Illustration Projects

What 's the difference between fine art and illustration? Fine art hangs on the wall, and illustrations get published. Well, that's the idea, but there's a lot of overlap. If you digitize the Mona Lisa and put a pair of jeans on her, you've got an ad. (It's actually been done. Mona's been public domain for even longer than Muybridge photos.) On the other hand, commercial art can hang in a museum after only a few decades. Examples include early 20th century orange crate labels and the psychedelic posters for 1960s rock concerts.

Many of the images you've already created with Painter could be used as illustrations under the right circumstances. In this lesson, you'll work on creating images specifically for publication. These assignments will encourage you to combine a variety of techniques covered in early lessons. But first, let's set some type.

Working with Type

In the world of professional print publishing, a graphic designer will typically use a vector-based program like Illustrator or a page-layout program such as InDesign to create the text needed to accompany your illustration. (It's good to own stock in Adobe Systems.) But if a special effect is desired for a few words or letters, it might be necessary to use a pixel-based program and make it part of your image. Both Painter and Photoshop have terrific, but very different, options for text effects.

PS, I Love You

Text made with page layout or word processor applications uses Adobe's PostScript technology, allowing crisp high-quality printing at any size (like a vector-based image). Pixel-based programs can only provide bit-map text, which will not look good at small sizes and might even be illegible.

Typography 101

Your Wacom tablet won't be necessary for most of this section, but don't forget where you put it. Even if you know the meaning of "kerning" and can pronounce "leading" correctly, don't skip this part.

Painter's Text tool icon is a capital letter "T." When it is active, the Property Bar gives you many of the standard choices for font, point size, and alignment. In addition to those settings, you can choose to have a drop shadow or an interior shadow applied automatically as you enter text on your canvas. There are separate color and opacity controls, as well as composite method choices for the text and its shadow. Just highlight Text Attributes or Shadow Attributes to alter them independently. Figure 10.1 gets you acquainted with these options.

Figure 10.2 shows my text in blue with a magenta drop shadow. The variations in Figures 10.3 through 10.5 were made just by playing with shadows, blurs, and composite methods. The figure captions describe how each one was done. Figure 10.5 shows that underlying color can have an influence on the color of the text.

Figure 10.2 shows my text in blue with a magenta drop shadow. The variations in Figures 10.3 through 10.5 were made just by playing with shadows, blurs, and composite methods. The figure captions describe how each one was done. Figure 10.5 shows that underlying color can have an influence on the color of the text.

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