advanced photoshop

How I Made: IBM SlamTracker

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General, by Rebecca Greig

With Wimbledon finally here we explore how colour and shape were used to create this energetic piece of digital art

final image

Have you been plagued by Tennis fever yet? With Wimbledon finally upon us once again, we take a look back at this tennis themed illustration to get us in the mood.

IBM’s SlamTracker provides a visual representation of Grand Slam matches using scores and statistics. Sebastian Onufszak was tasked with creating the key visual for its advertising campaign a few years ago.

Onufszak combined graphical elements from Adobe Illustrator and typographical textures from CINEMA 4D inside Photoshop. These were then laid on top of a photo image. “The illustration is composed of many clipping masks and adjustment layers, as well as layer styles,” Onufszak explains. “In the end I had a huge 2.8GB Photoshop file with more than 150 layers.”

There are three different colour variations within this image: “The heritage of green grass, red clay and blue hard court are all represented,” he notes. “I used a variety of colour shades and contrasts to make the illustration more interesting. The lines, circles and dots were applied to emphasise infographic data.”

How I Made: IBM SlamTracker

Stock image The advertising agency delivered a stock image, which I used as source material. The first thing I did was edit the image using Levels, altering the light and colour of the start photo.

Edit the background The background was extended on both sides in order to create a classical tennis-playing environment. I also added the IBM logo as a tennis banner, with an audience behind.

How I Made: IBM SlamTracker

Integrate type and numbers I changed the face of the tennis player, making it more abstract and graphical. I also integrated typography and numbers to visualise the infographic data creatively.

Infographics Line and dot shapes were created as vectors and then imported into Photoshop. Different colours were applied to form a more dynamic image.

Body graphics I applied typographical textures to the body of the tennis player. These were warped around his legs and arms. I included several other layers to extend the amount of data.

How I Made: IBM SlamTrackerGlow effects I created a sense of movement and energy by adding motion-blurred strokes and glow layer styles. This improved the complexity of the design.

How I Made: IBM SlamTrackerTennis ball I designed the tennis ball and placed it into the image. More graphical elements, typographical layers and a motion trail were added to connect the front and back layers of the illustration.

Colour correction I decided to alter image colours further, making them brighter and more saturated. Three colour variations exist in this illustration series, including green, blue and red. The application of these depends on which Grand Slam surface is being featured.


IBM’s slamtracker Key Visual

Sebastian Onufszak reveals what to expect when working with commercial clients on sports projects

Onufszak worked closely with advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather New York, who developed this project as part of a remit for IBM’s AOR. He reveals: “I also collaborated with Ginevra Capece, who is the creative director at Ogilvy & Mather Paris. We were tasked with choosing a direction for this IBM campaign.”

The agency selected a preferred style and revisions ensued. “I really liked the collaboration between the art director, agency and myself,” Onufszak admits. “We shared a common cause, which was creating a tennis player illustrated from graphical elements and typography.” But he does advise us to listen to clients and their arguments. “ We get a broader point of view and become more critical,” he explains.