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How to Make Stock Art Sizzle

(January 2007) posted on Mon Jan 15, 2007

Transform clip art from amateurish images into amazing garment graphics.

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By Thomas Trimingham

Custom halftones proved a fun way to create a more modern look for this graphic without changing the composition or altering the color scheme. I first worked on the background tribal design to pick a custom halftone that would work with the overall image. Working on the background piece first was important because when the largest area of coverage in a design has a pattern, it visually dictates what other effects will work with the rest of the image. In this manner, I could test from the larger areas to the smaller and then test them against each other accordingly.

I first started with the background by testing it with the conventional halftones that are available in Photoshop's filters. I did this by saving the background as a separate document that I then converted to a bitmap (>Image>Mode>Bitmap), set it as a 600-dpi halftone, and ran through some of the patterns in the dialog box by selecting them and then undoing them. After the test I realized quickly that none of Photoshop's original halftone patterns looked very appealing, so I decided to use a software plug-in for a solution. Fortunately, I had a copy of Andromeda Software's Artistic Screens, which included some great effects that were super easy to test. The best effect appeared to be a wavy line that would work perfectly as a halftone effect. The style of the halftone work would also be suitable as a foundation for high-density ink or a gel overprint.


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