Moodboards and Imagery

This week in Digital Imagery we discussed ways to get inspired for imagery projects. Specifically we talked about¬†moodboards and how you can use them to visually illustrate a certain style. They help flesh out ideas that may be bouncing around in your head so that other people don’t need to be psychics to know exactly what you’re thinking! ūüôā

Our showcase assignment was to create a moodboard for a brand. I chose to do my own personal brand, because although¬†in infancy, it’s growing every day. In another class I’m currently taking, Web Design Principles (a class which teaches the foundation of¬†HTML and CSS), my¬†semester-long project is to create my own portfolio website. I hope that this moodboard helps get, well, the mood of my website across and keeps me on track for the theme of my website.

It would be hard for me to dive into my moodboard without explaining my website idea first. It is a portfolio-based website, but because I like websites with a theme, I decided to make my website based around the idea of walking down a trail. I want the user to feel immersed in outdoor imagery: lots of trees, animals, dirt, etc. I want you to be “walking” and then end up at a “fork in the trail,” where you click the trail you want to follow to get to the various pages of my website.

With my theme for my project in mind, I went on various stock imagery websites such as pixabay.com and pexels.com and downloaded (way too many) images. I also wanted fonts that were very light and airy and reminded me of the woods. At first I went on dafont.com, but when I read the agreement that came with a font I had chosen, I realized it was not permitted for use on personal branding websites. For this project that would have been fine, but because I eventually want to use certain fonts for my branding website, I decided to switch to fonts offered on TypeKit to be on the safe side. I downloaded about five fonts to choose from.

After I collected my images and fonts, I opened Photoshop and began to construct my moodboard on a 10×8 inch document. We were not allowed to use templates, so I began by adding many different colored rectangles, and threw in a few ellipses just to spice things up a bit. moodboardlayoutTo the right you can see¬†what it looked like when I was finished constructing the layout. I know it looks a little wild right now, but the colors help differentiate the shapes in my layers panel. From here I began to embed the stock images into the document by importance. I started with my favorite image, which I put in the very center, navy blue box. I situated the image’s layer behind the navy blue box, and changed the opacity of the box to ~60% so I could see the image behind it as I adjusted it’s size. The image was much larger than my square, so I had to free transform it (Command + T) to resize it to properly fit. Once I was happy with it, I moved the image’s layer above the box, changed the box’s opacity back to 100%, right clicked my image’s layer and clicked on “Create Clipping Mask.” This feature allows you to clip the top image to fit the bottom image, which I think is just too cool! The best part is, if it doesn’t fit perfectly after you click it, you can still adjust that mask and nudge it around until you get something you like. My description might seem complicated, but it was actually very easy.

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Pantone’s Mimosa, Emerald, and Marsala.

After this first image, I repeated the process over and over until my moodboard came to life. I left a few boxes purposely free of images to leave room for some text and font use, and because we were assigned to use three of Patone’s “Color of the Year” colors, and I hadn’t quite figured out how I wanted to incorporate them. So, at this point I went over to Pantone’s website and found the “Plus” hexcode for 2015’s color: Marsala. At first when I saw the color I thought it was kind of ugly, but when I saved the swatch in my library I realized it actually worked well with my trail theme; it was actually a very pretty, earthy tone. I’m sorry I ever doubted you, Pantone! I also decided to use their 2013 color, Emerald, and their 2009 color, Mimosa. I thought the three would pair well together.

Marsala (R: 173 G: 101 B: 95 | C: 10 M: 67 Y: 49 K:23)
Emerald (R: 0 G: 155 B: 119 | C: 99 M: 0 Y: 69 K: 0 )
Mimosa (R: 239 G: 192 B: 80 | C: 0 M: 15 Y: 75 K: 5 )

So, the first thing I did was set an empty¬†ellipse’s background as Marsala, and put white text over it. (Side note: fonts used were¬†Metallophile Sp8 in one¬†and¬†Myriad Std Tilt in another; I did have to change the leading in one to make it fill the box more.) That left me to place Emerald and Mimosa. Because Mimosa is so vivid and powerful, I knew I wanted to leave that for something very minimal. I decided to create a custom shape, an arrow, and filled it with Mimosa. Emerald felt more subtle, so I decided to use the paint bucket tool to paint my background in this color and I loved it, however this made my images blend in since they’re quite close to emerald as it is. I decided to put a 10px white stroke effect on my images, and put a drop shadow on both ellipses to make them pop.

Finally, our last requirement for the moodboard was to use a Photoshop action anywhere on the board. In our discussion post I had linked to¬†this site, which displays 45 free Photoshop actions. I went back on that article and scrolled around and thought it would be pretty cool if I made one of my pictures “Bold Black and White,” so I downloaded that action. After I applied the action I realized I didn’t really want black and white, because I thought it took away from the overall feel. So I deleted the actual black and white adjustment and just kept the other parts of the action and applied it to the entire moodboard. After adjusting specific parts, I felt that it made the picture¬†brighter and more vibrant.

Here is the final image:

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Because I’m a little indecisive, I also have another option of my moodboard (below) without my Emerald background. Even though this¬†means that it¬†would not technically meet all of the requirements of my showcase, I still like it enough to add here. You can never have too many options, right?

design7white

Thank you for stopping by!

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.

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