,” says
microtext here and there and then added the
Eric Jordan. “It elicits so many feelings from the
words Operation tears from the moon in the Humanoid
simplest of elements. Case in point: I recently took
and Gill Sans typefaces. “‘Tears from the moon’
a [digital] photograph of a light I found on the
came from a song I was listening to early in the
roof of a parking structure. My camera seemed to
day,” says Jordan. “It just seemed to stand out in the
capture the most interesting patterns in its innards.
back of my mind. I thought it could apply to this
What better way to start a match than with a little
image. The light seemed like an orbiting object of
inner complexity from simple technology?”
some sort, something that could be seen in space
Jordan brought the photo into Photoshop,
from the low atmosphere, like the bottom of a pass-
slid it into a pleasing position, and desaturated it
ing ship.” Below the light, he added the phrases so
(Image → Adjustments → Desaturate). He copied
electronic and it hurts in Gill Sans and added some
the photo layer and applied a Gaussian Blur (Filter
narrow vertical lines descending from two of the
→ Blur → Gaussian Blur) to smear the details. He
used the Eraser tool to rub out the top half of the
He selected the entire composition so far and
photo and the portions over the light itself and
copied and pasted it to a new layer (Edit → Select
then repositioned the photo slightly relative to the
All + Edit → Copy Merged). He resized the new
unblurred layer, giving the image a sense of
layer to about 20% of its original size. He dupli-
cated this new layer, slid the duplicate up, and then
Next he added a block of illegibly small microtext above the light fixture and four small arrows below, all in aqua. He colorized the entire
slipped both shrunken copies partially off-screen to the left. Finally, he made a new merged copy of the
image by filling a new layer with a dark aqua color,
composition, including the new smaller versions,
set in Hard Light mode. For a little contrast to the
and again shrunk it to 20% of its original size. He
aqua, he created a new layer and placed a block of
placed the new layer to
dark maroon color at the bottom of the image,
the right of the light to
adding a three-pixel white stroke via Layer Effects
balance the composition
to separate it from the main body of the image.
and called it done.
He dropped in a few more bits of aqua
1. A digital photo of an interesting light gets a little blur and then a new aqua color
2. Jordan loves to use little blocks of tiny microtext.
Jordan took the photo of the light using a four-megapixel Nikon Coolpix 4500.
inner complexity from simple technology
Volley 2: Benoit Falardeau “I wanted to destabilize my adversary by changing
the style of the art in progress,” says Benoit Falardeau. “Eric made something clean and
A snippet from a scan of a photo album with some intriguing text, in Color Burn mode.
What appears to be a hand-drawn treasure
techno, so for the second volley I wanted to make
map, scanned into Photoshop and set in Mul-
something more grungy and dirty.”
“I focused on the light in the center,” he says. He began by making a copy of Jordan’s volley on a
sion mode, and then erased most of it using a
new layer and adjusting the hue (Image → Adjust
huge, soft brush.
→ Hue/Saturation) to change the palette to purer, less-greenish blues. Next he copied the layer again,
He also added a photo of himself, in Exclu-
Finally, he placed a cropped photo of his
this time desaturating it (Image → Adjustments →
(musical) keyboard at the bottom, in Overlay
Desaturate) to produce a grayscale version. He
mode. “No reason for that,” he says. “It was
adjusted the levels so the details would read better
just another element to make the volley more
(Image → Adjustments → Auto Levels). With the
complicated for Eric. ; - )”
Eraser tool set to 40% opacity, he used a large brush to erase the area over the light, allowing the colored version to shine through from underneath. He used the Healing Brush and Patch tools to replace most of the text elements surrounding the light with more generic background. Next, he duplicated the new layer, further reducing the amount of colored light shining through the hole. Tears from the moon calls for a moon, so Falardeau placed a large photo of the moon on a new layer, in Soft Light mode, sized to fill the canvas.
To add something organic, and a little threatening, to the volley, Falardeau used the Pen tool to trace out a number of tentacular shapes. He converted the resulting paths to selections by clicking the Load Path As A Selection button on the Paths palette and then filled the selections with color. He added a few red blood spatters at 73% opacity on a new layer above the tentacles with single clicks of the Paintbrush tool, using different sizes and shapes of the brush.
To balance the pale-blue light element, Falardeau created a bright red bar on a new layer. “After that,” says Falardeau, “I just continued adding different elements,” including: ■
A clip art doctor and nurse, turned on their heads, in Multiply mode.
A moon phase calendar in Color Burn mode,
“I always try to place each element to form a certain balance on the canvas,” says Falardeau.“But it can be good to place them randomly, without any balance, to destabilize your adversary. On another hand, it’s always good to have something good-looking.”
to complement the moon.
to destabilize my adversary 68
1.The previous volley, colorized …
… overlaid with a desaturated, partially erased copy …
… yields a faint blue light on a black-andwhite background.
2. Falardeau scanned in hand-drawn elements.
3.The remainders of a self-portrait
4. Falardeau’s piano makes an appearance
Volley 3: Eric Jordan “Ben had a kind of darkness in his second volley,”
and Fill tools to create a broken circle around the
says Jordan. “I decided to play upon the atmos-
spider on a new layer and then set it to Overlay
phere of his composition with my own hint of dark-
mode. Next, he added another shot of the spider,
ness, but with a cleaner approach that is simply my
slightly smaller and from a different angle, and
own style coming through.”
positioned it to the left of the canvas. He used the
He began by selecting the red rectangle at the left of Falardeau’s volley and stretching it (Edit → Free Transform) to fill the canvas from left to
Eraser tool to remove extraneous background elements and set the new layer in Soft Light mode. “I dropped in the word predator, in Helvetica
right. He copied the results to a new layer and then
Neue, beside my spider to start a bit of playful ver-
slid the layer up until only the very bottom portion
biage that Ben and I could work off of,” says Jor-
showed on-screen. He added a one-pixel–wide
dan. “It seemed to get things going nicely.”
1. Jordan snapped some photos of a spider in the parking lot.
2. Jordan stretched a bit of the previous volley to form a blank, red workspace.
3. Oooo. Creepy.
horizontal line at the very bottom of the new layer, using a yellow sampled from Falardeau’s volley, to tie the new red rectangle into the bottom. Time for some foreground elements. “I was in the parking lot the other day and came across a spider about the size of a gumball,” says Jordan. “I caught a few good shots of it with my Nikon and stored them away for later use. This was be the perfect place to use my spider shot.” Jordan placed a spider photo on a new layer, desaturated it, and then set it to Overlay mode to allow the background to show through. He used the Marquee
“To create the circle surrounding the spider,” says Jordan,“I used the Elliptical Marquee tool to select a circle and then filled it in with red. I duplicated that layer, desaturated it (so I could tell the difference between the new layer and the original), and then scaled it down by 60%. I selected the boundaries of the new circle by Ctrl+clicking the new layer, selected the original circle layer, and then chose Edit → Cut to cut a hole in the middle of the original circle.This method is more effective than using strokes, because strokes often become distorted the greater their thickness.”
my own hint of darkness 70
He added numerous other white doodads, including a headphone symbol, blocks of microtext, and a few suggestive phrases including deploy
word predator were created with single strokes of the Paintbrush tool, using a custom brush. Finally, Jordan again copied a merged version
operative and caught in action yesterday at 6:30pm.
of the composition so far, pasted it to a new layer,
One-pixel–wide horizontal white lines echo the
and scaled it down to about 30% of its original size.
vertical lines from his serve, and the tiny arrows
He used the Eraser tool with the custom “grungy
return as well. The grungy white bars above the
bars” brush to cut holes in it.
Volley 4: Benoit Falardeau “For this one I worked in perfect balance,” says
then merged the layers. What, pray tell, does
Benoit Falardeau, “copying and mirroring each of
preadator mean? “Nothing,” says Falardeau. “I just
the different elements.”
wanted to see what Eric would do with it.” He
He began with a digital photo of a cat, taken several years ago with a Kodak DC215. “This is my old cat,” says Falardeau. “He’s dead now.” He
duplicated and flipped the layer, leaving both copies in Normal mode. The top of the image was a little too dark, so
merged the cat’s face with a photo taken of his tele-
he created a white rectangle on a new layer, over-
vision screen with a Fuji Finepix s602z, producing a
laying the yellow strip at the top. Set in Overlay
scan-lined, black-and-white kitty. He duplicated
mode, this lightened things up just the right
and flipped the layer and then set the new layer in
amount. He added three thin, horizontal orange
Linear Burn mode to create a nice, symmetrical
lines at the boundary between the light top area
and the lower darker area, echoing the orange
Next he used the Marquee tool to select the
lines at the top.
yellowish band from the top of Jordan’s volley and
He also added some enigmatic white text—
pasted it on a new layer. Again, he duplicated and
Now we are Infected—along the same boundary, in
flipped the layer, this time setting the new layer to
two sizes, in the Bookman Old Style typeface.
Lighten mode, which produced a better blend. He
Finally, he used Photoshop’s Pencil tool, with
left just a few pixels of the darker orange color at
a one-pixel brush, to roughly sketch around the
the top, creating a thin line.
contours of the feline face by hand. “I like the Pen-
He copied Jordan’s volley to a new layer and
cil tool because it has no anti-aliasing,” he says. He
desaturated it (Image → Adjustments → Desatu-
duplicated and flipped the new contour layer and
rate). He deleted most of the background using
called it done.
the Lasso tool and the Delete key, scratched it up
“Once again, I’ve done this volley in a dirty
further using the Eraser and custom brushes made
style,” says Falardeau. “It will be nice to see how
from hand-drawn strokes and scratches, and then
Eric puts his clean design into it.”
scanned it into Photoshop. Using the Eraser tool and a large, soft brush, he wiped away everything except the word predator. He used the Marquee tool to select the letter a and copied it to a new layer. Now he selected the back half of the word predator and slid it to the right,
“I work a lot with layer blend modes,” says Falardeau. “They give more depth to the canvas. I always try them all and then choose the perfect one for each layer.”
changing “predator” to “pre dator.” He moved the extra a into place to form the word preadator and
I worked in perfect balance 72
1. A digital photo of Falardeau’s dear departed tomcat … … merged with a shot of a TV screen …
… and duplicated
2.The beginnings of a symmetrical volley
Volley 5: Eric Jordan “Ben’s volley gave me a very ‘H.R. Giger’ feel,” says Eric Jordan. “It was dark and alien and gave me flashbacks of the interiors of the medical laboratories and the spaceships in the movie Alien. I was particularly reminded of all the intricate piping and ventilation shafts. I suppose this was why I brought in this photo I shot of some pipes in a remote corner of a parking structure.” This was, structurally, Jordan’s simplest volley. Using Falardeau’s volley as his background, he placed the aforementioned photo of pipes on a new layer. He desaturated and repositioned it, sliding it down and to the right, to divide the image just a little left of center. He duplicated the layer and slid the duplicate up so that the bottom of the
1. Some pipes in a parking structure, ignorant of their impending fame
photo just touched the top of the photo on the layer below.
He added a black chevron-in-a-circle over the
Once again, he placed two one-pixel–wide
white rectangle and added a white exclamation-
lines on a new layer, one horizontal line separating
point-in-a-circle in front of the word system. Finally,
the two pipe photos, and the other, vertical, line
he reintroduced the blocks of microtext from pre-
separating the pipe photo layers from the rem-
nants of Falardeau’s background on the left. On a new layer, he created a white quasirec-
The left half of Falardeau’s volley remains untouched.
tangular shape near the bottom-right corner and placed the word antidote in Hoefler Text typeface, beneath it. “I was countering his statement, infected, with my own slant: antidote, which the cleanliness of the lines in my volley seemed to suggest,” says Jordan. He added the word system above the upperright photo and created a simple white bar above it. He duplicated the white bar and placed it just above the white rectangloid over the lower-right
“Design is an interesting phenomenon,” says Jordan.“I begin by moving shapes around and playing with the space. I keep shifting, slicing, moving, and transforming until my eyes tell me that it’s starting to work. It’s as though your eye tastes the canvas and tells you if it is palatable or not. If something isn’t working, my eyes pick up on it immediately. I focus in on that element and try to change it so that it does work.”
it was dark and alien 74
“I find that zooming out from your piece helps you get an overall sense of balance within the canvas,” says Jordan.“I catch myself shifting back and forth from 100% to 10% often, just to make sure that the weight of the elements are perfectly balanced. It is similar to the way a painter steps back from his canvas.”
Real designers do less with more, and here’s a perfect example. Jordan’s built a nifty return with a startling scantiness of new elements.
Volley 6: Benoit Falardeau “Now I changed my style of play,” says Benoit Falardeau. “I chose a simple and clean layout for this volley, to see where it would go. Sometimes less is the best.” Falardeau started by duplicating Jordan’s volley, desaturating it, and adding a healthy dose of noise (Filter → Noise → Add Noise), “to give it some style,” he says. Next, he used the Marquee tool and Paint Bucket to create two large, colored rectangles on new layers, one pale yellow and one bright orange, to hide the top and left segments of Jordan’s volley. He gave both rectangles some noise as well, to match the remaining grayscale elements at bottom right. The rectangles look like textured paper, but they’re just pure color plus noise. “It’s an illusion,” says Falardeau. He made a simple white rectangle to cover the chevron symbol from Jordan’s volley and used the Elliptical Marquee tool and Delete key to select and delete some holes along the edge, giving the rectangle that tractor-fed computer-paper look. He added a subtle drop shadow via layer effects, to make it stand up off the background. Playing on the word antidote, he added a block of text in Bell Gothic, describing
1. Falardeau desaturated the last volley and filled it with noise.
2. He laid broad rectangles of color over the background elements.
Antidote 2004, a somewhat … unusual … form of home security. He positioned the text above the perforated paper and then added the number 2004 beneath the large antidote element remaining from Jordan’s volley. In keeping with the computer theme, he used the dot-matrixy Inkblob typeface to add the blurb (You need protection?) on the left side. The hand icon was made with the Custom Shape tool, using default Photoshop shapes. “I almost never use that kind of premade stuff,” says Falardeau, “but sometimes the time factor in a Photoshop Tennis match makes you do uncommon things.” Finally, he created a new light effect, using the Elliptical Marquee tool to select a circle in the center of the canvas, and filling it with a white-to-transparent gradient. He set the new light layer in Overlay mode. “The light layer combines with the noise effects to make the colors look desaturated,” says Falardeau. He moved the descriptive text above the light layer, to leave it legible in the final image. He created a white rounded border around the finished
3. Photoshop ships with a ton of cool shapes.
4. Falardeau filled a circular selection with a gradient to provide a light source.
5. I’m not sure what this thing is, but I think I need it.
image by using the
Rounded Rectangle tool + paths to create a
“I tried to continue Eric’s flow—his ideas
rounded rectangle path. He clicked the Load Path
about the ‘Antidote’—by making an image that
as Selection button on the Paths palette, inverted
looked like an ad for antivirus software … or
the selection, and filled it with white.
less is the best
Volley 7: Eric Jordan “Ben’s volley was very reminiscent of ‘70s advertise-
looking” light pole, flipped it horizontally, and
ments,” says Eric Jordan, “but it had the cleanliness
placed it at the lower right. He created a layer
of a twenty-first century typography assignment.”
mask to cut off the left edge of the photo and to
“Ben seemed to be advertising a five-foot wall
trim the photo to match Falardeau’s white border.
placed around someone’s home to protect them
He carefully cloned some additional sky at the top
from outside threats,” says Jordan. “It got me think-
of the photo, extending the sky to the top of the
ing, wondering what sort of products might be
mass-marketed to the population of the planet in
He added the words Homedefense Domestic Mis-
the distant future. I came up with a satirical repre-
sile Defense System, in the Gill Sans typeface, making
sentation of the modern ‘household defense hand-
sure to throw in a TM after Homedefense so’s to
gun,’ but taken to a new level.”
make it official.
3. It’s a real missile, from a clipart catalog …
1.This parking lot lamppost forms the basis of the volley.
… but it’s the detail that sells it.
2. Laying in the lamppost
Jordan set out to construct an advertisement
He placed a photo of a missile in Overlay
for a domestic missile defense system, to track
mode on the left side of the canvas, above the text
incoming missiles and destroy them in flight,
element from Falardeau’s volley, and added some
before they smash into your Jacuzzi. “I thought it
white lines and microtext around it, giving it a
was a funny idea to have one of these guarding
more diagrammatic appearance.
your home,” he says. Using Falardeau’s volley as a background, Jordan brought in a digital photo of an “interesting-
Finally, he placed two short, white rectangles near the bottom center of the image and placed a little ad blurbage, in Gill Sans, in between them.
“The missile image came from an EPS catalog I carry around called Art Explosion. It has WMF files of just about everything from bowling balls to mountain goats.”
â€œI wanted to play to the advertisement theme he had brought in,â€? says Jordan.
play to the advertisement
Volley 8: Benoit Falardeau “I decided to continue with a clean style for this
Finally, he added the title text, centered at
volley,” says Benoit Falardeau. He began by
the top of the page, in Bell Gothic, proclaiming
copying Jordan’s volley, repositioning it slightly,
Project Tears from the Moon’s second chance. He
and then copying and pasting the right half,
again created a white frame around the finished
containing the light pole, to a new layer. He
volley by filling a new layer with white, setting
flipped the new layer horizontally, repositioned it
guidelines at 50 pixels from each side, selecting the
for symmetry, and then merged the two layers to
interior of the guides with the Marquee tool + Snap
create a new background.
To Guides, and pressing Delete.
He re-created his light effect from Volley 6,
“The result looks like a poster announcing
using the Elliptical Marquee tool to select a circle
something,” says Falardeau, although he admits it’s
running off the bottom of the page and then filled
not clear just what it’s announcing.
it with a white-to-transparent gradient, in Normal mode at 60% opacity, lightening the bottom. On a new layer, he created three large rectangles in different shades of orange and then added text (Step 01. Launching the satellite.) in the Bell Gothic typeface. Next, he added the moon photo from Volley 2, on a new layer in Soft Light mode at 84% opacity, darkening the sky and making the lampposts seem to strain upward toward outer space. To
1.This symmetrical volley begins with mirrored elements of Volley 7.
2. A little light effect softens the bottom of the image.
extend their reach even farther, he used the Polygonal Lasso tool to select one of the posts beneath the lights and copied and pasted it to a new layer. He repositioned the duplicate, mating it up with the lamppost beneath it. The colors didn’t quite match, so Falardeau used the Burn tool to darken the bottom of the duplicated post and improve the blend. When he was satisfied, he duplicated the layer and flipped it horizontally, extending both lampposts moonward.
3. Orange rectangles contrast with the blue sky and provide a background for text elements to come.
4. I don’t know what these steps accomplish, but I’m not going through a black hole for anybody.
“The style is very simple and symmetric,” says Falardeau, “with both contrasting and complementary colors, and I kept the main theme flowing.”
like a poster announcing … something
Volley 9: Eric Jordan “Ben took a turn toward outer space in Volley 8,”
created a another orange rectangle to underlie the
observes Eric Jordan, “the perfect setup for my last
new slogan. He brought back one of the blocks of
volley of the match. Working off the space theme,
microtext from previous volleys and placed it next
but returning to the advertisement spin, we seemed
to the title, on a new layer.
to be putting on things. I conceived Secret Weapon.” He began by dropping in a photo of a round,
To give the image a graphical focal point, he used the Elliptical Marquee tool to select one of
curving amphitheater roof, which looked a bit like
the lamppost elements from the background, hold-
a radio telescope antenna. He created a layer mask
ing down Shift to constrain the selection to a per-
and filled the border with black to constrain the
fect circle. He copied and pasted the selected ele-
photo within the white border of Falardeau’s vol-
ment to a new layer on top.
ley. He used the Eraser tool with a large brush to
He created the broad orange circle with
erase the bottom portion of the photo and blend
the Elliptical Marquee tool, using the method
the roof into the moon.
described in Volley 3. He duplicated the layer
He wanted to replace the text elements at the
twice and resized the duplicates, making them
bottom with new elements. He began by using the
smaller and placing them around the larger light
Rectangular Marquee tool to select the area
1.The radio dish-like roof of the Kaleidoscope amphitheater …
2. Rectangles of orange block the underlying text elements …
… blended into the moon
… making room for new copy.
around each of the three orange rectangles on the bottom and then filled those selections with solid orange on new layers to obscure the old text and provide a background for the new. He added three bulleted text elements on new layers in Gill Sans, filled with suggestively obscure computerese such as Interface Repository accessing. He added the SecretWeapon title text at the top
The photo was taken a day before the match at a public amphitheater called Kaleidoscope. Jordan says,“The rafters are these complex arrangements of tarps and lights that create a kaleidoscoping effect at night that can be seen for miles. I had to get a shot of the structure during the day so that I could capture the intricacies.”
in assorted sizes and colors, also in Gill Sans. He
the mysterious product 82
“This is a somewhat silly and vague representation of an imaginary product,” says Jordan. “It might be the mysterious product of a secretive country or some Japanese mega-corporation, tout-
Tessier-Ashpool is a reference to a fictional corporation that runs most of the world in William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer.
ing that ‘weapons need love too.’”
of a secretive country
Volley 10: Benoit Falardeau “My last volley,” says Benoit Falardeau, “and I am bringing back the dirty style, to finish like I started.” He started by blanking out Jordan’s volley, using the Paint Bucket tool to fill large areas with black until only a few tiny details remained. He placed another copy of Jordan’s volley on top of the new background and used the Eraser tool with different custom scratch brushes to scratch it up
1. A new background, almost entirely filled with black
2. A darker, dirtier version of Volley 9
3.Things are looking a little busy before a yellow overlay unifies them a bit.
4.The final composition has 21 layers in all.
considerably. He set the results at 56% opacity. He duplicated the scratched layer and set it to 49% opacity. The result so far is a darker, dirtier copy of the original Volley 9. He added the “light” from volley 2—actually a circular fill with a white-to-transparent gradient— on a new layer in Overlay mode, lightening things up and adding a nice glow to the central roof opening in Jordan’s volley. Next came a copy of Jordan’s Volley 5, on a new layer set in Soft Light mode. Falardeau placed the large orange rectangle
tentacles, in Normal and Screen modes. He
from his Volley 6 on a new layer, used the Paint
brought back text elements from his previous vol-
Bucket tool to fill it with white, and set it in Overlay
leys and scattered them here and there around the
mode, to lighten up the left side of the canvas.
“For this one I’ve used layers from my previ-
When things seemed sufficiently compli-
ous volleys,” says Falardeau. Indeed. Falardeau’s
cated, he added a new layer on top, filled with a
final image is composed almost entirely of ele-
mustard yellow and set in Soft Light mode, coloriz-
ments from previous volleys, reused in new ways.
ing and unifying the wild brew of elements below.
From Volley 2 alone, Falardeau brought back the
For a final touch, he laid the word corrupted at
keyboard photo, in Overlay mode; the lunar calen-
a slant across the text elements at the bottom and
dar, at lower left and in Soft Light mode; the hand-
set it in Overlay mode to pick up the colors from
drawn map, in Multiply mode; the photo album
text, in Color Burn mode; the inverted clip-art doctor and nurse, in Multiply mode; and the organic
“And that’s it!” he says. The final composition has 21 layers in all.
“It’s hard to explain my process for this kind of project,” says Falardeau.“It’s very artistic and personal. Everything comes by itself, the inspiration of the moment. It’s a lot of try and test: Move this there, no there. Color this white. Hmm …. no, yellow.”
bringing back the dirty style
“View from This Side”: Richard “Roddy” Llewellyn vs. John Henry Donovan
Next up in the box, we’ve got designers from Eng-
tends toward fat shapes, bright colors, and kitsch,
land and Ireland. It’s a shame I can’t reproduce
Donovan likes things dark and deeply textured.
their swell accents for you here, but such are the
This match unfolds like a nuevo-psychedelic
limitations of print. What I can show you is the fall-
CD insert, replete with suggestive iconography,
out from their rowdy little collaboration.
bold graphics, vivid colors, and eye-assaulting con-
Though the two men are fairly close, geo-
trasts. The images speak loudly, but never explain
graphically speaking, the difference in their styles
themselves. Interpretation is left entirely up to the
is wider than the Irish Sea. While Llewellyn’s work
View from This Side
Designers Match 4: Llewellyn vs. Donovan
Richard “Roddy” Llewellyn grew up in the north of Britain, enjoying art from a young age. “I decided editorial design was the career for me,” says Llewellyn. “My break came when I got the opportunity to work as Art Editor for CreateOnline magazine.” CreateOnline won several awards in Britain. Loved by designers of the dotcom boom, the magazine was unfortunately a
Richard “Roddy” Llewellyn Years as a Photoshop designer: 7 Area of specialty: Editorial design Favorite Aspect of Photoshop Tennis: I really look forward to seeing what someone else has added to my image. I’m always buzzing in anticipation.
victim of the subsequent dot-com bust. Since its demise, Llewellyn has been redesigning magazines, including .net (www.netmag.co.uk). He is currently the Art Editor at Computer Arts magazine (www.computerarts.co.uk). “I have always tried to use as much creativity
Least favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: The time difference playing with competitors from all over the world.
as possible in my magazines,” says Llewellyn. “I
Nondigital art medium: Photography, which I incorporate into my Photoshop work to give it that sense of reality.
and I like to produce a lot of my own work. My aim
Favorite non-Photoshop software: Kai’s Power Tools.The filters create amazing things from boring images.
have a strong interest in photography and design, in life is to win a [British Design and Art Direction Award] Yellow Pencil.” email@example.com
How Photoshop has changed the design field. Photoshop is probably totally responsible for the direction in which much graphic design has developed and was probably responsible for the “new wave” of graphic design in the early ’90s. It is an “MTV generation” program. Height: 5' 7", but with stretching exercises I hope to make it to 6' before I’m 30! If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be … a pasta spoon, because I like having my back scratched! Music: U2 and, to perk me up, I reach for my Kylie albums! Favorite TV show: Only Fools and Horses
the nature of publishing is making money
View from This Side
John Henry Donovan grew up in West Cork, Ireland. He graduated from Sligo Regional Technical College in 1996 with a degree in Product Design. Unfortunately, the product design industry decided they didn’t need him just then, so Donovan took a year off to work in Australia, pouring drinks for thirsty backpackers. On his return, he settled comfortably behind a computer, building his skills, until he finally landed a job working in web design at Aardvark Digital Media Ltd. (www.aardvark.ie). He now dabbles in production and graphic design and has an unhealthy interest in his car (a ’96 Rover Mini). www.5pieces.com
John Henry Donovan Years as a Photoshop designer: 6 First version of Photoshop I used: 4 Area of specialty: Web design Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: Having a base to start with and not having to confront a blank canvas. Least favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis:The time constraints. I like to leave my work, have a think, and come back to it rather than rush. Nondigital art medium: Oil paint, and PVA glue and heat gun experiments. Favorite non-Photoshop software: Homesite Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: Lots of glows and dirty blends Height: 5' 11" … standing up. If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be … a cheese grater. Astrological sign: A moody Cancer
I have an unhealthy interest in my car
Music I listen to while playing Photoshop Tennis: Usually nothing. I get so engrossed I forget what I’m listening to. Comfort food: Coffee and cookies Favorite read: Crime novels (Kathy Reichs, Michael Connelly) Web site I visit too often: www.stereotypography.com
Volley 1: Roddy Llewellyn “Having got specs for a square image, I thought it
and Snap To Grid (View → Snap To → Grid) both
would be interesting to make use of the shape,”
enabled, he used the Rectangle tool to create a small
says Roddy Llewellyn. “Being a fan of record cov-
checkerboard, which he dragged onto a new layer in
ers, I thought it would be a nice idea to do a build-
his composition. He duplicated the grid three times
up sequence of Photoshop Tennis volleys that
and rotated one of the duplicates by 90° to give the
could be used as a pretend cover foldout, showing
composition a sense of balance. He reduced the
10 different possible covers.
opacity on all four grid layers to about 40%, blend-
“For the serve,” he says, “I wanted to create an image that didn’t matter what angle you looked at it from, something purely visual.” For his background, Llewellyn wanted some-
ing the tiny squares into the background. The image was looking quite harsh, says Llewellyn. “I decided it needed to be softened.” He fired up FreeHand, created a nested group of cir-
thing “raw.” He found a sheet of transparencies
cles, and then copied and pasted them onto a new
from a photo shoot on his desk and scanned them
layer in his Photoshop composition, as pixels. “I
in Reflective mode—not Transparency mode—so
decided to keep the circles white to give the image
the scan would just pick out broad reflective shapes.
a focal point,” he says. He duplicated the circle
In Photoshop, he played with the contrast (Image
layer three times, reduced the duplicates’ size (Edit
→ Adjustments → Brightness/Contrast) and curves
→ Free Transform), and reduced their opacity to
(Image → Adjustments → Curves), to create strong
30%. He arranged them around the right side of
colors and to inject a bit of dynamism. “I felt the
the original circle layer. “They give the image a
handwritten red proof marks—crosses to indicate
softer feel,” says Llewellyn.
the best shots on the sheet—gave it a personal touch,” he says.
“I felt I was nearly there,” he says. “I was quite happy with the result already, just as a visual piece
Now the design called for something a little
for a record cover, but I felt it was just a bit too
more “rigid,” to give the image more detail and to
structured.” To add a touch of disorder, he
create a greater feeling of depth. In a separate Pho-
scanned in a montage of photos and faxes in
toshop document, Llewellyn created a grid of small
grayscale and then placed the scan on a new layer.
gray squares. With View Grid (Ctrl/Command+”)
He positioned it over the empty black area at top
2. A grid of tiny gray squares to add detail and depth 1.The background is made from a scan of transparencies, with the contrast blown out.
3. Halfway through, and that background is still looking a little harsh.
4. A montage of photos and faxes, scanned in grayscale, will provide texture and detail to the finished image.
right, increased the contrast, and reduced the
the idea of an evolving record cover, or if he would
opacity to 22%. “This added a bit of detail and raw-
just shout, ‘You cannot be serious!’”
ness to the image,” says Llewellyn. “I could have added more layers,” he says, “but I was happy with the result, so I left it be. I wanted to see how good old JD would approach
Llewellyn’s favorite cover is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, by the design group Hipgnosis.
you cannot be serious!
Volley 2: John Henry Donovan “What I try to do in a Photoshop Tennis match,” says John Henry Donovan, “is to focus in on one element from the previous volley and build my volley around it. What struck me here was Roddy’s circle elements. I
1. Donovan created a bullet from a simple circle …
… given a bevel, gradient …
… color overlay …
… and detailed indent.
thought they looked vaguely like an open revolver. So I set about building the back end of a bullet to see this idea through.” Using Llewellyn’s volley as his background,
Donovan wanted to re-create the right side of the canvas. He created a new layer and, using the Brush tool, he painted it with a simple texture in
Donovan began creating a bullet. On a new layer,
red, yellow, black, and white, using sweeping
he created a circular selection and filled it with a
strokes with a soft, 200-pixel brush. He set the layer
solid color. He applied nearly every layer effect in
in Linear Burn mode, obscuring the background
the program (Inner Shadow, Inner and Outer
Glow, Bevel and Emboss, Satin, Color Overlay, Gra-
To add complementary texture to the newly
dient Overlay, and Stroke) to achieve a satisfactory
simplified right side of the canvas, Donovan used
metallic feel. He then colorized the results to bet-
the Ellipse Shape tool to create a collection of cir-
ter resemble brass by creating a new Hue/Satura-
cles on a new layer. “I just drew random circles of
tion adjustment layer (Layer → New Adjustment
random sizes and filled them with different shades
Layer → Hue/Saturation + Group With Previous
of red,” he says. He set the circles in Linear Burn
Layer). He repeated the process—sans coloriza-
mode, muting their bright colors and blending
tion—on a new layer, with a smaller circle, to create
them into the background.
the inner part of the bullet. Next he merged the two layers and duplicated the results several times, placing them in a circle orbiting the main circle
The bullets remained at the top of the layer stack, unaffected by the new texture layers. For a final touch, Donovan used the Marquee
element in Llewellyn’s volley. “I didn’t want to go
Select tool to select a narrow frame around the
too far in re-creating the whole gun here,” says
entire image and filled it with black.
Donovan, “so I stopped at the bullets.” Next, he created a new layer, beneath the bullets but above the background, and filled it with a solid dark red color. He set the layer in Hard Light mode, to colorize the background and tie the background elements together.
“I didn’t know Roddy before this match,” says Donovan.“His first serve was a pleasant surprise, as it was immediately clear that his style was completely different from mine.”
the back-end of a bullet 92
2.The bullets arranged around the “cylinder”
3. A red layer in Hard Light mode changes the background color to red.
4. A hand-painted blob …
John Henry Donovan
… adds texture and simplifies the background.
5. A collection of red and reddish circles complement the round bullet shapes.
Volley 3: Roddy Llewellyn “Wow! What a return,” says Llewellyn. “Nice and
Dodge mode, again mixing it with the underlying
subtle 3D shapes. He has shot my image, and it
patterns and shapes and simplifying the image.
now looks like the match is a blood fest. Time to liven this up with some pop kitsch!”
“Still thinking record covers,” says Llewellyn, “I thought it would be nice to have a voice, or direc-
Llewellyn began by darkening the top half of
tion, so I got a Polaroid film packet and scanned in
the image. He used the Marquee tool to select the
a bit with the words view from this side.” He inverted
top half; on a new layer, he filled the selection with
the colors (Ctrl/Command+I) and placed the scan
sky blue and set it in Multiply mode. Using blue
on a new layer. “This made it look like a sticker
rather than black makes the underlying light areas
from a pharmaceutical packet,” he says.
better stand out.
The image was looking a bit generic, and
On a new layer he created a “pop kitsch”
Llewellyn wanted to give it a more personal feel.
shape using the Elliptical Marquee tool, pressing
He “got hold of an X ray of a friend’s brain.”
Alt to add circular sections to the selection, and
(We’re not asking.) He selected an area with some
eventually arriving at a cloudlike shape which he
nice graphical elements in it and changed the hue
filled with pure blue. He set the layer to Difference
to a bluish color (Image → Adjust → Hue/Satura-
mode at 40% opacity to allow the shapes in the
tion). He placed the brain on a new layer, in Color
background layers to overlap with this new shape.
Dodge mode, to lighten the whole image. “I con-
In a separate Photoshop file, Llewellyn cre-
sciously placed the brain over the circles on the
ated a simple yellow cross. He selected the cross
left, so the circles seemed part of the brain image,”
and created a new pattern (Edit → Define Pattern).
Returning to his volley document, he created a
“The image was too dark at the top left,” he
new layer and filled it with the cross pattern (Edit
says, “and I wanted a really light mad color overall.
→ Fill + Pattern) Next he selected the Gradient
(I like madness.)” He created a new layer and
tool and chose a white-to-transparent gradient. He
filled it with a yellow-to-transparent gradient
dragged across the cross layer, from the bottom-
running from top left to bottom right. He set the
right to the top-left corner. “This gave the pattern a
new layer to Overlay mode, lightening the top-left
nice gradient,” he says. He set the layer in Color
1. A graduated array of yellow crosses …
… into this.
… turns this …
2. An X ray of a friend’s brain adds that personal touch to the volley.
“I was happy that this was an eye-catching record cover, one that would get noticed in this so commercial world. I decided this song on the album should be called ‘Way Out of My Brain.’ Literally!”
“I tend to use real images, rather than making them in Photoshop,” says Llewellyn.“I feel it gives a bit more of a personal touch to the images, and they don’t look too computerized.”
way out of my brain
Volley 4: John Henry Donovan “At this stage I was certain that we were chalk and
Things were now looking a little too bright
cheese designers,” says John Henry Donovan. As
for Donovan’s taste, so he filled a new layer with
in, “as different as chalk and cheese.” “Most of my
vertical, brown-to-black gradient, in Overlay mode.
design is quite texture based. I tend to stay away
He placed the gradient above the background, but
from bright colors, so it was time to switch out the
beneath the cobweb, darkening the top of the
lights on this volley.”
image and reddening the palette slightly, while
Donovan “switched out the lights” on Llewellyn’s volley by adding a new layer, filled with
leaving the web detail intact. To add a little visual interest, he placed three
a very, very dark purple (R18,G6,B19) and set to
large red and white plus signs on new layers, posi-
Linear Light mode. A dark layer in Linear Light
tioning them over key background elements.
mode burns underlying colors, decreasing their
Finally, he selected the text element (View
brightness. By using such a dark color, Donovan
from this side) from Llewellyn’s serve and pasted it
burned the background nearly into nonexistence,
on a new layer. He inverted the colors, fashioning
while tinting the faint, remaining details purple.
black text on a white background, and reposi-
“I quite liked the mix of circular shapes that
tioned the element slightly.
we had built up,” says Donovan, “and I wanted to keep those.” He used the Magic Wand tool to select interesting sections of white from the background. He created a new layer and, with the selection still active,
1. An overlay of dark purple reduces the background to vague purple highlights.
2. A photograph of a cobwebbed window, pasted into a selection
copied and pasted a photograph he had taken of a cobwebbed window into it (Edit → Paste Into). To create a new background, Donovan placed a long-exposure photograph of blurred light on a new layer, below the cobwebs, and set it in Pin Light mode. “I use quite a bit of light and glowing sources for my work,” says Donovan. “I can’t for the life of me remember what this one was of. Sorry.”
3. A blurry, long-exposure photo provides a fiery new background.
John Henry Donovan
“I keep a collection of photographs I have taken with my camera shutter speed turned down,” says Donovan.“These include streetlights, cars, torches, lamps, and the like.”
chalk and cheese designers
Volley 5: Roddy Llewellyn “Wow, what a return,” says Roddy Llewellyn. “It’s looking raw, like a raw flame.”
Llewellyn scanned in a photo he had taken of a train carriage and placed it on a new layer. He
For something to throw into that flame,
bumped the contrast all the way up, posterizing the
Llewellyn created a grid of yellow squares in Free-
image and reducing the details, and then erased
Hand, using the Roughen and Bend tools to distort
everything but the lights and adjusted the curves to
them, as though they’re rippling in the heat. He
change the colors. “I thought that would give the
copied and pasted them into Photoshop on a new
image a sense of perspective,” he says. He duplicated
layer, at 55% opacity. “They give it a bit of the third
the light layer and rotated and resized the duplicate
dimension,” he says.
until he was happy with the angle and shape. “It
Llewellyn next found a photo he’d taken of a
gave the eye something to follow,” he says, “and I
warning sign, showing a man being struck down by
decided this would be a strong image to have at the
a bolt of electricity. He scanned the photo in,
forefront, which is where I placed it at the end.”
deleted the extraneous background bits, and
He duplicated his lightning sign layer again,
bumped up the contrast to reduce it to pure yellow
shrunk it down, and then repositioned it at the top
and white. He rotated the resulting scary icon
right to fill some empty space there. “I made it
counterclockwise 90°, and placed it in a new layer
smaller,” he says, “which made it sharper and
in his composition. He then duplicated the new
added some nice detail to that part of the image.
layer and repositioned the duplicate partially off
“I decided it would be nice to get a grid on
screen on the left. He merged the two sign layers
the image,” he says. “In a new Photoshop file with a
and then set the results in Overlay mode. Llewellyn
white background, I chose View → Show → Grid
felt the signs weren’t standing out well enough
and took a screenshot.” He pasted the screen shot
against the brightly flaming background, so he
on a new layer in his volley composition, in Multi-
duplicated the layer, still in Overlay mode, to fur-
ply mode. “I cut some squares out of the grid to
ther enhance the sign.
give the thing a sense of depth,” he says.
Next, he duplicated the yellow squares layer,
“The image needed a bit more color,” says
placing the duplicate above the new icons, in Over-
Llewellyn, “and, liking the red in the image, I
lay mode. “I wanted to give it a bit of rawness and
thought it would be nice to make more use of it.”
depth. I set the layer in Overlay mode so that it
He duplicated his yellow squares layer again. He
highlighted the gradients underneath.”
selected the visible pixels by Ctrl+clicking on the
1. A grid of distorted yellow squares, created in FreeHand
2.This guy’s graphic demise doesn’t read well against the background …
… so Llewellyn doubled the layers to intensify the effect.
3. Lights cut from a train and duplicated
4.The yellow squares tinted red and Spherized
a bit of the third dimension
new layer in the Layers palette and filled the selection with red. He resized the new layer, making the squares larger, and ran the Spherize filter (Filter → Distort → Spherize). He set the layer in Multiply mode to show the grid and imagery underneath. As a final gesture, to add a focal point on the right, he duplicated the large red cross from Donovan’s volley on a new layer, placing it again in the foreground. “I think this gives the image a sense of overall depth and a focal point.”
5. Detail of boxes and grids
Volley 6: John Henry Donovan “Switching my mind again, I decided to reply to
block and its overlying textures and gave it a drop
this serve by brightening it up somewhat,” says
shadow courtesy of Layer Effects to emphasize it
John Henry Donovan. He started by copying
somewhat. “I hoped it was going to bring some
Llewellyn’s volley to a new layer and using Photo-
foundation to the volley,” he says.
shop’s Magic Eraser tool to clear the black from the image, replacing it with white.
He selected everything to the right of the white stripe and, on a new layer, filled the selection
Now he began building on the new back-
with a speckled brown texture in Pin Light mode,
ground, adding a large vertical block of white
at 75% opacity. “This gave an illusion of wild brush
along the left edge, on a new layer set in Normal
strokes on cardboard,” says Donavan.
mode, and a similar block of slightly purplish-red
“I wanted to contain this volley a bit more,”
on another new layer set in Color mode to unify
he says, “so I created a simple black border which
the underlying tones somewhat.
brought just the right amount of focus into the
Next he colorized the image by creating a
center of the piece.”
new Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer (Layers → Add New Adjustment Layer → Hue/Saturation + Colorize), giving everything a bright red hue, across the board. Next, he Ctrl+clicked the layer containing the vertical red block, selecting the visible pixels on that layer. He created a new layer and, with that selection active, pasted a black-and-white photo of scratched metal into it
1. A new background, created by erasing the black elements of Volley 5 to white
2. A colorized version of work in progress
(Edit → Paste Into). He created another new layer and, with the selection still active, filled it with a tentacular glow, in Screen mode, created with the Kai Power Tools Frax Flame II filter. “A fantastic plug-in,” says Donovan, “but it causes a huge CPU usage.” He placed a thin white stripe just to the right of the red
3. A fractal glow, courtesy of Kai’s Power Tools 4. A little wall mold for texture
John Henry Donovan
He wasn’t finished yet though. He added a new layer containing a photo of a moldy wall and set the blending mode to Color Burn for a touch more texture. “I was quite pleased with the outcome of this one,” says Donovan.
“For my brown speckled texture,” says Donovan,“I created a new document of 100×100 pixels. I added a new layer and then chose Filter → Add Noise, setting the amount to about 5% + Gaussian and Monochromatic.Then I chose Edit → Select All and Edit → Define Pattern.”
an illusion of wild brush strokes
Volley 7: Roddy Llewellyn “What a nice, subtle texture,” says Llewellyn, “an
Photoshop.” He placed the scan on a new layer and
almost Mark Rothko–inspired image. This immedi-
again turned the contrast up all the way, reducing
ately reminded me of school books I used to use,
the letters to smeary black and white. He used the
which brought back memories.”
Eraser tool to take a few scribbled swipes out of the
Llewellyn started by rotating Donovan’s volley
stencil. “With some letters scratched out,” he says,
90° counterclockwise. He created a new layer above
“it looked like a montage, which it is, I suppose.”
the background and filled it with purple. He set the
He set the layer in Multiply mode.
purple layer in Multiply mode at 75% opacity to create a more dynamic color scheme to work from. “Now I wanted a focal point,” says Llewellyn.
“One of my other memories was of school dinners,” says Llewellyn, “so I grabbed a photo I had taken in Spitalfields Market of a menu outside
He created a group of nested semicircles in Free-
a London greasy.” (That’s a café to you and me.)
Hand and then copied and pasted them to a new
He scanned the photo into Photoshop and placed
layer in Photoshop. He added a Pillow Emboss, via
it on a new layer, in Overlay Mode, at 68% opacity.
Layer Effects (Layer → Layer Style → Bevel And Emboss) to give the shape some 3D weight.
1.White arcs, drawn in Freehand
2.White arcs in place on an interim version of the volley
He duplicated the menu layer and repositioned it to display a different section, featuring
3. A warning sign, contrast enhanced until only the shadows and screws show
Next, Llewellyn scanned in a photo of a sign
4. Menu at a “London greasy.” Oxtail soup— yummy!
5. A pattern created from white arcs
handwritten prices. He set the new layer in Multi-
with interesting screw details. He turned the con-
ply mode, at 57% opacity. “The menu’s differing
trast all the way up (Image → Adjustments → Bright-
lettering and handwritten words gave the image a
ness/Contrast). “This left only the shadows, which
human feel,” says Llewellyn.
were mainly of screws,” says Llewellyn, “but I was just
He felt that the image was looking a bit flat.
after a touch of something we’re all subconsciously
It needed a strong graphic element to “jazz it up.”
used to, to give the image something we can associ-
To create that element, he duplicated the semi-
ate with.” He set the layer in Multiply mode, overlay-
circle layer and selected a small part of the graphic.
ing the shadow details onto the background.
He created a custom pattern from the selection
“Still thinking of school,” says Llewellyn, “I took a stencil lying on my desk and scanned it into
(Edit → Define Pattern) and filled the layer with the pattern (Edit → Fill + Pattern). Then, using the
Polygonal Lasso tool, he cut a shape out of it, leav-
Finally, Llewellyn spent some time playing
ing a rough arc of the pattern on the left side of
around with the layer order until he was happy
the canvas. He set the layer in Lighten mode, so
with the results. “Having the signs over the pattern
that only the white parts show through to the back-
gave it a raw and graphic feel,” he says, “without
looking too harsh.”
outside a London greasy
Volley 8: John Henry Donovan “Looking at Roddy’s serve, I saw the shape of the
set in Overlay mode. “It was looking like a sum-
sun with solar flares coming off it,” says John Henry
mer’s day already,” says Donovan.
Donovan. “I decided to play with this idea.” He started by placing a copy of Llewellyn’s
“I then made the bold decision to bring all the red color back to blue,” he says. He colorized
volley on a new layer and rotating it 90° clockwise
the image with a new Hue/Saturation layer (Layer
(Image → Rotate Canvas). He used the Magic
→ New Adjustment Layer → Hue/Saturation + Col-
Wand tool to select the white arcs, “what I now took
orize), shifting the palette to wintry blues. I guess
as the flames leaping off my sun,” says Donovan,
he’s going for more of a cold winter sun.
and deleted them.
Donovan next dropped in another of his
To add some atmosphere, he dropped in a
long-exposure light-swirl photos on a new layer in
photograph of a cloud-filled sky on a new layer
Hard Light mode. “I now had a cosmos effect hap-
below Llewellyn’s rotated volley, where it shows
pening,” he says.
through the “flames.” To deepen the sky, he created a new layer above it, filled with solid black and
1. A cloud-filled sky
4. A swirl of light added in Hard Light mode
“I had originally envisioned flares leaping off the edges of my sun, so I carried on trying to
2.Volley 7, turned on its side, with the sky dropped in behind
3. An adjustment layer turns everything blue.
5. Circle elements created with the Elliptical Shape tool
John Henry Donovan
achieve this.” He again employed Kai Power Tools
with different shades of green and set in
Frax Flame II filter to create a fractal glow on a new
Luminosity mode. He duplicated the layer 11
layer, set in Color Dodge mode. “It brought back
times, resizing and repositioning the duplicates to
some of Roddy’s type elements,” says Donovan.
form an array around the ‘sun’. “I thought the
On a new layer, Donovan used the Ellipse
circles heightened the impression of a moving,
Shape tool to create a set of nested circles, filled
volatile planet,” he says.
looking like a summer’s day
Volley 9: Roddy Llewellyn “Well, it seems like explosions are now going off,” says Roddy Llewellyn. “I thought it’d be a good time for a war theme!” He began with an image of a tank from a royalty-free stock library, placed on a new layer above the background in Multiply mode. “I thought this would provoke a nice, strong reaction from the viewer,” he says. “Again, I converted the image to grayscale and whacked up the contrast
1. A vintage tank and a flight helmet add rumors of war.
until I was happy.” Next came a photo of a flight helmet, again desaturated and over-contrasted and
key to remove the center of the selection. On a new
placed on a new layer at the lower right, in
layer, he filled the selection with black and set the
resulting border in Overlay mode.
Wanting these images to stand out better
Next he created a large X shape. On a new
against the decidedly busy background, Llewellyn
layer, he make a wide black rectangle, duplicated
now created some simple white rectangles on new
it, and then rotated the duplicate 90° to create a
layers beneath the war icons, setting them in Over-
plus sign. He merged the two layers and rotated
lay mode so that they washed out the background.
the results 45° to create the X. He placed the new
“It made the image of the tank and helmet a lot
shape behind the word caution so as not to obscure
stronger,” he says.
Next, Llewellyn added the word caution in the
For a final touch, he found another helmet in
Tremble Bold typeface. He rasterized the layer and
his library of images. He placed it on a new layer in
filled the letters with a brown-to-yellow gradient. “I
Multiply mode and positioned it at the upper right
erased some lines out of it to give it that raw edge,”
of the image.
he says. He then added the word warning, also in Tremble Bold, repeated three times for a greater
“Well, I gave it my best shot,” says Llewellyn. “Now it’s all down to the final volley.”
sense of urgency. He set the new text layer in Multiply mode. To highlight the word caution, he used the Marquee tool to draw a box around it, holding down the Alt
2. Simple white bars in Overlay mode …
… make the tank and helmet …
… pop out of the background.
provoke a strong reaction
Volley 10: John Henry Donovan “It took me quite a while to get started on this
my new camera. It’s a photo of the rear light from a
one,” says John Henry Donovan, “to decide which
bicycle, shaken around in the dark, with the camera’s
elements to keep and what direction to go with for
exposure set to a couple of seconds.” Using the Magic
the final serve.” In the end, he says, “there wasn’t
Wand tool, he selected the white shape again and, on
really a method to the progression of this volley.”
a new layer, pasted the photo of the tail light into it
He did know he wanted to keep the type:
“The image seemed a bit clinical,” says Dono-
“But rather than spend ages extracting it or re-
van. To soften things a bit, he created a new layer
creating it, I added a solid layer of red and placed
and, with the same selection still active, pasted in a
Roddy’s volley on a new layer, above it, in Satura-
photo of a cloudy sky. He placed the new layer
tion mode.” Only the heavily saturated areas of Vol-
above the blurred lights and set it in Color Dodge
ley 9 show through. “Straightaway I had my type
mode, brightening the light trails beneath and
isolated, along with some extras,” he says. “Now an
adding a hint of clouds.
idea was starting to form.”
“I recently found an old scrapbook of family
“I wanted a tear going through the layers,” he
pictures,” says Donovan. “It had an awesome, old
says. On a new layer, he used the Brush tool with a
feel to it, full of detail.” He scanned the book cover
hard brush to paint a large white area down the
into Photoshop and placed it on a new layer in his
right side of the image, painting “in an erratic way.”
composition, in Hard Light mode, adding texture
To complement the tear idea, Donovan wanted something suggesting old wallpaper or an
and pushing the images’ blues toward the dark red. “It was certainly getting there now,” says Dono-
old book. He used the Magic Wand tool to select
van. “It was a bit dark though. I scribbled some doo-
the new white shape and then inverted the selec-
dles on paper and scanned them in.” He placed the
tion (Select → Inverse). He created a new layer and
scan on a new layer in Soft Light mode, lightening
filled the selection with a green wallpaper pattern.
the image. Next he copied the tank from Volley 9,
He set the results to Vivid Light mode and added a
pasted it on a new layer, in Darken Mode, shrunk it
drop shadow via Layer Effects to accent the bound-
down, and positioned it under the doodles, “as if the
ary and “give it more bite.”
tank was a doodle drawn by me as well,” he says.
Now he wanted a contrasting, vivid image to use
“The final task was to put a sticker on the
on the right side of the image. “The piece I chose
album cover,” says Donovan. On a new layer, he
came from a bored Friday night experimenting with
created a circular selection and then filled it in
1. Donovan extracted the text with a simple layer blend.
2. A simple white shape, erratically drawn, forms the basis for a tear in the image.
3. A wallpaper pattern …
… and bicycle tail light …
… fill the left and right halves of the volley.
John Henry Donovan
seemed a bit clinical
with dark red, using the Brush and leaving a little wear along one edge to make it more realistic. He gave it a drop shadow via Layer Effects and painted in a bit of the peeling underside in white, before adding the text. “I stopped there,” says Donovan, “as this volley was in danger of being overworked, and I had stayed up past my bedtime again.”
4. A scan of an old family scrapbook
5. A sticker adds the final touch.
“Contamination”: Audrey Mantey vs. Joen Asmussen In the process of setting up a schedule, Audrey
edges, and pictures with a sense of tension and
Mantey and Joen Asmussen took advantage of the
opportunity to agree on a loose game plan. First,
Digital imagery abounds in a collaborative
they agreed to view the match not as a competition,
journey in which photos of everyday things—chil-
but rather as a collaboration. And they also agreed
dren, abandoned buildings, window frames—are
on a theme to guide their compositions: pollution.
juxtaposed in unexpected ways and imbued with a
The result is a match full of dark, disturbing
haunting, other-world quality.
imagery, compositions full of smoke and ragged
Submitted for your approval…
Designers Match 5: Mantey vs. Asmussen
Audrey Mantey was raised in Stanfordville, New York, a small town with cow crossings but no traffic lights. Her first paying job was taking care of snakes; during her teenage years, it was common to see a Ziploc bag of mice or rats being defrosted on the kitchen counter. She earned a B.A. in arts and aesthetics from Simon’s Rock College at the age of 19,
Audrey Mantey Years as a Photoshop designer: 5 (22 years as a visual artist)
but a dorm fire destroyed her portfolio, dashing her hopes of going directly to graduate school. She enlisted in the army, instead, where she
Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: Getting a chance to peek into other artists’ minds.
spent 15 years in military intelligence as a Russian
Nondigital art medium: Charcoal and oil paint, though I’ve dabbled in fiberglass, quilting, ceramics, and arc welding.
eventually she became lead graphic designer for
Favorite non-Photoshop software: I’m just starting to see Flash as an artistic medium.
illustrated children’s books and showed charcoal
Photoshop has … blurred the division between commercial art and expressive art. Comfort food: Brie, curry, or fresh ground coffee. I’m a food snob. Favorite TV shows: Junkyard Wars and Trading Spaces. Best work I ever lost in a computer crash: I spent two years building a huge classified database for the army, then accidentally deleted the entire database a few days before I left the job. I knew it looked like I sabotaged the office on my way out. I felt sick about that.
linguist and counterintelligence specialist, and the Bradley vehicle program. During that time she and oil works. Now retired from the military and finishing a master’s thesis in multimedia studies, she teaches computer graphics at the Arts Academy in the Woods, a charter high school for performing and fine arts. Mantey’s work focuses on digital photography, particularly the colors and textures of the abandoned buildings around Detroit. www.ideamouth.com
Favorite motion picture: Koyaanisqatsi Favorite read: Letters from a Lost Generation by Vera Brittain and friends. If I didn’t have Photoshop … I’d still be working in military intelligence. They’ll identify my body by … the ridge on my right palm, from doing all my Photoshop work on my iBook’s touchpad.
working in military intelligence
Joen Asmussen, 23, won Macromedia’s Site of the Day award for his website, turtleshell.com, in 1998, the year before he graduated from high school in Elsinore, Denmark. Since then, he has won several awards for his website designs, including FlashKit’s Site of the Week, FlashPlanet’s Site of the Week, and the 2001 May 1st Reboot award, of which he was co-winner for the noscope.com website. “My main attraction to the web was the push-button publishing possibilities,” he says. “One click, and the world has access.” He graduated as a graphic designer from Seminariet For Formgivning in south Denmark and currently works as a graphic designer for internationally acclaimed, Copenhagen-based Titoonic (www.titoonic.com). Noscope.com grew out of Asmussen’s realization that designing for clients can be fun, but never as fulfilling as designing for the sake of designing. The purpose of noscope, he says, is creative design for its own sake. www.noscope.com
Joen Asmussen First version of Photoshop I used:Version 2.5 Area of specialty: The subtle beauty of Blur Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: One gets forced to explore new terrain Least favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: It’s hard! It’s tiring! Nondigital art medium: Photography, scribbling How Photoshop has changed the design field: Digital retouching everywhere! Trust no images anymore. If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be … an oyster knife. Music I listen to while playing Photoshop Tennis: PJHarvey,The Cure, Kent, Sigur Rós, Aphex Twin, Plaid, Múm, Jim White, Lamb, Console, Beck, Atomic Swing, Jay-Jay Johanson, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Mick Harvey, Serge Gainsbourg, Speaker Bite Me Best work I ever lost in a computer crash: Noscope.com January & May 2002.The rest was expendable.
the road ahead seems to be digital storytelling
Favorite motion picture: Hitchcock’s North By Northwest; I can watch it again and again. Dance: The limbo. I’ll beat anyone at it. I have proof. Favorite read: Sci-fi, particularly Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama series.Also, I read Herbert’s Dune in three languages. If I didn’t have Photoshop, I’d be … an archeologist, doctor, or bicycle repairman. Or... maybe I’d just use Painter.
Volley 1: Audrey Mantey “Joen and I decided on pollution as a theme,” says
The final composition uses two layers containing
Audrey Mantey. “Living in Detroit, I knew I had
the spread figure, one in Screen mode at 60% opac-
some decent photos of smog and general squalor,
ity and the other above it in Multiply at 53%.
so I was quite happy about that; with the timeframe
She eventually obscured the face of the build-
of a tennis match, there’s no time to go out on a
ing with a solid texture, but she retained the circu-
lar mural, on a new layer above the texture.
Mantey decided to produce an image on the
Mantey began adding richer colors on the
theme of air and lungs, one with the feel of a med-
right to balance the detail on the left. Those colors
ical illustration, in the style of Leonardo’s Vitruvian
come courtesy of a photo of a plume of smoke ris-
Man, superimposed over smog. “I liked the idea of
ing from a burning building, on a layer set to Hard
contrasting the old classical reference with modern
Light. “I loved the blue colors on the right,” she
says. “That part looked like a painting to me.”
Browsing her photo archive, she stumbled
“I had the idea to put a pair of lungs on the
across a building with an unusual circular mural
person, like little headphones,” says Mantey, “play-
painted on the side. She brought the photo into
ing with the concept that we are ruining our lungs
Photoshop, placed it on a new layer, and began
with the air we’re breathing, but oblivious to the
skewing it to compensate for the building’s per-
damage, hence the earphones.”
spective. She slid the photo around a bit. “I knew I didn’t want the circle dead center,” she says. “The more I looked at it,” says Mantey, “the
She drew lungs by hand in a new layer, using the touchpad on her Apple iBook and Photoshop’s Pencil tool. She duplicated the layer, blurred it,
more I liked the distorted lines in the chain-link
and set the new layer in Multiply mode. She dupli-
fence in front of the building. But the bright blue
cated the lungs again and filled them with black-
sky wasn’t screaming pollution to me.” She copied
stained brown, in Color mode. Finally she painted
the building to a new layer and began playing with
spots on a new layer, in Color Burn mode.
the colors, hue, and saturation to achieve a browner, dingier hue.
She labeled the lungs and trachea in AdineKirnberg Regular at 75% opacity and
Next, she placed an old photo of her daugh-
dropped in some arrows drawn with the Line tool.
ter, Claire, spread-eagled on the lawn like a snow
She added the text We Are Oblivious in the DirtyEgo
angel, on a new layer above the building. She set
font, in Soft Light mode above the smoke.
the layer in Difference mode and distorted it to fit
Finally, she laid down some simple lines on
within the circle. She had to rotate the limbs indi-
the right and left borders, and at the interface
vidually, as the photo’s perspective made it impossi-
between the two halves of the image, and cut rec-
ble to simply stretch the girl while keeping her
tangular sections out of the Screened Figure layer,
limbs in proper proportion. She used the Eraser
to produce a checkerboard effect at the far left. At
and Clone Stamp to eliminate the wide sleeves and
the end, she darkened the whole image to give a
dress and to make the proportions look more adult.
more polluted feel.
smog and general squalor 114
1. Leonardoâ€™s Vitruvian Man
2. A circle mural on a building south of Detroit. Mantey skewed it to straighten the mural and adjusted Hue/Saturation to pollute the sky. 3. Photos of Manteyâ€™s daughter, Claire
5. A burning building adds deep color and texture to the scene.
6. Lungs drawn by hand and colored with disgusting black and brown spots
4.The girl placed in the circle, in Difference mode, skewed and partially erased
Volley 2: Joen Asmussen “Nice serve,” says Joen Asmussen, “but I had a hard
cloud layer with the clouds beneath. Then he
time putting things together. So I decided to start
merged the cloud layers with the building silhou-
with an almost clean slate and add Audrey’s
ette, tweaked the color, and darkened the shadows.
imagery as I went. It’s important to have a good ‘bottom’ to build off.” Asmussen started with two different images of
He created his text in Illustrator, using the Caslon typeface, skewed slightly to fit his image’s perspective. He also used Illustrator to create a vec-
cloudy skies, dropping them onto two new layers
tor windmill and then pasted both text and wind-
over a pure black background and cropping out
mill into Photoshop. “When pasting directly from
unwanted elements. The lower cloud image includ-
Illustrator, you get the option to scale and skew
ed a dark, silhouetted landscape at the bottom.
with vector-y precision,” says Asmussen. “This
Asmussen brought a digital photo of a building in Copenhagen into a new layer, selected the
makes for a great way to preview the end result as you scale, rotate, skew, and place [your elements].”
building shape minus the background, and, on a
Next came the window frame. For a grainier
new layer, filled that selection with a yellow color
look, he duplicated the Window Frame layer and
sampled from the background.
pumped in lots of noise (Filter → Noise → Add
“This world needs a better outlook on
Noise). “I always add lots of noise,” says Asmussen.
things,” says Asmussen. “As such, I added a window
“One can easily turn it down later by turning down
frame.” The window’s simple geometric shape
the layer transparency.”
made it a simple to select and delete everything but the frame using the polygonal Lasso tool. Rough layout in place, Asmussen began work
A Gaussian Blur on the noisy window frame transformed the noise into dark speckles, which blended better with the background. He set the
on the final composition. He desaturated the two
layer to Overlay mode at 53% opacity, satisfied that
cloud layers and then tinted them green. “There
it darkened the colors and added the graininess he
are a ton of ways to color imagery in Photoshop,”
he says. “I like the fast-and-easy way, and I love
Using the same method as for the building
monochromatic colors, so I find myself using
silhouette, he isolated various elements from
Adjust → Hue/Saturation all the time.” Using the
Mantey’s volley, such as the body and the fence,
Eraser with a big, soft brush, he blended the upper
and filled them with a flat color.
1. Asmussen built a matte to extract the generic building.
2. An open window on the world
He filled a new layer with a sandstone texture
He created a new layer, filled it with black, and set
(Filter → Texture → Texturizer) in Color Burn
its mode to Dodge, which overexposes areas of the
mode, at 14% opacity. “The texture wasn’t really
layers beneath it based on the lightness of the
obvious,” he says, “but I liked the way it saturated
dodging layer. Asmussen drew white highlights
over the clouds, with a big soft brush.
“As a final step in my images,” says Asmussen,
To spice things up, he added a final new layer
“I usually add a Dodge layer and a Color layer.
on top, painted some shapes in, and set the layer in
Dodge is probably the coolest thing in Photoshop.
Multiply mode. This adds some subtle color to the
It’s the trick if one knows how to use it properly.”
a good bottom to build off 3. Pasting an Illustrator-created windmill into the background
4.Various elements from the previous volley placed into the new composition
Volley 3: Audrey Mantey “My first thoughts on looking at Joen’s piece,” says
across the page. “As I was duplicating them, I
Mantey, “were that there’s a nice connection
started to see them as barbs in barbed wire,” she
between the windmill and the person in the circle,
and that the person in the circle looks like they
She brought in a photo of barbed wire and
could be hanging, with the fence over them look-
placed it on a new layer. She inverted the colors in
ing like a gallows.” Ummm. Happy thoughts.
the photo so that the barbed wire was dark and the
Mantey began by helping herself to some of
background light and then adjusted the levels
the elements from Asmussen’s volley. She wanted
(Image → Adjust → Levels) until the background
to fill the dark areas and to achieve some contrast
behind the fence was almost totally white. She set
between the foreground and the background. She
the layer to Multiply, so only the dark wire showed
also wanted, she says, “to push that division
between light and dark, good and evil, living and
She decided to pull the Meadow layer down
dead.” She started by pulling in a picture of the
to the bottom of the frame, leaving just enough to
meadow in front of her house, taken after the
cover the front of the window frame. She filled the
plants had gone dormant in fall.
sky with a new photo of the windows of an aban-
The latch on the window frame from Asmussen’s volley caught her attention. She used
doned factory, in Soft Light mode at 51% opacity. She played with layer blending modes and
the Clone Stamp tool to extend the frame around
adjusting hue and saturation, until the colors in
the latch and to replicate the latch several times
the meadow matched the colors of the windows.
across the image. “I was playing around with the
1. A photo of the meadow beyond Mantey’s house
2. An early attempt at extending elements from Volley 2’s window frame
idea of the latch as a series of buttons across the
3. A photo of barbed wire, from a previous project …
Finally, she added the text and labels to
image, like the proverbial red button that sets off
emphasize the lines and boundaries throughout
the end of the world.” But the results didn’t suit
the final image. Although she had abandoned the
her, and she abandoned the idea.
idea of the series of latches or buttons running
Instead, she selected Asmussen’s windmill
across the composition, she added a red count-
and, using the Clone Stamp tool, replicated it sev-
down in the KlinkOMite typeface, reinforcing the
eral times to form a line of windmills running
idea of imminent danger.
4. Interim work
5.These windows, in Soft Light mode, add texture to the sky.
“My favorite thing to do,”
… inverted and laid on in Multiply mode
says Mantey, “is to hold my iBook up to a mirror to get a different perspective on what I’m working on. I do it a few times at least for every image.”
I started to see them as barbs
Volley 4: Joen Asmussen “I loved the colors in Audrey’s image,” says
wanted the stripe to end. With Shift held down,
Asmussen. “This being Photoshop Tennis, I knew I
Photoshop remembers where he started drawing
had to blow some life into it.” He started by simpli-
and fills in a perfectly straight line between there
fying the image radically.
and the next place he presses. The result is a
Poking around in Mantey’s image, Asmussen
straight stroke that starts out thick and grows thin-
found a section of fence, hidden outside the can-
ner. He placed the strokes on top of the back-
vas. Using the method described in Volley 2, he
ground in Vivid Light mode.
copied the fence and pasted it into a new channel
Next he created a new layer, filled with gray,
to create a selection and then filled that selection
and added noise. (Filters → Noise → Add Noise).
with solid color.
He blurred the new layer (Filters → Blur → Radial
He dropped in the black outline of the win-
Blur + Zoom) with a setting of 20. The resulting
dow frame from his previous volley and placed
streaks, blended in Color Dodge mode at 39%
some barbed wire, and the fence salvaged from
opacity, add subtly to the diagonal texture of the
Mantey’s volley, on top of it.
“Along the way,” says Asmussen, “my inspira-
The next step was to emphasize the fence ele-
tion turned to chemicals. I wanted icky, saturated
ment. “I wanted to create the effect that the barbed
colors, and I decided to paint rather abstractly.”
wire was glowing or perhaps on fire,” says Asmussen.
To give the composition
He created a new layer, filled with
direction, Asmussen drew in
1. A chain-link fence salvaged from Mantey’s preceding volley
black, and set it in Dodge mode.
2. A rough layout of the final composition
3. Asmussen started with a blurred background of “icky” colors.
diagonal stripes that start out wide and then gradu-
Drawing on that layer in shades of gray overexposed
ally grow thinner. For this kind of effect, says
the background areas beneath.
Asmussen, a pressure sensitive tablet like his Wacom Intuos 2 is all important. To get the lines he wanted, he first pressed
“I love particles,” says Asmussen. “They can make anything look pretty.” For this image, he created a custom particle brush, taking an existing
down hard at the point where he wanted each
brush and modifying it to suit his needs. He set the
stripe to begin and then lifted the pen. Next, he
brush to respond to his pen’s pressure, making
held Shift and softly pressed down where he
larger particles the harder he pressed. To create
4. Diagonal strokes painted on the background
5. A noisy, scattered, dynamic brush … perfect for painting particles.These don’t look like much by themselves, but blended into the background in Color Dodge mode, they add bright, blown-out spots.
6. Highlights burned onto the barbed wire fence
discrete particles rather than continuous strokes,
composition, after setting those layers in Color
he turned on Scattering in the Brushes palette. He
wanted noisy particles, so he turned on Noise, as
“The rest was just painting away,” he says.
well. He painted various particles, sparks, and
He added 10 layers of texture in all to achieve
highlights on black layers above the rest of the
the final effect.
I wanted icky, saturated colors
Volley 5: Audrey Mantey “This was the hardest volley for me,” says Mantey.
In a moment of playfulness, Mantey added a
Looking at Asmussen’s sick, psychedelic colors, it’s
row of wingding hearts on top of the wire fencing.
The wingding hearts were done as a text element
She began by dropping a photo of a block of
and then rendered. She added a pink outer glow
old, abandoned buildings on top of Volley 4, set-
(Layer → Layer Style → Blending Options → Outer
ting the new layer to Hard Light mode. “I tried to
Glow), to match the pink tones at the top of the
play off the lines in the image by adding more, in
the form of telephone lines,” she says, “but I didn’t
Finally, she added the text refined, in the
accomplish much there except making the build-
Selfish font, “one of my favorites,” says Mantey. It
ing look tie-dyed.”
provides a bit of subtle word play contrasting the
She gave up on that idea and started again. This time she brought in a photo of a smoking refinery, hoping the smoke would add pleasing texture to the psychedelic colors that Asmussen had given her to work with. “The smoke wasn’t successful,” she says,
1. A tie-dyed building? No thanks.
2. Storage tanks, trimmed to fit the composition and applied in Multiply mode.
3. A photo of a refinery, cropped and placed over the bottom of the image …
… and set in Hard Light mode
“but I did like the look of the buildings over the dark-blue strip on the bottom of the image.” She selected the top portion of the photo and deleted it. To go with the refinery, she brought in a photo of large gas storage tanks and placed it on a new layer at the top part of the frame. She set the layer to Multiply mode, allowing some of the underlying colors to show through. “I had to
idea of refineries with the refined style of the type
lighten the photo considerably to make the tanks
fade into the distance,” she says. She added a small strip of extra barbed wire,
“It’s like a little valentine’s card,” she says, “except with pollution in the background.”
cropped from another photo, across the boundary between the top and bottom parts of the image.
valentine’s card 122
“One trick for spiffing up photos that
4. A little strip of extra barbed wire forms a border between the top and the bottom.
5. A row of hearts helps transform the fence into a polluted valentine.
don’t have enough ‘pop,’” says Mantey, “is to duplicate the image on a new layer and set the new layer to either Overlay or Hard Light mode, to bump up the saturation. Bring down the opacity of the new layer to about 60%, depending on the photo, so it doesn’t look unnaturally colorful.”
with pollution in the background
Volley 6: Joen Asmussen “I had a really hard time figuring out what to do
Next, Asmussen added a large image of a
with Audrey’s image,” says Asmussen, “even though
deserted factory he photographed in southern
I liked all the elements of it. I went with the saying,
Denmark, placing it in the foreground on the left.
‘start anywhere.’ I like clouds. So I added clouds.”
He duplicated the building twice, setting the new
Not just any clouds, of course; they had to
copies into Multiply mode, and added lots of noise
have an ugly, poisonous look. He started with a
to the topmost factory layer, darkening the build-
photo of clouds taken in Abisko, Sweden, desatu-
ing. Asmussen was happy with what he had at this
rated slightly, and then tinted a sickly yellow-green.
point, so he copied the merged layers into a new
“I find it can be healthy for the creative process to
have an element of ugly in an image,” says Asmussen.
He desaturated the image a bit, making the green a bit less sickly. Next, he added a black
He threw in some tree silhouettes to create a
Dodge layer and drew on it to highlight the clouds.
horizon. He duplicated those, scaled them down,
“Images almost always gain from highlights,” says
and flipped them horizontally. He then blurred
them just a tad and set the layer to Soft Light. The
The palette was a bit too monochromatic for
fortunate effect of this was that they darkened dark
Asmussen’s tastes, so he added a new layer in Over-
areas of the cloud background, but became invisi-
lay mode and painted some yellow, blue, and
ble in light areas, as though they are disappearing
brown into it. “Quite often, I find myself desaturat-
into the fog, creating the illusion of great depth
ing images, just to colorize them later on,” he says.
between these trees and those in the previous layer.
“It gives me
He copied the factory from Mantey’s last volley and placed it along the horizon on the right.
more control of the colors.”
He drew extra factory buildings and smokestacks in
1. Clouds tinted a poisonous yellow-green
2. Some tree silhouettes to create a horizon
Illustrator, copied and pasted them into his Photo-
3.The factory silhouettes are actually drawn in Illustrator, pasted into Photoshop, and blurred.
Finally, he added a last layer on top, filled
shop document, and then blurred them to
with white and set to Color Burn mode. The oppo-
increase the appearance of distance.
site of Dodge, Color Burn works by darkening underlying layers in proportion to the darkness of
4. An abandoned factory building will be colorized and darkened.
5. Clouds were given highlights with a black layer set in Dodge mode.
6. A close-up of the smoky factories
the Burn layer. That is, white does nothing; black burns the most. He drew around the edges of the new layer in light gray, with a large soft brush (600 pixels wide). This darkened the edges of the
The Brushes palette is conveniently available by rightclicking your image when you have the Brush tool selected.
image, giving it an aged appearance. “I like the stormy look this place has,” says Asmussen. “It looks as though smoke is rising from the ground.”
I like clouds
Volley 7: Audrey Mantey “The first thing that struck me in Joen’s volley was
She started building up more layers, dupli-
the mysterious quality,” says Mantey. “I loved the
cating Asmussen’s abandoned factory and adding
house in the lower left and knew I wanted to use
more silhouetted buildings on the right side of
the image. She selected the foreground buildings
Once again, she began by starting with ele-
with the Polygon Lasso tool and deleted the
ments of Asmussen’s previous volley as her back-
clouds in that area, allowing the buildings to show
ground. She brought in a photo of an abandoned
building and dropped it on top, letting the back-
Next, she began playing with hue and satura-
ground show through the windows and cracks in
tion (Image → Adjust → Hue/Saturation), trying
the wall. It wasn’t quite working.
to create more tension, with spooky greens in the
Next, she tried adding a photo she had taken
foreground and some deep blues in the sky. “The
of an old house, with an abandoned feel that
intent,” says Mantey, “was to have the foreground
seemed to match Asmussen’s deserted factory. She
look like burned-out buildings in a city.”
wasn’t happy with the results overall, although she
“I’m not sure what happened after that,” she
did like the stripes of differing shades where the
says. “I thought the picture was progressing horribly.
I didn’t have any clear sense of direction.” Pressured
1. An early attempt at adding new buildings to the mix
2. Mantey tried another abandoned building.
3. Adjusting the hue and saturation to create some spooky greens
5. Mantey’s own hands
6. A random house texture 4. Changing directions completely, Mantey drops a photo of Humpty Dumpty into the mix.
I’m not sure
by the deadline, fearing that the work was proceed-
the Lasso tool and copied them onto a new layer,
ing too slowly, and more than a little stressed out,
discarding the rest of the portrait. She duplicated
Mantey changed directions completely.
the new Hand layer several times, repositioning
She dropped in a photo from a school play, a
and, in some cases, resizing the copies. In the end,
child dressed as Humpty Dumpty. Why Humpty
she merged all the hand layers together and set the
Dumpty? “It ties back in with our environmental
resulting layer in Luminosity mode. “I liked the
theme,” says Mantey. “The last line of the nursery
inhuman other-worldliness of the black-and-white
rhyme—‘All the king’s horses and all the king’s
hands,” she says.
men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together
Finally, she dropped a random photo of a
again’—served as a metaphor for the environment.
house, set in Overlay mode, on a new layer above
Once the damage is done, all the hands in the
the child, to soften the harsh whiteness of the egg
world can’t undo it.”
suit, and added a few extra spots of color and
The hands in the image are Mantey’s own, taken from a portrait. She selected the hands with
shadow, to smooth out the rough spots in the image.
what happened after that
Volley 8: Joen Asmussen “I was actually quite intimidated by Audrey’s vol-
pasted them into a new document to begin final
ley,” says Asmussen. “I thought it was very original,
coloring and other tweaks.
very brave, and had a scary, spooky, surrealistic feel to it.”
He was unhappy with the green part of the color palette. “It didn’t
He wanted to preserve Mantey’s image, but it
work very well with the
was too busy to build on effectively. He desaturated
house,” he says. He
it and adjusted the brightness and contrast to
used Adjust Hue/Satu-
reduce it to its raw shape. He copied the results
ration to change the
into a new channel, converted the channel to a
palette to dark reds.
selection, and filled that selection with black on a
1.The basic outlines extracted from Volley 7
new layer. “With this volley, I really wanted to show how much can be achieved simply by using a digitizer tablet and Photoshop’s built-in brushes,” says Asmussen. He grabbed a couple of textures created for another project using the Photoshop paintbrush and his Wacom tablet and placed them into his composition. “I liked the idea of red in the left side and green in the right side,” he says, “as
… and red textures …
those two colors are complimentary.” To try to bring the two contrasting colors together, Asmussen added a brown layer, in Soft Light mode, to adjust the underlying colors. To spice things up, he used Photoshop’s Texturizer (Filter → Texture → Texturize) to add a Sandstone texture to the brown. Finally, he added a handdrawn frame to the image. Preliminary composition in hand, Asmussen began concentrating on the story aspect of his image. “That kid is me, at seven years old, and the
… combined into a background
house is my family’s house in Sweden,” he says. Asmussen’s younger self was applied in Normal mode, and the house was set to Multiply. He copied and merged the layers from his working composition (Edit → Copy Merged) and
Using the Airbrush tool, he painted some colors onto a new layer, set to Overlay. He dodged and burned parts of the image using the methods described in previous volleys. And for a final touch,
3.The Asmussen family house in Sweden
4. Hand-painted splotches of color set to Overlay mode add subtle color.
he turned again to the Photoshop Texturizer filter, adding a Grayscale layer with a burlap texture, set in Soft Light mode at 46% opacity. “The Soft Light mode,” says Asmussen, “not only added texture to the image, but also strengthened the colors a bit.”
5. A dodge layer adds highlights.
the kid is me
Volley 9: Audrey Mantey “I loved the unknowns in Joen’s volley,” says
above him. She set the resulting layers in Hard
Mantey. “It seems filled with symbolism and mys-
tery. I don’t know what the boy is looking at. I don’t
The composition at this point is clearly divid-
know if the division in the page represents a tear in
ed into two halves. “Rather than simply blend the
time or space. The boy might represent the artist
halves of the picture,” says Mantey, “I went with the
looking back at his past; the building might be a
idea of a zipper to connect the areas.” The zipper is
house from his childhood. This was my favorite
actually built from an architectural detail, scav-
image to work with in the series, because there
enged from a photo of a building. Mantey duplicat-
were large open spaces to fill and open-ended
ed the existing detail to make a long strip and rotat-
metaphors to follow.”
ed the results 90° to create her vertical zipper.
Audrey started by playing with the scale of
She used a Shear filter (Filter → Distort →
the image, adding giant leaves–actually a close-up
Shear) to bend the zipper at the top, opening it to
of some Swiss chard from her vegetable garden.
reveal a bit of blue sky behind. She duplicated the
She desaturated Asmussen’s last volley to use as her
zipper half and flipped it horizontally to create the
background and placed the chard on a new layer
other half. The zipper layer on the left, where the
above it, in Overlay mode.
zipper is over dark colors, is set to Difference
She brought in an image of a tunnel running under an overpass, on a new layer. “I was playing with the idea of wondering what is on the other
mode. The right half, where the zipper is over lighter colors, is set to Multiply mode. The resulting zipper cut off the right edge of
side,” she says. She deleted the right half of the
the boy’s bridge. Mantey brought in a photo of a
Swiss chard layer, leaving the texture visible over
pier and placed it on a new layer. She sized and
the boy but not the tunnel.
rotated it to match the bridge, selected and erased
She found a photo of a closed and gated storefront and brought it into Photoshop on a new layer, atop the tunnel. She resized it and erased
extraneous bits, and set the layer to Overlay mode. The results add age and texture to the bridge. Finally, she duplicated the zipper twice and
everything but the area surrounding the gated
positioned the new layer at far right and far left, in
door, finally setting the layer to Hard Light mode.
Difference and Multiply modes respectively, to
The resulting image both darkens and closes off
serve as a border.
the tunnel. “I didn’t want the effect of the bright light at the end of the tunnel,” she says.
“I left some of the darks of the photo to act as mysterious shadows,” says Mantey.
To give the boy on the bridge the look of a hand-tinted photo, she used Photoshop’s Paintbrush tool and her iBook’s touchpad to paint colors on layers
1. Swiss chard provides outsized leaves.
2. Is the boy dreaming about what’s on the other side of that tunnel?
3. A closed storefront, cropped and adjusted, becomes a spooky gate barring the end of the tunnel.
4. Simple splashes of color in Hard Light mode …
… turn this …
… into this. 5. A rough, weathered pier, when placed atop the bridge in Overlay mode, adds texture and age.
“Is that zipper going up to hide the sky or coming down to let more light in? We’ll never know,” says a spectator.
wondering what is on the other side
Volley 10: Joen Asmussen “Audrey’s volley reminded me of a postcard from
“I thought the light part directly above the
the 1930s,” says Asmussen, “painted by hand—
kid looked like stone,” says Asmussen, “or perhaps
often a bit too creatively—and with somewhat tacky
some underwater coral. To re-create the rocky tex-
edges. Spot on!”
ture, I took some photos of my curtains, figuring
Asmussen wanted to give his final volley a colder look, with lots of blues. Blue didn’t fit in
they might look like rocks. Ahem.” He decided to scrap the frames Mantey had
very well with his idea of pollution, So he decided
added and adjusted the colors further, making the
to focus on the good things threatened by pollu-
blues a bit less purple. The image had become
tion, rather than the pollution itself.
rather dark at this point, and Asmussen proceeded to make it even darker, drawing in lots of shadows with his pen, covering some of the detail to simplify the image. Next, he brought in a scan of a photo of a huge tree branch. He pasted the image into a new channel and simplified it by adjusting its brightness and contrast and erasing parts of the image. He created a new layer and filled the resulting
1. A much bluer version of Volley 9
2. Digital photos of Asmussen’s curtains blowin’ in the wind
selection with solid color sampled from the background.
4. A glowing layer placed beneath the tree limb 3. A big ol’ honkin’ tree limb, simplified, then filled with a solid color
He started by adjusting the hue and satura-
The resulting branch, essentially black on
tion to produce a monochrome blue version of
black, was invisible, so Asmussen accented it with a
soft glow. “This could be done using Photoshop’s
Asmussen was intrigued by Mantey’s split vol-
Layer Drop-shadow effect,” says Asmussen, “but I
ley, with a separate illustration in each side. “I won-
just don’t like the results.” Instead, he duplicated
dered what the illustration on the left side would
the branch layer, selected Preserve Transparency,
look like, had it been completed,” he says. He
and filled the duplicate branch with a light cyan.
decided to scrap the right side and reconstruct the
He deselected Preserve Transparency and ran a
left illustration in its entirety.
Gaussian Blur (Filter → Blur → Gaussian Blur) on
the layer. He placed the blurred layer beneath the original branch layer, where the soft blues add the desired glow effect. Using a pressure-sensitive brush with Scattering enabled, Asmussen painted some additional foggy edges around the glow. “I really like the way the glow came out here,” he says. “It looks like a cold, foggy forest from a fantasy
5. Asmussen hand-painted extra glow around the limb.
6. Almost finished
book. The image now had an eerie look, which was nice. It looked as though the kid on the bridge was dreaming.” To emphasize the dreaminess, he painted some broad areas of color on a new layer, set to
If you select Preserve Transparency in the Layers palette, you can fill the layer with the foreground color by pressing Alt+Del, and only the previously filled pixels will be colored.
Overlay mode. Finally, he created a new layer set to Saturation mode and painted over some areas to desaturate them slightly.
a cold, foggy forest from a fantasy book
“Conflict of Reflections”: Bas Hijmans vs. Evan Alexander This time, I thought it would be a good idea to get
a web designer and erstwhile rapper, from Hol-
a couple of artists to smack it back and forth across
land. Though they’ve never met in person, Hij-
the Big Pond, to see what magic the differences in
mans and Alexander are well acquainted with each
country, culture, and circadian rhythms might
other’s work from the Web, where they are both
work on the Photoshop Tennis process.
avid Photoshop Tennis players.
On the left side of the Atlantic, Evan Alexander, a stage designer from Brooklyn, New York. And on the right side of the Atlantic, Bas Hijmans,
Does this familiarity breed contempt? Competition? Or cooperation? Let’s find out, shall we? Game on!
Conflict of Reflections
Designers Match 6: Hijmans vs. Alexander
Dutch artist Bas Hijmans traces an interest in art and design to his earliest days when his father, a graphic designer, brought work home with him. Hijmans studied graphics and printing in high school and then design and painting for three years of art school, until the military called him up to fulfill his martial duties. After the service he spent five years working for Roto Smeets DeBoer,
Bas Hijmans Years as a Photoshop designer: 2 Area of specialty: Illustration/graphic design Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: The challenge of working with unusual elements, elements you yourself might not pick to work with. Nondigital art media: Pen and paper, acrylic paint, spray cans Favorite non-Photoshop software: Adobe Illustrator Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: Blur Photoshop has … opened the design field to people who otherwise wouldn’t be designing at all. Don’t ask me if that’s a good thing. Favorite motion picture: I can’t decide between Blue or Jungle Fever.
the largest printing company in the Netherlands. “I didn’t feel like I could do that for the rest of my life,” he says. “I had a little music career on the side with a Dutch rap group called Doopste Rijms.” But then, soon after purchasing Photoshop, Hijmans discovered Photoshop Tennis at We’re Here (www.were-here.com). “I was quick to step onto the court,” says Hijmans. “I figured that playing tennis was a great way to learn the program.” He’s currently working on a new site, uponthebarricades.com, where people can participate in creating and showcasing protest images. www.besideslife.com
Favorite reads: Computer Art magazine, Identity Matters magazine, Brett Easton Ellis’s Glamorama, musicians’ biographies.
creativity runs in the family
Conflict of Reflections
Evan Alexander is a New York–based scenic designer and multimedia developer. Trained in theater and opera design, he now runs evanalexander.com, a studio specializing in digital media for theater designers. The work ranges from the creation of original digital artwork, to interactive CD presentations for clients such as Broadway’s The Producers, Jerome Sirlin Designs, the Discovery Channel, and Seattle Opera’s latest Ring Cycle.
Coming from a fine arts/theater background, Evan has no formal computer training. He is currently a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, teaching Photoshop, and has been known to sit at the computer for long periods of time without moving. www.evanalexander.com
Years as a Photoshop designer: 6 Area of specialty: Digital media for theater designers Least favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: Getting a great idea five minutes after you’ve uploaded your image. Nondigital art media: Scale models for theater/opera, hand drafting, watercolor, graphite Favorite non-Photoshop software: They make other software? Favorite Photoshop filter: Where would we be without Unsharp Mask? Favorite blend mode: Color Burn How Photoshop has changed the design field: A guy like me can sit in his New York apartment and produce high-quality output for almost any digital medium.What other industries have had this kind of accessibility revolution? If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be … Egg Beaters are damn sexy. Astrological sign: We’re Geminis. Best work I ever lost in a computer crash: It’s too painful to even mention; but thanks for undoing three years of therapy. Favorite motion pictures: The work of Jean-Pierre Jeunet,Terry Gilliam, and the Coen Brothers always inspires.
I hate pen tablets!
Volley 1: Bas Hijmans “I usually try for something that isn’t expected for
He gave the new, flattened, top layer a Gauss-
the serve,” says Bas Hijmans. “I know Evan’s in
ian Blur of 25% and set the results to Multiply
favor of minimalism, so here I wanted to confront
mode, darkening the image and fuzzing the crisp
him with big heavy shapes in bright colors. I always
borders a bit.
try to do something different for serves, hoping
To adjust the overall tint of the composition,
that my opponent picks up on it. I’m trying to
Hijmans created a new layer, filled with solid blue.
force a certain direction to the match.”
Set in Color mode at 50% opacity, it adds blue to
Hijmans began by scanning a corner ornament at 1200 dpi. “I chose it,” says Hijmans, “because I like the shapes, and I wanted to surprise
the gray tones while leaving the pure blacks and whites untouched. Next, he added a new layer and selected an
my opponent, knowing that this wasn’t what he
irregular border with the Polygonal Lasso tool. He
would expect from me.”
filled this selection with a dark red, creating a bor-
This ornament became the main element in the evolving volley. He brought the scan into Photoshop and selected the white background (Select
der around the image, and added a few extra lines for interest. He copied his basic black filigreed shape to a
→ Color Range). He then deleted the selected pix-
new layer, locked the layer’s transparency, and used
els, leaving only the black design shape, which he
Alt+Delete to fill the shape with the foreground
placed over a dark gray background.
color, that is, the same red color as his newly cre-
Next, he used the Magic Wand tool to select a
ated red border.
part of the unfilled space within the shape. He created a new layer and filled the selected area with solid white. He flattened the
2. Sections of the background filled with white
three layers, selected
3.Things are tinted thanks to a blue layer set in Color mode.
the entire canvas, and copied it to the Clipboard. Then, using the History palette, he
1. An scanned ornament becomes the main element in the composition.
returned to the point before the Flatten Layers
conflict in which He added a new layer and again used the
command, restoring the three separate layers.
Polygonal Lasso tool to define an irregular border
Finally, he pasted the contents of the Clipboard
around the image. He filled this selection with a
into a new, fourth layer. Couldn’t he just use Copy
dark yellow. Next, he applied a monstrous blur to
Merged, rather than fuss with the History palette?
both the yellow and red borders using Photoshop’s
“I don’t know,” Hijmans admits. “I should try. I’ve
Motion Blur filter (Filter → Blur → Motion Blur)
gotten used to this way of working.”
with the distance set to 999.
4. An irregular red border created with the Polygonal Lasso tool and filled
5.The ornament shape copied to the top of the stack …
… and filled with red sampled from the border
6. An additional border, in yellow, created with the Polygonal Lasso tool
both artists are reflecting He placed his personal logo at the bottom
a single, initial shape, in different colors and
right to help balance the image. “It helps a bit to
appearing in different positions. Also, he says, in
shift the focal point toward the center of the
Photoshop Tennis “the volleys go back and forth,
image,” he says. Finally, he added some simple title
creating a friendly conflict in which both artists are
text in Garamond: Conflict of Reflections. Hijmans
reflecting on each other’s work.”
sees conflict arising from the many “reflections” of
Volley 2: Evan Alexander “I was drawn to the word reflection,” says Evan
grunge brushes (from www.dubtastic.com) to paint
Alexander, “so I started with mirrors.” After a quick
and erase parts of the resulting pattern, distressing
photo shoot of his bathroom mirror, Alexander
the image to give the upper corner an aged feel.
began by laying out ideas on paper. He planned to
Alexander covered the 6 in the stock photo
create a large wall, using Hijmans’s pattern as wall-
with a grungy 2 in the Dirty Ego font from Mis-
paper, and then sink a mirror into that wall, reflect-
printed Type. “It needed something else,” he says,
ing another world.
“so I grabbed an industrial bar code brush from
But searching for a nice wall to use at Inertia
dubtastic to fill it out.”
Stock.Xchng, Alexander was stuck by two images
To get the ruler to sit nicely on top of the
that changed his plans. “One was a fading, crum-
other elements, he added a drop shadow, and slid a
bling wall, the other, industrial,” he says. “I realized
thin strip from the edge of Hijmans’s image under-
that a stylistic change to industrial would be more a
neath the ruler. “It’s subtle,” he says, “but it helps
conflict of reflection than any actual reflected visu-
als. Heady art babble, I know.”
Next, he added the word reflections in the
Alexander brought the metal wall into
Dirty Ego font and rasterized the layer. Selecting
Photoshop. He selected the ruler element, copied
the top half of the text, he cut and pasted it onto its
it to its own layer, and moved it near the center.
own layer, flipped it vertically (to “reflect”), and
He selected and deleted the left half of the wall,
resized it. “Probably no one can read it,” says
adjusted the remaining wall’s levels, and applied
Alexander, “but that’s okay.”
the Unsharp Mask filter to give it a bit more “pop.” Next, he placed the rough wall image on a new layer, transformed it to fit his canvas, and cropped it to taste. He placed an “interesting chunk” copied from Hijmans’s volley on a new layer over the crumbling wall, in Color Burn mode. “I ended up flipping it 180 degrees,” says Alexander, “because I liked the composition better. The colors of Bas’s
1. A crumbling wall
2. Alexander had this photo in mind for a while, waiting to find a good home for it.
serve mix with the colors in the wall to nice dramatic effect. I like to have a sense of directional lighting in my work.” He next selected the main pattern element from Hijmans’s serve and converted it into a custom brush (Edit → Define Brush). He used the new brush with the Paint Brush tool to stamp the design
“To extract an element from its background, I usually make a marquee selection within the piece that I want to extract and then choose Select → Similar to grab everything in that color value range. Then I jump into Quick Mask mode to clean up the selection.”
into the upper-right corner. He then used various
contrast is always a plus 140
3.Two very different walls.The ruler hides the seam and controls the transition between the two sides of the image.
4. An “interesting chunk” of Hijmans’s volley, placed above the crumbling wall in Color Burn mode
For a last little touch, he added a small leaf, cut from Hijmans’s volley, to the upper-left corner.
untouched element of the 5. It says ”reflections.” Can’t you read it?
chipping away until just the right amount of the text was showing.
“I like to add a small,
moved them to the far left, and set them to Overlay beneath it, with a grungy eraser at 28% opacity,
6.The bar code is actually a custom brush.
He rotated both text layers 90 degrees, mode. He erased some of the Color Burned layer
previous volley when I can,” he says, “and that corner needed a little something.”
“I like the strong black side–white side feeling of this image,” says Alexander. “Contrast is always a plus.”
Volley 3: Bas Hijmans “I was pleased by the industrial feel of Evan’s volley, going against my ornamental graphics,” says Bas Hijmans. “That left a nice confrontation. It also played on the title of my serve.” He set to work, intending to expand on Alexander’s industrial theme. He first duplicated Alexander’s volley on a new layer and rotated it 90 degrees clockwise, resiz-
1. An early layout experiment, with a ruler
ing it to fit the left half of the canvas. Struck by the ruler element in Alexander’s
2. An attempt to reincorporate the graphic elements from the serve
what I had through Adobe Streamline, vectorizing
volley, Hijmans scanned a ruler of his own and
it to get some rougher shapes in the image.” The
played around with it for a while before discarding
results add some subtle spotty texture to the final
it. “It divided the image a little too thoroughly,” he
says. He added a copy of the ornamental graphic
He made another copy of the chunk from
element from his serve, but wasn’t happy with the
Alexander’s volley and placed it on a new layer
results. He copied various elements from Alexan-
in Overlay mode. If you look closely and squint a
der’s volley and tried resizing them and applying
bit, shapes at the left side of the image seem to
different blending modes. Still no joy.
resemble a face. He wanted to make the face more
He started over, copying Alexander’s volley several times onto new layers, resizing some to
recognizable, but there wasn’t enough time. “On review,” says Hijmans, “I thought rotat-
emphasize certain key elements. “I took what was
ing part of the original image and moving it to the
for me the most interesting part of Evan’s image
left was the strongest idea I had had for this volley.”
and rescaled it to give that part more emphasis and
He returned to that concept.
more grunge,” he says. He ran varying degrees of
“One feature of industrial places that I really
motion blur on the new layers and set them in Lin-
enjoy looking at,” say Hijmans, “is fluid dripping
ear Burn, Normal, Overlay, and Screen modes,
over metal.” He brought the results of his experi-
building up a background reminiscent of dripping
ments in motion blur in and laid them on top to
emulate dripping fluids, playing on the industrial
Hijmans used the Patch tool to repeat portions of the gray, metallic wall at bottom left. “The advantage of the Patch tool,” says Hijmans, “is that
feel. This also brought back elements from Alexander’s volley, though thoroughly blurred. Finally, he added some orange lines and
it blends the copy into the existing layer. The disad-
placed the graphical ornament from his serve on
vantage is that you never know if it will work like
top of the whole works, along with the title,
you want it to, and it is hard to undo later. I wasted
a lot of time playing with that, enlarging it, making patterns, just experimenting. At one point I ran
“The orange blocks are a bit over the top,” he admits. “Maybe I should have left those out.”
3. Progressive layersâ€Ś 4.The interim composition, vectorized in Adobe Streamline to add more texture
5. Could that be a face on the left?
6. Stretched elements of Volley 4 dropped on top in Overlay mode
â€Ś blurred and stacked
should have left those out
Volley 4: Evan Alexander “I wanted to respond to Bas’s theme, Industria,”
into the layers underneath.” Alexander liked the
says Evan Alexander. “I thought it would be good
horizontal, metallic lines that Bas had placed in his
to get back to nature and let the metal world drift
volley. “It looks like a little building in there and has
into the natural one. I wanted to show some indica-
some rich texture.” He selected a small section of
tion of life or the life cycle.”
this and stretched the heck out of it “Sometimes,”
Alexander copied part Hijmans’s volley to a
he says, “overenlarging things can give them an
new document and applied a Gaussian Blur to it.
interesting look.” He tweaked the new layer’s levels
Next, he used the Magic Wand tool to select the
(Image → Adjust Levels), moving the white and
Industria logo from the original of Hijmans’s volley
black points toward the middle to heighten con-
and dragged that selection onto the new, blurred
trast, and ran the Unsharp Mask to keep it crisp.
canvas. He reversed it, right for left (Edit → Trans-
He grabbed some more of the metallic lines
form → Flip Horizontal). “I could see that I had to
from Bas’s volley and tinted them (Image → Adjust
tear things away a bit,” he says. “The transition
Hue/Saturation + Colorize). He placed them on
from natural to industrial was going to be the most
the bottom to form a border and used the Eraser
important part of the composition.”
tool with a large, grungy brush to eat away at it a
He decided to start over, with a photo of
bit. “It’s subtle—but things like that are what make
clouds, which he felt would give him a good,
a nice volley. I do a lot of creative erasing. Negative
organic base to build on. The photo had received
space is just as powerful as positive space.”
some special treatment for an earlier project, but the exact details are fuzzy: “I did it so long ago...” He used the Burn tool with a large, soft brush at 40% opacity to give the corners some extra tone. “I like to darken things a little bit as I move toward the
This border places industrial elements on top of the natural elements but, in reality says Alexander, “it was more a composition decision. I felt that lower edge needed something.” To transition between the organic clouds and
edges,” he says. “I think that comes from working on
the underlying industrial elements, Alexander
theater sketches for so many years, in which you real-
used the Eraser tool with some script brushes from
ly try to control the view’s focus toward center.
www.soulsabyss.net. These proved the perfect
“I wanted to build up imagery from Bas’s
transition element, says Alexander. “I wanted it
piece that I could use underneath my cloud and
chaotic,” he says, “but in a controlled manner.
wing images (nature over industry) and then chip
Going nuts with these Edwardian brushes did just
away at the top layers so I could control the view
what I wanted.”
1.Treated clouds form the basis for Alexander’s organic additions.
… and after the addition of a little blown glass
2. Erasing the clouds with stylish brushes to reveal the industria beneath
3.The script elements before …
4. An early, alternate layout
5. A stock moth photo
tear things away a bit
“I felt I needed to cut into the Bas industrial
The title text, Rerum Natura, means “an event
level as well,” he says, “and add something under-
of nature” … he hopes: “I pieced it together with a
neath that. It became about intertwining these two
Latin dictionary. My fear is that it translates to ‘I
worlds in different ways.” He erased parts of the
love the milkman.’”
metallic layer to reveal the white background. “That seemed too stark,” he says, “so I added a blown glass effect to get some color and a nice sweeping line in.” Alexander created the glass effect in a separate document and copied the results into his working document. He slid the glass in on top of the background, beneath the partially erased layers. “I went through a whole wing phase,” says Alexander. “I found this insect wing image that I just loved, but it ended up only being a small part of the image.” He also found a photo of a butterfly (or is it a moth?) and brought that in as well. “I wanted life and death, so the moth seemed a nice contrast to the broken wing.”
“For the colored glass, I start with a radial gradient, usually Copper from the stock Photoshop gradients. I then apply a chrome filter to it (Filters → Sketch → Chrome), adjusting the sliders to taste.That layer gets a Hue/Saturation + Colorize adjustment.Then I duplicate that layer and apply the chrome filter to the second layer. I change the blending mode Overlay and again do a Colorize adjustment to taste.”
Volley 5: Bas Hijmans “I had to start over this morning,” says Hijmans,
How did he extract those complicated ele-
“hence, a brand new day.” Why the new start?
ments from Alexander’s volley, you may ask? “I
Alexander had made a mistake in the file settings
cheated,” Hijmans confesses. “After the confusion
for Volley 4, creating the image at the wrong reso-
about Volley 4, I downloaded the layered version to
lution. As a result, he had to re-create Volley 4, and
see if that one was also at the wrong resolution.
Hijmans, who had already begun work on Volley 5,
After I looked at his layers, I couldn’t resist using
had to throw away his work to date and begin
them. I already had the idea of incorporating those
curly elements Evan used, and they would have
“After last night’s confusion,” says Hijmans, “I thought it was a good idea to send Evan to the
been a pain to extract.” He placed the bench on top of the com-
bench where he could think about what he had
pleted background, performed some additional
done for a while.” Strictly in fun, of course. He
color tweaking, copied the merged layers, and
found a nice stock image of a bench on the Inertia
pasted the results into a new layer.
Stock.Xchng site, erased the background bricks by
Using the Marquee tool, he sliced the new lay-
using the Quick Mask tool and a soft brush, and
er five times vertically and moved each slice up or
tilted it a bit for drama.
down. Next, he sliced the results four times hori-
“I didn’t really want it to be just a bench,” says
zontally and slid each slice left or right. He created
Hijmans, “so I obscured it a bit, using various ele-
a new blue-green layer beneath the sliced-up
ments from Evan’s last volley to create a wild back-
bench, to fill the resulting gaps, and added simple
1.The finished wild-andcrazy background
2. A stock photo of a bench
3.The bench on its new background
4.The bench and background, sliced into 20 sections and slid this way and that
5.Text and graphics elements
drop.” He eventually used 14 layers containing ele-
white and gold rectangles around the edges to
ments scavenged from Alexander’s volley, primarily
serve as a border.
the clouds and curlicues, using a mixture of layer
He placed the sliced-up bench, border ele-
blend modes: Screen, Normal, Color, Overlay, Lin-
ments, and blue-green background layer in a Layer
ear Light, and Difference. He color-corrected
set and turned the set’s opacity down to 45%, let-
some layers using Selective Color (Image → Adjust
ting the original bench-and-background scene
→ Selective Color). “It gave me a bit of the washed
out feel that I like,” he says, “but there’s still some good contrast in it.”
He created a border on a new layer, first selecting the entire canvas and then using
Selection → Transform Selection to shrink the
48% opacity. “These gray boxes,” says Hijmans,
selection, off-center, until it defined a border
“are there to give my text a bit of a stage. Other-
Hijmans found aesthetically pleasing. “It takes a bit
wise, the text would just hang above the artwork. It
of playing around with the percentages to get the
would feel less connected.”
transform right,” says Hijmans, “but I like it better
He created the text in Adobe Illustrator and
than Photoshop’s standard border.” He inverted
pasted it into his Photoshop document. “I find the
the selection, filled the resulting border with not-
Text tool in Photoshop very slow for higher-resolu-
quite-white, and then set the layer to 72% opacity,
tion rendering,” says Hijmans.
allowing it to interact with the border elements on the layers beneath.
For a final touch, he added a set of printer’s registration marks.
He created four rectangles on a new layer, also filled with the same near-white, this time set to
send Evan to the bench
Volley 6: Evan Alexander “I had a tempest in my head from the debacle in
brush, painted a mask to chip away and reveal the
Volley 4,” says Evan Alexander. “I knew right away
sky beneath. These “negative” stars were interest-
that I wanted to turn Bas’s background into an
ing, but Alexander wanted some “positive” stars
too. He used the Clone Stamp tool with star-shaped
During the break between Volleys 2 and 4,
brushes to sample Hijmans’s background and
Alexander leafed through poetry books by Pablo
stamp stars on a new layer. He gave the stars a white
Neruda and e. e. cummings, jotting down interest-
outer glow (Layer → Layer Style → Outer Glow).
ing lines. Now, he assembled the phrases into the
He selected the silhouette of Prospero the
poetic, semi-meaningful text that appears in the
magician from an old stage photo of The Tempest
finished piece. “This text drove me to find a stock
and inverted the colors to yield a white silhouette.
image of a shipwreck,” says Alexander. The combi-
He placed the figure on a new level behind the
nation of tempest elements inspired him to lay his
shipwreck, positioned to evoke a ghost standing on
volley out as a theatrical stage sketch.
the ruined deck. The shafts of light falling on the
He placed Hijmans’s volley on a new layer and used the Healing Brush tool, Patch tool, and Clone Stamp tool to duplicate large chunks, obscuring the bench, and then flipped the canvas horizontally. He sized the shipwreck image to his canvas and then used a variety of brushes and tools in Quick Mask mode to isolate the ship. “The great thing about Quick Mask,” says Alexander, “is the ability to use different tools. The little details really help the piece, so I didn’t want to give them up.”
1. Using Quick Mask mode to extract the shipwreck from its background
2. Alexander used a star-shaped brush to add stars to the sky.
He created a Level adjustment layer for the shipwreck image (Layer → New Adjustment Layer
ghost are actually part of Hijmans’s previous volley,
→ Levels + Group With Previous Layer). He
repeated when Alexander removed the bench.
tweaked the levels to heighten the ship’s contrast
Alexander placed a photo of the moon in
and slid it to the bottom of the frame to follow Hij-
the sky, behind the stars, in Pin Light mode, and
mans’s horizon line.
added a drop shadow to separate it from the
Next, he brought in the image of clouds he
background. “That really helped to complete the
used for Volley 4 and added a TV scan-line effect to
picture,” says Alexander. “It was looking too
them, courtesy of a custom action. He placed the
symmetrical.” A grid of tiny white dots lent the
clouds behind the background layer.
He created a layer mask for the background layer above the clouds and, using a star shaped
The volley number was carefully crafted to match the *Brand text in Hijmans’s volley. On a new
3.The composition coming together with a wrecked ship in the foreground
4. A stage photo provides a magician to grace the final composition.
5. A figure beckons from the decks of the wreck.
layer, Alexander filled a rectangle with red. He con-
resizing and rotating each line separately to create a
tracted the selection about 8 pixels (Select → Mod-
jumbled yet readable composition. The Latin text
ify → Contract) and stroked it with a two-pixel line.
that fills the sand at the bottom of the frame is actu-
Finally, he dropped in his selected snatches of poetry, in the Downcome and Dirty Ego type faces,
ally a custom brush from www.dubtastic.com. “That text took about 5 seconds,” he says. “Brushes own!”
Volley 7: Bas Hijmans “I had no real concept here,” says Bas Hijmans.
I wanted to change one later, I’d select a new color
“This was a gut reaction to Evan’s volley and the
with the Eyedropper tool, lock the layer trans-
words he used in this piece. I laid the emphasis on
parency, and use Alt+Delete to fill everything that
‘forgotten’, making it a little joke about how signifi-
wasn’t transparent with the foreground.”
cant my opponent really is, by adding the tagline: what was your name again?” “I didn’t use any special techniques,” he says.
1. Hijmans created a new text element in Adobe Illustrator.
The results were a little too dark and too red for Hijmans’s taste. He duplicated his document and removed a few of the layers before flattening
“It’s all custom brushes
the whole thing. He then copied and pasted the
made from various ele-
flattened duplicate onto a new layer at the top of his
ments of the previous
main composition. He set the new layer in Screen
volley, most notably the
mode, lightening the composition and increasing
rusty boat and the
the density of the texture. He adjusted hue, satura-
typography.” To create
tion, and brightness (Image → Adjustments →
the custom brushes, he
Hue/Saturation) of the screen layer to further
used a combination of
tweak the results. “I used this to get rid of the large
2. He layered large, colored shapes to build up a new composition.
the Marquee tool and Select → Color Range to
red chunks in a ‘natural’ way,” says Hijmans. “It also
select broad swatches of Alexander’s volley. He
made the reds warmer, and it left more of the liver
copied the selections to a new layer, filled them
color down on the right.”
with black, and created new brushes from them
Next, Hijmans fired up Adobe Illustrator to
(Edit → Define Brush). He also created a brush
create a new text element: “have you forgotten that
from a scan of the bottom of an old coffee can.
once you were brought here.” He laid out the text
Next, he created new layers and stamped
along curved lines and added a few strokes with
them with one of his new brushes, using colors
one of Illustrator’s art brushes. He imported the
sampled from Alexander’s volley. He eventually
text into Photoshop and obscured it a bit more
created 17 new layers this way. Most of the layers
using the Eraser tool with different custom
are set in Normal mode, the layering depending
brushes. He selected the contents of the layer and
on their position in the layer stack, but one each
created a new custom brush, which he applied at
were set to Multiply, Screen, and Overlay mode. “If
different sizes and pressures.
Hijmans experimented with using a clip-art border as a device to tie this volley back to his serve, but eventually discarded it; it just didn’t fit in with the image he’d created. 3. Hijmans laid a modified, coloradjusted version of the composition on top, in Screen mode, to lighten things.
didn’t use any special techniques
Volley 8: Evan Alexander “This volley,” says Evan Alexander, “was one of the
used the Eraser and Clone Stamp tools with various
sizes and opacities to grunge it up.
He started with a large section of Hijmans’s volley, inverting the colors (Image → Adjustments → Invert) and trying different positions, before
He created the exclamation mark and “big honkin’ arrow” the same way, from pencil sketches. Alexander had a happy accident when he
finally sliding it to the left side. He wanted to tran-
used a stencil brush made from Hijmans’s serve
sition from dark to light, so he grabbed a different
and stamped a copy of that curly shape next to the
strip of Hijmans’s volley, one with stars in it, and
face. “This is my favorite part of the piece,” says
placed it over the edge of the first layer. Some coax-
Alexander. He gave the shape a big, fuzzy drop
ing with the Eraser tool and level adjustments
shadow to soften it a bit.
blended the contrasting strips together. Time for a message. “After being benched, I
At the last minute, he decided to slide things over, clearing out a big chunk of real estate on the
wanted to show that I had something to say!” says
right. “I wanted some slick, modern elements col-
Alexander. Originally, he planned to fill the middle
liding into this world,” says Alexander, “so I
of the picture with text, but decided against it. “I
grabbed some glass.”
relied on text in my last two volleys,” he says. “I wanted to say something, without using a lot of text.” He sketched a quick face with a pencil, traced it with black ink pen, and scanned it into a new
1. Alexander’s original sketch, scanned into Photoshop …
In fact, the right section of the image holds a mélange of elements from previous volleys. Alexander reused the script brushes to create some fancy swirls, with an orange-to-blue gradient over the
… and progressively colored
document. “I love to incorporate hand-drawn ele-
top. The tiny grid of dots reappears, giving subtle
ments into Photoshop work,” he says. After adjust-
texture to the blue background. He reused the star
ing the levels to get an even black tone, he deleted
brush to stamp a white star on the white back-
the white background. He created a series of layers beneath the black lines and used the Paintbrush tool to add color and tone. He then merged the layers (Layers → Merge Visible) and dragged the results onto a new layer in his volley document. He
“No matter how good I become at Photoshop, I still have to lay things out on paper first. Every volley here was roughed out in thumbnail form on paper first.”
ground above the glass element. Invisible at first, the star appears as a die-cut shape thanks to Bevel and Emboss layer effects. “It’s subtle, and that’s what makes it so effective,” says Alexander. He placed the bracketed volley number above the star in Dirty Ego and Kunstler Script. He placed more text, in Dirty
2.The idea was Hijmans’s volley emerging from the guy’s mouth, but it was too hard to escape the “puke factor.”
3. Plenty of room for text in the middle
4. At the last minute, Alexander pushed things to the left and dropped some more glass in at the right.
Ego, vertically over a black dividing stripe. “Bas ran with the ‘forgotten’ wording in my previous volley,” says Alexander, “so I wanted to be sure to note that I won’t soon be forgotten.” “I had flattened the image and started to upload,” says Alexander. “but it just needed one
When adding grunge and decals, it’s important to keep moving the brush settings (scattering, tip size, and so on) around to avoid making repeating patterns in the work.
more burst of color to break up the planes.” He added a vertical orange stripe and called it done.
big honkin’ arrow
Volley 9: Bas Hijmans This volley’s concept? “Taking out the trash,” says
Rough Pastels filter (Filter → Artistic → Rough Pas-
Bas Hijmans. “What can I say? Being at the com-
tels) to give a hand-painted look. He used the
puter for a long time yesterday, and being at it
Eraser tool to clean up stray bits around the hair.
again early in the morning really sucked the energy out of me.” But Hijmans soldiered on. He knew immediately that he wanted to pre-
Hijmans next found a photo he had taken of a trash can and ran it through the same process, vectorizing it in Streamline and then filtering and
serve the face from Alexander’s volley: “I liked that
cleaning it up in Photoshop. Vectorizing these
drawing so much that I wouldn’t want it to go
images, says Hijmans, made them easier to scale
away.” Rather than blow it away, he decided to blow
correctly and to remove the background from. But
it up. Hijmans fired up Adobe Streamline, an
it’s a tricky process, one that’s different for each
application that “vectorizes” images, converting
image. “I waited almost 45 minutes on the vector-
blocks of pixels into lines, shapes, and fills. Once
ization of the previous volley,” he says, “and it took
vectorized, the image could be scaled up drastically
a good hour to get the trash can right. The trash
without blurring and going all jaggy around the
can had a lot of tiny pieces that all had to be ren-
edges. When he had what he wanted, Hijmans
dered and assigned to a custom color. There was a
pasted the results from Streamline into a new layer
lot of waiting. The process will go faster if you have
a clean image without much color.”
Hijmans wanted to give the face a more painted feel, but he wanted to preserve the crisp
1. Just the black outlines of the face
At this point, says Hijmans, “I was tired and had already spent too long with vectorizing the
2.The filtered face, black outlines intact
3. Hijmans experimented with different elements on the right.
black outlines. To achieve this effect, he selected all
volley. To finish, I just added some doodads and
the dark outlines in the image (Select → Color
the volley number.” He in fact added lots of doo-
Range) and then copied and pasted the selected
dads, many of which are impossible to recognize in
pixels to a new layer, where they would be immune
the finished image, including highway guardrails, a
to the upcoming filter. Next, Hijmans returned to
little graffiti trash talking, and his personal logo.
his original face layer and ran it through the
4. A little freehand scribble …
5. Hijmans experimented with different elements on the right.
6. A digital photo of a trash can finds its way into the final composition.
“Taking out the trash?” inquires an onlooker.“Could Hijmans be saying something about the clutter in Alexander’s last volley? One can’t help but notice that it’s now gone.”
… renders the text more legible.
taking out the trash
Volley 10: Evan Alexander “This volley was different,” says Evan Alexander.
pointing arrows everywhere. The hell imagery was
“For previous volleys, I drew out a plan of attack.
working, but heaven was … lacking. “Whatever I
With this one, I just started to cut and hack away at
tried—skies, clouds, stars, an X-ray photo—seemed
Bas’s volley. I rarely work this way—I usually experi-
out of place up there,” Alexander says. With the
ment with a goal in mind, but this was purely color
clock ticking, he abandoned heaven altogether.
forms.” Alexander loved the black negative space in Hijmans’s volley. He selected it with the Magic Wand tool and brought it into his working docu-
“Most of our other volleys had been really balanced,” says Alexander, “so I got interested in an off-center balance.” Alexander grabbed a rectangular chunk of
ment, filling it with deep red. He also selected the
Volley 2—actually a modified part of Hijmans’s
red area on the right of Hijmans’s volley, the part
serve—and placed it on top in a new layer, rotating
with the star, and placed it on a new layer. “We have
it to taste. “Ctrl+T is your best friend at all times,”
a big star thing going on here,” says Alexander.
To tone down the color, he placed the wall
A stock photo of a green button became the
texture from Volley 2 on a new layer in Color Burn
elevator button to hell when he shifted its hue to
mode, darkening and texturing the red. To fit the
red and pointed it downward. The button had
wall exactly over the underlying red, he
three distinct highlights on it, calling for three light
Ctrl+clicked the red layer in the Layers palette,
sources. Alexander duplicated … triplicated? … a
selecting the visible pixels. He switched to the
stock photo of a candle on three new layers and
rough wall layer, inverted the selection, and deleted. “I don’t use big, flat planes of color,” says Alexander. “Texture is important.” “I thought I might make a landscape,” Alexander says, “using the red border as a portal/frame device.” Time to cruise stock photo sites in search of inspiration. He found a wavy white and blue background that interested him.
1. Alexander started with simple red borders, created from elements of Volley 9.
2. An attempt to fit a chunk of Volley 9 into the mix
He placed it on a new layer in Overlay mode and
tipped them on their sides. “I liked the idea of turn-
shifted its hues to orange. The resulting fire effect
ing them sideways, but keeping the flame straight,”
sparked the notion of heaven and hell, says Alexan-
says Alexander. “Very Magritte of me, no?”
der. “I knew I wanted to use arrows, so: heaven
For more texture, he laid three copies of a
above, hell below, and the two of us clashing. Very
stock image with “lovely rivets” on three new layers,
set to Color Burn. He created layer masks to cut
To re-create the feeling of massed stars from
the three rivet layers off at the top of the arrows,
Volley 6, Alexander turned a stock photo of an
then used the Paintbrush tool to rough up the
arrow into a brush and started stamping down-
edges a bit.
3. Alexander used this image as a blending layer, to create the sense of flames without using actual fire images.
4. Alexander created a custom brush from this photo.
To cover some unattractive hot spots in the light areas, Alexander made a custom paintbrush from the trash man in Hijmans’s volley and stamped him here and there. Finally, he went back to his star brush, using the Burn tool at 40% opacity and the Eraser tool at 30%, adding just a pinch
5.This stock photo, rotated and colorized (Image → Adjust → Hue/Saturation+Colorize), becomes the bright red elevator button to hell.
6.Three copies of this image, in Overlay mode, add dimension and texture to the piece.
“Collaging in Photoshop is a lot like scenic painting,” says Alexander. “You have to build up depth before things to start to look good.”
more texture to taste.
I started to cut and hack
“Transatlantic Love Match”: Christine Smart vs. Manuel Clement It’s the love story of our age—or at least, the love story of this book: A single designer, living in Los Angeles, falls in love with the work of a well-known young designer living in sunny Marseilles. She sends him an e-mail, expressing her ardent affection for his artwork. He, in turn, checks out her website and likes what he sees. One thing leads, as it will, to another. E-mail gives way to phone calls and then to transatlantic trips. “I finally imported him four years ago,” says Christine Smart, the heroine of our story. “We had $1000 phone bills every month.” Happily married, Christine Smart and Manuel Clement now live and work in Washington state with their one-year-old son, Soren. Negotiations are underway with Nora Ephron to direct the movie from my script. I see Sandra Bullock as Smart and Vincent Cassel as Clement.
Transatlantic Love Match
Designers Match 7: Smart vs. Clement
Entirely self-taught, Christine Smart has a life-long interest in art, but never considered it seriously as a career. In high school, she turned down an art scholarship to Laguna Beach College. “My mom was a starving artist,” says Smart. “I knew I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t know you could make money with art until I learned about graphic design.” Smart got into graphic design by chance,
Christine Smart Years as a Photoshop designer: About six years Area of specialty: Corporate design, packaging, and art Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: It’s fast and fun, and you don’t have to explain to the audience what you mean by something. Least favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: When you have to do something to a volley that’s already perfection. Nondigital art medium: Anything and everything Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: Blending modes If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be … a fork. It’s multitasking!
she says, when a friend asked her to do a logo. That was eight years ago, and she’s never looked back. Her work has been featured in 800*600 | Visual Culture 2001 and WWW Design Flash: The Best Websites from Around the World, and she was a coauthor of Instant Flash 5. She specializes in the entertainment and cosmetic industries and in working with young corporations, “giving them a great image and making them look big.” “I’m not a Photoshop designer,” says Smart. “I’m a designer.” www.beingsmart.com
Music I listen to while playing Photoshop Tennis: None, but if I did it would probably be Björk, David Bowie, or Amon Tobin. Comfort food: Strawberries Favorite TV show: Soren, my son, is into Bear in the Big Blue House.That is the most-watched TV program in our house. Favorite motion pictures: Cinema Paradiso, Amélie Favorite read: Design books and old books on history Favorite sport: Figure skating and short-track speed skating. I was a skater for many years. Website I visit too often: www.futureproducers.com
They’ll identify my body by … my heart. It has Manuel’s name inscribed on it.
not a Photoshop designer
Transatlantic Love Match
Passionate about design, programming, 3D, and music, Manuel Clement is the winner of three Macromedia Site of the Day awards and speaks around the world at venues such as Flash Forward, Macromedia Web World, and Flashkit Conference. His clients range from Microsoft to lynda.com to the President of France, Jacques Chirac. Co-author of Flash MX Audio Magic, he has also contributed to The Flash Bible and Flash Studio Secrets and was a featured designer for The New Masters of Flash. An active member of the design community, Clement has published articles and moderated forums at FlashPad, Flashzone, and Were-Here. He also runs the music production resource site, FutureProducers.com. In late 2001, Clement joined Microsoft to work exclusively on next-generation platforms, development tools, and rich user interfaces. He is the founder of MANO1.com. www.mano1.com
Manuel Clement Years as a Photoshop designer: Seven or so Area of specialty: Product/interaction design (software) Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: Embracing the opponent’s stuff and making it blossom with your own creativity. Nondigital art medium: Drawing, sketching, writing music Favorite non-Photoshop software: I am totally in love with Alias’s Sketchbook on the Tablet PC. Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: I don’t have a favorite, but Gaussian Blur is a classic. Music I listen to while playing Photoshop Tennis: This Mortal Coil, Shinjuku Thief Comfort food: Nutella on white bread Best work I ever lost in a computer crash: Six months of musical compositions and productions Favorite motion pictures: I do love Hate (La Haine), PI,Akira, Porco Rosso. Favorite read: Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. As far as I can remember, when I was two years old I used to listen to the record version, and I grew up with it. It still makes me feel special. I also love anything about science and astronomy.
As a kid, I drew futuristic machines
Volley 1: Christine Smart “I am a font freak and have been for a very long
Smart tore out part of a girl’s face from a previous
time,” says Christine Smart. “I always resort to num-
print job and scanned that into Photoshop. She
bers and letters to fill my space. That is what I did
placed the scan on a new layer in the midst of all
with this first volley. I chose a color palette and just
the other paper scraps, duplicated that layer, and
moved forward with my design.”
set the new version in Overlay mode, to subtly
Yes—about that color palette. Why green and pink? Some kind of ’70s flashback? “I don’t know
darken and texture the face. Finally, she added a green scribble, drawn in
why,” says Smart. “I am really into green, and the
Photoshop with the Pencil tool at 2-pixels width.
pink worked well with the colors in the image of
The green color is sampled from the background
and, placed above the black “urban” scrap, helps
To get the letters and numbers to work with, Smart first laid text out in new Photoshop documents, either white on a black background or
“tear” that scrap further and blends its harsh black edge into the background. What is the meaning of the two numbers, 52
black on a white background, and then printed
and 62? “They’re just random numbers,” says
them on her laser printer. Next she cut and tore
Smart. “None of them really mean anything. It’s
the paper and scanned the results back into Photo-
funny. I think my work comes from any place but
shop. “Ninety-nine percent of the tears are done by
my head. I really have a hard time saying that there
hand,” says Smart. “But I did some added tearing
is a reason for anything.”
and texturing with custom brushes.” She colorized a few of the scraps a bright pink (Image → Adjustments → Hue/Saturation) and another (52) a dark orange and arranged them to suit. Where the pink scraps overlay the white background around the number 62, she set the layers in Lighten mode, creating the effect that they were showing through from behind the numerals. She placed a final pink scrap on top in Normal mode. The 52 scrap is set to Hard Light mode, to fade it and blend it into the composition. Next,
1. Scraps of paper, ready for assembly into a virtual photo collage
2. Pink scraps of paper laid over the top…
…and set in Lighten mode, to show “through” the black numerals
3. A girl’s face, torn out of a page
work from any place but my head
Volley 2: Manuel Clement “Christine sent me such a beautiful volley,” says
He started by drawing a few, thin white lines
Manuel Clement. “I love the colors and the typog-
around his creature with Photoshop’s Pencil tool
raphy. I thought I would reuse her pink as my back-
and applying some motion blur to them. He also
ground color and isolate parts of letters to form
added white Inner and Outer glows to the creature
new shapes out of them.”
layer, courtesy of the Layer Blend mode, to give it a
He sampled the hot-pink color from Smart’s serve and filled his background layer with it. He
little extra polish. He created a new layer under the creature
created a new layer above this background and
and drew fatter vertical white lines with the Paint-
filled it with a linear white-to-transparent gradient,
brush, motion blurring them to create the tall, ver-
which he further tuned with a layer mask to give
the white portion a more rounded, sunset shape. Background in hand, Clement looked for a
Using the Pencil tool, he sketched in thin white lines, curling out of the creature’s sides, and
section of type from Smart’s serve to form the basis
thin black lines hanging below it, like dangling
of a new shape. “I liked the texture on the curvy,
cables. “The freehand, pixelated look of those lines
upper part of the 2,” he says.
breaks with the smoothness of the previous steps,”
He isolated and extracted the upper part of the 2 using the Magnetic Lasso tool and placed it on a new layer in his composition. He duplicated the shape and then rotated and repositioned the
1. A creature rises from the pink background.
2. Hand-drawn white squiggles
says Clement, “but I thought it would be interesting to see what would happen next.” In fact, he decided he liked the freehand look and used it again to create a cloud of surreal exhaust
3. Black-and-white handdrawn lines add smoke and dangling cables.
4. A simple, curly brush, repeated hundreds of times …
…creates a cloud of exhaust around the rocketing space creature.
new layer, so the two segments formed a ring. A few
fumes in the background. He drew a simple, curled
aggressive applications of Distort and Perspective
shape and made a brush out of it. He played with
produced an eye shape. “It reminded me of a but-
the brush dynamics—Size, Jitter, Scattering, and so
terfly wing,” says Clement. He copied the shape to
forth—and used the Airbrush tool to scatter hun-
a new layer, flipped it horizontally, and then posi-
dreds of copies of the shapes over a new layer. He
tioned these two shapes to form a pair of wings. “I
created a layer mask to constrain the visible curlies
thought it was looking like a space shuttle or some
to the area beneath the rocketing creature.
creature taking off,” he says. “I thought I’d accen-
To finish the volley, he added two horizontal
tuate the vertical ascension of the piece by adding
purple stripes at the top and laid a series of
exhaust particles and glows.”
wingding stars over them. He created a new layer
“As a kid, I used to draw futuristic machines: spaceships, motorcycles, robots,” says Clement. “Lately, I’ve gotten back to it; freehand drawing feels amazing. Nowadays I am more into organic stuff—creatures, real people, weird abstract stuff—but there are a lot of similarities with what I used to draw.” 5. Detail of the exhaust, created from hundreds of tiny, curly brushes
6. Detail of the creature’s … head?
beneath the top border and placed a white rectangle on it. He blurred the rectangle, set the opacity to 41%, and placed it beneath the purple border strips, to soften the transition to the pink background.
accentuate the vertical ascension
Volley 3: Christine Smart “When I received Manuel’s serve,” says Christine
She printed some explanatory text, marked it
Smart, “I instantly thought ‘traveling through
up with a pen, and cut it apart. She then scanned
space.’ I wanted to bring some nostalgia to the
the pieces into Photoshop, placing them on sepa-
game, so I brought in trains. The old-world form of
rate layers and then positioning them to suit within
the composition. “For me,” says Smart, “the scan-
Her first move was to create a new back-
ner is always a valuable tool.”
ground. She started with Clement’s volley and used
“When I composed the picture,” she says,
Replace Color (Image → Adjustments → Replace
“I tried to lay the pieces out to best tell the story
Color) to change it from hot pink to a light sky-
of the fun and excitement of train travel in the
blue. This both incorporated the previous volley
and created a ready-made “atmosphere,” with Clement’s stylized exhaust fumes becoming clouds in a blue sky. Now for some old-timey content to sit on that background. Smart went through her grandmother’s scrapbook looking for suitable photos. She selected a photo of a crowd, another of a group of
1.Volley 3 color shifted to form a new background
2. Smart printed, tore, and re-scanned various bits of paper to build her collage with.
3. Smart took a page from her grandma’s scrapbook.
4. Another photo from Grandma’s scrapbook: the beginning of a train trip
her grandmother’s friends, and another of an old locomotive. She scanned her photos into Photoshop, placing them on new layers. “I also scanned in some of my grandmother’s great handwriting,” says Smart. She laid the handwritten text on a new layer over the train engine and set the layer to Lighten mode. The handwriting was originally white pen on black paper; Lighten mode gives a hint of the handwritten script, without intruding too heavily on the train. Smart now brought back the numbers from the first volley and positioned them on new layers above the mix.
the scanner is always 166
5. Some of the handwriting showing through, thanks to Lighten blend mode
6. Detail of the finished composition
a valuable tool
Volley 4: Manuel Clement “I love the steam engine,” says Clement. “It is beau-
some clouds (Filters → Render → Render Clouds)
tiful. It seems old, yet solid and durable. Christine’s
and colored them using Hue/Saturation. He dis-
piece is a tribute to the past, to memories. I wanted
torted the clouds and then reduced the opacity to
to represent those memories as eternal, wandering
5%. He created a new layer beneath the clouds and
through space in a distant future.”
filled it with a simple black-to-white gradient.
Clement began by selecting and cutting out
The left side of the composition was looking
parts of Smart’s steam engine, using a combination
a little empty. Clement created a new layer and
of the Magnetic Lasso and Polygon Lasso tools. He
filled it with a pale-pink color. He used the Ellipti-
placed the pieces on new layers in his document.
cal Marquee tool to select and erase most of the
He duplicated, rotated, and repositioned them to
layer, leaving a curving stripe of color. He set the
slowly build up a new machine out of the pieces: an
layer opacity to 90% and added a faint Drop
old, rusty yet futuristic space station.
Shadow and white Inner and Outer Glows via layer
A subtle bevel effect helped to make the large object stand out and to hint at an overall light source, illuminating the entire piece. To create a background, Clement created
1. A rusty space station, built from old locomotive parts
effects. “I will leave to the reader to put meaning to this thin, bright light approaching the old forgotten space station.”
2. A subtle bevel effect gives a feeling of depth to the edges.
3. Some grossly distorted clouds …
… placed over a simple black-and-white gradient at 5% opacity …
… lend the background a nice radial texture.
“The space station seems to be jumping out of the screen due to the different perspective transforms and rotations I applied to its individual pieces,” says Clement.
wandering in a distant future
Volley 5: Christine Smart “Manuel’s volley was very dark and futuristic. Not
the Eraser tool to remove the areas surrounding
my style,” says Christine Smart.
the text. “This is a fun and quick way to add to your
Smart started by selecting the shape of
image without finding a ton of art to work with,”
Clement’s space station with the Magic Wand tool.
says Smart. A gradient layer mask fades the text
Next she made a new layer of solid red and cut out
gradually into the car’s grill.
the shape of the space station from it. “I thought it
Next, she rearranged the text into new posi-
needed a bit more texture and shape,” says Smart,
tions and moved the O over the front of the car, in
“so I took a custom lettering brush and dived in,
Soft Light mode, colorizing the hood.
erasing some more of the red area.” She moved the
She added the word voiture, French for car, to
cutout over to the left a bit and created a new solid-
the car’s hood in the pixelish FFFHero font and
red background layer beneath it to hide the
drew a simple squiggly underline beneath it with
exposed area on the right.
the Pencil tool, on a new layer set to Color Dodge
She next selected a stock image of a car, con-
tinuing the theme of travel, and placed it on a new layer behind the cutout of the spaceship, in Lighten mode. She copied the car layer and placed it above the original, in Pin Light mode. She created a gradient mask over the new car layer to tweak its effect, stronger in the middle and fad-
1. A cutout in the shape of Volley 4’s space station
2.The car photo, slid behind the cutout
ing toward the edges. “Layering duplicate images is a great way to use the blend modes,” says Smart. Next, she opened Adobe Illustrator and created some fancy-looking text on the subject of leaving. “I find working with text in Illustrator is better and quicker,” she says. She copied the finished text and pasted it into a new layer as pixels, rather than as a shape, on a new layer set in Overlay mode. She added a big, yellow O in Photoshop on a new layer. “I wanted to give the text more of a rustic, old look,” says Smart. To achieve that look, she laid the text into the image, took a screen capture, and then pasted the capture in as a new layer. She used
“I have made a lot of my own brushes using lettering.This allows me to create some nice lettering effects without having to spend a ton of time.”
3.Text created in Adobe Illustrator and pasted into Photoshop 4. A little added texturing on the grill 5. Smart took a screen capture from an early layout and erased most of it to create a new element.
not my style
Volley 6: Manuel Clement “Christine’s piece is warm and extremely pleasing
ing: the bottom has a big shiny spot, and the other
to look at—the kind of stuff I’d love to frame and
photo looks like a captured frame from some old
hang on a wall,” says Manuel Clement. But what to
To create a background, Clement selected
Smart had complained that Clement’s last vol-
the main (that is, non-red) elements from Smart’s
ley, was so dark she didn’t know what to do with it.
volley, placed them on a new layer, and recolored
“At first I was going to make this new volley even
them a vibrant red, via the Hue/Saturation dialog
darker,” says Clement, “just to see her reaction.” Per-
box. He resized and moved them and set the layer
haps fearing that reaction, Clement went in the
to 24% opacity.
opposite direction, creating a bright and wacky composition that nonetheless echoes his space station.
He created a simple, repeating pattern from a paper texture and used the Hue/Saturation dia-
Clement and Smart have a 1 year-old son
log box to colorize the new layer a bright, cotton-
named Soren. “As you can imagine,” says Clement,
candy pink. “These days I try to push myself into
“we have tons of funky toys lying around the house.
playing with vibrant colors,” says Clement. “I’ve
One I find particularly hilarious looks like a not-so-
spent too many years abusing low-saturation icy
distant cousin of Gizmo from Gremlins. He makes
blues and grays.”
all kind of cute noises when you wave your hand close to his face—awwww!”
The semitransparent car from Smart’s volley is now a subtle texture on the mosaic-patterned
Clement grabbed a digital camera and took some shots of the toy. He chose two and brought
pink background. He used the Marquee tool to copy a circular
them into his document on new layers. One, of the
selection from the photo of the toy’s bottom,
bottom of the toy, features lots of interesting ele-
placed it on a new layer, and made several dupli-
ments such as screws, beveled edges, an on/off
cates. Now Clement applied various degrees of the
switch (labeled “TRY ME”), and the lid to the bat-
Scale, Distort, and Perspective transforms to each
layer, to create a … a what? “It is some kind of silly
“The pictures weren’t that good,” Clement admits. “I used a camera I hate, a KODAK DC215.
machine,” says Clement, “or a plant.” Clement wanted to use the toy’s portrait in a
The pictures were fuzzy and either overexposed or
way that would display it with pride, he says. To that
under lit, but it actually made them more interest-
end, he created a funky, high-tech display device
1. One of Clement’s son’s toys poses sleepily. 2.The bottom of the toy with lots of cool details …
3. … cut out with a circular selection
4.Volley 5’s main elements reappear as a background texture.
5. Multiple copies of the toy bottom, twisted this way and that to give perspective
from another copy of the toy’s bottom cover,
being indented into the display. He linked the two
placed on a new layer.
layers and applied a common perspective trans-
He deleted the top of the circle and added a
form to fit the display believably within the 3D
smooth inner bevel to the layer, a quick-and-dirty
space of the image and to make it distinctive from
way to give it some volume. Chopping off its top
the cluster of similar objects on the right side of
had left it looking flat and cut out.
Next he placed the toy’s portrait on a new
Finally, Clement selected a small handle from
layer and resized it to fit onto its intended “display
the photo of the bottom cover, placed it on a new
device.” He applied a hard-chiseled inner bevel to
layer, and made several duplicates. He rotated and
the picture to create the illusion of the screen
resized the various layers and then slid them all underneath the layers containing his machine/plant, evoking clusters of antennae.
tons of funky toys
6. Adding an inner bevel sets the TV screen realistically within the display device. 7. An array of antennae, created from a detail of the toy’s bottom
Volley 7: Christine Smart When she saw Clement’s volley, she had to laugh, says Smart: “If people could only see the original doll that this is from! Bravo! But I am feeling a bit painted into a box, so I have to say ‘bye-bye’ to the doll, as well as the background.” She started with a new background, taking a stock image of a train station and expanded it
1. A train station, enlarged and blurred to serve as a background
beyond recognition. She laid on a Gaussian Blur to relieve the resulting pixelation. “At this point,” says Smart, “I was unsure about what to do with the image. So I decided to use a red color palette and just go from there.” She created a new background layer and filled it with solid red. She set the blurred stock photo to Lighten mode, allowing it to pick up lots of nice red tones from the background.
2. Smart sliced the image up and took a screen shot.
3. A selected chunk of the screen shot
Smart used the Slice tool to divide the image into sections and took a screen capture of her work in Photoshop. “I like the blue lines and the numbered boxes,” says Smart. “It gave the picture a very technical feel. I took a screenshot because I could not get the lines to stay any other way.” The slice lines are for reference only; they don’t normally appear in a final image. She pasted the screen capture to a new layer and turned the layer’s visibility off, so it didn’t show in the final image. She chose a rectangular selection from the
4.Work in progress
resized it to be smaller yet, and set the layer to
screen capture and cut it out, placing it on a new
Darken mode. She used some custom brushes,
layer beneath the original train station image, in
including her text brushes, to erase sections
Lighten mode. This allowed the new, lined image
around the edges of the new layer.
to faintly show through against the background. She resized it slightly, making in smaller. Next, she copied the remains of her screen shot to a new layer, above the original train station,
To give the composition a little extra detail, Smart brought in a previous Photoshop collage. “I thought the white area would look good with the image,” she says. She selected part of the white with
5. Another slice of screenshot, pasted on top
6. A previous piece of Photoshop art …
… yields graphical elements for Smart’s volley.
the Magic Wand tool and copied and pasted it to a
box in the center of the composition, with the
new layer in her composition, beneath the blurry
words love me in MS Sans Serif on a layer above it.
train station. She set the layer in Lighten mode.
“Maybe it was out of guilt for erasing Manuel’s last
At the last minute, she added a simple green
volley,” she says.
feeling a bit painted into a box
Volley 8: Manuel Clement “I love the typography at the center of Christine’s
and flattened the component layers. “I liked the
volley,” says Manuel Clement. “The rest reminds
shape,” says Clement, “which pushed me to make
me of shapes I often see in parking structures:
blocks of raw concrete all over the place, neon
For his new shape, he selected the cutout O
lights—my kind of stuff.” In fact, Clement already
he had taken from Smart’s volley, along with the
had a series of photographs that he felt would fit
little, fragmented letters beneath it. “I thought they
perfectly with his intentions for this volley.
would be interesting to play with,” says Clement.
He started with a photo of a fluorescent light
He used a combination of the Distort, Perspective,
fixture on a wall, taken from below, looking up. “It
and Free transforms to push and pull things into
has a lot of perspective,” say Clement, “and the
an interesting round shape, reminiscent of a flower
lighting creates an interesting atmosphere. I was
petal or butterfly wing.
already imagining her typographic symbols grow-
Elements in hand, Clement now needed to
ing out of the light and spreading over the con-
lay them out. He placed his “round shape” at the
crete wall.” He placed the photo on a new layer
top-left corner of the light. “From the beginning,”
and sized and positioned it, to center the light.
he says, “I was thinking of making the typography
Next, he went back to Smart’s volley to pick out the elements he wanted to include in his
grow out of the light as if the letters were plants.” Since the round shape was very bright and
composition. He isolated the white shapes in the
visible, Clement decided to tone down his radial
middle: two vertical bars, a cutout triangle, two
starburst shape, using it to texture the wall beneath
large letters, and a bunch of small ones.
the light. He locked the transparent pixels and
Next, he duplicated the layer twice, rotated
filled the shape with a translucent black. He dupli-
the duplicates to form a radial starburst shape,
cated the layer several times, repositioned the
1. A digital photo, looking up at a fluorescent light fixture
3.The shapes from Volley 7 arranged in a starburst and looking for a home
2. Interesting shapes extracted from Volley 7
4.The cut-out O from Volley 7, distorted into a petal shape
blocks of raw concrete, neon lights—my kind of stuff 176
individual copies, and made use of the Distort, Per-
He made two copies of the round petal
spective, and Free transforms to create a more
shape and positioned them in a line along the left
complex shape whose perspective matched that of
half of the light. He used Free Transform to scale
5.The starburst shape duplicated and resized
the wall. He positioned
the two copies down, producing a diminishing
it immediately beneath
series of three shapes, shrinking toward the center.
He merged the three layers and duplicated the
results on a new layer. He flipped the new layer
was quite symmetrical,
horizontally and positioned it to mirror the left
apart from the single
half of the image, and then he merged the two
petal shape above the
â€œpetalâ€? layers, placing all six round shapes on a
lamp. Rather than
adding more chaos to
6. A single petal perched atop the light
Clement was pleased with the symmetry, but
the rest of the composi-
thought the round shapes looked a little flat. He
tion, Clement decided
applied a soft Outer Glow effect, in Screen mode.
to increase the balance
The shapes seem to fluoresce, tying them to the
Volley 9: Christine Smart Smart began building a background for her volley by using the Patch tool to cover up the light from Clement’s volley. Next she selected a rectangular section of Clement’s volley, the design beneath the light, and copied it to a new layer. She flipped the new layer, top to bot-
1. Smart used the Patch tool to cover the lamp from Clement’s volley …
…and then duplicated the remaining pattern to form a new background.
2. A stock photo of a girl waiting for a train …
…laid over the new background in Darken mode
tom, and aligned it on top of the pattern on the layer beneath it. She created a layer mask to control the blend between the two. “I thought the high contrast center with the dark area around it would make a great base,” says Smart. “I found a wonderful picture of a girl waiting for a subway,” says Smart.
visually separating the area around the text from
“Perfect for the theme of traveling!” She brought
the rest of the composition.
the image into Photoshop and set the blending
Finally she drew a thin scratch across the
mode to Darken. The girl only shows up over the
image on a new layer. “I wanted to join the girl to
lighted center portion of the background; every-
the text,” says Smart. “The scratch bridged the gap.”
where else, the subway is lighter than the background and doesn’t show at all. She duplicated the subway shot onto a new layer and used the Eraser tool to wipe away everything but the girl. She set the layer blend mode to Hard Light, to give the illusion of a strong light above the second girl. She added the text P Travel and the finish line
The finish line reference seems obvious, given that this was Smart’s final volley, and the time frame of the match was very short, but … P Travel? “I thought it sounded interesting,” says Smart,“as in Pipe Travel ... the underground … traveling through a pipe.”
of a race on new layers. To highlight the area around the text, Smart created an aquamarine circle on a new layer and set it to Overlay mode,
the scratch bridged the gap 178
3. Smart duplicated the girl and erased the background from around her.
4. A large aqua circle to surround the text, eventually set in Overlay mode
5.Thereâ€™s plenty of detail lurking in the final image.
Volley 10: Manuel Clement “Christine’s volley featured two people looking
removed its layer mask. He slid this new layer to
away, with the words the finish line of a race,”
the right, allowing the lettering, previously hidden,
observes Manuel Clement. “I felt she may have
to appear toward the center of the composition.
wanted to represent the two of us doing this match
He set the layer to Multiply mode and dialed the
opacity down to 56%, preparing it to interact with
Clement started his final volley by cutting the
the eventual background.
two girls out of Smart’s volley and placing them on
“For the background,” says Clement, “I
a new layer. He enlarged them and then flipped
wanted something simple yet rich.” He imported a
the image, left for right, and slid the two girls to
digital photo he had taken of a concrete wall and
the far left. He inverted the colors (Image →
placed it on a new layer beneath the others. Using
Adjustments → Invert), changing the dark reds and
Hue/Saturation, he colorized the wall a deep, very
blacks to light blues and whites. As he was planning
on laying this layer on top of a background, he
Finally, he added a rendered lighting effect
made it semitransparent (65% opacity) and set it
to the wall (Filters → Render → Lighting Effects) to
to Multiply mode. Finally, he added a gradient
accentuate the contrast and dynamics of the piece.
layer mask to create a soft falloff. Clement also wanted to include some of the lettering from Smart’s volley. He duplicated of the
The people and reversed text add ethereally understated texture and detail to the concrete wall.
layer previously copied from Smart’s volley and
2.The girls from Volley 9, flipped horizontally, color inverted, and partially masked out 1. A plain ol’ concrete wall serves as the backdrop.
3.Volley 9 text, flipped and color inverted
4. Image detail (contrast enhanced)
I wanted something simple yet rich
“I Am … Bagman!”: Bob Gundu vs. Farhez Rayani Bob Gundu and Farhez Rayani have known each other for a while, both having worked for several years at Alias Systems, contributing to that company’s award-winning 3D software, Maya. Expect to see some 3D work thrown into the fray on this one, though not necessarily in the ways you might expect. Although both gentlemen have long experience with high-end special effects, this is their first time to face off in the Photoshop Tennis arena. The results are unique. Some matches explode in a burst of Technicolor fury right from the start, but this one builds slowly to a dark and unexpected climax. Enjoy. Although most of the artists in this book worked from the smaller, flattened versions of each other’s serves, Gundu’s and Rayani’s volleys were generally pretty small, and they traded the full, layered versions. While this wasn’t strictly forbidden, let’s all take this opportunity to frown at them reprovingly, just for a second. All right. That’s enough.
I Am â€Ś Bagman!
Designers Match 8: Gundu vs. Rayani
Bob Gundu began working in the computer graphics industry in 1993, when he helped establish the art department at simulator ride company, SimEx. He worked as a film and television visual effects artist at GVFX and then spent five years at Alias Systems, where he developed learning tools for that company’s 3D animation software, Maya. He currently has his own multimedia and
Bob Gundu Years as a Photoshop designer: 10 Area of specialty: Realism Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: Waiting to see what the other guy does Least favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: The time limit, and my wife wondering when it’s over Nondigital art medium: Interior design Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: Layers and masks. In the old days, I had to save whenever I wanted to try something new. Now I can simply duplicate the layer and experiment. How Photoshop has changed the design field: Photoshop does let me experiment with ideas in less time; I remember scaling things next to the photocopy machine and cutting with my trusty X-Acto knife! Height: 5'10" (without my heels) If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be … the toaster oven—it gets cold in Canada! Comfort food: Salmon and cream cheese Best work I ever lost in a computer crash: I made this wicked package for my portfolio: 50 custom boxes with all my work. My computer corrupted the files so I can’t reproduce all that hard work. Collectors’ items now, I tell ya! Favorite sport: Playing beach volleyball If I didn’t have Photoshop … I’d be looking for a color photocopier and a glue stick. They’ll identify my body by … the techno geek stuff on me: iPod, Palm Pilot, Powerbook, cell phone, and probably a brain tumor from all the radiation.
consulting company called 10 Frame Handles. “The name goes back to my visual effects days,” says Gundu. “Whenever we did a shot, we would add 10 frame handles— 10 extra frames—to each end. This gives the editor extra leeway if needed. It became a joke at the office: ‘I know, I know. Add 10 frame handles to the shot.’”
© Lions Gate Films
I swore some day to have a company called 10 Frame Handles
I Am … Bagman!
Farhez received his first computer, a TI 99/4A, at age 8, because his father wanted to discourage him from spending his time in arcades. After making numerous prank phone calls with the built-in speech synthesizer, he taught himself how to program and make images, music, and animations, culminating in his first video game (Spiderman) at age 9. At age 15, he placed first in an open contest to produce a 20-second video commercial. With $5000 in his pocket, he and three close friends started a video production company. Farhez’s love affair with photography and
Farhez Rayani Years as a Photoshop designer: More or less since 1991 Area of specialty: CG
Photoshop began in a high-school photo class.
Nondigital art medium: Photography
Farhez studied computer science at Simon Fraser
Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: Custom convolution
University and then switched to Fine Arts and Media Studies at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, where he was introduced to the world of computer graphics. Realizing that all these years of experimenta-
How Photoshop has changed the design field: “Photoshop” is now used as a verb in everyday conversation. Music I listen to while playing Photoshop Tennis: Amon Tobin,Talvin Singh, Röyksopp, and Björk.
tion in various fields had finally converged, Farhez
Most influential read: Einstein’s Dreams
accepted an offer to
Influential motion pictures: City of Lost Children, The Nightmare Before Christmas,The Matrix,The Lord of the Rings
work in Toronto on the then-little-known 3D animation package called Maya. Farhez is pursuing a deeper role in feature film production and continues exploring photography. www.farhez.com
“Photoshop” is now a verb in everyday conversation
Volley 1: Bob Gundu A match has to begin somewhere. “I began with a
didn’t want to export it as a rasterized image,” says
photograph I took of my cousin’s band, The Vul-
Gundu, “because I wasn’t sure if I would have to
can Dub Squad,” says Bob Gundu. He took the
scale it up.”
photo with a five-megapixel Olympus 5050 digital
When he had resized and repositioned the
camera, in the dead of winter, at the Harris Water
new layer to his liking, Gundu reduced its opacity
Filtration Plant near Lake Ontario. It’s a much
to a mere 13%. To further blend the new, boxy sky
lovelier place than it sounds. Really.
in with the rest of the composition, Gundu created
Gundu imported the photo into Photoshop,
a layer mask for his grid layer and filled it with a
copied and pasted it to a new layer in his
white-to-black vertical gradient, gently fading the
composition, and slid it around until only the
boxes out toward the bottom.
rightmost figure—the lead singer, not that we can tell— remained in frame. Gundu wanted to keep the serve simple, but things were a little too simple at this point. He fired up Maya and modeled your basic grid of 3D boxes in that
1.The Vulcan Dub Squad, cooling it at the Harris Water Filtration Plant
program. He rendered the grid
2. Gundu modeled a simple 3D grid of boxes in Maya 3D.
out as an Adobe Illustrator vector file, imported the AI file into Photoshop, and placed it on a new layer above the figure. “I
3.The rendered grid
4. Gundu placed the grid as a sky element …
… and reduced its opacity.
a photograph of my cousinâ€™s band
Volley 2: Farhez Rayani Farhez Rayani knew right away that he wanted to
the brightness and contrast (Image → Adjustments
preserve the mysterious bag-headed stranger from
→ Brightness/Contrast), and then set the layer in
Gundu’s serve. “Our bag-headed friend is pretty
Overlay mode. “I left the background black,” says
unique,” he says, “and I thought he was worth
Rayani, “instead of making it transparent, because
keeping around for the next volley.”
I found that the black increased the contrast of
He began by using Quick Mask to paint a selection over the figure, and then he copied and
our friend over the background and made him stand out.”
pasted him into a new Photoshop file. He saved
“I figured Bob had something in mind for all
that Photoshop file and then imported it into a
that white space in a future volley,” says Rayani, “so
program called ASCII Generator from Jonathan
I decided to preserve it.” Still, some changes were
Mathews Software (www.go.to/ascgen). This pro-
in order. Rayani wanted to make the grid at the
1. Rayani began by using Quick Mask to select the hooded man from his background.
gram generates new images com-
top of Gundu’s serve more prominent. He inverted
posed of black ASCII characters
the colors, producing a white grid on a black
2. ASCII Generator creates a similar new image, composed of ASCII characters. 3.The original figure, then the new ASCII doppelganger with its colors inverted, combined in Overlay mode
on a white background, based on the original
background, and darkened the results. Next, he
image. Anybody who was around a computer lab in
created a new layer beneath the grid and filled it
the ‘80s has seen similar pictures.
with a blue-to-white vertical gradient. He set the
Rayani saved out a bitmap version of the
gradient layer in Darken mode and reduced its
ASCII art and brought that back into Photoshop,
opacity to 51%. The blue beneath gives the grid
placing it on a new layer in his working compo-
some extra “pop.”
sition. “I spent quite a bit of time experimenting
Finally, says Rayani, “Our friend looked like
with ASCII Generator settings and with layering
he was about to fall off the edge of an icy realm.”
the results into the image,” he says. He eventually
To help hold him in place, Rayani created a new
inverted colors (Image → Adjustments → Invert)
layer and used the Line tool to draw a thick black
on the new ASCII layer, white for black, adjusted
cord, tied around his right arm.
about to fall off the edge 188
The data-overdude effect is reminiscent of The Matrix. Could that be Keanu Reaves under that hood? Probably not.
4.The grid from Gundu’s server, inverted and darkened …
of an icy realm
…and placed on top with reduced opacity
5. Rayani slipped a blue-to-white gradient beneath the grid, to better emphasize it.
6.Three simple lines drawn with the Pencil tool will serve to keep our friend safe from falling in.
Volley 3: Bob Gundu With his second volley, says Bob Gundu, “I basically added a new color, green, to the canvas.” He started by selecting some of the boulders
Finally, he added a Drop Shadow and Bevel to the rope layer, making it seem more three dimensional and raising it above the text.
at the bottom of the image with the Lasso tool and then applying a Mosaic filter (Filter → Pixelate → Mosaic) to the selected area. “This gives the feeling of impending digital doom around him,” says Gundu. He added the text, Vulcan—for Vulcan Dub Squad—in the ITC Edwardian Script typeface. He placed the V and the ulcan on two separate layers, making the V twice the size of the rest of the word. He added a smooth inner bevel to both layers, giving the text some 3D weight. Next, he selected the empty space beneath the text, created a new layer beneath the text layers, and filled the selection with a nice pea green to contrast with the blues in the sky and the figure’s clothes. He set the new green layer in Darken mode, preserving many of the details of the snowy background landscape beneath.
2.Where the text overlapped the figure …
1. Gundu added the word Vulcan in Edwardian Script.
…he painted a simple layer mask to bring the character to the fore. 3. Gundu filled the white space beneath the type with green.
the feeling of impending digital doom
Volley 4: Farhez Rayani “I really like the V element that Bob has intro-
adjustments he was about to make. He created a
duced,” says Rayani. “I noticed that it looks like a 2
new Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer (Layer →
when I turn my head, and so I thought I’d play with
New Adjustment Layer → Hue/Saturation) for the
second figure and moved the hues from blue to He started by selecting the V element’s layer
red. He used the selection around the hands to
and using Free Transform to resize and reposition
create a mask for the new adjustment layer, exclud-
the character toward the center of the canvas.
ing the flesh tones from the red shift.
Next, he selected the black cord layer and reposi-
Rayani created a new background layer
tioned it to hold the V … I mean, the 2 … in place.
beneath the figures. Using the Polygonal Lasso
He moved the cord layer and changed its rotation
tool, he selected a goodly portion of the back-
(Edit → Free Transform) so that it appeared to be
ground and filled it with a bright, tennis court
holding up the number 2, rather than the man.
green. To divide the court, he used the Pencil tool
The prominent 2 seems to call for two of
to draw a simple white “chalk line” on a new layer
something. Rayani returned to Volley 2 and copied
above the background. To add some wear to the
1.That V looks like a 2 … if you tilt it a bit.
3. Needs a little something on the right, don’t you think?
2. Rayani hangs the 2 in the air, using the rope from the last volley.
4. Ah, that’s better.
and pasted the bag-headed figure there into a new
chalk line—it is only chalk after all—he imported a
layer in his composition.
random, noisy black-and-white image and selected
Rayani duplicated the new layer and flipped
the dark portions of it (Select → Color Range).
the duplicate horizontally (Edit → Transform →
With that selection active, he clicked the chalk line
Flip Horizontal), placing the second figure on the
layer in the Layers palette and pressed Delete,
right side of the composition, so the two regard each other from beneath their hoods. The two figures looked a little too similar for Rayani’s tastes. He entered Quick Mask mode (shortcut key Q) and used the Paint Brush tool to paint a mask around the hands of the figure on the right, not wanting them to be affected by the color
“I wasn’t concerned about the 2 being cropped in Bob’s image,” says Rayani.“The nice thing about Photoshop is that it actually keeps track of elements that extend outside the canvas, and so you can bring them back into view.”
deleting the selected pixels from the white line. Next, he opened a photo of a tennis racket, selected it with the Quick Mask tool, and copied and pasted it into a new layer in his composition. He had to erase the racket strings and redraw them with the Line tool, both to eliminate the background and to get rid of severe aliasing around the strings in the photo. He resized and rotated the tennis racket into one figure’s grasp, duplicated the layer, and repositioned the new racket for the other figure. “I threw in a tennis ball image I had kicking around,” says Rayani, “added some text on the jackets of our bag-headed friends, and, before I knew it, the round had ended.” It was only a matter of time before the tennis metaphor appeared. Thank goodness that’s over; the wait was killing us.
“Working with many layers can be very cumbersome.
6. It’s Blue Man vs. Red Man. 5. A Hue/Saturation adjustment turns the clothing red.Thanks to a mask, the hands are unaffected.
Once I’m happy with an element, I often merge layers down to make that element more manageable.”
looks like a 2 when I turn my head
Volley 5: Bob Gundu “I took the idea of creating new characters to
Next, he duplicated the tennis rackets several
another level,” says Bob Gundu. “I created a gang
times, and then he scaled and skewed them to fit
with the blue and red Vulcan men.”
their respective holder’s hands.
He began by selecting an arm from the blue
“I liked the chalk line, so I kept it,” says
man, using the Lasso tool. Next, he cut and pasted
Gundu. He also kept the tennis ball. The rope was
the arm to a new layer (Layer → New → Layer Via
in the wrong position now, though, so Gundu
Cut). He moved the new arm layer beneath the
rotated and repositioned that layer (Edit → Free
original blue man layer in the layer stack, reposi-
Transform), bringing the lines back to wrap
tioned it slightly to hide the cut, and then rotated it
around the foreground figure’s arm again.
into a new position.
He removed the gradient mask from the blue
He repeated the process with the red man
sky layer, rendering the background as a solid blue
and then duplicated both the red and the blue lay-
fill. But all that solid blue created a lot of empty,
ers several times to create his gang of players. He
uninteresting background color. To add some
rotated, skewed, and scaled the new men and their
more interest to the composition, Gundu decided
arms to add a little randomness to the mix, making
to add a background design reminiscent of the
it look more like a crowd than a hall of mirrors.
Charlie’s Angels logo. He started by duplicating his document. In the duplicate, he deleted all the layers except those with men and rackets in them, and then he flattened the remaining layers and filled the result with a solid color. He copied and pasted the new solid shape back into his original document and placed it on a new layer behind all the bag-headed figures. He used the Free Transform tool to size the
1. Gundu copied figures and repositioned arms to create an array of tennis players.
solid shape up, making it about 20% larger than the original figures. He duplicated this layer twice and scaled each copy up even further. He filled the three shapes with alternating dark and light green, but the results didn’t work out as well as he had hoped.
2.With a solid blue background, the composition felt empty.
3. Gundu collapsed the players into a single shape and filled it with green.
4. An interim version, with alternating light and dark green background shapes
Instead, he set the three new layers to Screen mode and tweaked their opacity so that they interact with the solid blue background in the final composition as shades of bluish white.
Is it just me, or do those guys seem afraid to cross the line and go after that ball? Do they fear its super ball powers?
afraid to cross the line?
Volley 6: Farhez Rayani “Bob’s Charlie’s Angels ganging up on the lonely
canvas, where it was threatening the red player. He
tennis ball gave me a chuckle,” says Farhez Rayani.
turned off the Drop Shadow on the ball to make it
“So I decided to turn tables and ask, ‘What if a
seem higher above the ground. To give the ball a
whole bunch of balls ganged up on the players?’”
sense of motion, he duplicated the layer and
He began by using the Lasso tool to select
applied a motion blur (Filter → Blur → Motion
some arms and legs from the figures, copying and
Blur) to the duplicate. He then moved the blur
pasting them to new layers and rotating them into
layer beneath the tennis ball layer. Finally he dupli-
awkward positions. Next, he duplicated the tennis
cated the ball and ball blur layers and moved the
ball layer a helluva bunch of times, repositioning the
duplicates over where they would threaten the blue
new layers to form a pile over the unseen players.
player, giving him a reason to run as well.
He duplicated a tennis racket to a new layer,
Next, Rayani created a new blue and orange
on which he used the Lasso tool to select half the
background layer, “colors befitting an action
racket and then used Free Transform (Edit → Free
scene,” he says. He repositioned the chalk line to
Transform) to “snap” the racket in half. He
overlay the seam between the two colors.
repeated the process on a second racket for the second buried player.
“To give an exaggerated sense of motion to our bag friends, I decided to add some Six Million
The crushed guys beneath the pile of balls
Dollar Man motion blur,” says Rayani. He right-
were a little too passive. “I wanted to have a couple
clicked the red player’s layer thumbnail in the Lay-
of our bag friends running for their lives,” says
ers palette, choosing Select Layer Transparency.
Rayani. He started with one of the red figures from
Next, he created a new layer beneath the red
the previous volley, selecting one of his legs below
player and filled the selection with white. He dese-
the knee and then cutting and pasting it to a new
lected the figure and then applied a blast of wind
layer beneath the original. He rotated the leg to a
to the new layer with the Wind filter (Filter → Styl-
more joggerly stance and then repeated the
ize → Wind + Blast + From The Right). He
process with the arms. When he was happy with the
smoothed out the effect with a touch of Gaussian
pose, he merged the layers and used the Clone
Blur (Filter → Blur → Gaussian Blur). Finally, he
Stamp tool to blend the breaks together seamlessly.
repeated the process on the blue player, reversing
He then repeated the process with a blue player,
the direction of the blast of wind.
placing him in a different running pose. The runners need something to be running from, so Rayani duplicated a tennis ball layer and moved the new ball down toward the center of the
1. Rayani began by selecting a few arms and legs.
2. A small pile of splayed limbs
some Six Million Dollar Man
5.Two players, at least, crushed beneath a pile of hostile balls 3. Rayani rotated the legs to new positions.
4.The figure, filled with white …
… blasted with the Wind filter …
… and smoothed out with a touch of Gaussian Blur
Volley 7: Bob Gundu “I used every element from Volley 6,” says Bob Gundu. “The goal was to make a really cheesy ad.” Gundu began copying the layers containing the blue figure, his tennis racket, and his blur onto new layers in his composition. He locked the layers together and then resized and repositioned them (Edit → Free Transform). To flatten the figure and render him more abstract, Gundu ran him through the Cutout filter (Filter → Artistic → Cutout). “I
1. Gundu begins with a single player on a plain background.
2. He laid in every element from Volley 6.
… placed behind the main figures
4. Some well-placed text completes the poster.
actually used this filter on all the images in this piece,” he says. He placed a simple pastel background behind the flattened figure and then placed a new layer of noisy streaks above it, in Multiply mode, at 25%
3. A black border, made by running a black stroke through the Glass filter…
opacity. Next, he began layering in all the elements
below the figures. He selected the entire canvas
from Alexander’s volley: tennis rackets, tennis balls,
(Edit → Select All) and then chose Edit → Stroke.
the chalk line, and so forth. Gundu darkened and
He set the stroke width to 50 pixels, the color to
desaturated (Image → Adjust → Hue/Saturation)
black, and the location to inside. To tear the result-
several of the elements, including the heap of tennis
ing border a little bit, Gundu ran it through the
balls, the loose tennis balls, and the second hooded
Glass filter (Filter → Distort → Glass).
figure. By desaturating and shrinking these ele-
He used a similar technique to create the black
ments, he pushed them clearly into the background,
outlines surrounding the large words, creating a rec-
leaving the first, blue figure clearly predominant.
tangular selection with the Rectangular Marquee
Gundu added the title text, the large words
tool, filling that selection with black, and then run-
Camp and Deliverance, on two new layers, in the
ning the Glass filter on the results. He cut the out-
Base Nine and Bell Gothic typefaces, respectively.
lines into sections, and rotated each of them a bit,
He sprinkled a number of smaller text elements
separately. He also rasterized the words Camp Deliver-
around—the summer camp phrase, $25 value, and so
ance and ran that through the Glass filter, as well.
on—done in the Courier typeface. To make a border around the image, he first created a new layer, above the background but
Finally, he brought the orange-and-blue background from Volley 6 up to the top of the stack and set it in Overlay mode, colorizing the final image.
make a really cheesy ad
Volley 8: Farhez Rayani “Bob’s volley was a bit of a curve ball,” says Farhez
new ASCII art version of the scene. He brought the
Rayani. “In past volleys the next step was pretty
ASCII art in as a background layer in a new Photo-
intuitive, but I spent almost half my time for this
shop file. He added a Brightness/Contrast adjust-
volley brainstorming a concept. I finally decided to
ment layer above the background (Layer → New
take our dark, running bag friend in the bottom-
Adjustment Layer → Brightness/Contrast), darken-
left corner of Bob’s last volley and place him in a
ing the background and bumping up the contrast.
late-night film-noir city scene.”
Next, he placed the rendered 3D city scene on a
To create the city background, Rayani once
new layer above the background, in Hard Light
again turned to Maya. He used the Paint/FX fea-
mode, allowing the ASCII characters to show
ture to create 3D objects (for example, buildings)
through and provide subtle texture.
by simply painting them on with a brush. “I created
Rayani copied the smaller figure from
a new template brush and tuned some parameters,
Gundu’s volley and placed him on a new layer. He
and within a few minutes I was painting buildings,”
completely desaturated the figure (Edit → Adjust
→ Desaturate) to render him purely black and
Next, he modeled some lamp posts using
white and fit him in with the dark tones of the com-
NURBS surfaces, a more traditional means of 3D
position. Rayani wanted to add some rain in the
modeling, and added a simple sidewalk and road.
foreground and puddles and splashes on the
“Given more time,” says Rayani, “I would have liked
ground. “With more time, I would have used parti-
to add some fog to give more depth and mystery to
cles and soft bodies in Maya to achieve this,” he
says, “but with the end of the volley quickly
He rendered the scene as a TIFF file,
approaching, I settled on a quick 2D solution in
imported it into ASCII Generator, and created a
Photoshop and only made the rain.” Rayani used
1. Rayani “painted” simple 3D buildings in Maya.
5.The ASCII background shows through the rendered buildings.
2. He used NURBS modeling in Maya to create lamp posts.
3.The rendered night scene from Maya
4. ASCII Generator renders the scene in ASCII text.
6. Needs some rain
7. A little night rain, courtesy of Mark’s Rain
8. A generic grunge map dirties things up a bit.
the Mark’s Rain actlet from the Adobe Studio
Finally, he resized the bag-headed figure, scal-
Exchange (www.share.studio.adobe.com) to create
ing him up considerably to fill the frame (Edit →
a simple rain effect. He placed the rain layer on
Free Transform). “He already had a nice white out-
top, set in Screen mode.
line around parts of his body, which serves as a rim
The background looked too clean to fit
light,” says Rayani.
Rayani’s film noir vision, so he added a generic “grunge” layer above the background
Looks like he’s hurrying
in Multiply mode at 23% opacity.
after a departing cab. Maybe he left his tennis racket in the trunk?
settled on a quick 2D solution
Volley 9: Bob Gundu “The first thing I did,” says Bob Gundu, “was
ing out the bottom part of the screen so that the red
change the physical appearance of Vulcan man.”
is only applied to the buildings and sky. He set the
He retained the larger figure from Rayani’s volley,
new, red layer in Overlay mode and then duplicated
but selected the figure’s arms and legs with the
it to emphasize the red color of the buildings.
Lasso tool and then rotated them into new posi-
He created a new layer, above the blue and
tions (Edit → Free Transform). He straightened
the red layers, and filled this one with green. Next,
the legs to make the figure stand up straight. “I also
he Ctrl+clicked the layer containing the hooded
put his hands in his pockets,” says Gundu. “This
man, setting the current selection to that layer’s
put him in a more somber and passive mood.”
transparency, and then he created a new layer
He retained Rayani’s black-and-white city
mask for the green layer. Photoshop automatically
background, sans rain. Gundu really benefited
sets the new layer mask to reveal only the green
here from his and Rayani’s exchange of layered,
with the outlines of the hooded figure.
rather than flattened, files. There was no way he
Next, he grabbed Rayani’s ASCII-rendered
could have extracted Rayani’s cityscape from
background layer from the very bottom of the layer
behind the rain in a flattened file without tons of
stack and brought it up just beneath the new green
work and retouching. With a layered PSD, on the
layer. Again, he Ctrl+clicked the layer containing
other hand, he just dragged the background file
the hooded man, setting the current selection to
from Rayani’s volley into his own.
that layer’s transparency. He then created a new
“I like the fact I had a blank slate in terms of
matching layer mask on the ASCII-rendered layer,
color,” says Gundu. “Since there was this digital age
masking out the ASCII characters everywhere but
theme, I couldn’t resist using primary colors—red,
within the hooded figure. He set the green layer in
1. Gundu retained Rayani’s noir background, overlaying it with blue and red. He doubled the red to heighten its effect.
2. He masked Rayani’s ASCII background.
green, and blue.” He began by creating a new layer
Multiply mode and then set the top layer contain-
above the background, filling it with solid blue and
ing the hooded man to Hard Light mode. The
setting it to Overlay mode. He added a layer mask to
resulting character is black-and-ASCII, with bright
constrain the layer’s visibility to the bottom, street
portion of the scene. Next, he created a new layer
He created a new layer beneath the figure
above the blue layer, filling this one with a solid red.
and painted in a simple shadow with the Paint-
He used the opposite mask on the red layer, mask-
Finally, he created a few dark plants in Maya, using Paint/FX. He rendered the plants out as an Illustrator AI file and then brought them in on a new layer at the top of his composition. The AI file had no background color surrounding the plants, so Gundu could simply place them on top, in
3. Gundu created and rendered some flowering plants in Maya and imported them as an AI file.
a more somber and passive mood
Volley 10: Farhez Rayani “I thought it would be fun to give the match a dra-
mode, with a layer mask masking out everything
matic ending,” says Farhez Rayani. “The last few
but the circle of light itself. Rayani placed the
volleys had taken a dark turn, so I thought that a
searchlight beam above the clouds, and beneath
spoof on the ‘Dark Knight’—Batman—might be
the circular light, in Soft Light mode. To fine-tune
appropriate.” Thus we witness the birth of a new
the light’s interaction with the background, he cre-
ated a layer mask filled with a 75% gray, creating an
Rayani began in Maya, modeling a 3D tower, which he rendered, in grayscale, as a TIFF file. Just as Batman needs his Bat Signal, so would
effect similar to setting the layer opacity to 25%. He cut a hole in the mask (that is, filled it with black) under the circular light element, allowing it
Bagman need a Bag Signal. Still in Maya, Rayani cre-
to shine through to the clouds beneath. The tower
ated a foggy spotlight and rendered its beam from a
went on a new layer in Luminosity mode.
number of different angles. He rendered the spot-
The Bag Signal had to be more than a simple
light beams, like the tower, in grayscale, planning to
searchlight. Rayani duplicated the ornate V charac-
add all his color via blend modes in Photoshop.
ter and rotated the copy 180 degrees. He merged the
He copied Bagman-to-be into a new Photo-
V layers, resized them to fit within the signal, and set
shop file and painted a cape for him with the Paint-
the new layer in Soft Light mode. He changed the
logo to blue (Image → Adjust → Hue/Saturation)
“Gotham City at night is often depicted with a
and then fuzzed it out with some Gaussian Blur.
hazy cloud cover,” says Rayani, “so I used Photo-
Finally, he brought the caped Bagman in atop
shop’s Clouds filter (Filter → Render → Render
the tower on a new layer in Multiply mode, resizing
Clouds) to quickly generate some clouds on a new
him to fit the composition (Edit → Free Trans-
layer.” He adjusted the color of the clouds (Image
form). He hand-painted a shadow on a new layer
→ Adjustments → Color Balance) to a bluish tint
beneath Bagman, and set the shadow layer in Color
and added an adjustment layer (Layer → New
Burn mode at 70% opacity. He hand-painted some
Adjustment Layer → Brightness/Contrast) to
simple, bluish highlights around the figure on a
brighten them slightly.
new layer, to help break him out of the background.
Next, he brought the rendered tower and
And then, just when the last volley was fin-
spotlight beams into Photoshop. He placed the cir-
ished, Rayani realized that he had somehow, inad-
cular light beam on a new layer in Hard Light
vertently, created it at the wrong size … 1200 pixels
1. Rayani created an interesting tower in Maya and rendered it as a grayscale bitmap image.
2. He used a foggy spotlight in Maya to create simple light effects, which he layered into his composition.
called for. “Ugh! I could feel a headache coming on,” says Rayani. “The good news is that, since many of the elements were not razor sharp to begin with, I was able to resize them within minutes with no noticeable degradation. I only had to rerender the tower in Maya, which took less than a minute. Careful planning at the beginning of the volley—splitting everything into layers—allowed me to avoid redoing the entire image. This totally justifies all the extra setup time—even more so when working under strict production deadlines.”
3. Bagman acquires the requisite cape.
4.The pieces are in place, but Bagman needs a signal and some highlights to better separate him from the background.
Ugh! I could feel a headache coming on
square instead of the 1575 pixels that the book
“Grungy-Sexy-Cool”: Michelle Kwajafa vs. Nate Smith
Next up, we’ve got two young rowdies from opposite ends of North America. Now stepping into the ring, in the blue hip-hop trunks, standing six feet tall and sporting some nifty tattoos, from Baltimore, Maryland: Michelle Kwajafa. And in the redand-white trunks, also standing six feet tall, sporting dreadlocks and a mischievous grin, from San Francisco by way of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada: Nate Smith. These two designers both specialize in web design, but their approaches couldn’t be more different. Look for Kwajafa to throw tons of photographic material into the mix, and expect Smith to go 3D sometime before the end of the match. Hold onto your popcorn.
Designers Match 9: Kwajafa vs. Smith
Photographer and designer Michelle Kwajafa attended the College of Notre Dame in Maryland on a full scholarship, but things didn’t work out. “It was all girls. Quite horrible,” she says. She eventually left to study in the new Digital Art department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “That was perfect,” she says. “I could get an art degree and still have a job after I got out.” She
Michelle Kwajafa Years as a Photoshop designer: 7 First version of Photoshop I used: Whatever was out in ’95
graduated in 1999 with a Fine Arts degree. Kwajafa lives in the Baltimore area where she grew up and currently works for the French news agency, Agence France-Presse, in Washington, D.C.
Area of specialty: Photographic manipulation
“I never watch the news,” she admits, “but the guy
Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: Working fast, and no holds barred on the creativity
who interviewed me was a basketball fan and so am
Nondigital art medium: Paint, glass, ink Favorite non-Photoshop software: Flash Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: Adjust Brightness/Contrast Photoshop: encourages creativity in design ... so many options! Height: 6'
I, so we talked about basketball for an hour and I got the job.” What’s it like working for a French company? “I’ve already had some champagne today,” she says. “That’s the beauty of working for a French company: champagne every chance they get.” www.soulsabyss.net
If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be … a spoon! Music I listen to while playing Photoshop Tennis: Mostly hip-hop, such as KRS ONE and Talib Kweli Comfort food: Popcorn cooked in olive oil with salt, pepper, and cloves. Does beer count as food? Favorite motion picture: I like Fear of a Black Hat quite a bit. That is one funny movie. Dance: Hip-hop! Favorite read: Submarine books, spy books, mystery books Favorite sport: Watching basketball If I didn’t have Photoshop, I’d be … playing Metroid Prime. They’ll identify my body by … my tattoos.
just grab my camera and go see where I end up
The thing that drew me to San Francisco–based designer Nate Smith was his website: an unexpected brew of unabashedly bad drawings and beautiful, professional design work. “You can’t take yourself too seriously,” explains Smith. “We’re designers; we’re not curing cancer. It’s nice to make fun of yourself once in a while.” Smith discovered the Internet at 13, back in 1994, and promptly began dissecting websites and building his own. When he stumbled across a site with links to designers’ sites, says Smith, “It just blew my mind. I said, ‘This is what I was meant to do!’ I combined the design stuff with my technical
Nate Smith Years as a Photoshop designer: 9 years, since I was 13. Area of specialty: Skiing deep powder with a huge grin
was giving web-design seminars for the Canadian
Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: The immediacy, and the artistic collaboration with someone you’ve never met
Nondigital art medium: Duct tape
knowledge and … I was a web designer.” At 16, he
Smith graduated with a BFA in multimedia from the University of Lethbridge in 2002 and currently works at The Attik, designing for print, web, broadcast, and 3D. www.nsmith.com
Favorite non-Photoshop software: Instant Messenger, keeps me in touch! Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: Image → Adjust → Auto Levels, the lazy man’s secret weapon How Photoshop has changed the design field: How has the hammer changed carpentry? If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be … a cheese grater. But only ’cause I really like cheese. Cheese is good. Mmm, cheese. Music I listen to while playing Photoshop Tennis: AFI, Dan Bern, Hayden,Tegan & Sara,Tiger Army, Ben Lee, Elevator..., and of course “I Love My Computer” by Bad Religion. Comfort food: Calling home,Twix, and root beer Dance: www.nsmith.com/therobot/ Favorite read: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn Favorite sport: Skiing, cycling, hiking, and swimming
what I was meant to do!
If I didn’t have Photoshop, I’d be a train conductor. Website I visit too often: www.cbcr3.com They’ll identify my body by … the dreads.
Volley 1: Michelle Kwajafa “I knew which photograph I wanted to start with,”
very dark red (RGB =
says Michelle Kwajafa: “a photo I took in Chicago
20,0,0). Setting this
of a mannequin surrounded by butterflies. I
layer to Color mode
decided to keep it light and airy.”
forced almost all the
She opened the photo in Photoshop, dupli-
color out of the under-
cated it on a new layer, and applied Filter → Noise
lying layers, leaving only
→ Median. She set the duplicate layer to Screen
a pale, dirty-rose tint.
mode, lightening and softening the original image.
Kwajafa was happy
“It’s one of my favorite ways to reduce initial graini-
with the background. “I
ness,” says Kwajafa.
wanted to start adding a
She next placed a photo of a peach rose on a
focus,” she says. She
1. A digital photo of a mannequin, to start things off
new layer in Screen mode, positioning it so that the
opened a photo of a
petals resembled thigh-highs on the mannequin.
clock tower, selected the clock face with the Ellipti-
She used the Eraser tool with a large airbrush to get
cal Selection tool, and pasted it to a new layer. She
rid of unwanted areas. “I like the big airbrush for an
used Free Transform to skew and scale the clock
eraser,” say Kwajafa. “It’s soft, and I usually work
and set the layer mode to Hard Light. She fine-
very big anyway and use blending modes to drop
tuned the hue and saturation (Ctrl+U) to better fit
out the backgrounds of the images I work with. The
her composition and color palette and used a tiny
giant eraser thing works great for me, though it
airbrush eraser on the clock edges, blending it
would make some Photoshop lovers cringe.”
She duplicated the rose layer and shifted it
Kwajafa wanted the butterflies to play a big-
around a bit to add some more texture. Next, Kwa-
ger role. She selected one from her original photo
jafa brought in a photo of a crumbling plaster wall
with the Polygon Lasso. “I wasn’t worried about
and put it on a new layer, in Overlay mode, and
being too precise here,” she says. “The background
applied the giant eraser.
is white so I could use layer modes to drop the
Time to play with the color. Kwajafa created a new layer, set in Color mode, and used the Paint-
white out of my butterfly layers.” She pasted the butterfly on a new layer just
brush tool with a large brush to paint the image
above the clock, in Linear Burn mode and
with new colors.
duplicated the layer several times. She used Free
The upper right was too dense, so she added
Transform to manually scale, rotate, and adjust
a photo of indoor plants on a new layer in Screen
individual butterflies so they are emerging from
mode. She used her giant eraser again, duplicated
the center of the clock face. The butterflies and
the layer twice, and then shifted the layers around until the corner felt more “airy.” A lot of different colors were flitting around, and Kwajafa wanted to try out a monotone background. She created a new layer and filled it with a
About Kwajafa’s style: “I work predominantly from photography. Blending imagery into a photographic collage is what I love about Photoshop. For this book, I took all the imagery I used with a Sony DSC-F707 camera.”
2. A rose for texture
3. Crumbling plaster 4. Some plants help air the image out.
5. Do they still make Bromo Seltzer?
6.The clock face provides the perfect focal point.
the clock are all placed above the dark red Color layer so that they retain their color. Next, Kwajafa added a few more accents, using custom script brushes. Twice, she added a single brush stroke on a new layer, using the same very dark red she used for the Color layer. She used Free Transform to skew the brush strokes. To add more contrast to the mannequin and color highlights to the image, she duplicated her original mannequin layer, dragged the duplicate to the top of the stack, set it to Overlay mode, and used her giant eraser on it. Next, she duplicated
“I play with color relentlessly while I am creating images. Color inspires me in my choice of images to add and fans the creative process.You will see lots of color shifts in my work; it’s more a train of thought I follow than a predetermined course.”
the Median-filtered mannequin layer and dragged it to the top, leaving it in Screen mode.
make some Photoshop lovers cringe
Volley 2: Nate Smith Nate Smith began his serve by crafting a simple,
more flexibility such as scaling, I would have Pasted
iconic bed in Adobe Illustrator. Why a bed? “Both
As Shape,” he says. “However, I was pretty confi-
Michelle and I got up early,” says Smith. “We were
dent I didn’t want to size it up at all.”
very tired at the start of this match. As designers
Next, he created a new layer and used the Pen-
and artists, we often pull in things from our per-
cil tool at a width of one pixel to trace a red border
sonal lives, be they banal or not.”
around the outside of the bed, holding down the
He drew the bed from scratch with the Pen
Shift key to constrain the tool to straight lines, then
tool in Illustrator, using a tablet. “I like to use the
used Free Transform (Ctrl+T) to resize the bed to
tablet for most of my work (with the exception of
better fit within the new border.
3D),” says Smith,
He duplicated the border layer several times
“not so much
and moved the duplicates around the canvas until
because I physically
he found an arrangement he liked. Next, he dupli-
draw with it, but
cated and resized the bed layer, this time making
because I find it
the bed much smaller. He duplicated the smaller
much faster and
bed layer eight times, arranged the layers in a little
three-by-three grid, and merged them.
than the mouse.” Smith pasted
“I felt the image was getting too busy,” says Smith. He adjusted the hue and saturation of the
the bed into a new
background—Kwajafa’s serve—to tone things
layer in Photoshop,
down a bit: “By checking the Colorize box in the
as pixels. “If I
Hue/Saturation dialog and moving the Hue slider
1.Turning things blue
wanted to retain
around, I could give the entire background layer a
2. Blocks of black and red, some set to Dissolve mode
3. Smith had a bit of trouble deciding where to put the tiny beds.
4. A threshold setting of 158 drops out the background details.
slight tint of blue to go well with the red I had introduced,” he says. Smith wanted to simplify the image still further. He used the Sponge tool on Desaturate to remove color from the background, concentrating on the bottom-left corner. On a new layer, Smith made a rectangular selection with the Marquee tool and filled it with solid black, creating a wide rectangle. He duplicated the rectangle layer several times and played with the arrangement, finally stacking a number of rectangles vertically. He filled some with red and left others black. To achieve a gritty look, he set some of the layers to Dissolve mode at varying opacities, reducing the solid blocks to noise. The small beds didn’t seem to be working anymore. “I felt they were now competing with the big boxes on the left,” says Smith. “I had a bit of trouble deciding where to put them.” He finally tucked them in under the big bed, scaling them down and duplicating them to create an arrange-
filled all the pixels with a Luminance value of 158
ment that better fit the new space.
or less (that is, the darkest 60%) with pure black
Smith still felt the image was just too busy. “I
and filled the lighter areas with pure white. “This
wanted to give Michelle some room to work,” he
gave a nice, simple, low-tech look to Michelle’s
says. He set the threshold on the bottom layer to
serve,” says Smith, “while still retaining some of the
158 (Image → Adjustments → Threshold). This
nice forms of the body.”
pull in things from our personal lives
Volley 3: Michelle Kwajafa “Nate’s return gave me some fun static textures to
close-up of an old wooden telephone pole in Balti-
work with,” says Michelle Kwajafa.
more,” says Kwajafa. “People had posted tons of fly-
She started work by copying a large square
ers on it over the years. That’s what was left after
chunk of the black and gray static from the bottom
time and weather got to them. I thought the rusty
of Smith’s volley and pasting it on a new layer to
texture and faded type would be fun to play with.”
cover the white space at bottom right.
She bumped up the brightness and contrast
“I decided to go dark for this image,” says
… a tad too far, then faded the effect (Edit → Fade
Kwajafa, “so I selected the top portion of the
Brightness/Contrast). “Edit → Fade is great,” says
background layer and inverted it. Dark imagery is
Kwajafa, “since you can fade your last command,
something I like to play with a lot, and I love
no matter what it was. You can also change the
working on black backgrounds, even though it
Fade mode, which is really fun to play with.” She
would make some of my old teachers throw
set the layer to Overlay mode.
complete hissy fits.”
Time to bring in a new picture: a fire escape.
She adjusted the hue and saturation to change the teal blue that resulted from the
1. Kwajafa started by inverting the colors and erasing stray specks of white.
She pasted it onto a new layer and used Free Transform to fit it to the upper-left corner. She bumped
2. A photo of barbed wire combines with a poster-covered phone pole to create some scary textures.
inverted red colors to a mossy green. To clean up
up the contrast until the
the black space, she used the Paintbrush tool with a
edges seemed to fall off.
small (for her) 100-pixel brush to paint black over stray bits of white.
Next came a black-andwhite photo of an alley,
She opened a photo of barbed wire and
placed on a new layer in Lin-
adjusted the brightness and contrast to render the
ear Light mode. Kwajafa only
image stark black and white. She copied and
wanted to keep the dark area
pasted it to a new layer in her composition and set
with the brick texture, so she
the layer to Lighten mode.
used the Polygonal Lasso tool
Next, she added a photo of … a photo of … what the heck is that photo of, anyway? “It’s a
to select that area, inverted
3. A fire escape will cast lovely beams of light in the final composition.
her selection (Select →
dark imagery is
Inverse), and deleted the rest. She repositioned the layer and then busted out the big eraser to clean up some stray white bits. Kwajafa decided the colors on the fire escape were distracting and desaturated that layer. Finally, she wanted to add a little text to the mix. “I typed Baltimore,” she says, “since that’s where I took all these pictures.” She used the Voy Dot LCD typeface. She rasterized the font layer and then used Free Transform to stretch the B. Using the Magic Wand tool with a tolerance of 50, she selected the white squares making up the B. With the selection still active, she returned to her original fire escape photo, copied it, and pasted it into the selection (Edit → Paste Into). This left the fire escape visible through the selection, but nowhere else. She desaturated the new fire escape layer and repositioned it slightly.
“When choosing layer modes, I flip through them and see which one works best for me. I do the same thing with fonts ... a lot of experimentation. I really never know what an image is going too look like till I am done. It’s all part of the pleasure of Photoshop for me, the creative process of making something new, and oftentimes unexpected.” 4. An alleyway enters the mix.
5. Big B Baltimore
something I like to play with a lot
Volley 4: Nate Smith “When I opened Michelle’s third volley, I was really
Next, Smith colorized the tips of the pickets
psyched,” says Nate Smith. “There were elements
(Image → Adjustments → Hue/Saturation + Col-
in her image that I liked and could see some poten-
orize) a nice purple. Actually, Smith intended to
tial with.” Smith placed Kwajafa’s volley as the back-
turn the entire shape purple, but the adjustment
ground of his new composition and then dupli-
was limited to the gray tip. “It turned out to be a
cated it on a second layer above the first. He placed
nice mistake,” he says, so he kept it.
the top layer in Color Burn mode, deepening and darkening things substantially.
To get some contrast with the purple, he returned to the duplicate of Kwajafa’s volley and
Next, he used the Eraser tool and one of
adjusted its hue and saturation (without selecting
Photoshop’s Natural brushes to erase parts of the
Colorize) to turn things a funky lime green, while
top layer, “de-harshening” the red areas by letting
still maintaining variation within the color. “I was
the underlying image show through. Using the
trying to go for a punchy color scheme with this
same brush, this time with the Paintbrush tool, he
one,” says Smith, “using colors I normally wouldn’t
painted over elements he wanted to remove in
use together … or even at all!” He changed the
greened-up layer from Color Burn to Normal,
The bright vertical element at the top right caught his eye. He selected it with the Marquee
obscuring the original background. Next, he used the Lasso tool to select the
tool and then copied and pasted it to a new layer.
group of white shapes at the top right and used
He duplicated this new layer many times, sliding
Free Transform (Ctrl+T) to scale them down.
each duplicate to the left to form a horizontal
Now Smith fired up Macromedia FreeHand
picket of vertical strokes. He periodically merged
10. He imported his Photoshop file as a reference
the layers as he went, to keep things manageable.
background and used his tablet and FreeHand’s
He set some of the shapes down to 7% opacity,
Pencil tool to quickly sketch a free-form squiggle
leaving them bare hints.
over the top. He set the squiggly line to one of
3. One vertical stroke becomes many. 2. Using Hue/Saturation to color the background a bright lime green 1. Smith started by duplicating Kwajafa’s volley, placing the duplicate in Burn mode.
4. Free Transform scales things down.
didn’t feel the image had quite enough zing
FreeHand’s dashed-line presets and copied and pasted the results into a new Photoshop layer, as pixels. He reduced the opacity of the new line layer to 69% and erased some lines that felt out of place. He drew a one-pixel-wide line with the Brush tool, holding down Shift to constrain the tool to a straight line, and then, still holding down Shift, rotated the layer 45 degrees. He duplicated the layer three times, arranged the layers in parallel, and positioned them over the green elements. “I still didn’t feel the image had quite enough zing,” says Smith. He recolorized the rightmost strokes (Image → Adjustments → Hue/Saturation + Colorize), turning their tips from purple to bright baby blue.
…drawn freehand in FreeHand
5. Crazy dotted lines and parallel slashes… 6. Detail
Volley 5: Michelle Kwajafa “The lines on the right side of Nate’s volley looked like fun to play with,” says Michelle Kwajafa. She selected the right side of the image and used the Motion Blur filter to round the lines out and 2. A theatrical mask is added.
make them appear more cylindrical. “I went with a mask theme for this volley,” says Kwajafa. She brought in a photo of a Tiki mask, adjusted its brightness and contrast, and then copied and
1. A spooky Tiki mask makes a great starting point.
3. A crumbly wall for texture
pasted it into a new layer in her compo-
different photos. I may open ten or so before I set-
sition, in Hard Light mode. She used the Free
tle on one to mix in.”
Transform tool to fit the mask to her canvas and then desaturated the layer. She opened a photo of another mask, desatu-
The broken window isn’t recognizable as such in the final composition; Kwajafa ran it through the Polar Coordinates filter (Filter → Distort → Polar
rated it and adjusted the contrast, and then copied
Coordinates + Rectangular to Polar). “That���s gave
and pasted it to a new layer in her composition in
me stripes on the face at the bottom,” says Kwajafa.
Hard Light mode. She added a photo of a crum-
“They become a frown of sorts. It’s like the unhappy
bling wall to the mix, to give the image a little more
theatre mask.” She duplicated the distorted win-
texture. She placed that on a new layer, in Multiply
dowpane to a new layer, set in Color mode, to bring
mode, and erased the right half of the layer.
out the subtle hues in the windowpane image.
Next, she pasted another copy of her original
“I wanted to add an eyeball to my mask,” says
mask into her composition, in Hue mode, to
Kwajafa, “so I opened a picture I had taken of my
emphasize the shape.
eye.” Zooming way in, she used the Polygon Lasso
Kwajafa duplicated the composition so far,
tool to select the eyeball and feathered the selec-
flattened it, and ran the Fragment filter (Filter →
tion to smooth out the edges a bit. She pasted the
Pixelate → Fragment). She copied and pasted the
eye on a new layer and positioned it over the mask.
results to a new layer in her composition, set to
The eye’s orientation was fine, but it didn’t
Hard Light mode. Next she busted out her trade-
blend smoothly with the rest of the image. Kwajafa set
mark giant Eraser tool and erased most of the frag-
the layer to Luminosity, which greatly improved the
mented layer, leaving just enough to soften the
blend but removed all the eye’s color. To restore col-
edges and add some texture.
or, she duplicated the eye layer and set the new layer
Next came a photo of a broken windowpane, on a new layer set to Overlay. Kwajafa used Free
in Linear Dodge mode. She then adjusted the brightness and contrast of the top eye layer and used the
Transform to fit the photo to her canvas. “It evened out my colors a bit,” she says, “so I decided it could
“I often flatten my working composition,”
stay. Throughout this process, I experimented with
says Kwajafa, “so I can add effects to it as a whole.”
more fun with those stripes
Burn tool with a small brush to darken the eye’s edges, further improving the blend. Her first mask image had become difficult to see beneath the dense textures. She copied that first mask layer and brought the duplicate layer up the stack, directly beneath the eyeball layers. She set the duplicate layer in Hard Light mode. Using the Rectangular Marquee, she selected the color-tipped stripes at the right of Smith’s volley and copied and pasted them to a new layer in her composition. She duplicated this new layer three times and aligned the layers from top to bottom along the left side. She duplicated the layer a few more times, gave the new duplicates a touch of motion blur, and laid them at the bottom of the composition. Finally, she created a new blank layer at the top of the stack and painted on it in black to clean up some errant white flecks here and there. Then, just before uploading, she decided to stagger the lines on the left, and delete the bottom ones completely.
5. Kwajafa sees all.
4. And a broken windowpane …
…distorted in Polar mode, for some nice stripiness
6.There’s a little too much texture …
… but another copy of the mask, in Hard Light mode, restores the shape.
“I take a lot of texture-based pictures. People tend to look at me like, why in God’s name is she taking a close-up of peeling paint? Well, hey, I like textures.... and stuff like that comes in real handy in projects like these! Plus, it’s a fun way to get outside and get some air and exercise.”
Volley 6: Nate Smith “Up to this point,” says Nate Smith, “we’d been in a highly layered/textured style. I wanted to try to break out of that style, to introduce some cleanliness, and perhaps open things up for some more literal subject matter. The challenge was to make the departure while still leaving some remnants for a smooth transition.” Smith started out by tracing the contour of Kwajafa’s volley (Filters → Stylize → Trace Contour) with a Lower setting of 159. He created a
1. Using Trace Contours to reduce the previous volley to simple lines
2. Smith created some simple blue circle designs in Adobe Illustrator.
new layer, filled with baby blue, and placed his
mode and then used the Eraser tool to remove
traced background on top of it, in Screen mode.
everything but the face and a few other elements.
This had the effect of rendering all the lines in blue.
Finally, Smith added some bright-red text elements to add more contrast and interest to the
Smith opened Adobe Illustrator and
composition. He chose the big, curvy DS Imitate
imported his Photoshop work as a background.
typeface to complement the circles. “I wonder if
With this for a guide, he created some simple circle
anyone will notice that I spelled absense wrong,”
designs. He copied and pasted the circles into a
says Smith. Nah. Probably not. (The phrase is sup-
new layer in Photoshop, as pixels. He duplicated
posed to be “textual absence resolution.”)
the layer several times, repositioning, resizing, and in some cases recoloring the duplicates red. In the end, he left out the red circles, opting to add red text elements, instead. “The background was still a bit imposing,” he says. He duplicated the background layer and set the duplicate layer to Color mode. This dropped the background back to the nice baby blue and better unified the composition. “The only problem,” says Smith, “was that I had lost the outline of the face.” To regain those outlines, he duplicated the background layer yet again and moved it to the top of the layer stack. He set the new layer in Normal
Both Illustrator and FreeHand have their strengths and weaknesses, says Smith. FreeHand’s main advantage is that it is easy to do multiple-page documents, which is especially useful for projects such as storyboards or website layouts. “The main pet peeve I have with FreeHand,” says Smith,“is that dotted lines only show up in the ‘preview’ mode. So if I’m using dotted lines in a project, I like to use Illustrator. I also find Illustrator’s Layers palette much more intuitive, and the ability to use transparency is another plus. Deciding which program to use for a project is actually one of the most frustrating things, because once you start with one, it’s not really feasible to jump back and forth all the time.”
3. Smith duplicated, resized, and recolored the circles.
4. Donâ€™t worry. I couldnâ€™t read it either.
anyone will notice that I spelled absense wrong
Volley 7: Michelle Kwajafa “Cool!” says Michelle Kwajafa upon seeing Smith’s
liked what Difference mode did,” she says. “I was
volley. “Nate’s given me fun vector circles to play
thinking to myself, ‘Hey, that looks cool, but you
with. Being a photo-based person, I don’t do a
said you were going to stay light with this one!’” So
whole lot of vector work. This will be a fun volley,
it was off to find a way to lighten things up.
and I’m gonna keep it light since we just went through a dark phase.”
She found what she was looking for in a photo of a white star. She placed it on a new layer
She began by using the Magic Wand tool to
in Screen mode and used Free Transform to fit it to
select some of the blue circles from Smith’s volley.
her canvas. Then she duplicated the layer, desatu-
She contracted the selection a few pixels (Selection
rated it, and explored color variations (Image →
→ Modify → Contract), to prevent white back-
1. Kwajafa selected the blue circles from Smith’s volley and went crazy nuts with them.
2. A photo of a star on peeling wood lightens things in Screen mode.
ground pixels from littering her circle edges, and then copied and pasted the results into her working canvas on a new layer. She duplicated and transformed
6. A winter-time photo will add a nice orange cast and cool squiggly lights.
the new layer several times, eventually filling her canvas with light-blue circles.
3. Kwajafa prefers a nice orange, thanks.
4. Sparkly water off a pier.
5.The composition’s almost there.
“Whoa! All that teal was just too much!” says Kwajafa. She duplicated the image, flattened the layers, and
Adjust → Variations) for a while before settling on
then adjusted the hue and saturation to tone down
an orange color that she couldn’t resist.
the colors to something she could live with. She
With the composition successfully lightened,
copied and pasted the toned-down results back to a
Kwajafa added a new photo of sunlight sparkling
new layer in her main composition and began
off water. “I liked the idea of adding sparkly
experimenting with various blend modes. “I kinda
imagery to my star,” she says. She set the new
photo’s layer to Screen mode and positioned it so that the sparkles seem to arise from the star. She duplicated the Water layer, used the Polygon Lasso tool to select everything but the wooden pier at the bottom, and deleted it. She set the layer in Hard Light mode. For a little font fun, Kwajafa now turned to one of her favorite free dingbat fonts, Darrian’s Sexy Silhouettes. “I love this font,” she says, “because I can add female silhouettes into my images without having to be too good at Illustrator.” She added two letters/silhouettes on two new layers, positioned and sized them, and colored one white and the other black. Next, she duplicated the sparkly Water layer again and positioned it over the larger, darker silhouette. She adjusted the brightness and contrast and erased all the nonsparkly bits with her trusty big eraser. To add a little more color and pizzazz, she
Finally, she added the text star signs in the
brought in a long-exposure photo of a snowy road-
Jade Monkey typeface, using the Free Transform
side, with an orange tone and fun, smeared-out
tool to rotate the text flush with the right edge of
lights. She placed the photo on a new layer, in
adding sparkly imagery
Volley 8: Nate Smith “I wanted to preserve the stars and the overall sexi-
into one another. He then duplicated the top
ness of Michelle’s volley as I progressed with this
image of Sharlee and set the new layer in Hard
one,” says Nate Smith.
Light mode, to darken and deepen the colors.
He started by creating a new layer, selecting
Actually, things got a little too dark in places, so
large areas with the Polygonal Lasso tool, and
Smith erased large areas of the new layer, especially
filling them with white. That left him with plenty
around the face.
of space; now he needed to find something to fill it with.
“Her left arm was still bothering me,” says Smith, “so I painted over it in white, with the same
“I brought in a few images of a cow,” says Smith, “and of my friends Cort and Sharlee. I
soft, 45-pixel brush.” To further blend the two girls together, Smith
played around with the images, layering them on
used the Lasso tool to select the big 2 on the shirt.
top of each other in different ways, and playing with
He copied and pasted the number to three new lay-
different transfer modes, trying to find something
ers and used Free Transform to rotate and rescale
that worked.” He finally settled on an arrangement
them so that they appeared to grow up and left.
1. Smith started by filling most of Kwajafa’s volley with white.
3. Smith finally settled on two photos of his friend, Sharlee.
2. Assorted images of friends.
with two shots of his friend, Sharlee, in it. He erased parts of the masking white layer on the bottom right so that some of Kwajafa’s stars could shine through around the
4. Smith used a white paintbrush to blend the T-shirts into each other.
6. A photo of a boat, erased to allow faces to show through, set in Color Burn mode in the final image
lower Sharlee’s hair and arm. “I was really quite happy with this effect,” says Smith. Smith used the Paintbrush tool, with a soft, 45-pixel brush at 100% opacity, to draw in white to extend the Sharlees’ T-shirts and make them flow
5.There were originally five 2’s in the image. (The top image of Sharlee is darkened with a duplicate layer in Hard Light mode.)
He duplicated the two largest 2’s, setting the new layers in Hard Light mode to darken the digits. He left the largest of the new Hard Light layers at 100% opacity, but dropped the next largest to around 30%, so that the 2’s develop from bottom to top in color, as well as in size and rotation. There were originally five 2’s in the image, but Smith elected to drop the largest and leftmost, leaving only four. Finally, just for fun, Smith brought in a photo of a boat and placed it on a new layer at the very top of the stack. He erased parts of the new layer to allow the lower layers to show through, unaffected, around the girl’s face, and then set the layer to Color mode. “It gives the entire composition a little bit more pizzazz,” says Smith.
preserve the stars and the overall sexiness 7. Detail: Smith’s volley retains some stars from Volley 7.
Volley 9: Michelle Kwajafa “OK, last one!” says Michelle Kwajafa. “I wanted to
center of the image was a little dark, so she dupli-
go for a bit of a self-portrait here and have a little
cated the aloe layer and set the duplicate to Hard
quick fun with the image Nate gave me.”
She started by running Smith’s volley though
Kwajafa found a self-portrait that she had pre-
the Photocopy filter (Filter → Sketch → Photo-
viously desaturated and blown out the contrast on.
copy). She selected the section at the bottom of the
She placed the photo on a new layer, in Multiply
image—the lower girl—and then inverted her
mode, and used her big eraser to remove the bot-
selection and deleted the rest.
Next, she opened a photograph to play with:
With everything in place, the image was too
Baltimore’s Wilkins Avenue in the spring. Rather
cluttered. Kwajafa tried it without the graffiti-cov-
than simply paste the photo into a new layer in her
ered wall layer and liked it much better. Done.
composition, Kwajafa used the Magic Wand tool
“I uploaded it to
with a tolerance of 1 to select the white space from
Nate and was off to
her composition’s background. With this selection
watch the Spurs/Lakers
active, she created a new layer and then copied and
game,” she says.
pasted the Wilkins Avenue photo into the selection (Edit → Paste Into). This automatically created a layer mask on the new layer, revealing the buildings where the background was white and hiding them everywhere else. Kwajafa inverted the colors on the new layer (Image → Adjustments → Invert). “I liked those colors better,” she says. She added a photo of a graffiti-covered wall on a new layer in Overlay mode, adding more
1. Kwajafa treated Smith’s volley to a Photocopy filter, simplifying it considerably, then erased most of it to white.
2. Spring in Baltimore
3. A graffiti-covered wall bumps up the urban landscape.
4. Buildings and graffiti build a dense colorful background.
blues and reds to the palette. Next she opened a photo of a fence and graffiti-covered sign and pasted it into the composition on a new layer, in Overlay mode. She used Free Transform to fit the graffiti to her canvas, and she used a large Eraser brush to wipe away chain links that were cluttering the right side. She duplicated the layer and set the duplicate to Hard Light mode to better show off the graffiti. Now for something more … organic: an aloe plant. Kwajafa pasted a photo of an aloe plant on a new layer, set in Overlay mode, and used the Free Transform tool to stretch it to fit her canvas. The
5. A humble aloe plant.
6.The aloe plant, dropped into the mix
7. A suggestively moist self-portrait
off to watch the game
Volley 10: Nate Smith Nate Smith wanted to do something special for the
He duplicated the layer a few times and resized the
last volley. He decided to kick things into the third
duplicates to make a little array.
dimension, creating a simple 3D object and textur-
He oranged up the 3D plane at the top using
ing (that is, painting) it with a modified version of
the Hue/Saturation adjustment on that layer, with
To create the texture, he desaturated the vol-
For a little contrast to the organic curves,
ley and shifted the hue slightly. He threw in a verti-
Smith created a rank of hash marks by drawing a
cal motion blur of 75 pixels and then broke the
simple, dark-red rectangle, rotating it 130 degrees,
results up into a mosaic (Filter → Pixelate →
and duplicating it several times. He merged the lay-
Mosaic) with a cell size of 37. He saved the results
ers and set the result in Luminosity mode; the hash
as a TIFF file and then fired up 3D Studio Max.
marks show up as dark bands
In Max, Smith created a
across the lower 3D landscape.
simple flat plane and gave it a severe ripple distortion, creating a hilly ‘landscape’. He used the TIFF texture as a texture map, projecting the pixelated image onto the distorted plane. He duplicated the object several times and then rendered the resulting mosaic-colored land-
1. Smith began by bringing Kwajafa’s volley into his document, desaturating it, and shifting the hue slightly…
… threw in a vertical motion blur of 75 pixels and pixelated it to create a texture for his 3D landscape.
2. Smith created a rippley plane in 3DS Max …
… and rendered out the image as a TIFF file.
scape(s) as a TIFF file, and brought it into Photoshop on a new layer. He duplicated the new layer several times, experimenting with combinations, sizes, and transfer modes. He finally settled on one “landscape” filling
3. Smith tried lots of arrangements and blend modes.
the bottom three-quarters of the composition and another, smaller-sized copy filling the top quarter, both in Exclusion mode. The dark, busy background wasn’t making it, so Smith created a new layer filled with light gray and pure white, for a new two-tone background. Smith created an abstract radial design in Illustrator and pasted it into Photoshop as pixels.
“It was kind of refreshing to just keep this match stylistic.As designers, everything we make has meaning and has a message to communicate. It was interesting to get away from that and do this purely as an art collaboration.”
He copied the hash mark layer twice and inverted the colors, changing the dark red to light blue. He cropped, flipped, and rearranged the new layers and then set them to Saturation mode, which, through complicated interactions with the Exclusion mode landscapes and gray background, rendered them as dark red again. He placed the new layers beneath the orange landscape layer so that the orange layer cleanly cuts the tops off the hash marks. Next, he added three rows of dark-red dots, drawn in Illustrator and copied and pasted onto a new layer near the center of the composition. He set the layer in Difference mode, making the dots appear light blue. He duplicated the dot layer twice, staggering the duplicates to the left, to match the slant of the dots and hash marks. For a final touch, he duplicated his abstract radial design twice and moved the shapes to the top, set in Lighten mode. They appear in the final composition as white dots along the top border. “They break up the harsh contrast between the top white bar and the gray of the rest of the image,” says Smith. “Similarly, the hash marks tie the orange shape to the gray. They also provided a bit of strength and dynamism to an otherwise subtler image.” Finally, says Smith, “I went to sleep.”
“This didn’t feel like a ‘match’ to me,” says Smith. “It felt more like an artistic collaboration. I felt it would be a neat extension of that to bring 3D into the mix using a modified version of Michelle’s volley as a texture was a nice way of doing that. Photoshop is the great leveler.You can do little pieces of things in 100 different programs, but always seem to fall back on Photoshop to put the pieces together.”
Photoshop is the great leveler
“There and Back Again”: Dave Bedingfield vs. Walt Dietrich Stepping up to their computers for our final match, we have Dave Bedingfield and Walt Dietrich, two Photoshop artists who differ in age, style, approach, and history, but not in their passion for Photoshop Tennis. Both veterans of the sport, they have never faced each other … until now. This is a match that runs the gamut from clean and simple to hallucination inducing and back again. Expect more than a few twists and turns as things play out.
There and Back Again
Designers Match 10: Bedingfield vs. Dietrich
Dave Bedingfield grew up in the Washington, D.C., area, where he earned a design degree. After selling his skills at a D.C. advertising agency for two years, he’d had enough. “I learned a lot,” he says, “but I was tired of investing blood, sweat, and tears in projects I really had no interest in.” He returned to school, earning an MFA in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art
Dave Bedingfield Years as a Photoshop designer: Seven or so First version of Photoshop I used: 2 Area of specialty: Web design, but only by default
and Design and then spent two years teaching design and multimedia there, before leaving to start his own design firm in Chicago in 2002. www.bedingfield.net
Favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: Developing creative conceptual solutions on the fly Least favorite aspect of Photoshop Tennis: When the opponent relies on the tools to drive the design Nondigital art medium: Polyurethane and newsprint. Favorite non-Photoshop software: BBEdit Favorite Photoshop filter/effect: Whichever one solves the problem. I typically don’t condone the use of filters How has Photoshop changed the design field: It has been a Pandora’s box Height: 6' 1"—6' 5" with the afro If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be … a garlic press Music I listen to while playing Photoshop Tennis: Silence (as in no music at all) Favorite TV show: Pardon the Interruption
investing blood, sweat, and tears in projects I really had no interest in
There and Back Again
Beginning the millennium in a new career as a graphic artist and Photoshop instructor for Sierra College, Walt Dietrich is a child of the ’60s, greatly influenced by the ’70s. Having worked through the ’80s in the navy and in the furniture industry, he spent the ’90s rebuilding his life after surviving a near-fatal industrial accident. Raised in a creative family, and with encouragement in the arts from supportive parents and teachers, Dietrich has had lifelong educational influences in design, photography, drawing, serig-
Walt Dietrich Years as a Photoshop designer: 5 First version of Photoshop I used: 4
raphy, sculpture, and raku-fired ceramics. Intro-
Area of specialty: Print, marketing support
duced to Photoshop in college, he was immediately
Photoshop Tennis… can get you hooked
hooked by its nearly endless creative possibilities.
Nondigital art medium: Raku-fired ceramics, mixed-media sculpture
Dietrich now lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife of 20 years and has a successful son in college. He hopes to one day print largescale digital images with the pioneers of the Giclée print: Duganne Ateliers. www.waltdietrich.com
Favorite non-Photoshop software: InDesign, Illustrator, Painter Favorite Photoshop filter(s): Gaussian Blur plus Unsharp Mask at max Photoshop has… given intuitive visual artists like myself access to a whole new world of possibilities If I were a kitchen implement, I’d be… a blender While playing Photoshop Tennis, I listen to… whatever’s playing in my head Comfort food: Homemade sausage gravy on sourdough French bread chunks Favorite TV show: Hardball with Chris Matthews Dance: Not since finding sobriety Favorite sport: Frisbee Political bent: Definitely bent! If I didn’t have Photoshop… I’d be reading more
spent the ’90s rebuilding his life after a near-fatal accident
Volley 1: Dave Bedingfield “I had the serve,” says Dave Bedingfield, “so I had
“The text is from a scan of an old French
the freedom to use my own design and illustration
manuscript,” says Bedingfield. “I don’t know what
techniques and original images to create some-
it says, but it looked appropriate.” Although the
thing that would drive this match. I also was keen
text all came from one source, Bedingfield used
on the fact that Photoshop can be used to create
various amount of scaling and the Multiply Layer
collages that don’t necessarily feel like they were
blend mode to give the illusion more variety. He
made on the computer.
also threw in a barcode scanned from a piece of
“I chose the mailbox as a kind of icon to represent the delivery of my first volley.” Bedingfield
junk mail. Bedingfield used a little “hand painting” with
took a digital photograph of a mailbox on a street
Photoshop brushes and adjusted the hue/satura-
corner in his native Chicago with a Sony DSCP52
tion and levels of the mailbox to make it feel more
Cybershot. He imported the picture into Photo-
shop, used the Polygonal Lasso tool to select and
To reinforce the illustrated look, he printed
delete most of the extraneous background mate-
the composition in process and traced it with his
rial, and used the Eraser tool to clean things up.
right hand. Bedingfield is left-handed, so using his
Next, Bedingfield focused on the format and
right hand gave the tracing some nice imperfec-
ground. Bedingfield specializes in web design, with
tions. He scanned the tracing back into Photoshop,
its typically wide aspect ratio. The vertical, portrait
extracted the black lines from the white back-
format of this match presented him with some
ground, and laid them over the mailbox in Normal
problems. “I was really forced to use an aggressive
mode. He drew broad outlines, filled with white at
vertical treatment,” he says. “I would ultimately
25% opacity, to further outline the mailbox.
position everything at the bottom of the page to give it a heavy feeling.” A letter calls for paper, so Bedingfield
He also used pieces of the scanned tracing to add more linear elements elsewhere in the image. Finally Bedingfield scribbled away with a vari-
scanned in two sheets of lined paper, one for
ety of “dirty” brushes and added a scan of a coffee
grade-school writing and one for preschool writ-
stain. “Altogether,” he says, “the piece has an awk-
ing. He rotated both sheets by 90 degrees. “I really
ward composition that leaves plenty of space for
like the way the subtle vertical lines reinforced my
the opponent to begin.”
approach,” he says. But the fresh blank sheets were a little too clean to suit him, so Bedingfield layered them over a photo texture of some holes in a concrete wall to give the design more “grunge.” He even poured in some noise, to dirty things up further.
The text in this volley comes from a weekly broadsheet published for the 1878 Paris Exposition and details, ironically enough,“modern” advances in printing technology.
I chose the mailbox to represent 234
1. He started with a digital photograph of a nearby mailbox and cropped out the background.
5.The photo rendered more painterly
6. A wrong-hand tracing of the mailbox
2. A wall provides texture.
7.The resulting dense texture lends a “real” feel, despite the hand-drawn look of the main element.
Spectator: It’s an open letter from 3.The wall texture multiplied into some paper …
Bedingfield to Dietrich—though whether a love letter, a declaration of war, or something in between is unclear to those of us unschooled in French. Usually a practitioner of realism, Bedingfield’s gone out of his way here to make his photo look more like a drawing. And all that open white space is just begging to be filled.
4. A broadsheet from the 1870s provides the text. 8. An alternate working version.
the “delivery” of my first volley
Volley 2: Walt Dietrich Dietrich began his response by duplicating the
image of a dirty wall. To deepen the texture, he
serve (Command/Ctrl+T) and stretching the new
applied the Alien Skin SPLAT! Patchwork ASCII fil-
layer, making a second, larger mailbox.
ter to fill the image with S’s. He faded the Patch-
“Next,” says Dietrich, “I tried different blend
work filter to 21%, lessening its effect, and set the
modes—Screen, Overlay, Multiply, and so on—to
new wall texture layer to Pin Light mode, with an
see what popped out at me. If it looks cool, I go for
opacity of 39%. The letters read as a faint grid work
it.” He opted for Difference mode, which effec-
in the final image.
tively inverted the background colors in Beding-
Next, he added the word Juxtaposition in the
field’s serve. “Difference might be my favorite
FranzKafka font. He copied the wall texture and
blend mode,” he says, “since it is unpredictable to a
clipped it with he text layer (Layer → Group With
degree—much like the reduction process in raku-
Previous). This caused the text layer to become a
“clipping layer,” which masks, or clips off, all the
Dietrich browsed through some stock photos but couldn’t find anything that seemed to add to the image. What to do? “I zoomed in tight on the image,” he said, “to see what was in the details.” He found the faint grid left over from Beding-
texture outside the font outlines. He rotated the whole thing 90 degrees. Next, Dietrich scanned the definition of juxtaposition from a dictionary and placed the scan as a background image in Adobe InDesign. He re-
field’s lines and grunge distracting. He used the Pen
created the definition in InDesign, which has all
tool to create a path around the dark background
the necessary special dictionary glyphs. He
area, and converted that path to a selection, and
exported the resulting type, opened the EPS in
feathered the selection by 12 pixels. He cleaned up
Adobe Illustrator, copied the paths, and pasted
inside the selected area with a large black brush.
them into Photoshop as a shape layer (Edit → Paste
The feathered selection prevented a sharp border
→ Paste As Shape Layer).
from forming around the cleaned area. He experimented with adding different images and textures to the black background
He made the text white and positioned it in two places on the image. The left definition is at 40% opacity, the right at 17%. After cleaning up a bit of distracting detail along the right edge, he was done.
and finally settled on an
1. Bedingfield’s volley stretched and re-applied in difference mode
2. A li’l wall texture
3.The Splat! ASCII filter adds text-ure.
4. Dietrich typeset the definition in Adobe InDesign.
5. Using the text as a clip layer...
â€Ś to add detail into the text
I zoomed in tight 6. An unsatisfactory experiment with a plant texture
Volley 3: Dave Bedingfield “I wasn’t sure what to think about Walt’s return,”
words to the tile, similar to a treatment I had seen
says Dave Bedingfield. “He didn’t add many new
in a mass transit station.” He chose the word reposi-
elements; he really just repositioned what I had. I
tion as a reaction to Dietrich’s reworking of his
thought about ways to clean it up and add more of
serve, done in Helvetica Bold. He also included
a context to the piece, and the idea of mosaics and
some wingdings—the arrows and computer—
tiles came to mind.”
which he had created previously but never used. “I
Bedingfield scrounged around and came up
found the interaction of the grid with the words
with an old image document of some tiles, which
and graphics to be very interesting,” he says. He
he added as a new layer, set to Multiply mode. He
further emphasized the grid by deleting parts of
duplicated and rearranged the tiles until they cov-
the words and tile elements, letting the plain white
ered a large portion of the file.
background show through.
But how to fit the tiled look with the previous
Last, he threw the number 3 in there as a not-
volley? Bedingfield reached into Photoshop’s bag
so-subtle reference to the volley and because the
of stock filters and came up with the Mosaic filter
curves of the 3
(Filter → Pixelate → Mosaic). “Many designers use
the Mosaic filter to create an intentionally pixilated
look,” says Bedingfield, “but in this case my tile
trast with the
overlay made this look very similar to traditional
flooring tiles…an interesting result.” A width setting of 30 pixels resulted in a mosaic version of Volley 2 that fit with his tile layer almost exactly.
1. A digital photo of tiles
2.The tiles are duplicated until they fill the entire canvas.
3.The Mosaic filter pixelates the background.
He adjusted the newly pixelated layer’s levels to add more contrast and lighter hues and nudged things back and forth to make sure both layers lined up properly. “The piece still lacked any focal point,” says Bedingfield, “so I added superficial graphics and
Spectator: Bedingfield’s volley here is what Photoshop Tennis is all about. While retaining the broad graphic outlines of Dietrich’s last volley, he has taken things in a totally new direction.The piece is evocative and simple, yet deeply textured. And the entire thing was achieved with a few stock Photoshop tools—the Mosaic filter, the Hue/Saturation/Brightness tool, and a little copy and paste work with a single piece of stock photography. Kudos!
4. Simple text elements lend the tiled wall a subway feel.
5. A pixelated background, lightened considerably
6. Close-up of some tile work
7. Another detail shot of the tiles
add more context to the piece
Volley 4: Walt Dietrich “My first concern,” says Dietrich, “was to remove all
inverted the selection, and deleted everything out-
indication of the #3 reference to the previous
side the urinal.
Dietrich created several shadows to blend the
Dietrich set out to repair the wall behind the
urinal realistically into the background. He created
text and to replace the missing tiles as well. His
various drop shadows on the urinal layer (Layer →
method was painstaking but simple. He duplicated
Layer Styles → Drop Shadow) and then detached
the background layer and zoomed way in on the
these shadows and moved them to their own layers
areas in question. Using the rectangular marquee
(Layer → Layer Styles → Create Layer). He created
tool, he duplicated individual tiles by pressing
one large shadow on the right and then a tighter
Command+Option+drag/Ctrl+Alt+drag. On occa-
shadow in the opposite direction. Finally, he
sion, Dietrich found it better to actually copy and
selected the urinal on its layer (Ctrl+click the layer
paste and position a selection, deleting single rows
in the Layers palette), inverted the selection
of pixels to “blend” the tiles and then merging the
(Shift+Ctrl+I), created a new blank layer, and
new layers (Command/Ctrl+E).
painted in some extra shadows by hand, “so they
When the repairs were complete, he used
didn’t look stock,” he says. He masked the shadow
free transform (Command/Ctrl+T) to stretch the layer until it filled the canvas, eliminating the bor-
layers as needed. Next, he selected and copied the floor from
der. To get a different look, Dietrich rotated the
the original bathroom picture and pasted it to a
layer 180 degrees.
new layer. He zoomed in close to clean up, copying
Dietrich experimented briefly with the
grout and moving pixels. Finally, he selected the
Mosaic tool in Painter, trying to generate a new
floor, contracted the selection by 1 pixel, feathered
30-pixel square tile texture to blend with the base
the selection by 0.5 pixels, and inverted it. This left
image, but there just wasn’t time. On a moment’s
him with the top 1.5 pixels of the floor selected.
inspiration, he took his Canon G2 digital camera into the restroom across the hall from his office and snapped some pictures of the urinal. He chose the best shot and dragged the urinal image onto his working file. The snapshot was a few degrees from horizontal, so Dietrich used the Measure tool to rotate it into position, leveling the floor to match the tiled wall background. He extracted the urinal by tracing a path with the Pen tool and then converting the path to a selection. He feathered the selection 0.5 pixels to soften the edge,
1. Dietrich repaired the wall, then rotated the background 180 degrees.
2. A digital image of a nearby urinal
3.The Pen tool traces a path around the urinal to extract it from the background.
Using the Smudge tool, he pulled down toward the floor to smudge out any harsh edges. What next? “I thought graffiti might look cool,” says Dietrich. The graffiti effect uses four layers of the Urban Scrawl font, one each in thin, medium, and fat instances of the typeface, plus a second instance of the thin. Each instance was colored with a sampling of a color from the image. The first three font layers were rasterized and Gaussian blurred and then merged and blended. The last layer was set to pure white, rasterized, and then made thinner yet by choosing Filter → Other → Maximum. The final touch was the addition of the volley 4 text in black, using the Crud font, and a little blending and distressing to better match the intended feel of the image.
4.Three different drop shadows simulate multiple lighting sources.
5. Some graffiti seems appropriate.
6. An early effort
I thought graffiti might look cool
Volley 5: Dave Bedingfield “I found Walt’s approach to Volley 4 to be refreshing,
Bedingfield now dirtied up the repositioned
but the attempt to create a physical scene seemed a
urinal by increasing the contrast (Image → Adjust →
little awkward. I also was not thrilled with the graffiti
Brightness/Contrast). Still too clean. He next dupli-
treatment.” The solution? Bedingfield set out to
cated the urinal layer and blended the new layer in
“cleanse” the piece by making it even dirtier. “In my
Hard Light mode to emphasize the depth and the
desire to leave a balance between light and dark,” he
amount of dirt.
says, “the color white would be my weapon of choice.” Bedingfield first used a variety of ragged,