Energy Drink label process

Thought I’d show the step by step of how I created an idea for an energy drink label.


Step 1: Background
Make a document 800×600 pixels.  Select the color #b7e101 for the foreground, and #74a203 for the background. Select your gradient tool [G for shortcut on keyboard], and hit the drop down menu in the “edit gradient” button. Select the foreground to background gradient. Now, select radial gradient. Starting from the center of your document click and drag to one of the sides. Should look something like this.


Step 2: Text
Select the font Familian at 175 pt. Set the tracking at 100. Type your text.

ImageRasterize the type layer by either going to Layers > Rasterize > Type [or Cntrl+Click on the thumbnail and click Rasterize]. Duplicate the type layer by selecting it and hitting Cmd+J on Mac [Cntrl+J on PC]. Hide one of the layers.

Step 3: Layer Styles on the Type:
Double click the active rasterized type layer to bring up the Layer Styles window. Click the Gradient Overlay selection. Adjust it so it looks like the image below with the colors in the gradient set to #fffca6 [left] and #cce80d [right]. Good luck!

layer_style_1Should look something like this? Yes!? Good!!


Step 3: Skew It:
Bring up the Free Transform with the type layer selected by selecting Edit >Free Transform > Skew  [Cmd+T]. Hold Alt and grab one of the top handles and pull out, or enter the dimensions into the menu shown at the top [shown below]. Hit enter to commit the changes and what a beautiful sight it is, no?


Step 4: Marquees, Please:
Draw a rectangular marquee [hot key M] 5 px by 188 px. Pull up your Info window by going to Window > Info to make it accurate.

Screen shot 2012-12-03 at 6.59.06 PM

Press “D” on the keyboard to default your foreground/background colors to black and white. Create a new layer above your rasterized skewed type layer. Fill your selection with white, then deselect [Cmd+D] to get rid of the marching ants.

fill_marqWith the white rectangle layer selected go to Fliter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and enter a value of 2.5!

blur_rectangleCreate another marquee selection of 24 x 195 px. Create another layer on top of the current, fill it with white again and deselect it.

bigger_marqueeNow apply another Gaussian blur to it [Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur]. This time enter a value of 9.


Now, merge the two blurred layers by highlighting them both, and going to Layer > Merge Layers. Two become one!


Step 5: Rotate:
Go to Edit > Transform > Rotate with the BLUR layer selected. Rotate the white blur as seen below. Press enter to commit the transform. Doing great.

rotate_01Duplicate the BLUR enough times so there is one to cover each letter. Select all the blurs and merge them. Something like this, perhaps? Indeed.


Cmd+Click [Cntrl+Click on PC] on the thumbnail icon of your rasterized skewed text layer to make a selection. Hit Cmd + Shift + I [Cntrl+Shift+I on PC] to inverse the selection. Make sure your BLUR layer is selected and hit delete. Cleans things up nicely.


Step 6: Add some depth:
Activate the original text layer below your skewed text layer. Looks crappy, right? We’ll fix it.


Skew this one too! Edit > Transform > Skew. Skew it a bit to the right, press enter to commit the deed.


Same layer, go to Edit > Transform > Scale and scale the text down vertically. Press enter to commit.


Now, with the now scaled and skewed text layer selected, click “Lock Transparent Pixels” in the Layers panel. Set the foreground color to #689106, and hit Alt + Delete to fill it. Now, unlock the transparent pixels.

shadow_colorNow, from the corners of each of the squashed green shadows, draw a selection to the yellow letters with either the pen tool or the lasso.


When you are done, it should look something like this.

all_selectinNow, fill the selection with the same green foreground from before [#689106] foreground color on the squashed rasterized text layer. Should look something like this!


Step 7: Final touch:

Let’s add shadows and highlights.  With the Dodge tool selected, Range set to Midtones, and Exposure set to 30%, select edges of your squashed and skewed rasterized type layer and dodge the lower areas of your edges. A 45 pixel soft brush should work nicely. Curved areas you will not need to select. You can do whatever feels comfortable, but the end result should look like what you see below.

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 12.30.08 AM

Use the Burn Tool in a similar manner, darkening areas where you think shadows would be cast.


Your end result should look something like this.

finalAdd textures for an added effect!


Change the colors with a Hue and Saturation Adjustment Layer for a variety of flavors!


Thank you for reading, hope you picked up some tips. You’re the greatest.

Put an Image on a T-shirt in Photoshop

In this tutorial I’ll show you how easy it is to superimpose an image onto a t-shirt.

Step 1: Make it a Displacement Map
-First, take your image of a t-shirt.

-We have to set this t-shirt up as a Displacement Map, so the image we put on it will conform to any wrinkles. Photoshop has a handy tool for that, but don’t jump the gun yet, buddy. Duplicate your shirt layer by selecting it in the layers panel and hitting Cmd+Jz[Cntrl+J on PC]. This will put a copy above your selected layer.

-Select your copy and go to Image>Adjustments>Desaturate [Cmd+Shift+U Mac; Cntrl+Shift+U on PC]. This will take all the color information out of the document.

-Give it a Gaussian Blur [Filter>Gaussian Blur] enough to make the t-shirt look like silk. I put it at at about 1.5 pixels but yours is going to be different.

-Now to save our Displacement Map. Go to File>Save As. Make sure you’re saving it as a PSD file or else this won’t work. Name it “displacement_map” and save it somewhere where it’s easy to find. Send it to the desktop, fool!

-Now hide your desaturated shirt layer.

Step 2
: Find Your Image
-Open the file of the image you want imposed onto the shirt. Make sure it’s flattened with no background. I used this dumb thing I drew. Don’t judge me.

I love the Power Frog. It's so bad.-Use the move tool [Hot key: V] to drop it onto your shirt file. Put the image into Free Transform with Cmd+T [Cntrl+T on PC] and organize it so it’s where you want it on your shirt.

-With your image layer selected, go to to Filter>Distort>Displace. It’ll bring up a box for you to fool around in…

-Make sure Stretch to Fit is active, as well as Repeat Edge Pixels. You may have to fool around with the Horizontal and Vertical Scale numbers, but the default 10 x 10 pixels usually works well. The higher the number, the more distorted the image will become.

-Photoshop will ask you to choose a file to use as a Displacement Map. Select the file we made earlier. If you listened to my advice, it’s on your desktop. You’re welcome.

Stop looking at my files.

-You’ll see the image conform to the wrinkles in the shirt. Cool, but not 100% there yet. You’re not impressed. Hang in there…

Step 3: Make It More Convincing
Cmd+Click on your image file’s thumbnail. This will make a selection of it [you know, the annoying marching ants].
MARCH.-Now, with the selection active, go to your desaturated t-shirt layer you hid before. Hit Cmd+J [Cntrl +J on PC] to make a duplicate. This will duplicate the selection of the t-shirt layer.  Move that new duplicated layer above your image layer. Looks horrible… And stupid! Bare with me.

-Turn the Blend Mode of this new selected layer to Hard Light. You may want to fool around with its levels too by hitting Cmd+L [Cntrl+L PC] to give it more contrast. Lower its opacity to about 50%. Looks good, but not good enough, son.

Step 4: Sneaky Blending
-Select your image layer. Double click it to bring up the layers styles. Look toward the bottom of the dialogue box in the “Blend If” section. You should see Underlying Layer with two sliders on each side. I circled it for you. You’re welcome.

There you are.

-Hold down the Alt key and click the black slider and slide it to the right. Don’t be startled! Are you startled!? This’ll split that sucker up and make the darker grays come through the image, giving it a more convincing look. Drag it around until you’re happy.

Follow the arrow.
 -That’s it! Great job! You can add more to it if you’re not happy, like throwing a Curves adjustment layer on top of everything to balance out the colors. That’s always fun. So proud of you. Thanks for reading!

Star Burst Custom Shape and Brush Tutorial

The starburst effect is one commonly used in design. I’m going to show you how to create, and define this effect as a custom shape and brush for easy access and use.

Step 1: Creating the Document
-Start by creating your document. We’re going to make it 10 inches by 10 inches at 300 pixels/inch.

-Create a new layer in your Layers panel. Turn your Rulers on by going to View>Rulers [Cmd+R on Mac; Cntrl+R on PC].

-Turn on Snap by going back to the View menu and hitting Snap.

-Now, draw out some guides by clicking inside the ruler and dragging out. Drag to 5 inches both horizontally and vertically. This will show you where the center of your workspace is.

-Go to View>Snap To>Guides. This will make your life a helluva lot easier later in the process.

Step 2: Custom Shape Tool
-Select the Custom Shape tool and look toward the top of the screen. It will open up an option bar. Select the triangle shape from the many shapes it offers.

-Drag out a triangle using your shift key starting from the bottom of your document to the half way point. Move the tip of the triangle to the center [where your guides intersect]. It should snap directly into place. See, that’s why we turned on that Snap to Guide business.

-Put the triangle in Free Transform with Cmd+T [Cntrl+T: PC]. Hold your Alt key down and squash it inwards evenly. Drag the bottom outside your document. This will come in handy in a bit. Hit return or enter on PC to commit the change.

-Now we’re going to use a little hidden trick in Photoshop called the Transform Again. This will set us up for a step and repeat process. Hit Cmd+Alt+T to begin. Drag the target in the center of the box to the tip of your triangle [the very center of your document].

-Holding the shift key down, rotate your triangle to the right [holding the shift key down will constrain the rotation to a 45 degree angle]. Press return to commit the transformation.

Step 3: Super Hot-Key Command
-Still following? Now we’re ready for the biggest motha’ key combination Photoshop can throw at you. Can your fingers handle it? Lez-go. Cmd+Shift+Alt+T that layer [replace cmd with cntrl on PC].

-Do it again. And again. And again, until your document is filled with a burst effect.

Step 4: Define Custom Shape
-With your burst layer selected, go to Edit>Define Custom Shape.

-A dialogue box will pop up asking you to name your fancy new burst effect. DO IT. It will add it to your custom shape library.

Step 5: If you want it as a brush…
-If you want to make a brush out of this little shape we’ve created we’ll have to go through a couple steps. First, Cntrl+Click on the layer with the burst effect. A menu will pop up. Click Rasterize Layer. Photoshop needs this bad boy in pixels to make it a brush.

-Oops, when we originally made the document for a Custom Shape we made it too big to save it as a Brush Preset. Relax, guy! We’ll fix that. Go to Image>Image Size.

-Change the pixel dimensions to anywhere under 2500 by 2500. I used 2000 pixels just to be on the safe side. You’re not going to lose much resolution doing this so don’t sweat it.

-This parts easy. Go to Edit>Define Brush Preset.

-Name your brush.

There you go, it’s added to you can go nuts with it. Great job! Thanks for sticking with me!

Lollapalooza Design Tutorial

Thought I’d do a step by step on how I created the Lollapalooza postcard shown below.

Lollapalooza postcard

What I used:
Ball point pen, paper, scanner, Adobe Photoshop CS4, Adobe Illustrator CS4, tablet [optional].

Step 1: Sketch
-Draw out your image on a piece of paper. Your tools don’t have to be anything fancy [I used a piece of notebook paper and a cheesy ballpoint pen that was running out of ink].This sketch will be the foundation of your digital artwork. The process is very important to get an idea for your finished product and to help you brainstorm. When you’re happy with your sketch fire up your scanner. Scan it at a good resolution [300 dpi works] and import it into Photoshop as a jpeg.

Step 2: Adjusting the Sketch
-Make sure your colors are default black and white. If they aren’t, press the “D” key and they’ll default back. Black should be set as your foreground color. You can cycle through the foreground/background colors using the “X” key.-We’re going to take all the color information out of our sketch while trying to retain a decent amount of contrast [this will make it easier to trace your image later in Illustrator].

-Go to “Image” in the top menu, then select “Adjustments,” then “Gradient Map.” A dialogue box like the one shown below will pop up. Leave “Dither” and “Reverse” unchecked and click “OK.” This will desaturate your image giving you a nice balance of black to white.Image> Adjustments> Gradient Map
-Next, we’ll adjust the levels to give the sketch more contrast. Go to “Image“> “Adjustments“>”Levels,” or simply use the keyboard shortcut “Cmd + L”  [or Ctrl+Lon PC] to open the levels box [shown below]. Sliding the black slider on the left around will control the darkness, the white on the right will control the light, and the grey slider in the center will control the mid-tones. Move the sliders around the histogram until you get a nice contrast balance, and your ink work shows crisp enough to trace. When you’re happy, hit OK and save the document. Let’s take it to Illustrator, son.Cmd+L
Step 3: Illustrator Drawing
-We’re gonna make those lines look pretty. Create a new Illustrator file. Select the color mode depending on whether you want your final product to be printed or viewed on screen. If you want to print it choose CMYK. For screen viewing, choose RGB. Create your document according to the dimensions of your sketch.

-To put the .jpg file of your sketch into Illustrator, go to “File” then “Place.” Select your sketch and drop it on the canvas. Orient it accordingly.
-When you’re happy with the placement of your drawing, select it, go to “Image,” then “Object,” then “Lock Selection.” You could also opt to lock the layer the image is on and create an active layer above it. Your choice, my dude.
Image>Object>Lock Selection
-Now we’ll begin outlining our sketch to make it a scaleable vector. Select a color that is significantly brighter than your sketch’s ink so you can decipher betwixt the two. I chose hex #FF3AE9 [nice neon pink]. Grab the pen tool and begin to trace the image. Pen that sketch, son!
-You’ll want to merge several shapes into one by using the Pathfinder tool. To bring up the Pathfinder, go to “Window” and select “Pathfinder.” Select all the shapes you want to merge and click the “Unite” button on the Pathfinder [first icon]. The shapes are now combined into one.
Select the shapes!

Unite that shape!
-You’ll also run into situations where a portion of your drawing needs to be “knocked out.” For this, create the outer portion of the shape, then on top of that, another shape where you want the void to be. Now, select both shapes and click the “Minus Front” button on the Pathfinder. This will give you the desired effect. Sometimes you’ll get some funky stuff happening when you hit the Minus Front, where it deletes more than you anticipated. To stop this from happening, make the section to have the exclusion a Compound Path by selecting the path, going to Object>Compound Path>Make [or Cmd+8; Cntrl+8 on PC]. Then proceed to knock that sucker out without the crazy vanishing act.

Minus that front!-Keep plugging away with the pen tool and Pathfinder, tracing the larger components of the sketch. It’s about to get a lot less fun.

Step 4: The Blob Brush
-For the finer details in your art work, I opted to use the Blob Brush [Shift+B to activate], since I had a lot of squiggly random lines. This tool works especially well with a pressure sensitive tablet, as it responds to pressure, but I, because I’m dumb, lost the pen to my tablet. So, Blob Brush by mouse it is. Click and drag with the mouse to trace your smaller shapes. You can toggle the size of the brush by using the bracket keys– “[ and “]. You can also change the functionality of the brush itself by double clicking its icon. Doing this will allow you to alter a variety of settings; from smoothness to fidelity. Leeezzgo.

Blob Brush Details.-Continue bumping out those annoying little details [by this point you’re probably wishing you never put them in there] until you’re DONE, SON. YEAH. WORST PARTS OVER. Unlock that ugly sketch in the background and get rid of it by going to Object>Unlock All. Click it and send it to digital heaven by hitting Delete. Unless you want to keep it which is cool, too.

-Once you’re done with all that jazz, select all your line work by hitting Cmd+A [Cntrl+A on PC] now hit the Unite button on the Pathfinder one. Last. Time.

Step 5: Colors
-Let us add some color to this bad boy. Select your line work and make a copy with Cmd+[Cntrl+C on PC]. Paste it in front of your existing work by hitting Cmd+F [Cntrl+F on PC]. With the newly pasted image select, go to Object>Compound Path>Release.

Object>Compound Path>Release

-This will create a solid block of color within the outline of your work. Fix up any areas that are neglected, again using the Pathfinder tools we used earlier. Choose a color pallet you enjoy. You can find some great ones at Apply a color from your chosen pallet to your shape and send it to the back by going to Object>Arrange>Send to Back
send back

-I changed the color of the outlines to one from the pallet I had selected. I then decided  make the lettering “Lollapalooza” a different color than the background blob flames, so I used the Pencil [short cut is N] to trace the forms.

-After doing the letters, select each shape, group them together [Cmd+G; Cntrl+G on PC]  and send them back behind your ink layer [Object>Arrange>Send Backward].

group and send backwards!-At this point I realized I didn’t like my choices for colors. So I experimented like crazy. I like to put swatches at the bottom of the screen to sample. Makes it easy. I was fooling around with the colors #97CD39, #314508, #F3B169, and #210428. Don’t always go for your first choice, fool. Experiment. Swap those colors around! But that’s just advice ‘fellas.

color swap, son!

Step 6: Photoshop Magic
-Select all in Illustrator and copy everything to the clipboard. Open up a new Photoshop document at 300 pixels if you’re printing this sucker out [72 if you’re just planning on admiring it on the screen]. Cmd+[Cntrl+V on PC] to paste your work from Illustrator onto your canvas. A dialogue box will pop up:
make it smart, son-This box is going to ask you if you want Photoshop to paste your work. Choose Smart Object. Now we can scale it without losing much resolution and we can edit its original by double clicking its thumbnail in the layers panel if need be… But we’re pros and we don’t make mistakes so we don’t need that, right?

-Create a new layer and fill it with the background color of your choice. I filled it with that purple #210428 I told you about earlier. After that I slapped some slight gradients around the borders to lighten then up.

#210428-Now move that layer behind your artwork. It should look something like this:


Step 7: Textures
-Next we’re going to spruce it up with some textures. If you’re happy with the way yours looks you can stop here but I like to give it a little extra something. There are plenty of sites you can download some beautiful hi-res textures. I’m going to be using a cardboard texture and a grunge texture. Load your textures and apply the Gradient Map technique we used in the beginning [Image>Adjustments>Gradient Map with colors set as black and white]. Mine look like this:

-Place these textures above your artwork layer [the vector smart object]. Adjust their blending modes to your liking by toggling the blending mode pull down menu located in the layers panel. I found that a Soft Light at 29% opacity worked for the cardboard, and Soft Light at 24% opacity worked for the grunge layer. Came out looking a little something like this for me:

Step 8: Finishing Touches
-Looks OK right? If you’re happy with it, leave it. If you want an extra push, stay with me.  Select your top most layer and then select the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the layers panel. I’m a big fan of non-destructive editing, so using adjustment layers is key. Select curves from the menu and a window will appear. Moving the line will alter the brights and darks and give you some great contrast. Fool around with it. I moved it around oh-so-slightly with an “S” curve to bring out some of the textures more.

-And that is it folks. You’re done. I added a little white border to mine, as I noticed many postcards seem to have those. Great Job! Thanks for reading!