Following on from Part 1, we explore how to set abstract shapes from some simple patterns, using a geometric and conceptual approach.
Treatment in Photoshop enables us to build our scene correctly and also texture the image. Layer options are applied to achieve quick results and generate multiple effects, while creating minimalist designs.
To signify the geometry and direction of the collision that we are portraying, we’ll add grey lines (2px Stroke) that will lengthen existing angles, making three axes. Consider points where the new axes should cross at the centre of the shapes and other general points of balance. Making the axes of co-ordinates visible and projecting them onto the canvas enables you to obtain solidity and balance.
We’ll edit our shapes and make small modifications to any of the groups containing graphical elements. For more rapid and concrete editing, it is advisable to group all the layers in each set of vectors that we have designed. One of the most visible modifications is the placement of a new hexagonal white element at the ends of our white parallelogram shapes, which generates new geometry in the empty spaces of the design.
Erase all those small details that break the symmetry or differ from the geometric criterion. Continue applying the grid pattern and the crossing points that this generates. Ensure the image is balanced correctly, with graphical physics that easily relate to the weight of the text. Once we have grouped all the existing shape layers that compose this version of our graphic, we can once more duplicate and look for new graphical alternatives.
Place smaller text in the bottom-right corner of your canvas. This will balance all existing boxes of copy. Before establishing the style of this new text, we will study the space that has been allocated to house this design element. We have decided to reserve a space in this area to incorporate a minimalist graph. This ensures that all of the text aligns to the grid and so is cohesive with the whole design.
Now we will decide the styles of the texts applied and place them where they best affect the balance of our design. Thanks to the previous step, it will be simple to determine placement, type scale and weight. To balance text effectively, create a grey line of 2px in the bottom-right part of the canvas. This will support future graphics and text placement by creating an imaginary grounding.
Having reserved certain space for the minimalist graphic, create a small triangle in a new layer by applying the Polygon tool, set to 3 Sides and a #d3cbbd tone. Duplicate this shape and construct the rest of the graph, referring to Fibonacci’s sequence. The size of the graphic and its colour will determine visual weight and therefore the presence this will have on the design in general.
Now we’ll incorporate some relevant information through graphic elements. The look of these was inspired by a network of equations for infography, based on information about the Higgs Boson. We’re using four Feynman diagrams for Higgs production that serves our intentions. Now we need to adapt these diagrams to our own design and provide complementary details. We create diagrams using the Pen tool, applied to angles that coincide with those present in our shapes.
We will start creating discreet shades to be able to give our design an almost third dimension and more movement. Make a selection of an existing parallelogram shape (Cmd/Ctrl-click the layer thumbnail) and place it where you want to incorporate a drop shadow. We’ll create a new layer and apply a grey-to-transparent gradient (#e7e4e4). Repeat the process in other areas of the graphic structure to add further interest, but without overcrowding the piece.
Once we have incorporated small shades inside the graphical structure, we will proceed to create major ones in order to force the general perspective of our graphics and create a general environment. In this case we will use the Polygonal Lasso tool to select six areas, based on the perspectives that we’ve created in our design. Once your selection is set, apply the gradient from the previous step and edit opaqueness until the obtained contrast is convincing.
It’s time to proceed to create more intense lighting. First apply a darker colour (C=9, M=7, Y=11, K=0) to your background. Add a group of lights to your graphics by making a selection of a parallelogram layer, applying a white-to-transparent gradient to these on a new layer. Repeat this process and once you have illuminated the graph internally, simply apply a new white-to-transparent gradient over your background layer. This will create the effect of a backlight in your design.
Now we apply gradients to each side of our workspace, much like we have done in previous steps, only this time we use a darker colour. We’ll add this to our image margins (edges), as generating focal lighting draws the viewer’s gaze to the spaces with major contrast inside the most illuminated zones. Also it will enable us to refill those empty zones in our design, bearing in mind that these are the spaces that offer relief and a clean finish to frame our various elements.
Create a selection of 21 x 9px and fill this with a solid colour (C=22, M=20, Y=19, K=37) on a new layer. Duplicate this, forming a pattern that resembles a chess table occupying the whole canvas – or apply the ‘texture_bg.psd’ supplied. Merge all these new layers to create your texture, setting layer Opacity at 1% and the blending mode to Multiply. Duplicate this layer and place one over the entire design and another just over background layer. Finally add a solid white frame.