A few of you have been asking, so here it is: An overview of how we put the Viget Inspire background together. The driving philosophy behind real-texture stuff like this is to fake as little as possible. No matter how many brushes you have or how good you are in Illustrator, there's a quality of unpredictability in real photographs and real, physical elements that adds great subtle qualities to any design.
After coming up with the concept of the sunrise/hikers, the next step was to find two real images to craft it from. We needed a real skyline with a row of trees, and a real bed of watercolor effects with the kind of subtle variations watercolors do best. The two lucky candidates were found on iStock.
The first step was to divide that beautiful photo up into three distinct, flat blocks that we can manipulate further. The sky was easy (just chop around the mountains), but the trees a little more difficulty. Fortunately, with a collage like this, being hyper-detailed isn't too important...a rough cut-out of the trees on the left side and some guesswork on the right were good enough.
Adding the textures
Now, to fit the watercolor image we downloaded into the layers we've cut out. After adding the image, two more layers were stacked:
- A color layer with a few similar hues painted in with various grunge brushes. Switching brushes frequently keeps the texture nice and random.
- A Levels layer, for pumping up the resulting images (they were a little light)
Still a little flat
What we have now looks nice, but it stills seemed a flat. We wanted to bring in more detail, but not random paint stuff...the idea was to bring back in some real nature textures, and let the randomness add some visual detail. This was accomplished by creating new, grayscale versions of the original images over the work we've done, and "Multiplying" it.
Finally, time to add the name and logo. Two more uses for the watercolor texture: One inside the type itself, and a second use in the Inspire orb.
Just like that?
Of course, the actual process was nowhere near this simple, and involved huge stacks of layers, several versions, many Diet Mountain Dews, and the near-constant second-guessing that makes design such a hazardous profession. While the end result has a pretty simple construction, the process that got us there took sketching, experimentation, and the feedback of the whole design team to get it all across the finish line.
What did I miss?
I know I skipped over a few details here and there, but was if you have any specific questions about achieving the effect,s let me know in the comments! I've had a couple requests for tutorials on making the Viget Inspire portraits, but that'll have to wait for another week.