Inspiration: Pablo Alfieri

Pablo Alfieri

Pablo Alfieri

Pablo Alfieri

The excellent work of Argentinian artist Pablo Alfieri, aka Be Playful. I’ve been watching Pablo’s work for quite some time and it’s quite obvious how much fun he has doing what he does. Lots of colorful pieces using geometric shapes and ambient Photoshop textures, while mixed with some lovely grayscale, typographic pieces. Really nice guy too.

Check out Pablo’s website and his Flickr stream for more of his work.

Image mode: 8-bit to 16-bit

The O series tutorial

I received a fantastic email from James Mellers last night which serves as a very helpful extension on my recent O Series tutorial. I work with a lot of layers and overlays in each piece that I do, and this sometimes results in gradients on lower layers becoming fragmented and chunky. I attempted to remedy the problem before posting the O pieces with very little success. Here is James’ suggestion:

“By working with a 16-bit canvas in Photoshop (instead of regular 8-bit), the problem of choppy grads from heavy pushing is almost entirely removed. When you’re done, you can save your 16-bit PSD, to keep that precious source file ;)  …then flatten, convert to 8-bit and save out separately for whatever else you may normally do – put it out on the web, have posters printed, etc.”

As you can see by the image above, this technique completely removes the fragmentation that was causing me problems and regardless of my numerous overlays, the gradients below remain smooth and nice. With all of your layers intact, you can switch your canvas by going to Image > Mode > 16 Bits/Channel.

I had no idea this could be achieved in this manner, and goes to show that you can be using software for a great many years yet still pick up little tips along the way. Now the daunting task of switching all of my work to 16-bit to see how it looks :)

Many thanks James!

New Wallpaper: The O series

The O Series wallpaper

Fabio over at Abduzeedo featured my O Series design as Wallpaper of the Week. Check out the post to download the wallpaper at the size of your choice, fit for your screen or iPhone.

And if you missed it, I wrote a little tutorial on how I created this effect in Photoshop.

Inspiration: Sebastian Onufszak

Sebastian Onufszak

Sebastian Onufszak

Beautiful design work by the German visual artist Sebastian Onufszak.

The images above are the tip of the iceberg in terms of Sebastian’s versatility in style, check out his complete portfolio In Graphics we Trust for the full range of his talent and experience.

He-man designs by Marko Djurdjevic

He-man designs by Marko Djurdjevic

He-man designs by Marko Djurdjevic

He-man designs by Marko Djurdjevic

Being the nostalgic dope that I am, I recently purchased one of my favorite childhood shows on DVD, He-man. I was hesitant for years about re-watching He-man for fear of it being toppled from the pedestal my 6-year-old mind remembers it to be on. However, as ridiculous as it may be, I can still see perfectly well why little Jimmy stopped in his tracks whenever the Filmation logo appeared onscreen.

Re-watching the episodes spurred me to track down these He-man designs created by Marko Djurdjevic a few years back. It may be old news, but I love the modern and sinister twists Marko adapted to the characters (looks as though Skeletor was loosely based on Marilyn Manson). Beautiful renders.

I had a hard time tracking down anything official to provide a link to, but here is a post on Jimsmash displaying all of his designs.

08 Congratulations

o8 Congratulations by James White

Download the hi-res print file, 11 x 17 poster, 300 dpi tiff (17.3 mb)

Edit: I made a few changes to the overall design and re-uploaded the poster file. Sorry for the inconvenience, but feel free to download the new version.

Signalnoise tutorial: The O series

The O Series tutorial

I have had many requests for tutorials over the past months, but given that they are quite time-consuming to create I have stayed away from them to continue with my poster designs and freelance work.

Last week I posted a few images entitled The O Series.  The process behind the images is fairly simple and I thought it would make for a good first tutorial post. There is nothing advanced here, and all you will need is a basic knowledge of the layers palette, blending modes and masks.

So, if you were at all interested in the creation of these pieces, here you go.

Step 1
Start by creating a white circle in the middle of the canvas, and apply a radial gradient layer mask so the center is faded out. Drop the opacity down to 15%.

The O Series tutorial

Step 2
Duplicate the circle layer we just made, and move it up and to the left. Bring the opacity up to 100% and set the layer Blending Mode to Overlay.

The O Series tutorial

Step 3
Duplicate the layer we just made and drop the opacity down to 25%. Set the Blending Mode of this new layer to Color Dodge. Move the circle a bit to the right on the canvas.

The O Series tutorial

Step 4
Duplicate the layer we just made, bring the opacity back up to 100% and set the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Shift the circle to the left a bit, and this time scale the circle down a little.

The O Series tutorial

Step 5
Make a straight duplicate of the layer we just made, and shift it a bit to the right. Keep all the layer settings the same.

The O Series tutorial

Step 6
Now that we have all of our circles in place, it’s now time to add some shadows and highlights to bring a bit more definition to the shapes. Create a new layer, and set its Blending Mode to Overlay. Using the Brush Tool set to black, proceed to paint in a few soft shadows concentrating more on the lower-left portion of the sphere. Then on the same layer, set your brush to white and paint in a few highlights. Try to keep in mind where a light source might hit our sphere, and paint the shadows and highlights accordingly. I lassoed where I painted for the sake of clarity in the example image.

The O Series tutorial

Step 7
To make the shading and highlights a bit more dramatic, duplicate the layer we just made and set its opacity to 50%. Keep the Blending Mode at Overlay.

The O Series tutorial

Step 8
Now we need to make the highlights really pop. Create a new layer and set the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Then using the Brush Tool with a soft setting, paint in a few focused highlight areas building on where you placed highlights in step 6.

The O Series tutorial

Step 9
Duplicate the layer we just made and set the Blending Mode to Overlay.

The O Series tutorial

Step 10
Once again, duplicate the layer we just made and this time drop the opacity to 50%.

The O Series tutorial

Step 11
Create a new Adjustment Layer and select Levels. When the levels dialogue box appears, set the white side to 145 and the dark side to 15, and click Okay. Keep this new layer above all of the layers we have created so the level setting will be applied to all.

The O Series tutorial

Step 12
Finally, we can now add some color to our sphere. Create a new layer, and remember to keep it below the Levels Adjustment Layer we just made. Using the Brush tool on a soft setting, paint in some color highlights on the sphere. Do this for a few colors to add some interest to the composition, in my case I chose red and purple.

The O Series tutorial

Step 13
Set the Blending Mode of our color layer to Overlay. You can continue to add some color on this layer until it feels right.

The O Series tutorial

Step 14
After placing so many overlays on top of gradients you will notice some fragmentation or banding. To solve this, switch the canvas to 16-bit and everything will smooth out. Simply go to Image > Mode > 16-Bits/Channel. After saving your PSD as 16-bit, you can then flatten your canvas and switch back to 8-bit to save your work as a jpeg.

The O series tutorial

The O series tutorial

Step 15
Have some fun and try a few different color treatments using the Brush Tool or some gradients. Also shift the circle layers around a bit for more diversity.

The O Series tutorial

I tried to keep this is simple and straight-forward as I could, so I hope this helps out those curious about my process. I do a great deal of adjusting and experimenting with my work, so be sure to try new things as you go to see how the slightest of alterations can change how color and overlays react with one another. But most of all, have fun.

Atari Modern Classics

Atari Modern Classics

I came across these gems via The Minus World a few days ago and had a good laugh. I love old school Atari package design and these redesigns of modern games is a stroke of genius. I can’t find an exact credit for who designed them, but they deserve a big high five. Check the post for more.