TMN021 – My name is Bradford. And I’m a Mediaholic.

The Multimedia Ninja, Ep. 21 - Featured Image

This week: Multimedia Ninjas welcome! The death of incubation? How we do the weekly featured images, a look at Screenflow, and why I don’t want the phone to ring.

Show Notes

Thank You!

We blew past the 5,000 downloads mark this week, thanks to YOU! So give yourself a big pat on the back…

Birthday Boy

4/24 – Our friend, listener, and awesome music supporter Michael Haislip (I believe we gave him a shout out in Episode 20) is another year younger!

Book: How to Fly a Horse

Check out the podcast for a more extended discussion, but here’s the link to the book on Amazon:

How to Fly a Horse –

How I make the weekly Featured Images (Video, pt. 1 of 3)

Our very first Screenflow video tutorial…for those who learn best by video!

How I make the weekly Featured Images (Text & Photo Tutorial):

So, as most everybody viewing this is aware, I do these little Featured Images (actually that’s what WordPress calls them, technically) pretty much every week. I’ve done a few that are a little different, like Episode 16; but most of them have this sort of graphic novel/comic book vibe, which goes with the basic visual theme of the website.

  1. Grab wine bottle and decanter
  2. Take shot in Mac Photo Booth

    TMN021-The First Photo

    The first photo

  3. Open 2560 x 1440 (16:9) blank document template in Photoshop and place image
  4. Scale image up (source image from Photo Booth is 1280 x 853)

    Placed in Photoshop Template (the first time)

    Placed in 16:9 Photoshop Template (the first time)

  5. Image is going to be cramped when put into 16:9 frame, so retake photo with decanter hand higher
  6. Place into Photoshop and scale up to fill frame

    That's Better

    That should work better.

  7. Create new layer and paint “burgundy” color fill in decanter.
  8. Try “Overlay” blending mode on this layer. Doesn’t produce the results expected.
  9. Try various blending modes: “Color Dodge” is interesting.
  10. Duplicate again and select “Overlay” on this top layer.
  11. Decanter/flask now has a pretty cool “scientific potion” look. I was going for “wine,” but this should look cool once we get the graphic novel/comic book treatment. (I probably could have “filled” the whole decanter and it would work better…but this is supposed to be quick ‘n’ dirty!)

    The decanter/flask now looks interesting.

    The decanter/flask now looks interesting.

  12. Mask out studio background. The red studio looks pretty cool and fits the scheme, but I think I’ll try to go with a cityscape appropriate for a wino.
    Background masked out...

    Background masked out…

    The rough Layer Mask to get rid of the background

    The rough Layer Mask to get rid of the background

  13. Mask is a little rough, so correct a few most glaring parts and move on. Can refine later.
  14. The red studio background shows through the top of the decanter, so try to use sponge tool to desaturate the red. At first, I applied the sponge to the mask instead of the image itself, until I figured out my mistake. (Actually all the images here, except the first two Photo Booth images, show the top of the decanter already “sponged.”
  15. Search Google for a few images of urban walls that are not copyrighted (Advanced Search)
  16. One that says “Newcastle Graffiti” looks promising. Place it into Photoshop layer behind subject (me!). Adjust size and placement to taste.

    Background image added...

    Background image added…

  17. “Rasterize,” then “Convert for Smart Filters” the layer. (This seems the long way around, as the placed image was a Smart Object to begin with…which I then rasterized (i.e., no longer a Smart Object)…then when I did “Convert for Smart Filters,” I get a warning that says “this will create a smart object”….but “Convert for Smart Filters” wasn’t an option when I initially placed the image as a “Smart Object”…! SMH…
  18. ANYway, apply (as Smart Filters, which can be adjusted later) some lens distortion (wide angle) to wall layer, along with a little blur. (The wall, being further away, would be a little out of focus if a low f|stop number were used on the “camera.”)

    A little blur and distortion added....

    A little blur and distortion added….

  19. Add an adjustment layer above, to try some desaturation and a little hue shift, just for S & Gs…

    Desaturated and Hue-shifted the background...didn't do a lot for me.

    Desaturated and Hue-shifted the background…didn’t do a lot for me.

  20. Decided to try other wall photos collected from Google. None of them moved me as much.
  21. Accidentally entered a ridiculous number like 20000% in scaling dialog, and froze the computer for a half hour. Shower time.
  22. Came back into studio, found computer unfrozen, deleted unneeded photo layers. SAVED DRAFT OF THIS POST! 😛
  23. Decided desaturation/hue shift probably not helpful, disabled that adjustment layer.
  24. SAVED .psd FILE AGAIN…!!!
  25. Saved current result in “Featured Images” folder as “TMN021-PrePaper.jpg.” (The “Featured Images” folder is in my Google Drive folder so the files are accessible across all my devices!)
  26. Picked up HTC One Max (Android phone), opened “Paper Camera” app, and imported “TMN021-PrePaper.jpg” from my Google Drive “Featured Images” folder.
  27. Saved a few variations (like Gotham Noir, Half Tone, Comic Boom, Pastel Perfect, Old Copier, etc.) from Paper Camera (after tweaking a few parameters to my liking).
    The "Gotham Noir" filter in Paper Camera

    The “Gotham Noir” filter in Paper Camera

    The "Pastel Perfect" filter in Paper Camera

    The “Pastel Perfect” filter in Paper Camera

    The "Comic Boom" filter in Paper Camera

    The “Comic Boom” filter in Paper Camera

  28. Opened “Gallery” on HTC, found “Paper Pictures” folder, and shared those images back to Google Drive. (Don’t think I can do that directly from Paper Camera.
  29. Back to Mac and Photoshop. Placed a couple of Paper Camera images on top layers, using various blending modes (I think “Comic Boom” (normal blending mode) with “Gotham Noir” above that (Luminosity blending mode).
  30. Used the Clone Brush to get rid of the little logo on the wine bottle.
  31. Used layer mask copied from Step 12 earlier as a basis to reveal various parts of the different layers (altering the mask slightly as necessary), and to make an adjustment layer to brighten the background.
    Before using a "Curves" Adjustment Layer and Layer Mask to lighten the background and face, it was a little dark.

    Before using a “Curves” Adjustment Layer and Layer Mask to lighten the background and face, it was a little dark.

    That's better.

    That’s better.

  32. Added text to the bottle and the decanter. A little distortion to the bottle text and two layers plus drop shadow on the decanter.

    Text added...

    Text added…

  33. Grabbed a file I keep handy of those little “comic book” dots (a graduated halftone pattern), placed it in the top layer, and used our old friend layer mask as the basis to keep the pattern off the subject. The pattern image is actually darker towards the right, so I had to use Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal to make it darker on the left. (To fit what the lighting appears to be, which also will emphasize the logo.) I often use the dots to give it that “comic book” feel.

    The halftone dots pattern file

    The halftone dots pattern file

  34. Altered the layer mask by hand, to get rid of the dots on the right side and kind of finesse how they get darker towards the lower left of the illustration.

    The final Photoshop comp...

    The final Photoshop comp…

  35. WHEW! That’s about it for Photo Booth, Photoshop and Paper Camera. Now to use the Adobe Illustrator template to make the final comp with the TMN logo.
  36. Done! Ready to insert as “Featured Image” on WordPress Blog/Podcast post page.

    The Multimedia Ninja, Ep. 21 - Featured Image

    Logo and word balloons added in Adobe Illustrator.

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