O’Charley’s Restaurants Digital

O’Charley’s Restaurants Digital

This isn’t happening now, so I guess it’s OK to post where I was heading with it.

A new Website, Email Template and Twitter strea. I even took a stab at a new logo.

Take a look.

5 Minute Design: Tilt Shifting

5 Minute Design: Tilt Shifting

‘5 Minute Design’ is a biweekly blog post that features tricks, tools and techniques in design. I only have 5 minutes to complete it, so I will make the design as basic as possible, use shortcuts, and cheat if at all possible. It is my hope that other designers, with your superior skill and intelligence, will have a quicker, cleaner and more precise way to achieve the design. Then you will punish me for my ignorance and lack of talent by posting your own solution.

And so it goes.

Tilt Shifting. I’m sure many have been over-using this technique for years.

I just started over-using it last week.

It is a style by which you take a photo from a high angle (from above), and manipulate it in Photoshop to draw attention to a specified area by masking and blurring out the peripheral. This makes it look like a scale model, and apparently, so awesome that it needs to be done to every photo hipsters take.

Lets get started.

1. Grab your iPhone and go to a high place with a sweet view of a low place. I chose the parking garage across from work.

2. Take some photos. Choose the best one. I liked this one:

3. Open that photo in Photoshop.

4. Press the ‘Q’ key to enter Quick Mask Mode.

5. Grab your “Gradient” tool from your tool bar. Choose a Black to White Gradient, then click the “Reflected Gradient” option from the top tool bar. Click on the focal point (for me it’s that car crossing the intersection). Drag your mouse in straight line until the entire height of the area you want in focus is covered in that transparent red color (This might take some experimentation, enjoy it!).

6. Now that you have your vertical space quick masked, we need to shorten the horizontal focal distance. We do this because a camera lens does not focus a straight line, instead it focuses on a specific distance, and blurs from there. Even though tilt-shifting is not reality-based, we do want to keep some degree of photographic dignity alive. So, select a White to Transparent gradient and click the “Linear Gradient” option from the top tool bar. From the right side of your image click, and drag your mouse toward your focal point. Stop and release at a point near where you want your focus to stop.

7. Repeat on the left side of your photo.

8. Click the “Q” key to exit “Quick Mask Mode.”

9. Now, start whistling “The Ants Go Marching One-By-One” like I always do, as your mask changes to the “Marching Selection Ants.” Immediately go to the Filter > Blur > Lens Blur menu item. A pop-up will appear.

10. Play a bit, but really you only need to touch a few things. Make your “Radius” between 30-40. Make your “Blade Curvature” between 30-40. And make your “Threshold” between 225-250. Check your preview to make sure you like, and click “OK.”

11. Click the “Command+D” keys to deselect your focal area. And WOW! look at that. Pretty cool.

12. Almost done. We need a bit more contrast, so under your “Layers Pallete” click the “Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer” option. Select the “Curves” Adjustment Layer. Make a standard, but subtle “S Curve.” Click at the top of the diagonal line (not the very top) and drag that point to the left a bit (15px). Near the bottom of that diagonal line, click a point near the bottom and drag that to the right a bit (5px). You want more rich dark and bright white areas. Click “OK,” or just be done when your done (CS4-CS5).

13. We are going to saturate the crap out of the image. This will make the things in the photo look like they were painted by hand. Really bright colors. Go back to the “Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer” and choose the “Hue/Saturation” option.

Bring your Saturation up to about 20-40 depending on the resolution of the photo (iPhone smaller, DSLR larger). Click “OK” when you like it, and you’re done.

Not to bad for 5 minutes. Impress your friends on Facebook. Maybe your mom will hang it on the Fridge.

Now, designers … What did I do wrong? Tweet me @robhutti or comment below.

Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired Logo Throwdown

Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired Logo Throwdown

The STL Egotist, a blog about advertising and creative stuff, recently had an off-day when they decided to slam two local Ad players; Schupp Co. and Ad Saint.

Schupp Co. is an agency that has been around for a long time and does a lot of point of sale and other general advertising (Remember the KTRS missing Cardinal Birds… that was them). Schupp designed(?) a logo for the Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Ad Saint, another STL advertising and creative stuff blog, was contacted by the Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired to run a story on their new logo, which they did.

The egotist basically took fault with the fact that for what they (and I) am sure was a pro-bono project, Schupp phoned the logo in. Meaning it really isn’t very good, or more, could have been a lot better. And then The Egotist kind of threw some fighting words at AdSaint for writing a post about this lame logo.

I have worked on projects like this, and know first hand that its generally the clients that limit the project (concept and execution). I also know that where the real money is saved on a Pro-bono client is not the creative effort, but the account sales effort. The mentality that, “They’re not paying for this, it’s not worth our time to fight with them.” Designers are the ones who spend the extra time and effort polishing feces, and then they are the ones that are pointed to when the logo sucks.

So, Egotist, have a little compassion. If Schupp roll’s out a campaign they are sure will be a Gold Pencil or a Lion, and you think it sucks… say so. If they cook a Pop Tart, I don’t need you guys to explain to me why they should have made Blueberry instead of Smores. As for AdSaint, call them out on bad stories if you want. Maybe that competition will yield deeper digging, more content and better insight for me.

In the meantime, I say we turn this whole frown up side-down!

Designer Throwdown!

The Place: www.blindlogos.tumblr.com/

The Weapons: Illustrator, Coffee, Ice Pick

The Logo: Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Click here and upload your better version of this logo:

(Egotist mystery writers, lets see your skills too)

Best logo gets lunch at Blues City on me!


PS > I’ll narrow the logos down, and then let someone a lot cooler than me pick the winner.

4ORCE Digital Culture and Workplace

4ORCE Digital Culture and Workplace

Here are some videos I made for the newly launched 4ORCE Digital website.

I’m digging the tunes from Big Boi with ‘Sutterbug’ and Kid Cudi with ‘REVOFEV’.

Check’m out, and check these out:


Amnesty International Awesome. But effective?

Amnesty International Awesome. But effective?

Want proof that even the most beautiful and compelling advertising can be unsuccessful, look no further than Amnesty Intenational. They and their agencies have been doing brilliant work since its inception, and though “to no avail” seems harsh, it’s not far from the truth.

Check out one of their more recent spots from TBWA\France:

Wow, right? Gorgeous, smart, effective… right? Wait, effective on who? Me? But what can I do to stop the death penality. I mean, I can use my imagination. I can go out and get petitions signed. I can contact my senator. I can send money to Amnesty International. Ahhh… there’s the rub.

I’m not saying that Amnesty isn’t a viable and necessary organization. They are, no question. Their work to fight for or free those wrongly or inhumanely incarcerated is invaluable. My concern is that their amazing ads compel me to donate and be done.

Tell me what to do. Circle the wagons, charge the troops, finagle your Facebook friends. How we can we convince those that are most for the death penalty that it is not humane. How can we speak directly to the father of a murdered and raped daughter? How can we speak to a woman whose religion mandates such punishment in response to a crime against God? How can we convince a Congressman, Prime Minister or President to take swift action, wehn their constituents demand capital punishment?

Answer these questions, and we’ll find true effectiveness. But, in the mean-time keep making amazing ads. Every person you inspire is one small step toward insight and action.

Here are some more work from Amnesty through out the years:

I could go all day.

Do your part. Donate.

Fun work

Martin Luther King Tribute

I wanted to attempt this style  in February, and being Black History Month I chose the Rev. as my muse.

His face is made up of the words of his epic Lincoln Memorial “I have a dream…” speech.

Take a look. I am having it framed as I type.

Smoking Goat Branding

I like beer.

Beer high in flavor, alcohol and price. I brew at home, but wouldn’t consider myself very good at this point. I’m working on it.

We have friends in Louisiana who I would consider really good. I designed some branding for their forthcoming brewery down there.

The Smoking Goat will hopefully be amazing, especially if I get some good beer out of the deal.

Have a look. Then drink a beer and have a look again. Continue this process until the logo looks awesome.

New Poster

This is a poster I made for my buddy Dustin.

A classic quote from him as we drove by Effingham, IL’s infamous and huge cross.

I thought it would look good in his new apartment.

Sheltered Perceptions

I recently got the chance to work on a project for the Humane Society. Given the fact that every time I walk into an animal shelter I have to be talked down from taking home every animal in the place, I was happy to help in anyway I could.

With the majority of pet buying in the United States coming from breeders, mall pet shops and unfortunately mills, animal shelters (specifically the Humane Society) are left overflowing with pets that need loving homes. They are running into a perception problem however, and many misconceptions about shelter pets are accepted as fact, and often repeated as such.

To get past this, we decided to take the problem head on, and address the most common misconceptions individually.

Here is where we landed:

Humane Society - Misconceptions"Mutt"

Humane Society - Misconceptions - "Bark"

Lauren and Dan sit’n in a tree…

My good friend Lauren is getting married in July, and though I am extremely jealous of her fiance Dan (don’t tell my wife), I made their save the date cards.

I use VistaPrint to print these types of things. Though the quality suffers, and the rumor is that they are destroying local community printers nationwide, for the price they can’t be beat. Check them out next time you want to customize your own holiday card or invitation.

Here’s how Lauren’s STDs turned out: