A Push Pin Portrait Layout WITHOUT the Paint-by-Number Look | Joseph Francis | Skillshare

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A Push Pin Portrait Layout WITHOUT the Paint-by-Number Look

teacher avatar Joseph Francis, Check out my classes!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Sophisticated. NOT Paint by Number

    • 2. Here's What We're Doing

    • 3. How the Color Assignment Works

    • 4. Making the Circles

    • 5. How To Get It On Paper for $6

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About This Class


In this class you will learn how to plan color layouts for images made of collections of many small things in a limited palette. Push pins would be a good example, since they come in only certain colors. Stickers might be another example, as might ink stamps.

The main thrust of this class is how to avoid the simplistic "posterized" look and achieve color distributions that look much more sophisticated. The end product of this class will be a 2' x 3' poster that I will show you how to get printed in color at a place near you for under $6.


We are making a digital poster. We will not be getting into the details of where to source the 50,000 pushpins you'd need in order to actually make thisĀ image out of real pins.

If you have items at your disposal that canĀ be made into physical images and you wish to make such an art object then you may find this class usefull in giving your color layout a richer look, as pictured above.

Meet Your Teacher

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Joseph Francis

Check out my classes!


I started in New York at what is now called RGA Digital Studios, but was then called R/Greenberg Associates. I've worked at many of the top motion graphics and title design companies including yU+Co and Imaginary Forces, and with top creative directors including Kyle Cooper (Prologue).

Visit my LinkedIn profile here.

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1. Sophisticated. NOT Paint by Number: Okay, let's say you had a collection of objects that were small and of a limited number of colors , like pushpins, and you wanted to use them to make a portrait of a person. How would you go about doing it? Well, let's say the colors you had were white, yellow, blue, red and black. If you were gonna make a portrait or somebody with light skin, you might say, Well, I can use white for the highlights, I guess. And yellow is the closest thing to their skin. Maybe, and maybe when it gets a little darker could go to read and then finally to blue. And then the deepest shadows of all could be black. And if you did that, you would have a certain look, which would convey the impression of the person and could be acceptable. But what I want to show you in this class is a way of arranging those same five colors in a more sophisticated way, so that you can create portrait's of things like pushpins, where stickers or whatever else you have that might fit the criteria for making a portrait like this. You know, things that are more realistic in terms of the way the color is distributed. One thing this course is not going to cover his where to source pushpins or things like that in large quantities. So if you want to actually make a portrait like this yourself, you're gonna have to find out where to get those kinds of things. You're gonna need about 50,000 pushpins to make a decent sized one of these. I'm gonna be making a poster and I'm gonna show you how to make that same poster for under $6 at a store. That's probably near you. So if this sounds like an interesting course to you, enroll and find out what it's all about. 2. Here's What We're Doing: So here is the short explanation for what we're going to do in this course. We're going to start with a photograph and we're going to go to save for Web, and we're going to turn it into a GIF now. Normally, when you make a gift, it's 256 colors. And that does a pretty good job of replicating the original photograph because the colors that are chosen are, you know, the correct ones for that photograph. Instead of doing that, we're gonna force our own color table onto the image. And we're going to say we have these 55 colors, uh, white, black, yellow, blue and red. And even there you're going to see. You can see that it does a pretty good job of approximating the photograph. Um, you know this skin tone, for example, you might think, Well, it must have that skin tone there. But in fact, if you go in, it's just the this white, yellow red, a little bit of blue here and there. And that's where the skin tone is coming from. Now, if you look over here, you may see these weird artifacts. That's just a function of how big it zoomed. It's not really in the actual data, so if you go in a click, you see it's not really like that there. But if we look at this at 100% diffusion, which is this method here is not a bad way of representing these colors. If we look at some others like Pattern, we can see what that looks like. Pattern creates thes much more obvious pattern looking kinds of things. And if we look at noise, we can see that that looks much more sort of aggressively mixed in terms of the way the colors look. It's kind of interesting might be nice, but we have to choose, and we have to kind of judge it. Unfortunately, we have to judge it from further back, and that changes the look a little bit. But, uh, that's the basically what we're gonna do. We're going to take a photograph. Were turned into a gift. The gift has five colors, the five colors, all the colors of the pushpins. Um, we're gonna do this at lower resolution, much lower resolution so that it's more like this image sighs 1 92 and then file export safer web. And we go back to our five color table, which I saved here, and that's it. So there's diffusion. There's pattern, and there is noise, and we're viewing these at 100%. So then what we're gonna do is we're gonna take we're gonna pick a pattern, we're gonna blow it up. We're going to, um, make thes pixels round so that they look like pushpins. I'm not gonna actually be using pushpins. We'd have to have 10,000 pushpins be a big job. Um, and be expensive, probably. You know, I don't know how much it would cost, but if you're interested in that, this will help you plan your image in an interesting way, I think. But, um, it's beyond the scope of this course toe actually source the materials. I'm just gonna be creating a poster of it, but we'll have a nice poster when we're done, and that poster is going to cost about $6 and we're gonna get it at a store that I bet is near you. So that's what we're doing. And the rest of the course is fleshing out the details 3. How the Color Assignment Works: Okay, Here's where we assign the right colors to the right places. I have an image, and it's quite large. It needs to be a lot smaller. Image size. I'm gonna make it 1 92 That's the size I've been working with. And, um, it's about the size that will make a single pixel be the equivalent to a pushpin approximately. Here it is. Now we're going to make a five color gift file export save for Web legacy. They're facing this out or moving it around or changing it in some way. But at the moment, this is where it is safer web. We want GIF. Um, it'll probably be in J peg when you come into this section. But we wanted to be gift, and we want to say over here in the civil menu here selectable colors and then this garbage can hear delete. Now they are black and white. So, um, I'm going to come over here to pattern noise and my favorite diffusion, except diffusion, has its own Davor slider, and that needs to be turned up. Okay, Now get a little closer. We have black, we have white. We need to add two more. Three more colors red, yellow and blue. I'm gonna hit this button Here. Add eyedropper color to palette. What's Where's the eyedropper? Way over here on the left. What's the eyedropper color this color in this watch here. So let's go with red. Here we go and we're gonna add it. Now let's get a yellow and let's add it. Now let's get a blue and let's add it. And that's basically it, um, diffusion pattern noise. These are all possible patterns that we could choose as where to put our pins. Um, once we are finished with this, we save it out and then we magnify it a great deal, cause we're gonna make a poster out of it. We're not gonna actually assemble pushpins. We magnify it a great deal, and then I'm going around every pixel into a circle, and then we're gonna send it to a printer, and we're going to get a printed for on paper for about six bucks, and I will continue with those tasks in the next videos 4. Making the Circles: So I'm gonna make my image ready to print. I'm going to open it. And right now it is image sighs 1 92 by 2 88 Each pixel represents a push pin. You could think of it as so I want to make it quite large. And then I wouldn't want to mask these rectangles so that they look like circles. Right now the pixels look like that. And so I want to imitate pushpins a little bit by making them round, at least. So I'm gonna seif image sighs and I'm gonna make it 64 times bigger. 6400%. See how blurry it is. I'm gonna make sure that I'm at nearest neighbor hard edges there neither. Nice, good, sharp edged squares. So if I fit screen, you can see double click their very large squares. Now, what I'm going to do is take this image, which I've already got sitting here image size. And it is in pixels 64 by 64. So I made the colored image 64 times bigger. And so each pixel is now 64 by 64 by definition. So I'm gonna make a circle over here, which is 64 by 64. So if we look at the paths, I set a path here already. It's a circle, and if you look at it, you can see that I bring it. It's a transparent image and I bring this circle all the way out almost to the edge. So if I say right, click, make selection. Um, feathered No anti alias? Yes, New selection There it ISS So I've selected the inside of the circle Select in verse. Now I have selected the outside of the circle and it Phil actually, I need to be on a layer and it Phil with middle gray and I say OK, so now I have filled the outside of this circle with gray and the inside is transparent. I see it it to find pattern, not to find brush preset but defined pattern. And I define it. If I say OK, I already have one defined. So it's pattern for so I'm not gonna say OK, But now if I say so, that that is now set aside. So if I come over to here and I fill with this pattern, it's gonna repeat and the repeat frequency is gonna be exactly the same as these large scale pixels. So I say Edit Phil with a pattern and the pattern in question is this guy here, which is identical to the one I just made, except that its pattern for instead of pattern five and I say OK, now it's thinking about it for a minute or two. And there now the circles have been masked, and the reason is because, you know, there's transparency in the middle here, So the grey fills in in between the corners of the pixels, and the centers of the pixels are transparent. So they are windows into the original underlying ones. So I can close this. I don't need it anymore. And, um, actually, if I had said Control Z and I make a new layer here at it, Phil and I still have that brush that pattern defined, even though I dismissed the image that made it so. If I I feel with that now we have a nup, er, layer, so I can click that on and off, and you can see exactly what I'm doing there. And if I use opacity and he's off on the opacity. You can see how that works as well. It's kind of interesting to have the little boxes on the squares as well. Um, let's see 50%. It wasn't what I intended to do, but let's see what that looks like when we back out. Kind of interesting. I like it. I think I like it. So it's at that distance is pretty subtle, the difference between the layer and no layer. But if we go in, you can see There it is. There it is. There it is, there it ISS and if I go all the way to opacity 100% then we see that full middle gray around everything. I tried making white around everything and it makes the finished image too pale. And it's difficult to correct for that with color correction of things that that because these colors air so basic unsaturated that and they're already arranged. So I tried middle gray, but kind of liking the way it looks when you back off a certain amount. Also, it has a kind of a complexity to it. It's interesting. Maybe I'll leave it that 50% just because it's kind of interesting to look at. So let's see layer flatten image. Now, this is huge because I made it 64 times bigger and I ended up with an image which is 12,000 pixels wide, 18,000 pixels tall. Now, if we're gonna make a two by three poster and the DP I is 300 than two feet is, um 24 times 300 that 7200 pixels across. So you can see that if we if you go with a very sharp 300 dp I image, it's still pretty big. So hopefully your computer has the capability of hope. You know, working with images of that high resolution. If you need to scale down a bit and not make it 64 times bigger or even 32 times bigger, you could make it, you know, some smaller number. I recommend the power of to like 48 16 24 you know, 30 to 64 because it's easy to make the circle and center it because you can put the crosshairs right in the middle, or at least have an even number of pixels on either side so you can divide them right in half. Um, So this is bigger than ultimately what's going to be sent to the printer. What's gonna be sent to the printer would be in inches 300 and 24 by 36 at 300 g. P. I Okay, so if we look at that, that's the That's the resolution that I would actually sent to the printer image sighs. Look at that. And as I said, that's 7200 by 10,800. So that's his biggest You need to go. Hopefully you can go that big on your computer. So I'm going to save this file save as. And I'm gonna say that as, um actually file export, and then they're kind of getting rid of safer Web. I don't know what the plan is there, but, um J Peg, it's thinking about it for a second, cause I had it on gift and I saved this out and then I'm going to upload it to the printer 5. How To Get It On Paper for $6: Okay, Look at it one more time, and I think I'm going to change the opacity on this layer so that it's all 100%. And it's fully middle gray there. Player. Latin Image Image sighs. 70. 200 300. Okay, all right. File export. I could save it as a PNG save as J. Peg for printer, said Niinisto High, probably fine. And now I'm going to look up engineering Prince, and I'm going to be getting them from Staples. Let's see, you need to have Okay, so first of all, they basically they have these things called engineering prints, and they're designed for things like blueprints. So it seems like they like a lot of paper that's blank and a few lines here and there like a blueprint or like these diagrams. But I found that you can send them photographs. They come out a little bit like Xerox's. There's a little bit of a lo fi aesthetic to them, but you can do them, and they also have color versions, and they have up to 36 by 48. That's three by four feet. That's pretty good. Um, so let's see, you need to sign in and I'm gonna be getting I guess, Ah, it's going to be here. And I have a log in. This is my personal staples that I'm gonna be using and we're gonna do engineering and oversized prince and oversized color prints Engineering prince and black and white engineering prints and color not suitable for photo image is not suitable for photo images . Really? What they mean by that is it's not high fidelity photography if you send them a photograph . But if you send him a photograph, you know, and you want a funky kind of, ah, wall hanging, you'll be fine. Presentation graphics, photo enlargements. I'm gonna go with engineering Princeton Color so color or black and white. I'm going with color media. I'm gonna go with size 24 by 36 the papers there's There's only one weight in this category . There were several sizes. Like I said, I'm gonna go with that size 24 by 36. Fit content to paper while I've already designed it to fit the paper. But sure, whatever. Um, let's see. Job name, Pushpin Portrait quantity one pages three. Well, it's pages one, I guess, um, orientation landscape. It's gonna be portrait and single sided. There's no choice. Single cited special instructions. No, there's no special instructions. The price for this is looks like it's gonna be, Ah, about $6. Pretty good. Add files. Here we go, and I want to dropbox all sorts of choices. Upload files. So let's see this top skill share. Um, pushpin images for printer. If I just mouse over that, it's 7200 by 10 80. That's at 18 megabytes. Hope that's on too big. We'll see if they let me upload that. Okay, 18 Meg, say five for later. Re use. Add more files now upload so it uploads and then you give him payment information and they tell you when you can pick it up and they send you an email when it's done. And like right now, it's ah, mid afternoon on a Tuesday, and I'll be able to pick this up Wednesday, mid afternoon, maybe late afternoon. So it's generally kind of an overnight thing done. So now we're looking at how it sees it. There it is and add to cart Pushpin portrait Item name 5 89 Taxes 6 42 Pick up in store as soon as tomorrow at 7 p.m. And I found that there often done earlier than they say They're going to be done. But I'll say pick up in store and requested due date. Well, I see they're asking for it to be two days from now. No, tomorrow at 2 p.m. Anyway, I'm just gonna leave that alone because I'm not gonna be there before that. Anyway, we'll figure it out and check out and payment credit card pay its store, and we feel all that information out, and that's it, Then we're good to go.