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Tom

Graphic Design

Ocean Blue

Ocean Blue
Ocean Blue
7 min read

Today I finished three pieces of digital art inspired by the ocean. I created these with the help of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

The bright blue and green colors feel like a calm and serene summer.

Imagine yourself floating on the waves, in total freedom, bringing you feelings of tranquility. No worries, just enjoying the moment.

I will try and explain how you can also create something like this.

Decide on the color theme.

This first step in the process is the most fun one, the other stages are also fun, but this has the most impact.

It sets the tone of your art. Ask yourself what your favorite color is, or how do you feel at the moment, and try to convert that feeling to a color.

If you are interested in looking deeper into color Psychology, check this website. Also, a google search might help you as well.

Color Psychology
Example of Color Psychology

When you have found the color theme you want to work with, the next step will be a lot easier.

Finding the perfect background picture.

Now that you decided on the theme, its time to find a perfect background picture. You can find a lot of free stock photos on websites like Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay.

The purpose of the background picture is to have a variation of tints in it. What is in the image doesn’t matter as we will use a blur effect in Photoshop to blend the tones.

In my example, I used this photo.

Jeremy Bishop
Jeremy Bishop - Ocean

Organizing your files and decide on the format.

I like to organize my files per project. I start by creating a folder with the name of my project. In this case, its “Ocean Blue.” Within that folder, I make subdirectories like materials, export, Illustrator, and photoshop.

For structure, I also put numbers before it, so the order is always the same for every project.

Directory structure

The folder “materials” is where I put all the images, icons, fonts, or vector files that I’m going to use in the project.

When I finished my work in Illustrator and export the file as .jpg, that will go in the “export” folder.

Illustrator and Photoshop folders are obviously for the work files of those applications.

This structure helps me a lot with keeping an overview and finding files quickly.

I want to post my work on Instagram, so the dimensions I will be working with fit in 1080 x 1080 pixels. If you’re going to publish your work on another social media platform, then do a google search for the correct dimensions.

Oké, now the structure is in place, let's start creating.

Take your image and open it in Photoshop. The size of the picture doesn’t matter at this point. We want to have it in high resolution.

Open up the filter Filter > Blur > Gaissians Blur and start playing with the settings a bit. I used it the filter on a 64px radius. Once you’re satisfied with the blur effect, go to the menu Image > Adjustments > Levels and drag the white and dark levels until you’re ok with the color of the picture. 

If you then save the file as a Photoshop file, you can always go back into it and make adjustments. Here you can choose to keep it as a .psd file or export it as a high resolution .jpg.

The purpose of the blur effect is to smooth al the different tones in the picture, so they nicely flow into each other.

ocean

Time for some Illustrator action.

Work file
Illustrator work file and layers

After setting up a document, I start by creating different layers to keep my work structured and clear. After I imported the background picture in the right layer, I create a grid for the lines. There are two kinds of cyan circles. The small one’s purpose is that only lines can end here. The big ones are the place where lines can begin.

When you have set a few lines, you can play around with the thickness of the lines, so there is a bit more variation. In combination with the lines, you can add in overlays to accentuate the direction of the line.

Please take note that the overlays are in a layer beneath the lines, so they don’t affect the line.

When you feel that, no more adjustments are needed, it’s time to export it. I just exported it as a jpg file.

File > Export > Export as…

Perception is everything.

Now that you created something that you like. It’s time to present it in a way that appeals to everyone. Try searching for a mockup file. You can find them easily on Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay.

Example:

Ocean Blue Mockup
Ocean Blue Mockup
If you have any feedback, let me know 😉

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