Teaching Photoshop

Mondrianesque

Photoshop class lesson

This quarter, I’ve returned to teaching Adobe Photoshop. We are now wrapping up the quarter at BEAU (Broadview University Entertainment Arts).

I’ve taught Photoshop for over a decade now and I’ve been using the software for double that amount of time. But, I remember when I first started teaching in 2000 at Glendale Community College in California. I thought I knew the software, but then when I found out that the majority of my students were either from the animations houses (Disney, Dreamworks, etc) or were other professionals with a lot of experience, I had to step up my game a ton! I made sure that I knew the program and that I integrated art principles even more so than just teaching the application.

Created for Love Everlasting
Created for Love Everlasting

I got into mimicking and creating believable faux imagery, such as this license plate. This came in handy, especially for film projects. This plate was printed on foam core, but if you were looking at in your hands, you would believe that it was a weathered plate from Missouri. I also used this concept in photography and other art projects.

Now, I teach the basics of these techniques to college students. The art work above is a basic example for their final project. It is inspired by the works of Mondrian and prints found on the walls of various businesses.

Next quarter, I will teach Advanced Photoshop.

Last quarter, I was asked by BEAU if they could film me for one of their commercials. They were doing various films of each their teachers. I feel more comfortable behind the camera, but I said ok.

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Utah Film

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Composite Photography

Composite Photography
Composite Photography

Composite photography is a type of digital collage and designed in several different views. This image that I created with the model, Gretchen P. Jensen, was NOT shot at this location. In fact, the background was shot a year or so before the shoot with Gretchen. Sometimes composite photography is planned out prior to the shoot so that everything share the same natural laws. Sometimes, like in this case, this image was started with the shot of Gretchen in pose on a rock at a park. The rest was designed around her.

This image took about 30+ hours to create. I was keeping track, but when you are creating on the fly, things can take a bit longer.

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That’s A Wrap on “Sacred Vow”

This is my third film with a friend, Rob Diamond. My first being Justin Time, Love Everlasting and Sacred Vow. Learn more about this film by visiting: www.facebook.com/Sacredvowmovie

Representation of Amber
Representation of Amber

I made this sculpture from a Barbie-like doll, cardboard, and newspaper mache´. I then gave it multiple coats of paint and texture, so that it would appear to be made out of stone. I always saw the doll’s features in the sculpture and wondered if anyone else did too. When I asked crew and talent about it (after it sat on set for a while), they had all thought it was made of stone. They didn’t even recognize it’s toy features. Great!

Faux Champagne
Faux Champagne

The script called for some expensive Champagne. As you know, you cannot use existing labels without permission. So, after doing a little bit of research on the designs of expensive Champagnes, I came up with this design.  I used my Grandfather’s name and his image, since it has a ring of exclusiveness.  As far as I know, this is the only Italian faux-Champagne in existence.

Here are some room settings with props in place. The current looking portraits sitting on night stands, dresser and shelves, I took of the actors in character. Some of other portraits I received from the actors and those went through some digital effects to make them appear dated and other needed adjustments.

Here are some behind the scene images.

Kristen Hullinger, who plays a mistress on this film, created a behind the scenes video. Please follow her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kristensmusic

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Copy Cat

Photographer: Sandra Jordan
Photographer: Sandra Jordan

I saw this wonderful photograph of a purple wall with a white framed window with green slats. I thought it was pretty cool. Then I thought, why not re-create a similar one in photoshop.

I went through my textures of photographs that I had taken in the past: such as the backside of a tombstone, a piece of wood, and the metal of a roof… some not being the highest quality, I created my own version. I cropped it square for this blog post similar to hers for comparison. It is not meant to be identical, but to demonstrate the inspiration from where it came.

Faux Wall

Here are the textures that I used. As you can see, I added colors, textures and so on to achieve the look of a wall and wood frames painted. As well as some regular weathered effects.Faux Wall Textures

The original piece can be found by going to http://www.imagebrief.com/photographers/thayne — this version is uncropped for those interested in using it.

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Old Post Card

I enjoy creating props that look like they could be real. And I like using digital software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to help me design them. I also like to create them in the traditional or physical ways, but digital gives me a lot of latitude. I could print this card on the correct type of paper and it would look quite authentic. Depending on how close or how long it would be in camera, I may print the stamp separately. But this particular card is a shameless resume plug.
Post Card Resume

How I Made This Post Card

The very first thing before creating anything is research. Research is a must. I knew that I wanted this post card to look old and so I searched the web for post cards and stamps (I wasn’t wholly true with the stamp, since this post card was meant mainly to advertise myself) of the early 1900’s.

Once discovering the looks of various historical post cards and stamps, then I started with the basic dimensions, edge quality, surface texture of the card. Then I added stains and coloring so that it would look old. I utilize the net as much as possible to simplify the process. This post card uses the paper texture of one document and the coloring & stains of another, along with blending modes and opacity levels in photoshop.

About the stamp, it’s very similar to the process of the post card. I used a previous image that I created of myself. I used the edge quality of an old stamp to begin the process…

Text needs to be handled in the same way as any other element. I typically use blending modes & options, opacity levels, and masks to capture the the paper age and texture.

Interested in Film Art Direction

Besides having knowledge in film, it’s good to have a diverse knowledge in  various fields of art and understanding of basic construction. It’s critical in knowing how to draw just about anything, especially architectural drawings. It is without saying, but having a solid grasp of the principles of art and color is critical. These skills come into play from concept design to the finishing elements in set dressing or prop completion.

Though an art education is extremely helpful, more importantly is the continual study and practice. So study Art History, Illustration, Graphic Design, Color Theory, Art Principles, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to build personal knowledge. Understand the basics of typography is very important. And remember, the magic is in the details.

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Crew Shirts

film crew apparel
film crew apparel

I was thinking how some times you get a CREW shirts or jackets on film projects and other times not. And with that thought, I went and did a quick design for those that like to wear one on a project when they did not get one. Soon as I finished one, this other idea popped in my mind, then another, and another…

Crew Apparel

Have me design your custom shirts to your project!

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Concept Request from a Friend

My friend, Ben shared his badge on social media from his new job: it was very basic with just a simple gradient. I was joking around and suggested he need something cooler, like X-Files badge! He said, design me what you think it should look like. Well, I came up with a design, but not necessarily X-Files.

StLouisPD MO

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Digital Illustration… a first

I began this illustration much different than I do with most other projects; I just started with one element and went from there.Vitam Mortem

Almost always, I start with rough sketches and depending on what I want to convey; research. Between drawing, reviewing design and research I eventually come to a design I am happy. Then the process of creating the actual piece begins.

This work, as I mentioned, was created very differently. I have this skull from back in my art college days of anatomy and so I photographed it. I had this one idea in the back of my mind of restarting; a new life coming from the old.

I began layering certain textures and modeling the light. The past weekend, my kids and I went on a little venture and that is where I found the broken glass and weathered wood. Once I added these elements, it started coming together. I’ve added dirt texture and a lot of light and shadow elements. Last, came the the tree. That tree is partially paint, textures and plant parts to create that new beginnings coming from the eye socket.

I am totally for texture, light and shadows. I hope you like it.

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Paper Skull

Skull PropI made this skull from newspaper, glue and acrylic paint. It’s actual size, but the weight is so light. The skull was designed for a short film and that the intent is to be for a quick read: meant to be in a setting and not necessarily brought close to the camera. Even though it has a lot of detail, there isn’t the same amount as an actual skull.

The lower jaw was designed to be removed in case it wasn’t really needed for the shot. It gives the filmmakers options.
Skull Prop

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