Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Critique: Digitally shaving a man's head

So this week I finished my first actually published feature for VOX. It was long, crazy, hectic and made me want to punch things. OK, I guess it wasn't that bad. Let's start from the beginning.

The story, to get us started, is a service journalism piece about the 7 (actually 8, but we lost one along the way) barbershops in Columbia. The assigning editor on the story had an idea of shaving the headline into the back of someone's head. Initially, I shot it down, but the more I thought about the VOX voice, the more I thought that maybe, just maybe, this idea could work. Photoshop is my stronger application when it comes to Adobe products, so I took on the task. I found this photo on Stock Exchange:

I also searched for some bald-headed guys to clone stamp onto the back of this music lover. I added noise to the "shaved" parts to make it look bumpier. It didn't look too hot. I also found it almost impossible to cut this guy's headphones off the top of his head, but that was fixable.

I took another stab at it, sampling skin from the guy's neck (that had stubble on it) to make it look more realistic. I also cloned some extra hair to add volume to the tufts showing between and around the letters. Finally, I had something, but it was not finished by a long shot ...

  • I had to find an appropriate typeface. This was hard. I was all over, in multiple sections, looking for one. Thanks to Aimee, we finally picked out "Ballpark Weiner" (you can totally laugh) because it was kind of old school, like the head-text said.
  • I arranged the barber shops so that they all go equal play and fit together like a puzzle (especially because the text was not the same length for every vignette), only to find out that they had to be arranged in alphabetical order instead.
  • The sidebar story, on a gray box because I thought it balanced out all of the other color going on, had to be changed to be more colorful. (Not as big of a change as the rearrangement though.)
  • Then there was an issue with the individual boxes, the gray lines I had separating things and the point size on the general information of each barber.
But now it's finished. I signed off on things this morning, the magazine went to press, and my first magazine feature will be in the published tomorrow!

As for things I am currently working on...
  • A "Getting things fixed" cover. It involves wrenches, words and some more sweet photoshop action.
  • My historical research paper... though I can't figure out which magazine I want to research.

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