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Secrets of the Pros TM

20 Top Artists and

Designers Face Off Mark Clarkson

San Francisco • London


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Photoshop Secrets of the Pros


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Secrets of the Pros TM

20 Top Artists and

Designers Face Off Mark Clarkson

San Francisco • London


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Associate Publisher:

Dan Brodnitz

Acquisitions Editor:

Bonnie Bills

Developmental Editor:

Pete Gaughan

Production Editor:

Dennis Fitzgerald

Technical Editor:

Stephen Burns


Pat Coleman

Director, Print Design and Composition:

Amy Changar

Book Cover, Interior Design, and Composition:

Mark Ong, Side By Side Studios

CD Coordinator:

Dan Mummert

CD Technician:

Kevin Ly


Darcey Maurer, Laurie O’Connell, Nancy Riddiough, Sarah Tannehill


Ted Laux

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)

Copyright © 2004 SYBEX Inc., 1151 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, CA 94501. World rights reserved. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to photocopy, photograph, magnetic, or other record, without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. All images are © to the author or the individual designers in the matches, unless otherwise indicated. Library of Congress Card Number: 2003110718 ISBN: 0-7821-4191-9 SYBEX and the SYBEX logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SYBEX Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. The CD interface was created using Macromedia Director, COPYRIGHT 1994, 1997-1999 Macromedia Inc. For more information on Macromedia and Macromedia Director, visit TRADEMARKS: SYBEX has attempted throughout this book to distinguish proprietary trademarks from descriptive terms by following the capitalization style used by the manufacturer. The author and publisher have made their best efforts to prepare this book, and the content is based upon final release software whenever possible. Portions of the manuscript may be based upon pre-release versions supplied by software manufacturer(s). The author and the publisher make no representation or warranties of any kind with regard to the completeness or accuracy of the contents herein and accept no liability of any kind including but not limited to performance, merchantability, fitness for any particular purpose, or any losses or damages of any kind caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly from this book. Manufactured in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


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Software License Agreement: Terms and Conditions The media and/or any online materials accompanying this book that are available now or in the future contain programs and/or text files (the “Software”) to be used in connection with the book. SYBEX hereby grants to you a license to use the Software, subject to the terms that follow. Your purchase, acceptance, or use of the Software will constitute your acceptance of such terms. The Software compilation is the property of SYBEX unless otherwise indicated and is protected by copyright to SYBEX or other copyright owner(s) as indicated in the media files (the “Owner(s)”). You are hereby granted a single-user license to use the Software for your personal, noncommercial use only. You may not reproduce, sell, distribute, publish, circulate, or commercially exploit the Software, or any portion thereof, without the written consent of SYBEX and the specific copyright owner(s) of any component software included on this media. In the event that the Software or components include specific license requirements or end-user agreements, statements of condition, disclaimers, limitations or warranties (“End-User License”), those End-User Licenses supersede the terms and conditions herein as to that particular Software component. Your purchase, acceptance, or use of the Software will constitute your acceptance of such End-User Licenses. By purchase, use or acceptance of the Software you further agree to comply with all export laws and regulations of the United States as such laws and regulations may exist from time to time. Software Support Components of the supplemental Software and any offers associated with them may be supported by the specific Owner(s) of that material, but they are not supported by SYBEX. Information regarding any available support may be obtained from the Owner(s) using the information provided in the appropriate files or listed elsewhere on the media. Should the manufacturer(s) or other Owner(s) cease to offer support or decline to honor any offer, SYBEX bears no responsibility. This notice concerning support for the Software is provided for your information only. SYBEX is not the agent or principal of the Owner(s), and SYBEX is in no way responsible for providing any support for the Software, nor is it liable or responsible for any support provided, or not provided, by the Owner(s). Warranty SYBEX warrants the enclosed media to be free of physical defects for a period of ninety (90) days after purchase. The Software is not available from SYBEX in any other form or media than that enclosed herein or posted to If you discover a defect in the media during this warranty period, you may obtain a replacement of identical format at no charge by sending the defective media, postage prepaid, with proof of purchase to: SYBEX Inc. Product Support Department 1151 Marina Village Parkway Alameda, CA 94501 Web: After the 90-day period, you can obtain replacement media of identical format by sending us the defective disk, proof of purchase, and a check or money order for $10, payable to SYBEX. Disclaimer SYBEX makes no warranty or representation, either expressed or implied, with respect to the Software or its contents, quality, performance, merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose. In no event will SYBEX, its distributors, or dealers be liable to you or any other party for direct, indirect, special, incidental, consequential, or other damages arising out of the use of or inability to use the Software or its contents even if advised of the possibility of such damage. In the event that the Software includes an online update feature, SYBEX further disclaims any obligation to provide this feature for any specific duration other than the initial posting. The exclusion of implied warranties is not permitted by some states. Therefore, the above exclusion may not apply to you. This warranty provides you with specific legal rights; there may be other rights that you may have that vary from state to state. The pricing of the book with the Software by SYBEX reflects the allocation of risk and limitations on liability contained in this agreement of Terms and Conditions. Shareware Distribution This Software may contain various programs that are distributed as shareware. Copyright laws apply to both shareware and ordinary commercial software, and the copyright Owner(s) retains all rights. If you try a shareware program and continue using it, you are expected to register it. Individual programs differ on details of trial periods, registration, and payment. Please observe the requirements stated in appropriate files. Copy Protection The Software in whole or in part may or may not be copy-protected or encrypted. However, in all cases, reselling or redistributing these files without authorization is expressly forbidden except as specifically provided for by the Owner(s) therein.


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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 ( and 12Stone (, where I learned to play Photoshop Tennis and still do. (Phantom, it’s still your turn to volley.)


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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

Mark Clarkson

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:

if the Mona Lisa is hanging in the forest and no one’s around to see it, is it still art?


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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

Match 1:

Isaac Epp vs. Matt Riddle


Match 2:

Shaun Inman vs. Leslie Cabarga


Match 3:

Eric Jordan vs. Benoit Falardeau


Match 4:

Roddy Llewellyn vs. John Henry Donovan


Match 5:

Audrey Mantey vs. Joen Asmussen


Match 6:

Bas Hijmans vs. Evan Alexander


Match 7:

Christine Smart vs. Manuel Clement


Match 8:

Bob Gundu vs. Farhez Rayani



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Match 9:

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


Match 10:

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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 ( 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.


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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






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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 ( 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


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two or more creatives […] conversing with images”—on Australian INfront ( 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 (, 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.




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Jim Coudal, X-ray provided and © Victor Micallef,

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; is conducting an invitational tournament that continues its status as the biggest PT event site. Designer Shaun Inman’s Designologue ( 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



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We’re Here


We're Over There

Graphic Forums

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 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 The artists of the Digital Exquisite Corpse have been collaborating since 1997 and still have never met.


Copyright David Walters,

Copyright David Walters,

Burnell Yow!,

Burnell Yow!,

and Lawrence R. Parkes

and Lawrence R. Parkes




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The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers

Mark Clarkson

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.

Walt Dietrich

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

Jorge Villanueva

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, run by Photoshop Tennis veteran Jonas Ring. Cave drawings notwithstanding, there’s never been a better

Lawrence R.Parkes

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.

Mat Bastian

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-

Michelle Kwajafa

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.


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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,

Still here? Okay, a few more details, just for you.




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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 can’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 designer’s work (like the volley in Figure 9) but, hopefully, continuing or expanding on some element or elements in that image.


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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






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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.


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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 Enjoy!






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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


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The Secret Life of Photoshop Designers Mark Clarkson Jason Pratt

Photoshop is popular on both the Macintosh and

Audrey Mantey

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

Isaac Epp

For example, the shortcut to open a file in

David Blanchet


Ctrl+O in Windows—would be given as Command/Ctrl+O.


Ian Rogers



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Match 1

“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

advertising agency.

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

Photoshop Tennis.




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No Strangers

Spectator commentary is a big part of Photoshop Tennis as it is played online. To give you a little taste, we’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!




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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.”

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



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No Strangers

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



10:42 AM

Page 18

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.”

ground gradient.”

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



10:42 AM

Page 19

Match 1


Volley 1


Isaac Epp


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.




10:42 AM

Page 20

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.

pected results.

“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

aqua coloration.”

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


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




10:42 AM

Page 21

Match 1

5. Adding a little texture, via a stock photo, to the white field, in Hard Light mode


Volley 2


Matt Riddle



6. Riddle used a Color Overlay layer style to match the text area with the rest of the image.

I didn’t like my color palette



10:42 AM

Page 22

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

and Widescreen.

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



10:42 AM

Page 23

Match 1


Volley 3


Isaac Epp



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



10:42 AM

Page 24

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.



10:42 AM

Page 25

Match 1

“This was a difficult volley for me,” says Rid-


Volley 4


Matt Riddle



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



10:42 AM

Page 26

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



10:42 AM

Page 27

Match 1

1. Epp begins by recasting the image in black and white.

2. Converted into vector format in Flash MX, the image gets distorted.


Volley 5

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


Isaac Epp



4. A gradient mask helps blend the photo into the background.



10:42 AM

Page 28

Volley 6: Matt Riddle Coming into volley 6, Matt Riddle is confronted with an image turned almost completely vector.

Layer Masks

“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.



10:42 AM

Page 29

Match 1

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.

Volley 6


Matt Riddle

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




10:42 AM

Page 30

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

image’s red.

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

its picture.

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



10:42 AM

Page 31

Match 1

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


Volley 7


Isaac Epp

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.



10:42 AM

Page 32

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.



10:42 AM

Page 33

Match 1


Volley 8


Matt Riddle


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




10:42 AM

Page 34

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

and geometry.”

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.”



10:43 AM

Page 35

Match 1

2.This grid of rounded squares will serve as a mask for the photos.

3.The photos laid out within the grid


Volley 9

4.The previous image and the volley number blended in with Soft Light

leave the stronger images untouched


Isaac Epp


5. A temporary black background makes type easier to see.




10:43 AM

Page 36

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



10:43 AM

Page 37

Match 1

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.


Volley 10


Matt Riddle



5. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer changes the water from blue to orange and red.



10:49 AM

Page 38

Match 2

“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.




10:49 AM

Page 39

Grow Up!




10:49 AM

Page 40

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 ( 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.

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: and



10:49 AM

Page 41

Grow Up!

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.”

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



10:49 AM

Page 42

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

shop composition.

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-

( 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



10:49 AM

Page 43

Match 2

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.


Volley 1


Shaun Inman



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.



10:49 AM

Page 44

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

competitor’s contribution.”

brush bristles.

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



10:50 AM

Page 45

Match 2


4. Cabarga gave the brush a little requisite paint … 3. Cabarga scanned in his own hand, holding a brush.

Volley 2


Leslie Cabarga


… 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.”




10:50 AM

Page 46

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.



10:50 AM

Page 47

Match 2


Volley 3


Shaun Inman



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’s soundtrack:

Inman. “The 45-degree Cyclopses look a little like “Playing guitar occasionally while I think…”

two dismembered businessmen’s hands shaking.”

the lack of a mouth started to bother me



10:50 AM

Page 48

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




10:50 AM

Page 49

Match 2


Volley 4


Leslie Cabarga



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



10:50 AM

Page 50

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 Inman drew the bevel around

between pixels.”

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



10:50 AM

Page 51

Match 2

4.Volley 5 resized to fit the file folder …

… skewed …


Volley 5

… and pixelated


Shaun Inman





10:50 AM

Page 52

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,

the canvas.

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-

the side.”

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.



10:50 AM

Page 53

Match 2


Volley 6


Leslie Cabarga



“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



10:50 AM

Page 54

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


CanoScan N1240U.”

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




10:50 AM

Page 55

Match 2


Volley 7


Shaun Inman


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.




10:50 AM

Page 56

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.


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

to suit.

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




10:50 AM

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Match 2


Volley 8


Leslie Cabarga



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



10:50 AM

Page 58

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

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



10:50 AM

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Match 2


Volley 9


Shaun Inman



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



10:50 AM

Page 60

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

left box.


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.



10:50 AM

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Match 2

2.The grid of cubes with a different color scheme

The faces cut out to reveal the images beneath


Volley 10


Leslie Cabarga

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 ’20s through ’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




10:56 AM

Page 62

Match 3

“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.




10:57 AM

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Tears from the Moon




10:57 AM

Page 64

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.

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: They’ll identify my body by … the keyboard indentations in my fingertips.

Photoshop has injected steroids into illustration, painting, and photography



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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 you’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

Radio-Canada (CBC)

a designer and to have fun with his work, which is also his passion.

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: (too much stuff there)

I’ve never stopped creating



10:57 AM

Page 66

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-

blurred motion.

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.



10:57 AM

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Match 3


Volley 1


Eric Jordan



Jordan took the photo of the light using a four-megapixel Nikon Coolpix 4500.

inner complexity from simple technology



10:57 AM

Page 68

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.”

tiply mode.

“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



10:57 AM

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Match 3

1.The previous volley, colorized …

… overlaid with a desaturated, partially erased copy …

… yields a faint blue light on a black-andwhite background.


Volley 2

2. Falardeau scanned in hand-drawn elements.


Benoit Falardeau

3.The remainders of a self-portrait



4. Falardeau’s piano makes an appearance



10:57 AM

Page 70

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



10:57 AM

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Match 3

He added numerous other white doodads, including a headphone symbol, blocks of microtext, and a few suggestive phrases including deploy


Volley 3


Eric Jordan



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.



10:57 AM

Page 72

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



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Match 3


Volley 4


Benoit Falardeau



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



10:57 AM

Page 74

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-

vious volleys.

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



10:57 AM

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Match 3

“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.”


Volley 5


Eric Jordan


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.




10:57 AM

Page 76

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



10:57 AM

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Match 3

Rounded Rectangle tool + paths to create a


Volley 6


Benoit Falardeau



“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



10:57 AM

Page 78

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.”




10:57 AM

Page 79

Match 3


Volley 7

“I wanted to play to the advertisement theme he had brought in,� says Jordan.

play to the advertisement


Eric Jordan





10:57 AM

Page 80

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.



10:57 AM

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Match 3


Volley 8


Benoit Falardeau



“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



10:57 AM

Page 82

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



10:57 AM

Page 83

Match 3


Volley 9


Eric Jordan


“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




10:57 AM

Page 84

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.



10:57 AM

Page 85

Match 3


Volley 10


Benoit Falardeau



“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



12:30 PM

Page 86

Match 4

“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





11:02 AM

Page 87

View from This Side




11:02 AM

Page 88

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 ( He is currently the Art Editor at Computer Arts magazine ( “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.”

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



11:02 AM

Page 89

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. ( He now dabbles in production and graphic design and has an unhealthy interest in his car (a ’96 Rover Mini).

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:



11:03 AM

Page 90

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.



11:03 AM

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Match 4


Volley 1


Roddy Llewellyn



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!



11:03 AM

Page 92

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

details beneath.

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



11:03 AM

Page 93

Match 4

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 …


Volley 2


John Henry Donovan

… adds texture and simplifies the background.



5. A collection of red and reddish circles complement the round bullet shapes.



11:03 AM

Page 94

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).

he says.

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.



11:03 AM

Page 95

Match 4


Volley 3


Roddy Llewellyn



“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



11:03 AM

Page 96

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.



11:03 AM

Page 97

Match 4


Volley 4


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



11:03 AM

Page 98

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



11:03 AM

Page 99

Match 4


Volley 5


Roddy Llewellyn



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



11:03 AM

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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



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Match 4


Volley 6


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




11:03 AM

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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



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Match 4

Polygonal Lasso tool, he cut a shape out of it, leav-


Volley 7


Roddy Llewellyn



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

ground beneath.

looking too harsh.”

outside a London greasy



11:03 AM

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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



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Match 4


Volley 8


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



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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

Multiply mode.

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.

the text.

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.



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Match 4


Volley 9


Roddy Llewellyn

provoke a strong reaction





11:03 AM

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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.



11:03 AM

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Match 4


Volley 10


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.



11:09 AM

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Match 5

“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…



11:09 AM

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11:09 AM

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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.

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



11:09 AM

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Joen Asmussen, 23, won Macromedia’s Site of the Day award for his website,, 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 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 ( 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.

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: 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.



11:09 AM

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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-

photo binge.”

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

industrial sludge.”

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



11:09 AM

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Match 5

1. Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man


Volley 1


Audrey Mantey


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 Mantey’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



11:09 AM

Page 116

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



11:09 AM

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Match 5

He filled a new layer with a sandstone texture


Volley 2


Joen Asmussen



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

the image.”

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.”

final composition.

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



11:09 AM

Page 118

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.




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4. Interim work


Volley 3


Audrey Mantey


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



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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




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4. Diagonal strokes painted on the background


Volley 4

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.


Joen Asmussen



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

Dodge mode.

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



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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.

no wonder.

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



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Match 5


Volley 5


Audrey Mantey



“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



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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




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Match 5

4. An abandoned factory building will be colorized and darkened.


Volley 6

5. Clouds were given highlights with a black layer set in Dodge mode.


Joen Asmussen



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



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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

that somehow.”

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.

layers overlapped.

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



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Match 5


Volley 7


Audrey Mantey



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



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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

2.Yellow-green …

… 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,



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Match 5

3.The Asmussen family house in Sweden


Volley 8

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.”


Joen Asmussen


5. A dodge layer adds highlights.

the kid is me




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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-

Light mode.

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.



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Match 5

4. Simple splashes of color in Hard Light mode …

… turn this …


Volley 9


Audrey Mantey



… 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



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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

Mantey’s volley.

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




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Match 5


Volley 10


Joen Asmussen



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


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Match 6

“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!


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Conflict of Reflections



11:14 AM

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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 ( “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,, where people can participate in creating and showcasing protest images.

Favorite reads: Computer Art magazine, Identity Matters magazine, Brett Easton Ellis’s Glamorama, musicians’ biographies.

creativity runs in the family


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Conflict of Reflections

Evan Alexander is a New York–based scenic designer and multimedia developer. Trained in theater and opera design, he now runs, 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.

Evan Alexander

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.

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!


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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.



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Match 6

4. An irregular red border created with the Polygonal Lasso tool and filled

5.The ornament shape copied to the top of the stack …


Volley 1

… and filled with red sampled from the border


Bas Hijmans



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


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Volley 2: Evan Alexander “I was drawn to the word reflection,” says Evan

grunge brushes (from 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-

the composition.”

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


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Match 6

3.Two very different walls.The ruler hides the seam and controls the transition between the two sides of the image.


Volley 2

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,

Evan Alexander

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.”


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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

industrial vats.

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.”


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Volley 3


Bas Hijmans



3. Progressive layers‌ 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

‌ blurred and stacked

should have left those out


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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. 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


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Volley 4


Evan Alexander|


“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.”


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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

show through.

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


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Match 6


Volley 5


Bas Hijmans



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


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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

abstract sky.”

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.

brushes own!

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.

composition texture.

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


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Match 6

3.The composition coming together with a wrecked ship in the foreground


Volley 6


Evan Alexander|


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 “That text took about 5 seconds,” he says. “Brushes own!”


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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.



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Volley 7


Bas Hijmans|


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


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Volley 8: Evan Alexander “This volley,” says Evan Alexander, “was one of the

used the Eraser and Clone Stamp tools with various

fun ones.”

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.”


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Volley 8


Evan Alexander|


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


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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

in Photoshop.

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



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Match 6

4. A little freehand scribble …


5. Hijmans experimented with different elements on the right.

Volley 9


Bas Hijmans|


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


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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.

he says.

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,

Dante’s Inferno.”

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.



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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


Volley 10


Evan Alexander|

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


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“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.



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Transatlantic Love Match



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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.”

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:

They’ll identify my body by … my heart. It has Manuel’s name inscribed on it.

not a Photoshop designer


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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 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, In late 2001, Clement joined Microsoft to work exclusively on next-generation platforms, development tools, and rich user interfaces. He is the founder of

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


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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

the eyes.”

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


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2. Pink scraps of paper laid over the top…

…and set in Lighten mode, to show “through” the black numerals


Volley 1


Christine Smart


3. A girl’s face, torn out of a page

work from any place but my head



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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

tical glow.

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



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Volley 2


Manuel Clement



“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


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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


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Match 7

5. Some of the handwriting showing through, thanks to Lighten blend mode

6. Detail of the finished composition

a valuable tool


Volley 3


Christine Smart




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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.


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Match 7

3. Some grossly distorted clouds …


Volley 4

… placed over a simple black-and-white gradient at 5% opacity …


Manuel Clement



… 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


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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.”


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Volley 5


Christine Smart



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


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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

TV series.”

do next?

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

tery compartment.

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


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Volley 6


Manuel Clement



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.

the screen.

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


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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


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Match 7

5. Another slice of screenshot, pasted on top

6. A previous piece of Photoshop art …


Volley 7


Christine Smart



… 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


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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:

another one.”

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


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Match 7

individual copies, and made use of the Distort, Per-


Volley 8


Manuel Clement



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.

the light.

He merged the three layers and duplicated the

The composition

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

“petal� layers, placing all six round shapes on a

lamp. Rather than

single layer.

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

and symmetry.

glowing light.


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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


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Match 7


Volley 9

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.There’s plenty of detail lurking in the final image.


Christine Smart




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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

dark blue.

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.



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Match 7

3.Volley 9 text, flipped and color inverted


Volley 10


Manuel Clement



4. Image detail (contrast enhanced)

I wanted something simple yet rich


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Match 8:

“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.



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I Am ‌ Bagman!



12:59 PM

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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


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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.

“Photoshop” is now a verb in everyday conversation


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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.


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Match 8


Volley 1


Bob Gundu



a photograph of my cousin’s band


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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 ( 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


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Match 8


Volley 2


Farhez Rayani



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.


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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.



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Match 8


Volley 3

the feeling of impending digital doom


Bob Gundu




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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.”


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Match 8


Volley 4


Farhez Rayani



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


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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


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Match 8


Volley 5


Bob Gundu



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?


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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


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Match 8


Volley 6


Farhez Rayani



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 …

motion blur

… blasted with the Wind filter …

… and smoothed out with a touch of Gaussian Blur


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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.


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Match 8


Volley 7


Bob Gundu



make a really cheesy ad

5. Detail


12:59 PM

Page 200

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

he says.

→ 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

the scene.”

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.

9. Detail


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Match 8

the Mark’s Rain actlet from the Adobe Studio


Volley 8


Farhez Rayani



Finally, he resized the bag-headed figure, scal-

Exchange ( 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


1:00 PM

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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

green highlights.

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-

brush tool.



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Match 8


Volley 9


Bob Gundu



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.

normal mode.

a more somber and passive mood


1:00 PM

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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-

superhero: Bagman.

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

brush tool.

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.


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Match 8


Volley 10


Farhez Rayani

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



1:08 PM

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Match 9

“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.



1:08 PM

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1:09 PM

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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.”

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


1:09 PM

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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.

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: 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: They’ll identify my body by … the dreads.


1:09 PM

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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.”

more smoothly.

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.”


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Match 9


Volley 1


Michelle Kwajafa



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


1:09 PM

Page 212

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

more comfortable

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.


1:09 PM

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Match 9


Volley 2


Nate Smith



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


1:09 PM

Page 214

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



1:54 PM

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Match 9


Volley 3


Michelle Kwajafa



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


1:09 PM

Page 216

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


1:09 PM

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Match 9


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 4


Nate Smith




1:09 PM

Page 218

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


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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.”


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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.”


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3. Smith duplicated, resized, and recolored the circles.

4. Don’t worry. I couldn’t read it either.

anyone will notice that I spelled absense wrong



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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



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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

the star.

Screen mode.

adding sparkly imagery


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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.)


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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.


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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.”

Light mode.

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.

tom portion.

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



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5. A humble aloe plant.

6.The aloe plant, dropped into the mix

7. A suggestively moist self-portrait

off to watch the game



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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

Kwajafa’s volley.

Colorize checked.

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.”


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Nate Smith



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



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Match 10

“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.




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There and Back Again




1:17 PM

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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.

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



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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.

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



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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



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Match 10

1. He started with a digital photograph of a nearby mailbox and cropped out the background.


Volley 1


Dave Bedingfield


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




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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

fired ceramics.”

“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.



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Walt Dietrich



5. Using the text as a clip layer...

‌ to add detail into the text

I zoomed in tight 6. An unsatisfactory experiment with a plant texture



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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

presented an

the Mosaic filter to create an intentionally pixilated

interesting con-

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!



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Match 10


Volley 3


Dave Bedingfield


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




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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.



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Match 10


Volley 4


Walt Dietrich


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




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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,

To make matters worse, he filled a new layer with dirt tinted a hideous urine yellow color

organic brushes to partially erase the graffiti to

(R=227, G=220, B=166, for those of you taking


notes) and blended this layer in Multiply mode at

He next duplicated sections of tile to cover

40% opacity. He also repurposed the coffee stain

up elements of the previous volley that didn’t quite

from the previous volley, adding bits of it in Multi-

jive with his new direction. Next, he used the Offset

ply mode to further dirty the walls. “In my never-

filter (Filter → Other → Offset) to reposition the

ending role as a graphic designer, I had to add

urinal in a more aggressive manner.

some text elements. I went with WASH instead of

Next, he created a new layer set (Layer → New

CLEANSE for brevity, if nothing else.” He broke

→ Layer Set) devoted entirely to white. In all, there

the word in half, echoing the chopped-up urinal,

are seven layers of white elements in this set,

and copied the layer. The first layer was left whole

applied in Overlay mode at between 50% to 100%

and blended in Multiply mode. The second layer

opacity. This allowed for the grid to show through

was distressed and then blended in Normal mode.

subtly while essentially eliminating the interior

“The result,” he says, “is an allusion to a bath-

parts of some tiles. Bedingfield added even more

room I would never enter.” Nonetheless, a print of

layers of white grunge and scratches in Normal

the finished piece now hangs in the bathroom of

mode, to completely cover the tiles and break up

Bedingfield’s studio.

the grid. After 20 or so layer merges over the period of an hour, this approach left him with plenty of white space.

1. Eliminating the graffiti


2.The urinal is “aggressively” repositioned.

3. An entire group of layers is dedicated to white elements.

4. Compare this detail with the tiles in the previous volleys.



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Match 10


Volley 5


Dave Bedingfield

5. Unsatisfactory early attempts

6.The text is distorted along the tiles.

white would be my weapon of choice





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Volley 6: Walt Dietrich Deciding that the bathroom was looking quite dirty

up properly. The final displacement settings

enough, thank you, Walt Dietrich moved to clean

moved all the black pixels up and over 10 and

things up a bit. Using Free Transform (Com-

moved the white pixels down and opposite 10 pix-

mand/Ctrl+T), he stretched the image up and to

els, with neutral gray pixels staying in place. This

the right until the bottom-left portion of the image

effect distorted the background tile image to fol-

filled the entire canvas.

low the soft blurred grays of his face. He placed the

He duplicated the layer and rotated the duplicate 180 degrees, blending the two in Multiply mode. This produced a relatively clean background to work on, while still incorporating the

image of his face above the distorted background in Hard Light blend mode. Deciding the glasses needed work, he made a Pen Tool selection of the glasses in the self layer,

texture of the previous volley.

1. A photograph of Dietrich’s head …

… separated from its background …

… converted to grayscale, and blurred to serve as a displacement map

But what to put on that background? “I had

2.The displacement map filter run on the wall

3.The displaced background blended with the head

converted to selection, added a 0.5 feather, and

the idea of using a displacement map on the grid

copied and pasted on a new layer. He used a layer

texture,” says Dietrich. Opening a digital picture

mask to selectively hide parts of the image, blend-

he had taken of himself, he converted to grayscale,

ing the eyes without the background grid running

blurred the whole thing a bit, and saved a copy.

through them.

Next, he extracted his head from the back-

He copied the head image to a new layer and

ground by drawing a path with the Pen tool, con-

masked out everything but the hair, erasing the

verting the path to a selection, feathering 0.5 pix-

grid running through the hair.

els, inverting, and deleting.

He finally used Copy Merged (Shift+Ctrl+C)

He duplicated the freshly extracted head,

on the distortion layers, pasted them, and used the

chose Filter → Distort → Displace at default set-

Liquify filter to distort the grid further around the

tings, and used the blurred grayscale as the dis-

neck and cheeks where the displacement maps

placement map. After several trials and some

results were unsatisfactory. He tried a number of

reshuffling, he had everything positioned to line

different blend modes, before settling on Pin




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Match 10


Volley 6


Walt Dietrich


Light. “I would have messed around longer had I time,” he says. Dietrich was only feeling so-so about the image: it was still too bright and had too much of the photographic quality. He duplicated the snapshot layer and ran the Alien Skin SPLAT! patchwork filter. He faded the filter to 26% in Difference mode and set the new layer’s blend mode to Luminosity. “This took away from displacement effect,” he says, “but I was running out of time.” He recalled a quote heard on the radio that morning: ‘Taking a chance invites failure...not taking the chance guarantees it.’” He added the quote in the Formata 4. Dietrich separated the glasses from the headshot, to control the blend of the background grid through them.

Bold font, rotated it 90 degrees, and added a drop shadow. He finished by adding the number 8 in

the Hiragana Brush font at the lowerright corner and called it done.

I would have messed around longer had I time

5. Dietrich tried various blend modes, including Difference, …

… Luminosity, …

… and Pin Light.




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Volley 7: Dave Bedingfield “Walt’s response felt over-saturated and pixilated,”

He reduced the image of Dietrich’s face by

says Bedingfield, “so I knew I had a problem work-

about 50% to leave himself with plenty of white

ing at the entire size of the page.”

space. For the card stock, Bedingfield used old

Job one was to eliminate the text and experi-

pieces of blue cardboard that he had previously

ment with resizing the face. But nothing looked

scanned for another project. He pieced them

right. “I was having difficulty eliminating the filter

together into a full-size trading card by repeated

treatment,” says Bedingfield, “so, decided to fight

copy-and-pastes and liberal doses of the Photoshop

fire with fire. I would try to out-filter him!”

Clone tool.

Bedingfield desaturated the image slightly.

After that, says Bedingfield, the round was

Next, he chose Filter → Pixelate → Color Halftone

easy. The final layout uses simple shapes and a few

to alter the image and remove some of the artifacts

crafty brushstrokes.

from Dietrich’s original. “Color Halftone is one of

Bedingfield created a large, reddish-orange

the few filters I can stand,” says Bedingfield. “I typi-

rectangle, distressed it a bit, and placed it over the

cally despise filters. Use them very carefully, and

card stock in Multiply mode at 87% opacity,

only when the project calls for it.”

resulting in a dark, reddish-brown border. Within

Color halftone in hand, Bedingfield decided

this, he created two white polygons, distressed and

to create an original “Walt Dietrich” trading card. “Many of these matches turn into a bloody duel,”

1. Bedingfield used the Color Halftone filter to obliterate the underlying texture of the last volley.

2. Old scans of blue cardboard …

3. … are patched together to form the backing of the trading card

4. Blocks of color form the basic layout.

says Bedingfield, “so I figured I would turn it

laid atop each other at about 40% opacity. The

around and promote him rather than fight him.”

white received some subtle erasure to roughen it

Using Photoshop Tennis as the sport of choice,

up a bit.

Bedingfield proceeded to create a card similar to baseball cards from the late ’60s and early ’70s.




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Match 10


Volley 7


Dave Bedingfield



He added text in the Sloe Gin Ricky and Helvetica Condensed Bold fonts. A few more bold graphic shapes—the star, the borders around Dietrich’s name and Photoshop Tennis, and extra blocks of white to underlie the titles—completed the design. He added a little noise to the text areas to make them feel a bit more “printed” on the card, created a “dirt” layer, and added some age to the image by fading areas with the Airbrush tool. “This helped to reinforce the aged, retro look I intended,” he says.

5.The face gets a little dirt to add age.

I’d promote him rather than fight him

6. A corner of the finished image



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Volley 8: Walt Dietrich “My first reaction to Volley 7 was a chuckle,” says

pics I took, to get various instances of the skater in

Dietrich, “at the irony of having my mug in two vol-

one image. But time wouldn’t really permit all the

leys.” His next reaction was stumpification. “The

masking that would have required.”

texture gave my return an increased level of diffi-

He imported an image of the skateboarder

culty, particularly filling the brown portion to elim-

and dragged it into his working document as a new

inate my face in my return.”

layer. He used the Pen tool to extract the skater

He started by darkening the color signifi-

from his background and then sized him to fit and

cantly, tweaked it a bit, and then stretched the

copied him three times. The new skate boarders

resulting brown texture to fill the canvas. But after

were switched to the Difference blend mode.

trying numerous lines of attack, he wasn’t getting

Dietrich brought the original skateboarder to

anywhere; he abandoned the whole direction and

the top of the stack, filtered, duplicated, and

started anew, working “at a hurried pace.”

blended in a variety of modes to make him more

He returned to the darkened card, stretched

prominent and give him an illustrated look. He

it to fill the canvas, and began playing around with

touched up the image to eliminate stray elements

duplicating and rotating multiple copies.

and bits of color and added the text in Typewriter

He arrived at a version he liked, duplicated it, set the new layer to Difference mode, and rotated

Oldstyle font. “At this point I thought I was done,” says Diet-

it 180 degrees. He merged the layers and set the

rich, “but while I was closing document windows, I

result to 53% opacity above a white background.

came upon the twisted variation and said to myself,

More duplications, more blend modes … and he

What would this look like blended into what I just

still didn’t like the result.


Back to square 1. Again. “I was working on

He reopened his recently closed document,

the original document again,” says Dietrich. “The

blended the twisted image in, and liked the result.

madness continued.”

“What struck me in particular,” says Dietrich, “were

He stretched the Volley 7 image to fill the entire canvas. Duplicating this layer, he used Trans-

the more vibrant colors and the splash of light across the skateboarder’s face.”

form (Ctrl+Alt+T) to reduce the new layer until it fit inside the border. He repeated the process (Shift+Ctrl+Alt+T) 20 times in succession to achieve a nested, hall-of-mirrors border. He had a base. Now he needed something to go on it. “I had just taken some pics of a skate-

Dietrich: Ctrl+Alt+T/Command+Option+T copies the layer and transforms. Adding the Shift key to that combination continues to make copies and apply the last transformation.

boarder the day before,” he says. “I had the idea of aligning the concrete step, which recurred in the

my first reaction was a chuckle 248



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Match 10

1. Experiment with a red border

2. Some experiments with rotations in different blend modes

4.The skateboarder repeated within the nested borders

5. A final blend uses a layer mask to block parts of the image.


Volley 8


Walt Dietrich



3. A digital photo of a skateboarder breaking the law



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Volley 9: Dave Bedingfield Bedingfield’s final volley was inspired in large part

though, with its hue tweaked a bit, it looks good,

by the desire to return things to simplicity from the

don’tcha think?

hectic state Dietrich had left them in: “due to fatigue as much as anything,” he says. Dietrich’s repetitive, almost psychedelic image was anything but simple, so Bedingfield

The simple white “stain” was made entirely in Photoshop using the Paintbrush and Eraser tools with a variety of settings. The barcode was scanned from a handy pack-

chose to work with only a limited portion, building

age of meat ($2.39/lb) and was laid on the bars. A

his return around the vertical, linear qualities of

translucent black drop shadow beneath the bar-

the repetitive red border. He extracted a section,

code provides subtle depth.

tweaked the color and contrast to create a bolder

The word simple, in P22’s Cezanne font, was

red, and filled the area outside the red lines with

added at the end, making reference to the design


as well as to communicating Bedingfield’s desire

If you count, you’ll notice that the final design has 9 vertical red lines, a subtle reference to this being Volley 9. He added a simple canvas back-

for clarity and brevity at the culmination of the match. He scratched the text slightly. “Something about Dietrich’s image reminded

ground to provide a faint texture and an appropri-

me of Jasper Johns’s Three Flags,” says Bedingfield.

ate ground. This is, in fact, the same texture he

Bedingfield’s final volley, with its field of white

used to stain his last volley a sickly yellow. Here,

against bold red lines, evokes that same flag.

2.The yellow texture from the bathroom resurfaces

1. Stripes are extracted from Volley 8 …


… and adjusted to flaglike brightness.



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Match 10


Volley 9


Dave Bedingfield



3. A white hand-painted “stain� to add depth

4. And a price tag to add visual interest

5. Even this simple volley contains considerable detail.

linear qualities of the repetitive border



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Volley 10: Walt Dietrich “It seemed fairly simple to continue with the color

wasn’t satisfied with the results. “During my search

and theme of Bedingfield’s last volley,” says Diet-

of stock,” recalls Dietrich, “I remembered some

rich, “though there was a lot of subtle texture in

pictures I shot of mannequin parts a while back.

the background. I’d have to be careful of stretch-

The parts would provide a nice the end … but I

ing it too far.”

couldn’t find the darn image.” It took him a frus-

He began by selecting the empty bottom leftcorner of the image, and copying and pasting it

trating hour to find the image he had in mind. He dragged the mannequin image onto his

into a new layer. Using the Transform tool, he

working document as a new layer, stretched it to fit

stretched the new layer to fill the canvas.

the canvas, and set the blend mode to Screen. He

As Dietrich had feared, the stretching had

tried different blend modes and contrast adjust-

pulled the original texture visibly out of shape. He

ments, but ultimately went with the original image

duplicated it, rotated it 90 degrees, switched the

in Screen mode.

blend mode to Darken, and transformed to fit, restoring detail to the texture.

He moved the red edge stripes to the top of the stack, opting to use only the ones on the left

He copied two of the stripes from Volley 9,

side. He used a layer mask to blend the border into

along with some of the accompanying white texture,

the background and rotated the mannequin parts

pasted this into a new layer, and stretched it to fit the

layer to align the bench slats with the border.

left side of the canvas. He also copied and rotated a smaller, thinner stripe down the right edge.

The text is in the Staccato222BT font, rotated –6 degrees to echo the line of the bench. He sam-

“This preparatory part of the process,” says Dietrich, “is always spent gathering my thoughts and trying to visualize what it is I can do with the

pled a light color from the image for the words the end and offset the a bit for a visual interest. Last, he added the word simply in a contrasting

image. Somehow this beginning time with an

color, also sampled from the background image, to

image is both intuitive and magical, one of the rea-

tie in with the message from the previous volley.

sons I do this. It takes some time to get a feel for

Simply the end.

the image and take an almost unconscious inventory of stock images and techniques I have available to try.” He pulled a handful of these stock images from his archives and tried different treatments with two of them, but


1. Dietrich selected an empty corner of the last volley as the basis for his background.

2. Stripes extracted from the previous volley applied as a border

3. An early effort blending on-hand stock …

… doesn’t come out quite right.



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Match 10


Volley 10


4. A second effort …

… also fails to satisfy.

5. Mannequins at the end of the line

Dietrich: To rapidly preview text in different fonts, create some type and press Command/Ctrl+H to hide the “reverse” indication of selected type. Click in the font family window and use the cursor keys to scroll up and down through available fonts.

time with an image is intuitive and magical

Walt Dietrich





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Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Photoshop Tennis Well, okay, not everything. Mom taught me a lot about hygiene, and there’s nothing like having kids of your own to teach you about the irony inherent in the universe. But when it comes to learning about Photoshop, there’s nothing like watching the pros ply their trade. I’ve used Photoshop since before the days of layers, but these artists and designers have taught me a lot about how to use the program.

Real Designers Do Less, Get Paid More It’s a never-ending source of amazement to me just how little some designers seem to do to create their art. Invert the colors, drop in a couple big blocks of color and a little text and voilà! Look at this sweet volley by Eric Jordan from Match 3 (Figure 1). Eric preserves a big block of orange from his opponent Benoit Falardeau’s volley and drops in a single photo, a piece of clip art, and a bit of text. And yet, somehow, it looks great. There’s a professional feel to the completed piece that’s damned hard to fake. Or take this example from Match 8, by Farhez Rayani (Figure 2). Even though Rayani actually created the tower and light elements in Maya, they are simple elements, and there are very few of them. But when they are put together in the right relationship, with the right color palette to tie them together and create the appropri1.This volley by Eric Jordan is simply professional.


ate atmosphere, the results are impressive.



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Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Photoshop Tennis

Because of the severe time constraints I placed on the contributors—each match took place in about 24 hours—they had no time for endless tweaking, trial, and experimentation. The artists had to decide what they were going to do and then do it. Some work by intuition while others plan very carefully, but, either way, there were few wasted steps.

2. Bagman atop his tower: simple, yet spot on.

Trust Your Eyes (but Watch the Numbers) “I make it a point to look at the image and not at the numbers,” says Evan Alexander.“I think a lot of people make the mistake of staring at the slider rather than at the image.”







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Master the Basics As you read through this book, it becomes apparent that, at least when working on a short timeline, designers stick to the basics. You don’t see a lot of channel operations or custom filter creation. Instead, you see the same basic tools and techniques employed over and over and over again: ■


Adjust Hue/Saturation


Adjust Levels

Multiply and Screen blending modes

Free Transform

Layer masks These fundamental tools are used by designers and artists with very different styles

to achieve an amazing array of images that range from faux magazine ad layouts to photo collages to compositions that defy categorization. The tools you see time and again in this book aren’t the newest and sexiest; rather, they’re among the oldest, the original and essential. They’re the same tools, for the most part, used by Industrial Light + Magic to fix flaws in the Terminator 2’s glitchy effects back in 1991. The basics. Spot color was a welcome addition, but it pales to insignificance beside layer masks. Or even the humble Brush tool. Few Photoshop users are intimate with anything approaching the program’s full range of tools and capabilities. But if you know your basics, and know them well, you will ultimately prevail.  “It is not quantity of karate, but quality of karate that counts.” —Mr. Miyagi, The Karate Kid 

Three Words: Layers, Layers, Layers Gather round, chillun, and let me tell you bout the way things were, way back in the day. Back when great herds of mastodons still roamed the earth. In those days, Photoshop had no layers. Nor did it have multiple un-dos. Shudder if you will, but we were happy and didn’t really know any better. Back then, if you wanted to try something experimental, something that might just make your image worse, something that would take a few steps to complete, you had to duplicate your image and run your experiment on the duplicate. Then, if things didn’t



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work out quite the way you’d hoped, you would go back to your original file and try again. It was a cumbersome and tedious process. But now there are layers (and multiple un-dos and a versatile set of history tools, to boot.) If you want to experiment with an effect, you can simply duplicate your working layer and play around with the duplicate a bit. If you don’t like what you see, it’s easy to try again. My own work often leads to a dozen or more layers. Each layer might be a new version of the image. If I don’t like the way something’s going, I can always delete that layer or just turn visibility off and return to the previous version.  To quickly duplicate a layer, use the keyboard shortcut Command/Ctrl+J with no selection active. 

If I sorta like the new version, but I sorta like the old version, I can experiment with blending them together by varying the opacity and blend mode of the newer layer.

Blend to Win Perhaps the best thing about layers is Photoshop’s wealth of blending modes. Combined with opacity, blending modes offer limitless combinations and effects. Layer blend modes facilitate way-out special effects and easy photo montages, but they have plenty more prosaic uses as well. You can use blending modes to knock out backgrounds, change colors, mitigate compression artifacts, and perform countless other mundane tasks. Let’s say you want to place an impossibly complicated figure, such as the one in Figure 3, over a new background. You might despair of ever extracting all that scribbling




3. (a) A complex design, (b) to be placed over a new background. (c) Multiply mode does the work in seconds.







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from its background (although Photoshop offers several ways to take the edge off that task). But you don’t have to. It’s much easier to place the figure on a layer above your background, in Multiply mode—a five-second operation with the added benefit of preserving the original art, untouched, should you want it again later. Or maybe you’ve finally convinced a client to change their website logo from dark blue on eraser pink (Figure 4) to a stylish black on yellow. Desaturate the old logo and place it over a solid yellow layer in Multiply mode. Adjust the levels and hue a bit (Figure 5) and presto—a new logo in seconds. Or maybe you need to fix a photo taken with a cheap digital camera, one that shows lots of compression artifacts and speckles of inappropriate color like Figure 6. A liberal dose of Gaussian Blur (as in Figure 7) smears out the artifacts, and placing the blurred copy on a new layer above the original, in Color mode, goes a long way toward improving the image.

4. An ugly logo




5. (a) The logo desaturated, (b) placed in Multiply mode over a yellow background, and (c) tweaked slightly to produce a more aesthetically pleasing version.

6. A photo from a cheap digital camera with lots of blue and red speckles marring the skin tone

7.The photo blurred, then placed over the original in Color mode



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Preserve Your Elements When it’s time to remove unwanted elements from an image, newcomers naturally reach for the Eraser tool. Stop! Mask, don’t delete. Everything you can do with the Eraser tool, you can do with a layer mask, and much, much more. You can fade the mask. You can move it around, resize it, or copy it from layer to layer. You can add to it or take away from it. You can remove it entirely. You can change a mask into a selection, and vice versa. Adjustment layers, like masks, are underutilized by Photoshop novices (and professionals), yet they carry many of the same advantages: you can duplicate, adjust, or remove them at a later date, and they preserve your original image, intact. You can spend a lot of time tweaking the curves and colors on an image, getting it to look just right. But then you discover a glitch in a key 3D element; it has to be rerendered and re-corrected in Photoshop. What are the odds you’ll remember exactly what you did the first time?

Stack It Up There’s a tendency to think of different layers as holding different images. But you can achieve some nifty effects by creating multiple copies of the same image and combining them with the original (and each other) using different blend modes (Layer → Layer Style → Blending Options).Twentyfive blend modes are available in Photoshop, though not every one of them is available in every color space. Consider just two: Multiply and Screen. ■

Multiply multiplies the color of the blended image with the color of the base image.The result is always darker than either of the two. Black times black equals black.White times white equals white, and 50% gray times 50% gray equals a darker 75% gray.

Screen is basically the opposite of Multiply; it multiplies the inverse of the blended image with the inverse of the base image.The result in this case is always lighter than either of the two. For example, 50% gray screened with 50% gray yields a lighter 25% gray.

Combining multiple copies of a single image with different combinations of Multiply and Screen can produce big changes in scant seconds, as shown in these examples. Image a shows one layer, the original image. Image b is two layers, the original plus a layer in Multiply mode. Image c is the original plus Multiply plus Screen, and the four-layered image (d) shows the original plus Multiply plus Screen plus Screen. Granted, you can generally achieve the same effects by manipulating curves or tweaking brightness, contrast, and saturation. But multiple layers offer some additional options: you can mask off parts of the various layers or alter their opacity.You can shuffle them up and down in the stack to try radical changes in seconds: Multiply plus Screen plus Hard Light produces a different effect than does Multiply plus Hard Light plus Screen.











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8.To fine-tune this busy background from Match 7 …

9. … Manuel Clement used a layer mask …

10. … to constrain the placement of curlicues.

Or maybe your client calls and wants you to lighten things up a bit more or increase the contrast. If, rather than correcting the original image, you make your corrections on an adjustment layer, you can simply slide the new version of the 3D render under it and call it done. Or you can tweak the adjustment layer to give your client more contrast. Every time you make a permanent change in a file, you destroy information. If you keep making tweaks and changes to an image, you’ll eventually destroy its quality. Use Adjustment layers and masks to preserve your original elements. You might want them later.

You Can Never Have Too Many Brushes Photoshop comes with a huge selection of brushes, but that’s no excuse not to create your own collection suited to your personal

Color Code Your Hidden Layers

tastes and workflow.

If you’re working with one or more layers turned off, for whatever reason, it’s a good idea to mark them in some way.When you’re hiding and unhiding layers, it’s easy to lose track of which ones you’ve hidden more or less permanently. I always make my invisible layers red. Right-click the visibility icon in the Layers palette, and select a color from the drop-down list.

simple painting and erasing. A brush can be

Brushes are useful for far more than made from anything: barcodes, silhouetted figures, scanned scratches, photos of rust. Even big blocks of text. Need to fill your image with lots of Latin text in a big hurry? Use a brush. “If you want to use an element throughout an image,” says Evan Alexander, “it’s sometimes easier to just make it into a brush (draw a marquee around the element, and then choose Edit → Define



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Brush). The woodblock carving of Bas’s [Match 6] Volley 1 is the perfect example: I made a brush of that right away, so when I needed it, I could just grab the brush rather than go digging through old documents and layers.”

Add Some Texture Even in compositions comprising big, bold blocks of color, a little texture can make all the difference. Look at Benoit Falardeau’s Volley 6 from Match 3 (Figure 11). This image is composed primarily from large blocks of solid color, but Falardeau used a little noise to add some texture. The results look like real-world paper, rather than a computer-perfect block of pure tone color.

11. It’s subtle, but the blocks of texture go from slick to slightly gritty with the addition of a little noise.

12. A little texture can make a big difference in large blocks of color.







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Filter in Moderation Photoshop packs a big buncha filters, and hundreds or thousands more are available for purchase or download. Heck, you can even make your own, if you’re so inclined. All those filters present a big temptation. They’re just so gosh-darned fun to play with. It’s no surprise that Photoshop newbies and designer wanna-bes tend toward egregious overuse of filters. But it is almost axiomatic that the longer you work in Photoshop, and the more control you gain over the program, the fewer filters you’ll use, and the less often you’ll use them. Sure, you can almost always get cool (if somewhat random) results, just by running an image through a handful of them to marvel at the results. And that can be a lot of fun, at first; but, like rewinding tapes in your VCR to laugh at people walking backward, it’s a thrill that quickly pales. As you go through the matches in this book, it’s a little surprising just how seldom you see filters play a big part in a design. Not never, mind you, but not very often either. Experienced Photoshop artists make less use of filters than you might expect. When the pros use a filter, it’s likely to be something task-specific such as De-Interlace or Embed Watermark or something boring such as Unsharp Mask, rather than the artsy, fun filters such as Watercolor, Plastic Wrap, or Render Lens Flare. Of course this rule, like all rules, was made to be broken. Sometimes a big mess of filtering is just what the doctor ordered.

Don’t Think Author Ray Bradbury keeps a sign on his desk that reads, “Don’t Think.” “Thinking is the enemy of creativity,” says Bradbury. “It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You cannot try to do things. You simply must do things.” While I suspect that Mr. Bradbury has, indeed, thought a time or two in his life, his point is well taken.

13.This rather generic goose can be jazzed up considerably by one filter or another…

… but maybe what he really needs is a little color correction.



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Sometimes, the best thing to do is just slide an element around for a while, trying not to look at it too closely or think about where it ought to go. Then, when it passes through a certain location on the canvas, a little voice in your head suddenly says, “Hey, that looked good.” Or sometimes it doesn’t. No method works all the time. But, you can only get so far with the golden rectangle, the rule of thirds, the color wheel, and the Three Rules of Good Design that Ms. Hopkins taught you in your first semester of college. At some point, you’ve got to let go and trust your gut.  “But it isn’t Easy,” said Pooh to himself....“Because Poetry and Hums aren’t things which you get, they’re things which get you. And all you can do is go where they can find you.” A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner 



“I typically despise filters,” says Dave Bedingfield. “Use them very carefully, and only when the project calls for it.”

“Unsharp Mask is the thing that I use the most in Photoshop,” says Evan Alexander. “Most of my work involves doing large-scale transformations on objects, so a little USM now and then helps keep things crisp.”





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Note to the Reader: Throughout this index boldfaced page numbers indicate primary discussions of a topic. Italicized page numbers indicate illustrations.

A abandoned factory, 118, 122, 122, 126, 126 AdineKirnberg Regular font, 114 Adjustment layers, 260 Adobe Illustrator, 56 Adobe Streamline, 142, 143, 154 AI file, 203 air, 114 Airbrush tool in Grow Up! match, 44, 45, 52 in There and Back Again match, 247 Alexander, Evan on brushes, 260 match by, 134–157, 134–157 on Unsharp Mask, 263 alley, 214, 214 aloe plant, 226, 227 amphitheater roof, 82, 82–83 antennas, 82, 82–83 arcs, 102, 102 arrows, 152, 153, 156, 157 ASCII Generator program, 188, 200, 200, 202 Asmussen, Joen, match by, 110–133, 110–113, 115–133 Auto-Illustrator demo version, 12 in Grow Up! match, 42, 43

B baby images, 56–59, 56–57, 59 Bag Signal, 204 Baldwin, Rosecrans, 3 balloon-headed Cyclops, 46–47, 46–47 band, 186, 186–187, 190, 190–191 barbed wire in Contamination match, 118–122, 118–121, 123 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 214, 214 barcodes, 250, 251


bars in Grow Up! match, 58, 59 in View from This Side match, 106, 106 Base Nine font, 198 baseball cards, 246–248, 247 Baseboard site, 5 basic techniques, 256 bathroom, 240–244, 240–243 Bedingfield, Dave on filters, 263 match by, 230–253, 230–233, 235–247, 249–253 bedroom doors, 42, 43 beds, 212–213, 212 Bell Gothic font in I Am ... Bagman match, 198 in Tears from the Moon match, 76, 80 benches, 146, 146 Bend tool, 98 bent lines, 18 Bevel effects in Conflict of Reflections match, 153 in I Am ... Bagman match, 190 in Transatlantic Love match, 168, 173, 173 bicycle light, 108, 108 black backgrounds, 214 blending benefits of, 258–259, 258–259 layers, 8–9, 9 blown glass effect, 144, 145 Blur tool and blurring in Conflict of Reflections match, 138, 144 in Contamination match, 116, 132 in Grow Up! match, 48, 50 in I Am ... Bagman match, 196, 197 in No Strangers match, 34 in Tears from the Moon match, 66, 66 in There and Back Again match, 241 in Transatlantic Love match, 174 working with, 259, 259


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Index boat, 224–225, 224 Bodoni Poster Italic font, 56 bolt of electricity, 98, 98 borders in Conflict of Reflections match, 146–147 in I Am ... Bagman match, 198 boxes, 60, 60 boy, 130, 130 bracket, 18, 19 Bradbury, Ray, 262 brain, 94–95, 94–95 branch, 132, 132–133 bridge, 130 Brightness/Contrast adjustment, 200 bristle star brush, 18, 19, 22 broken window, 218 brown speckled texture, 101 Brush tool as basic tool, 256 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 217 in View from This Side match, 92, 108 brushes in Conflict of Reflections match, 150 in Contamination match, 125, 128 creating, 260–261 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 216–217 in Tears from the Moon match, 84 in There and Back Again match, 242 in Transatlantic Love match, 162 in View from This Side match, 92, 108 buildings, 114, 115, 122, 122, 126, 126 bullets, 92, 93 Burn tool in Conflict of Reflections match, 144, 157 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 219 in Tears from the Moon match, 80 burning building, 114, 115 butterflies in Conflict of Reflections match, 144, 145 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210 buttons in Conflict of Reflections match, 156, 157 in Contamination match, 118

C Cabarga, Leslie, match by, 38–61, 38–61 candles, 156 Canon G2 camera, 240 CanoScan N1240U camera, 54 Capraro, Michelangelo, 3 cardboard, 246, 246 cars, 170, 170, 172, 172 cats, 72, 73 Cezanne font, 250



chain-link fence, 114, 115, 120, 120 Chalet font, 18 chalk line, 192, 194, 198 chemicals, 120 Chicago skyline, 24–26, 24 children in Contamination match, 114, 115, 127, 130, 130 in Grow Up! match, 56–59, 56–57, 59 in Transatlantic Love match, 162, 163 cigar box art, 44–46, 44–45 Circle Shape tool, 59 circles in Grow Up! match, 59 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 220–222, 220–222 in Tears from the Moon match, 70 in Transatlantic Love match, 178, 179 in View from This Side match, 90, 92, 92–93, 102, 102, 105 cityscapes in I Am ... Bagman match, 200, 200, 202 in No Strangers match, 25 Clement, Manuel, match by, 158–181, 158–181 clocks and clock tower in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210–211, 211 in No Strangers match, 26–28, 27 Clone tool, 246 Clone Stamp tool in Conflict of Reflections match, 148, 152 in Contamination match, 114, 118 in Grow Up! match, 58 in I Am ... Bagman match, 196 clouds in Conflict of Reflections match, 144, 144, 148 in Contamination match, 116, 124, 124–125 in I Am ... Bagman match, 204 in No Strangers match, 20, 20 in Transatlantic Love match, 168, 169 in View from This Side match, 104, 104, 108 Clouds filter, 204 cobwebbed window, 96, 96 color in Conflict of Reflections match, 138, 140, 146, 152, 152 in Contamination match, 114, 116–118, 122, 124, 126–128, 129, 131–132, 131 in Grow Up! match, 48, 57, 59, 59 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210, 213–217, 214, 222, 226, 229 for hidden layers, 259 in I Am ... Bagman match, 188, 190, 196 in No Strangers match, 20–22, 21, 28–30, 29, 36 in Tears from the Moon match, 68, 69, 76 in There and Back Again match, 241, 248 in Transatlantic Love match, 162, 164, 180, 181 in View from This Side match, 92, 96, 100, 100





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Color Burn mode in Conflict of Reflections match, 140, 141, 156 in Contamination match, 114, 117, 124 in Grow Up! match, 59 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 212, 216, 216, 218, 220 in I Am ... Bagman match, 204 in Tears from the Moon match, 68, 84 in View from This Side match, 101 Color Dodge mode in Contamination match, 120–121, 121 in Transatlantic Love match, 170 in View from This Side match, 94, 105, 108 Color Halftone filter, 246, 246 Color mode, 218, 220 colored glass, 145 Conflict of Reflections match, 134–157, 134–157 Contamination match, 110–133, 110–113, 115–133 contour, 220, 220 contrast in Conflict of Reflections match, 141 in Contamination match, 118 in There and Back Again match, 242 in View from This Side match, 90 Copy Merged command, 244 cosmos effect, 104 Coudal, Jim, 3 Courier font, 198 cover foldout, 90 creature, 164, 164–165 crosses, 94, 94 crowd, 166, 166–167 Crud font, 241 crumbling walls in Conflict of Reflections match, 140, 140–141 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210, 211, 218, 218 custom brushes in Conflict of Reflections match, 150 creating, 30 in Tears from the Moon match, 84 in Transatlantic Love match, 162 custom patterns, 102–103 Custom Shape tool, 76 Cutout filter, 198 Cyclops, 46–47, 46–47

decorative fonts, 32 depth in Grow Up! match, 52 in View from This Side match, 90, 90 Designologue, 4, 40 diagonal stripes, 42 dictionary, 48, 48–49 Dietrich, Walt, match by, 230–253, 230–233, 235–247, 249–253 Difference mode in Contamination match, 114, 130 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 222, 229 in There and Back Again match, 236, 245, 245, 248 in View from This Side match, 94 Digikitten site, 5 Digital Exquisite Corpse project, 5 Direct Selection tool, 42 dirt in No Strangers match, 29–30, 31 in There and Back Again match, 247, 247 dirty wall, 236 DirtyEgo font in Conflict of Reflections match, 140, 149, 153 in Contamination match, 114 Displace command, 244 Dissolve mode, 213 Distort transform, 164, 172, 176–177 Do Not Enter sign, 54, 54 Dodge mode, 117, 120, 124, 125 doll images, 56–59, 56–57, 59 Donovan, John Henry, match by, 86–109, 86–109 doors, 42, 43 Downcome font, 149 dripping fluids, 142 drop shadows in Contamination match, 132 in Grow Up! match, 60 in I Am ... Bagman match, 190, 196 in There and Back Again match, 240, 241, 250 in Transatlantic Love match, 168 in View from This Side match, 109 droplets of water, 36, 37 DS Imitate font, 220 duplicating layers, 46, 57



Darken mode in Grow Up! match, 48, 54 in I Am ... Bagman match, 188, 190 in No Strangers match, 20 in Transatlantic Love match, 174, 178, 178 in View from This Side match, 108 data-over-dude effect, 189

elevator buttons, 156, 157 Ellipse Shape tool, 92, 104, 105 Elliptical Marquee tool in Grow Up! match, 48 in Tears from the Moon match, 70, 76, 80, 82 in Transatlantic Love match, 168 in View from This Side match, 94



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Index Elliptical Selection tool, 210 Emboss effects, 153 environmental theme in Contamination match, 114–133, 115–133 Epp, Isaac “Sonus”, match by, 14–37, 14–17, 19–25, 27–37 Eraser tool as basic tool, 256 in Conflict of Reflections match, 144, 151–152, 154, 157 in Contamination match, 114, 116 in Grow Up! match, 48, 60 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210, 216, 218, 220 vs. Mask tool, 259 in No Strangers match, 18 in Tears from the Moon match, 66, 68, 70–72, 84 in There and Back Again match, 234 in Transatlantic Love match, 170 in View from This Side match, 102 Everett, Susan, 3 exclamation mark, 152 Exclusion mode in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 228–229 in No Strangers match, 20 in Tears from the Moon match, 68 exhaust fumes, 164 Exquisite Corpse game, 5 Eyedropper tool, 151 eyes in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 218–219, 219 in No Strangers match, 26, 27

F face, 246 factories, 118, 124, 124 fading, 214 Falardeau, Benoit match by, 62–85, 62–67, 69–71, 73–85 texture use by, 261, 261 fence in Contamination match, 114, 115, 120, 122, 123 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 226 FFFHero font, 170 file folders, 50–53, 50–51, 53 Fill tool, 70 filters. See also specific filters by name opinions on, 263 overuse of, 262 filtration plant, 186 finish line reference, 178–180, 179 fire escape, 214–215, 214 flames in Conflict of Reflections match, 156, 157 in View from This Side match, 98



flares, 104 Flash MX, 26, 27 Flashkit Arena site, 5 flatbed scanners, 45 Flatten Layers command, 138 flight helmet, 106, 106 flipping layers, 46, 46 fluorescent light fixture, 176–177, 176–177 fog, 34 foggy edges, 132 fonts designing, 49 in matches. See text Formata Bold font, 245 Fox, Justin, 2–3 fractals, 100, 100, 105 Fragment filter, 218 FranzKafka font, 236 Frax Flame II filter, 100, 100, 105 Free Transform tool as basic tool, 256 in Grow Up! match, 48, 52 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 212, 214–216, 216, 218, 222–224, 226 in I Am ... Bagman match, 192, 194, 196, 201 in No Strangers match, 18 in Tears from the Moon match, 70 in There and Back Again match, 240, 244 in Transatlantic Love match, 176–177 in View from This Side match, 90 FreeHand tool in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 216–217 in View from This Side match, 90, 98, 102 Fuji Finepix s602z camera, 72 fumes, 164 site, 161

G Garamond font, 139 gas storage tanks, 122, 122 Gaussian Blur in Conflict of Reflections match, 138, 144 in Contamination match, 116, 132 in I Am ... Bagman match, 196, 197 in Tears from the Moon match, 66 in There and Back Again match, 241 in Transatlantic Love match, 174 working with, 259, 259 Generik font, 48 geometry, 34 ghost, 148, 149 Gill Sans font, 66, 78, 82 girls in Contamination match, 114, 115





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girls, continued in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 224–226, 224–225 in Transatlantic Love match, 162, 163, 178–180, 178–180 glass effect, 144, 145, 152–153, 153 Glass filter, 198, 198 glasses, 244–245, 245 glows, 164, 168, 177 Golden Gate Bridge, 24–26, 24–25 gradient mask in I Am ... Bagman match, 194 in No Strangers match, 27 Gradient tool, 94 graffiti in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 226, 226 in There and Back Again match, 241–242, 241–242 grayscale images, 68 grids in Grow Up! match, 60, 60–61 in I Am ... Bagman match, 186, 186 in No Strangers match, 28, 35, 36 in There and Back Again match, 236, 238 in View from This Side match, 90, 90, 98, 98 Grow Up! match, 38–61, 38–61 Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 206–229, 206–229 gun, 78 Gundu, Bob, match by, 182–205, 182–205

Hide All command, 28 highway sign, 54, 54 Hijmans, Bas, match by, 134–157, 134–157 History palette, 138 history tools, 257 Hoefler Text font, 74 Hue Mode, 218 Hue/Saturation adjustments in Contamination match, 115, 116, 128 in Grow Up! match, 50, 57 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 212, 216, 216, 228 in I Am ... Bagman match, 192 in No Strangers match, 20, 36, 37 in Transatlantic Love match, 162, 168, 172, 180 in View from This Side match, 92, 100, 104 Humpty Dumpty, 126–127, 126–127

I I Am ... Bagman match, 182–205, 182–205 iconic bed, 212, 212 InDesign text, 236, 236 ink spots, 48, 48 Inkblob font, 76 Inman, Shaun match by, 38–61, 38–61 site by, 4 interpolating shapes, 42 ITC Edwardian Script font, 190, 190

H hands, 126, 127 handwriting, 166, 166–167 Hard Light mode in Contamination match, 114, 122, 122, 130, 131 in Grow Up! match, 54 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210, 218–219, 219, 223, 225–226 in I Am ... Bagman match, 200, 202, 204 in No Strangers match, 20, 20–21, 24, 28–29, 29 in Tears from the Moon match, 66 in There and Back Again match, 242, 244 in Transatlantic Love match, 162, 178, 180 in View from This Side match, 92, 93, 104, 104, 108 hash mark layer, 229 headphone symbol, 71 Healing Brush tool in Conflict of Reflections match, 148 in Tears from the Moon match, 68 hearts, 122, 123 helmet, 106, 106 Helvetica Bold font, 238 Helvetica Condensed Bold font, 247 hidden layers, 259

J Jade Monkey font, 223 Jordan, Eric example volley by, 254, 254 match by, 62–85, 62–67, 69–71, 73–85

K keyboard conventions, 13 KlinkOMite font, 118 Kodak DC215 camera in Tears from the Moon match, 72 in Transatlantic Love match, 172 Kunstler Script font, 153 Kwajafa, Michelle, match by, 206–229, 206–229

L lamppost, 80 Lasso tool in Contamination match, 127 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 216



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Index in I Am ... Bagman match, 190, 194, 196, 202 in Tears from the Moon match, 72 Layer Drop-shadow effect, 132 Layer Effects tool in Tears from the Moon match, 66 in View from This Side match, 92, 100, 102, 108–109 Layer masks as basic tool, 256 in Grow Up! match, 44 in No Strangers match, 28, 29 layers benefits of, 256–257 blending with, 8–9, 9, 258 letters, 162, 163 Level adjustments, 148, 256 light bulbs, 30–31, 31 light effect, 76 light fixture, 176–177, 176–177 light-swirls, 104, 104 Lighten mode in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 214, 229 in No Strangers match, 28 in Tears from the Moon match, 72 in Transatlantic Love match, 162, 163, 166, 167, 174–175 in View from This Side match, 103 lightning sign, 98, 98 lights in Tears from the Moon match, 66–68, 66–67, 84 in View from This Side match, 108, 108 limbs, 132, 132–133 Line tool, 188, 193 Linear Burn mode in Conflict of Reflections match, 142 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210 in Tears from the Moon match, 72 in View from This Side match, 92 Linear Dodge mode, 218 Linear Light mode in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 214 in View from This Side match, 96 lined paper, 234 lines in Conflict of Reflections match, 144 in No Strangers match, 18, 36 in There and Back Again match, 234, 250, 250 Liquify filter in No Strangers match, 18, 19 in There and Back Again match, 244 Llewellyn, Richard “Roddy”, match by, 86–109, 86–109 Load Path As A Selection button, 68, 77 locomotive, 166–168, 166–168 Luminosity mode in Contamination match, 127



in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 228 in I Am ... Bagman match, 204 in There and Back Again match, 245, 245 in View from This Side match, 105

M Macromedia Flash MX, 26 Magic Eraser tool, 100 Magic Wand tool in Conflict of Reflections match, 138, 144, 156 in Grow Up! match, 60 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 215, 222, 226 in Transatlantic Love match, 170, 175 in View from This Side match, 96, 104, 108 magician, 148, 149 Magnetic Lasso tool, 164, 168 mailbox, 234–236, 235 mannequins in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210–211, 210–211 in There and Back Again match, 252, 253 Mantey, Audrey, match by, 110–133, 110–113, 115–133 Marquee tool in Conflict of Reflections match, 146 in Grow Up! match, 46, 50, 52, 54 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 213, 216 in Tears from the Moon match, 70, 72, 76 in Transatlantic Love match, 172 in View from This Side match, 92, 94, 106 mask theme, 218, 218 Mask tool vs. Eraser, 259 Masked gradients, 26, 27 masks as basic tool, 256 in Grow Up! match, 44 in No Strangers match, 18, 20, 24, 28, 29, 32, 35 Maya Personal Learning Edition, 12 meadow, 118, 118 Measure tool, 240 MekaniK Plain font, 56 merging layers, 240 metal wall, 140 metallic lines, 144 microtext, 66–67, 66, 71 Minolta Dimage X camera, 18 mirrors, 140 missile defense system, 78, 78–79 moldy wall, 101, 101 moon in Conflict of Reflections match, 148 in Tears from the Moon match, 68, 80, 82, 82 Mosaic filter in Grow Up! match, 50 in I Am ... Bagman match, 190 in There and Back Again match, 238, 238, 240





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mosaics, 238–242, 238–245 moth, 144, 145 motion blur in Conflict of Reflections match, 138 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 218, 228, 228 in I Am ... Bagman match, 196, 197 MS Sans Serif font, 175 mule files, 60 multiple un-dos, 256–257 Multiply mode as basic tool, 256 in Conflict of Reflections match, 138, 151 in Contamination match, 114, 117–118, 119, 122, 124, 130 features of, 257, 257 in Grow Up! match, 47, 52, 54, 56, 56, 58 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 218, 226 in I Am ... Bagman match, 198, 201, 204 in Tears from the Moon match, 68, 84 in There and Back Again match, 234, 236, 238, 242, 244 in View from This Side match, 94, 99, 102, 106 mural, 114 musical keyboard, 68, 69

N Natural brushes, 216 negative images, 36 nested circles, 102, 102, 105 Nikon camera, 67, 70 No Strangers match, 14–37, 14–17, 19–25, 27–37 noise in Contamination match, 116, 120–121, 121 in Tears from the Moon match, 76 in There and Back Again match, 234, 247 Normal mode in Conflict of Reflections match, 142 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 216 in No Strangers match, 20 in Tears from the Moon match, 72 numbers, 162, 163 NURBS surfaces, 200, 200

O Offset filter, 242 Olympus cameras in Grow Up! match, 48 in I Am ... Bagman match, 186 organic brushes, 242 ornaments, 138, 139 Outer Glow effect, 177

Overlay mode in Conflict of Reflections match, 142, 143, 151, 156, 157 in Contamination match, 116, 124, 127–130, 129, 131, 133 in Grow Up! match, 42 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210–211, 218, 226 in I Am ... Bagman match, 188, 188, 198, 202 in Tears from the Moon match, 68, 70, 72, 78, 84 in There and Back Again match, 236, 242 in Transatlantic Love match, 170 in View from This Side match, 96, 98, 102, 106 Overlay Light mode, 178

P Paint Bucket tool in No Strangers match, 28 in Tears from the Moon match, 76, 84 Paint/FX feature, 200, 203 Paintbrush tool in Conflict of Reflections match, 140, 152 in Grow Up! match, 44, 58 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210, 214, 224 in I Am ... Bagman match, 192 in Tears from the Moon match, 68, 71 Pakt font, 42, 47, 55 paper and paper scraps in There and Back Again match, 234 in Transatlantic Love match, 162, 163 Patch tool in Conflict of Reflections match, 142, 148 in Tears from the Moon match, 68 in Transatlantic Love match, 178, 178 Patchwork ASCII filter, 236 path, 236 Paths palette, 77 peach rose, 210, 211 Pen tool in Grow Up! match, 58–59 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 212 in There and Back Again match, 236, 240, 240–241, 244, 248 Pencil tool in Contamination match, 114 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 212, 216 in I Am ... Bagman match, 192 in Tears from the Moon match, 72 in Transatlantic Love match, 164, 170 perspective and Perspective tool in Grow Up! match, 50 in Transatlantic Love match, 164, 172, 176–177 Photocopy filter, 226 Photoshop Tennis, 1–2 history of, 2–4, 2–4



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Index matches in book, 9–11, 10–12 participation in, 4–6, 4–6 rules in, 6–9, 6–9 Photoshop Tennis site, 4 piano, 68–69, 69 pier, 222, 223 Pillow Emboss tool, 102 Pin Light mode in There and Back Again match, 236, 245, 245 in Transatlantic Love match, 170 in View from This Side match, 96, 100 pipes, 74, 74–75 plants in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210, 211, 226, 227 in There and Back Again match, 236, 237 plaster wall, 210, 211 plus signs, 42 Poetica Supp Ligatures font, 32 Polar Coordinates filter in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 218 in No Strangers match, 28–29, 29 pollution theme in Contamination match, 114–133, 115–133 Poly-Select tool, 22 Polygon Lasso tool in Conflict of Reflections match, 138, 139 in Contamination match, 126 in Grow Up! match, 42, 52, 59 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210, 214, 218, 223–224 in I Am ... Bagman match, 192 in Tears from the Moon match, 80 in There and Back Again match, 234 in Transatlantic Love match, 168 in View from This Side match, 103 pop kitsch shape, 94 power lines, 18, 19, 34 Preserve Transparency tool, 132–133 price tag, 250, 251 print resolution, 15 Prospero the magician, 148, 149 puddles, 200

Q Quick Mask tool in Conflict of Reflections match, 146, 148, 148 in I Am ... Bagman match, 188, 192–193

R radial design, 229 radial starburst shape, 176, 176–177 radio telescope antenna, 82, 82–83



rain, 200–202, 200–201 Rayani, Farhez example volley by, 254, 255 match by, 182–205, 182–205 Rectangle tool, 90 rectangles, 70, 76 Rectangular Marquee tool in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 219 in I Am ... Bagman match, 198 in Tears from the Moon match, 82 refinery, 122, 122 reflections, 48, 49 Reflective mode, 90 registration marks, 147 Replace Color command, 166 Reveal All command, 28 Riddle, Matt “Tha Riddla”, match by, 14–37, 14–17, 19–25, 27–37 Ring, Jonas, 6 ripple distortion, 228 roof, 82, 82–83 rose, 210, 211 Rough Pastels filter, 154 Roughen tool, 98 Rounded Rectangle tool, 77 ruler, 140–142, 141

S Sandstone texture, 128 saturation in Contamination match, 126, 132 in I Am ... Bagman match, 200 in No Strangers match, 26, 30, 31 in Tears from the Moon match, 68–69, 69, 72 in View from This Side match, 108 Saturation mode, 108 Scale transform, 172 Scattering option, 121, 132 Schmidt, Michael, 3 scrapbook, 108, 108 Scream painting, 56, 56–57 Screen mode as basic tool, 256 in Conflict of Reflections match, 142, 150, 151 in Contamination match, 114 features of, 257, 257 in Grow Up! match, 46 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210, 222–223, 222 in I Am ... Bagman match, 195 in There and Back Again match, 236 in Transatlantic Love match, 177 screw details, 102, 102 script fonts, 32 Secret Weapon, 82





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self-portraits in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 226, 227 in There and Back Again match, 244–247, 244–247 Selfish font, 122 semicircles, 102, 102 Sexy Silhouettes, 223 shadows in Contamination match, 132 in Grow Up! match, 52, 60 in I Am ... Bagman match, 190, 196 in There and Back Again match, 240, 241, 250 in Transatlantic Love match, 168 in View from This Side match, 102, 109 shapes in Conflict of Reflections match, 138, 139 in Grow Up! match, 42, 43 in Tears from the Moon match, 76, 76 Shear filter, 130 shipwreck, 148, 148–149 shrinking images, 52 signs in Grow Up! match, 54, 54 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 226, 226 in View from This Side match, 98, 98, 102, 102 silhouettes in Contamination match, 124, 124 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 223 skateboarder, 248, 249 Skew Transform tool, 59 sky in Conflict of Reflections match, 148 in Contamination match, 116 in I Am ... Bagman match, 186 in No Strangers match, 20, 20, 26, 28 in View from This Side match, 104, 104, 108 slang dictionary, 48, 48–49 Slice tool, 174, 174 sliders, limitations of, 255 Slow Gin Ricky font, 247 Smart, Christine, match by, 158–181, 158–181 Smith, Nate, match by, 206–229, 206–229 smokestacks, 124, 124 smoking refinery, 122, 122 Smudge tool, 241 Snap To Grid command, 90 Soft Light mode in Contamination match, 114, 118, 119, 124, 128–129 in I Am ... Bagman match, 204 in No Strangers match, 34 in Tears from the Moon match, 68, 70, 80, 84 in Transatlantic Love match, 170 in View from This Side match, 108 Sony DSC-F707 camera, 210

Sony DSCP52 Cybershot camera, 234 space creature, 164, 164–165 space station, 168–170, 169–170 sparkly water, 222, 223 Spherize filter, 99 spiders, 70, 70–71 spirals, 57 Spirographical swirls, 56–57, 56 splashes, 200 SPLAT! filter, 236, 236, 245 Sponge tool, 213 spotlight, 204, 204 Staccato222BT font, 252 stain, 250, 251 stainless steel ball, 48–50, 49–50 Stamp tool, 22, 23 starburst shape, match, 176, 176–177 stars in Conflict of Reflections match, 148, 148, 152–153, 156 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 222, 222, 224–225, 225 storage tanks, 122, 122 storefront, 130, 130 street signs, 54, 54 stretching, 252 stripes, 42 subway, 178, 178–179 sunlight, 222 swirls in Grow Up! match, 56–57, 56 in View from This Side match, 104, 104 Swiss chard, 130, 130 symbol fonts, 32

T T-shirts, 224, 224 tail lights, 108, 108 tank, 106, 106 tearing, 162 Tears from the Moon match, 62–85, 62–67, 69–71, 73–85 telephone pole, 214 tennis balls, 193–194, 196, 198 tennis court, 192 tennis player, 60, 61 tennis rackets, 193–194, 194, 196, 198 tentacles, 68, 84 Tessier-Ashpool Corporation, 83 text in Conflict of Reflections match, 139–140, 146–150, 146, 150, 153 in Contamination match, 114, 118, 122 in Grow Up! match, 42, 47, 50, 54–56, 56, 60 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 215, 220, 221, 223



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Index in I Am ... Bagman match, 190, 190, 193, 198 in No Strangers match, 18, 22, 32, 34, 36 in Tears from the Moon match, 66–67, 66, 71–72, 74–76, 75, 77, 80, 84 in There and Back Again match, 234–242, 235–239, 241, 243, 245, 247–248, 250, 252 in Transatlantic Love match, 162, 170, 171, 175, 178, 179 in View from This Side match, 96, 106, 108, 108 textures benefits of, 261 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 228 Texturizer tool, 128–129 There and Back Again match, 230–253, 230–233, 235–247, 249–253 3D Studio Max, 228, 228 3D tower, 204, 204 thinking, disadvantage of, 262 Tiki mask, 218, 218 tiles, 238–242, 238–245 tower, 204, 204 toy, 172–173, 172–173 Trace Bitmap command, 26 Trace Contour command, 220, 220 trachea, 114 tracing, 234, 235 train carriages, 98 train engine, 166–168, 166–168 train station, 174–175, 174–175 Transatlantic Love match, 158–181, 158–181 Transform tool in Conflict of Reflections match, 147 in There and Back Again match, 248, 252 trash can, 154, 155 tree branch, 132, 132–133 tree silhouettes, 124, 124 Tremble Bold font, 106 trucks, 59, 59 tunnel, 130 12Stone site, 5 Typewriter Oldstyle font, 248

U U shapes, 58 Unsharp Mask filter, 140, 144, 263 site, 136 Urban Scrawl font, 241 urinal, 240–242, 240–243

V vectors in Conflict of Reflections match, 142, 143, 154



in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 222 in No Strangers match, 28 vegetables, 130, 130 Versus Project, 2, 6 vertical bars, 58, 59 vertical lines, 250, 250 View from This Side match, 86–109, 86–109 View Grid command, 90 Visual Dialogue, 3–4 Vitruvian Man painting, 114, 115 Vivid Light mode in Contamination match, 120 in View from This Side match, 108 Vivitar 3300SE camera, 54 Voy Dot LCD font, 215 Vulcan Dub Squad band, 186, 186–187, 190, 190–191

W wallpaper, 108, 108 walls in Conflict of Reflections match, 140, 140–141 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 210, 211, 218, 218, 226 in There and Back Again match, 234–236, 235, 240, 240–243 in View from This Side match, 101, 101 warning sign, 98, 98 water in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 222, 223 in No Strangers match, 36, 37 water filtration plant, 186 We’re Here site, 5 widescreen look, 22 Wilkins Avenue, 226 Wind filter, 196 windmill, 116–118, 117 window frame, 116, 118, 118, 120 windows in Contamination match, 118, 119 in Grungy-Sexy-Cool match, 218 in No Strangers match, 34 in View from This Side match, 96, 96 wingdings in Contamination match, 122 in There and Back Again match, 238 wire fencing, 122 wooden pier, 222, 223 working files, 60 Worth1000 site, 5 site, 184 site, 64 site, 89 site, 232 site, 160





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Index site, 65 site, 136 site, 88 site, 137 site, 185 site, 16 site, 112 site, 161 site, 17 site, 113 site, 209 site, 40 site, 208 site, 233

X X shape, 106

Z zipper, 130, 131 zooming out, 75


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What’s on the Companion CD The Photoshop Secrets of the Pros CD provides digital copies of all the match images, plus great software to complement Adobe Photoshop.

Chapter Files The best way to develop skills is to practice them, and you can practice your Photoshop skills on the very images from the ten matches in the book. All 100 volley final images are provided as full-pixel-dimension JPEGs. Access these files from the CD interface by clicking Chapter Files.

Great Software In addition to the volley art, you get trial versions of the best of the programs our Photoshop pros use: Adobe Illustrator Photoshop’s vector-art partner, used by many of our competitors—including Christine Smart and Bob Gundu—during their matches for this book. Flash MX 2004 The leading web-animation design program and the principal tool of several Photoshop Secrets of the Pros players, such as Isaac Epp and Eric Jordan. Macromedia FreeHand One of the all-time best drawing applications, used in Match 9 by Nate Smith. Signwave Auto-Illustrator A fully functional vector graphic design application that also generates images. Shaun Inman used its vector-drawing power in Match 2.

Sybex strives to keep you supplied with the latest tools and information you need for your work. Please check for additional content and updates that supplement this book and CD.


Secrets Of the Pros by Mark Clarkson  

Secrets Of the Pros by Mark Clarkson

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