Thursday, April 25, 2013

Creating custom halftones using Photoshop filters

Here is a tutorial on how to create some more interesting halftones when working with screen printing.

So here is an illustration that is in progress. Currently it is using solid colors and lines, but we want the gas tank of the motorcycle to appear grey. However we will be printing only using black and red ink. By creating a halftone we can get that effect. Photoshop can easily create a standard halftone pattern, but we want something that isn't your normal halftone, and has a little more texture.

So first I painted an area of black with a brush in photoshop using a soft edge.

Next I blurred that layer and cut off the bottom edge to align to the bottom of the tank.

Next I created another layer behind by black layer and filled it with white, I turned down the transparency of the black layer to get more of a grey, and then combined the two layers into one layer. This is necessary because the filters we want to use are not compatible with transparency. I deleted around the solid white shape that I wanted so that pure white didn't fill the entire image.

Now go to Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone. The default Max Radius is 8 pixels. You may need to play around with this to get the desired size. Because we are creating a single color halftone all the screen angles should be the same number. Otherwise the halftone will be in CMYK. I like a 45 angle.

Now technically we do have a perfectly acceptable and printable halftone. But since we are going for something a little more unique we're going to keep working on it.

Next go to Filter > Pixelate > Mezzotint. You have a few options here, and each can be interesting depending on what look you want. I chose Grainy Dots.

Next I added another Mezzotint fiter to the entire tank, and the cowl behind the seat to give them a light grey look.

Next I painted white over part of the halftone to give some separation and dimension to the tank. 

You can also invert the first halftone layer we created for a different kind of look. 

Next I "painted" some texture behind the engine of the bike, and shadows under the wheels. 
I used a Photoshop brush with a Scatter effect, and combined that with a Mezzotint filter.

 I've been using a set of brushes called the Nagel Series which you can find here. I've modified the settings of most of the brushes to accomodate a more solid spray. Most of these brushes with their default settings will give you results that are too soft, and not solid in color for screen printing.

This is just one method of creating a halftone with more of a texture to it, that will give you some interesting results for screen printing. You can combine these methods with photo textures you already have, multiple layers of grain, or custom brushes to get even more effects.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Print Preview

Here is a sneak peek at one of my upcoming prints. It is a two color print on Steel Grey French paper, and is part of a two print series.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Making Good Habits

I recently read an article by Scott Young on The 99% about how to fix bad habits. Although I think it was really more about how to force yourself to create good ones. Scott, through years of self proclaimed experimentation on himself has found a method of how to effectively do this. His method in a nutshell is "do it everyday". After a period of forcing yourself to do something it will eventually become a habit, a routine, that you don't have to think about anymore. No longer will you have to force yourself, but it will be second nature. Such a simple concept, yet I've never heard anyone else explain it in such a way that made so much sense.

As soon as I finished reading the article I was determined I needed to follow the method, and get started. Here are the habits I wanted to create for myself:

1). Wake up earlier
I've always been more of a night person. My whole family is. I just don't naturally want to jump out of bed. It just feels too good to hit snooze 10 times. However getting a late start on the day is probably the worst thing you can do for productivity.

2). Do some quick exercise
This is another thing that does not come to me naturally. I always found working out or exercising just for the sake of it to be an embarrassing and honestly kind of stupid activity. Somehow I can't imagine our ancestors thousands of years ago finding the biggest rock they could and lifting it over and over again for the purpose building muscle. Basically it doesn't seem natural to me. Incidental exercise through work, sport or a rigorous activity seems better to me, but alas I work on a computer... so yeah.

3). Draw everyday
Believe it or not, I do not draw everyday. If fact I feel like I haven't been drawing much at all lately. I suppose it's because I am constantly going back and forth between creating posters, to logos, websites and everything else in between. So I pretty much only end up actually drawing when I have an assignment to. That needs to change.

I'm happy to say that today was my first day, and I accomplished all 3. Ok yeah I know what you're thinking "first day is always easy." True, so we'll see how things pan out.

  • I woke up at 7:30 (usually I get up at 9)
  • Did pushups, pullups and situps
  • and I drew this

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Holga D

Product Designer Saikat Biswas is the kind of guy I want designing the products I use. Simple, elegant and only including features you really need. His aesthetic admittedly makes use of self imposed limitations. This is his prototype for a digital Holga. No. There is no LCD screen on the back.

He has a few other prototypes on his website that will also hopefully be realized.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wedding Poster

I am going to start offering commemorative poster designs for weddings in the style of show posters. This is the first one I've done. I actually photographed Megan and Cody's wedding back in August and used an image from their engagement session for this.