Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Returning Home

Can you dream of and dread the same thing?

This was a simple fun cap to make.  When I came across the image (full set here) I didn't at first think about capping it. I was far more interested in this image from the same set:

I didn't have a story in mind for it, but something about her expression drew me in.  I pulled the image into Photoshop, opened up Word... and nothing.  I had the vague idea of a 'walk of shame', but nothing interesting popped into my head.  I didn't know why he got transformed, why he did whatever caused him to be ashamed, or anything else about the story.  So I went back to the image set hoping that another image would inspire more of the story.  I figured I wouldn't sue any other images, but maybe one of them would spark an idea.

So I was kind of surprised when I looked at the image that I ended up using as it did give me an idea... just one that didn't work with the image I had selected.  The idea I got was of the man returning home only to transform into this woman.  Obviously that didn't work with the whole 'walk of shame' motif I was struggling with.  But the more I looked at the image and the more I thought about the story I thought it would be a fun write.  Having him swing from dreading returning home to dreaming of the same thing in the morning.  I wouldn't even need to go into the whole 'why is this happening' beyond making him wonder the same thing.  I figured if he knew why this was happening he could at least work to change it back... but if he didn't know then it's just a state of being that he is struggling to accept.

So I abandoned my previous idea and wrote out this story.  It came out in bits and pieces, but that actually helped as I wanted his thoughts to be kind of fractured... he wants this, he doesn't want this, he abhors changing into her only to later abhor changing into him.  I meshed the parts together but didn't do any work on making it into one smooth narrative.

Design wise I had to stretch my text box again, but it actually works to fill in some empty space around her face.  The problem of course is in making a text box to work with the odd shape of the text.  Making the top, right, bottom, and bottom left sides bigger would be easy... but making the angle on the upper left would be more problematic.  I never seem to get the angles to match up and that just makes the text box stand out and not sit in the background as it should.  But I couldn't just have the text without something to separate it from the background.  Here is what that would look like:

Beyond the text over the light being completely obscured, it just doesn't pop and is difficult to read.

So I tried something different.  Instead of making a path for the text box, I used the text's path to make a selection.  This normally doesn't work as there would be no space between the text and the text box... it would look like this:

It's not completely horrible... but it's not the look I ever want to go for.  Most of my text boxes have a 10 pixel edge around the text itself.  But when I went to make the selection I noticed an option that I hadn't seen before... I could feather the edge.  Feathering, when it comes to Photoshop, means making a hard edge into something softer and not fully opaque.  Using that method worked great as it still obscured enough of the background to make the text pop and followed the shape of the text.

The final struggle was working with the title.  I wanted to acknowledge that the subject is dreaming of and dreading the same thing day in and day out, but the title gets a little clumsy.  I played around for about 15 minutes on variations of "Dreaming of and Dreading Returning Home".  In the end it just felt to clumsy and long.  I left it in the design as a kind of tease, but still consider the title simply "Returning Home"

I considered briefly changing the names and giving this cap up as a trade.  While there are many people at the Haven that I'd like to make a cap for, however, there aren't many that I believe this would fit.  Sure, I could shoehorn in some of their preferences, but it would be a hack job at best.  So it's just going to remain a blog exclusive.  I hope that all of you enjoy it!


  1. I like the full circle this one makes.

  2. I really enjoyed this one, you took a simple idea and executed it perfectly. Plus the perspective switch at the end was a nice surprise.