Randy Meredith

Instructional Designer & Lettering Fan



What a treasure chest full of ideas!

I haven't finished playing with all the effects Helen covers in this course. But I have had an absolute blast working on the first two pieces. I plan to spend more time experimenting with the techniques presented here because I seem to learn more than just the technique itself. More often than not, I am learning small, but very useful Photoshop secrets that can really speed up my work.

My take-aways for this course (So far!):

  • Becoming more proficient using the Magic Wand tool in its various modes for selecting odd shaped areas without pulling out what little hair I have left. This is a game changer for me.
  • Using what I learned in Helen's "Creating Color Schemes" course, I was able to create some color tables enabling me to have access to color pallets not native to Photoshop.
  • I realized while working on the 2 pieces below that I have become far more confident performing more complex editing tasks. Before taking a number of Helen's courses I used very little of Photoshop's potential for making my designs more striking or interesting. Now, I find myself experimenting with blend modes, adjustment layers, fills and patterns - something I simply didn't do in the past.
  • While not part of the course content, I think I'm beginning to develop a broader appreciation for color and texture. But, I still have a long way to go on this score.

I'm looking forward to working with the next few techniques!



Round 2: Cutout Text effect.

I continue my mad scientist experiments with the text effects Helen presented. This time I went for the cut out effect. My finished product is actually quite ugly, and that's OK. I wasn't trying to make something attractive; I simply wanted to play with all the knobs and buttons in Photoshop, just to see what would happen. I decided to add a color overlay effect to improve its charm. Minor improvement. As you can tell by looking, I used the title of the department where I work (which is way too long for this kind of effect), and I chose a nasty shade of blue (like I said, I wasn't being picky).

Take-aways for round 2:

  • The cutout effect is not difficult to master.
  • The clipping mask still feels somewhat counter intuitive, but at least I'm beginning to understand ways to use it.
  • It's easy for this effect to turn out as ugly as a 3 legged duck. But, that's what experiments are for.


Round 3: Finishing the last 4 techniques - Woohoo!

I think I've had more fun in this course than in any other Photoshop course to date. What a great collection of techniques! I created four more "experiments", and in each, I tried to incorporate bits and pieces of other techniques Helen has taught me. For example:

A. GRACE: Demonstrating ways to fill text with color or texture. For this experiment I used a font from an earlier technique so that I could have lots of internal space in each letter. However, instead of simply filling each letter, I used a very LARGE pattern brush to daub in some color, while leaving places for the background to peek through. Finally, I added a stroke to the letters, but set the stroke's blend mode to multiply which resulted in an interesting, but matching hue.


 B. MERCY: The ability to turn text into a shape creates the potential for lots of creative ideas. Since the text was a shape, I decided to "artistically enhance" (LOL) the shape of the letters. What fun! The result is crude, but it opened my eyes to a new way to alter or deconstruct text for creative purposes. I also added an outline to the text to add interest and legibility. Finally, I added a textured background just because I could. I think this turned out better than I expected.


C. JOYFUL: At this point the Photoshop train is rolling at speed, and I quickly put JOYFUL together by creating a fill/pattern layer (Green with fibers pattern), and applied a clipping mask to fill the letters with the green fibers. I left the background as a simple color fill, but added a subtle drop shadow to the letters. Nice.


D. CELEBRATE: By this point I found myself spending more time choosing colors and rotating/moving/fussing with the vector image. The technique is similar to the process used to create JOYFUL. It's the font that makes this technique really pop. Since I chose a flat color background, I decided to add a drop shadow to the word. By setting the blending mode of the drop shadow to Multiply, it transformed the medium grey/black shadow color to an awesome red-ish shadow. It was an accident, but I'll take it!


Now I think it's time for me to find my next course!


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