Many amateur photographers start out using the JPEG converter on their camera. JPEG files are easy to work with and upload to editing programs with no problems. There’s a much better file format on most digital cameras that is worth some extra attention: RAW. RAW files are the most detailed files possible on your camera. They may take up extra space on memory cards and require a little extra processing before editing but the benefits they provide are worth the trouble. Here are the top three reasons to use your camera’s RAW setting:
1. RAW files contain all data from the camera sensor.
Take full advantage of your camera’s features by shooting in RAW. These files capture every detail of color, light, exposure, and sharpness that your camera’s sensor can pick up. Higher details in the image file gives you many more opportunities in the editing phase. Shooting pictures in JPEG format is simply a waste of that power.
2. RAW files record an incredible scale of brightness compared to JPEG files.
JPEG’s are stored in an 8-bit format and therefore can only represent 256 levels of brightness (levels from black to white). RAW files are stored in a 12-14 bit format which allows them to contain 4,096 to 16,384 levels of brightness. These sound like big impressive numbers, but what it really comes down to is how smooth the image will look after you’re done editing. 256 levels of brightness is not a bad number by any means. The human eye will perceive that as a smooth gradient. However, after any amount of intense editing, you are likely to see posterization (or banding) where noticeable lines form in gradients giving the image an unpleasant and cartoon-like look. RAW files provide enough detail to allow for heavy editing without worrying about banding.
3. RAW files can correct color and exposure problems.
You can’t always take photos in the best conditions. You also don’t always have the time to carefully plan the optimal camera settings for each photo. Sometimes you wind up with over/under-exposed photos or photos with over/under-saturated colors. The high detail in RAW files allows you to make the extreme corrections necessary to remedy many of these problems without losing an essential amount of data. The end result will still look natural to the human eye. JPEG files don’t contain enough data to safely make these edits which could result in a lot of great photos ruined.
The setup and editing may take a bit longer but working with RAW files is definitely worth the effort. Give it a try on your next photo shoot and see what a difference it makes!
Typography is an incredibly expressive art form. The shape, size, direction, and color of the font can radically alter the meaning of a phrase. These factors can help the visual flow of a design as well as assign a mood to the piece. Here are 10 impressive examples of typography designs:
1. Mr. White’s Fav Type
The blue waves, clean white lines, and hook-like points give this font a very nautical atmosphere. The phrase seems like a playful characterization of the shark (Mr. White – Great White).
2. The slanted and sharp cornered font is bold. The triangle designs and the almost monochrome color scheme in the background adds a heavy atmosphere. The result is a definitive and punchy statement.
3. The elongated lines in the text and the heavy shadows falling in this image give a very ominous feeling. The red adds a sinister vibe to the statement as well.
4. Each letter is represented by a set of repair tools which illustrates the content of the phrase in a fun and playful way.
5. The black-and-white image of the Panda against a black background offers striking contrast. The letters detailed into the fur are clever without being intrusive.
6. Quite the opposite from the last image, the text almost entirely composes the main character in the image. It’s impossible to notice the design without reading the text but the result is cool and calculated.
7. The shaky and huge font provides a humorous form of visual shouting. It’s hard to read this without imagining someone yelling it.
8. The neon theme against a brick wall is definitely a classy look. The soft glow from the lights is very pleasant while the skewed text and playful font style keeps up the energy.
9. The lines, reflections, and perspective make this a very stylish image. The typography is powerful enough to stand on it’s own without other design elements in the background.
10. The clever use of raised lines gives this image an active feeling. The fluid lines between the letters gives a cascading motion to the image as well.
There are so many options to chose from when beginning a print project: size, color, paper stock, texture, ink type, ink effects, offset / digital, folding, binding, etc.! It can be very difficult to decide what combination is best for your project. If you’re stuck and can’t decide what to do yet, just research some print inspiration. With a quick Google search, you will find some really amazing examples of artistic and professional-looking printed products. Hopefully one of these ideas will embody what you’re hoping to achieve with your own product. Even if you don’t find an example that matches your exact designs, the examples are great inspiration to get you to think creatively and arrive at the perfect way to print your project.
Below are 10 beautiful examples of inspiring print products that successfully utilize neutral tones and natural elements. Take time to notice the fine details of each and determine what factors of each piece stands out most to you.
Hopefully these inspiring prints were just what you needed to bring your print project to life. Contact United Reprographics to get started!
The stock brushes that come with Adobe Photoshop are useful and well-designed but they don’t work for every application. Have no fear! It’s easy to create your own custom brushes that are perfect for your projects. Here is a quick 10 step Photoshop tutorial to show you how:
Open a new Photoshop document. For this project, create a page that’s 2000 x 2000 pixels at 100 pixels per inch. You will be creating a custom brush so you want to make sure you give yourself plenty of room for detail so that you have the option to use this brush for any size of project. Small brush sizes look blurry on large design projects so avoid starting small here. Click “Ok” when you’re done setting up the parameters.
Next, use the pen tool to draw a shape. It doesn’t have to be very complicated at all. In fact, the simpler the design, the better your brush will look down the line. In the example below, I activated the grid which helps if you want to make sure your design is symmetrical. To activate the grid, go to View>Show>Grid. Be sure to also click View>Snap To>Grid so that your lines magnetically “snap” to the grid marks. Don’t feel obligated to use this design either. Get creative and have fun with it!
When you’ve finished your line(s), you’re ready to turn it from a path into actual pixels (a path is just a map to tell the program where you want your designs to show up).
*A quick tip – go to your brush icon on the sidebar and make sure your current brush is the right size and color for your design. The next step will rely on these settings. For this project, I chose a round brush at 7pt size and 100% hardness.
Create a new layer by clicking Layer>New Layer or by pressing Shift+Ctrl+N. With the Pen Tool selected, right-click on the path you’ve created and click the “Stroke Path” option.
A dialog box will appear asking what tool you want to use. Select “Brush” and click “Ok.”
After the previous step, you’ll notice that your path has been traced using the brush settings that you selected earlier. We will no longer need the path so feel free to hide or delete it. With the Rectangular Marquee Tool selected, highlight the entire design you created.
With the Move Tool selected, either grab the line and move it slightly press one of your arrow keys to select only the pixels used in your design.
Now that your design has been isolated, click Edit>Define Brush Preset.
Another dialog box will appear with a thumbnail of your new custom brush design. Select a name for your design and click “Ok.”
To test out your new custom brush, select the Ellipse Tool and draw a large circle in the middle of your page. You can hide your previous layer and create a new one to avoid having a cluttered page.
Click the drop-down arrow next to your brush settings at the top-left side of the page. Scroll down to find your new custom brush design and select it.
Go to Window>Brush or click the Brush Menu icon highlighted below. In this menu, you can alter the visual details of your brush. Change the direction if necessary to make sure your brush flows cleanly. I would also recommend opening the Shape Dynamics tab and changing the Angle Jitter control field to “Direction.” This will make your design turn with your line for a much more cohesive appearance. Try adjusting all the settings to familiarize yourself with the menu. Make sure you choose a size appropriate for your page since we made a large brush size to begin with. I scaled mine back to 302 for the example at the end.
When you’re happy with the way your new custom brush appears in the preview display, select your Pen Tool once more, right click your path, and click “Stroke Path.” The dialog box will appear again asking what tool you want to use. Select “Brush Tool” and click “Ok.”
Depending on how you created and set up your brush, you may have wound up with an interesting design like this. There’s no wrong or right way to do this. Just keep trying until you find one that works for your design projects. Thanks to the incredibly diverse options in the Brush Menu, each custom brush design can be used for an infinite number of purposes.
Have fun and enjoy using this process on your next design project!
When designing your prints to catch attention, an important aspect to incorporate is color visibility. The properties of light waves can cause the human eye to perceive certain colors more than others. Yellow is one of the most noticeable colors in the spectrum (especially in contrast with black). Yellow’s high visibility can have interesting effects on a design. On one hand, it provides a sense of energy, excitement, and joy. On the other hand, it can become harsh, irritating, and provoke negative emotions when overused. Here are 10 images collected from design profiles that showcase some impressive uses of yellow to create bold designs. Some are intuitive and easy to enjoy, others verge on a dangerous use of the color that might just be too much:
1. Super 8
Wise use of color, exceptional contrast with black, and strong lines make this poster work very well. The chaos between the film strip and train track is conveyed in a clean manner.
2. Spark Poster
The yellow accents in this picture definitely stand out but are not overwhelming. The blue helps to keep the energy fun yet casual. The black background really helps the colors shine and the red in the light bulb leads the eye upward through the image.
3. Yellow Light
The muted shadows, smooth midtones, and soft lighting allow the yellow accent to command attention without becoming harsh or too vibrant. The overall effect is quirky and stylish.
4. Moon Poster
The vivid colors add a lot of punch to the black silhouette character and white background. The colors dividing below the character like light refracted from a prism give a sense of depth or complication (makes you wonder if the character has multiple personalities, perhaps a plot device from the movie?).
5. Fabric Magazine Cover
The yellow tones in this image are darker and muted but manage to maintain a light and buoyant feeling due to clever placement.
The yellow background color lends a calm and warm glow to the image. The dark sleeve and the shallow depth of field help to make the title stand out.
7. In the Dead of Night
The yellow background and yellow text are striking against the monochromatic vinyl record and statue. The gradients in the background and the darker text color keep the image from becoming to bright and flashy.
8. Food Film Festival Poster
The yellow background is very lively, though almost to a fault. The red fruit/vegetables help to provide a pleasant contrast but the yellow is still very overwhelming due to the amount of space it takes up.
9. Mr. Spray Goes On Exhibition
The thematic design of each item is well executed. However, the vibrance of the yellow and white make this image almost painful to look at for an extended period of time.
10. Breaking Bad Poster
This image is a good example of too much yellow. The central image is great: iconic and intense. The downside is that the yellow background takes away from the overall impact because it’s washed over the entire image. Less tinting on the faces, a different background color, or background gradients could really help to take away the harshness of the yellow.
Paper is one of the most common mediums in art. Paper is a popular option because it is lightweight, affordable, and durable. Some artists have realized that paper has more potential than just a surface to decorate. Paper Art or Paper Sculpture is an exciting forum for artists to pursue. They can create incredibly intricate works that are powerful and delicate at the same time. The paper also provides a charming sense of nostalgia for childhood arts and crafts classes. Here are 10 very impressive paper artists / sculptors you should know:
1. Calvin Nicholls:
2. Anita Francis:
4. Eiko Ojala:
5. Yulia Brodskaya:
6. Jeff Nishinaka:
7. Jen Stark:
9. Fideli Sundqvist:
9. Peter Callesen:
Typography is an art form that utilizes creative font style, size and placement. Typographic art can enhance existing designs or even become a powerful stand-alone design. Originally, typography was a labor-intensive task that required collecting large sets of font plates for a printing press. With modern digital editing, designers have access to huge libraries of fonts without the hassle of storage. Software editors allow designers to arrange and manipulate the fonts in amazing new ways. The most important aspect of typography is readability (not to be confused with legibility – the ability to discern characters within a font family). Readability refers to the ability to clearly and easily comprehend the message of a typographic work. Here are 10 very creative examples of typography from around the web:
1. Everything In Its Place – David McLeod
2. Lights Off Eristoff – Rizon Parein
3. Traveling Mercies – E.W. Thomason
4. Quick Snack – Sam Hadley
5. Super Rad – Allan Peters
6. Flying Lotus – Maxim Tictac
7. Typograhy – Peter Tarka
8. A Brush With A Bee – Alexandra Bruel
9. Letter X – Dan Tobin Smith
10. Sink Or Swim – Wesley Bird
Art can provide a vivid and lively experience for viewers to help add excitement to an otherwise dull day (Monday!). A great way for artwork to provide that energy is through bold and deliberate use of bold colors. Bright colors, stark contrast, and monochromatic designs can really accentuate that energy as well. Here are 8 beautiful examples of this concept: