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  1. #1
    ryanlesser's Avatar

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    Default Black Cobra Process

    OK, so I know that I just did a Process thread last month but I had a lot of fun with this one and thought that I would show what went into it as well as exposing some of my Photoshop color sep technique since my last Photoshop tip went over well. Oh, and some of these pics are big since they show interface stuff. If people hate that I can make them smaller.

    Here we go…

    DRAWING

    For starters, the poster is for a show in Providence featuring the awesome headliner BLACK COBRA along with Providence’s HOWL, Columbus’ STRUCK BY LIGHTNING and Providence rockers VILLAINER. My favorite rock posters are those that take into account something about the show: the bands, the location, one of the songs from the bands…y’know.
    All of the drawing phases happen in my house so I throw on my favorite Black Cobra record “Bestial”, blast it and start drawing. I wanted to riff off of the band’s name for the imagery but did not want to do a typical straight up cobra…no matter how much I love cobras (a lot). Instead I started going for a Thulsa Doom/Conan kinda beasite. Starting in the sketchbook, I drew up some sketches:




    In general, I had 2 sorta looks that I was playing with…a swoopy, curvy look and a more graphic, angular look. In the end I liked the angular one better and decided to make that the final poster image.
    I don’t typically like to us a projector, but I really loved the gesture of the sketch that I did and figured I would just trace the projection to get the gesture. The arms and head and will need be redrawn but the main gesture and composition will be taken right from the sketch.







    INKING

    As usual, I am drawing this one at full scale (11”x24”) as I find that is the best way for me to get the brush to do what I like. In my last Process thread I mentioned wanting to stop doing the inks on the plastic based vellum that I was using and to move over to paper. I think I may have found my alternative…but too late for this drawing. More on that new translucent paper later. For now; some Pro Black, a red Sable brush and Iron Maiden’s Killers LP and I am all set to ink.




    For this poster, I wound up doing some of the text right on the original art and some in the computer using the tablet. However, before I did anything I was testing out what I wanted to use for inking the lettering. I wanted it to be a little rune-ish so brush strokes would look bad. I liked the single strokes of the felt tipped pen but wound up going with a multiple-stroke scratchier look made with a new Sharpie “pen”.



    Unfortunately, this was a sort of epic FAIL. Unlike Sharpies of old, these new “pen” style ones are NOT permanent at all and in fact come right off vellum just by breathing on them. GAH! It smeared all over my hand and all over the vellum. From here I used a Sharpie Paint Pen to redo the letters and then tried to erase as much of the smear as I could. Serves me right for not sticking with what I know but I am just a sucker for new pens.

    PHOTOSHOPPERY

    The whole shebang was now inked and it was time to scan the sucker. Check out my last Process here to see how I use Photoshop’s “Photomerge” to automatically stitch multiple scans into one large one. Once scanned, I move into the color planning and separation phases. This is by no means the only way to do this, and maybe not even the best, but it is the way that we used to do it back when I colored comics in the mid 90’s. Computer coloring was pretty new and the computers were SLOOOWWWW. This technique uses as few layers as possible and if done with some minor planning, can provide seps at the same time as color experimentation. So, here is Ryan Lesser Photoshop Tutorial Numero Dos:
    My main goal here will be to create a top layer that is my super clean final inks…which for me is always the darkish “key” image that prints last. I will also create a version of this that is basically a FILL template. This will let me really quickly throw some colors into the image, and on different layers too. For starters, here is my main image (make sure to look at the LAYERS window on these suckers as I walk it through...):

    1. I am going to call this main layer KEY IMAGE.



    2. Duplicate this layer, place it under KEY IMAGE and name it FILLER (feel free to start singing some Minor Threat in hour head). This image will be the one we alter to pour colors with.
    3. Hide KEY IMAGE
    4. With the FILLER layer selected, choose Threshold. Threshold converts your image to pure black and white. No grays. BINARY BABY! I usually find the default setting of dead in the middle works great. Results may vary. By doing this, the FILLER level is now prepped to have perfect fills…but only if you do the next few steps…





    (Note how the blacks now have no soft edges in the zoomed image above)

    5. Now, while FILLER is selected, choose Maximum. Maximum will expand the whites and contract the blacks. Depending on the size of your image, you can set this in a way that it will automatically create your trap for you. Notice in the detail that my blacks shrank like Costanza in the pool. Be careful during this step. If you enter too large a number, you will creat breaks in your art making it impossible to fill.





    note how the linework shrinks:




    6. Unhide KEY IMAGE and set it’s screen mode to MULTIPLY. This will let you see through the KEY IMAGE to the layers below it. Since your FILLER layer is now contracted, you should not notice it at all as it hides behind your KEY IMAGE.



    7. Cool. Setup is done. Now just make a few layers representing your colors and sandwich them between the KEY IMAGE and FILLER layers. Time to fill.



    8. Choose the paintbucket, and UNCHECK anti-alias in it’s options. Anti-alias is the technique that Photoshop uses to soften hard edges. We however, WANT the hard edges. By pouring colors with hard edges into layers using our Threshold based black/white layer, we will never get into the weird issues of ghosting, halos or even dot patterns on prints.
    9. Fill away! I hide the Key image here, select the color layer I want to fill in and choose “All Layers” in the options for the paintbucket. This option will let me use the hard edges of FILLER as guides for my color layer fills. In seconds I have filled color into my whole image.



    (here I turned on the KEY IMAGE to see how it looks)

    10. Since these are all now on their own layers, they can be selected and tweaked like using Hue/Saturation to alter colors, or Preserve Transparency to use them as masks for overprinting, etc. Check out the trapping too. Here I am hiding the FILLER layer and reducing the transparency of the KEY IMAGE so that you can see the checkerboard and the trapping beneath the KEY IMAGE.




    11. PRINTING: I am no printmaster, but typically I will convert even my KEY IMAGE to binary using Threshold just before printing films so that my prints are perfectly crisp with no dot patterns.

    Phew. So… back to this particular poster.

    I shipped off my files via the interweb to Fred S (exxxlonghair) who makes my films for me. While I wait for those to get printed out I get the bright idea that I need a vacuum table. Actually, Fred tells me I need one to which I said “No way!” and then because like a shark I can never sit still…I decide to make a vacuum table...

    (this post is too long for the GIGPOSTERS forums...so it will continue in the next post.
    Last edited by ryanlesser; 07-15-2010 at 06:24 AM.

  2. #2
    doggydoodle's Avatar

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    Default

    Yummy so far! Love the creature.

  3. #3
    MrBlonde7's Avatar

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    Default

    Bestial is indeed the best Black Cobra album.

    I am loving your process threads.

  4. #4
    ryanlesser's Avatar

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    Default

    Oh, here are my films stacked, looking for reg errors. NOPE! none here....



    VACUUM TABLE

    I made a swell printing table a while ago for my studio which is able to be angled on the print side and is big enough to submerge my Ryonet exposure unit into the other side. The top is made out of that white melamine stuff which has been great so far. I followed the instructions that are all over the place…probably spawned from the Andymac tutorial. I had a bunch of assorted bits of wood so I just put 2 and 2 together and went for it. The thing to note here is that I got a really nice little ShopVac at Walmart for 19.00. I never shop at Walmart (don’t wanna get into it) but it was the only place that had this near my house. The vac is the Mini Hang Up. It is 12x12x10, runs pretty quietly and works like a charm.

    I started drilling holes every 1” using 1/32 drill bits which was a big mistake. I broke 2 in like 20 drillings. Screw that…so I bought a few 3/32 and those worked a lot better. I also felt like I wanted to destroy something after drilling like 300 holes and that was only about 1/3 of the table. I conveniently decided that the middle of the table could be less dense. Drill baby drill and I am finished. Sort of. I decide that skipping holes was a cop out and went back and drilled them all out. It is like 650 holes. Erg. Anyhoo, I build a makeshift MDF box for my tiny ShopVac and lugged the thing to my studio, tried it out and it was aces.




    What WASN’T aces however, was this piece of crap Micro Registration hinge that I just bought from Ryonet. I heard that AWT makes them for Ryonet? Not sure…but I have a mail into them right now. I have to say that I have enjoyed buying from Ryonet in the past and so far they are being very cool in email. Regardless…back to the old clamps.




    PRINTING

    It was about 98 degrees up in the studio and we were blasting Danava’s self titled album and Six Finger Satellite’s Paranormalized…loud. Fred offered to help me by hanging the prints (I have no rack) which made things so much easier. Printing was pretty straight forward except for maybe two noteworthy things.
    First, I decided to make the blue pass a metallic. I added went about 50/50 Speedball silver to Speedball blue random mix-up. It was looking sweet until I added a spot of white Spectrachem to it. Spectrachem is what Commercial Screen sells here in New England. I like it as an add in usually, but this time that bit of white really lost like 50 percent of the metallic shine. It is still there and looks good, but it was more “flashy” before. The more ya know…
    Second, I wanted my black to be shinier than the typical Speedball black that I use (I got a gallon when Pearl Art went out of business this year) but not super glossy. I was going to mix in some black Golden Fluid Acrylics but Fred brought over a pickle jar of Jacquard Black, which he said was pretty glossy. I mixed them about 50/50. The upside is that the black was perfect as far as sheen. It was strangely matte…but shiny. Hard to explain, but it is totally NON standard glossy and it pops so nicely off of the regular Speedball. I guess it would be a “Semi Gloss” where the Speedball is “Matte”. Basically, it does cool things with light as you walk past it. The down side is that Jacquard is way gloppier than I like. I like when the inks are like heavy cream, and this stuff was super viscous. Like, it stands up on it’s own. I am ordering some TW black to see how that works out. I will get back to ya.

    Here is a crappy pic of 2 colors down:



    And the final print, uncut:



    I have been doing a few on Black each run, just for fun and sometimes get sweet results.
    I have to say that I really like having a vacuum table. I had only 2 out of 55 prints out of register and they were barely out of register. That and the no-stick-to-screen aspect just rules.




    I then proceeded to get on a plane, fly to Chicago, shop at Quimby’s Bookstore, eat THE BEST HAMBURGER EVER at my favorite burger joint of all Kuma’s Corner. Maybe this is my favorite restaurant in the world. I mean c’mon…gigantic, delicious burgers named after heavy metal bands with metal blasting and sexy/friendly waitresses wearing all black… THE BEST!

    If you care, I had a HIGH ON FIRE which is:
    Siracha Hot Chili Sauce, Prosciutto, Roasted Red Pepper, Grilled Pineapple, Sweet Chili Paste with Home made chips




    There ya have it. Another one bites the dust.
    Last edited by ryanlesser; 07-14-2010 at 07:59 PM.

  5. #5
    obreal's Avatar

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    ...NOT too long. Keep it coming.

  6. #6
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    well played....rad illo

  7. #7
    iamthesleepwalker's Avatar

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    Default

    awesome process thread, cheers for that.
    bestial is an AMAZING album and black cobra's best (very disappointed with chronomega)

  8. #8
    Premium Member
    DenisMutter's Avatar


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    That is a fuching awesome process thread, man. seriously good work.

    Not bad for your 11th post.
    API Local, Member 025 - Hack For Life!
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  9. #9
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    DRG's Avatar


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    Great process thread, I enjoyed this alot.

    New GP'ers take note, this is how it's done.

    Not a bacon or cheese comment in sight...
    "One day we'll all laugh about it as we try to warm ourselves around a barrel of burning posters, equals once more." - Crosshair

    Army of Cats Design

  10. #10
    ryanlesser's Avatar

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    Default

    FWIW, I just heard from the folks at Ryonet. They contacted AWT (makers of the hinge) and they got me a replacement. SWEET!

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