The good news is that we’re keeping the every tuesday schedule, the better news is that we’re finalizing a deal on an industrial bay to set up shop in and have a ton of sweet tools and cool things to set up in the coming weeks (hint: we bought a 3D printer!) buuut the bad news is that in the meantime, you get half-hearted tutorials. We are planning a lot more video stuff in the future, we are planning to have live streams and production value and an awesome workspace to do it all in, but we appreciate your patience as it’s all being set up first on our end.
Still! Enjoy a basic Photoshop tutorial:
Our very first post was one of the first things I made after we finalized our gear logo idea. People seemed to really like it, so I’m going to demystify the effect and break down the layers. We start, above, with just a basic slate texture that I use quite often. Any rock will do, you just want a big clean surface that has grit and texture without being busy and distracting.
The second layer is a film dust one, actually, and a favorite of mine. It gives some extra dust, scratches and little pixel details as well as those red scars at the bottom which are actually little lens flares or something, but work for our red fire + sparks theme. While you can sometimes get away with mixing multiple rock layers over each other to add increasing detail, quite often it becomes unrealistic in obvious or even subconscious ways. You start seeing things like rocks coming out of of each other, or sitting in impossible ways. By using layers that are physically feasible (rock texture + lens texture) we can add bonus detail without removing realism, or the realistic illusion thereof.
Throw the logo in there, add a very slight glow to it. You’ll notice, also, that my glow has a color ramp instead of being one color. Like we did with the animated sparks, fire exists as an energy gradient that goes from white through yellow and orange into red and finally fades out to transparency. Our logo isn’t realistically “on fire” but it is white, and it is glowing with energy so we’re going to respect the fiction a little and give it that extra detailed touch. Besides, it’s almost no additional work.
I’m going to turn the logo layer off for these next few to demonstrate the fire by itself. It starts as some firepit photos that are set to screen, lighten, color dodge as necessary. Definitely play around with overlay settings – most of the good stuff is in there when creating layers of things like this is. Erase out with a soft brush any signs of non-fire details from the stock photos and you’re left with an alright plate. We can hide that awkward bottom edge with the logo shape itself. Let’s add some more:
Not bad, got the ring going nicely, it’s sparking and bursting a bit more. The goal with any still frame is to make it look alive – tell a story or give the impression of motion or at least sound. Logos, of course, are a notoriously static thing to work with, so we’re using fire which is a thing that can never be still visually and also makes that whoosh of flames or crackles of a firepit; it’s inherently more visceral than just still rock. Though, if rock or ice is the motif, cracks can suggest nice sounds as well – maybe some wind or snow is blowing past. You can always add dynamic elements to things.
A smoke layer. Remember how we’re adding texture using realistic / feasible sources? So now we have the rock itself, fire as an object and smoke as an atmosphere all being seen through a film / scratchy lens. These things can exist in one frame of a real photograph together, so it creates a more frictionless viewing – the human mind doesn’t have any trouble putting things together when it works on a very basic plane of knowledge about reality.
Unfortunately smoke is too light, so we’re going to vignette the frame a bit – another faked camera lens effect. This is super simple and basically a radial gradient.
We darken the entire thing with a black layer set to ‘soft light’ which will keep our whites and bright yellows dazzling. If you just adjust brightness you clip those values down unfairly, we’re really only trying to darken the medium shaded background area to force that popping contrast.
Then, you throw the logo back on.