Laser Cutting Illustration

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How It's Done!
The concept behind this piece was an experiment in laser cutting utilizing personal artwork and vector converted stock photography. The final materials used were several pieces of thin plywood, wood glue, and mounted on a foam core/matte board backing, then framed.

The following is a breakdown of how the file was built in Adobe Illustrator before actual laser cutting:

Laser Cutter:
The laser cutter system used in this project was the Full Spectrum laser cutter and software with an 18" x 20" bed. A sample video of the laser in action is displayed to the left below.

Resource Imagery:
Personal art was used for some of the imagery and stock photography was used for the others. Adobe Photoshop was used to convert images into black and white and invert the contrast for effect. Adobe Illustrator was used to convert and edit the vector format.

Rules for Full Spectrum Set-up:
- .001 Stroke for all vector images
- No fills, strokes only
- Edit all files for duplicate strokes
- Use the color Red for cuts
- Use the color Black for etching

Image Trace:
Using Adobe Illustrator the scanned and/or manipulated images are then converted to vector art utilizing the Image Trace function. After the conversion the vector art is then further manipulated to meet laser cutting standards. The video to the left below demonstrates how the process is performed.

Design Composition:
Continuing with Adobe Illustrator the images are assembled and manipulated for design effect. A series of layers are used to separate the individual elements for print purposes. Using the color red to indicate where the laser cuts and the color black for where the laser etches is then assigned to specific image elements.

Speed/Power Settings:
Once the vector art meets the standards for the laser cutter the Full Spectrum software is used to communicate with the laser. A series of power settings for the Red/Cut and Black/Etch control the intensity of the laser beam to allow for variance in depth and density.

Final Assembly:
After the process of cutting and etching the individual elements is done the assembly then takes place using wood glue to stack each layer and hold them permanently into place. Many elements are assembled in a different order than intended for better visual effect. The final constructed piece is then mounted and framed.

Pen & Ink Illustration

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How It's Done!
The concept for this wine and blues festival poster design was to have a hand illustrated feel created with ink pens. Custom typography and logo designs were incorporated into the final piece, all hand drawn.

The following is a breakdown of the creative process used to complete the finished illustration:

Resource Photography:
A good illustration starts with good resource photography. This design uses a combination of stock photography and custom photography. The photos shown here individually comprise the main components of the composition.

Design Composition:
Adobe Photoshop was used to create the composition of photos and typography. A custom logo was created in Adobe Illustrator and imported into Photoshop. The poster edges filter in the filters gallery was used to artistic effect.

Tools and Supplies:
Tracing Paper
6B Woodless Graphite Pencil
Red Colored Pencil
Eight Piece Artist Pen Set
(varied in shades of grey and black)
18" Metal Ruler
Kneaded Eraser
Hot Press Paper
Scotch Tape
(for holding tracing paper in place)
X-acto Knife

Prints and Paste-up:
The finished composition was then tile-printed to a black and white toner printer. Each print was trimmed with an X-acto knife and metal ruler and then pasted together with scotch tape to create one image from four prints.

Taping a large piece of tracing paper over the tiled pate-up image a red colored pencil was then used to trace the images. Two separate traces were done, one for the type and the other for the images.

Graphite Application:
A layer of graphite is then rubbed onto the back of the two tracings with a 6B woodless graphite pencil.

After the graphite is rubbed onto the back of the tracings each trace is then taped to a piece of hot press paper and re-traced. The graphite that was rubbed onto the back of the tracing is transferred to the hot press paper.

Pen Techniques and Typography:
Once all the tracing has been complete the image is then created with ink pens using the tiled print as visual reference. The straight edge of a metal ruler was used to make the edges of the type with an ink pen. A kneaded easer is used to clean up unwanted graphite and various textures were made with multiple ink pens for visual interest.


Photoshop Illustration

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How It's Done!
Using Adobe Photoshop as an illustration tool has become a more frequently recognized art form. The following is a six part tutorial covering the wide range of techniques used in the process of creating the displayed piece, Neuromancer, through graphic design and illustration with Adobe Photoshop.

This series includes:

Original Photos:
The use of stock photography in the make up of the overall design and proper file size in scaling and manipulation.

Naming Layers and Folders:
The practice of organizing and naming complicated files and folders for ease of use and time efficiency.

Clipping Paths:
How to properly remove images from photos and seamless integration into background imagery.

Blending Modes:
Applying Blending Modes from the Layers Menu Palate to multiple layers to achieve artistic results.

Layer Masks:
How to hide specific elements within a photo or folder of images.

Note: In most cases key commands are applied while clicking with the mouse. It is assumed that viewers will have some basic computer knowledge. This is not an advanced tutorial nor a basic one, but somewhere in the middle ground of the learning curve...


A "New" New Design...

Redesigning the overall look and feel of the site

I got up the other day and spent eight solid hours straight redesigning and coding the site again. One of my main concerns was that the home page was ultimately useless. I would see a fair drop off in Google Analytics, so I eliminated the portfolio page and placed it on the home page. I figure instant access to content makes more sense.

As a result I went through and made some tweaks to the other pages and the blog. I think it flows better, looks better, and addresses the problem with the use of stock vs my own work (plus the image I used was from an old client job I did way back when mixed with a mind map I made a couple of years back).