Ecard for the University of Florida

Hello everyone!

For my final showcase, I was assigned to create a holiday e-card that the University of Florida could send.

I chose to do a general holiday e-mail for campus closures from December 24th-January 4th (since both Christmas and New Year’s fall on Fridays). This closure is entirely made-up, and otherwise I am not affiliated with the offices of University of Florida, so don’t take this card seriously!

My thought process was to, of course, go forth and find a cartoonish alligator. I found an image that I liked and used the magic wand tool to delete the background. I googled for free santa hat vectors and arranged it on top of the gator’s head. Finally I added a small red ellipse to the alligator’s nose so he could look like Rudolph.

After I designed the alligator, I drew a speech bubble with the pen tool and filled it with plain white. I added a bevel and emboss effect to the speech bubble (and the red nose). From here I added “HAPPY HOLIDAYS” in UF orange with, again, a simple bevel and emboss effect. I then Googled around and found this free snow layer style, which I added to the top of the type with the brush tool. I decided to go with the snow theme and found the blue background with snowflakes. Since it wasn’t very big, I added a UF blue rectangle on the bottom and used it as my “main body” box and added the text. I mimicked this step for the “header.” I then found the transparent Christmas lights online and added it as a bottom border.

For my lighting effect (a mandatory feature), I chose to copy the entire image and paste it into a new document to not disturb the entire image. I merged the layers together on this new document and added individual point lights to each Christmas light on the bottom of the card. This effect really brightened the card as a whole and tied it all together.

Here is my final e-card image:

ecard

Editing a Bench Image

For this design showcase, we were given three images to choose from and needed to edit them accordingly. I chose the image with a bench because I could definitely see myself stopping there on a walk and reading a book, or just enjoying the sunshine!

Original bench image.
Original bench image.

Since the image was much larger than necessary, I resized the image to the required eight inches across and changed the DPI to 300 for optimal print quality.

Right off the bat, I decided that the photo looked bare and a little too green overall for such a nice bench. I duplicated the background (to protect the original) and, using the clone tool, cloned the red and orange flowers and their stems, the yellow flowers to the left of the bench, and the yellow, blurry flowers in the far background.

beforeandafter-flowers
A look into before and after cloning. Notice the fullness of the red flowers, the yellow flowers behind the bench, and the blurry yellow flowers in the background.

Next I added an adjustment layer and altered the image’s levels. I personally thought the image was a bit too dark for my taste and wanted to lighten it. I did this by sliding the white lever to 230 and the middle, grey lever slightly to the left to 1.06. While this did brighten the image, I thought the grey of the bench seemed washed out by the adjustment, and decided to mask it by painting the bench black in the adjustment layer (using the brush tool).

Even though the flowers are beautiful, the bench is the star of my image. Thinking realistically, when you focus on an object with your eyes, the neighboring objects blur around it. I wanted to achieve this effect, so I duplicated the cloned layer and blurred the green bush on the left of the foreground and the large stones on the right of the foreground.

Looking at the image again, I still felt there was something not quite right with the bench “popping,” and decided to burn the mulch/dirt in the flowerbed to make the bench stand out even more.

A comparison of the effect of the burn tool on the flower bed.
A comparison of the effect of the burn tool on the flower bed.

Finally, I decided to add another adjustment layer, black and white, and set the opacity to 73%. This allowed a very faint color to shine through, especially the colors of the flowers and bushes. Overall I am very pleased with the effect of the final versions of this editing exercise.

manalio_designshowcase3
Final of my colored bench image.
bench-final-bw
Final of my bench image in black and white.

Albert’s Grille Project

This week in class we dove into working with Photoshop by learning many of the basic tools and features of the program. Layers are one of the most fundamental features in both Adobe Photoshop and digital design, so I was eager to understand and begin.

For this design showcase, I was hired by a local company, Albert’s Grille, to create a BLT sandwich graphic for the company website.

Albert’s Classic BLT: Crispy bacon served on a bed of lettuce and tomato, sandwiched between toasted slices of white bread, mayonnaise and mustard. Mm-mm good. –Albert’s Grille menu

albertsgrill
Final image of my project for Albert’s Grille.

While the sandwich was meant to be the star of the image, I approached this project by first considering the look of the graphic as a whole. Albert’s Grille is a deli-styled restaurant whose staff prides themselves in serving timeless, traditional sandwiches for families of all ages to enjoy. Because of this, I knew I wanted to use a well-accostumed background, and went straight to the gingham tablecloth to contrast Albert’s classic white and blue plate. I used the Magic Wand tool to highlight the original white background in the plate document and delete it so the table cloth could be seen when I moved the plate over.

Next, after similarly deleting the background, I moved a transparent image of a slice of plain, white bread atop of the plate. Because Albert’s Grille describes their Classic BLT sandwich with toasted bread, I decided to “toast” my slice by using the Burn tool. Toasters usually toast bread unevenly, and there are normally a few lighter lines that run through the the toast from the mechanism within the toaster. I tried to achieve this look by first setting my exposure level to 50%. Then I used a larger-sized brush with 0% hardness to lightly “toast” the whole piece, followed by a smaller-sized brush with a 25% hardness to toast around where lines should be. When I was satisfied, I duplicated the layer (since there would be two slices) and hid the top slice by clicking on the eye to the right of the layer.

toast
A before and after image of my “toasting” process using the burn tool.

Using a combination of the magnetic lasso tool and the magic wand, I deleted the backgrounds from tomato, lettuce, and bacon images, then moved them to my new  graphic, between the bread slices. Next, I chose a subtle yellow/brown color that looks like classic French’s mustard and, using the Brush tool, I drew it in a swirl design, like I would add mustard as a kid. I also chose to double-click on the mustard layer and add a size 1 stroke in a slightly darker hue to eliminate a harsh edge. I repeated the process to add mayonnaise but instead of a stroke, added a bevel and emboss effect, and softened to 100%.

closeupview
Close-up of the effects on my mayonnaise and mustard layers.

Finally finished with the sandwich, I began to perfect the logo for the image. I used the eyedropper tool to pick up the color of the plate, but felt it was too dark and went with a slightly lighter version of blue. I chose to stretch the text as an arc to wrap around the bottom of the plate, then double-clicked and added a bevel and emboss effect as well as a drop shadow. Overall I am very satisfied with the look of this BLT image and hope Albert’s Grille will be, too!