IS DIGITAL​ TECHNOLOGY MY KRYPTONITE?

Although I have really tried my best to learn the core structure of Photoshop, I have hit a brick wall. The anxiety at not having created any Collection Moodboards is creating a type of fog that I am finding nigh on impossible to break through. Seeing all of my classmates produce board after board of progressive collections has almost made me retreat inside myself; feelings of failure and inadequacy are now commonplace throughout my day. Is Digital Technology my Kryptonite?

I have decided to go back to some of the SKILLSHARE tutorials and try to learn from the ground up again. The first tutorial I am undertaking is ‘DIGITIZE YOUR WATERCOLOURS: Getting Started With Photoshop’ by Anne Butera.

Anne recommends the DPI to be set to 720, not 300. By scanning at a higher resolution the image can be scaled up without losing any of its integrity.

I also discovered the benefit of using the MARQUEE TOOL to crop the chosen scanned image. Previously I have had issues removing more than one type of background when manipulating the image in Photoshop but can now see the advantage of cropping down the design.

The LASSO Tool is also an invaluable tool in a Designers’ arsenal; its a great way to ‘cut out’ individual areas of a design/image.

The MAGIC WAND Tool is also a fantastic way to remove unwanted areas and keep specific elements of design. The ERASER TOOL can then be employed to remove all the small little discrepancies that the MAGIC WAND Tool had failed to remove. A fantastic way to make sure that there are no discrepancies left is to create a NEW FILL LAYER with SOLID COLOUR, ideally choosing Black. This new layer needs to go behind the design/motif to expose any marks etc that have been left. I then used the ERASER TOOL in Black to remove these elements. The NEW FILL LAYER can then be deleted!!!

Firstly I worked my way through Anne’s ‘How to Create A Repeat Pattern’, which simplified the process of creating a ‘perfect’ repeat tile. This tile could then be duplicated to create a perfect repeat. Yes, my repeat is rather simple, but I now understand the core ingredients of this wondrous technique.

 

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I then followed Annes’s instructions to scan other designs/motifs through the scanner @ 720dpi, used the MOVE TOOL to arrange in my desired location, and the FREE TRANSFORM TOOL to alter and set the scale.

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This was the result of incorporating some of my favourite elements from different designs and amalgamating them together. I am so proud of this design!!! I absolutely love the contrast of the B+W against the subtle yellow, orange, gold and green. Does it need a colour in the background? I did try to add a colour background, but unfortunately, there are gaps in the lines of the larger rose, meaning the background fill leaks into the rose. Going forward, I will endeavour to use the pen/brush tool to link up these open lines.

Thanks to the additional tutorial by Anne I was able to spend the day both learning and practising on Photoshop simultaneously. I won’t lie, the time it takes to properly edit and manipulate the images to my standard took hours!!! However, through trial and error, I was able to edit all my designs/motifs and create one document layered with each individual element.

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This was my first attempt at a preliminary idea for my HERY Design, albeit not quite finished, and I will admit I am rather proud of it. I will add many other motifs and design elements to this idea but first wanted to see if I actually could create a digital design.

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Next, I applied a little colour, which I think has brought the design to life!! This design has been completed on an A3 Print Document in Photoshop and will allow a perfect repeat as a tile. The results of my Market Research Survey have played a massive role in my design process, staying true to what my demographic wanted. The colours are specific to what my client base wants and the DESIGN and COLOUR have been purposefully chosen to create a SIMPLISTIC and GENDER NEUTRAL design.

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A half-drop pattern was added to the design, and I absolutely love it. I also have made a note of the colour of the background, specifically the numerical value. Making a note of the colour is extremely important, not only will it allow me to remember the specific colour, but will also allow me to create a colour bank for future projects. Watch this space to find out how the design progresses………

 

TIMOROUS BEASTIES INFLUENCE

If I were to choose my current favourite design company it would have to be TIMOROUS BEASTIES. How did I find out about this company? It was actually my Damask bedspread that led me to TB. I have always been fascinated by the symmetrical and repeat patterns of Damask wallpaper/fabric, so a quick search on the internet for Damask and Textile Design came up with the goldmine that is this innovative and forward-thinking design company.

Why do I love this company so much? Here are a few reasons why……

(Clockwise) Beasties, T. (2017) Damsel Damask, Omni Splat, Butterfly Blurr & Grand Blotch Damask. Available at: http://www.timorousbeasties.com/shop/wallcoverings/ (Accessed: 14 May 2018)

The contemporary use of design and colour is spectacular!!! Whilst undertaking this current project at Uni, I have begun to comprehend the subtle complexities of creating a repeat pattern for the Interiors market; something I am 100% sure I would want my own designs to be available for.

‘Our Product is highly crafted and designed. It’s always quality first’ Timorous Beasties

The sheer attention to detail resonates so strongly with my own core values as a designer. I think that having OCD has actually been both a help and hindrance within my creative practice; a help in being meticulous about what I include as part of my creative output, and hindrance due to my procrastinating and always trying to make sure everything is perfect.

The designs of Timorous Beasties have allowed me to accept that I am not perfect and that these imperfections can be utilised as a strength within my designs.

Having struggled with the repeat element and to incorporate all of my ideas I decided to undertake a back-to-to basics approach in creating ideas within my sketchbook, which will ultimately be transferred to Photoshop and manipulated digitally.

I am really proud of my ideas and will spend the next couple of days really honing the concept.

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A natural progression from a more traditional style of a hand-drawn collage bouquet to that of a reflected contemporary design, influenced by Timorous Beasties.

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Utilising my strengths, specifically observational studies fused with collage, painting and drawing, I began to expand my idea of using specific elements to amalgamate into a cohesive and fully rounded design. Yes, there are still areas I need to work into and complete, but I now have a strong concept of what my final collection will look like.

WATCH THIS SPACE…….

PHOTOSHOP (4) (MEG LEWIS) COLOUR, SWATCHES, BLENDING, FILTERS & BRUSHES

I made the conscious effort to skip PHOTOSHOP (3);  the tutorial was far more focused on Web Design and not towards my area of study…DIGITAL DESIGN for TEXTILES.

Going forward, I have decided to make a note of the numerical value of a favourite/specifically chosen colour within the CMYK range. This will make replicating the colour for future endeavours really easy. Clicking on the Foreground/Background Tool will make the Colour Picker Tool to pop-up, allowing the choice of colour.

SWATCHES

Wow!!! I knew that this tool would be beneficial eventually to my ongoing creative projects, but found that it can be super useful for my current project. Firstly, select the SWATCHES Tab, which can be found at the top right of the Photoshop screen. Creating a SWATCH LIBRARY is incredibly easy; click on Foreground/Background Tool, which will pop-up the Colour Picker Tool. Simply choose the specified colour for the particular brief you are working on, and press ADD TO SWATCHES.

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I find it particularly useful to rename the colour, to avoid confusion if using at a later date. The colour will now be available in MY LIBRARY, meaning it will now be available to access anytime.

I disovered that I could remove the pre-populated (Default) Colour Swatches and replace them with my own. This feature will be invaluable for my professional career; I can create a range of individual colour schemes for different clients without bulking the palettes together.

By clicking on the tab in the top right corner of the Colour/Swatches Window I found a  menu with many options appeared. I scrolled down to PRESET MANAGER, which caused the PRESET box to appear. By holding down SHIFT and selecting the colours I didn’t want, I selected the DELETE button, removing all the unwanted palette.

Say for example I was working on a brief for John Lewis, who stipulated that they wanted a Yellow Floral Colour scheme for a Spring/Summer collection. Now that I had removed all the unwanted colour swatches I could now create my own.

The wonderful aspect of being able to save this specific palette for a specific client will allow me to have a clutter-free and tailored palette at the ready should I need it.

If I wanted to reintroduce the Default Colour Swatches back I would simply click on the top right tab, scroll down to RESET SWATCHES and select OK to replace current swatches with the default colours.

BLENDING MODES, OPACITY & TRANSPARENCY

Application to apply overlay in interesting and specific ways. I began by choosing to create a Rectangle via the RECTANGLE TOOL and renaming it to avoid future confusion. Secondly, I created a NEW LAYER and also created a second Rectangle (overlapping), which was also renamed.

The Blending Mode option can be found within the LAYER section described as NORMAL in the drop-down menu. After allowing myself a few minutes to explore the individual modes, I decided to choose MULTIPLY; a fantastic mode allowing the exact fusion of the two colours.

I played around with the OPACITY; the translucency was dictated by decreasing the percentage via the scrollbar. Although similar to the Opacity tool, the FILL tool could only be demonstrated by applying a border (STROKE) to the second shape.

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The difference between toggling the Opacity and Fill tool is that the Opacity will alter both the border and fill of the shape/design/image, and the Fill will only alter the fill of the shape/design/image, leaving the border unchanged. This could be a really helpful tool/application when looking at my current/future designs.

FILTERS

The majority that I explored really isn’t appropriate for the type of design I undertake. However, I did find a few which may have merit.

The FILTER option is accessed via the FILTER tab, and in the first instance, I decided to choose STYLIZE: EMBOSS. I was really surprised to see how interesting and abstract my design became. I actually really like the EMBOSS mode.

The CRYSTALIZE tool was equally as interesting; I actually played around with the Cell Size, to find that the design looked better somewhere within a median range rather than that of a small or large selection.

Last, but not least was the OIL PAINT mode. I really loved this application and could happily see it being used within some of my digital designs. There are 4 individual elements to explore; Stylization, Cleanliness, Scale & Bristle Detail. The overall effect was really subtle but created a wonderfully painterly effect to what was originally a stylised observational pen study.

BRUSHES

An incredible tool to manipulate, add or extend my own designs. The BRUSH mode can be accessed through the WINDOW tab and scrolling down to Brush Settings. The Brush Settings menu will pop-up, but will be greyed out. I simply pressed the letter B, and hey presto I am able to access all these wonderful features.

I must have spent around 20minutes just exploring the settings. The possibilities are endless within this feature, and this is something I am going to exploit when I have more time. Some of the effects that I have shown interest towards are as follows:

(Clockwise) I fell in love with this bold and highly textural ‘split-brush’ (306) tip effect, and strangely enough, the effect resembles the foliage and leaves of some of the flowers I have been trying to capture. Could I use this tool to help with some of the motif elements? The second effect (284) would be an incredible way to create a varied and textural background, not to mention its striking resemblance to the patterns found on some birds eggs. Finally, I love how this effect (60) can be built up to create depth and structure. Could this be used as a wonderful way to create the patterns and shapes of a tree? Exciting times.

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An exploration of Scale, Spacing, Colour, Smoothing, Texturisation, and Brushstrokes.

Always create a new layer when using a new/different brush; quicker to remedy a problem on one single layer rather than altogether.

PHOTOSHOP (2) (MEG LEWIS) LAYER ADJUSTMENT, LAYER STYLES, TRANSFORM & CROPPIN

Seeing how fantastic PHOTOSHOP (1) was, it would be silly of me not to advance my knowledge within this incredible digital tool. What will I be learning today?

LAYER ADJUSTMENTS

‘The Adjustment Layers in Photoshop are a group of a super useful, non-destructive image editing tools that add color and tonal adjustments to your image without permanently changing its pixels. With the adjustment layers, you can edit and discard your adjustments or restore your original image at any time’.

My initial favourite, and LA that I would consider using within my own work are:

HUE & SATURATION – Exactly as described. Allows the user to manipulate colour.

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Anything under the chosen Adjustment Layer will benefit from the manipulation of chosen Adjustment Layer. The COLOURISE box, when ticked, will allow the image to be manipulated to the exact colour on the Hue Slider Bar, and the saturation can be decreased or increased to individual preference.

VIBRANCE – Wonderful tool to add that little extra to the image, design or photo. Gives vibrancy to shape, pattern, colour, and line.

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Vibrancy can be decreased and increased to individual preference.

PHOTO FILTER – I found this tool a really useful addition to my digital arsenal. Not only can it create a warmer/cooler tone to the chosen image, but can also be manipulated to a custom colour of my choice too.

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The PRESERVE LUMINOSITY box should be kept ticked to maintain the integrity of the image and not saturate the image with the chosen colour.

INVERT – Turns all the colours to their polar opposites. I actually think this may be a really great tool when creating some otherworldy designs for future projects.

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LAYER STYLES

‘A layer style is one or more effects applied to a layer or layer group. You can apply one of the preset styles provided with Photoshop or create a custom style using the Layer Style dialog box. The layer effects icon appears to the right of the layer’s name in the Layers panel’.

By undertaking these Photoshop tutorials I am beginning to understand how integral this digital is to my ongoing creative journey. Not only is it opening my mind to the endless possibilities of what I can achieve digitally, but more importantly what I can do creatively.

To create a copy of chosen layer, drag existing layer to the CREATE NEW LAYER (Half-Moon) tab within the LAYERS window. To add a new LAYER STYLE, double-click on the far right corner of the highlighted LAYER box (away from the text).

Colour Overlay – 3 settings: Blend Mode, Color, and Opacity.

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The Blend Mode allows you to set the blending mode for your Color Overlay, while the color box allows you to choose the Colour. The Opacity Mode; smaller number here makes your Colour Overlay more transparent, while a higher number gives a stronger effect.

Incredibly useful tool for design. Some of my favourites are:

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I am really excited to attempt applying some of these LS to my own work. The Opacity should ideally be set to 0% before attempting to apply any of the LS, and gradually increased to suit individual preferences.

Stroke – The LS which will create a border around your chosen image, design or shape. I chose this tutorial element due to it’s possible importance within my upcoming design collection.

To start with I deleted the Copy Layer, created a New Fill or Adjustment Layer (Choosing a SOLID COLOUR, White Background), renamed the layer to the desired title, created a New Layer, and created a Shape (Perfect Circle).

To apply this new LAYER STYLE (Stroke), double-click desired layer to the right of the text. This will border the chosen layer only. The size slider bar will allow the thickness of border to increase or decrease respectively.

Fantastically, the border colour can also be changed!! Not only that but the opacity of the border can be increased or decreased also. This can prove to be extremely useful when showcasing a background layer, allowing the image/design to peer through the translucency. To remove the White Background simply click on the eye symbol and the desired/chosen image/design will appear. By clicking V or the MOVE TOOL, the shape can now be placed anywhere within the layer.

Each online tutorial is allowing me to grow in confidence when using Photoshop, but not only that I am storing a bank of information that can be called upon for future projects.

TRANSFORM

Probably one of the most utilsed and useful tools within Photoshop.

CMD&T = Transform. I selected a file of my choice by selecting the EDIT tab and scrolling down to FILE EMBEDDED option.

Next, selecting the FILE tab I scrolled down to the TRANSFORM option and chose FLIP HORIZONTAL from the sub-menu.

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I had been trying to suss this out for about a week prior to this tutorial, and now I feel confident in applying the same principle to my Hero design, incorporating a REFLECTED Layout.

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That is how simple it is to horizontally flip the image; would be silly not to try the FLIP VERTICAL option.

I have been struggling to make use of this incredibly textural design of my own, but thanks to this specific tutorial I am able to connect the dots and hopefully create a truly stunning design.

I can even use the FREE TRANSFORM tool to rotate the image!! Hold down the SHIFT key to rotate the image to equal angles and preset factors. If image/design needs only a small rotation then the SHIFT key is not a necessary function.

Exciting times lie ahead.

FLORAL EVOLUTION

My evolution/progression of trying to bring all my ideas together into one cohesive design collection has been both exciting and extremely stressful. I have had little resistance to constructing new and exciting visuals for my floral designs, but have absolutely hated the digital side…..I still am unable to proficiently translate my ideas into the fantastic world of Photoshop and Illustrator.

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This was done by hand…..and with a lot of patience too!!!!! Lots of printing out an image and manipulating it vertically and horizontally to create a mirror effect. I love the interplay between colour and monotone, but feel the design is a little to graphic. Helen and Sian raised the fact that the floral motifs didn’t sit quite correctly with the stylised rose motifs; floating heads I believe they called it. What could I do to remedy this? Could I permeate the colour outwards into the monotone floral motifs? Would this create a softer and less graphic aesthetic? This is something I will definitely explore.

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Continuing on from my previous design I wanted to create a softer and more fluid description of the greenery of flowers and plants. Believe it or not this design was a mistake!! I was trying to use Brusho to create a pattern from a Vellum Tracing Paper Stencil, which didn’t turn out as successfully as I had hoped. However,  every cloud has a silver lining; a direct transfer of the excess crystal pigment and water from the Vellum Stencil onto paper created the most beautiful pattern, which instantly reminded me of the leaves/greenery of my chosen flowers. Again, I manipulated the design and printed it out flipped horizontally and vertically to create a mirror repeat. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!! I could imagine seeing this printed on fabric and embellished with a digital stitch replica of my linear observational drawing of a Rose.

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Seeing my Rose drawing made me remember something that Helen had said in one of my PT’s; looking at the linear qualities within my work to see how I could manipulate them to create a range of new surface pattern designs. I thought I could fuse one of my favourite techniques…….COLLAGE…..to create something textural and visually exciting.

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Printed out numerous copies of my Rose drawing, ripping into varying different sizes and adhering to paper with Pritt-Stick. I am so happy with the resulting design idea and think it would look fantastic as a BLENDER design within my collection. Could I manipulate it in photoshop to create it as a new colour? This is another avenue to explore when I finalise my colour palette.

As Paul Klee once said ‘DRAWING IS TAKING A LINE FOR A WALK’. The linear kineticism of this design is intense…..I LOVE IT.

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I wanted to progress my initial design into something more descriptive of a Secondary pattern, so decided to utilise some of my chosen colours within an existing monotone design. Taking inspiration from KAROLINA YORK PRINT STUDIOS I wanted to fuse the hand-drawn element with bold and on trend colour, specifically only choosing to colour the alternate diagonals. Where could i take this further? I would like to see what colour background would work with the chosen colours and monotone hand-drawn element. Watch this space.

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This design was created with the remnants of a previous design idea, but me being me decided to incorporate the knowledge gained from researching COLOUR THEORY @ THE BAUHAUS, specifically looking at Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Josef Albers. Could an element of my design be utilised in both geometric and organic way? It is reminiscent of a design by GP & J BAKER…..’BARCELONA’ in Indigo.

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I adore how each floral interpretation has been framed to create an almost gallery like quality of fabric. Motifs both separate and fuse together all the design ideas.

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Arranging my Daffodil observational drawing into a mirror repeat. Yes I know that there is no colour in the flower, but I was actually toying with the idea to utilise the colour as a background. Could I toy around with mixing a range of yellows to create depth? Could I utilise coloured green stencil cutouts to create a motif around the daffodils too?

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I chose to create this leaf motif on a separate page to see if I actually liked the design, but as it turns out I do!!!! I need to cut out more of this colour/pattern/design, but am looking forward to exploring how to create a repeat in Photoshop too. I have thoroughly enjoyed this avenue of exploration and now feel far more confident of what to include within my final collection.

COULD YOU REPEAT THAT PLEASE?

I thought that before I tackle my 50ft wall (a.k.a Photoshop) I would try to create some repeat ideas for a Hero and Secondary design using the old school paper, cut, reposition and rejoin technique.

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This was the natural progression of this repeat pattern design; firstly using my hand to eye coordination to arrange an aesthetically pleasing repeat of one of my Rose drawings (photocopying the same image over and over and ‘ripping’ the image by hand and juxtaposing it onto the paper) within my sketchbook.

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Secondly I used Coloured Sharpie Felt-tip Pens to add colour to my initial observational study of a Rose. I specifically chose only 4-5 colours as incorporating too many for my theme would muddy the concept; a subtle gender neutral purple was used as a bridge between the masculine blues and feminine pink at the centre.

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Finally I took my finished observational drawing and incorporated the old school paper cut and reposition repeat method. Photocopying over an dover again and repositioning allowed me to ascertain a deeper knowledge of how a pattern can be successful. There are pros and cons within this specific design….the pros being how descriptive and fluid the design of flower is and the cons being how the flower looks strange just floating in the air. The moral of this story? Motifs are an integral part of the overall design and need to be worked into said design, which in turn will create a cohesive and symbiotic pattern.

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My study of leaves were chosen as a motif to include as part of the greater design.

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Although I didn’t choose this surface pattern exactly within my next design, I included it’s essence; a background of leaves (described to look out of focus) was created by collage. This collage was created by the use of torn Mulberry Paper….again, choosing only 4-5 colours. Once the background collage was created I juxtaposed my Rose observational studies, both linear and coloured and then added the leaves to create a more fully realised floral design.

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I really love the interplay between the Black & White and Colour, but think the collage background may be a little too busy. This is something I will endeavour to make work better on a high end design level.

DRAWING IS WHAT?……….FUNDAMENTAL

One of the most enjoyable, yet difficult aspects of this project would have to be my determination to be able to describe/observe the flower; angles, shapes, structure and fluidity are incredibly difficult to transfer from a 3-D object to a 2-D image on paper. With the help of my Dad and his incredible patience, he has given me the basic tools to further my confidence and ability to draw.

My first task was to draw the same rose looking at multiple different viewpoints….I can tell you it wasn’t easy, but nothing worth mastering ever is. I spent no more than 5 minutes on each sketch. What I initially wanted to concentrate on was line, but going forward I will make multiple copies of these studies and experiment with adding colour via a range of different mediums………PENCIL, SHARPIE, WATERCOLOUR, GOUACHE and  COLOURED FINE-LINER. IMAG0858

I thoroughly enjoyed drawing these roses from different viewpoints and will endeavour to keep practicing to be able to proficiently draw what I like.

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My next self-directed task was to look at/research the drawing style of Robert Kushner and to interpret his designs through my own individual visual handwriting. I made sure not to shy away from the more complex and difficult flowers, but instead relished the challenge. Some of my sketches were far better than others and it enhanced the areas in which I need to improve, specifically the motion of mark-making within the leaves and petals of the flower. My Dad has said he will work on these with me on our next observational drawing session, not to mention he has told me to experiment using a good  range of pencils too (A B and 2B). When asking why I needed to use pencil rather than pen I was told that a pencil will allow a range of marks, shading and different pressures which in turn would create a far more dimensional interpretation; pen will allow a linear essence, but won’t create dimensionality.

I am excited to discover what can be achieved by using these 2 pencils!!!

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My first attempt at trying to trying to capture the shape and form of a Daffodil as seen from the side. Although not as successful as I had first hoped, I continued on with using my wrist to describe the fluidity of the petals. My Dad was instrumental in helping me believe in myself, something I am always so appreciative for.

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I did not give up!! I took stock of what I had learned from my previous studies and love how the stem is now described alongside the delicate and fluid petals. I decided to print out 2 photocopies, one mirroring the other; a repeat pattern incorporating a Rose and Daffodil would look rather exquisite……….WATCH THIS SPACE.