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Arts INSPIRATION FOR DIGITAL CREATIVES

How to embark on a successful career in graphic design, web, apps, illustration, animation & VFX

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE Secrets of UX • Advanced tutorials • How boundaries make your work better Why Adobe killed Creative Suite • Top artists’ portrait tips • James Jarvis interview • 3D type in C4D OFC_DAJUL13DIGIT_tif.indd 1

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WELCOME

Rants and RavEs fROM thE EditOR

a nEW BEginning he beginning of summer is a time for everyone to look to the future. Whether you’ve just finished your creative education or, like me, it’s been a decade-and-a-half (or more) since then – the yearly renewal of the creative industries offers an opportunity to reflect on what we’ve achieved over the past few years and set our course for those to come. If you’ve just graduated, first congratulations! You’re about to turn your attention to the world of work – whether at a studio, in-house or working freelance for clients. From page 14, you’ll find an in-depth guide to the best ways to set off on a successful career. It’s packed with advice not only from the studio heads and creative directors that one day you may get to work for – but from designers, illustrators, VFX artists and more, who’ve recently stood exactly where you are now and gone on to work on some of the most exciting commercial projects around.

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One piece of advice new graduates are always given is ‘find a way to stand out’ – and one of the best ways to do this is to never forget the value of your skills and what you have to offer. With limited experience on your CV, you will be offered countless opportunities to be exploited and end up working for nothing. Don’t fall for this. If you’re asked to create something to a brief in exchange for ‘exposure’ – or as part of a ‘competition’ – avoid it like a one-on-one tutorial with a handsy tutor. Respect yourself and others will too.

Image from a campaign for Puma by GBH, which is featured in our New Graduate’s Survival Guide from page 14. Portrait of the editor by Abby Wright (abbywrightillustration.co.uk)

neil Bennett editor neil_bennett@idg.co.uk Twitter: @digital_arts

WELCOME

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CONTENTS INSIDE THIS MONTH’S MAGAZINE

P14 THE NEW GRADUATE’S SURVIVAL GUIDE

P6 SPOTLIGHT

P26 SUCCESSFUL UX

P32 PORTRAIT TIPS

P36 SHOWCASE

SHOWCASE P36 Amazing new work from up-and-coming creatives

INSIDE SPOTLIGHT P6 How boundaries can make your work better: Rules and guidelines drive creativity P8 Why Adobe killed Creative Suite: Reaction to its new subscription service P10 Specialmoves’ playful gestures: Agency explores new tech to drive R&D

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FEATURES P14 Creative graduate’s survival guide: How to embark on a successful career P26 Secrets of UX: Why honesty is best if you want gains to be long-term P32 Top artists’ portrait tips: Leading illustrators reveal how they create their work

TUTORIALS P42 Create contemporary lighting effects in Photoshop P48 Produce realistic-looking 3D typographic illustrations P54 Bring flat vector artwork to life by adding texture P58 How to make a group shot look more dynamic

CONTENTS

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visit digitalartsonline.co.uk for news, reviews and tutorials

Hello THIS MONTH’S MAGAZINE

EDITORIAL DigitalArts

Arts

JULY 2013

INSPIRATION FOR DIGITAL CREATIVES

THE CREATIVE GRADUATE’S SURVIVAL GUIDE • UX SECRETS • BOUNDARIES • WHY ADOBE KILLED CREATIVE SUITE • PORTRAIT TIPS • JAMES JARVIS • 3D TYPE IN C4D

JULY 2013

£5.99

How to embark on a successful career in graphic design, web, apps, illustration, animation & VFX

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE Secrets of UX • Advanced tutorials • How boundaries make your work better Why Adobe killed Creative Suite • Top artists’ portrait tips • James Jarvis interview • 3D type in C4D OFC_DAJUL13.indd 1

24/05/2013 13:29

Cover artist Jeffrey Bowman jeffrey-bowman.co.uk editor Neil Bennett, neil_bennett@idg.co.uk art editor Johann Chan johann_chan@idg.co.uk

P42 LIGHTING EffECTS Contributors: Jeremy Bowman, Lizzie Mary Cullen, Duncan Evans, Craig Grannell, Lisa Hassell, Chris Hill-Scott, Murilo Maciel, Laura Snoad, Christopher Vinca, Rob Woodcock

P54 VECTOr ArTwOrk

aDvertisiNG Head of sales Steve Marshall steve_marshall@idg.co.uk Group advertising manager Tom Drummond tom_drummond@idg.co.uk account manager Tom How thomas_how@idg.co.uk sales executive Rebecca Clewarth rebecca_clewarth@idg.co.uk Contact Digital Arts advertising on 020 7756 2803 MarKetiNG Marketing manager Ash Patel ash_patel@idg.co.uk

P48 3D TypOGrApHy

REVIEWS P62 Wacom Cintiq 13HD P63 Ambient Design ArtRage P64 Autodesk Maya 2014 P65 Smith Micro Manga Studio 5 What madE mE P66 As his exhibition opens in London, James Jarvis details the five biggest influences on his life

P58 COLOur COrrECTION

ProDUCtioN Head of digital production Richard Bailey, richard_bailey@idg.co.uk PUBLisHiNG Publishing director Simon Jary sj@idg.co.uk Managing director Kit Gould Digital Arts is published by IDG UK IDG UK, 101 Euston Road, London NW1 2RA Tel: 020 7756 2800 Printer: Wyndeham Press Group Ltd Tel: 01621 877 777 Distribution: Seymour Distribution Ltd Tel: 020 7429 4000 No material may be reproduced in whole or part without written permission. While every care is taken, the publisher cannot be held legally responsible for any errors in articles, listings or advertisements. All material copyright IDG UK 2013

P62 wACOM’S HOT LITTLE TAbLET

CONTENTS

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>

SPOTLIGHT THIS mOnTH’S deSIGn HaPPenInGS

> INSIGHT adObe max rePOrT

Don’t break boundaries, make them at this year’s adobe max conference in Los angeles, Jessica Walsh, Paula Scher, Phil Hansen and erik Johansson tell Ashleigh Allsopp how limits, rules and guidelines can help drive creativity uring the Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles last month, many of the leading creatives we spoke to wanted to discuss the much-quoted design philosophy that limitations, rules and constraints can benefit your creativity – rather than constrict it. But what’s the best way to approach those limitations, what do you do if you don’t like rules and how do you deal with projects without set boundaries (the classic open brief)? Sagmeister & Walsh’s Jessica Walsh (sagmeisterwalsh.com) says: “You would think that having no constraints would be a dream, but in reality, it’s much harder to come up with a solution when there are no boundaries or guidelines. “I think creativity thrives off constraints. When I have limitations, it does make it much better. When I’m given open briefs, I end up making my own constraints and rules up, so that it can help guide me to my concept.”

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An example of this is her work for Aishti and Aizone, two high-end department stores in the Middle East. The clients gave Sagmeister & Walsh complete creative freedom, so Jessica set some personal guidelines. For Aishti’s advertising campaign, the agency set the rule that they could create any design as long as it contained an image of the store’s well-known orange gift box.

many shades of black and white For Aizone, it was decided the design had to be black and white. So for the second season of the campaign, these colours were used to create messages, which were then painted onto a model’s body. However, for the third campaign, the agency decided to scrap the monochromatic theme, but stick with the messages. Pentragram’s Paula Scher (pentagram.com) uses a current project in Staten Island, New York, as an example of how, while rules by

above For a campaign for Aishti, Sagmeister & Walsh were given only one rule: it had to include the client’s iconic orange gift box – which the agency used in a most unusual fashion

themselves don’t help her creative process, they “prevent bad things from happening, but they don’t really promote good things”. For her, the action of kicking against them can draw out ideas. “I get asked to define how I think the creative process works, which is strange because it’s always very mystifying,” she adds. “What I think it is for me is a series of moments where I’m misbehaving. It’s usually some push back or rebellion against something I find dumb. It’s always an opposition to something.” The project is to design signs for the sides of a series of buildings that will make up a shopping centre. City regulations for buildings of that size state you can have just 500 square feet of electronic signage which, as Paula explains, would mean square signs that are not particularly interesting. To get around this, she proposed a series of LED strips, evenly spaced across the buildings, which display the

SPOTLIGHT

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visit digitalartsonline.co.uk for more news and projects

Reaction to Adobe CC – p.8 >>>>>

names of companies with stores inside the shopping centre. In total, those strips add up to 499 square feet. But what do you do if constraints are forced upon you by circumstance rather than clients? Phil Hansen (philinthecircle.com) is a case in point – he developed a shake in his hand while still at college. “After years of perfecting dots, I couldn’t imagine any other way, so I left art school and then I left art completely,” he explains.

Shaker paintings When his doctor told him that he had permanent nerve damage, Phil was devastated, but the doctor suggested that perhaps he could “embrace the shake”. And so he did after realising that he could still make art, just in a different way to the way he originally wanted. He still enjoyed the fragmentation of pointillism, so experimented with different ways of creating fragmented images, such as using only his feet, or a blowtorch to create his work. This helped him discover that “embracing limitation can actually drive creativity”. With this new discovery and his first pay cheque in his wallet, Phil went to the shops to buy a selection of art supplies, ready to sit down and create something new with them.

However, he found himself sitting there for hours. “I was creatively blank,” he explains. “I was paralysed by all the choices that I never had before. It was then I thought back to this limitation of my jittery hand. I realised, if I ever wanted my creativity back, I had to quit trying so hard. To look outside the box and get back into it. I wondered, could you become more creative by looking for limitations?” With this in mind, Phil decided to try limiting himself to just one dollar’s worth of art supplies to create his next piece of art. He got 50 free paper cups from Starbucks, and used the pencils he already had to create one piece. “We need to first be limited in order to become limitless,” he argues. So, he continued to limit himself. “What if instead of painting with a brush, I could only paint using Karate chops? What if, instead of making art to display, I had to destroy it?” This idea became the basis of his Goodbye Art project, which consists of 23 different pieces. “What I thought would be the ultimate limitation turned out to be the ultimate liberation, as each time I created, the destruction brought be back to a neutral place, where I felt ready to start the next project,” Phil explains. “Learning to be creative

Above top left Phil Hansen on stage at Adobe Max. He uses the boundaries up on him by nerve damage to force him to work in news ways Above left Paula Scher says that she often gets her best ideas for rebelling against rules set by clients or how a piece will be used Above top middle, top right and right As Sagmeister & Walsh’s work for Aizone progressed, it slowly broke away from the original brief constraints of black and white type on bodypainted models

within the confines of our limitations is the best hope we have to transform ourselves, and collectively, transform our world,” he concludes. Erik Johansson (erikjohanssonphoto. com), a Swedish photographer and retoucher from Sweden, who specialises in photo-manipulations, also gives himself rules when he is working on a project. He has a love of two things – photography and computers – so he combines these to create his style. “I wanted to capture something that wasn’t there. But I also wanted it to look like a photograph. The camera became the tool for me to collect material, and I learned by trying,” he says. “It always starts with what you can imagine. I don’t believe that we’re limited by the tools – what you can imagine is what you can create,” Erik continues. “Imagine is closely related to inspiration, it’s about putting yourself in a situation that makes you want to create something.” Erik explains the rule he sets for himself is that he must always try to capture as much as possible by using a camera, and to take new photographs for every project. He says that “then no one can tell you that something doesn’t look realistic if you actually captured for real.” SPOTLIGHT

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SPOTLIGHT Stay Kinected – p.10 >>>>>

> Analysis AdObe creATIve cLOud

Why Adobe ditched Creative Suite Neil Bennett looks at strong reactions to Adobe’s move to a subscription service – and what the underlying reasons are dobe’s decision to stop selling its software in favour of renting it out inevitably riled up a large section of its users. A petition on Change.org (chn. ge/18vyFKp) demanding the company return to offering Creative Suite alongside Creative Cloud currently has over 23,000 signatures. But why do people feel this way? One reason is that, despite a relatively low monthly price per user, creatives who don’t upgrade regularly will pay more in the long run. One of our American colleagues has done the maths on this (bit.ly/197QsEQ) and found this is true for Design Standard owners who upgrade less than every 26 months. However, more regular upgraders – especially owners of the pricier suites – end up saving money. The second is the legitimate fear that once Adobe has moved enough of its users over to Creative Cloud, it will jack the monthly prices up and you’ll have no choice but to pay the extra. And without direct competitors to its suite of products, it’s not going to be like switching your energy or broadband supplier if you don’t like what you’re paying. The third factor is simple. Many people prefer the security of owning something to that of renting it – especially in difficult economic times. So why has Adobe taken the risky step

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of ditching a tried-and-tested sales policy in favour of a rental system? The first possibility is that Adobe sees its position as unassailable and its portfolio of tools as impossible not to have. Certainly, Photoshop is a key component of many creative workflows, whether it’s used all day, every day or just to create or quickly manipulate elements for use in edits, models or designs. Ditto Illustrator. Most video editors and CG animators we know – whatever key tool they’re using – rely on After Effects. If you have to have these tools, at some point you’ll need to sign up to Creative Cloud, even if you never touch three quarters of the tools on offer.

No more big upgrades The second – and most likely – is that the era of the big upgrade is over. The Creative Suite/Cloud’s name-brand tools are mature products that have fewer and fewer must-have new features with every release. Yes there are some that make you go ‘wow’, but often that’s more in appreciation of their technical wonder than being something you’d use every day. It’s often the seemingly smaller features that make the most difference on a daily basis – such as InDesign’s donut – and it’s tricky to get people to upgrade just for these. Occasionally though, you do get a tool that’s both a

Above Adobe also used its Max conference to show off two hardware prototypes: Projects Mighty and Napoleon – a digital pen and ruler for iOS devices. Mighty is a pressuresensitive pen with a single button. It works with an iPad app that knows the difference between the pen and your finger, so you can use your finger to erase and use other gestures to quickly carry out various actions. Napoleon, which gets its name as it’s a “very short ruler,” is designed to work with Mighty to help draw lines. It creates a digitally projected edge on your iPad that you can use to draw accurate shapes and lines with Mighty, particularly useful for perspective, for example

wow-inducer and makes your life easier – Photoshop’s Quick Selection tool, for example – but is that enough to make you fork out for an upgrade? The growing popularity of singlepurpose, stripped back tools like Sketch (see our June issue), shows that rather than looking for an application that does everything, many users prefer something more tailored to their needs. It’s easier to develop these when you know you’ve got a guaranteed audience for them – which Creative Cloud delivers. Adobe has already made its first steps towards this with the Edge line of tools for web design. Also, in areas such as web and mobile design, big upgrades are often less important than iterative development to support the regular growth of new coding approaches and standards. Not being tied to a yearly upgrade cycle should help with this. If this all seems web focused, it is – this area currently has the fastest development of new mediums that new creative tools are needed for. It’s also an area that Adobe doesn’t have a ‘must-have’ application in like it does with Illustrator and Photoshop for print design, and After Effects for video/motion work. Hopefully though, we’ll see new tools flourish in other areas, too. adobe.com/uk

SPOTLIGHT

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Specialmoves makes playful gestures at R&D ondon-based creative agency Specialmoves encourages its creatives to work on personal tech projects as a way to R&D new ideas and concepts that may make their way into client projects. Recent projects range from an iPhone-controlled robot to gesturebased games using some of hottest control tech including the Microsoft Kinect, Intel’s Gesture Camera and the Leap Motion controller. “Not only does it make us happier and more productive,” explains head of interactive Gavin Clark, “but also benefits our clients by bringing the latest and most appropriate technologies to each project; tested, developed and with a range of use cases and scenarios ready to pitch to brands – as well as the confidence that we can build it.” One ‘play’ project that led onto a commercial commission was Diy-city, where participants could design sprites through a custom app, which were then projected onto walls outside the studio. This was refined into a project for a live drawing event at Tate

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Britain. Specialmoves is looking to do the same with the gestural technologies its team has been working on. The Kinect is the best known – though an upgraded version is out late this year – but the agency’s creatives have also been playing with Intel’s Gesture Camera and the Leap Motion controller, which are designed to be used much closer to a computer (or kiosk in an experiential environment). “Each device has its different uses. The Kinect can detect the human skeleton and use the whole body to interact with applications, but the Leap gives us the power to engage apps with our hands and fingers,” says senior developer Stephen Chan. “The thing to remember is that there are always limitations to the devices. “The limitations we found with the Leap concern the boundaries and distance of hand position before the device can pick up your hand and fingers. The size of different peoples’ hands can cause issues, so we had to find a balance with maximums and minimums. The rotation of the hand can also confuse the device, as fingers

Above Launched alongside the Xbox One, the new Kinect can also be connected to computers. “Being able to detect orientation of bones really allows us to make character control a lot more realistic and dynamic,” explains Specialmoves’ Stephen Chan. “We won’t just see static models, but more free-flowing characters, giving the characters more life. [Also] the idea of being able to detect force and what muscles are in use, really takes it to the next level”

start disappearing. Also, we found that device itself is pretty unstable in different lighting environments.” The Gesture Camera is the newest of the three technologies, and allows developers to work from a preset list of gestural inputs. “A few of the facial gestures didn’t work too well – smiles were often picked up while talking, and winks while blinking, all in rapid succession,” says Gavin. “We found that the hand gestures were much easier to work with for example, so we ended up using the peace sign and then a thumbs up and thumbs down to confirm or cancel an action.” specialmoves.com

Left A game using Intel’s Gesture Camera where you draw in the air, then pose with your creation, which is then posted to Facebook Above Moving your hand in front of the Leap Controller – the small box in front of the screen – allows you to pick up boxes on screen, then move and throw them around

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SPOTLIGHT Notes and

SKETCHES

Ciara’s floral glamour Ciara Phelan added illustrated elements to Pamela Henson’s photography for Glamour magazine. Ciara was asked to “enhance a springtime fashion story with botanical-themed collage. The clothes were very sugary in colour, so they wanted the collages to be of spring flowers, blossom, peonies, bluebirds and butterflies.” The versions shown here include vector elements that didn’t make it into the final feature. iamciara.co.uk

Framestore steals secrets reating a visual representation of the events that led to the explosive release of confidential diplomatic cables in November 2010 is tricky to make exciting – as much of it happened over online chat sessions. This was the task set to London-based VFX house Framestore by the director of new documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks. “The chats needed to feel textural and alive, sinister and at times, lonely,” explains senior designer Maryanne Butler. “So much of what the logs expressed was a personal outpouring from Private Manning, so we had to stay sensitive to the subject in visualising these.” The firm also created the title sequence (right), which uses particle systems to represent both the networks of information that the cables were passed through, but also the emergence of patterns within the wealth of data that journalists have spent time interpreting. The sequence also sees footage and images broken down into data elements, which move through systems before recomposing themselves later. All were created in Cinema 4D and After Effects. “[This] network-inspired world [had] to contain a sinister edge in keeping with the film’s content,” says senior design director Marc Smith. “To this end, the colour palette was kept dark and minimal throughout.” framestore.com

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Mating plans for Arthur

> MPC has created VFX to bring

a tortoise puppet to life for a campaign for Channel 4’s summer season of dating programmes. VFX was used to add human-like expressions to the puppet, as the tortoise Arthur loses his partner of 100 years, goes on a series of disastrous dates, has some unorthodox sexual experiences, then falls in love with a disabled dog in a chariot. The expressions were created in ZBrush based on a 3D scan of the puppet’s head. moving-picture.com

Sense and sensuality

> Pentagram’s Angus Hyland and

writer Angharad Lewis have teamed up to create a guide to dreamlike modern illustration and art. The Purple Book features work that borders the surreal, the symbolic and (often sexual) flights of fantasy from the likes of Deanne Cheuk, Jules Julien, Ëlodie Nadreau (above), and more. lawrenceking.com

SPOTLIGHT

28/05/2013 16:00


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THE NEW

GRADUATE’S SURVIVAL GUIDE BY LAURA SNOAD

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o you’ve nailed your dissertation, prepped for your degree show and you might have even had chance to slip in a quick internship, but now it’s time for the final – and most important – hurdle: making some money. There’s no avoiding the fact that it’s a tough time for graduates. Unemployment levels are still growing in the UK and the creative economy isn’t exactly buoyant, but at the same time, it’s challenged today’s students to become broader designers. Nic Roope, creative director at multi-disciplinary agency Poke (pokelondon.com), suggests that this broader job description is certainly something for new grads to get excited about. “There are so many more opportunities, especially in digital, than when I started,” he explains. “In these emergent areas there’s more to solve and less precedents to draw on, so fresh talents really have an advantage as they’re not prejudiced by their experience and bad habits.” For VFX graduates, and graphic and interactive designers, the industry tends to lean towards cutting your teeth at an agency. Although it tends to pay less than freelance, it’s a route that has its advantages: namely security and a whole company of creative minds to constantly bounce ideas off. On the other hand, those opting for careers in illustration and animation tend to launch into freelance life from the off. Being your own boss and picking your own projects has huge appeal, but at the same time those wanting that sort of freedom must bow to the gods of admin – whether that be finding clients, chasing payments or filling in a tax return.

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How to get a job

Above Still from Red Bee’s promo for Wimbledon. It was produced for the BBC Opposite page Justin Maller’s experiments with form and colour influenced the motion graphics he produced for Nike Below These T-shirts were designed by Attik as part of CocaCola’s 2010 World Cup campaign

For freelancers and in-agency designers alike, getting your portfolio in front of the right people is the first big task. A self-promotional mailer, with your personal stamp, contact details and a good helping of thought is the recommended route as, for those wanting to get a full-time role, the aim is to open up a dialogue that will lead to a face-to-face meeting. “It’s not about doing something elaborate or expensive, it’s about being memorable,” says GBH (gregorybonnerhale.com) creative director Mark Bonner. “It’s the things that I’ve thought are just so charming I couldn’t possibly throw them away that end up keeping my attention.” Ron Lim, the US-based creative director of international design powerhouse Attik (attik.com), suggests you should focus on concepts rather than execution when working out what to include in your portfolio and what to

ditch. “Any student can do a case study about a branded app they’ve made, but it has to be an app consumers want,” he argues. “Leaving school with a good-looking book isn’t enough. Anyone can put lipstick on a pig. Make sure your portfolio has great ideas.” In terms of presentation, Poke’s Nic suggests uninvasive simplicity is best. “Design it so people like me can rip through it to see if there’s anything there or not,” he advises. As well as doing an edit of your portfolio to ensure it’s full of showstoppers, it’s wise to tailor what you tout to potential employers to match their agenda. First, it’s important to think about where you might fit in, suggests AllofUs (allofus.com) head of visual design Jem Robinson, and judge agencies on three things: their work, personality and ethics. Her advice is to target about 40 studios and hone your approach for each, talking about their latest projects and keen interests in a short, well-written

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letter or email, rather than sending out millions of generic mailouts. “This is where being a bit of an investigative journalist comes in handy,” Jem explains. “If you’re keen to get a job at a specific place, find out through social media who works there, what they are interested in, and what the common themes and threads between the people that work in that office are. It’s borderline stalking, and you definitely need to keep it to LinkedIn and Twitter, not Facebook, but you can easily learn about what makes people tick.” The added benefit of this researchcome-stalking is that it holds you in good stead once you’ve finally caught a creative director’s attention. Paul Reardon, creative director of Sheffield-based studio Peter and Paul (peterandpaul.co.uk), stresses that the key to an impressive interview performance is passion and the ability to explain your ideas. “There are many students that can’t really talk through

their work – or ours for that matter.” A lot of the time Paul is also looking for the character of a person, not just their strength as a designer. ” “When I’m looking through someone’s portfolio with them, I always look for something I can give them a bit of creative criticism about,” says GBH’s Mark. “A lot of people come to us and think they’re the finished article. You have to be able to take criticism and I often test that.”

Below Interactive agency Poke’s Christmas time installation for Foursquare, which created a downpour of snow whenever someone checked in at London’s Rivington Street

But it’s not always chat about your design work that’ll get you noticed. Charlie Mawer, executive creative director at Red Bee (www.redbeemedia. com) advises you to talk about your passions, or the area of your life that is most interesting – even if it isn’t directly related to the job. “Remember that the people doing the recruiting are probably slightly bored having seen a bunch of people, so if you can capture their imagination, it will stand you in much greater stead. My first job at the BBC owed as much to my time teaching Romeo and Juliet to township kids in South Africa, as it did to my three years in advertising.” Another thing to remember is that an interview is a two-way process. Use it to scrutinise the agency, think about whether you like the people and the general vibe, and get a feel for what it would be like to work there, advises Attik’s Ron Lim. “You don’t want to accept a job only to regret doing so.” FEATURE

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Both Charlie and Nic believe you should be open-minded about taking jobs you’re offered, even if it isn’t the dream role you have in mind. Charlie says: “The reality is that even with the best research in the world, you will only know one per cent of the available jobs that are out there in the world, and the best way to discover more is to just start work, as it will throw you into experiences that in turn will open up other careers.” But what should you do if that job offer, perfect or otherwise, remains illusive even after six months? VFX studio MPC’s (moving-picture.com) head of 2D Bill McNamara suggests trying to find a more experienced person in a position you’d like to be in and talking to them. Not only will it build your confidence, but it might give you some valuable insight that might just give you the inside track when you go for your next interview. AllofUs’ Jem Robinson advises against working for free, and suggests finding a small project that can act as a calling card. After graduating, she moved back to Doncaster and landed a gig at the County Council creating promotional work for a grant-funded fine arts group. “It wasn’t glamorous stuff, but it taught me how to manage content and deal with printers. There are loads of projects like that which you can volunteer your time to. That sort of work is far more valuable than sitting in the corner of some studio doing picture research,” she recalls. Once your foot’s in the door, probation periods are not only an opportunity to show you new employer what you’re made of, they can also define what kind of designer, and person, your new colleagues perceive you to be – a judgement that will shape your future career. Charlie says: “Don’t wait to be told to do stuff, or always ask for permission. Just make stuff happen. Remember

“Trying out new ways of directing people to your work is a good way to stand out from the usual emails sent out to clients. I was once overlooked for a project as a client assumed I was busy, and so I created Ismattavailable.com” Matt Booth, web designer

Above GBH gave Beverly Hills’ SLS Hotel a monkeyinspired identity Below AllofUs’ airport interactives transform the faces of passers-by into works of art as part of a digital campaign for Ballantine’s whisky

in the end that you are being paid by clients now, so showing an awareness for their problems, challenges and customers will get you far.” Defining your role also means making sure that others don’t take advantage of your newbie status. Try to foster a healthy working schedule right from the start, suggests Jem, so that people don’t see you as the person that always stays late. Not only does it give the impression that you’re on top of your work, but it means your contribution is noticed when the team has to stay late to pull together before an important pitch or deadline. “Watch out for not being properly credited for something that’s your idea or design,” says Charlie. “Credit is currency in our world, and you should fight like mad to make sure your contribution is properly recognised.”

How to set up as a freelancer

“When I started, it was all about joining the big corporate companies,” recalls graphic designer Morag Myerscough (studiomyerscough.com), whose vibrant, DIY aesthetic has adorned interiors from restaurants to children’s hospitals. “I went against this by setting up my own studio, but it was difficult. Now is more encouraging towards young people with start-ups and doing it for yourself.” 16

But with being your own boss and carving your own career comes a rub: university might have taught you, but it probably didn’t push you to chase clients or swot up on contract law and, unlike your agency-side contemporaries, there’s not a senior colleague to steer you through. First stop is to organise the huge chuck of projects you’ve worked on as a student and intern. Freelance web designer Matt Booth (mrbooth.co.uk), whose clients include McLaren, Volvo and Manchester City FC, argues the key is editing. “Keep it simple and keep it lean. People aren’t going to trawl through dozens of projects.” It can be a laborious task, but he also suggests making your work visible across multiple platforms: set up your own site, but also create a Behance presence, put up work on Flickr, Vimeo and YouTube, and even work-inprogress on Instagram, he says. “The more places, the more chance you have of potential clients seeing it.” Richard Barnett, who regularly hires freelance animators to work on projects for his production studio Trunk (trunk.me.uk), stresses the importance of putting your mobile number on the web. “Let your work do the talking, but saying that, as a producer I want to be able to call you and check availability, so make sure I can get your number easily.” Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of being a new freelancer is the need to drum up enough work to pay your bills, and that means making contact with potential clients, and fast. “It has to be a co-ordinated attack, just one approach is never enough. First, send something through the post, mail is still always a treat, then follow with a call,” advises Richard.

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Self-promotional postcards are a good start, but remember the aim is to stand out. “We once got some homemade biscuits and were so charmed we invited the person in to go through their showreel and eat the biscuits with us,” recalls Richard. Matt agrees: “Trying out new ways of directing people to your work is a good way to stand out from the usual emails sent out to clients. I was once overlooked for a project as a client assumed I was busy, and so I created Ismattavailable.com. It’s a more lighthearted way of letting people know if I’m available and the key is I’m always available, it’s just a matter of when.” Both Richard and Matt stress the importance of thinking laterally about how your work might be seen by clients. Try to get it on the blogs and feeds that art directors might trawl, and interact with companies through their social networks. It’s important to enter competitions or film festivals as time-poor producers will often scan the nominees lists. Also research places where you can pick up smaller clients, like Radarmusicvideos.com, which pairs new directors and animators with emerging bands in need of videos.

Meeting people in person has a better hit rate for being remembered. Freelance designer and animator James Wignall (mutanthands.com) recommends events where you can actually meet companies you’d like to work for, such as See No Evil, and networking talks like Glug, where you can approach like-minded collaborators, who can call on you when they need an extra pair of hands. In many cases, social media, networking and persistence can get your career off the ground, but getting an agent can be a real boost. “It’s always good to have additional potential revenue streams, and a good agency installs confidence in your clients, as well as you not having to deal with client management side,” explains James. Australian illustrator Justin Maller (justinmaller.com) agrees on the benefits of having an agent, especially when dealing with international clients. “Once you start attracting a certain kind of job where there are usage rights involved, multiple executions, parties and outcomes, then having an agent is very important.” Throughout his career, nowfreelance designer John McFaul

Top Yolo designed this artwork for Flash! – a series of events at Sheffield Students Union Above middle Attik’s packaging shows off Bacardi’s new flavours Above Red Bee’s Christmas time ident for BBC 2 Left This illustration by James Wignall was used as part of a title sequence treatment for BBC TV programme Best of British

(mcfaulstudio.com) has had a number of agents, starting off with the CIA. He recommends paying attention to personality when picking an agent, and ideally going with someone who seems genuinely interested in working with you as an individual to avoid getting typecast. “When my studio was doing really well, we had that problem,” he explains. “When we didn’t really want to do certain kinds of work anymore, they still wanted to, because they wanted their 30 per cent.” Once the briefs are in your inbox, it’s time to make the call as to whether to rent out studio space. Recent University of Brighton graduate Paul Layzell (paul-layzell. com), whose surreal animations with brother Matt have brought them attention and clients, has a soft spot for starting at home. “The kitchen table is definitely a right of passage everyone goes through,” he says. FEATURE

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However, Yolo graphic designer Martin Fewell (martinfewell.com) thinks it depends on how you work. “Some people need the discipline of an office environment to actually get stuff done,” he says, “It’s worth renting a desk if that’s the case, you would probably pick up contacts and work there as well.” Richard Barnett suggests that if you can’t afford to rent a studio, work in a space that you don’t need to tidy everything away each day – preferably not your bedroom, otherwise you feel like you’re always living in just one room. “If you do work at home, take a 15-minute walk before you start, and another at the end of the day to give your mind a bit of space and distance yourself from work,” he recommends. If you leave thinking about getting paid until after you’ve started the work, you’ve already left it too long. James recommends doing your research before you take on a job. Find out what a company’s payment reputation is like from fellow creatives.

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“You may feel you can trust a client to pay on time, but sometimes it doesn’t work out like that. Agreeing to an up-front part-payment of an invoice is a good way of covering any uncomfortable eventualities” James Wignall, designer

Top left Graphics for the dining room at London’s Barts Hospital by Morag Myerscough Top right A packaging and branding campaign for Puma by GBH Below left The Layzell Bros’ series Chicks with Cheeks Below right Still from Sony’s Cat and Mouse ad. It was produced by Wieden+Kennedy, RSA London, MPC and Baillie Walsh

He also advises checking out a potential client’s finances. “There are a lot of company check websites out there which let you see how well a business is doing (up until its last filed set of taxes),” he explains. “These are a good indication that you’ll get paid on time.” Matt Booth also recommends thinking ahead. “You may feel you can trust a client to pay on time, but sometimes it doesn’t work out like that. Agreeing to an up-front part-payment of an invoice is a good way of covering any uncomfortable eventualities.” And if you haven’t seen an invoice before, it’s worth scoping out sites like Docracy.com. It’s a peer-uploaded collection of legal documents that can give you a good idea of what to include in your

own contracts, and has a specialist section for designers. Knowing what to charge when you start out is also quite a challenge. James suggests: “If it’s an illustration project, then look at the time it’s going to take you, apply your day rate and then double it as inevitably these things take longer than you anticipate, plus client changes.” Another tip from James is to stipulate how many changes the client can make and how much extra it will cost if they go over the set amount. Being paid late is not the only way that you can be exploited as a freelancer, James suggests keeping an eye out for anyone who promises you more work in the future in exchange for a cheaper rate. Be careful with crowdsourcing sites, like Talenthouse, and totally avoid competitions where the prize is to get your design used and a small fee (like in 99designs.co.uk). But, despite all the worries, the one thing both James and Matt wish is that they’d gone freelance earlier. The latter says: “As long as you stand out from the crowd, are honest and are willing to learn and willing to work hard, you will eventually make it.”

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Jacob Stead Illustrator (Freelance) Since graduating from the University of West England’s Illustration course in 2011, Bristol-based Jacob Stead has scored some hefty editorial commissions. His wit and grainy, 1950s-style depictions, feature everything from menacing gingerbread men to lab coat-clad chemists, and have won fans including Good Housekeeping, Wired and Anorak magazines, and British Airways. “I spent the very little spare time I had in the last few weeks before the degree show hunting for art directors’ contact details on the internet,” explains Jacob. From there he nailed two commissions, one paid and one unpaid, and then used them to lure in more commissions – which are now rolling in thick and fast. “Doing some unpaid work in the beginning really helped me overall, despite what some people say about not working for free. It gave me more exposure on blogs and a chance to work to realistic deadlines, so that I could see where I had to work faster and where I needed to take shortcuts.” A growing portfolio and client base meant Jacob was recently able to give up the part-time cafe job he had taken after university to make ends meet. Aside from this major milestone, another recent breakthrough (not least geographically) was a piece for the New York Times Book Review, to accompany a review of Nathaniel Rich’s novel Odds Against Tomorrow. “I’d always wanted to work on a commission with the paper because of its reputation and the exposure it offers, but it had always seemed unreachable to me. It felt amazing to hit a target like that.” Jacob’s keen to keep growing his editorial base, but also aims to break into publishing, and would like to start working on book design. Like most recent graduates, his past year has been an intensive slog in getting noticed and putting work out, and he now he would like some time to play. “It’d be great to fit in more personal work and find some time to experiment with print and 3D,” he says. jacobstead.com

Top tip

“Be prepared to work hard to find clients and don’t assume they’ll come to you. It’s also important to not expect too much at first – things will probably build slowly so be patient” Jacob Stead

Illustrator Jacob Stead has worked for a number of clients, including The New York Times (top right) and Anorak (bottom right)

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Martin Craster Motion designer, director and animator (freelance) Joining the University of Teeside as a mature student after four years as a BT telecoms specialist, motion designer Martin Craster started university (then 21) as a focused individual. Taught by Marcus Diamond, the co‑founder of Neasden Control Centre, Martin was exposed to a “very different but very enjoyable way of manually producing graphic design” – a hands‑on approach that drove his hunger to experiment with other disciplines. “Creating motion graphics excited me more than just producing a static piece of graphic design, I felt it took my ideas to the next level,” he explains. Testing out this theory, Martin interned at The Rumpus Room, working closely with Tom Roope and his team on an interactive project for Talk Talk called Brightstage. This asked fans to film themselves singing or dancing to pop songs, and if they were good enough, the footage would be shown before X-Factor. It used sound‑reactive, face‑tracking and augmented‑reality software, and included designing a series of fun props for people to interact with. This stint left a lasting impression on Martin and he transferred to the University of Salford in Manchester for his final year to be closer to studios where he could pick up technical skills (such as Mainframe North where he interned two days a week), and taught himself Cinema 4D and After Effects along the way. Winning a place at D&AD’s month‑long Graduate Academy just after finishing his course in 2012 (and picking up a Yellow Pencil for his HP Moving Image brief), Martin then went on to intern for VFX studio MPC (where he created motion graphics for Cravendale), Young, Double G Studios and Bibliotheque, building up an impressive and varied portfolio of commercial work before making the decision to go freelance. “I racked up six internships before saying enough is enough. The studios I wanted to work for weren’t hiring at the time, so I decided to work for myself.” Since then Martin hasn’t looked back, and has recently been freelancing on some soon‑to‑launch projects for Rupert Ray, the new agency set up by Alex Maclean and Caroline Matthews (both formerly of Airside). martincraster.com

Top tip

“Keep pushing skills. Being that T-shaped designer your tutors talked about is important. If you solely do graphics, learn some animation or digital, and vice-versa” Martin Craster

As an intern freelance designer, Martin Craster worked with MPC and The Rumpus Room on motion graphics for Cravendale (top) and Talk Talk. He has also worked on projects for Channel 4 (above) and HP (right) ideas for HP

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Oliver Caiden Compositor at MPC Charging wildebeest, dancing ponies and a T-Rex smashing through a wall – in the two years since he graduated, compositor Oliver Caiden has worked on his fair share of unusual creatures. Towards the end of Staffordshire University’s Film Production Technology degree, Oliver started learning visual effects techniques, and, realising that he was really into it, began doing more in his spare time. “The main thing I did for my dissertation was to learn Nuke off my own back. I found all the tutorials and spent time getting the workflow down. They’d originally taught After Effects as the main art compositing tool, so to go from layer-based to node-based workflow was quite tricky for me to get my head around.” Opting for a placement year, Oliver moved to London to try to get a job in VFX, but it took six months (and many night shifts at John Lewis) to get his foot in the door as a runner. Returning to MPC after his final year, he got to know the compositors and showed interest in their jobs, and soon started picking up small bit of rotoscoping work after hours. “Soon you become more valuable as a compositor than a runner, and then you’re in there,” Oliver explains. So far he’s notched up some impressive client briefs, including ones for Comic Relief, Hollyoaks, E-Harmony and, not least, Three’s 6.5m-hit-generating Dance Pony Dance slot, masterminded by Wieden + Kennedy. Perhaps the biggest of all has been a six-month project for Samsung to promote its new Smart TV. The King of TV City slot (directed by Adam Berg) sees a man walk through an abandoned city before having live-action beasts and machines burst through the streets. Oliver worked on a key scene of a T-Rex smashing through a wall, but one shot of a huge wildebeest stampede for the ad. From nine hours of footage filmed in South Africa, only about 30 seconds captured the wildebeest at the right angle or in the right light. From that, Oliver and his colleagues made a CG herd, and matched them up between shots. “The main thing is the confidence it gave me,” explains Oliver. “Someone just giving me one of the main sequences and saying, ‘Off you go, do it’, it’s amazing.” olivercaiden.com

MPC compositor Oliver Caiden has scored some huge campaigns since graduating, including on Three’s viral hit Dance Pony Dance (above and right) and Samsung’s King of City slot (below)

Top tip

“Talk to everyone, ask questions and get your face known. People are always happy to talk through projects to enthusiastic people” Oliver Caiden

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Natalie Suthons Designer at Red Bee Media When tasked with a branding project at university, designer Natalie Suthons couldn’t have picked something more appropriate for her future career at Red Bee. The Ravensbourne motion graphics graduate opted to create an identity for a hypothetical Channel 4 offshoot, aimed at the over 60s. “It involved looking at the whole package – so many different design treatments across different platforms,” explains Suthons. “That really opened up a whole different avenue for me.” Focused on film from an early age, Natalie spent a year at film school in Bournemouth before discovering designing for the screen. Switching to Ravensbourne to pursue motion graphics, she worked on everything from documentary-making through to kinetic typography projects – something that she now uses frequently in her current role. While still at university, Natalie carried out internships at Creative Nuts and Addiction Entertainment (where she worked on projects for Comedy Central and did rotoscoping for a programme on Jimi Hendrix), and produced a series of five- to 10-second motion graphics films for a performance artist from US hit TV show Glee. At her degree show, she was offered a six-week internship at Bruce Dunlop Associates before a job offer came forth from Red Bee. “I was over the moon when they offered me a job because I’d heard so much about them,” explains Natalie. “Their work was held up as an example of the best all the way through uni.” Natalie now works in Red Bee’s promo wing, creating branding and motion graphics with a quick turnaround. Perhaps her favourite project so far was working on the BBC’s People Like Us, a gritty show about an estate in Manchester. “Rather than it be really depressing, the brief was to make heroes out of each of the characters and make it exciting and vibrant.” The promo shows a clip of each person talking, then at the right moment, it bursts into animation, with bold graphics and bright colours. “I’m really happy at Red Bee. There’s so much room to progress, and having the BBC and UKTV as your main clients means you have so much variety – and such a high standard of colleagues.” brillinat.com

Top tip

“Enter lots of awards – many you can still enter 12 months after you graduate. Keep in that system, because you’re opening up contacts” Natalie Suthons Natalie Suthons joined Red Bee almost immediately after graduating and has since worked on motion graphics for the BBC. Her work includes (from top to bottom right) promotionals ads for Radio 2, BBC 3 show People Like Us, Radio 5 Live and TV drama The White Queen

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Brinley Clark Designer at The Partners It’s smart to target the consultancies you approach for work after you graduate carefully, but University of Hertfordshire graduate Brinley Clark took this idea to a whole new level. On discovering The Partners’ work as a student and seeing the similarities to his own humour and approach, the graphic design student knew that was where he wanted to end up when he graduated. Choosing to write his dissertation on The Partners’ ‘bible’ A Smile in the Mind, written by founder member David Stuart, Brinley also spent a brief internship at a practice established by two former The Partners employees called 300 Million, as well as in-house at Virgin Atlantic. “That stood me in great stead because it let me get a feel for how they worked,” he explains. His dedication paid off when he bumped into The Partners creative director Nick Clark at The New Designers multi-institution graduate show, and got the opportunity to talk to him about some of the projects they were working on. He was offered a job almost straightaway, and has since worked on everything from big branding work to small pro-bono projects. Perhaps one of the most high profile has been a project for Deloitte, which saw Brinley work with The Partners team to create environmental graphics for the security check-in area at the World Economic Forum. It was a challenge to make it better year-on-year, but the handdrawn look created in collaboration with Scriberia won some big fans, including Boris Johnson. At the other end of the scale, Brinley has also worked solo on some small identity projects, such as for freelance mobile hairdresser Bunny’s, which he’s just entered for a number of awards. “She’s called bunny because she talks a lot, she rabbits,” laughs Brinley. “My idea was to combine the bunny ears with scissors, and play with the concept that because she’s freelance she pops up everywhere and anywhere.” “You can do something on such a large scale like at The World Economic Forum and then help out a local hairdresser – that’s the beauty of The Partners.” behance.net/brinleyclark

Brinley was part of the team that created environmental graphics for the security check-in area at the World Economic Forum (above), which was seen by the likes of David Cameron and Boris Johnson. Other work includes creating a brand identity for mobile hairdresser Bunny’s (left and below)

Top tip

““When you’re interning mix it up a bit. Some people frown on going in-house, but you can learn a lot” Brinley Clark

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The secreTs of successful uX You may have been told that psychological trickery and manipulative design can make websites more effective. However, UX experts reveal to Craig Grannell that honesty is by far the best policy should you want any gains to be long-term

Right Simon Norris argues that the best emotional design is “about tapping into factors that influence us in terms of pleasure and joy,” an example being the Threadless.com cart’s animated smiling face. “It plays on the emotional side of our behaviour and makes us feel more connected and engaged with the website,” he says

Above Aarron Walker thinks Photojojo’s ‘do not pull’ lever is a brilliant, positive psychological trick: “Few can stand to obey that command. On pulling it, a giant arm descends and yanks up the product description. It’s unexpected, hilarious and increases conversions — it’s easier to make a gut purchase decision with a smile on your face,” he enthuses

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on’t be evil.” Popularised by Google, this mantra is nonetheless ignored by many in the web industry. In his book Psychology for Designers, cxpartners’ director of user experience Joe Leech (joeleech. net) laments: “Over the last few years there has been a trend of using psychology to influence, nudge, coerce and sometimes trick people into doing something they may not otherwise do.” Sites prey on negative emotions and deceive users, while articles masquerading as magic bullets list tips espousing terms like ‘manipulate’ and ‘control’. They claim users will then do what you want them to, regardless of whether they originally wanted to. Leading user experience experts assert this is precisely the wrong

approach. “The reason psychology is so important is to understand the people we’re designing for and people in general – it’s not about manipulating anyone,” argues experience designer Aral Balkan (aralbalkan.com). “People don’t like being manipulated when online, because it comes across as devious and is not associated with a positive experience,” adds Simon Norris, CEO of user experience design agency Nomensa (nomensa.com). He believes designers should strive to only use psychological techniques that provide positive experiences which “feel transparent and give greater choice and control,” thereby “creating a strong feeling of engagement with an audience and building a greater sense of loyalty to a brand”.

Aarron Walter (aarronwalter. com), director of user experience at MailChimp and author of Designing for Emotion, says this basic psychological principle, ‘priming’, can change a user’s frame of mind; through creating a positive emotional experience, someone actually will be more likely to do what you want them to.

Managing expectations Three important themes stand out: expectations, honesty and personality. “It’s essential to match people’s mental models – by mapping the way a user expects your website to work, they’ll feel comfortable and happy going about doing things,” Joe explains. He provides the example of an email newsletter sign-up. Often,

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Left Both Clearleft and cxpartners have photos of their staff online, thereby making their sites (and by extension their agencies) more personable to newcomers

Above Simon Norris thinks Sky Rainforest Rescue (rainforestrescue.sky.com) is a great example of how a website can capture an audience through visual language and engaging images, many of which involve people

so-called ‘dark UX’ techniques are utilised – convoluted language and confusing checkbox rules that trick people into signing up. “This might get a high subscribe rate, but many will then unsubscribe,” he reckons. Instead, focus on the benefits of signing up by speaking to the ego, and provide expectations regarding email frequency. The result will be fewer sign-ups, but more will stay on, which benefits the site owner. Clearleft co-founder Jeremy Keith (adactio.com) agrees about being upfront: “The thing is, what you’re offering won’t be for everyone. The best thing for you is to make people aware of that as soon as possible, rather than stringing some along under false pretences.” He believes

“People don’t like being manipulated when online, since it comes across as devious and is not associated with a positive experience” Simon Norris, Nomensa the more negative industry approaches have been absorbed from the world of advertising, which often “hides the true nature of a product and makes it about something else,” and “falls into the trap of thinking of everyone as an amorphous lump of people who behave in the same way”. Jeremy mocks the notion of “assuming a perfectly spherical

Above Amazon uses positive psychological techniques to drive sales. “Get yourself a little something,” is based on a personal wish list

user” as a starting point. Savvy web designers realise you can’t secondguess an end-user’s setup, and so Jeremy wonders why anyone would assume they know what someone thinks, or about their background and detailed requirements; obfuscation is therefore a terrible approach. According to Joe, this extends to revealing those behind an FEATURE

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The secreTs of successful uX

organisation: “A lot of research we do at cxpartners involves eye tracking. We find people are drawn to human faces. Used sparingly, they’re a good way of encouraging people to look at things on your site.” This technique is particularly well used in bringing users the faces behind a business: “If you’re a self-employed consultant, put a picture of yourself on your front page and don’t pretend to be a monolithic corporation. People will be engaged with a picture of you, because people respond well to people,” explains Joe.

Personal touch “Similarly, if you’re working on a business site, make it more personable by including staff shots – users will get the idea they’re doing business with an individual rather than a faceless corporation.” However, honesty plays a part here, too – avoid plastering a site with stock photography of grinning mugs, because that’s “using faces for the wrong reason, and people are good at seeing through fake sentiment”. Other visual elements can assist and encourage. Aral talks about an ‘affordance’ being key in interpreting an object’s purpose. “When you see something new, how it looks says Above JustGiving (justgiving.com) makes use of psychology to engage with its audience: human faces; succinct text; few paths for a low cognitive load; and the ‘peer effect’, where you see others’ donations and may follow accordingly Left “To create strong emotional connections with your audience, the personality of the people behind a site needs to shine through,” argues Aarron Walter. On his own site, he includes photos of himself; similar techniques can work for even large corporations

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a lot about how it should work. If it meets those expectations, you’ve something usable and intuitive; if not, it’s confusing. Every element in an object you create has a purpose, either to aid or to confuse.” From a psychological standpoint, further techniques dovetail nicely with striving for instinctive, natural, compelling interfaces. Simon mentions “pleasure, joy and things that surprise, grab hold and keep your attention,” and Aaron advocates the power of contrast. “The human brain is deft at recognising differences in elements. It’s a skill we developed as we evolved to alert us to threats. Online, you can make a primary action stand out by varying scale and colour, or by increasing space around it.” He adds attention is a “finite commodity”, though – try to make everything stand out and nothing will. Often, minimalism comes into play. “The concept of cognitive load is very important in web design – humans have limited memory and so keeping the load light stops your audience

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The secreTs of successful uX

abandoning a task,” explains Simon. When trying to direct users on a specific pathway, Aaron recommends “eliminating non-essential things that could lead users in the wrong direction,” and Jeremy suggests spending time getting to the heart of your message. “Keep chopping away at it. Decide if the purest form is possible to put out there,” he argues. “Also, realise companies often aren’t clear themselves about what they’re offering. Work together to find an angle, what people should know about, and get that across succinctly, honestly and clearly.”

No quick fixes Finally, there are no quick off-thepeg solutions when it comes to user experience and psychology. “What you’re building is – hopefully – unique, and so the challenges and solutions will also be unique,” explains Aral. Joe agrees: “The thing worth focusing on in psychology is you’ll read a book or Above Apple’s site is a masterclass in positive thinking. “You’re on dangerous ground playing negative emotional strings,” explains Joe Leech, “but engender positive emotion by associating your product with things that make people happy and you’ve got a halo effect”

There are no easy answers, but that’s not something to be discouraged about. In fact, I’d be discouraged if there were Jeremy Keith, Clearleft a bunch of tips, but more often you’ll come across a problem that you’ll need a particular solution to. The thing is, it’s hard to find a psychology solution to a problem you’ve got.” The temptation, he says, is to read a book on psychology and try to crowbar in tips from what you’ve learned, but you just end up looking fake. “People find that easy to spot – they can smell it a mile off,” warns Joe. “So don’t over-egg the psychology. Just try to do one or two little things that encourage people to do what you’d like, and be positive and nice. Don’t use ‘100 great psychology tips for web designers’, or you’ll come across like an oily salesman version of Derren Brown.”

Jeremy reiterates Aral’s earlier point, in that user experience is about the users – people. “I get worried the web industry is always looking for systems and rules of behaviour, trying to find a very analytical, programmatical way of dealing with people as opposed to a human way. But that’s just not how people work from a psychological standpoint,” he says. “There are no easy answers, but that’s not something to be discouraged about. In fact, I’d be discouraged if there were – if there were things you could plug in to get the perfect website every time. That would be depressing and wouldn’t say something good about human nature.”

Above Squarespace’s pricing page makes use of psychological techniques to engage visitors and increase conversions: clarity and few choices (for lower cognitive load); and contrast (both in extra features per tier and flagging a choice they’d like you to go for)

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3 MONTHS FULL-TIME OR 1 YEAR PART-TIME Bursting with creativity? Want to channel that energy and passion into a truly rewarding career? For over 15 years Shillington College has been teaching people just like you everything you need to kickstart an amazing career in the graphic design industry. Starting with a foundation in design theory and processes, the course moves quickly to have you designing beautifully considered, effective design solutions for print and digital media within days. In three months (full-time) or within one year (part-time) you’ll graduate with a commercially relevant portfolio brimming with technical prowess and creative flair. It’ll be a portfolio that will well and truly get you on your way. Enrol now for September 2013 full and part-time. LONDON • MANCHESTER • NEW YORK • SYDNEY • MELBOURNE • BRISBANE

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LEARN GRAPHIC DESIGN


Portraits of Personality Seven of the UK’s leading illustrators – and an American hotshot – reveal to Lisa Hassell how they created renderings of film stars, musicians and more that convey their inner nature (whether perceived or real)

Carrie rodriquez by Marc Aspinall (UK) tthp.org

“Referencing your subject from multiple angles is a good idea; having head-on and profile [images], and even a three-quarter view is hugely helpful. It allows you to turn the subject around throughout the composition of the piece. “Having a small space to work with meant reducing Carrie’s likeness down to simple forms – big, round dark eyes, very strong and angular eyebrows, and amazing dark, ringlet hair. I used shading under her brow to deepen the face a little, and to draw attention to the eyes themselves; which more often than not is where the likeness begins. “I’m no expert in portraiture, but getting the [subject’s] likeness is down to using the right angles. Half squinting is a good way to reduce a face to its more basic forms, or hold out a pencil and match the specific angle by tilting [your head], so you can disassociate yourself from the smaller details, and just see angles and shapes. If I get stuck, I’ll do a few tracings of the face, just to get a better idea of angles – although this is for emergencies only.”

Brad Pitt

by Joe Wilson (UK) joe-wilson.com “This piece [for film magazine Little White Lies] had very tight criteria: an image of Brad Pitt’s face made of leaves. “Restricted to one colour on black, this became about capturing Pitt’s essence as simply as possible, with no space for fancy stuff. Building onto a background of black, 32

my focus was on the negative shapes of his eyes, nose and mouth. The face-on pose is important, as it needed to be clear and immediately connect with the viewer. Once these key areas were drawn correctly, I could sculpt the rest of the face with leaves, giving the gold foil maximum impact.”

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Joey Barton

by Tim McDonagh (UK) mcdonaghillustration.com “[When creating portraits, you need to work out] what features you can accentuate with different marks. If someone has quite prominent stubble, for example, find which kind of a mark is going to work best, something that’s really going to draw attention to that feature. Pay close attention to the eyes too; the skin and folds around the eyes is a really important thing to get down accurately.” FEATURE

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Michael Fassbender

by Paul Willoughby (UK) paulwilloughby.com “My concept for the portrait was to make Fassbender’s face out of the dirty materials his character was obsessed with in the film [Shame]. I broke the face down into three skin tones – light medium and dark – then used the random variation in skin surfaces to describe his face. I also added some cuttings from vintage Playboys for that touch of class.”

Marc Jacobs

By Stuart Wilson (UK) stuartwhitton.co.uk “The crux of my tip is practice and research. Learn about your subject matter – having background information will allow you to have a clearer idea of what pose and the areas that can be highlighted. “With my Marc Jacobs piece, I pictured him looking at a garment or at a crucial stage in his design process, which led me to include glasses and have him looking off the page with an expression that came across as deep in thought. The more practice [you] undertake, the quicker these decisions can be made, leaving more time to create the piece.”

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Paloma Faith

by Miss Led (UK) missled.co.uk “I’m attracted to the theatrical and playful side of Paloma, which I kept in mind while creating the portrait. With the eyelashes being the heaviest area of the piece, they were to act as the pivotal part of the image. Eyes are so important in my portraits – they have to be the hook to entice the viewer in and also engage the gaze. “Embellishing her cheeks with white dots over abundant soft blush creates a good balance and acknowledgement of these dramatic fanlike lashes. With this particular portrait, it was more what I chose to eliminate rather than add. And what I did include, how I could accentuate. “My usual face shading is avoided here, in favour of a clean, almost porcelain poster girl complexion. Using the texture – brown envelope – I could bring in further marks, incorporating white highlights that lift the piece.”

Peaches GeldoF

by Elisabeth Moss (USA) elisabethmoss.com Commissioned by Nylon magazine [this piece] was for a column on ‘It Girls’, written by Peaches Geldof. The brief was to feature fashion items to accompany the portrait. Since the text wasn’t written until I’d started the job, I had to come up with ‘It Girl-inspired stuff’ myself. Without knowing too much about Peaches’ taste, I was a bit nervous the editors would laugh about my picks – Spice Girls, Gwen Stefani, Berlin 90s Love Parade... but fortunately they didn’t complain. “When I draw pencil portraits, I always start with the light spots in the eyes. I then build the pupils around it, the eyes and the rest of the face, this way I make sure the portrait will seem to look at the spectator. Also, I don’t try to make people look perfect, but rather focus on something strange in their faces.”

VirGinia WoolF

by Jack Hughes (UK) jackhughes.com “Colour and eyes are of top priority when it comes to illustrating a portrait. Although an overused expression, eyes truly are the windows of the soul. I work closely with photographic references, collaging my work together and then working on top [of this]. The eyes are the focal point, they have to be perfect before I progress, couple that with a carefully considered palette and you’re on your way.”

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SHOWCASE THiS mOnTH’S FRESHEST CREATiVES

he Digital Arts showcase offers you the chance to gain valuable industry exposure – so send in your work and get it seen by thousands of creative professionals and companies on the look out for creative talent.

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showcase

Conrad Roset web: conradroset.com contact: info@conradroset.com Conrad is a freelance illustrator, based in Barcelona. What techniques do you use most? i love using watercolours, but i also like to experiment with different techniques. Recently, i’ve been painting a lot with gouache. What kinds of materials do you work with? i use all sorts of materials in my work, including acrylics, gouache, watercolours and pens. Which clients have you worked for, and where have you exhibited your work? i’ve been lucky enough to work with some big-name clients, such as Coca-Cola, nike, Adidas, Zara, Custo and Oysho. my artwork has also been shown across the globe, including at miscelanea in Barcelona, Pantocrator in Shanghai, and London’s Apart Gallery.

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Top, above and right These pieces are part of Conrad’s Muses series

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visit digitalartsonline.co.uk for more creative work Address Showcase, Digital Arts, 101 Euston Road, London, NW1 2RA email: showcase@digitalartsonline.co.uk

Important Please send work on CD, or via email, to the address on the left. If you enclose an SAE, we’ll do our best to return work to you. All submissions at

the owner’s risk, and are made on a nonexclusive worldwide licence to publish in print and in electronic media. Copyright remains yours.

showcase

Daniel Schooler web: danielschooler.com contact: daniel.schooler@yahoo.co.uk Daniel is a Manchester-based illustrator and graphic artist. His influences are widespread – including ancient mythology, mysticism, graffiti and tattoo culture. Where did you train and what did you specialise in? Graphic Design at Norwich School of Art and Design. Top Self Perception Above The River Styx Right Yellow Flowers

What’s your favourite tool? My Pental P205 0.5mm pencil. What techniques do you use most? I always begin by exhausting my ideas with good oldfashioned pencil and paper. It’s the quickest method of generating ideas and capturing those fleeting initial concepts. This process is then followed up in either Photoshop or Illustrator. What’s your favourite piece you’ve created? A recent piece called Self Perception (top left). When I’m illustrating, whether it’s scientific findings or philosophical musings, it’s a balancing act. I want to create engaging visuals without compromising the integrity of the content I’m illustrating. I think I found a good balance with this piece.

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showcase

Alice Lickens web: lickens.co.uk contact: alice@lickens.co.uk Alice is a London-based illustrator. She was one of the first illustrators from the UK to be chosen for the Sendak Fellowship, and last autumn went to live and work at Maurice Sendak’s residence in Connecticut. Where did you train and what did you specialise in? Illustration and Animation at Kingston University. What’s your favourite tool? My Berol handwriting pen and a Wacom tablet. I’ve also built up a library of textures that I use in Photoshop to soften my work.

Top An illustration from Can You Dance To The Boogaloo?, Alice’s first picture book Above Anteater is a limited edition print Right Get In The Middle Of A Chain Reaction is a personal piece Below Cover illustration for Selected Stories by Alice Munro, published by Random House

What’s your favourite piece you’ve created? At the moment it’s Can You Dance To The Boogaloo?, my first picture book (top right), but favourite projects change quickly, it’s always the next one I’m working on. What kinds of materials do you work with? Ink, paper, pencil and Photoshop. Which clients have you worked for, and where have you exhibited your work? I’ve worked for a wide range of clients including Random House, the Design Museum, Pavilion Books, Walker Books, Portico Books, Ivy Press, Flamingo magazine, the British Library, The London Comedy Film Festival and Oh Comely magazine. My work has also been exhibited at Somerset House’s Pick Me Up show and The Mall Galleries.

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SHOWCASE THiS mOnTH’S FRESHEST CREATiVES

showcase

Oscar Giménez web: oscargimenez.com contact: info@oscargimenez.com madrid-based Oscar was born into a family of artists, and although he initially refused to follow in their footsteps, he found he couldn’t resist. Where did you train? i’m self-taught. What’s your favourite tool? The pencil. i do most of my work using a computer, but when ideas or inspiration come you don’t always have a computer nearby, so a pencil has to be your best ally. What techniques do you use most? nowadays, either i start with a basic pencil drawing and scan it into a computer, or i draw directly into Photoshop with a tablet. i love using all the different resources Photoshop has to offer regarding brushes and patterns. Which clients have you worked for? i’ve worked for a diverse range of clients, including Audi, Universal music, Rolling Stone, nike, Heineken, Playboy and Entradas Agotadas magazine.

All these pieces were commissioned by music magazine Entradas Agotadas Top left Bon Iver Middle left Devendra Banhart Bottom left Pony Bravo

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Tom Sewell web: tomsewell.co.uk contact: info@tomsewell.co.uk Tom is an artist and designer based in London. Where did you train and what did you specialise in? Graphic Design at the University of Brighton. What’s your favourite tool? I guess the tool is less important than the idea, so I probably couldn’t pick a favourite. But saying that, I’ve spent the past year improving my drawing skills, and I’m really enjoying the simple connection that a pencil provides when creating something. What techniques do you use most? It’s a pretty even split between drawing and Photoshop. Which clients have you worked for, and where have you exhibited your work? I’ve worked for Bompas & Parr, while for the past couple of years I’ve exhibited at Somerset House’s Pick Me Up show, working with Landfill Editions and Beach London.

Top Drapery Study for Imaginary Head Above Blow Chunks Left Ham Cheese Lettuce Bread Cheese

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SHOWCASE THiS mOnTH’S FRESHEST CREATiVES

showcase

Sébastien Thibault web: sebastienthibault.com contact: anna@agoodson.com Describe yourself. illustrator Sébastien is based in matane, Canada. He uses just a few elements to produce his creative and colourful artworks. What’s your favourite tool? i couldn’t work without my imac and graphics tablet, but everything starts with a pencil. nothing can replace the pleasure of throwing ideas onto paper. Which clients have you worked for, and where have you exhibited your work? i’ve been lucky enough to have some big clients, including Time magazine, The Boston Globe, Rolling Stone Italy, Wire, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Reader’s Digest, Financial Post magazine and Consumer Reports.

Top La Fin Des Femmes? appeared in L’Optimum magazine Above Ecologist is a personal work Right Cops vs Hackers was produced for Reader’s Digest

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MASTERCLASS HONE YOUR DESIGN SKILLS WITH EXPERT TECHNIqUES

> Info TIME TO COMPLETE • 5 hours TOOLS • Photoshop CS5 or later PROjECT fILES • Files for this tutorial are downloadable from digitalartsonline.co.uk/ downloads

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visit digitalartsonline.co.uk for more tutorials

Tutorial PHOTOSHOP

> Learn COMPOSITING

Create modern lighting effects Murilo Maciel shows how he produced this fashion illustration n this tutorial, Toronto-based Murilo Maciel will reveal how he used Photoshop to create a fashion illustration with lighting effects, based around themes of beauty and light. He describes this artwork – and the techniques behind it – as a more contemporary version of the first piece he ever created for us, back in 2007 (read it at bit.ly/W7DqRP). Murilo will detail the essential skills behind a modern fashion illustration – such as the subtle use of Photoshop’s retouch tool – and also show some lighting techniques that will give an extra sparkle to your artwork. Finally, he’ll demonstrate

I

how adjustment layers can help you to quickly change the overall mood. In the project files, you’ll find some 3D shapes that Murilo has created for this piece – though you can create your own. The core photography in this tutorial is from Shutterstock and can be downloaded from shutr.bz/ YEKlsn, shutr.bz/18teUDb and shutr. bz/10aAt86 – but the techniques can be applied to any well-lit model shot, and Murilo believes you’ll learn more when adapting what’s detailed here to your own photography and style of work. “Use the techniques to create something new, adapt them, mix them up,” he explains. “Use new things you have learned before.”

01

STEP

Find yourself a great model shot (mine’s from shutr.bz/YEKlsn). Open the picture of the model and trace around her with the Pen tool (P). Leave the area around her hair, but be accurate when tracing the rest of the image. Once the path is closed, go to the Paths panel’s flyout menu and click on Load path as selection. Press Cmd + Shift + I to invert the selection.

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05

STEP

Next, create a new RGB document, sized 40 x 29cm at 300dpi. Copy and paste the model and the carving layer into the canvas. Move both layers inside a folder and resize it to fit the document. Fill the background with a solid midtone colour (I went for R190 G151 B147) and check your model comps properly.

02

STEP

Go to Selection > Modify > Feather and change to 2px. This will soften the edges and help to blend the picture with the background. We’ll use a different technique to cut out the area around the hair. With the Quick Selection tool (W), choose the area around the hair. In the Options bar, click Refine Edge.

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STEP

Change the background colour to a slightly darker tone (R175 G127 B123) as we’ll be using it to colour another layer, and use a large soft rounded brush to give the background some colour variation. Copy and paste in a background image – I used a photo of a forest (shutr.bz/18teUDb) – and position and resize it as you like. Place it between the model shot and the coloured background in the layer stack, reduce the opacity to 40%, then change the blending mode to Soft Light.

STEP

Create a new layer and change its blending mode to Overlay or Soft Light. Check Fill with Overlay-neutral colour (50% grey), and use the Dodge and Burn tools (O)) to emphasise shadows and highlights. Then, reduce the Exposure (in the Options bar) to 15%, so you’ll have more control during the carving process.

04

STEP

Check Smart Radius and increase the radius until the background starts to disappear. Play with the other settings to get a better understanding of the tool, then click OK when you’re happy with the result. Invert the selection and click on Add New Mask (at the bottom of the Layers panel) to hide the background. Use a soft round brush to add or remove areas of the hair and background as needed.

03

RETOUCH BY HAND

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07

Open the photo of the Aurora Borealis (a free image from sxc.hu/photo/1174630), select the Eraser tool (E) and – with a soft rounded brush – erase the edges to leave only the light visible. This will help it blend with the rest of the elements. Hit Cmd/Ctrl + U and change the Hue to 12 and Saturation to 30. Paste it below the model, and position it as we’ve highlighted above. STEP

> The Brush, Dodge and Burn tools offer endless possibilities when used with a tablet. The retouch process will not only be faster and easier, but will also give you much better results. If you already have one, make sure the pen pressure option is activated.

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MASTERCLASS Tutorial PHOTOSHOP GET IT PRINTED RIGHT > It’s a good idea to check the gamut warning (Cmd + Shift + Y) to see whether any areas will lose detail when printed. If this proves to be the case, create a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer, then bring down the Saturation until the warning disappears. Finally, add a mask to it and hide those areas that weren’t affected before.

Now create a new layer and, using the same technique described above, design leaf-shaped selections and then brush around their edges to produce the effect shown in the top screenshot. Draw a few more leaves, resize them and then place these in different parts of your canvas. Blur some of the leaves using the Gaussian Blur and Motion Blur filters to add extra depth and movement to the illustration.

STEP

08

STEP

Create a new layer with a Pass Through blending mode. Select a soft round blue brush to paint the sky like we’ve done here. Add a layer mask to the layer and, with a Gradient tool (G), create a gradient so the sky fades out towards the bottom of the image. Next, create a layer group behind the model and we can start adding some of decorative elements.

11

STEP

In a new layer, reduce the opacity to 65%. Change the colour to pink and brush it over the model’s dress. Create a new layer and start adding small light. With a white small soft rounded brush, add small flares on the edges of the silhouette.

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09

STEP

Open 3d_shapes.jpg from the project files (and/ or create your own) and with the Pen tool – or the Magic Wand – cut the shapes you like the most and paste them into the layer group you just created. Use masks to help blend them with the rest of the images.

For a lighting effect that adds more visual interest, select a brownish tone (R125 G73 B0) and, in a new layer, add a small flare on the edge of the model’s picture. Change the layer’s blending mode to Color Dodge. Duplicate the flare layer a few times, alternately scaling them up and down. Move them around your model – I put them in the areas shown above. If your work needs further perking up, vary the colours and opacities of these flares.

STEP

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10

STEP

With the Polygonal Lasso tool (L), create a V-shaped selection as shown here. Select a soft round brush and set the size to 2,500px. Brush outside the selection so it looks like the light is fading out.

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MASTERCLASS

Profile MuRiLo MACiEL > Murilo Maciel is a multi-disciplinary graphic designer and illustrator based in Toronto, Canada, who loves to explore different media. With almost 10 years of experience, he’s worked with a wide range of clients, including Coca-Cola, Mizuno, Vodafone, Sony, ESPN, Pizza Hut and The Wall Street Journal. ConTACT • grafikdust.com

STEP

Select a large white brush and set the opacity to 5%. Start brushing over the model and background to integrate the elements. Find a photo of some stardust – this one is from shutr.bz/10aAt86, but you can get free ones from nasa.gov. Place it over the model in the lower part of the image. Change its blending mode to Screen and eliminate the background by using a Levels adjustment (Cmd/Ctrl + L) as shown above.

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I felt my artwork was a little cold and flat, so I decided to change the mood by using adjustment layers to increase the overall contrast and make the image warmer and more vibrant. When using adjustment layers in this fashion, ensure they are all above the other layers in the layer stack. I first added a Gradient Map from dark blue (R0 G40 B116) to yellow (R250 G170 B0) and changed its blending mode to Soft Light. STEP

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Above This artwork was commissioned by JWT/Coca-Cola to be used on a special edition bottle in Brazil

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STEP

Next, I adjust the Levels. Here I changed the RGB input levels to 30,1,255; the Red channel output levels to 5, 255; and the Blue output levels to 45, 220. Finally, create another Levels adjustment layer and change the RGB input levels to 70, 1, 255. I added a layer mask and erased this last layer across any saturated areas, so it increased the overall contrast of the piece.

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MASTERCLASS HONE YOUR DESIGN SKILLS WITH EXPERT TECHNIQUES

> Info TIME TO COMPLETE • 8 hours TOOLS • Photoshop CS6 Extended, Cinema 4D R13 (or later) PROJECT FILES • Files for this tutorial are downloadable from digitalartsonline.co.uk/ downloads

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visit digitalartsonline.co.uk for more tutorials

Tutorial PHOTOSHOP & CINEMA 4D > Learn 3D TYPOGRAPHY

Learn the two paths to 3D type Christopher Vinca explains how to produce realistic-looking 3D letters with accurate lighting and textures

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Photoshop Extended to create 3D type. You will then use photographs to texture the surface to add depth and details in a way that’s much faster than applying them to the 3D shapes before rendering. In the second part, Christopher will teach you how to get photorealistic renders in Cinema 4D. You’ll learn how to use the free CV-ArtSmart plugin (which you can download from bit.ly/15vgcyK), set up lights and make a studio for your text. You’ll also create materials to make a convincing 3D object. If you’re new to Cinema 4D but an old hand at Photoshop, this is an excellent first tutorial for the 3D suite, as you’ll be following a process in an application you know well, rather than in the one you want to learn. Christopher’s type rendering is available in the project files as an Illustrator AI file.

Go to Shape 1 in the 3D panel. In the Properties panel, choose an Extrusion Depth of 1,700, then select the Deform settings from the icons at the top of the panel and set Taper to 0%. This will give your text depth without distorting it. Select the Infinite Light 1 in the 3D panel. Position it on the canvas in the front, slightly to the upper right. Change the Shadow Softness to 85% in the Properties panel. Create a new layer and fill it with black. Drag it under the ‘Shape’ layer – this will be the background for the text. Right-click the 3D shape layer and select Render. My render time was between three and four hours, so this is a good time to take a break.

01

02

STEP

Under the 3D menu, choose New Extrusion from Selected Layer. Another dialog will ask if you want to go into the 3D workspace. Click Yes. Once you’re in the 3D space, select Environment from the 3D panel. In the Properties panel, find the Ground Plane. Pull the opacity down to 0%. Choose Current View in the 3D panel, and make sure your FOV is at 67mm lens and 0.5 for DOF (these are the default camera settings).

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Once the render is finished, it’s time to add texture. We could have applied this to the model before rendering, but then the render would have taken even longer. It’s often faster to do this afterwards, and the effects are near-indistinguishable. Choose Select > Color Range. With the eyedropper, select the white text with a fuzziness of 160. Then go to Select > Modify > Expand with an Expand By 1 pixel. Press Cmd/ Ctrl + J to duplicate the selected area onto its own layer. > STEP

I’ve provided my own typography for this tutorial, but if you want to use your own, here’s what you should do. In Illustrator, ensure your text is converted to outlines. If not, select everything and go to Effect > Path > Outline Object. Select everything again and hit Cmd/Ctrl + C to copy it to the clipboard. Open Photoshop and create a new file, sized 8 x 8 inches at 300dpi. Make sure you have a transparent background. Now hit Cmd/Ctrl + V to paste your vector into Photoshop. A dialog box will appear; select Shape Layer. Hit Cmd/Ctrl + Delete to fill the object with white. STEP

03

STEP

urrently, there are two main ways to create 3D typographic illustrations with extruded letters, textures and lighting. You can use Photoshop CS6 Extended – or soon, Photoshop CC – to easily create a relatively accurate rendering that’s great if you want a non-photorealistic look for graphics, logos and the like (such as that shown bottom left). If, however, you want a realistic render with accurate lighting, it’s time to move over to a 3D suite such as Cinema 4D. This is the easiest to learn and use if you’re used to Adobe’s toolset. Here, Hawaiian illustrator Christopher Vinca takes you through two different renderings of the same type, created in Illustrator using Photoshop and Cinema 4D. He details the differences between the processes and the results that can be achieved. In the first half of the tutorial, you will use the basic 3D tools in

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For my texture, I used a free photo of concrete from lostandtaken.com. Copy and Paste the image into your document. With the picture layer selected in the Layers panel, right-click and select Create Clipping Path to clip it onto your text layer. Duplicate this texture several times and scale these down to increase the detail of the 3D text. Use layer masks to hide the seams, then merge all the textures into one layer and change its blending mode to Multiply. Add a Bevel and Emboss layer style to the text layer to increase the depth, using the settings shown above to create an outer bevel. STEP

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Hide the gradient and background. With the top layer selected, hit Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E. This will duplicate and merge all visible layers. Add a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer and clip it to the text. Check the Colorize box and change the layer’s blending mode to Color – I opted for gold. Finally, turn the gradient and background layer visible again and you’re ready. STEP

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STEP

Next, we will make an inner bevel. Duplicate the flat text layer by hitting Cmd/Ctrl + J, and Cmd/Ctrl + click the thumbnail to make a selection around it. Go to Select > Modify > Contract and bring it in by 4px. Invert the selection and press Delete. Put this text layer on top of the rest and clip a duplicate texture from the first copy. Add a Bevel and Emboss layer style using the settings shown above to create an inner bevel.

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STEP

Now, let’s do it again in Cinema 4D. Open that application and, if needed, install the CV-ArtSmart plugin from bit.ly/15vgcyK. Go to Plugins > CV-ArtSmart > CV-ArtSmart Object and choose your vector file.

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STEP

It’s now time to texture the extrusion. Copy and paste the concrete texture, and clip it under the first shape layer. Set the texture layer’s blending mode to Multiply. Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment to brighten it if needed. To finish it off, add a layer above the background. Create a white to transparent radial gradient from the centre outwards, and set the layer’s opacity to 35%. This will makes the 3D text pop from the background.

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STEP

If you’ve not used CV-ArtSmart before, spend some time familiarising yourself with the tabs. Extrude your text by 50cm. Add a fillet cap by using the Caps settings shown above and rotate your text by 90 degrees.

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MASTERCLASS Tutorial PhoToShoP & CinEMA 4D

STEP

Next, make a plane and scale it to 1,340 x 1,340cm. This will be the ground. Make sure the text is resting on the floor and that it’s not floating. Now press Alt and drag out duplicates of the plane. Make a box – this will be the studio space that we’ll light from within. Select the front-most side of the box. Open the Attributes panel and, in the Basic tab, change Visible in Editor to off. That way we can see inside our scene.

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Now we’re going to produce our lights. Create a sphere (Create > Primitive > Sphere) and scale it using the Coord tab in the Attributes panel. Make it look like a flat sphere, and position it in the upper left of our box. Make a second sphere. Scale it into a long cylinder shape and place it on the bottom left. This will be our fill light. STEP

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“Christopher details the differences between the processes and the results that can be achieved”

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STEP

Now create materials for your objects. See left for the settings I’ve used for the: • walls (top left and right) • text (middle left and right) • the main light (bottom left) • fill light (bottom right)

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MASTERCLASS Tutorial phoToShop & CinEMA 4D Profile ChRiSTophER VinCA > Christopher Vinca is a freelance designer, typographer and photographer. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, he studied Graphic Design at the Art Center College of Design in LA. ConTACT • behance.net/chrisvinca

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STEP

Hit Cmd/Ctrl + B to open the Render Settings panel. If you want to make a poster, change the size to 8 x 11 inches. Create a camera and position and align it so the text is towards the upper half. Your scene should look like the screenshot (above). In the Render Settings, click on Effect and select Global Illumination. Change the settings in the General and Irradiance Cache to those shown (right). Render it out to the Picture Viewer for the final poster. STEP

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STEP

Once the render is done, bring it into Photoshop. Under the Filter menu, choose the Field Blur (we’re blurring here rather than in Cinema 4D to save a lot of rendering time). Position the pins at the top and bottom as shown. Set it to a 10px blur on the outsides and 0px in the middle. Your finished image should look like this.

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Top Branding and design for Surf hi Above hand-crafted lettering

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MASTERCLASS HONE YOUR DESIGN SKILLS WITH EXPERT TECHNIQUES

COVER ART

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visit digitalartsonline.co.uk for more tutorials

Tutorial ILLuSTRAToR CS6 > Learn VECToR ARTwoRk

Bring flat vector artwork to life by adding texture Jeremy Bowman explores how you can add texture to your work exture can really add depth and a tangible quality to vector illustrations. In this tutorial, illustrator Jeffrey Bowman discloses the techniques he uses to create texture and then explains how he adds this to his work. You’ll learn how to take scanned textures and turn them into vectors using image trace, then effectively apply them to your illustration using clipping masks. Jeffrey will also

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TIME To CoMpLETE • 4-5 hours TooLS • Illustrator CS6 pRojECT fILES • Files for this tutorial are downloadable from digitalartsonline.co.uk/ downloads

explain how to add brush strokes to hard vector edges, so as to give a hand-drawn feel to your artwork. To help you follow along with this masterclass, Jeffrey has provided some sample vector shapes and textures in the project files. The techniques featured in most of this tutorial can be applied to almost any version of Illustrator, but the texture vectorisation process in Steps 10-11 require CS6.

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It’s time to start adding brush strokes to the outside of the vector shapes. Illustrator has some excellent pre-made brushes. Open the Brushes panel (F5) and, from the fly-out menu, select Open Brush Library > Artistic > Artistic_ ChalkCharcoalPencil. STEP

First, set up your document (Cmd/ Ctrl + N) – I’ve opted for A4. I then worked out the area I wanted to work within, so other page elements could be fitted around it. I drew out some guides (Cmd/ Ctrl + R) that the illustration would fit inside. STEP

> Info

02

STEP

Next, create an illustration – you’ll be applying textures to this later. For this example, I designed a camping scene with a mixture of solid vectors and linework.

> Planning is key to an illustration like this. It involves lots of different layers and elements, so start out with the core layout. Once this is in place, it becomes a lot easier to work into. Thinking about how different tones of colour can add depth to the illustration alongside the textures is key.

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Select the shape you would like to add the brush effect to – this tree shape is in the project files, VectorShapes.ai. In the Artistic_ ChalkCharcoalPencil panel, select the Charcoal Pencil. This gives a really nice edge-of-a-pencil look. You will see your shape now has a rough edge, and that it’s changed your shape’s stroke to match that of its fill. STEP

Plan ahead

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“Jeffrey discloses the techniques he uses to create texture and shows how he adds this to his work” 08

STEP

We are now going to start vectorising some textures. Textures can be made from anything, but for this tutorial there are five you can use in the project files. To create these, I scanned real materials into Photoshop using the black and white bitmap setting on the scanner, as this gives the best contrast when converting them to vectors.

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STEP

Depending on how extreme you want the stroke to be, you can edit it using the Stroke panel – I set the stroke between 0.5 and 1pt. This gives it a more subtle effect – too much will make the illustration look messy rather than organic.

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STEP

With the Direct Selection tool, click anywhere on the white background of the texture to select it, then hit Delete. You’ll be left with the black. Now copy and paste it into your illustration, and you will have a texture ready to apply to your object.

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STEP

Open up the first texture in Illustrator by dragging and dropping the PSD onto your illustrator icon. It will appear in a new document. Once it’s there, open up the Image Trace panel, which is new to Illustrator CS6 (Window > Image Trace).

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STEP

Select the shape, then press the Unite button in the Pathfinder panel. This will merge the three paths into a single shape. Repeat Steps 4-7 for the rest of your illustration.

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10

In the Image Trace panel, set the Mode to Black and White (from the drop-down menu). Tick Preview, so you can move the Threshold slider left to right and experiment with the results. When you’re satisfied with the result, click on Trace. Go to Object > Expand, ensure Fill and Object are ticked and click OK. STEP

STEP

Once you are happy with the stroke width you need to prepare the shape, so you can apply clipping masks when you want to add texture later on. To do this, select the shape, then go to Object > Expand Appearance. You will see it now has three paths inside it. Open up your Pathfinder panel (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + F9 or Window > Pathfinder).

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Next, change the texture to a darker or lighter version of the colour of the object it will sit on top of. Make multiple copies of the texture, so it covers the object. I produced three copies and rotated them until I was happy with their placement. STEP

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MASTERCLASS Tutorial ILLuSTRAToR CS6

Profile JEffREy BowMAn > Jeffrey Bowman is an illustrator based in the mountains of Norway. His work has a keen sense of exploration and his outdoor lifestyle manifests itself through the colours, movement, form and textures he uses in his work. Over the past eight years, Jeffrey has worked alongside companies that share his vision including Element Skateboards, Howies, Converse and Urban Outfitters. ConTACT • jeffrey-bowman.co.uk

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STEP

Once you’ve pasted the vector on top of the textures, you’ll need to convert it into a Compound Path, as without this the process won’t work. Go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Cmd/Ctrl + 8).

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Ensure your topmost object is selected, then hold Shift and select all of your textures as well. Go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make – or press Cmd/Ctrl + 7. If this doesn’t work, check the topmost version of the tree you’re using for the mask is above the textures in the layer stack. STEP

STEP

It’s now time to create a clipping mask, which will mask the textures into the shape of the vector – the tree in this instance. Clipping masks are one of the most important functions when creating an illustration like this. Copy the shape and paste it in place (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + V).

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You can now send the masked texture back in the layer stack so it doesn’t obscure any of the objects it should be behind. Use Cmd/Ctrl + [ or Object > Arrange > Send Backward to do this. Repeat Steps 9-16 to complete the rest of your illustration. STEP

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Top Jeffrey designed this T-shirt for streetwear brand Anyforty Above Cover illustration for Sheffield university’s newspaper

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MASTERCLASS HONE YOUR DESIGN SKILLS WITH EXPERT TECHNIQUES

BEFORE

AFTER

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visit digitalartsonline.co.uk for more tutorials

Tutorial PHoToSHoP > Learn CoLouR CoRRECTion

Use Curves to enhance a photo Chris Hill-Scott demonstrates how to make a group shot more dynamic by applying a professional version of the ‘instagram’ look

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show you how careful use of this adjustment can make an image look closer to the original scene, and how you can creatively modify its colour to give it a different feeling. This tutorial will use a promo shot of London-based band Kids Love Lies. You’ll learn to bring depth and richness to the shadows, and warmth to the skin tones of the band members for a look reminiscent of old slide film. In the project files, you’ll find both the original photo and Chris’ final layered PSD for reference.

03

Now add another point three quarters of the way along the line. Drag this point upwards until the middle of the line crosses through the middle of the grid. This will create a classic S-curve, which increases the contrast of the image without making it darker or lighter overall – in other words, dark tones become darker, while the light tones are made lighter. STEP

olour is an emotional medium. It works on both primeval and cultural levels to identify feelings, causes, movements and styles. Apps like Instagram recolour images to give them associations that they didn’t previously have – warmer images, for example, seem happier. Photoshop’s Curves adjustments works in a similar way, by mediating between the light that comes through the lens and the final image. In this tutorial, leading urban sports photographer Chris Hill-Scott will

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STEP

Add two more points to refine the contrast of the image and modify their position as shown. Targeting the extreme highlights and shadows to stop them getting brighter or darker is closer to how traditional film responds to light. It’s better to overdo the effect, so it’s easier to see and then change it afterwards.

STEP

Start with a flat image – you want the tones spread across the histogram, without too much bunching up at either end. Either set this up in Camera Raw when you open your raw file – or if your image is already in Photoshop, modify the black and white points with a Levels adjustment. In the project files, this has been done for you.

> Info TiME To CoMPLETE • 20 minutes

02

STEP

Click the Add Adjustment Layer button in the Layers panel (it looks like a half moon) and select Curves. In the Properties panel that opens up, add a point about one quarter of the way along the line by clicking on it. Drag this point downwards as shown. This will make the image darker because at each step along the now-curved line, the input value corresponds with a lower output value.

TooLS • Photoshop PRojECT fiLES • Files for this tutorial are downloadable from digitalartsonline.co.uk/ downloads

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One of the great things about adjustment layers is that you can tweak them non-destructively. Moderate the effect of your adjustment layer by changing its opacity – 60% looks about right. Hit 6 when you have the Move tool selected. STEP

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Adjust curves > By default, cmd/ ctrl + M brings up the Curves panel, But this adjustment is destructive, so it’s better to use an adjustment layer. To make this easier, go to edit > Keyboard shortcuts. Open the Layer section, find Curves under the New Adjustment Layer and remap it to cmd/ ctrl + M.

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Now we’re going to enhance the colours. From the top drop-down menu that currently says RGB, select just the Blue channel. As with the previous curves layer, add a point one quarter of the way along the curve, but this time drag it upwards. This will make every part of the image – from the shadows to the highlights – more blue than it was before.

07

In the Properties panel, select the grey point Eyedropper tool (the middle one). Next, click on an area of the image without any colour; for example, the grey wall in the background. You’ll see each of the three curves move. This is a quick and easy way of correcting any colour casts that the camera or lighting might have introduced. STEP

08

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Blue and yellow isn’t exactly right – the skin tones especially make the band look a bit unwell, so we’re going to adjust the green channel. Take the middle of the curve and drag it down. This pushes the blue shadows towards purple and the yellow highlights towards orange. STEP

STEP

Now you have some understanding of the way curves work, we’re going to see how they can alter colour by adjusting the curves of each of the primary colours as their own curve. Add a new Curves adjustment layer and set its blending mode to Color.

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We don’t really want a blue image, but cooling down the shadows is a good step, so make another point on the line, about three quarters of the way up. Drag this point down so the highlights are back to neutral. Now drag it down further, making the light areas less blue than the original image. Because the complementary colour of blue is yellow this will give our highlights a nice warm glow. STEP

STEP

You can also change the layer’s blending mode – try ‘luminosity’. The image will now keep its increased black/white contrast without any increase in colour contrast – in other words, without increased saturation. As a rule, the less work each layer does, the more control you have.

STEP

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MASTERCLASS Tutorial PHOTOSHOP Profile CHRiS HiLL-SCOTT > For the past five years, Chris HillScott has worked as a contributor for some of the UK’s most popular BMX magazines, shooting action, portraits and events, as well as interviewing riders and writing about the sport. He has also created advertising and promotional images on a freelance basis. COnTACT • quis.cc

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STEP

Often an image can benefit from local adjustments. In this case, the lead singer’s arms are very bright and draw the eye out of the frame, so we need to target the bottom third of the image. A Curves adjustment layer can do this too, so create a new one now. Before making any adjustment, we want to add a layer mask. Take your gradient tool (Shift + G), and ensure your foreground and background colours are white and black (D). Now draw a vertical line (holding Shift while dragging the cursor) from the bottom of the image up to the singer’s chin. This curves adjustment layer will now only apply to the white part of the layer mask.

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STEP

In the Properties panel, drag the black line down just like in Step 2. It might also look good to push the whole bottom of the image’s shadows into the purple, so select the green channel and drag that curve down by about the same amount.

Top This photo of Akin Hercules-Walker performing a turndown appeared in Ride UK magazine Above This image of Billy Cooper completing a barspin was also published in Ride UK

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STEP

Go back through each of your layers, tweaking the opacity until you get a good balance, and you’re done.

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>

REVIEWS ThE laTEST dESIgn TEch TESTEd

> Tested gRaphIcS TablET

Wacom cintiq 13hd

Lizzie mary Cullen spends time with the hottest little creative tool of 2013 (so far anyway) was very excited to review Wacom’s new Cintiq 13HD drawing tablet (with a screen built in). My previous review had covered its heavier, bulkier brother, the Cintiq 24HD Touch (see our November 2012 issue), and that was a beast with a whopper of a price tag. Now there’s a new version with a 13-inch screen – and a much more affordable cost (assuming you count £625 as affordable) – that replaces the five-year-old 12-inch Cintiq 12WX. Following my failure to steal the 24HD, this time I came prepared. Little did the editor know that in my bag was a bandit hat and a crowbar. I was going to swipe this one. With the 24HD, you – and by you I mean me – just couldn’t move it. It was too heavy, unless you Hulked-out on a regular basis and acquired superstrength to lug it about. The Cintiq 13HD sits neatly on your lap or on the desk at one of three heights using the detachable stand – I’d tell you which is the best position, but everyone who’s tried it here has a different opinion. It’s also excellent for transporting – it’s easy to slip in a rucksack with a laptop and go about your business. To make travelling with the 13HD as painless as possible, Wacom has shipped it with a new pocket-sized pen-and-nibs case. There’s a bit of a mess of cables though – the single cable coming out of the Cintiq itself splits Hydra-like into an HDMI cable for the display, USB for the control and a power connection. The main power adaptor is pretty small too – about the same size as a pack of cigs.

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INFO ContaCt • Wacom, wacom.eu PriCe • £625 plus VAT Summary • Pros: Great drawing experience; many ways to hold the device and stand it on your desk; brilliant screen; very easy to take with you • Cons: Screen too small for long-term use; Wacom tablet may be out soon

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The only sticking point here is the HDMI cable. Modern Mac users will need to pick up an Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adaptor to avoid disappointment. If you’ve got a PC with a DisplayPort output, you’ll need a £10 adaptor. Both are cheap, but you’ll need to remember to buy one.

lifelike colours The 13HD has a gorgeous screen, displaying 16.7m colours to ensure lifelike colour quality. Plus, the wideformat HD LED display gives you a viewing angle of 178 degrees and a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels that’s particularly good for handling intricate graphics and illustration. As always, the controls on the Cintiq are very intuitive. You can set

above and below The cintiq 13hd’s pro-pen is perfect for creating intricate linework

the tools to perform various shortcuts, dependent on your working methods. There’s also a handy tool that lets you jump from the 13HD’s screen to a monitor with a press of a button, and my drawing sped up as a result. The pro-pen is beautiful. With 2,048 levels of pressure and tilt sensitivity, it’s perfect for me, especially when creating my intricate linework. It’s so precise, and creates a very authentic line. However, despite the pros of this piece of kit, I may hesitate to splash out on it just yet. Down on the old rumour mill there are whispers of a Wacom tablet in the summer. That would mean no power cables, no connecting to a monitor and no fuss. However, there’s no news on whether this fabled device will run Windows – and so Photoshop (or Painter, if you prefer) – or just Android, which means it’ll be little more than a glorified sketchbook. I may hold out in childlike hopeful optimism, just in case it’s everything I hope it can be. This is a great piece of kit at a much better price than the 24HD and takes up far less space. If anything, the screen is a tad too small. I found my eyes straining after an hour, but maybe that’s just my rubbish corneas.

REVIEWS

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Maya gets faster – p.64 >>>>>

> Tested PAIntIng SoftWARE

Ambient Design ArtRage 4 Duncan Evans finds much of the creativity of Corel Painter at a fraction of the price reference images to the canvas, well now you can pin scraps for colour mixing or making test paintings. There are also independent viewports that can be zoomed and panned, and references are easy to drag directly off the canvas when no longer needed. A number of ArtRage 4’s enhancements are workflow related. The workspace can be collapsed to provide a tight, focused area, and there’s a single panel for gathering custom resources. There are some new tools though, with the addition of a cloner, gradient and pattern fills and a noise filter.

the small interfaces

p until recently, the digital painting world was split between those working miracles with Photoshop’s limited tools and those enduring headaches with Corel Painter’s complexity. When ArtRage arrived it was like a breath of fresh air, and here with version 4 it has stepped up to rival either, more expansive package, for your digital painting needs. ArtRage is like Painter in that it’s a proper natural-media painting package. This means that paint on paper has depth and mixes with the underlying colour or watercolour spreads, and dries on the paper. In terms of what’s new in this version, it’s all about supporting and making the best use of tablets and pens, though most features are supported by mouse control as well. There’s bristle stiffness and head aspect control when using the oil paints, colour and brush sizes

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can be stored as presets, your own colour swatches can be saved, and there are coloured canvas patterns. For direct Wacom stylus support there’s new support for the Stylus Tilt, Airbrush Wheel and Art Pen Barrel Rotation, stylus properties can be defined, and tools can be assigned to specific styluses. There are lots of other useful enhancements, the most notable of which are the paint symmetry options that will help speed up painting by duplicating brush strokes. These include mirroring, adjustable axes, and rotation and symmetrical strokes. Although ArtRage is fairly robust, it will now automatically back up files when saving, so there’s always another copy on hand. If you were hoping for lots of new media brushes then look away, the focus here is on making everything work better. Previously you could pin

EDItoR’S ChoICE Above ArtRage’s interface might seem elusive if you’re used to Photoshop or Painter, but it lets you concentrate on your art Below left Using a trace layer means that the tool used automatically picks up the colour from underneath, making it easy to create a new image Below right there’s support for multiple layers, and you can easily use reference images and scraps of images for test purposes

If you haven’t used ArtRage before, then the minimalist interface will come as something of a surprise, but it’s all about making the tools easy to use and concentrating on the painting. This release continues that progress, making it a compelling, lowcost alternative to the natural media overload of Painter. The oils and watercolours aren’t as sophisticated as Corel’s offering, but they are definitely better than Photoshop’s tools, and they do act and react in a natural media fashion. This makes creating those styles of artwork much easier. It’s easy to recommend ArtRage 4, and the latest improvements make it more flexible and powerful. While it isn’t on a par with the tools available in Painter, it has a massively shorter learning curve and can be producing excellent results in very little time. With a bargain price as well, this can sit happily alongside your more expensive software, ready to be picked up and used quickly.

INFO ContACt • ArtRage, artrage.com PriCE • $49.40 (around £32) SummAry • Pros: Natural media watercolours and oils; uncluttered interface; cheap • Cons: Tools aren’t as sophisticated as Painter’s; can be slow; lighting weak

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>

REVIEWS thE latESt DESIgn tECh tEStED

> Tested 3D moDEllIng, anImatIon & REnDERIng SoftWaRE

autodesk maya 2014 Duncan evans discovers some worthwhile new tools in this year’s upgrade – but some missed opportunities too ith Maya being an industryleading monster of a package, each year sees fixes and tweaks that don’t qualify for headline treatment yet, when discovered, have a positive effect on your workflow. So let’s see what 2014 has to offer, starting with the scene assembly tools, which allow complex scenes with large memory demands to be more easily managed. They create references for individual objects, which can then be displayed in lower resolution formats to save memory. The trick comes when using a scene file that contains lots of references. The resulting file can be very small, say 100kB, even though the data it’s referencing is Gigabytes in size. When loading the scene assembly file, it can be edited and manipulated immediately, while the referenced objects are loaded in the background.

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grease ’em up On the creative side there’s the Grease Pencil, which allows for mark up on animation. It’s basically so you can sketch in a series of animation keyframes for other members of the team to then implement. It’s not an animation feature in itself because while it features onion-skinning for before and after frames, there’s no automatic frame-filling or complex facilities. A choice of pencil, marker and soft pencil, and an eraser are all the tools on offer. It also requires a special Grease Pencil layer to be added to start with. If there’s one area where Maya has lagged behind other 3D apps, it’s the modelling tools. Most of these aren’t quite as good as those found in Max or Softimage, though whether or not

INFO ContaCt • Autodesk, autodesk.co.uk PriCe • £3,200 plus VAT, upgrade £2,240 Summary • Pros: Scene assembly to reduce memory overhead; useful new tools • Cons: Mental ray slow; 3D Paint tool poor; modelling tools need improving

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that’s to retain each package’s separate identity is open to debate. Compared to Modo 701, Maya looks fairly antiquated; for example, the new Bridge tool in Modo does an excellent job of filling in gaps in large and complex holes to make a seamless surface. In Maya this is more suited to connecting elements than filling complex gaps. The main improvement, however, is the addition of a modelling toolkit panel that builds on the Next toolkit from Digital Raster. This increases the speed and accuracy of modelling by integrating the selection and transformation tools into a single window to reduce tool switching. The polygon strips feature, in particular, is very handy for building geometry over the top of imported hi-res meshes from other sources for a retopology workflow. There’s also some neat selection processing, which can be done on object types so they can be

above Paint Effects allow numerous types of effects, such as plants and fire, to be painted directly onto a scene and interacted with Below the new grease Pencil tool allows for basic animation markup to be added to an existing scene without affecting it

selected and retained in a group selection together, while selecting other types at the same time. Paint Effects allow numerous types of effects from fire to plants and skies to be painted directly onto a scene and interacted with. The feature is definitely the eye candy part of this year’s release. There are hundreds of brush types to choose from, and these can be used to paint objects and effects directly onto a scene. The fun part is setting the other objects in a scene to interact with them, so they move them out of the way, interact or allow them to follow the geometry of the original objects. Unfortunately, Text modelling hasn’t benefited this year, and it’s usually faster to go to something like Cinema 4D rather than use Maya’s text tool. The sculpt tool is also limited. On the plus side, the DX11shader works with Viewport 2.0 better, and File Path Editor and Uniform Resource Identifier tools have been added. Maya is all about power and the pipeline, and for this it’s still top dog in the entertainment industry. The bundles, rather than the standalone version, deliver better value and more overall functionality. This version’s enhancements are welcome additions, tweaks and fixes, rather than musthave features, though the reorganised modelling toolkit is very welcome.

REVIEWS

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5 paths to success – p.66 >>>>>

> Tested CaRtoon SoftWaRE

Smith Micro Manga Studio 5 Duncan Evans finds much of the creativity of Corel Painter at a fraction of the price

anga Studio 5 has a bit of everything for digital artists who create narrative-driven illustration and comics. Featuring an overhauled user interface, including new brushes and tools, it’s a good time to try out Manga Studio if you’ve not done so before. Current Manga Studio 4 users may, however, want to wait for file compatibility fixes, or the upgrade to the pro-level EX version due in the summer, before upgrading. This release showcases new colouring tools. Similar to Photoshop, the layers panel now has options such as Clip Layer, Multiply and Quick Mask. The new brushes for pastel, watercolour and oil will be familiar to Painter users, and artists can now create custom brushes and then share

M

INFO ContaCt • Smith Micro, manga.smithmicro.com PriCE • $79.99 (around £52), upgrade $49.99 (around SuMMary • Pros: Customisable colour painting tools; library of poseable 3D human models; easier-to-navigate interface • Cons: EX version not out yet; version 4 or earlier files are not compatible

them. The airbrush tool creates multiple effects for painting. Manga Studio’s ink and pencil drawing tools have improved control options; for example, artists can vary anti-aliasing with the ink tool. For creating comics, vector snapping of panels, type and speech balloons helps to layout a comic page. Type and panels are editable on the fly, and this release also comes loaded with zip tones and effects for comics, which artists can now colour for effect.

above for reference, artists can pose 3D models like this manga girl, and select expressions, clothes and hairstyles Below Smith Micro has made Manga Studio’s interface easier to use in version 5

this sounds odd, it’s because Manga Studio is essentially an Americanised version of a Japanese application, so occasionally features come over that only apply to that market. We’ve been unable to find a UK importer either, which is a real shame. In Manga Studio 5, most standard features from Manga Studio EX 4 are included. Others, like the multiple comic page layout and perspective rulers, are not present. Smith Micro is dropping the Debut naming convention for this version. Manga Studio 5 is Manga Studio 5 Debut, with the upcoming Manga Studio 5 Ex maintaining the use of Ex. Expanded 3D options and more features will arrive in 5 Ex, which is slated for a release later this summer. Currently, files created in Manga Studio 4 or earlier are not compatible with Manga Studio 5. The publisher is working on fixing this, but if you’re planning to work with your Manga Studio 4 files, it would be smart to wait until the functionality is solid. If comics are your thing, Manga Studio 5 is great catch-all art program. If you’re a signed-up Photoshop user or just want to dabble with taking your illustration skills into manga forms, this application lets you produce great work without breaking your wallet.

Reference models The 3D human models are a new and welcome reference. Artists can alter female and male models, and then pose them using the built-in character rigging. Guidelines on these models assist in designing outfits. 3D models of manga girl and boy teens are clothed with swappable outfits, expressions, and head details. A variety of common poses and 3D hand gestures are also included. Under the File menu, you’ll see a new item: Qumarion. Quma is a real-life model that’s plugged in via USB. It’s fully articulated, and the selected 3D model mimics movement in real time. This seems brilliant, but Quma’s not available outside Japan. If REVIEWS

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24/05/2013 11:53


WHAT MADE ME

Top TAlEnTs rEvEAl fivE THings THAT MAkE THEM WHo THEy ArE

James Jarvis As his exhibition opens in London, the artist details the five biggest influences on his life

1

My Parents “My Mum trained as a painter – she was taught by Richard Hamilton – and taught Related Studies at Middlesex Polytechnic. My Dad is a very eminent clinical psychologist. Through them I was exposed to an incredible range of culture from an early age, both visual, musical and literary.”

2

3

skateboarding “The thing I find most inspiring about skateboarding is its philosophical aspect. Skateboarding isn’t a sport – it’s a way of making sense of the world. Through skateboarding one has a completely different way of reacting and experiencing space.”

Photo of James by Chris Mosier

richard scarry “Richard Scarry for me has always been a touchstone for the power of pure drawing. There are lots of other artists whose drawing has been influential – Hergé, Paul Klee, Gary Panter, Gustave Doré, Philip Guston, Sol LeWitt, Teruhiko Yomura – but Richard Scarry was the first person who I really took note of. As a child I looked obsessively at his books, poring over every tiny detail. “When I look at them now, as an adult, I love the way his visual language is so obviously hand-made and free, whilst still managing to be very specific about the reality he is creating.”

above A work from James’ objects in space show, which is at the Beach london gallery (beachlondon.co.uk) until June 30. The show sees characters reinventing architectural spaces much as skateboarders do below strips from James’ 2012 project Spheric Dialogues. These are based around the subjects of schopenhauer’s philosophy (left) and Constructivism (right)

4

constructivisM “I like to try and maintain an analytical perspective on my work. I don’t just churn it out unconsciously. Whether I’m making a drawing with a brush, or constructing an artwork digitally out of vectors, I’m aware that different ways of working can condition how a work is perceived. “I have always been attracted to the idea of specifying rules for making art. At the moment I think the movement I feel most kinship with is minimalism, but it was the discovery of Constructivism – my Mum suggested I write about it for an O-level history project – that was my first encounter with the idea of adopting a considered, scientific approach to working.”

5

schoPenhauer “I read On the Sufferings of the World by Arthur Schopenhauer a couple of years ago, and it opened me up to the whole world of philosophical thinking. It inspired me to try and make drawings that made sense of the world in a similar way. “Last year I drew a daily cartoon strip, Spheric Dialogues, that was my attempt to look at very basic, elemental ideas about existing and thinking. For me, personally, it’s the work I am most proud of. You can read all the cartoons online.” studiojarvis.com

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inspirATion

28/05/2013 15:07


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