Daniel Boone Secor Graphic Design

Around My Way

A blog about the intersection where all my lives collide.

Process : Dramatic Lighting Photoshop Edit; Kyle O'Quinn New York Knicks

For this process video, I wanted to go back to the basics. Over the years, I've made a ton of Digital Graphics. Since I learn best by doing, it's how I taught myself photoshop years ago. I would see sports graphics all over the internet, and try to mimic what I saw by breaking down the graphic visually, and using tutorials to teach myself the nuances of working with layers and blending modes and such. 

But, for this I wanted to change it up. Usually in sports graphics, or other digital graphics for that matter, what you see is a subject, either cut out of an image and built up from scratch, or made to stand out from the background, with different compositional effects added using text, filters, shapes, and other stock photos for lighting, texture, and drama. (my Body Wave Nebula Graphic Process Video highlights what I mean by this). All this to get the message of the graphic across.

With this graphic, in an effort to build a better foundation with photo editing in general, I wanted to ditch all the bells and whistles and take a minimal approach by building a dramatic lighting effect strictly using photo editing tools to pull the subject off the background and put the action of the game squarely in focus. I did this by using a global dodge and burn technique (you can read more about that technique here ) to shape the light on the subject and increase the contrast. I skipped the dodge and burn tools themselves because in my opinion they have intense effects and should be used sparingly. You'll see in the beginning of the video, I built this up slowly over the course of 3 different rounds of dodging and burning using curves adjustment layers. At times it looks like i'm doing absolutely nothing, but that's on purpose. I then added some blurred spot lights, darkened the background, used a scatter brush to add some sweat speckles, and placed some basic text on to round out the graphic. 

Photoshop has an infinite amount of ways to do the same things, so i'd be interested to hear from other designers and photographers to see how you all go about creating dramatic lighting effects on your images. So please leave a comment with links below. I'm coming from a place of relative ignorance in this department so feel free to critique away as well.