A Colorful Year: The 4 Seasons Project

You know I create color palettes. But what do I actually use them for? One of my favorite palette applications is Scraplet Skeins, the line of multi-textured yarns I create for Knittique*; each skein creates a color sequence as you knit with it. So I’m always looking for fresh color inspiration (and am constantly surprised that I never run short of ideas). I’ve thought for a long time about doing a set of four color sequences, each representing one season of the year. The problem (and the reason I kept putting off working on this): what’s fresh about that? Isn’t the whole four-seasons idea completely cliché? Could I think of a novel way to represent the seasons? Continue reading

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The Colors of Money

The more I work with creating color palettes, the more I’m aware of inspiration lurking, at times, in some frankly odd places. But this is the first time I’ve had one delivered to me with my e-mail, not from Martha Stewart or HGTV — from Publisher’s Clearing House! Take a look:

Publisher's Clearing House e-mail color palette

Publisher’s Clearing House e-mail color palette; this is a good reminder that palettes are in use all around us! (Click on the picture to go to PCH’s website.)

Being involved in graphic design, I’m certainly aware that a major application of color palettes is in website development, and related projects like this e-mail promotion. But this is the first time this concept has struck me this way; we do tend to take in the page overall, not consciously picking out separate colors, especially when there are this many. It’s a good lesson to keep my eyes open! Continue reading

Silk Purses 2: More Easy Options

After I finished the Silk Purses photo-montage tutorial the other day, I thought of some other ways to combine the same 2 photos. These are even easier, since there’s no masking involved; it’s just the rose photo layered in between or on top of the 2 lettuce layers. (If that sounds incredibly strange to you, you’ll want to check out the previous tutorial.) 

Step 1: Get your background layers ready

Once you’ve worked your way through the first step, where you make 2 copies of your background photo and apply separate effects to each of these 2 layers, you’re ready for this project! You’ll just need your main photo; in this tutorial, I’ll use the same rose photo as before, to show you how you can get many different looks from the same 2 photos. We’ll just combine them a little differently.

Tip: You can use just one layer for the background, but it’s still a good idea to have a copy of the original layer.

Another tip: I’d advise a Save As here, using a different name. You may want to use those background layers later, with another photo. Continue reading

Silk Purses: A Creative Use for a So-So Photo

Maybe it’s because I just watched a “What Not To Wear” rerun, but I’m in a makeover mood today. As a graphic designer, I have often used less-than-perfect photos in unusual ways. I started in photography before digital cameras came on the scene, so I was already in the habit of trying to find uses for my “rejects” of film photography (of which there were many). I wanted to turn the proverbial sow’s ear into a silk purse, in fact.

Now that we don’t have to feel that we’re wasting money by throwing out film-based photos, we often find it all too easy to just trash those images we don’t think are useable; I’ve done it myself. But when I realized that I take a huge number of photos just for the sake of capturing colors, I started to think of every single shot in a new way. Could I do a digital makeover on so-so pictures? And how could I use the results? Continue reading