I’m thrilled to announce this is my second tutorial that is a direct result of someone using the Community Suggestion Box. Here’s what tripdragon suggested…
I did some research on the awesome posters he linked to and found some more inspiration at sites like vi.sualize.us and flickr. Another cool reference that I found was Typography is Sexy Part I, II and III over at Fuel your Creativity.
I quickly realized this was a bit of a vague and challenging subject to write about. However, big typography has always inspired me, so making a tutorial on this was something that I welcomed with open arms.
Here’s How to Create It:
Create a new document in Photoshop at the size you’d like, I used 1024×1500. Hit ‘d’ on the keyboard to reset your colors to the default black and white. Then hit ‘alt + backspace’ to fill your background layer with black.
Find a picture that you’d like to use as you main subject. I used the snowboarder below. Your more than welcome to follow along using that as well. Open up that pic in a separate file in Photoshop.
Now it’s time to extract the snowboarder from the picture. The next few steps are my suggestion for how to extract the snowboarder, however you’re welcome to use whichever technique you know the best. Grab the pen tool and begin taking the time to extract the snowboarder, although it’s tedious this will ensure crisp results. Within the shape layer that the pen tool is creating, I prefer to drop the opacity to around 15% in order to see my selection better. Go around the entire outside of the snowboarder.
Make a copy of the background layer by clicking on it, then pressing ‘ctrl + j’. Delete the original background layer and put a blank layer at the bottom, so that your layers look like the ones below.
Turn the shape you just drew in step 3 into a selection by pressing ‘ctrl + click’ on the shape thumbnail in the layers palette. Then click, ‘ctrl + shift + i’ in order to select the inverse. Lastly, with the snowboarder layer selected (if you followed along ‘background copy’) press ‘ctrl + x’ to cut the background.
Repeat the same extraction techniques to get rid of the sky showing between the board and his leg. Have both the black canvas and the snowboarder image up. Grab the move tool (shortcut ‘v’ on the keyboard), click and drag the snowboarder onto your poster. Position him like below.
I wanted the snowboarder to have a graphic, drawn kind of look. I discovered a pretty nice effect just using a couple of filters. First, click Filter->Artistic->Cutout. Change the settings to what is shown in the image below:
For the second filter I used watercolor. Click Filter->Artistic->Watercolor. Use the image below as a reference for the settings:
A Little About Color Theory
I’ve spoke about it before in my Design Inspiration with a Yellow Focus post, but I really enjoy the simplicity and elegance of a one-color theme design. It was because of that inspiration that I decided to keep my colors for this poster simple. Given the eventual poster saying (’Go Big or Go Home’), and the snowboarding culture, I felt the poster lent itself beautifully to a bright, vibrant color. You’d be amazed at just how much our minds associate certain colors with distinct feelings. Cymbolism is a newer site that attempts to learn more about the connection between color and mood. Or to put it in their words:
With that color theory fresh in our minds lets use a Hue/Saturation adjustment to get the vibrant green that we are going to use throughout our design. Click Image->Adjustments->Hue/Saturation. Check the colorize box and move the sliders to the following settings:
I wanted the contrast to be even more exaggerated so I adjusted the levels. Click Image->Adjustments->Levels. Change the settings to something like below:
That looks pretty good for our purposes, however I didn’t like the board being so white and there were some other places worth cleaning up. So make a selection of the board and any other parts you want to fill. Sample a portion of the bright green using the eyedropper tool (shortcut ‘i’ on the keyboard) and fill your selection with that color till you get something like the image below.
Next up we are going to add a simple glow effect to our snowboarder. Select the snowboarder by ‘ctrl + clicking’ on the thumbnail in the snowboarder layer. Then click ‘Select->Modify->Expand’. Choose 5 px for the amount.
Add a new layer below the snowboarder, then fill your selection with white. Then click ‘Filter->Blur->Gaussian Blur’. Change the amount to 5.
Add another new layer below both the snowboarder and the snowboarder glow. Grab some simple grunge brushes. I highly recommend trying out 33 Subtle Grunge Textures and Effects from WeFunction. Using the the same green color drop in some subtle grunge effects behind our snowboarder. Drop the opacity of this layer to around 50%. Here’s what my grunge effect looks like.
A Little Bit About The Type I Used
I tried to keep the fonts pretty simple, just like the color. Robin Williams (no, not the comedian) is an awesomely talented graphic designer and writer. One of her books, “Design Workshop, Second Edition” is a personally favorite of mine. She writes often about 4 basic principals that will help you become a more professional designer. They are:
Contrast – Don’t use typefaces right next to each other that are too similar. It’s a good idea to use the same at different sizes or completely contrasting typefaces, like a san serif and a script.
Repetition – Consistency throughout a design can really pull the whole theme together. A good example of this is when you see portion of a logo in stationary big and very faint in the background.
Alignment – Way too often in amateur designs every element is centered. Don’t be afraid to left or right justify things.
Proximity – Another common amateur mistake is to overcrowd design. White space can be a very good thing!
Click on the text tool, switch to a nice grunge font, I used Tiza, which can be downloaded for free at DaFont.com. Type in the word ‘BIG’. Sample and change the font to the green color. Hit ‘ctrl + t’ to bring up the free transform tool. Size and move your text into place. Then go to a corner till your cursor becomes an arched double arrow. While holding shift down click and drag to rotate the text at 15 degree increments. Rotate it -30 degrees.
Add the other text elements. I used a white for the color and put ‘GO’, ‘OR GO’ and ‘HOME’ all on separate layers and made them all slightly different sizes. When you rotate home don’t forget to hold down shift in order to rotate it incrementally. It should be rotated 60 degrees. Here’s where I’m at so far…
I thought it would be a cool effect to extend a couple lines off the text. Create a new layer and grab the paintbrush tool (shortcut ‘b’ on the keyboard). Change to a round, hard, 90px brush, with the same green color you’ve used throughout. Click once towards the bottom left part of ‘BIG’ hold down shift and click again to the left of the canvas trying to maintain the angle of the text. If you don’t get it right the first time, just hit ‘ctrl + z’ to undo it and try again or hit ‘ctrl + t’ and rotate it into place.
Add a layer mask to that layer. Click ‘Layer->Layer Mask->Apply’. Change your foreground color to black and grab some of your favorite subtle grunge brushes. Paint away some grunge over the ‘BIG’ extension you drew. Keep it subtle.
Repeat the same effect for the extension off of ‘HOME’.
Next up I wanted the poster to have a little more interest. So I went on the search for some fun snowboarding quotes. Here’s what I found:
I added those two quotes in a gray colored Myriad Pro font and angled them again.
Lastly, I dropped in the two quote marks in the background using a dark gray. The font for this is call Downcome. Here’s the finished product.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on big typography. Definitely drop me some feedback using the comment form below. And if you come up with a cool design I would love to see it! Upload it to the MyInkBlog Flickr group.
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