project 366 day 75

fish_bottle_366

Keeping the (second) streak alive, so far.

Since my major blunder on February 21st, I have managed to keep a second photo streak alive. Since things are still busy, busy, there has been many a day I've just shot something on the fly and some days when I've hustled to take a photo only to remember that I had already done so earlier in the day.

This photo of the fish bottle was taken on March 3rd. I've been going back to glass a bit, but trying to vary my subject matter. This photo was taken late afternoon in the light coming through my office window. One positive thing about trying to keep this project going on a daily basis is that I have a new appreciation for how much light comes through my home/office windows on a daily basis and how to use that to my advantage. Morning brings great light to the porch and kitchen. Mid and late afternoon more light streams in through my living room and office.

More photos can be found on Facebook (Scrivo Communications) and Twitter (@ScrivoCom). I am still posting to Google+, but not so enamored of it now, so I tend to post less frequently there. More photos can also be found in my 366 Shots Gallery on my photography site - ScrivoPhotography.
0 Comments

project 366 day 55

grapefruit_366

I lost it between the Zatarain's and the coins.

February 22 was a sad day. I woke up and remembered that I had not taken a picture on the 21st. Streak snapped at 51 photos. On the 20th I took a quick shot of a Zatarain's box, then played around with some Photoshop filters. On the 22nd I dejectedly took a quick shot of some coins.

But I regrouped and am pressing on. Work got increasingly busy in January, not a problem on days when I may have been shooting, but on days when I focused on deadlines for graphic design and writing projects, it became more difficult to remember to take a shot. The majority of my shots have been taken on the fly with my iPhone, but the upside is I have taken a few shots that I love (one of my favorites is the grapefruit taken on Feb. 11th), some that have inspired design and illustration ideas, and others that are making me think of new photo projects. In addition to posting on Facebook (Scrivo Communications) and Twitter (@ScrivoCom), I've began posting to Google+ on a new business page, and less frequently to a gallery on my photography site - ScrivoPhotography.
0 Comments

project 366

Coca Cola Bottle, Project 366

Leap Year: 366 days of photos?

I wanted to pursue a project this year to help keep a camera, of some sort, in my hands more frequently. Since it was leap year, adding day 366 - I thought, why not a photo a day. My plan is to take one photo a day and then post them to Scrivo! Communications Facebook page and @ScrivoCom. Hopefully, I can get a shot each day. I think it doubtful I will post daily though, but who knows?

Blue Vase in sunlight
On my second shot, I decided to make use of the awesome light that comes in through the porch windows in the morning, and used a Coca-Cola glass bottle I had on hand. I really loved working on this shoot first thing in the morning, and I feel inspired to shoot more glass this year. I've already returned to glass, having shot a blue glass vase for 1/4/12. Two other shots this week were of kitchen implements and today's shot, an iPhone shot of some favorite books.
0 Comments

bert monroy

Bert Monroy, pushing the limits of software design.

A few years back, at a National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) Photoshop World, I attended a seminar held by Bert Monroy. His digital "paintings" blew me away back then, but his latest effort is truly incredible. He has really pushed the limits of software and hardware with his latest creation, "Times Square." In addition to being an incredible work of art, it is also an homage to Photoshop developers and professional photographers, featuring quite a few of those characters within the work. The finished painting will be on display at Photoshop World, March 30 to April 1 in Orlando, FL.

The image size is 60 x 300 inches and took four years to create. The overall image contains over 500,000 layers (total of all the files) and is comprised of almost 3,000 individual Photoshop and Illustrator files. Check out "Times Square" and see it for yourself.

0 Comments

the alexandra smith foundation

On December 28, 2010, the lives of my friends were changed in an instant.

Their daughter, Alexandra (Ally) Smith suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in a two-car collision. As of February 9, Ally remains in a coma, but has fought through surgeries and medical issues and is currently at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston undergoing extensive therapy. Happily, family, friends, and community have rushed in to provide support in so many ways: a shoulder to lean on, lodging near Beth Israel where Ally was first taken, food delivered to the hospital, hot meals delivered to the family, financial support, volunteer support for fundraising, and so much more. It was clear from the beginning that we should do our best to provide financial support to help pay for the daunting medical and care costs that come with TBI. So, The Alexandra Smith Foundation to support Ally Smith was established.

Rally for Ally postcard
This will not be a blog about running the gamut of emotions, circling back and forth between sadness, disbelief, hope, and celebrating milestones large and small. This is about using your ability to help where you can. Fortunately, with my background in communications, design, writing, and fundraising, I was able to help provide the foundation with design materials needed to make a start. My advice to give to anyone in such a situation would be: whatever your design capabilities and software skills, try to keep your communications clean, to the point, easy to read, and consistent.

First, we needed a logo. Ally, an assistant at Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment had dreams of being a veterinarian; she has always loved working with animals, has ridden horses for many years competitively and for fun, and is caretaker for a number of dogs and horses in the area. Horses? Dogs? I knew I wanted a reference to her love of animals. I started a few rough sketches. Eh. She is also known for her easy-going nature, and her smile. "Ally's smile" was mentioned by nearly everyone who came to visit at Beth Israel. I chose a well-known non-serif typeface - Myriad Pro, and I gave a small nod to her love of animals with a paw print over the "i" in "smith". I wanted her name to stand out and be easily recognized through the community. I nestled "the" at the top, and used a curved line, representative of her great big smile to tie in her name with "foundation." I was pretty sure the main color would be red. I did experiment with green, Ally's favorite color, but red is a color that commands attention, and I knew we needed to draw that attention to the situation.

Flyer for Rally for Ally
I tabled the idea of letterhead and other identity material for the time being, and moved right on to development of the website. A Facebook Page, Ally's Road to Recovery, was already established, and growing (1,039 supporters to date), so it made sense to be able to quickly bring that community to a website. Ally's boyfriend, Bobby locked up a domain name for us and prepared information for the press, some of which we used for the text of the website. Using Real Mac's RapidWeaver, I chose a new theme, SNo3, from seyDesign as my starter template. I loved the ability to add a slideshow at the top of the page, but kept the slideshow just to the home page and opted just for one picture on each of the other pages. I had a few photos to work with, supplied by Ally's sister Vanessa. I gave them a quick brush up in Photoshop and formatted them before loading them in. Some of the pages still need a bit of work, but we managed to get enough information in there for a good start and the site launched on January 17, 2011.

Rally for Ally logo
In the meantime, I was drawn into the Team Ally meetings regarding a quick first fundraiser. That's where I met Dave Thornton, who happened to be the brother of a fellow Rotarian. Dave is an idea guy. Lots and lots of ideas. That snowballed into a logo for the "Rally for Ally" (coined by Dave) fundraiser to be held on February 12th at Finnegan's Wake, and posters, and flyers, and can wrappers, and labels, and postcards. I began with the logo. "Can we have that today?" I had to work fast. I wanted to come up with something that incorporated more of a feel for Ally's love of horses, so I designed a rope brush in Illustrator, used Myriad Pro again, but tweaked the edges of the letters, and stuck to the same color. Then I turned my attention to the poster and flyer, the can wrappers, the wine labels, logos for tee-shirts and banners, trying to keep it fast and consistent. Thanks to Dave Luongo and Bay State Envelope for the printing services and for making it all look fantastic!

We expect the Rally for Ally on February 12th to be a great time for a great cause, to help a young lady who has touched so many lives in her 23 years. We continue to pray for her full recovery.
0 Comments

quackin' up

duck race
The Neponset Valley Sunrise Rotary Club is getting ready for the annual Duck Race on the Charles. The Club will be selling ducks at local supermarkets over the next few weekends and you can adopt a duck by going to nvsrotary.org. Many business sponsorships are also available. The event will support many local and international charities and it promises to be LOTS of family fun.

To produce this flyer, I chose a template that I've used for other Rotary events, but I wanted to inject a bit of fun into it. I reversed the template by moving the gradient to the bottom (rather than the top) and left the top open and white. The blue gradient on the bottom also helped create the feeling of the ducks floating on water. I got my hands on a rubber duck, shot a quick picture in my office, spiffed the duck up in Photoshop, added a drop shadow and pulled it into the In Design layout.

One duck looked a little lonely so I added a couple of others to make it look more like a race. I played around with object effects until I got a look I liked. Red and yellow text was used to draw more attention to the flyer. I added an outline to some of the text to help it stand out more, and added a few effects to some of the text as well. For another marketing tool, I created a a Facebook Duck Race on the Charles page and used a piece of the layout (the Duck Race on the Charles text and the duck heads) for the profile photo.

Duck Race 1 PDF
0 Comments

return of the puzzle

program cover
Last month I used AV Bros Puzzle Pro once again for a program/ad booklet. The booklet was made for the Neponset Valley Sunrise Rotary Club's first annual Service Above Self Award. The Award was presented to the Challenger Program at a dinner to boost awareness of and to benefit the program and other Rotary charities. The Challenger Program in Norwood provides sports programs for intellectually and physically challenged youth. Eighteen years ago they began with Little League Baseball and have grown to include football, soccer, and basketball programs for Norwood and surrounding Neponset Valley towns. Steve Grogan, Patriot's Hall of Famer, was the keynote speaker, and the athletes that attended were delighted that he signed their programs.

In putting the booklet together, I began by reviewing digital photos that were provided by the Challenger Program. I knew I would need at least six (for a six piece puzzle, two columns, three rows) and that I wanted to represent every activity the program supported—including skating activities. I also chose a few extra photos so that I had alternates at hand. I knew the cover area would be 8.5 x 5 and created a document in Photoshop that would fit approximately within the parameters of the final layout (there is actually a quarter inch white space around the picture to the right).

Color choices of blue and yellow fit well with the Rotary logo and Challenger uniform colors. I filled the background layer with blue and added a layer with a yellow star pattern. After several adjustments to both layers the stars were faintly visible in between the photos and the background framed the collage. Since I knew I would use the puzzle splitter, I placed the photos carefully in a grid to retain a more or less complete photo within each puzzle piece. I managed to fit seven pictures in, combining a football player with football teammates in the second row, column 2.

When the collage was split with the Puzzle Pro filter, adjustments were made to the tabs for a better overall look. I pulled the pieces out into five files, created clipping paths, converted to eps and placed them in the (Quark) layout. Text was then added and the text and images were arranged for this final look.
0 Comments

puzzled

musings

The truth is rarely pure and never simple. - Oscar Wilde

Annual Report FrontAnnual Report back
I recently wrapped up an Annual Report for Ursuline. I had the chance to create a look with puzzle pieces, something I’ve always wanted to do. I used puzzle shapes in Photoshop CS4 (customizing them to suit each picture) and Puzzle Pro by AV Brothers to make the theme a fun reality. (front and back covers shown here).

Photoshop comes equipped with plenty of shapes and there are a few puzzle shapes included. First, I processed and formatted each photograph in Photoshop, leaving enough room around the subject to accommodate puzzle tabs and indents. Next, I selected the shape I thought would best fit the photo. That created a shape mask layer above the photo layer. I moved the photo layer up above the shape layer, changed the setting from normal to overlay, and voila, the picture appears in the shape. I customized shapes as necessary — rotating, scaling, or using the pen tool to add and delete anchor points and the selection tool to pull the indents and tabs where I wanted them. I also used the pen tool to create side and corner pieces for variety. Clipping paths were created and adjusted. A copy of the layered psd file was saved as an eps, ready to import.

I used Puzzle Pro to "cut" other photos and collages to create the look of several pieces fitted together. The cover was a collage created with Photoshop then processed with the Puzzle Pro filter and saved as a layered psd file so that I could pull the pieces apart. It was necessary to adjust the tabs and indents so that faces were not cut in half and to introduce more variety in the "cut" of each piece. I ended up importing those in separate files, then scrambled them across the page. The back cover is a reduced collage / puzzle intact, with a few "contact" pieces along the side.

I added similar bevels and depth to all the puzzle pieces within Photoshop and the Puzzle Pro filter, and added a drop shadow once they were imported into Quark to make them pop a bit on the page. I would now recommend adding a drop shadow in Photoshop for a smoother, worry free workflow.
Two page spread


Almost every page spread features a one column back photo (two page spread, right) - ice for the hockey player, grass for the field hockey player, pool water for the swimmer, a cello for the musician, etc... Any subhead on the left page picks up the color of the backing photo on the right side. Rules were in a gold tone, listings were set four-column on the left and two-column on the right page.
0 Comments

adding artwork to a design

At the beginning of November I decided it was time to get cracking on my own Christmas card. In last year’s card, I took some of my random photos and placed them into an accordion fold template. This year, I wanted to do something different and toyed with a few ideas. Initially I had an idea that would have required many photos that I did not have in my own archives.

So I turned to istockphoto.com which is a great, inexpensive source of photographs and illustrations. You can purchase credits and then use those credits to purchase artwork or photographs that can be used when designing marketing materials. (Some work is available, at a higher price, to place on products to resell.)

design
I was reluctant to use stock photos for all the obvious reasons, so I soon turned my focus to Christmas illustrations and found some that I loved and that fit in well with one of my ideas. I opened up the downloaded document (which contained 13 major icons plus a flurry of snowflakes) in Illustrator. This allowed me to make some color adjustments, pull out the desired Christmas icons, or alter parts of the icons to suit my purpose.

Since I’m more fluent in Photoshop than Illustrator and could easily send a Photoshop file to my destination printer, I opted to create the entire card in Photoshop, although I could have created it in InDesign or Quark and then placed the artwork into the layout.

My first step in Photoshop was to create a nice blue background based on my PMS color (reflex blue) for the front and back of the card. Back in Illustrator, I changed the color of the snowflakes from a pale green to a light blue and then placed them into my Photoshop document on several layers, resizing some of the original flakes to fill in.

Turning my focus to the back of the card, (bottom half shown above) I pulled in the North Pole icon onto a new layer. On subsequent layers, which I then placed behind the North Pole layer, I created a few snowbanks with the Pen tool, using the gradient tool to add some shading to the snow banks. I made sure to leave the card mostly white towards the left and bottom and added my logo and information there so it would stand out best.

I reversed the colors on the inside of the card, leaving it mostly white with some blue accents. The red and green colors of the icons set against the blue and white backgrounds gave the card contrast and punch.The process of designing the entire card took some time, but I had a lot of fun putting this together. And this Christmas, I plan to take more pictures so I have my own, more varied stock of Holiday photos for next year should I choose to use a photo or two on a card!
0 Comments