The big cheese had some specific ideas on what she wanted for graphics on this article but we still couldn’t find the hook. Hell we still couldn’t nail the title. And her initial ideas were a bit beyond our photographic or photoshop skills. So I started playing with ideas of folding boundaries and was reminded of those old Mad Magazine folding covers where you folded the image to reveal a hidden image. A few quick tutorials and some down and dirty photoshopping later and I sent her this:
Unfortunately the concept didn’t shine through, I doubted my ability to get it where it needed to be and the whole thing went over like a lead balloon. Still, I kept browsing the templates on DollarPhotoClub.com and muttering to myself. Eventually I found a folded piece of paper on a different angle and remembered the aerials that Brenda and I had taken last year on our little helicopter ride around the city. Maybe there was something of S. Albert and region there…
Nope. But there was this one of south Edmonton which was close enough in my books.
So now all I had to do was fold the image into the shape of my paper template, add highlight and shadows and I would be golden. Photoshop now has this awesome tool called Perspective Warp. Essentially you can just lay out a grid (or series of grids in this case) and then use the grid points to reshape the image as necessary. I used the folded image I had downloaded as my base for getting the right geometry and perspective.
Then it was a matter of studying the light and determining how to add highlights. At this point I deviated from the template and decided to go for a highlight in the center panel rather than a shadow. So I traced the outline of that panel with the Polygonal Lasso Tool, then made a new layer and filled the selection with white. Then I dropped the layer transparency down until I got the feel I wanted (it was around 17%). This had the added benefit of creating the illusion of actual folds.
At this point I turned off the bottom template layer. and added a new layer below everything. Once again I traced out a square shape with the Lasso and this time I filled it with black. Then I applied a pretty big Gaussian Blur (a standard Photoshop filter) to the layer, trying a whole bunch of settings until I got the effect I wanted.
Then it was simply a matter of turning back on all the appropriate layers and seeing what I had. The black shadow was way too prominent, giving the whole thing a hokey feel so I kept dropping the transparency on that layer until it felt a lot more subtle: around 41%. And that was that. The image got turned a bit in the final layout but since it was the only object on the page the light and shadow would work at pretty much any angle. By crossing the gutter with the image and overlaying type on parts of the it the whole spread gained dimensionality. A pull quote was used to balance the image and the spread was done.
Oh and somewhere in there I pitched the idea as the landscape being flexible, and the final title was also settled. A good days work.