Inside the Mind of Digital Dreamer Archan Nair
By Charles Purdy – Self-taught visual artist and illustrator Archan Nair creates complex, imaginative, and lushly colorful digital art that expresses his fascination with the interconnectedness of the universe and the mysteries of existence. Working primarily in Adobe Photoshop CC, Nair creates compositions for a wide variety of clients, including Sony, GQ, Samsung, and Nike, as well as his own personal projects.
There are many ways to create a rough canvas on which to begin building an abstract Photoshop creation in Nair’s style. Nair started with a radial gradient layer; he used the Gradient Editor dialog box to experiment until he had a gradient he liked, consisting of two tones of reddish tan. (If you’re new to the Gradient Editor, check out this primer.) He then duplicated this layer, set the duplicate’s opacity to 15%, and changed the layer’s blending mode to Color Burn.
He added a photograph of a woman on a new layer, set that layer’s opacity to 25%, and changed the layer’s blending mode to Overlay. Then he duplicated that layer and changed the duplicate layer’s blending mode to Soft Light.
After making further adjustments, Nair added a layer on which to draw some outlines of the woman’s face, using a brush with sharp edges for definition. Then he deleted the layer with the original photograph on it. more>
How Digital Textile Designers Make Wearable Art
Adobe – Thanks to digital design tools, textile design is experiencing something of a renaissance. The field attracts graphic designers and illustrators because it employs many techniques they are already familiar with, but it enables visual thinkers to expand beyond the page and the screen. Fabric offers new opportunities and challenges with designs that move, flutter, and twirl along with their wearers.
In addition, some creatives see designing textiles as a way to make the switch from corporate design to crafting objects that are more personal. Clothes have the power to be more abstract and intimate than many client-based assignments.
For her part, Kaylan K. turned to drawing at the age of six to cope with “a very traumatic childhood” in Montreal.
“Art was my way of escaping all of this trauma around me and putting my energy into something that makes me feel alive,” she explains. more>
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Variable Fonts Are the Future of Web Type
By Mandy Michael – A variable font is a single file that acts like multiple fonts. Variable fonts can improve page-load times, but their appeal goes way beyond that: Site visitors get an improved reading experience, and designers get greater creative freedom.
While it’s still early days, some software applications—including the latest Illustrator and Photoshop—and many web browsers do support the technology, and more will follow. It’s a good time to understand how variable fonts work and how to use them in your web designs.
Inventive type designers aren’t restricting themselves to expected variations, such as weight, width, or italic. They’re creating variations that address effect, readability, and style. more>
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Getting into Travel Photography: Find the Details
By Jordana Wright – Look at a photograph with an interesting texture and it might give you the impulse to touch it.
Examine a photograph filled with pattern, and your brain may start to extrapolate that pattern or perceive movement in it. Both sensations are common and heighten the connection between photograph and viewer. We have an innate level of comfort with what we can touch and visually understand, so images with texture and pattern draw us in and make us pay attention.
When photographing Patterns, gear is probably the least important part of the equation. Patterns as a subject won’t dictate what lens to use—instead you’ll find yourself choosing a lens based on the scale of that particular Pattern. If you wanted to photograph the Pattern of sandpaper, you’d need to use a macro lens or even a microscope to draw out the dimensionality of the grain. more>
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Framing the Story: Animator Jocie Juritz
By Scott Kirkwood – London-based animator Jocie Juritz spends her days explaining complicated subjects—for instance, the impact of false memories, the history of the color white, and the science behind nanomolecular genetic switches—all in three minutes or less.
She started out with a few cat GIFs posted on Tumblr, and those led to a call from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)—sort of a British version of TED.
Juritz wasn’t always sure she would become an animator. When her coursework at Kingston University required that she choose between the illustration track and the animation track, she was stuck: She’d always struggled to pack enough information into a single image, but she didn’t know if she was cut out for the laborious, time-intensive work of animation. Her professors encouraged her to give animation a trial run, and she soon realized that the art form contained many of the things she’d loved even as a child: drama, performance, characters, and storytelling—all with words, music, and sound effects.
Given the complex and often dense subject matter they deal with, Juritz’s short videos have garnered a surprising number of views on Vimeo and other outlets. It started with those cat GIFs (inspired by her own cats, Etta and Ziggy), which got the attention of editors at Tumblr. more>
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WALL TOGETHER NOW
By Jordan Kushins – Las Vegas is known for its garish signage: flashy, flamboyant, all-neon-all-the-time. But now an entirely different kind of marquee has stolen the spotlight. It’s more than 16 feet long, just under ten feet high, and almost five feet deep. It weighs a whopping 770 pounds and is composed of nearly 50 modular MDF forms.
It was meticulously designed in Adobe Illustrator CC, built by hand in England, shipped in pieces across the ocean, then reconstructed in Nevada. And it’s greeting participants at the Adobe Summit.
For the past five years, Adobe has worked with artists on the conference identity, which corresponds to an annual theme. This year’s theme is “experience,” and creative director Angela Fisher was inspired to go beyond 2D constraints to bring the theme to life. “I started thinking, ‘What if the identity was a physical structure?’ A camera panning around, and in and out, could reveal a kind of experience within the branding itself.”
She began making paper models at home on the weekends to explore two facets of the idea. These geometric forms and patterns became building blocks—like DIY Legos—that took on the feel of an abstract cityscape in one, and the shape of an “X” in the other. They were promising, but the concept wasn’t quite there yet. more>
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Designed for Speed: Jordon Bourgeault’s Airbrush Artwork
By Charles Purdy – Jordon Bourgeault (the owner and founder of JBo Airbrush) paints on surfaces of all kinds: motorcycles, guitars, shoes, human bodies, and a lot more—surfaces as large as three-story murals and as small as glasses frames. His business is growing fast, and his recent work on Olympian skeleton riders’ helmets has caught the attention of an international audience.
Bourgeault says he drew “all the time” as a kid and teenager, and he took up airbrushing as a hobby when he was introduced to it through a job as an automotive painter. That hobby led him to a job painting sets and props for films and events, then to many side projects, and eventually to opening his own studio about eight years ago.
These days, commissions of all kinds keep him very busy, but he has a special interest in painting hockey goalie masks and helmets for athletes, including skeleton riders. more>
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Head for the Hills with Kopernikk
By Charles Purdy – A love of the outdoors is plainly evident in Kopernikk’s photography, and he comes by it naturally, having grown up on a farm near the Czech city of Pardubice, which he still calls home—that is, when he’s not on the road for a photography expedition. In fact, it was a 2014 trip to the Czech Republic’s Giant Mountains that set Kopernikk firmly on a path to making his living as a photographer.
He remembers, “In November 2014, my friend Jirka invited me to Špindlerův Mlýn in our Giant Mountains. The weather was so magical—I was like Alice in Wonderland, and I made hundreds and hundreds of photos on my mobile phone…. This day changed everything, and I knew then what I wanted to do with my life. It’s also the reason I have Sitka, my Czechoslovakian Wolfdog—I’ve always loved wolves, and when I started traveling I decided I wanted to have my own ‘wolf’ as a travel buddy.” more>