Mastering layer masks

Layer masks are a wonderful tool, but the classes are tired of them. The final assignment before midterm tests involved assembling two images into a single photo. Sean Thorenson shot the photos and Jason Lueder attempted to show his good side. The result was two images that could be easily combined into a single, more intriguing photo with the use of a layer mask.

The assignment was created to gauge the students’ understanding of layer masks. This photo only requires five or 1o minutes of work to create the double image, but understanding how the process works and what tools to use can take much longer.

Two Graphic Design and Communications instructors discuss the current display.

A Graphic Design and Communications instructors discuss the current display with himself.

Masking the obvious

Seattle postcard created using layer masks.

Seattle postcard created using layer masks.

Layer masks are a tool that allow nondestructive modifications to images in Photoshop. They are a powerful tool, but underutilized by graphic designers. Over the past couple weeks students have been working through exercises and exploring what layer masks can do. This piece was created as an in-class tutorial with a basic photo, shot by the instructor, and a public domain map modified slightly to add perspective.

Tiny animations

Sophomore students added another dimension to their design work – motion. Using Photoshop CS4, the Bismarck State College Graphic Design and Communications students created simple animations to showcase an idea. The assignment is essentially a creative exercise pushing them to use their skills and tools to produce something completely different from what they have done in the past.

briannebannerad

Fading line

The line fading away is a time-consuming technique to use.

Come fly with me

Come fly with me

Come fly with me is part of a larger animation that includes color. The completed animation is a little too large to post here.

Spaceship crash

Spaceship crash

The spaceship crash embraces the strengths of animation. As the spaceship gets smaller it appears to change course.

Archer

Archer

The archer illustration is interesting on its own, but becomes even more intriguing as an animation.

Janski media

Janski media

This student took the assignment and ran with it, the only thing the ad is missing is audio. Unfortunately, when it was down-sampled for Web use the animation lost a bit of its pop.

BSC Alumni Art Show

Wednesday evening the Bismarck State College Library hosted a reception to open the BSC Alumni Art Show. The show encouraged all alumni, no matter what their background, to enter their artwork. Photos below are pieces featured in the art show from graduates of the Graphic Design and Communications program.

car

Digital illustration by Jesse Thomas

comic

Ink illustration by Orville Evjen

comingaround

Editorial layout by Jamie Vetter

Print pieces by Chad Hatzenbuhler

Publication design by Chad Hatzenbuhler

Digital image by Jamie Vetter

Digital image by Jamie Vetter

Acrylic on canvas by Tyler Huber

Acrylic on canvas by Tyler Huber

Photo by Jamie Vetter

Photo by Jamie Vetter

Acrylic on canvas by Tyler Huber

Acrylic on canvas by Tyler Huber

teeth

Acrylic on canvas Tyler Huber

Digital medium by Michelle Kraft

Digital medium by Michelle Kraft

Covering up

Students are working with layer masks in Photoshop to conceal areas of an image and create subtle effects – like reflections and trailing shadows.

This project started with collecting this stunning piece of plastic dress-up jewelry from an instructor’s child, then shooting a couple quick photos in the studio with the students.

After downloading the images, the students worked as a group, with the instructor, to remove the background and create the reflection. Most of the work was accomplished with simple layer masks. Plastic jewelry has never looked so good.

With the right Photoshop techniques, this 25-cent ring looks like it could easily be worth one dollar.

With the right Photoshop techniques, this 25-cent ring looks like it could easily be worth a dollar.

Mice can draw too

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Freshmen in the Digital Illustration class took the leap from pencil and pen on paper or illustration board to using the mouse to create work digitally.

The Graphic Design and Communications program, formerly known as Commercial Art, once focused heavily on hand-rendered artwork. As times and technology changed, the methods of the program did too. Today many assignments utilize both hand-drawn and digital elements to create the desired effect.

End of the week

Friday, the freshmen had quizzes in two of the three Graphic Design and Communications classes.

To lighten the mood and help students learn about each other, Sean Thorenson introduced a simple creative exercise.

Each of the three panels on the sheet in the picture is filled in by separate people – one draws the head, another the torso and someone else the legs and feet. The catch is that the paper is folded so each artist is drawing without the knowledge of what is on the rest of the sheet.

At the end of a long week it gave everyone a chance for a laugh and to work as a group.

One of the drawings created by the BSC Graphic Design and Communications Freshmen.

One of the drawings created by the BSC Graphic Design and Communications Freshmen.

A new take on weather

The National Weather Service provides excellent forecast and weather information. Their biggest asset is also a bit of a hinderance as well – too much information cluttering the NWS Web site.
To test Photoshop as a design tool, the sophomore Graphic Design and Communications students created designs of how they thought the site should look. This was a totally independent project, no tie to the National Weather Service. Some designs are very clean and could be put into production, others would need more polishing. The assignment included improving the design and simplifying the look of the site. Nearly every design provides an interesting and new idea.

Site redesign Site redesign Site redesign Site redesign
Site redesign Site redesign Site redesign Site redesign
Site redesign Site redesign Site redesign Site redesign
Site redesign Site redesign Site redesign Site redesign
Site redesign

Going wireless

The freshmen Graphic Design and Communications students are gaining confidence with Photoshop. They have been working on color correcting and sharpening images. Photo repair is the newest skill, and a fun skill to learn.
The photo below is from a recent assignment. The instructions included color correcting and sharpening the image and removing the wire running through it. The diagonal line splits the photo between the original (top) and the modified photo.
wireblog

Campus Read logos

Sophomore students in the Graphic Design and Communications Advanced Design class had a great opportunity to create a logo for the Bismarck State College Campus Read program. One of the logos will be selected to represent the program. Stop by the Technical Center to see all of the logos displayed outside the GDC area. The display case is outside the classroom, so you can view them anytime.

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cutting

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