Archive for October 2008
My first review here on Design Reviews is of a FREE graphics utility (for Windows only, sorry Mac users). It might be free but it’s fantastic and fills a gap not addressed in any of the Adobe suite such as Flash, Illustrator or Photoshop.
Do you like sometimes to use halftone patterns as fills? It’s quite easy to do solid colour (same size dot) patterns but what about variable dot sizes corresponding to lightness and darkness of the images you want to create.
The program in question is called Raster, it creates dot or square halftone patterns in a vector format which can then be used in your favourite design programs with all the advantages of a vector file (mainly scalability and editability). Now I know there is a Halftone Pattern filter in Photoshop but it’s not at all the same as this. The Photoshop filter doesn’t create vector output, also the dot or line styles are uniform. In Raster the dots size vary with intensity or depth of colour. So for instance with a simple linear gradient the dots will fade from large to small where the gradient would fade from dark to light. Before this program I used to try and do the effect ‘by hand’ which was neither convenient or satisfactory.
Is 3D in the non-interactive and non-animated design side of things a bit stale and shopworn?
It seems so, even clients have asked “no 3D effects”, not that I wanted to do any… So it seems like it’s a thing to avoid, a furry dice of the graphic design world now. In fact there has been a consciously flat movement for many years, flat colours, no gradients, no shadows and no 3D. However it seems perspective effects are still quite popular and isometric effects have been cool for a few years. What do you think, is 3D often used to put lipstick on a pig?
I had call to make a logo for a client today, but rather than wanting a nice shiny new logo this client requested something that looked aged, corroded and distressed – a little!
What to do? Illustrator has a couple of likely tools – roughen and scribble. They don’t really provide any kind of corrosion. In the old days this is what we would have done to age some text; print it on the laser and blow it up on the photocopier a few times at max magnification. Between copies you could rough up the sheets of paper a bit, crinkle it a bit, depends what you wanted.
Anyway that was a long time ago. Now it’s easier to use Photoshop and some spatter brushing, the photocopy and stamp and threshold controls, a bit of the dodge tool perhaps. Then you can bring that into Illustrator and vectorise it if you wish to use it in a logo. That’s what I did and I’m pleased with the subtle and realistic results.
What do you think? Do you know a better or faster way to make distressed effects?
If I’ve got the time and inclination/inspiration I like to design CD covers for the space-rock band “The Ebbs (UK)”. If you go to the main Ebbs Studio site, then go to the music section there are 3 CD covers there with an accompanying MP3; a sample from the CD. I’ve designed several Ebbs CDs but not got music samples prepared for the webpage so they aren’t uploaded yet. On the other hand there are a few Ebbs songs without any CD cover yet. The music section is a bit bare so it needs updating, but so does everything, all the time in this digital age…
If you are interested in CD and LP covers there is a great resource on the web which you might not know about – lpcoverlover.com. This is a great site with some of the most bizarre LP covers you have ever seen.