• Visual Graphic Arts

    Importance of Colour Modes for Graphic Design Artwork


    RGB colour mode is primarily used working on graphics to be displayed on television or computer monitors (i.e. websites or video) Red, Green and Blue are the primary colours when working with Light. So how can you tell it uses RGB, look very closely at your screen to see a small pattern including Red, Green and Blue dots (RGB colours). When RGB colours are blended together equally and it creates white none of the colours present black is created. This colour is known specifically as ADDICTIVE COLOUR.

    The secondary colours are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. A simple theory is imagining sitting in a dark room with no light at all the wall in front of you will appear black. Now with three friends sitting directly behind you were to shine three lights Red, Green and blue, the three colours would appear and any overlap creates the white light.

    Red and Green create Yellow light, Green and blue create Cyan and blue and Red create magenta light. But interestingly when the three colours combine together equally they then create White. This is called RGB colour mode and is why it is used on video and website design graphics.


    This colour mode is used for print purposes or media, you may have heard it called the four colour process. Main colours are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. It is used when applying ink to paper or canvas. You must double check with the printer before sending artwork as some large format printers can use other colour modes for printing depending on their set-up.

    If you have a graphic ready but it is in RGB mode you can convert it to CMYK, but be aware that this can make the colours very muddy (Subtractive colour), it is always best to start out using the colour mode you are going to use rather than converting the graphics.

    This is why a printers proof is important to get a feel of how the piece will print, too many clients sign off design from screens and when they receive the print ask questions about why the colour looks different. So be sure to get artwork signed off from a printed version rather screen. The difference between RGB and CMYK is how it uses light, CMYK does not give off light of its own, and it simply reflects light from additional sources. In CMYK white is created by absence of colour and the black created by combining the three main colours.

    Cyan and Magenta create Blue, Magenta and yellow create Red, Yellow and Cyan create Green. Black is createdby combining all colours equally; White is when no ink is present thus blank canvas or paper. If a client asks why the colour differs from on screen simply tell them screen is made of RGB colours and print is CMYK as we described so they will look different because they use light differently. If your project is critical and colours need to be matched this would require a pms(Pantone matching system) as detailed below.

    Pantone matching system – PMS

    Pantone Inc developed the matching system way back in 1963 to overcome the above problems with RGB and CMYK when a job requires exact colour matching. They are specials or spot colours used and are matched to the pantone booklet either coated, matt or non coated stocks. You can create your artwork and specify this spot colour whilst asking your client to sign off the colour from Pantone colour book. Pantone colours ensure consistency and are accurate with the printer mixing the colours as directed from Pantone. The only downside to this special colour is the cost, much more expensive but worth it if your job requires accuracy in colours.

    If your client isn’t colour critical use CMYK and hard copy proof for sign off the peace of mind.

  • Visual Graphic Arts

    Poster Printing

    Important: Just because you have the latest copy of Microsoft Word or a basic drawing program does not make you an effective poster designer. There are certain guidelines you must follow when developing an effective, eye-catching poster in terms of fonts, colours, size etc.

    A professional poster designer will be able to not only provide you with a great design but also advise you on the correct paper type based on where the poster will be displayed. For example, a poster that is south facing, outside and by the coast consequently exposed to high levels of UV and rain will need to be printed on different paper than a poster that will be displayed indoors, within a poster frame.

    Keeping your initial design ideas simple is paramount. Choose a design that your market can relate to. Don’t overcrowd the paper and keep your wording simple so that all ages and types of different potential customers that pass by will be able to understand it. Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” You only need to look at any Apple products to see the truth in that quote.

    Another factor that you will need to think about is the type of ink you will be using and the method of printing you need to use. If your poster is going to be used as an exhibition graphic at a trade show for example you will be requiring a very high-end finish. However if your poster is one of many, advertising a quick turnaround offer, you might want to think about a more economical finish.

    For high end finishes, ink-jet systems are very commonly used. However this method is expensive and wouldn’t be worth using if you needed more than say 20 posters. Anymore than that and you would need to consider litho printing. This method involves quite a bit of time at the outset for the printer. He will need to create a metal plate that is then used to very rapidly print large runs of posters or any type of print for that matter. If you are looking for a more economical option then perhaps a toner based printing system might be more appropriate for you. Using this method allows you to very economically print medium to large runs of posters but at about 70% the quality of an inkjet or litho based system. It all depends on the end purpose of your poster.

  • Visual Graphic Arts

    Get the Right Supplies for Cartoon Drawing

    Getting the Right Paper

    Your paper should be on the top of your list. You will want a type of paper that is not too smooth because smooth paper can lead to smears and faint lines. You will also want to avoid very rough paper because the lines could get thick, fuzzy, and hard to control.

    Bristol paper and Vellum paper are some of the most popular types used by professional cartoonists. Comic book artists tend to use Vellum because of the texture – it is just smooth enough to avoid unnecessary thick, fuzzy pencil lines but not too smooth to cause severe smears or smudges. Bristol has several variants so take some time to find which one works best for you. Sometimes simple Oslo or Office Printing Paper can do well and a lot of cartoonists use these papers for sketches.

    Getting the Right Pencil

    The pencil is going to be your bread and butter. Cartoon drawings tend to rely on two kinds of lines – one faint line and one thick line for borders and emphasis lines. However, you need three, not two, types of pencils.

    Go to any office supply store and look at the pencils. You will notice they go from 6B to 6H. The H pencils use hard lead, with 6H being the hardest. This means they do not wear off easily but it also means you can only get very faint, soft lines. An HB or 2H is a good choice for doing sketches and outlines.

    The B pencils are the exact opposite. They are soft lead and are much thicker. They are used for fuzzy, dark, and thick lines. 6B is the thickest. You’ll want to use 2B for finalizing your drawing and then a 3B or 4B for dark emphasis lines.

    If you want to use a mechanical pencil you will notice they come in three widths. 0.7 is the narrowest lead point, 0.5 is the normal pencil width, and 0.3 is the widest. In the long run it can be cheaper to use mechanical pencils than regular pencils that wear down and get shorter.

    Getting the Right Eraser

    A lot of novice cartoonists forget the importance of a good eraser. You will make mistakes – that is inevitable. Even expert cartoonists who work for comic books and animation studios make mistakes. And even if you rarely do, you still need a good eraser to remove your faint outlines and sketches as you do the final work on your cartoon drawing.

    Avoid the usual type of eraser. Rubbing on your pencil work is not going to do you any good. It damages the surface of the sheet. Instead, use gum erasers or kneaded erasers. The problem with gum erasers is that they crumble easily. Kneaded erasers can be pretty fun to play with. You just have to make sure you practice putting pressure when you erase so you know how much pressure will remove a faint line and how much pressure will remove a darker, thick pencil line.

  • Visual Graphic Arts

    Create Black and White Effect in Photoshop

    1. First, find a channel that has the tonal range. We are going to use the black & white version. Now, switch to the Channels palette. You will see three channels option naming “Red”, “Green” and “Blue”.
    2. Click on each Red, Green and Blue channels to select them individually. Now press Control + A to select and Control +C to copy it. At this point, click on the color composite channel and your photo will appear in full color.
    3. In the next step, paste the channel as a new layer. Add a new blank layer and past the copied layer. Go to the filter menu and select Smart Sharpen. Enter 75 percent value and click OK.
    4. Add a new layer above the latest layer and select the gradient tool from the Photoshop palate. You can also click G on your keyboard for quick access. Go up to the Photoshop palate and click on the gradient preview area. Set your gradient colors to black and white. Click OK to exit.
    5. We are going to create an illusion, from the top right corner of the image. Therefore, we will drag the Gradient Towards at the top right corner of the Image. Start dragging it to the right corner. Now change the effect-blending mode to create an abstract effect.
    6. Go to the blend mode option and select normal. Set the opacity level to 60 percent. At this point, you will get the last image. Apply the Gaussian blur filter to smooth out the gradient level. Select Blur and Gaussian blur together and set the value to eight pixels.
    7. Now go to the fill option from the palate and lower the value to 0%. This will hide the gradient visibility. Click on layer styles and choose outer glow from the palate. Select white from the color swatch. Click OK to exit out of the Color Picker dialog box. Set the opacity value to 40% and increase the glow level to 90 pixels.
    8. Click OK to exit and here is your final output.

    This is the basic and a very simple process to create a dramatic black & white effect in Photoshop. It is obvious that, one may not get the desired output at once. So, keep practicing and within a few days, you will get your preferred result. Thanks for reading!

  • Visual Graphic Arts

    Editable Freeform PowerPoint Maps

    The age old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is more true for maps in a presentation. The data which may take tens of slides to represent or explain can be easily put in just one thematic map. But how to make it without any GIS or geographical analysis tools. You can find a right image by searching the net by Google Image search. Sounds easy, but no. There are so many map images available on the net but can you use them. May be no, why? The image may be copyrighted. So why not use images from ShutterStock or some similar website offering images. Here also you need to purchase license and spend hours searching for the right map or image which matches the theme of your presentation.

    So should I hire a graphics artist to make a custom design for me. If the presentation is so important that you can spend hundreds of dollars for a custom map, then it is okay. But if you want to do the job in minimal budget with maximum output then the answer lies in freeform PPT maps editable in powerpoint software itself. Yes, no need purchase an expensive photo editor, all you need are editable freeform maps and manipulate them with click and select in the PowerPoint program.

    You can download a free Alabama County Freeform Presentation from https://gumroad.com/l/udUA with fully editable content and easy explanation to conform the slides to your selected theme. We have spent a lot of time to painstakingly trace all the counties as freeforms. You can even zoom one county freeform to full slide and it will still retain its shape. An image if so zoomed will definitely break into pixels and not usable at all. All these freeform counties can be selected in one go and filled with single color or singly, it all depends on what you want to present.

  • Visual Graphic Arts

    Draw in Easy Steps

    Start with Shapes and Lines

    Don’t worry about the detail of the person’s clothes or how their eyes will look. First you want a perspective of their shape, how they are posed, and the general outline of their body. To do this, use basic shapes like circles, rectangles, and triangles. A circle or an egg can represent a human face and then their body can be done with a rectangle. Focus on their size, the way the limbs are positioned, and the general shape of your drawing.

    When doing the basic outline, make sure you are using faint lines. A hard pencil like an HB or a 2H will be perfect. The lines drawn by these pencils are faint and easy to erase.

    Pencil in the Details – Adding Volume

    You’ve got the skeleton of your picture done now it’s time to add in volume. Take your HB pencil (nothing lighter) and start going over the outlines to add in the details of your drawings. This is the stage where you add in the eyes, the curve of the lips, and the general outline of their clothes.

    Keep it all simple. Don’t focus yet on the shading, lighting, or any emphasis on the details. Don’t worry about adding complex lines to their clothes or edges to their faces. Just add in the important stuff for now.

    Adding Emphasis

    For many this can be the third and final step. Use a good eraser like a rubber eraser or Blue Tac. Never rub your eraser on the paper to make changes. Doing so only takes off the upper layer of the paper and can ruin the quality of the page. Blue Tac is the best alternative – simply press down on the line you need to remove and it will literally catch the graphite off the paper. This avoids any damage on the paper you use.

    Adding emphasis takes time. As you are erasing the guidelines and other lines you no longer need you will also be adding in extra details. This is the step where you add in shading and lines to give emphasis. All those fancy textures you find in professional drawings are done in this final step. However, if you want to add color or really bring your drawing to life, there is one more step.

    Computer Editing

    You could use ink pens to manually add colors and many prefer to do so. Some use water colors and others use paint or even crayons and colored pencils to achieve different effects. However, the most in-depth editing and coloring is done on a computer.

  • Visual Graphic Arts

    Hem Vinyl Banners

    The way to use glue is first, of course, to get the right glue for vinyl banners. The way we did it when we glued hems for a short time was to lay the banner flat on a table, then we would take an eight foot ruler that was two inches wide and lay it along the edge of the banner. Then we would use the ruler to draw a straight line, two inches in from the edge. Once the line was in place, we would spread the glue just inside the line to the edge of the banner on one side. Then we’d fold one inch over to the pen line, then, using a hard rubber roller, we’d seal the vinyl into itself. Then we’d repeat the process on all four sides.

    In my opinion, though, this is the most difficult way to hem a banner of the four main ways to hem a banner. An easier method is banner hemming tape. We used essentially the same method as described above. Layed the banner flat, put the two inch by 96 inch ruler, marked the 2″ line with a pen, but then laid the tape along the line. Once the tape was down, we peeled the backing paper off the tape, folded over the material, and pressed the material together with the hard rubber roller.

    The previous two methods are the only two methods we ever used to mechanically fasten the banner material together, but there are two other methods that are as good or better, but do require equipment. The first was already mentioned, and that is the industrial sewing machine, typically fitted with a double foot to enable parallel stitching. This is a simple method if you have an industrial sewing machine. You can purchase these machines online on various websites (make sure the company you’re purchasing from doesn’t have a bad rating for customer service or selling off brands that may or may not perform).

    Learning to use a double footed sewing machine is much more difficult than purchasing one. It takes a bit of practice to be able to consistently fold an inch of the vinyl banner material over and sew it with a fairly straight seam and without bunching the fabric. Once you’ve gotten that down (or your employee), then learning to sew straight and fast is the main goal.

    The fourth method is the heat-welded seam. This is a method that requires special equipment. There are two types of heat seamer/welders. The first moves along the edge of the banner, whereas the other moves the banner through the heated hem welder. Banner hemmers can also create pole pockets just like the other methods.

    So, regardless of which method you use to finish your indoor or outdoor vinyl banners, the end result will be about the same. The only method I personally don’t like is the taping method, because if you roll a taped hem, it will tend to get unsightly wrinkles periodically along the hems. However, for an exterior banner with a fair viewing distance, it really doesn’t matter too much.

  • Visual Graphic Arts

    Using Printable Coloring Pages

    1. Use picture outlines to create collages using other materials such as pulses, beads, sequins and glitter etc. These materials will add even more beauty to the pictures and keep your child busy for long.
    2. These pictures can be used to create party decorations. You can make banners, placemats, name cards and posters out of them by getting your child to decorate them appropriately. You’ll need to stick them to thick paper in order to get them stand straight. This is a great way to do up the party venue in an appropriate theme without having to shell out big bucks. It will also keep your children really busy ahead of the event.
    3. You can use these pictures as part of birthday party entertainment. One way is to give the kids pictures to color and give little prizes to all of them when they complete decorating them.
    4. The pictures can be used as templates to cut out the perfect Halloween decorations from pumpkins. Since there are so many types of Jack O Lantern pictures available then you’ll have really unique Halloween decorations. If you don’t feel up to cutting out the pumpkins then you could just cut pieces out of stiff black paper and paste them onto pumpkins in the desired pattern.

    You can have a great time with your children with the help of printable coloring pages since they enable you to spend quality time together. You’ll also get a lot of time alone since your child will stay occupied for a very long time.

  • Visual Graphic Arts

    Custom Canvas Prints

    Custom canvas prints are reproduced and edited content from a photographic image and later printed on a piece of canvas. With such prints, there are no limits; you can put your imagination flying freely making the greatest ideas to put on canvas. From editing people on photos, details, writing songs, poems, stories, everything is possible. Custom canvas art gives you freedom to make your own high quality masterpiece that will decorate your place of living, or any other place you can think off. Also of them are great as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations, everything you can think off. Just make a plan, write down your idea and the fun can begin.

    People mostly use them for decoration, some make them to save memories and not to forget people that they have lost or just met in their lives. Often with photography on such prints, people put down some text, as I mentioned up before you can write whatever you want, poems, songs, stories, even an article like this. Open yours artistic side of personality and enter the world of making paintings by your wish. Use your ideas to create perfect gifts for people you love and respect, make them feel special in one great way; make them look like a masterpiece.

    When you choose to buy or make custom canvas print you should be careful about choosing the right canvas. It comes in many shapes and sizes and in different quality. For high quality prints mostly cotton canvas is used and for low quality poly canvas made of fiber. Then there are different brands. You ought to research properly before you make a decision.

    I recommend you to take high quality canvas because this is not a thing you by every day, this is a thing that lasts forever. Choosing the best variety for you, your family or friends as a gift or as a simple or maybe highly artistic decor in your home is a great way to express your feelings through art and for a low price you can set your place shining with alternative modern artistic view. Moreover, it’s everybody’s right to get the right thing for the right price. Getting a poor quality for high price is the last thing you’d want to see happening to you on Earth. So be wise, and think twice before you make a decision.

  • Visual Graphic Arts

    Creative Photo Cropping

    1. Step 1 You can use any image that contains primarily black and white (and not many shades in between). One way of making such an image is to spill ink onto watercolor paper and then scan it. But for my example, I used a large brush, dipped it in black ink and then painted on watercolor paper to create the image. Once the ink was completely dry, I scanned it as a gray scale image. As an alternative, you can paint with one of the creative brushes that appears at the bottom of the brushes palette in a gray scale document instead of scanning an image (although I think it turns out much better with scanned images).
    2. Step 2 Now we need to prepare the image we’d like to crop. So, open any photograph you’d like to use, double-click on the Background Layer to change its name and then choose Layer > Add Layer Mask > Reveal All. The layer should now have two preview thumbnails in the Layers palette. The one on the right is the Layer Mask you just created.
    3. Step 3 Now let’s get our scanned image into that Layer Mask. Open the scanned or painted image, choose Select > All and then Edit > Copy. Switch to the image you’d like to crop, Option-click (Mac), or Alt-click (Windows) the Layer Mask preview image in the Layers palette to make it fill the main screen and then choose Edit > Paste. If the pasted image is overly large or small compared to the document you pasted it into, then you’ll want to choose Edit > Free Transform and pull on the corners to scale the image
    4. Step 4 In a Layer Mask, black causes areas of the layer to become hidden and white causes areas to show up, which means that what we have now would hide the majority of our photo. So, choose Image > Adjustments > Invert to make the image a negative, which should cause the layer to only be hidden on the edges.
    5. Step 5 Next, lets make sure the primary areas of this image are pure black and pure white, otherwise you’ll be able to see through the image in the middle (grays=semi-transparent). To do that, choose Image > Adjustments > Levels and pull in the upper left and upper right sliders until the middle of the scan is solid white and the edge of the image is solid black.
    6. Step 6 Now to see how all this has affected your image, Option-click (Mac), or Alt-click (Windows) on the Layer Mask preview image in the Layers palette to hide the mask and show your image. It should be cropped so that it only shows up within the shape of the ink that was in our scan.
    7. Step 7 I think we could make it look even more interesting by adding texture to the photograph. Since the last thing we copied was the scan of that paint, you should be able to just choose Edit > Paste to get a new layer that contains the original scan. If you ended up scaling the image the first time you pasted it in, then you can choose Edit > Transform > Again to scale this version the same amount. After doing that, choose Filter > Stylize > Emboss, use the default settings, and click OK.
    8. Step 8 Now to apply the texture that the Emboss filter pulled out of the image, change the blending mode menu at the top of the Layers palette from Normal to Hard Light and then choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask. If that doesn’t add enough texture, then try choosing Filter > Texture > Texturizer to the layer you embossed.
    9. Step 9 If you’re still hungry for more effects, then click on the layer that contains the photo (not the texture) and experiment with the choices found in the Layer > Styles menu (I like Drop Shadow and Bevel and Emboss).

    All it takes is about an hour of free time and a quick visit to the art supply store to create literally dozens of creative crop shapes. You don’t have to be an artist, heck, just spill paint on the paper-it will look more interesting than a rectangular crop job. I can barely draw a stick man and look what I came up with. And since the Photoshop creative brushes can be used as a substitute for all those art supplies, your possibilities are truly endless.