EVALUATION OF PHOTOSHOP PROJECT

I have decided to take time out of my work on the Photoshop project to reflect on the process so far. Having spent the weekend on both my  laptop and PC trying to create a logo and professional brand I am now tearing my hair out.

I no longer know what works and what doesn’t because everything has become a big blue blur.

Blue was the colour I chose to prioritise for my design. It is associated with peace, representing calmness and serenity. Blue is the sky and ocean which are constant, it creates a sense of security. In business terms it is a safe colour to use because most people like some shade of blue and there are a lot of well known brands choosing blue as their primary colour.

I struggled with this project from the beginning as I am finding it hard to identify myself professionally. I have done a lot of research and seen some amazing business card examples and original ideas. However, I came to the conclusion that for me it is best to keep things simple. To gain knowledge using Photoshop to the best of my abilities. It is important for me to learn the basics on which I can build. Unfortunately, it takes me some time to grasp.

I was not happy with the original designs and logo I created. It was far too bold and clumsy and I felt it did nothing to reflect my personality. I experimented with creating a logo from scratch but the process seemed pointless as at the moment I will only be marketing my name as a brand.

Reflection on completion of the project

Having managed to complete this project I am still not satisfied with the end results. I thought about changing the colour scheme again as the shades I chose now appear to have a stronger green hue. The final design is most definitely not the finished product. I will be constantly updating my personal branding in keeping with the skills I learn and the direction I decide to take.

In retrospect this project has been an important learning experience. It has certainly helped me to broaden my understanding of Photoshop. This project has also been extremely useful in challenging me to look at myself and reflect on the professional image I want to portray. It has made me realise that in order to succeed in a media related environment I need to embrace the technology and accept that it is an extremely competitive industry.

 

 

Research and Initial Ideas for Photoshop Project

I started the project by looking at business card examples. I found some great ideas on Pinterest and mashable.com but they didn’t really suit my purpose. I decided that from a journalistic point of view a minimalistic approach was better suited. This would also be more representative of my personality.

These are a few simple designs that I liked:

business card ideas

There are so many designs out there that I got a bit bogged down and I finally realised that for this to be my own personal branding I needed to create something from scratch.

LOGO

I had no idea where to start in designing a logo so I messed about with Adobe Illustrator with little success.

crap logo

I looked at other brand logos with the initials SAB.

Screenshot (11)

I then worked on a logo using my initials, separating the individual letters in layers so that I could modify them in Adobe Illustrator to then use in Photoshop. My limited knowledge of both programmes meant that it was a laborious process which involved a lot of YouTube tutorials and learning by trial and error.

I eventually came up with the following:

Illustrator layers

 

FONTS AND COLOUR

I experimented with the fonts that were available on Photoshop but, despite the extensive range, I didn’t find one that I liked. I eventually narrowed it down to 3 fonts that I downloaded from Behance; Coco Gothic, Aqua Grotesque and Coves. They all appear to be very similar but look quite different depending on the font style.

 

fonts

I chose Coves Bold for both the logo and lettering throughout to create uniformity.

For the colours my obvious choice were shades of blue as this is my favourite colour. I also took into consideration the psychology of colours and that “ Blue is the most universally favored color of all and therefore the safest to use. It relates to trust, honesty and dependability, therefore helping to build customer loyalty.” (taken from http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/blue-in-business.html)

Screenshot (12)

BRANDING PRESENCE

The creative process continued when using my designs for a business card, Facebook page and letterhead.

This was my initial business card design but I decided that it did not look at all professional and would probably be more suited to a children’s story writer.

I took inspiration from Saudi Alliance Brokers when thinking about creating a branding presence with fluidity and consitency.

conpany brandingSAB logo

I used identical fonts and colour themes for all aspects of my personal branding. The logos I used for my contact details are similar on both my business card and letter footer.

Back of business card logosLetter copy

I adapted the design slighty to fit in to a banner for my Facebook page but the theme remains the same.

FB banner

 

Photoshop Lesson 4

Layers

Photoshop layers are like clear sheets. You can see through transparent areas of a layer to the layers below. You move a layer to position the content on the layer. You can also change the opacity of a layer to make content partially transparent.  Individual layers can be edited , repositioned and deleted without affecting the other sheets.

You use layers to perform tasks such as compositing multiple images, adding text to an image, or adding vector graphic shapes. You can apply a layer style to add a special effect such as a drop shadow or a glow.

A new image has a single layer. The number of additional layers, layer effects, and layer sets you can add to an image is limited only by your computer’s memory.

You work with layers in the Layers panel. Layer groups help you organize and manage layers. You can use groups to arrange your layers in a logical order and to reduce clutter in the Layers panel. You can nest groups within other groups. You can also use groups to apply attributes and masks to multiple layers simultaneously.

 

In lesson 4 we start with a single image of a pineapple:

04Start

 The end product is a postcard with text:
04work2
The  start image has 5 layers. Another is added by dragging the image of a beach onto the photo. The final image is created by editing individual layers
Double click to rename layers.
Click the eye icon to view or hide individual layers.
The order of layers on an image can be changed by selecting and moving them up or down in the Layers panel.
Individual layers can be altered without affecting the whole image. For example adding a border, changing opacity, resizing and rotating.
In Lesson 4 I have learnt to:
  • Organise artwork on layers.
  • Create, view, hide and select layers.
  • Rearrange layers to change the stacking order of artwork.
  • Apply blending modes to layers. Right click the chosen layer to duplicate. Select copied layer and choose Overlay from the Blending modes in the Layers panel. Blend the copy with original to create more vibrant image.
  • Resize and rotate layers. Chose the layer you want to work on. Edit>Free Transform. Tick the commit transform to finish.
  • Apply a gradient to a layer. Select layer>right click>select pixels.Gradient tool in Tools panel. Change foreground colour. Drag the Gradient tool from top to bottom to apply gradient.
  • Apply a filter to a later. Select layer. New Layer button, name the layer can then adjust the foreground and background colours and apply by Filter>Render>select layer
  • Add text and layer effects to a layer. Can add text or edit existing text using Horizontal Type tool  and Character panel
  • Add an adjustment layer. Can apply colour adjustments without changing the pixels e.g. hue/saturation in the Adjustments panel.
  • Add a border. Select>All   Select>Modify>Border  select number of pixels, foreground colour. Edit>Fill  OK  Deselect all.
  • Save a copy of the file with the layers flattened merge layers to reduce file size. Can no longer edit flattened image so good idea to duplicate. Image>Duplicate. Rename  then go to  Layers panel>flatten image. Save

Photoshop Lesson 3

Working with selections

In the third lesson we looked at using different selection tools to move, reposition, rotate and duplicate specific areas of an image.

We used keyboard and mouse combinations to save time and the arrow keys to adjust the position of a selected area. We also learnt how to erase pixels within a selection.

This was the starting image, the shells had to be selected and placed onto the plate:

03Start

The following tools were used:

Quick Selection Tool– expands outward from where you click to automatically find and follow defined edges in the image.Simply click on the image near the outside edge and the tool finds the full edge automatically. Remains selected, use move tool to move to desired area.

Elliptical Marquee Tool– move pointer diagonally to create selection. (or start form a central point ) Continue to hold the mouse button and press the space bar to move the selection.  With EM selected press Ctrl to move and cut from current location. You can also move the selected area using the arrow keys, to move by 10 pixels at a time hold down Shift key at the same time.

Image>Adjustments >Invert- image becomes a colour negative of itself.

Move tool +Alt moves and duplicates the selected image. Edit>Transform>Scale to resize.

Magic Wand Tool– selects part of an image based on the similarity in colour of adjacent pixels, it is useful for selecting odd-shaped areas that share a specific range of colours. First use the rectangular Marquee tool to draw round the image. In the options bar Tolerance value=32 Subtract From Selection button selected. Touch area inside rectangle.The entire background is subtracted to leave the image selected.

Lasso Tools-these are more difficult to use as it involves drawing round the image. Many designers use touch screens to use pen to trace round image. Use the Lasso tool to start tracing the edge press Alt and release mouse to change to Polygonal Lasso click along to place anchor points which then become straight lines. The Magnetic Lasso tool enables you to trace along the outline without holding the mouse button pressed.

Edit>Transform>Rotate to rotate an image

Crop image to required using crop tool and Commit Current Crop Operation button in Options bar. If scrap of background colour left over use rectangular select and Eraser Tool, changing pixels for brush size .

The finished image looks like this:

03Working

Professional Branding

In Design we looked at branding with a view to creating our own professional brand. In order to get an idea of how journalists have achieved this I looked at  several different approaches.

Here are 2 strikingly different perspectives :

Photojournalist Erika Larsen has opted for a minimalistic style. I think this says a lot about her personality. The attention is on her photography and work and not about herself.

She does not have a Facebook or Twitter account. I found only her website and Instagram account.

In an interview with Jim Colton he described her work, “Your portraits and your stories have a quiet elegance to them….not a lot of extraneous elements…clean, simple and powerful” which pretty much sums up her style of ‘branding’.

 

In contrast is Melanie Deziel who studied Journalism at Uconn, University College Connecticut and then Arts Journalism/Editing at Syracuse University. She is now “an award-winning branded content strategist and consultant” specialising in native advertising.

I think this basically means she knows what she is doing when it comes to professional branding. This can be seen immediately as a Google search takes you straight to all of her social media links.

Everything that we discussed regarding consistency, awareness, trust, perception and reputation is achieved through her branding.

Photoshop Lesson 2

Basic Photo Corrections

In the second lesson of Photoshop we learnt :

Resolution is the number of small squares, pixels, that describe an image and establish its detail. Measured in ppi (pixels per inch) for images and monitors or dpi (ink dots per inch) in print.

N.B. the higher the image resolution the larger the file size.

The white balance tool in Camera Raw mode can be used to adjust the color tone of an image. It can then be fine tuned by using the sliders.

The Crop tool is used to trim, scale or straighten an image.

Colour replacement tool paints over one colour with another.

The Sponge tool makes subtle saturation changes to specific areas of an image.

The Clone Stamp tool uses the pixels from one area of an image to replace the pixels in another part. You can remove unwanted objects and fill empty areas. i.e. useful where original photos have been damaged.

The Spot Healing Brush tool removes blemishes and imperfections from an image. It automatically samples from around the surrounding area.

Content aware tools  enables you to fill any selection with content similar to the content around it. The Patch tool makes it easier to do by drawing around the affected area.

Unsharp Mask filter is a technique used to sharpen the edges in an image and correct blurring. Experiment to determine what works best for your image. Filter>Sharpen> Unsharp Mask. Drag Amount, Radius and Threshold sliders to adjust.

For 4 Colour printing have to save the image  in CMYK colour code. Image> Mode> CYMK colour.

Photoshop (PSD) files are compatible with Indesign. Other layouts may need to be saved as TIFF file.(select PC or Mac in save options).

 

Converting a colour image to black and white with or without a tint.

Photoshop : Adjustments panel, Black &White button, adjust sliders or presets i.e. Darker or Infrared. To add tint select tint and click the colour swatch.

Camera Raw : HSL/Greyscale tab, adjust colour sliders in Hue, Saturation and Luminance.