Tag: Print

“Living a Life of Impact” graphics

Our church has a “fall focus” every year when the students come back where everyone – children (sometimes), junior high and high schoolers, college students, and adults – comes together to focus on the same topic for six weeks. In the past, the church has used packaged “curriculum” such as 40 Days of Purpose or Living Beyond Ourselves; this year, the staff created their own material for what they’re calling “Living a Life of Impact: Learning from the life of David.” I created screen and print graphics for the main image that they’d be using.

I was given full freedom and initiative for the design. All I knew about the topic was from a short description of the topics for each week (looking at different aspects of David’s life) and that there would be a community service focus on one of the weekends.

After spending an hour or two browsing istockphoto, I chose this image of a wheat field. The metaphor of a harvest, or fruitfulness, is a common one from the Bible, and, I thought, fit in nicely with the theme.

Simply layering text over the photo seemed a little boring to me, so I started playing with different effects. The final image includes three circle shape layers of different shades of grey, set at various opacities with the Overlay mode to pump up the intensity of the colors. The rings emphasize the idea of “impact.” I was thinking along the lines of ripples, but looking at it again, it also works as a target. I used a Futura variant for the main font and JaneAusten for the script font.

I also created a print-friendly version of the graphic, using gold and brown text with the graphic limited to the circles. This was used for the cover of the devotional booklets, on letterhead, and in other printed announcements. I didn’t have control over the printed materials other than providing the graphics, but I think it turned out pretty good.

Parody Poster: Grey’s Anatomy

This was one of the easier posters to recreate. Here’s what the original poster looks like:

Grey’s Anatomy - original poster

I started out looking for a similar font, settling on Haettenschweiler. Some of the letters were slightly different and the apostrophe was very different, but it was close enough for me! I created two separate text layers for each word and then added a red rectangle for the accent.

Finding a similar font

Next, working on the original poster jpeg in Photoshop, I used the pen tool to map out similar rectangular shapes. Each rectangular shape in the original poster isn’t necessarily a distinct photo, however; some shapes combine to hold a larger image, as demonstrated here:

Combined shapes

So, here’s what I did:

1. Used Pen Tool and clicked four points to create a rectangular Vector Shape layer.

Creating first rectangle

2. Clicked on the vector mask to select it in the Layers palette, then clicked the “Add to Shape Area” icon in the options bar. (I thought “Auto add/delete” had to be checked when I made my diagram, but as it turns out, that has more to do with using the pen tool to remove or add points to an existing path, so you can ignore that part!)

Changing option to add to shape

3. Used the Pen Tool to draw the second rectangle shape. The new shape, instead of appearing on its own shape layer, is added on to the existing shape layer.

Second shape added to same layer

4. Clicked on “Create new shape layer” icon in the options bar, then created other rectangles.

Choosing create new shape layer icon

Eventually, I ended up with a bunch of shapes that were close to the original. These shapes were all over the original poster, though, which was a low resolution jpeg and about 1/8 of the size of my finished document. So, selecting all the layers, I dragged them from the Layers palette and dropped them on top of the new document to copy them over.

Selecting all layers

Then I used the Transform command (Ctrl-T) to resize all the layers at once to make them big enough for the new document.

Shapes in new poster document

Now it was a simple matter to paste in different photos. I used the shape layers as clipping masks for the photos:

1. Paste in a photo and move the layer in the Layers Palette so it is immediately above the shape that you want to use as a clipping mask:

Paste photo

2. Place the cursor in between the two layers. Hold down the Alt (PC)/Option (Mac) key and you’ll see the cursor change. Click in between the two layers, and you’ll see the top layer indent with a small arrow added. The top layer has just been “clipped” by the bottom layer. You can move the top layer around, but only the areas that overlap with the bottom layer will show up.
Creating clipping mask

Repeating this with the other photos, I also added some adjustment layers (Curves, Levels, etc.) to adjust the photo contrast and clipped them to the appropriate shape layers as well.

And here’s what the final poster looks like:

Final parody poster

See other articles in the Parody Posters series.

Parody Poster: Heroes

Here’s the first of a new series of posts describing how I created various TV show parody posters using Photoshop.

First, here’s the original reference desktop graphic that I used as inspiration:

Heroes poster

The first step was to come up with a font that was similar. In Photoshop, I typed “HEROES” and changed the font several times to find a close sans-serif font. I wanted to be close, but I didn’t care about being exact because of the short deadline I was working with. I finally settled on Futura; the “S” is slightly different but the shape of the “R” was the closest of the fonts I had on my system:

Trying to match Heroes font

Next, I worked on the eclipse graphic. First, I created a black vector circle shape and applied a slight outer glow effect to it. (My examples are on a blue background so you can better see the effects.)

Eclipse - vector circle.

I added a new layer and, using the brush tool with a soft edge, painted a white fuzzy blob behind the vector shape. The strongest part of the lighting effect is at 1-2 o’clock, with another stronger edge at 7-8 o’clock. In the diagram below, I’ve lowered the opacity of the black circle layer so you can see the relative shape of the white blob layer.

Brush layer

I used the smudge tool with a soft brush shape to drag out “rays” in the white blob layer:

Smudging the white layer

With the smudging, the effect was a little too big for me, so I transformed the layer and shrunk it slightly.

Slightly smaller effect

Next, I created a new layer over the black vector shape and made a small fuzzy white blob. Using the smudge tool again with a slightly smaller brush size, I dragged out from the center of the shape to make the sharper highlight points.
Highlight layer

A little more tweaking to the various smudge layers, and here’s what I ended up with:

Final text effect

Now for the blur to the words. I duplicated the text layer, right-clicked on the layer in the Layers palette and chose “Rasterize Type.” I applied a motion blur filter (set to vertical). Then I lowered the opacity slightly (60%) of the blurred layer:

Text effect with blur

Now for the photo collage. I had two istockphoto images and a photo of youth staff and volunteers taken by someone else:

istockphoto - corporate office

istockphoto - dramatic clouds

Original photo

I started by creating a document that had a very faint background gradient – pure black at the top, #08090b at the bottom, and moved in my recreated Heroes logo:

Starter document

I pasted in the people photo and used the dodge tool to slightly darken the bottom edge of the photo:

Adding people

I applied a Levels adjustment layer to get the background to be blacker and to increase the contrast slightly.

Levels adjustment layer

I added a Channel Mixer adjustment layer to give the picture a sepia tone:

Channel mixer layer

The original had a bit more tonality in it as opposed to being a flat sepia image. So under the Channel Mixer layer, I added a Curves adjustment layer and played with the different channels until I got something that worked better for me.

Curves adjustment layer

After curves adjustment

I pasted in the two stock photos under all the adjustment layers, flipping the office building and lowering the opacity of both layers to 38%. Then I added layer masks and used a soft brush to mask out the edges of the photos and blend them over the people photo.

With stock photos

The last step was to add in the little “FBC Studios” logo in the corner, and my poster was complete:

Final Heroes parody poster

See other articles in the Parody Posters series.

Print Design: FBC Brochure

This is a project I completed several months ago, but it’s taken me a while to actually take pictures of the completed product!

A couple years ago, I had created a simple tri-fold, two-color brochure for my church. This year, they asked me to put together a full-color, updated brochure based on a shorter, wider tri-fold style. Here are the two sides of what I came up with:

Brochure side 1

Brochure side 2

A different designer had redesigned the church’s templates used for weekly bulletin and sermon notes, and I tied in some of the elements from their design with this brochure: The gold circular icons, the “strip of photos” treatment, and the use of a serif type for the titles. I tried to make the design a bit more fluid by adding in some multi-level lines connected with curves and plenty of rounded corners. I also tied in some of the photos that I’ve used for the FBC web site.

As I don’t have a background in print design, I depend heavily on the printers telling me what they need from me. Luckily the Illustrator files I provided with embedded photos seemed to be enough! I was surprised one Sunday by seeing the new brochure, printed on glossy card stock, in the chair rack in front of me.

Here are a couple photos…

The front of the brochure:

FBC brochure - front

First open: The right side is still folded over although the connected gold line gives the illusion that it’s one spread. (I was impressed that the printer was able to match up the lines in the design from one side to the other.)

FBC brochure - opened

“3D” photo of the brochure:

Brochure unfolded

Weight Training Workout Sheet v2

I’ve revised the weight training workout sheet:

Revised weight training sheet

  • Categories have been changed to chest and shoulders, arms and back, legs and abs.
  • Each column now has both weight (w) and reps (r) for three sets so that you can vary your weights and reps.
  • Out of necessity, there are five columns instead of seven.


Weight training workout sheet v2

  • Weight Training Workout Sheet v2weight-training-worksheet-v2.pdf
    The PDF is editable in Illustrator, if you’re the kind of person that likes to customize things.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

See original post for usage examples.

Weight Training Workout Sheet

Steve and I have been consistently going to the gym three times a week to work out, which consists of biking to the gym (nice warmup), lifting weights, playing basketball (Steve) or shooting around/watching (me), and biking home (nice cooldown, and sometimes we stop off somewhere to go out to dinner). Last time, we played ping pong instead of basketball, which was very fun as well.

We’ve gotten into a nice weekly routine:

  • Mondays: Arm and shoulder exercises
  • Thursdays: Chest and back exercises
  • Saturday: Legs

Although I’m not strong enough to spot Steve, we enjoy working out together (and Steve just does safer, lower weights at more reps), taking turns on various pieces of equipment and chatting.

At one of our old gyms, they offered free ugly forms that you could use to track your weight training routine, which were useful to track your progress as well as remember how much weight you were using on various exercises. Since I am now an officially acclaimed “form productivista” (thanks, Dave!), Steve asked me to make a form for us to use at our new gym. Here is what part of it looks like, filled-in:

Weight Training Workout Sheet example

This is actually version 4, after many various tweaks. 🙂 I originally had blank columns, and Steve asked for labels, so I added faint letters that you can write over: “S R W” for “sets, repetitions, and weight.” Then I realized I had to change it to “W / W / W” because sometimes Steve changes the weight he uses. Then I got rid of the “S” because it was repetitious. Then I changed the spacing of the letters. Thank goodness for Illustrator’s Transform and Distort feature, which made most of those changes painless!


Weight Training Workout Sheets

My personal version has the exercises listed out, but I’ve created a blank fill-out version for public consumption.

  • Weight Training Workout Sheetweight-training-worksheet.pdf (doh! ran out of box.net bandwidth so back to my original server link. Anyone interested in helping to mirror this link, please contact me!)
    The PDF is editable in Illustrator, if you’re the kind of person that likes to customize things.
  • Update 9/26/07: See v2!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Usage example and notes

Take a look at my sample screenshot above.

The PDF has two pages — one with boy-friendly colors and one with girl-friendly colors. I print this onto a two-sided sheet of paper for an ultimate couples’ workout tracking sheet — one piece of paper for two people, and instead of having our names at the top, we can quickly tell by looking at the colors which side we should be filling out. Of course, if you’re single (and care about having gender-appropriate colors), you can print out just one of the pages onto a two-sided sheet to help conserve paper.

Since Steve and I split out the various body groups into different workout days, each column represents a week’s worth of workouts, so I put the three dates in the top tab. If you’re into circuit training instead, each column might represent a day’s worth of workouts. It’s up to you.

We purposefully don’t have abs listed on this sheet, because we do situps and various abdominal exercises every time. If that really bothers you, you can add it yourself!

If you find this useful, or if you have suggestions, I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment!

Update 8/23: Several people have suggested customizations that might be useful to a larger audience. I’m taking these all under consideration and will look seriously into putting out some different versions after I move this weekend (and get unpacked, etc.). If you are more of a personal-customization type of person, but don’t have Adobe Illustrator, let me know. You can hire me to make some quick customizations or we can work out some kind of trade. Maybe something that involves yummy food. 😉

Baby carriage baby shower wrapup

This Saturday was the baby shower.

I’ve already shown the invitations and favors, but as this is a wrap-up post, I’ll show them again!

The invitation was based off of an istockphoto vector illustration, recolored to match our blue/green theme:

Baby shower invitation

The invitations were on different colors of cardstock, which I happened to already have available, so they were very cost-efficient:

Baby shower invitation

I purchased green tea and glued on my own baby carriage tags over the existing tea label:

Making baby shower favor teabags

Then I cut and glued the tea bag envelopes:

Baby shower favor teabags

Finally, I also created a recipe card for one of the desserts that one of the organizers was making – Green Tea Shortbread:

Recipe card and tea bag

I designed another shadow box for our friends’ upcoming baby boy:

Shadow box

Some notes about the materials:

  • I came across the turtle and the wood blocks at a thrift store for literally pennies apiece. They matched the colors of the shower, so I bought them for the frame.
  • I then found that the baby’s bedding is going to have pastel rubber duckies. So I looked around for quite a while for a plush duck that was cute and that would fit in the frame. I eventually found a Gund plush duck, but it was just slightly too plump. So I opened up the seam in the back and took out some of the stuffing to make it fit better. 🙂
  • The picture frame inside a frame idea was borrowed from the other shadow box I made for our other friends.

The party itself was a great success, and the mother-to-be had a wonderful time.

We stuck with the blue-green theme. Liz, aka decorating genius disguised as a receptionist, brought blue and green linens, white serving dishes (including a cool three-tier dessert holder) and blue chargers (under the white plates), and devised a cool use for candle holders by putting tea cups and saucers on top of them. We borrowed glass plates and cups from the grandmother-to-be. I had some blue glass goblets. Pears, limes, and a couple of silk green orchids rounded out the decorations.


We worked the blue and green theme pretty hard with the food as well. I made cucumber sandwiches and fruit salad (with honeydew, grapes, and blueberries), and picked up some mini blueberry scones from the store. Holly made beautiful sandwich wraps with spinach, turkey, and cranberry sauce. Liz made green tea shortbread and picked out green and blue m’n’m’s from several packages. Julie brought blueberry iced tea, and we also had water with cucumber and mint.

Blue and green food

We were surprised by how this turned out, but the hostess’ house was decorated in blue and green as well! In fact, she had a large glass vase with blue-green stones in the bottom and a candle inside. The shape of the vase was exactly the same shape as my blue goblets. We couldn’t have “planned” it better.

Vase is the same shape as goblets.

We asked Holly to bring two vases of peacock feathers that she had at her house. They added a very elegant touch.

Peacock feathers and prizes.

Everyone raved about how beautiful it was. We were really happy to provide a nice environment for a very special occasion.

Baby carriage baby shower favors

This Saturday is the second baby shower that I’m throwing this year along with a few other organizers. The invitations had a baby carriage theme, so I carried the graphics on to the guest favors. I made custom tea bag envelopes using a pale shade of the lime green from the invitation graphics. Here’s a staged view of my work in progress:

Making baby shower favors

My original idea was to make a cool and complicated 3D pyramid tea bag holder, but the Lipton Green Tea with Mandarin Orange Flavor pyramid infusers proved difficult to work around, so I gave up and went with easy flat envelopes instead. I printed out small baby carriage squares, sliced them up, and glued them over the Lipton logo for customized labels.

Making baby shower favor teabags

The pyramid tea bags were puffier than the standard flat tea bags, so the envelopes got a little puffy and wrinkled after putting them in, but they still look cute.

Baby shower favor teabags

One of the snacks that will be made for the party is green tea shortbread. I created a recipe card (standard 3×5 index card size) to also give to the guests, so here’s the final baby shower favor package:

Recipe card and tea bag

Baby carriage cookies.One of the ideas we initially had when we were brainstorming favor ideas were baby carriage cookies. I was able to find baby carriage cookie cutters online and my sister has all of the cake/cookie decorating paraphernalia that one could want, but ultimately I nixed the idea as it seemed like too many things could go wrong and I’d have to make them all just a few days before the shower so they wouldn’t be stale. I’m much more comfortable with paper, scissors, and glue! I also had the added benefit of being able to work on the favors a little at a time. Plus, green tea is much healthier than sugar cookies, and more likely to actually be used, right? If we had a bigger budget to work with, though, maybe we would have done both and ordered the personalized cookies instead. 🙂

Next week, I’ll post the remaining info from the baby shower, including the personalized gift I worked on and our party decor and food.