Silver Lining

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Hey there, I’m back 🙂 I haven’t posted for a while as it’s finals week (joy -.-) , the latest issue of the West Side Story was just published, and this piece took a very long time to make. However, I can confirm that I’ve gotten over my fear of Photoshop! Maybe not fear per se, but I feel a lot more comfortable using it now. This entire piece was made in Photoshop, which I am very proud of since I usually go to extreme lengths to avoid this adobe app. InDesign and Illustrator are a lot more intuitive for me so I just never bothered to figure out how to use Photoshop until now. It took a lot of hours and tutorials to get me here, but I’m pretty happy with the end result.

You’re probably wondering why I used a photo of myself. The truth is, I’m a complete narcissist. Just kidding. I needed a high quality photo and was originally just experimenting with Photoshop, so I used this photo that Chanel Vidal, the Co-Photo Editor for the WSS took. I removed the background on the photo and edited it as I saw fit, then I dragged it onto a blank Photoshop document. I had always thought that once you drag something onto a Photoshop document you can’t adjust the size or orientation. Guess what? I thought wrong. Thank goodness, because this piece would have taken significantly longer if that wasn’t the case.

To adjust a photo once it’s on the document, you have to click on the “Rectangle Marquee Tool” or hit ‘M’ on your keyboard. Then right click and select “Free Transform” and voilà, you can transform the photo however you want. Once you’re done transforming it, click on the check mark to confirm your transformations.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 7.59.46 PM.png Meet the “Rectangle Marquee Tool.” It’s your friend.

Erasing part of the photo and getting the white “cloud” look was surprisingly easy. All you have to do is click on the “Mask Tool,” make sure the color you have selected is black, and use the paintbrush tool.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 8.06.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-02-19 at 8.05.45 PM.png

Here’s where you can find the “Mask Tool.” It’s the third button from the left. The paintbrush tool is in the same tool bar as the “Rectangle Marquee Tool.” I downloaded some brushes off the internet for this project. You can either use the presets or download the ones you want. Once you have the brush you want, simply click on the places you want to erase. This part takes a while if you’re really picky or have a lot of the photo that you want to erase.

To get the background, duplicate the layer and put the duplicate under the original layer. To duplicate a layer, right click on it and select “Duplicate Layer.” You can do whatever you want to this layer and it will show up in the background. I used a variety of brushes and colors to create this background.

I also added some simple patterns to make this piece more interesting. With only one element, it looked very plain. I’m sure there’s an easier way to make the patterns, but what I did was draw them out with a sharpie, take a picture of them, and send the photos to my computer via AirDrop. I used Photoshop to remove the paper background, then opened the drawings in Illustrator. Next, I used the “Live Trace” option, expanded the trace, and changed the color of the patterns to white. Finally, I reopened the patterns in Photoshop, dragged them onto the document, and used the “Rectangle Marquee Tool” to adjust everything.

Making this piece was very tedious but hey, no pain no gain right? I plan on using Photoshop far more often now that I’ve got the hang of things. I guess you could say that my newfound Photoshop knowledge is the silver lining to that white “cloud” look. Stay tuned for more and happy Friday!

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