Low Contrast Images for use as Backgrounds

A lot of times I have students propose putting an image behind text in order to give the page interest. Its a fair enough request, but one that introduces a lot of problems in comprehending the text. Sometimes, they will lower the opacity of the background or throw a lowered opacity white fill under the text but it usually doesn’t help. Full color Images have a variety of tone and color and as a background makes reading the text extremely difficult. The difficulty arises because in order for text to be legible it needs a consistent background that offers decent separation between the positive space (the text) and the negative space (the page), if you have a variety of contrasts as the background it acts counters to comprehension . One way to remedy this is to prepare a low contrast image with a single color.
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Oh Gee! It’s an Ogee, in Illustrator!

Another in a series of super simple patterns in Illustrator, this time it’s an ogee.
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A Grunge Portrait in Photoshop

This tutorial combines the grunge brush and grunge texture from the previous tutorials to make a stylized, painterly portrait. If you don’t have them, no worries, you can always search google for grunge textures and grunge brushes.
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A Grunge Texture From Scratch

This tutorial shows you how to make a grungy dirty surface from scratch without having to scan a surface to begin with. Like the grunge brush tutorial below, there are a lot of steps involved – don’t despair its not overly complicated – it just means there are lots of ways to modify and improvise to make even more interesting textures.
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A Grungey Grunge Brush Tutorial

I was surprised that it was difficult to find a tutorial for making a grunge brush from scratch, so I decided to make one. There are a lot of steps in this tutorial to produce the right amount of random texture and noise without making it too dark or too light and without too much obvious patterning. Don’t let that scare you, it only means there are a lot of different ways to modify this tutorial and make your own surprising variations. (please note, your results will look completely different from mine because of the randomization – Gaussian – functions in the filters I am using.)
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Vintage Music Poster – Mr. Hi De Ho!

For this InDesign tutorial we will be making a vintage music poster for Cab Calloway. Now, first off, if you don’t know the music of Cab Calloway I suggest you check out these links – Minnie the Moocher, St. James Infirmary, Hi De Ho Man. – and put them on in the background while doing this tutorial.
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recipeIn this InDesign tutorial we will create a layout that includes a series of recipes. The tutorial uses paragraph and character styles to format the recipe and establish a hierarchy of information. It also gives you three delicious recipes for cupcakes!
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Making a Two Tone Watermarked Logo

two toneMaking a watermark from a two-tone logo or one with a gradient requires different steps from the one-color logo and does not allow you to maintain your link to the original file.
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A Watermarked Logo

watermark banner
A step by step for turning a  logo designed in Illustrator into a  reversed-out watermark to use in Photoshop.
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A picture of you…starring you!

Here’s a way to make a selfie (or any picture of someone for that matter) into a recursive, self perpetuating version of yourself. We will be using a pattern generated from a photo to form the basis of a graphic-y halftone of the original image. Very deep, very meta, very cool…
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