Digital Media Design


Photography – Photoshop using Motion Blur

Wednesday 22nd June 2011

I’ve been following the Tutorials in Digital SLR Photography magazine July 2011 – this months is about using Motion Blur

I’ve got 100’s of photographs of cars and they mostly are all taken using a fast shutter speed so regardless of whether they have been shot static or while on the move the image is of a snapshot frozen in time. There’s no sign of movement in any of them.

I’ve just discovered a use for Blur in Photoshop, something I’ve had little use of in the past as I could think of no reason why you’d want to make a picture appear out of focus?

I started with a static picture of my car, which I actually shot on my driveway, one of the pictures I used in the HDR post see ‘My First Attempt at HDR’

First job is to duplicate the background layer so that you can always go back to the starting point if it goes wrong and you can quickly look back to see the original before any changes have been made.

Honda Civic - Photoshop using Motion Blur

Honda Civic - Photoshop using Motion Blur

The next job is to carefully go around the car using the Polygonal Lasso Tool then Invert your selection as it’s the background that you are going to be working on. The next stage is create a new layer for this background using Layer via copy option. Now you get to add the Motion Blur by going into Filters and selecting Blur and Motion Blur.  The default Blur settings seemed a bit too much so I dropped my settings down to an 8 which seems to look just right for me. Already it looks like car’s moving really quickly, the cars itself is still in perfect focus but the background appears to be streaking by.

Now for the wheels, I used the Circular Marquee tool to select the wheels and then applied the Radial Blur option but again I reduced the amount this time down to 5. I then repeated this for the front wheel and the job appears to be done. The once static picture of a car now looks like a panning shot of a passing car.

Ok it’s not perfect – there’s no driver in the car and if you look through the windows the greenery in the background is in sharp focus, but to the casual observer they’ll probably not notice this.


Photography HDR Tutorial – My First Attempt at HDR

I thought I’d have a go at some HDR photography using my Canon EOS 60D DSLR. I already knew the basics of HDR which stands for ‘High Dynamic Range’ –  you need usually three photographs of the same subject, one at ‘Normal’ exposure, the second ‘Over Exposed’ and the third ‘Under Exposed’. Then you need some software to bring these images together to create your HDR image – for my purposes I used Adobe Photoshop CS5 which comes with the HDR plugin already installed.

Setting up the camera for HDR

Menu Settings AEB

AEB Settings +- 2 points

My Canon EOS 60D comes with an AV mode which allows you to set the Aperture and leaves the camera to decide on everything else such as shutter speed ISO etc. I wanted the maximum depth of field so I went for an exposure of f22. The next step is to go into the camera’s menu and select Exposure comp/AEB setting which sets the ‘Auto Exposure Bracketing’ this is what controls the exposure for the 3 photographs – I set mine for 2 stops which is 2 stops over exposed and 2 stops underexposed.

Now all I needed to do was to make some final settings for the camera, for example for the shots I was taking, I set for manual focus and I also turned off Image Stabilisation as I was using a tripod.

Taking the shot

Top LCD showing 3 exposure levels

You should really use a remote shutter release but I didn’t have one so I was careful not to move the camera when pushing the shutter button. I noticed that as I half pressed the shutter button the indicator on the top LCD of the camera showed which exposure setting it was going to take, central for normal exposure, high indicator for over exposed and low indicator for under exposed – this helped to keep track of where you were in the shot list, although you could just count up to three for each set of pictures taken.

I could have set the continuous high mode but left it on single shot for personal preferences but if you want to take your 3 exposures rapidly or you are using your camera handheld you should set to continuous high mode.

Photography HDR Tutorial – Photoshop

Back LCD also showing 3 exposure settings

The first job is to open all three images in Photoshop then select File-Automate-merge to HDR Pro or just go straight to automate and select the images from the browse option. You then get a dialogue box open to enable you to select the images one of which is ‘Add open files’ which I selected. The HDR panel then opens with the thumbnails of your photographs at the bottom of the screen and the combined image in the centre. You then have a choice of manually changing options such as Saturation, Vibrancy, Exposure, Gamma etc. but I used the presets to select an image that I liked.

Canon EOS 60D
used for all photographs

Click OK at the bottom of the window and the merged image is shown in the main window ready for further manipulation using the standard Photoshop tools, such as image size and save for web etc.

I like the effect of HDR so much that I’ve also investigated several other plugins and stand alone applications for creating the HDR effect. One App in particular caught my interest, ‘HDR Darkroom’ which can be currently downloaded from the Apple App Store at a bargain price. I’ve posted one example I made using this App below well worth the £11.99 it cost me to download from the Apple App Store – currently on offer – 75% off the normal price.

Here’s the result  – what do you think?

NB: The Quality of image is far greater on my MacBook Pro than can be reproduced here because of web restriction eg. 72 pixel resolution.

Home Office HDR - Using HDR Darkroom

Home Office HDR - Using HDR Darkroom

Cycle HDR Photograph

HDR Photo-realistic preset - Photoshop HDR Plugin

Honda Civic HDR Photograph

HDR Saturated Preset - Photoshop HDR Plugin

Honda Civic - Photo realistic HDR preset

Honda Civic - Photo realistic HDR preset - Photoshop Plugin



Post Production Techniques – ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Horror Film Titles Research

Horror Film Titles

Tuesday 12th April 2011

Hammer Horror Titles

Who can forget those Horror Film Titles, the Blood Red titles on the old Hammer Horror films. There was no other choice than to do something similar with the titles to the ‘Phantom of the Opera’. I did not want them to be exactly the same but definitely red and in that stylised font that suggests dripping blood and instantly recognised as Horror Film Titles.

Hammer House of Horror

I found this clip of a trailer for Dracula – watch for the titles in the middle. I also thought that it might be a good idea to use an effect to simulate dripping blood and I found several After Effects examples of doing this in particular one using ‘Time Displacement’ where the titles could be made to seemingly drip downwards. I decided not to do this in the end as to be honest I felt it looked un-professional.

Scene backgrounds and characters – Horror Film Titles

The images for the scenes I used for my sequence came from a variety of sources both from the Internet and from photographs that I scanned into Photoshop for manipulation. Adding Filter Effects and removing backgrounds etc.

The Phantom of the Opera 1925 – Horror Film Titles


This is the original film that I based my film title sequence on. As I’ve mentioned previously I was not aware of this film I had thought the only video I’d find would be footage from the stage adaptions. As you can see the only effect in this film was the de-focused opening titles the rest are just static text overlays.




Graphic Design – Research Portfolio

Access to HE. Media Studies

Course Code: CJC3H001A
Tutor: Philip Shakeshaft
Unit Title: Graphic Design
Unit: Creative Imaging

Assignment: Graphic Design Research Portfolio

Date: 14/12/2009

By Ian Hunt


PowerPoint Presentation Slide Notes

Blade Runner Movie Poster by John Alvin

Blade Runner Movie Poster by John Alvin

Slide 2

The original Blade Runner Movie Poster produced in 1982 by the Artist John Alvin whose work also included designs for posters for the Star Wars Trilogy and ET. Poster shows the main characters in the Film and the futuristic cityscape of Los Angeles in the year 2019 with its flying Police car. The images used make sure that there can be no doubt that this is a SciFi film set in the future and is therefore targeting a movie audience seeking this genre. There are other visual links to the film, the light from the slats from a window blind which features in the opening sequences of the film. The poster works well but some elements are missing such as the Pyramid shaped building and the Owl which feature prominently in the film and in particular none of the Replicants are represented.

Blade Runner Movie Poster by Drew Struzan

Blade Runner Movie Poster by Drew Struzan

Slide 3

Another design for the Film Blade Runner this time by the artist Drew Struzan. The poster features many more elements that make this SciFi film so unique and ground breaking that is the main characters and now including the Replicants in particular Roy Batty the Replicant whose image did not feature in the original film poster. The mix of cultures depicted in film by the use of Chinese and Japanese characters and glyphs on the poster. The poster does not make the link to the futuristic setting of the film as obvious as the previous poster but seems to rely on the audience being already aware of this SciFi link most probably as this is the Final Cut which came later in 1992 and again released on DVD in 2007. As before the images used are definitely targeting the adult SciFi audience.

Terminator Salvation by Art Machine

Terminator Salvation by Art Machine

Slide 4

Artist/Digital Animators un-attributed but was produced by the film advertising agency Art Machine (Part of Trailer Park) – Animated Movie Poster for Terminator Salvation originally appeared on the website of the same name promoting the film and the DVD release in 2009.

Design is of a destroyed cityscape but with a representation of the head of the T-800 Terminator superimposed over it. The Skull of the T-800 Terminator has itself become an iconic design and everyone who sees this immediately recognises it and identifies it with the Terminator films. The audience for this film would expect to see this image represented on any poster or DVD cover in the terminator series. The graphics of the destroyed cityscape informs the audience that for the first time this film is set post apocalypse unlike the preceding films in the series. Poster is targeting a SciFi audience but in particular the Terminator series fans.

Silence of the Lambs by BLT & Associates

Silence of the Lambs by BLT & Associates

Slide 5

Film poster design for the Movie Silence of the Lambs 1991 – Artist un-attributed but produced by BLT & Associates although there is also a reference to the original design being produced by the agency Dazu (Now defunct). Looking closely at the Deaths Head Moth positioned on the image of Jodie Fosters mouth you can see that the Moths image is made up from the bodies of 7 naked women. Reference to Salvador Dali’s gouache Female Bodies as a Skull painting. An instantly recognisable poster because of the film itself but a better poster design which included an image of the Mask that Hannibal Lecture wears in the film would be a more significant design. The Film is more for fans of Horror Movies but the poster design does not make this clear purely by its design. In fact there are few cues to the subject matter of this film only the tag line at the bottom ‘from the terrifying best seller’ gives the audience an clue.

Pulp Fiction Movie Poster by Indika Entertainment Advertising

Pulp Fiction Movie Poster by Indika Entertainment Advertising

Slide 6

Film poster design for the Film Pulp Fiction 1994. Artist un-attributed but produced by Indika Entertainment Advertising. Design looks more like a Magazine front cover rather than the movie poster that it is. The poster even has a price tag on it for 10 cents which further develops the idea that it’s taken from the cover of an old magazine design. This classic graphic design is taken further by depicting a femme fatale in a typical pose with additional visual links to a Film Noir. The design incorporates the appearance of a well read magazine with its creases in the cover. The title of the film ‘Pulp Fiction’ also refers to a type of publication e.g. ‘hero pulps’, Director Tarantino is known to be a fan of what is known as trash movies and publications of the 60’s and 70’s which incorporated these images. Identifying the typical target audience would be difficult using the poster design only as a guide as it does not target anyone specifically except fans of Tarantino Films.

Secretary Movie Poster by Dawn Patrol

Secretary Movie Poster by Dawn Patrol

Slide 7

Secretary a 2002 Film with a Poster produced by Dawn Patrol a Los Angeles Graphic Design Agency. A provocative design linking the title of the film with the image of the rear of a sexily dressed women/secretary bending over in an obviously sexy position. The inference from this image is that the film could be all about kinky office sex. This poster design has a link to the subject matter of the film but appears to be more obviously based upon an advertising agencies age old tag line i.e. ‘Sex Sells’ and it relies on this to get its message across. As to target audience it would adult and be those movie goers looking for a film with some sexual content.

Jaws Movie Poster by Roger Kastel

Jaws Movie Poster by Roger Kastel

Slide 8

Jaws 1975 Poster design by Roger Kastel who also designed the poster for

Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back. The Shark graphic is totally out of proportion to size of the swimmer. This is very much an iconic picture of the Shark which is about to attack the swimmer which it does in the opening sequence of the film. It’s also a strong image of death coming from the depths of the sea which before this film came out was previously relatively unthoughtful-of, now you cannot think of swimming in the sea without briefly considering if a Shark is out there waiting for you to take the plunge and about to attack. A poster that worked extremely well back in 1975 and still instantly recognisable today. Audience definitely adult but somewhere between those looking for a thriller and a horror movie.

The Graduate Movie Poster by Diener Hauser

The Graduate Movie Poster by Diener Hauser

Slide 9

The Graduate 1967 a Movie poster designed by Diener Hauser. An excellent poster that neatly encapsulated the entire film. Featuring Dustin Hoffmand as the Graduate and the legs of Anne Bancroft fixing her stockings a strong graphical representation of the mature femme fatale who eventually seduces the young graduate. Poster targets its audience very well reaching both the younger audience with its title of The Graduate and the potential to see some sex on the large screen. The bared legs of Anne Bancoft would appeal to the more sophisticated and mature cinema goer. Centrally though sex sells and that’s what the poster is doing. In the period that this poster was produced films were much more censored than they are today so this poster was somewhat risky as was the film at the time.

The Rocketeer Movie Poster by John Mattos

The Rocketeer Movie Poster by John Mattos

Slide 10

The Rocketeer 1991 A Disney Film. Poster designed by John Mattos. A real homage to Art Deco design and a good representation of the era that the film is set in that is pre world war II. The image strongly suggests movement/flight with its flowing lines and aerodynamic shape. The clouds in the background and the sphere at the bottom left suggest flight from the Earth and into the sky. However Disney decided the Poster did not clearly represent what the picture was about and so a replacement was commissioned which featured the stars of the film. It was felt that the original did not reach its targeted audience and that people may have been confused and thought it was a Disney Animation. The original poster does seem to target a very young audience which most probably confirms why Disney commissioned a replacement to target a more adult audience although the film itself still feels like a comic book.

American Beauty Movie Poster by Pulse Advertising

American Beauty Movie Poster by Pulse Advertising

Slide 11

American Beauty 1999 an instantly recognisable Film poster by Pulse Advertising. A relatively simple poster with a picture of a female torso with a rose held across the stomach. What makes the image is the tag line ‘American Beauty’ look closer, which implies beauty in America is usually seen as being skin deep and that you should look beyond this. Image can be viewed both as a vision of innocence or vision purely of a sexual nature. The Rose also plays a significant part in the film, featuring in dream sequences by the main character and the object of his desire. Targeting mainly an older audience the design seems to offer something sexual in nature and so the target audience will expect the film to have sexual content.

(Total number of words 1,607)


Graphic Design – Type & Language – Production of Media Artefact: Book Cover

Graphics Design

Subject: Graphic Design
Unit: Type and Language
Tutor: Philip Shakeshaft

Assignment: Production of Media Artefact – Book Cover Design, DVD Cover or CD Cover

Final Design of my Book cover

Typography - Book Cover Design

Typography - Book Cover Design

An examination of the Typefaces used in this book cover.

The title typeface ‘Steam’ is a  purpose designed font for the Books’ cover and was designed to represent the steam and smoke coming from the chimney of the Steam Engine pictured on the front cover.

The font was originally based on the Serif (slab serif font?) font Rockwell Extra Bold which was then modified and now appears more Sans Serif rather than Serif with all the cloud type flourishes.

In denotation terms the title literally says steam which of course is expected to come from a steam engine and this is the main title of the book about steam, steam engines and in general the world of steam and the people in this world of steam.

In connotation terms the typeface also suggests that this could be a fun book, maybe a humorous look at the age of steam. The reader could expect to see stories from characters from the world of steam recounting their funniest memories of Steam and individuals in the world of steam. The cartoon shape of the characters could also indicate that this theme will be repeated inside the book and most probably complemented with drawings and pictures in a cartoon like style.

The colour of the text is white against a blue background that is light clouds against a blue sky which infers a sunny day again in connotation terms a happy fun book, also possibly indicating a light and enjoyable read.

The sub title text ‘The New Best Seller By Ian Hunt’ uses the Sans Serif font Times New Roman, all in caps but with the first letter of each word larger than the rest to emphasise each word.

In detonation terms it says that the book is both new and it’s also a best seller by the author Ian Hunt.

In connotation terms the use of Time New Roman the preserve of the broadsheets indicates that this book is a quality product targeting the more serious and educated reader.

From the back cover the title ‘100 years of Steam’.

In denotation terms it means that the book covers literally 100 years of steam.

Looking at the connation of this text firstly it’s a San Serif font which is in embossed gold and appears raised from the books cover this could indicate a degree of authority, suggesting this book has been written by an expert in their field. This could also be seen as a testament to the quality of the book. The colour gold also gives that feel that this is a quality product.

A mixture of typefaces is used for the recommendations for  the book; the quotes themselves use a serif type font (Academy Engraved LET) with the names of the newspapers from where the quotes came from using another san serif font but this time a bold Times New Roman font.

In denotation terms they are the names of the newspapers with the quotes taken directly from them.

In connotation terms though the bold font used for the names of the newspapers indicates the gravity of the paper and gives it an authoritative feel, an expert’s opinion of the content of this book. Again because of the source of these quotes this could also be seen to indicate the type and demographic of the readership, that is middle class C2 to B possibly. Age wise it most probably also indicates that the older reader would be more interested in this book and has in fact has been targeted by the publishers.

The introduction to the book uses the Sans Serif font Times New Roman. The first word STEAM is capitalised to emphasize the books overall subject and to indicate it is in fact looking at the general term Steam rather than just a specific part of the Steam World e.g. just Steam Engines or just Traction Engines.

In denotation terms the introduction says that it is a History of Steam Engines and Traction Engines over 100 years between the years 1890 to 1990.

Looking at the connotation again the use of the Time New Roman font as used by authoritative publications including the broadsheets ‘The Times’ and the ‘Observer’ indicates that this book should be viewed in the same terms an authoritative look at the history of Steam by an expert in their field.

The colour black is used, a neutral colour, but it is also associated with serious and authoritative publications.

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