23.10.12 – Development and feedback

Now I know what direction I am heading in with the project, yesterday was a day to get on and make this design work.

I started by taking some reference photos of my eye, which would be helpful later when I created the pencil sketch for the ‘base image’ of my design. I was not sure at first how to do this, so I just stuck the camera in front of my face, turned the flash off, and trialled it from there. One of them was helpful, which you can see and I edited it to match my proposed composition. As I would later discover when looking at other eye images, my top eyelashes appear to droop down much further than normal, blocking some of the iris, which was not so good.

Next I turned my attention to the sketch, I made a quick sketch to assess the shading, and then I decided from that the iris was not large enough and there was too much excess, so in my second preparatory sketch, I made the eye larger, so as to be more dominant and make better use of the space. Once I had done this, I got some 130gsm A4 paper that claimed to be suitable for line drawing and watercolour, and got to work. You can see my sketches below with captions to annotate my basic thought process:

First sketch to assess shading and composition
Composition finalised and some line-work for the final sketch
Final sketch, pupil and iris left blank for digital editing

So now the sketch work was done, and I had decided for the final sketch I would copy the shape of the eye from the reference image but edit the eyelashes to make them more ‘normal’ and to allow more of the iris to be seen. I then scanned in the image at 600dpi, and ‘restored faded colour’ in the scanner settings to remove the yellow tint my sketch had, and bring out the full effect of the pencil sketch I had done.

I felt the sketch looked odd without the pupil especially, so I opened the image in Photoshop and added a pupil using a brush with a low level of hardness to achieve the ‘bleeding’ you can get with the pupil. I also added a reflection. I am glad to say this worked well, and my design looked more as I expected it to as the image here shows. The reason I wanted to add these in digitally was to get the vibrant colour I could not get with a sketch. I also feel it contrasts very well with the pencil sketch, reflecting the texture of the skin, and allowing it to melt into the background as such.

Next I turned my attention onto creating the double helix I needed to make the DNA part of my idea come to life. This was done by following the two tutorials one of my tutors showed to me. I created the shape I needed in Illustrator, before focusing on rotating it around a set point, and changing the fill of each one to match the colour spectrum thoughts I had. I was very pleased at how this initial thought turned out.

I’ll detail how I made this design once it is finished, but I can go over the basics now. I dragged the helix design into Photoshop, added a background of the iris to it, and added in the shadows using a Computer Arts tutorial that another tutor had very kindly flagged up to me as they thought it would be of interest, which I have linked to. I erased the part of the design that overlapped the top eyelid (with more time a layer mask would have been better as it is non-destructive, meaning I can edit later on) which was fine as to hide the join, I shadowed that area using a brush in Photoshop. Just as well it was a dark area I was working with that could be hidden well.

I also decided it was time to add in a caption, because I had forgotten about it really until now, and felt it would be better to address that now, than in a last minute rush where mistakes could easily be made. As there is a 20 word limit, here is what I have written.

“A person’s DNA is unique, the psychology determined from this is visible through the eye, ‘the window to the soul'”

The end result of what I designed can be seen below:

Overall I was very pleased with what I had achieved in one day, as I am still learning how to use Photoshop during these projects. But of course, no design is perfect, so I decided to ask for some more feedback. Below, is the response I got (not quoted exactly) and my responses in italics:

  • Make the double helixes look more three dimensional. I think this can be done by changing the colour of one of the helixes subtly to create an impression of depth.
  • Experiment with texture in the eye. Yes I thought this as well, so that is on the list of things to change.
  • Perhaps adding colour to the eyelids may help. I’m not sure, I shall certainly give it a go and see what I can do.
  • Have I considered making the eyelids as vectors? Again, I’m not sure, I shall certainly experiment with it, but I do not want to dilute the stand out value of the iris and pupil and the contrast between the pencil sketch and vector. However, it may blend these two design styles in better as well. 
  • Maybe try a reflection in the pupil. This draws on an idea I stated in my last blog post, from feedback I got here, so it is something I am definitely trying to achieve.

Now it will be a case of working on the feedback, I’ll write up a blog post describing how it went to document this project, and then hopefully it will be finished and ready for print.