24 DAYS IN BLACK & WHITE
IMPROVING A PAST PROJECT
I originally started this project about Erika’s Krav Maga as part of my 24 Day Challenge to create black and white images that communicate a message. For some of the days, I did advertisements and other days social media posts. The medium of communication changed from day to day. This project was one of my favorites for photography and message, but the design was lacking in communicating that message.
I started playing around with the typography again. When I initially created for DAY 14: BE BOLD, BE STRONG, I had the script font to show that feminine can still be strong, but it just didn’t come across the right way. I decided to make them a series of different words using “I am” statements, rather than “Be” statements. The change made it more effective and powerful.
FINDING MISSED DIAMONDS
I was also able to go through my images again since I had more time. In my haste to get the project done one day, I hadn’t taken much time going through images and I found several that ended up being some of my favorites. So without any more ado, here is the final project (for now).
I AM A FIGHTER
I AM STRONG
I AM FIERCE
I AM A WARRIOR
I AM BOLD
I AM INVINCIBLE
I AM A CHAMPION
For those of you who haven’t seen the movie or read the book, one of the plot elements of The Giver is that everyone sees in black and white but can start seeing color again. I am not going to say anymore than that for those of you who haven’t read or seen it.
This plot element is perfect to finish off my 24 day challenge to create a new photography and photoshop based project in black and white each day for 24 days. It has been such a great learning opportunity, as well as a challenge. As I have tried to come up with new ideas, especially towards the end, it was remarkable how many of them needed color. Now I did cheat a little by adding some elements of color, but for the most part, at least most of the photography was all in black and white.
For tonight’s project, I took pictures of my brother, who is a saint and often acts as my model. He is kind of used to this from growing up with my mom, who is also a photographer. He is a champ, and also happens to look a lot like the actor in the movie, which is handy.
ORIGINALS – NO EDITS
I used the picture of him with the white shirt for his face and for the main body of the poster. The picture of him with the navy jacket was used to add in a collar.
MASKING OUT THE BLACK AND WHITE ADJUSTMENT LAYER
One of the first steps after doing basic edits for this project, was to figure out how to do the stripe of color. Julieanne Kost had a great video that showed me how to paste shapes into the masking layer, something I have been trying to figure out on my own for a while now. It pays off to do a quick Google search.
To accomplish this, if you don’t want to watch the video, is to select the mask and then hold Alt or Option while selecting it again. This will pull up a white screen that is the mask layer. To get out, you just have to click off of the white or choose one of the other layers. While in this layer, you can add the shape you wanted.
At first I was playing with the idea of a triangle instead of the stripe used in the actual posters. After adding it however, it looked a little bit like KISS the hair band, which wasn’t quite the vide I was going for. I decided to change back to the stipe used in the original posters.
ADDING THE COLLAR
This is the image after I added the stipe of color. I did like the look of the white shirt in this image, but I liked the lighting on his face. Also it was a small miracle to get his eyes open for any picture.
I removed the shirt, but then it just looked awkward. It really need a collar to make it normal looking. I debated just making one, but that was going to take forever, and I had taken some other pictures tonight where he was wearing my coat to have a dark collar.
The left side was by far the worst, so I added that side using the other picture. I just used the masking tool to erase the rest after I had placed the collar where it needed to go. To place the image, I just lower the opacity to see both layers.
Using the same picture, just pulled over and with other parts masked out, I added the other collar. The final result made a big difference. The white shirt just wasn’t right, but this helped me save the majority of the image that I liked best. Definitely one of the benefits of studio lighting.
I expanded the image out using the crop and clone stamp tools. I then added the typography using Century Gothic. I started with Futura, but it only had medium (no regular or bold). I wanted to increase the size of the ‘V” without having the weight be significant more than the rest of the word. By using Century Gothic, I was able to put the rest of the word in bold while the “V” was regular.
With the red typography, the picture just seemed a little orange even when I dropped the saturation quite a bit. I changed the color hue as well, but it still wasn’t looking the way I wanted it to.
I changed the type to black and it felt more balanced with the rest of the image. It also make the colored stripe look better in my opinion. I asked a friend what they thought, and they felt the same way. I also decided to capitalize all of the word “THE” after I had already posted this.
I am really happy with how this turned out. It defiantly was a good note to end out on.
And what would it be without one of the mockups that I have learned to used during this challenge.
ORIGINAL IMAGE – UNEDITED
INITIAL EDITS AND CONVERT TO BLACK AND WHITE
SIDE BY SIDE
I repeated the word falling and changed the lower levels of text to overlay and lowered their opacity.
BOOK MOCK UP
I changed the background to navy blue and added a texture to it as well from another image that I had taken.
I can’t believe it is day 21 of 24 Days in Black and White. It has been quite a journey and I have grown so much. I am definitely feeling the importance of a good day zero to brainstorm out lots of ideas before beginning the challenge.
That being said, I was finally able to do one of original ideas, and create a textbook cover for welding. Today is really a homage to my brother who is a welding engineer major. He has fun teaching me AutoCAD and I teach him Illustrator.
I used pictures I took of him welding to create a cover for a welding textbook. Most of his books look like they were designed in the 80s and haven’t been improved upon since.
For the spine, I use a the key element of the front cover (the sparks) to wrap the concept around. I changed the fonts to all Helvetica Neue (Bold and Regular) since the Birch Std wasn’t giving it the look I wanted.
For the text box I just used filler. I try to listen to what my brother tells me but I do not have the credentials to write that by any means. One day I want to learn, but tonight there wasn’t quite enough time.
The Mockup form I used was created by Graphic Burger.
Apparently when I start to run out of ideas, I start going down memory lane for inspiration. That and go to awesome seminars like Power2Become. Yep, totally did that tonight. It was awesome.
But I digress. “Among the Hidden” is the first in the Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children series. These books were gold for me as a kid. They taught me a lot about examining the world and standing up for what was right even if it was hard. It also taught me a lot about looking out and helping others.
I would literally jump out of my seat if these books were made into movies. I am really sorry to any other fans who came to this site thinking that they were finally going to do it. To my knowledge, that is not the case, yet, one day I hope.
Anyways, today for my 24 day project, I created a movie poster for the first book, “Among the Hidden.”
So this is not the original image. To prepare the image I took out all the logos on his clothing and lightened up his eyes.
I took the face and overlaid it on these picture I took in the woods. His eye lands right above a sun burst coming through the clouds so that it is the lightest point.
Billboard mockup of the poster.
Poster as it would be seen more in the movie theater itself.
This one is a tribute to my cross country running days. I love my Saucony Shay XC2 cross country spikes. I remember always feeling so legit when I would wear them. I even wore then to prom (with the spikes out of course) and they were the best dancing shoes ever.
Today I made an epic Instagram post from a picture I took of my shoes. To get them to float, I tied them up with toothpaste and had my friend hold them up in front of a black poster board I sticky-tacked to the wall.
ORIGINAL IMAGE: NO EDITS
The original image wasn’t big enough for what I had in mind, so I had to use the clone stamp tool to continue the wood grain.
The names of the fruits and vegetables are written in the color that they generally lay in. So for example, celery, lettuce, and cucumbers are in green while radishes, rhubarb, strawberries, and watermelon are in red.
MOCKUPS OF THE ADVERTISEMENT
The lamp posts are always fun for me because they are so different. The basic poster doesn’t fit on them, so I have to imagine it in two parts.
Today I was walking through Walmart looking for inspiration. At first though, all I got was hungry. Growing up my dad would make amazing pastrami bagel sandwiches. So while passing the bagels while hungry, of course I started to crave them.
Now a poor college student can’t always justify buying all the ingredients necessary to make these awesome sandwiches. Most days it is fairly limited to the stables of canned soup, rice and chicken, and the college classic, ramen noodles. Today however, was not that day. Why not make really good food and justify it by taking pictures of it?
Sounds good to me. Thus…. todays project.
THE SET UP
While going through Walmart as well, I also found this awesome board of wood slates. It isn’t quite as bit as I would like, and I am thinking about making a couple of my own that are a little bigger, but it did add some fun diversity to my indoor shoots.
Usually by the time I can get to shooting for my 24 day project, the sun is already down. School and work can be kind of killer that way. But I am super grateful to have some studio lighting that still makes it work.
For my set up today, I had my Alien B800, reflector (my camera tripod to hold it up), black poster board (sticky tack to put it up), and my new wood board to make the base.
For this image, I threw the Dr Pepper in there to give me options if my first idea of the recipe magazine layout didn’t work.
ADDING ELEMENTS IN ILLUSTRATOR
After editing the image in Photoshop, I pulled it into illustrator to add some fun interactive design elements, a title, and recipe instructions.
MAGAZINE MOCK UP
I have never done food photography in black and white. I wasn’t really sure if it would even be appetizing. Usually it is the amazing colors that add to the appeal of these images. I think it worked pretty good in this case, but I did end up balancing out the black and white with a colored image and text as well.
Tonights shoot and images were of my EOS lip balm. Especially ever since they have come up with the stick from, I love this lip balm because it is so smooth.
I tried to match the font as close as possible and used the same colors as their logo.
I then put together mockups of both a magazine and a bus stop advertisements.
I had an awesome shoot at Payne Athletic Company. It is a gym that teaches a variety of classes, including Krav Maga. My model, Erika, is one of their students. One of my roommates came as an assistant and my mom, a photographer herself, came to participate as well.
THE SET UP
We went to the gym at night when no one was using it so we had full access to the boxing ring, all the punching bags, and the lights. We turned off the florescent lights and used two 800 Alien Bees and one 1200 White Lightning set to manual. We then used our speed lights to set them off.
These images would be for a social media campaign as well as website images. Erika is an incredible example of being powerful and strong in her own way.
This campaign would be aimed towards other women and girls who would want to push themselves to be stronger as well as gain confidence and courage. Krav Maga is a military self-defense and fighting system. It can be very empowering for women to know how to defend themselves as well as protect others.
———- Revised Project, November 5, 2018 ———-
I have since revised this project: I AM A CHAMPION: ERIKA’S STORY.
I had the opportunity to go to the district cross country meet in Harriman State Park. The beautiful area and the raw emotion and effort of the sport of cross country made for a great day of photography.
The work and effort of the runners reminded me of the poem “Good Timber” by Douglas Malloch.
By Douglas Malloch
The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees,
The further sky, the greater length,
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
Where thickest lies the forest growth
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.
This project went on a bit of an adventure. The concept in my head was a little different but I like where it ended up. I originally wanted to take the picture and transpose it into black and white and then add music notes, ribbons of color, and some word art that said “Add Color to Your Day,” or something along those lines.
I wanted to contrast the black and white image, and the “dullness” of ordinary life, to the color and vibrance that the music adds to it.
I took the original shot on a plain black background using an alien bee 800 on one side and a continuous light on the other to act as the fill light. I wanted there to still be form and definition to the Alexa, which I was able to keep by having the shadow on the left side.
CREATING THE BASE IMAGE
Once I pulled the original image into Photoshop, I turned it black and white. I then used the clone stamp tool to fill in the background. I then copied the original layer and put a black fill on it. I used the mask tool to remove the fill from the body of the Alexa.
I used the crop and clone stamp tool to change the orientation from horizontal to vertical. I created a copy of all the layers and flipped it over and reflected it over. I then lowered the opacity on it to recreate the reflection that was lost when I was blacking out the background more. I then saved it as a jpeg and pulled it into Illustrator.
CREATING GRAPHICS IN ILLUSTRATOR
I had created musical notes for a previous project, so I tried using those and some ribbons of color. It just wasn’t catching the vision or the feeling that I was going for and even looked cheesy, childish, and out of place with the professional and striking advertisement piece that I was working to created.
I then started brainstorming again about symbols or representations of music. The idea for bars of music came and I ran with it. I created two boxes of color, the blue being the color branded to the Alexa and used the blend tool in steps to create those boxes. I then repeated the step with the same blue and yellow. Stacking the two blends together, I created the transition between yellow, blue, and purple. I then simply grouped and copied the blended shapes and aligned and distributed them.
MUSIC TEXTURE FROM ILLUSTRATOR
COMBINING THE PHOTOSHOP AND ILLUSTRATOR EFFECTS
STAGE 1 IN THE FINAL PROCESS
I pulled that texture into my photoshop document with the Alexa. I expand it until it ended at the horizon line where the Alexa was sitting. Then, using the masking tool on the texture, I removed the music boxes off of the body of the Alexa. I then added the logo of Amazon and Alexa.
It was looking pretty good, but still felt cluttered and like it wasn’t flowing together.
STAGE 2 IN THE FINAL PROCESS
At this point, I added the shadow on the let side. This helped the Alexa interact with and effect its “surroundings.” It was much better because it now was relating with each other. Put still seemed a little cluttered.
STAGE 3 IN THE FINAL PROCESS
In this image, I used the mask tool to also cover up the top ends of the bars to ad dimension and movement.
REAL LIFE APPLICATION MOCKUP
In this mock up, you can see the it would make and interesting street or magazine advertisement.
I learned a lot about having to change your ideas and direction as they don’t work out. I also learned that simple does’t have to be hard, but you may need to think of new ways to get there.
For this project I used a Willow Tree figurine to create an advertisement for Deseret Book, a book store that often sells these figurines. I directed the figure toward my Alien Bee 800 to have the light fall on her face.
This original advertisement could be used for social media or modified to work for a variety of locations such as billboards and bus stop advertisements as shown below, as well as for magazine advertisements.
In Photoshop, I used the stamp tool to fix the pieces that went past my pasteboard background. I may need to invest in a bigger poster board so that doesn’t take so much time.
I then added the text “Seek Ye Light” and the Deseret Book text logo.
For this Mockup I was able to use the original design pretty much exactly the same. I ended up cropping of park of the figurine and I lowered the text to accommodate the thiner space of the billboard.
This ad was altered even more to fit the Profile layout. It actually is my favorite though.
I am from Idaho. Fishing is a huge hobby in my state and my family is no exception. Along with fishing, we sometimes tie our own flies for fly fishing. This is really delicate work that takes some special equipment.
ORIGINAL PARODY IMAGE
For those of you not familiar with fishing, this is not a fly. This is a spinner and it is not used for fly fishing. I wanted to create a funny social media post for Bass Pro Shop.
ORIGINAL PARODY AD FOR BASS PRO SHOP
The audience that would follow Bass Pro Shop would most likely know that this is a spinner and is not meant for fly fishing and is not tied on a vice. Although it is subtle, those who are familiar with fly fishing should catch it and find it funny. Those who aren’t as familiar will be directed to seek an expert at Bass Pro Shop to help set them up and give them pointers.
FINAL SOCIAL MEDIA AD
I modified it to add contrast between the original question and the response. The change to a square makes it more effective for social media, especially Instagram because it requires more scroll time to pass it. It also adds a good counter balance to the brighter hand in the other corner.
MOCKUP OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA AD
Mockup by: FreebiesCafe.com
For this project, I wanted to try creating another infographic. I used an image that I took of the Big Southern Butte in Idaho. It is one of the largest volcanic buttes in the world. Idaho is dotted with these incredible reminders of the trail the hot spot under Yellowstone National Park took across Idaho to get to where it is now. What makes this butte even more incredible, is the relatively flat valley all around it.
UNEDITED ORIGINAL IMAGE
This image is not very good. It is pretty dark and the foreground is pretty blurred from taking it out of the darkened back window of a moving truck. To add to that, my sensor was in huge need of a cleaning and it is covered in sensor dust spots.
Rather than just chucking it though, I decided to amplify its imperfections by turning it black and white and adding a texture to the image to weather it in Photoshop. For the texture I used an image I took of an old cookie sheet. (To learn more about using textures check out my post, “USING TEXTURES TO MAKE EPIC BACKGROUNDS“).
I then changed its mode to “Lighten” and lowered the opacity. In that mode the right side almost completely disappeared so I copied the layer and flipped it around to double the texture up. Once I did that, I threw a masking layer on each texture and removed the texture from the actual butte. Using the textures helped bring the butte out into the foreground and set it apart from the sky.
I then brought the image into Illustrator to add the text and infographic elements. To do this, I used simple text and lines that I copied to keep the same angle. I would then just adjust the length of the legs of the angle and reflected or rotated the angle to make them each different.
INFORMATION FROM NASA
A lot of the information I used, came from the NASA website that accompanied this satellite image:
MOCKUP OF INFOGRAPHIC ON THE CLASSROOM WALL
To make this mock up I used a template from mockups-design.com. The original poster wasn’t the same size as the smart layer, so I copied the image and moved the one on the bottom to cover the rest of the sky along the top. Then I hit Command-Option-Shift–E (PC: Ctrl-Alt-Shift–E) to merge all the layers into a new layer on top. I then used the clone stamp tool to remove the line. That is why it is always a good idea to leave white space to give you flexibility.
For today’s project, I used my makeshift studio again, but this time I used the white poster board. It is amazing how seamless of a background this makes. Because it is such a plain background, you can then manipulate it for ads of all different sizes.
My subject for this shoot was my roommates miniature Statue of Liberty that she got in New York at the actual Statue of Liberty. The figurine is a little smaller than a 16 oz. bottle of pop.
Liberty Mutual Insurance generally shoots all of its commercials in front of the actual Statue of Liberty and use the slogan “Liberty Stands With You.” For my ad, I changed it to an invitation “Let us stand with you.” I thought that was fun, because the statue in this case is portable and can go everywhere with you.
Using Mockups, I then tried using the ad for several different mediums.
Colorado Chick hats are one of my favorite things about the weather getting colder. For this photoshoot, we went to the small campground behind the nature park in Rexburg, Idaho. The trees there are beautiful and it is great to have a little wooded area without having to drive far out of town.
To make the hat stand out more, I used layered hexagons of different opacities. I then used a mask tool on the group to mask out the shapes where the hat overlapped. Using the fonts they use on their website, Times New Roman and Great Vibes, I gave it a tag line: “Hear adventure calling. Answer in style.” and then the company’s monogram.
For this project, I decided that I wanted to make a college focuses magazine mockup. I have never done a mockup for a magazine before and it was really interesting. Mine was super basic, but I am learning a lot about how to use mockup generators.
Free Design Resources is where I got the template for the mockup.
For this project I “created” a makeup line called “simply You.” I looked at how a lot of different makeup companies put together their branding and what kinds of fonts they use.
I like the use of black and white in this setting because it helps set it apart from the real life colors of the street. I also like the position of her face, since it helps you see the face without it being about that model.
This mockup template was found here.
ONIONS AND GARLIC
For me this project is all about getting back to the basics. What is more basic than onions and garlic? Onions have been eaten “long before farming or even writing was invented” according to the National Onion Association, which yes, is an actual thing. “Most researchers agree the onion has been cultivated for 5000 years or more.”
This image has been textured using an image I took of an oil stain on my garage floor. I used this same texture in my USING TEXTURES TO MAKE EPIC BACKGROUNDS post.
Here is the image of the oil stain and the image before I added the texture.
USING BLACK AND WHITE IN SOCIAL MEDIA
I created this infographic about onions form information found on the National Onion Association webpage. They also have a stronger Pinterest following than I would have expected for an association about onions, which is where I styled this infographic to go.
To be more effective, it would have been better if the image was vertical, rather than horizontal. If I were to shoot for this particular objective in the future, that is something that I would include in my process.
However, this easily could become part of a larger infographic by using the content aware feature that is now available in Photoshop CC. Using the original photo, before layering the text (which was created in illustrator), you could extend the top of the picture more and fade it into a darker black. This infographic could then create the bottom piece. This may be a project that I continue at a later time.
You can see the actual post on my Pinterest page.
BASEBALL: AMERICA’S SPORT OF THE GOLDEN ERA
When coming up with the subject for DAY 1, I tried taking pictures of a crown, a bunch of bananas, graduation cords, and even an antler. None of them felt right for the kickoff for this project.
I finally decided on a throwback to the golden era. My family’s old baseballs and mitts have a really fun, worn texture that lends itself well to the black and white style. Then there are all the pronounced stitches and bindings that all add to that texture.
MAKESHIFT STUDIO SETUP
These images were created in my makeshift studio created in my apartment. When you don’t have a backdrop, by a large poster board and some sticky tack (under $2). If you get off the background a little bit, just use the Spot Healing Brush Tool or Clone Stamp Tool in Photoshop to make up the rest of the background.
To finish up my set up, I used one 400 Alien Bee, a speedlight (triggering the bee on manual), and a reflector propped up using my tripod. Quick. Simple. Easy.
BLACK AND WHITE FINISHED IMAGES