History_Pig asks me to explain my method for creating the images posted the last two days. They were made several months ago and although I use a basic process on most of my digital work, once I get into it, it’s random and experimental. I don’t document my steps, so I probably can’t tell you exactly how I did them, but I’ll give it a shot.

First, let me define a couple of basic digital imaging terms. Some of you already know this, but for those who don’t it will help make sense of what I’m doing. The terms are vector and rastor.

Vector art: Vector images are those created in drawing programs like Adobe Illustrator. At their root they are defined by mathematical matrices and are resolution independent. There resolution is limited only to the resolution of the output device. If I made a vector image and had a high enough resolution printer, I could blow it up to the size of a barn wall and it wouldn’t be pixelated. This kind of image is good for clean, hard edged, flat colored graphic work. Like this car drawing.

Rastor art: Rastor art is a collection of pixels, each one defined by a number of criteria such as hue, saturation, tonality, etc. Photoshop is the rastor art tool that I use. The resolution of a rastor image is fixed. If I blow a 300 ppi image up to the size of a barn wall, you will see very large pixels in the image. Rastor art is good for images with continuous tonal and color variations, like a photograph. Photoshop is brilliant in the ways you can manipulate an image. The posibilities are endless. An example.

I started out by creating the concentric circle “hub cap” image in Illustrator. I used the gradient fill tool to give it a 3D modelled look. I duplicated it a couple of times and then took one of the dupes and attached a shape to it and rotated it on an axis. You can rotate and copy part of the image once and then just do a command “d” and it will repeat the rotate and copy in equal increments (sooo cool!) So now, after about a half an hour of work, I have an abstract, machine like, metallic looking vector image. Now it’s time to rock and roll.

I close out the file and reopen it in Pshop. It’s now a rastor image. One of the truely amazing features of Photoshop is that you can create virtual layers of artwork with it. And then define how the layers relate to each other. For instance, I can make a layer 50% transparent and set the mode to “darken.” Darken means that the top pixel will only effect the pixel below it if it’s darker than the pixel below it. Photoshop has about twenty of these layer modes and I experiment with various combinations as one way to get my effects.

On this one, after I spent some time manipulating colors with the “Hue and Saturation” control, I duplicated a layer and selected part of one of the layers with a feathered selection. I go into the ”Quick Mask” mode and paint my selections with a fuzzy edged “brush.” Then I ran a filter. I think this one was “Ripple” I messed with the transparency and the layer mode until I saw what I liked. Wha-La.

On the one posted on Sunday, I went back in and used a texture creation filter called SuperBlade Pro. It’s a third party plug in for Pshop and it’s freaking amazing. So that’s how I got the cool textural effects on that one.

Hope you’re not sorry you asked, Flem.

12 thoughts on “

  1. Thanks for the description. If I had the time (ha!) and wasn’t afraid of severe carpal tunnel syndrome, I could spend hours a day goofing around on Photoshop. I have been meaning to take a class on it, but there’s that time thing again.  

  2. I dunno know a damn thing about art programs… so I have no idea what you are talking about… don’t understand teh process but the product was nice

  3. Haha, no regrets.  I actually like to hear about this stuff, because all of my Photoshop experience is self-taught.  I’ve worked with layers, too, but I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing with masks.  I need to take some more time to experiment with it.  Thanks!

  4. That’s amazing.  I’ve got the basic photoshop (elements 2.0) and I can still only do basic stuff with it, because I haven’t read the instructions yet, but it’s amazing the stuff it can do.
    Damn, Bob, you’re very talented!

  5. All photoshop info is very much interesting.  As with HP and Fleener being self taught has disadvantages.

  6. You are a graphics God, Bob. Thanks for your comment on the Russians in your area. It is weird – a few years ago, it was like we were the only ones, unless you went to Brighton Beach in NYC. Nowadays, there are Russian people everywhere. I think it still freaks my mom out a bit – she thought she had gotten away and then all of the sudden, the damn cold war ends. Alas . . .

  7. here’s what i know about photoshop:

    1. cut out fleener’s face in MS paint.

    2.  paste onto inappropriate body in MS paint.

    3.  open composite atrocity in photoshop. 

    4.  blur face cut-out edge.

    5.  post for the world to mock and deride.

    at least someone out there is actually doing something with the other features.

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