Every Writer Needs to Know Some Photoshop!
From time-to-time I am called upon to use my Adobe Photoshop skills to create custom graphics for organizations, clients, and productions. Usually these custom graphics compliment the professional writing or video projects as part of the deliverables for the aforementioned entities.
Below are examples of the custom graphics that I created and their associated projects (writing or video production).
CROSSROADS: Dedham Fights The Pipeline
Type: Title Card
Production Company: Dedham Television
This collage was produced for the aforementioned program, which was a panel discussion and a live Q&A session about the environmental impact of the Algonquin high-pressure gas pipeline extension (known as the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline) passing through the Massachusetts communities of Dedham, Westwood, West Roxbury, and on to Boston. This was a deeply fought over issue in both the courts and with non-violent civil disobedience at the work sites. Even a member of Dedham’s Board of Selectmen, Michael Butler, was arrested attempting to stop work on the pipeline. The image of his arrest is in the upper right part of the title card.
I was also the program’s main producer, giving it its title: CROSSROADS…
Therefore, for the title card, I chose the two road crossing motif along with a montage of pipeline protest images. Also, I made sure that the Dedham Television brand logo appeared on the show’s title card.
The fonts and font colors were also carefully chosen to represent the intensity of the controversy while being easily viewable over broadcast airwaves and video streaming services.
Dedham’s Got Talent
Type: Title Cards (3 segments)
Production Company: Dedham Television
The next three title cards were created for a children’s program that I helped to produce. Each card represents a different segment of the show.
How To Draw
This segment was a essentially a POV tutorial for kids to show them how to draw an animal. I chose a slew of kids-related hand-drawn images, along with a colorful rainbow palette for the segment’s title. The fonts were also specifically chosen to capture the youthful nature of the segment.
The girls in this segment wanted to do a full gymnastics demonstration. I thought it would be fun to call it Gymnastics Elastics because of the amazing flexibility that they had. I kept the design simple focusing on a collage of great gymnastic scenes from The Olympics and World Championships. The font was chosen to express the elasticity of the gymnasts.
The Secret Life Of Animals: Pandas
Finally, the kids did a segment on Panda Bears; therefore, I chose to create a college of pandas doing all kinds of silly things. I chose two different fonts and color sets for the show’s title and sub-title to give it visual variety.
NICK’S SCI-FI CORNER: NSFC @ SDCC – The Renegade Panel
Type: Title Card & Logo
I wanted the logo for the show to be obviously comics-based; therefore, I incorporated a variant of Captain America’s iconic Vibranium shield as well as me in a variant of Cap’s uniform—only instead of an A on the cowl, there’s an N! The font is, as you would guess it: Comic Sans, which was the official font for the show.
An animated version of this logo was in development for a new opening sequence but unfortunately the show got cancelled before it could be completed.
During the editing of this episode, the great Leonard Nimoy (who play Spock from TVs Star Trek) passed away. I thought it was only fitting to dedicate the episode to him. There is an opening dedication to Leonard that is a title with a background image of the Vulcan IDIC (an iconic totem from Star Trek lore). However, at the very end of the episode, I created this superimposition of Leonard both young (as he was when he first played Spock) and older (as he was before he died: venerated)—note the background image of the original USS Enterprise NCC-1701 and Shuttlecraft Galileo, and the Star Trek fonts. I also employed a feathering technique on this memorial.
His great artistic talent and love of humanity will be sorely missed!
Type: Title Cards (for show segments only)
Though The Renegade Panel was a special NICK’S SCI-FI CORNER broadcast, it was part of a much larger regular episode that would have been aired had the show not been cancelled. This larger episode simply called NSFC @ SDCC was going to employ a hybrid of documentary and journalism style covering the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con; as well as, the standard 4-segment format of the regular NICK’S SCI-FI CORNER show.
Those four segments were known as: Wormhole Extreme!, From Beyond The Stars!, The Amazing Cinematograph!, and Future Shock!
The following are title cards from each of those segments. The were also co-created in Adobe Photoshop with the help of Susan Howland of Creativedge. As you can see from each of these designs, I employed a Retro-Sci-Fi/Art-Deco design (with a little modern sci-fi imagery sprinkled in) in both the images and fonts. I wanted to capture the Golden Age of Science Fiction with these title cards. Even The Amazing Cinematograph harkens back to sci-fi movie classics such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
Type: Title Card
During the run of NICK’S SCI-FI CORNER, I also produced a much smaller version of the show called NSFC Update!
This was supposed to be a 5-12 minute quickie version of the show’s more informational content such as pop-culture convention dates, movie releases and reviews, and other announcements. It quickly morphed into whole show in and of itself with some genre-related comedy skits as well.
This title card was used in the opening sequence of the show. It was a collage of great sci-fi tropes and imagery from Godzilla to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It still uses the Comic Sans font.
Again, this was co-created with the help of Susan Howland of Creativedge.
Bamboo Rose Platform Raises Everyone
Aside from Broadcast Media, I also use my Adobe Photoshop skills to create Marketing Collateral for companies, clients, organizations. The custom graphics used on this data-sheet that I created for Bamboo Rose (a retail software company) was tailored specific to the flavor, style, and message that the company required to promote their product.
The first page header of the data-sheet is a collage of elements from their software platform, retail industry images, and the company logo.
The reverse side incorporated a fashion and lifestyle collage that preceded the company’s Factoid.
Type: Product Concept
Finally, there is a demo image of a fictional product that the Bamboo Rose retail software platform is capable of creating from concept to store shelves (it’s a visual part of the case study described on the reverse side of the data-sheet).
Frequently, as I create mar/comm and writing-related content for websites, custom graphics are an essential part of telling the story both textually and visually. The following backgrounds were created by me in Adobe Photoshop for three micro-sites that I built for Dedham Television. Each micro-site represented a Video-on-Demand channel for the broadcast media organization. The channels were: VIDEOSNOW! (for entertainment programs including NICK’S SCI-FI CORNER), MeetingVids§ (for municipal and community programs), and SchoolSpaceπ (for educational and kid’s programs).
Each background was designed to compliment and enhance the channel’s purpose.
Note: These are the full sized original images. The ones that are actually used on the micro-sites are blurred out versions because the focus there is on the uploaded and available videos.
Type: Entertainment Programs Collage
This collage represented all of the major public entertainment shows that Dedham Television was airing at the time—including the shows that I had produced. It was designed to easily fit into an HD broadcast screen size and aspect ratio.
Type: Municipal Collage
This collage is a collection of the foremost public buildings in Dedham (the town hall, the court house, the Ames Schoolhouse/future town hall, and the Endicott Estate), plus the official Seal of the Town of Dedham Massachusetts.
Type: Public School Collage
This collage is simply a collection of all of Dedham Massachusetts’ public schools: Greenlodge Elementary, Old & New Avery Elementary, Oakdale Elementary, Riverdale Elementary, Thomas Curran/ECEC Kindergarten, Dexter Pre-School, Dedham Middle School, and the Dedham High School. I also put a kid’s version of a Pi symbol in the foreground to represent education overall.
Click the links above in this section’s first paragraph to visit each of these VOD micro-site channels, or visit the Websites page to learn more about each of these micro-sites.
Dedham Times Ad Announcing Dedham Television’s New Website
Type: Quarter-page Ad
Though I usually write the copy for advertisements that I’m working on, from time-to-time, I’ve been asked to also provide a custom graphic design for the ad as well.
This one was a simple quarter-page ad announcing the new website for Dedham Television (that I built, see the Websites page for more info on that). The ad not only discussed all of the great new bells and whistles that Dedham TV was promoting on its online presence, but also I chose a mobile-web design motif for the ad. The copy is framed by an outline of an iPad, the new Dedham Television logo (that I created, see the Branding & Logos page for more info on that) also appears prominently, the fonts I use are a combination of 3D and elegant, the layout of the text is carefully placed for readability, and the company’s new tagline [“Integrated Media for a Connected Community!”]—which I wrote (see the Copywriting page for more info on that)—fills out the bottom of the ad.
It goes without saying that I wrote all of the copy for this ad as well.
I did a both a color and a black and white version; I much prefer the color myself.
Make Tech Easier
I’ve written for a few blogs as a paid freelance writer. The most recent being Make Tech Easier (MTE)—a consumer technology how-to and review online publication. As a writer for them, I frequently had to provide custom graphics for my articles.
The following examples come from my published articles on MTE.
Type: Featured Image
This custom graphic was for an article titled 5 Useful Microsoft Excel Templates for Indie Film/TV Production. It was created using both Microsoft Excel and Adobe Photoshop.
Type: Screenshot Collage
This custom graphic is a collage of screenshots depicting the use of Apple’s Photos App for iPhone. The article it appears in is titled Master the iOS Photos App with These Hidden Gems. This was created using the Apple’s iOS Photos App and Adobe Photoshop.
For those times when an article of mine was not the right material for MTE or any other blog, I would just publish it myself on LinkedIn Publishing.
This infographic was a simple collection of screenshots and titles to detail how the process of taking a Facetime call on your Mac (using your Apple ID) works. The article was tilted iCloud Apple ID – When Taking a Call Through Your Computer is Just Too Cool!
This custom graphic was created using Apple macOS and Adobe Photoshop.
You can read all of my LinkedIn Publishing articles here, or visit the Journalism page to learn more about my published work.
Dedham Television and Media Engagement Website
Type: Processed DSLR RAW images via Adobe Lightroom
One last side note about my custom graphics skills as it pertains to my professional writing experience is also my ability to digitally process images in general. In other words, not just taking digital pics and plopping them into Photoshop to mash them up with other images and add titles and effects, but also to take nicely shot images and tweak them in Adobe Lightroom for photo galleries and such.
Even though I am a big fan of using the HDR setting on my iPhone to take professional-quality images that I will process later for a dedicated purpose, I also use a Canon DSLR camera for really amazing shots, which is evident by the following example:
On the former DedhamTV.com Summer Camp page, I had a photo gallery with pics of one of the kids’ video production classes that was held. In the original photo to the left of Anne (an intern at the time) and the kids, it had some issues—especially where Anne’s black dress was concerned. As you can see in the original, her dress is almost completely detail-less. Also, the lighting tones (due to the neon lights above) were too cold and lifeless. The image is a little blurry thanks to the kids’ constant movement, but I kept it that way because they made the class full of life with their youthful exuberance—you can’t beat that!
Using Lightroom, I tweaked the contrast, brightness, and histogram of the image to rectify the above issues, as you can see here:
In the second example here, Anne is down in the studio setting up for a shoot. Again the details of her dress weren’t apparent and the lighting was too bland.
All of which I fixed in Lightroom here:
Note: These examples are not the actual original images. The RAW camera files are about 25MB each (too big for web pages), and the processed images currently in the linked photo gallery are 1920 x 1280 when viewed full size. The images here are reduced in size for easy posting and example purposes for this portfolio.
Unfortunately, you can no longer view the entire photo gallery as the new, new Dedham TV website (that I was not involved in, which is sorely lacking in a lot of the great and relevant content I created) has omitted the nice photo gallery (that I worked really hard on) for that page. In my opinion, this is a big marketing mistake. Simplifying the DTV website loses all of the features and benefits details that prospective businesses would want to know about before working with Dedham Television. This also includes parents who would consider sending their kids to the Dedham TV Summer Camp. Those images in the photo gallery would have been very helpful to generate new campers to sign up. But now it’s gone! Oh well…