13 06 2012

It’s late, so I’m going to try and get this post done in the next 10 minutes. That is my goal. GO.

Our official end of the year look at the best the Spring season had to offer kicked off on Tuesday with the Daily Journal Baseball Player of the Year. The young man who pretty much led from start to finish was Menlo’s Freddy Avis. This is how we commemorated that in the DJ.

I’ve done so many of these it feels like I’m running out of themes. For some reason, I decided to go with an Avengers theme this Spring. Considering some of the obstacles that come with very little time and the lack of luck that comes with getting good file art, the idea seemed pretty lofty. It’s even crazier considering that we still have a lot of these to go. I got lucky with Avis here, we had a good photo from earlier in the year. Here’s the cutout.

The inspiration for this treatment came from an Avengers poster I saw. I’ve always liked the idea of our athletes as superhuman specimens and while I’d give almost anything to draw something to bring my REAL idea to life one day, I have to settle for clever background manipulation and decent typography skills. Since I’ve long promised a post like this and I’m already past my 1 p.m. deadline, visually, this is how this took place.

1. The space. It’s what we call a 3-column space at the Daily Journal. Vertically, the space was chosen to accommodate the story at the bottom of the visual. The globe was taken straight out the of Avengers poster you see above and flipped around. I didn’t want it anchored on the bottom so as to not disturb the story’s copy.

2. I added the Avengers’ logo to the back to give it a bit more contrast. That’s just a simple overlay, then selection, followed by a cut and paste of the background layer. I then added a bit of Bevel on the A to make it pop a bit. The effect has to be subtle, so as we added more things to the piece, naturally I lowered the opacity.

3. Next is the bread and butter — the nameplate. For this, I went to a couple places. First, Dafont.com to search for an Avengers font. It spat out a couple and I pretty much selected a random one. I actually got pretty lucky that this particular font had the actual Avengers A and that Freddy’s last name happens to be Avis. Then, after trying to come up with a decent effect on my own, I gave up and went here for a tutorial on the matter. Given more time, it would have fun to gone through steps 11-14. But, I’m not that skilled and don’t have that kind of time. The result of this experiment is here.

4. The nameplate goes on the background and I added a lighting-kind of image to give it a burst of light and add a nice little fill effect to the right side of the project. Tinkering with the curves a bit got it to where I needed it.

5. In goes Freddy Avis. You saw the original photo. It’s a tad bland, albeit, it’s a great shot. After the cut out and clean up, the Levels get played with a bit and so is the Color Adjustment, just to make the yellow kick in a bit more. Then, the layer is duplicated and the top is given a surface blur. Don’t know why, but I love that effect. The opacity of the top copy is then lowered so it’s only slightly blurry. The photo has a nice natural shadow already, we just enhanced that with the Burn tool and faded in some of the rougher edges with the Eraser. Simple stuff, but effective.

6. The finishing text is added followed by a border. I liked white in this instance. It frames it instead of constricting it. The project is then flattened and turned into an EPS format that we take into Quark (yes, the Daily Journal still uses Quark).

And this is the final product, with it set on the page and an 800-word story laid on top. We needed space for other stories to run in the section, those appear to the right as planned. Overall, I thought it was a nifty job.

I haven’t shown you how the Front Page art came to be. That’s just the Avengers’ A with some DJ type-setting to tease the readers to Page 11 of our newspaper. Here’s what that looked like.

You want a sneak peak at Softball’s front? Of course you do. Our Softball Player of the Year is Kelly Robinson of Carlmont.

The fun part the rest of the way will be fitting two of these images into the same space as we’ll be running two stories instead of one. Oh joy. Anyway, hope you followed all the way through. It’s a long process. Time consuming when you’re still very much an amateur like I am. But, it is a whole lot of fun when you pick up the newspaper the next morning and it look pretty freakin’ sexy.




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