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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Learning Graphic Design - And My Very First Photo Composite!

This blog is all about exploring new adventures, trying out Big, Fun, Scary things to do.  Well, now I'm trying out a Big, Fun, Scary and Exciting New Career!  Well I am at least dipping my toes in!  I have started a brand new course with Shaw Academy, a Diploma in Graphic Design.  I'm going to be learning how to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

I've previously worked in traditional art mediums, Pencil and Colour Pencil being my favourite go-to mediums, and I still want to continue that.  But I've had my curiosity peaked by seeing some of the beautiful art, and photo composites, created in Photoshop.  I've dabbled in the past with other photo editing suites, and always ended up with very jagged lines, and not quite what I wanted.  I think this was more down to my lack of knowledge than the software though.  Now I have had a little teaching, with video demonstrations, and getting to recreate what I have seen step-by-step, and I am loving it!  

In my first week of the Graphic Design course I really got to grips with Photoshop.  Here is the first piece I created from Lesson 1:

I recreated our first Photoshop demonstration, finding a similar background photo online, I followed through step-by-step, and although the lessons are using the latest version of Adobe Creative Cloud, Shaw Academy told us about Adobe Creative Suite 2 (CS2), an older version of the same software, containing Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.  You just need to create a free Adobe ID to be able to download and use the software free.  If you want to play with the latest Adobe Creative Cloud, I am told you can also download a free 30 day trial.  It's great that you can learn how to use this software without having to commit to buying it, and find out what it's like to be a graphic designer.

I really got excited when I got the chance to create my own photo composite, stitching various images together so they look like they were always meant to be together.  Being a big fan of Steampunk and Science Fiction, this seemed like a great opportunity to create a fun piece of digital art!  (It still seems strange to think that I created digital art!).  So I followed one of the links Shaw Academy suggested for getting free Creative Commons licence images that we are allowed to modify and distribute, and I discovered Pixabay.  Here I found these fun images to piece together to create a scene:

A squad car, this seemed to fit the setting of a possibly post-apocalyptic setting, possibly with zombies, aliens, or monsters.  I could picture it easily in a Resident Evil setting.

This Abandoned Factory also seems perfect for a post-apocalyptic setting.  I have a thing for urban abandoned places, I love searching for images of eerie desolate places, I just feel they are full of atmosphere.  I also love the graffiti on this particular setting, and seems right for urban warfare.

I found this fella shooting some kind of Steampunk / Sci-fi heavy duty gun.  And it seemed perfect for blasting aliens / monsters.  He looks pretty Steampunk, which really appeals to me, perhaps he's a time traveller from another dimension come to save us?

I put them all together using some masks, but for me, although the cop's squad car blended in really well, I didn't feel my Steampunk guy did, nor did his weapon's blaster fire.  Take a look:

The scene also seemed overly bright, like it needed to look darker, possibly taking place at night.  After darkening the image, cutting back on the purple glow, and adding a little light reflection on the nearby pillar, I am very happy with the results.  Not bad for my very first photo composite!