Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Somebody that I used to know

Don't worry.. there's a girl in the second panel.

This cap started by listening to the radio.  I listen to the radio as I go to sleep. I normally hear one or two songs before I slide off to sleep, and most of the songs I hear are ones I'm familiar with.  But occasionally I  one comes along that I don't recognize.  Now I'm slipping into the land of nod, so it doesn't always make a strong impression.

But last night while doing up the dishes, I turned on the radio and heard a song start up.  Immediately my subconscious perked up and screamed that I loved this song.  I'm always in the mood to add good music to my collection, so I dry my hands and rush out to grab my Android tablet.  Using an app that identifies songs, I found out that I was listening to "Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra)" by Gotye.  To confirm that I had the right song, I pulled it up on youtube (by the way... I LOVE my tablet!).  I didn't intend to watch the whole video, I just wanted to hear the song, and make sure it was the right one before I sent a note to my desktop (where I would buy it on iTunes).

But when the video came up, I was captivated.  Its a simple enough concept, but as most people know, if something is simple, it has to be executed perfectly to be any good.  And this was pulled off perfectly!

I sat there in the kitchen and watched the video and listened to this song about 5 times over. I was that enamored with it.  Eventually I set it aside, finished up the dishes and went in to watch some Television.  When I got back to my computer later that evening I saw the note I had sent from the tablet and immediately purchased the song from iTunes.

Now I"m not one to listen to lyrics.  I tend to take the singer's voice and take it in as any other instrument.  But when the male singer sung out 'But you didn't have to cut me off'' over the female singer's voice I felt chills. So I went ahead and looked up the lyrics.

Reading them while listening to the song made me think of a cap.   It felt like a cap that was missing a few parts.  Like looking at a document that has portions of it redacted.  By the time I really considered making it a cap, I was getting tired.

Fast forward to this morning, and I knew I had to cap it.  I took the more daring path... I wrote the entire story before I even considered an image.  You see when I look at an image, it leads to the story.  But this time I wanted very key parts in the story.  The lyrics would stand as is... this wouldn't be like "Oh, Sweet Pea" where I changed the lyrics and made them the story.  This would be a conversation between two people, where the lyrics were part of the conversation.

So I wrote it out hoping desperately that I could find an image to match it somehow.  When I started searching for images, I didn't know exactly what I wanted.  So I just started looking for 'sexy women'.  I saw a great one of a girl with a phone to her ear, and I felt that it would work.  Sadly it was an image from a stock photo company, and they are great at making images useless.  It had a huge watermark over most of the photo, and when viewed full size, it was pixelated all to hell.

But.. that sent me off into an actual direction.  I wanted a sexy woman with a phone.  She could be at home, in an office, on a cell, or even just holding it... but I wanted that.

Oh Gods of inspiration... why do you taunt me so.  I must have looked through hundreds (if not thousands) of images that had women on phones, but I didn't feel that a single one would work.  I wasn't ready to let go though, so I kept changing up the exact search terms hoping to find 'THE' image.

And after hours, I gave up that ghost.  It just wasn't going to happen.  I couldn't find a photo with a woman involving a phone that had the right expression on her face.  She needed to be somewhere between sad/contemplative/angry/resigned.  Most of the images where happy, and that just wouldn't work for the story.

So I went back to 'sexy women' and looked.  And looked.  And looked.  I finally came up with an image of a woman wearing headphones.   She was drop dead sexy and would work perfectly.

O.k.. thats a lie.  It wouldn't be perfect, but hey, it wouldn't completely clash with the story!  Here is what I came up with:

Two problems came up quickly.  One, I had already started with a fairly large canvas.  This is 1300x1100.  And it still didn't fit the entire story.  I was hoping to shrink it down some when I got the whole story in, but when I gave that a try, the text wasn't as legible as I wanted.   And to get enough room to fit, I figured I would need to either take the horizontal out to about 1500 or 1600 pixels (making readers scroll the damn thing back and forth to read the story), or take the vertical up to 1400.  Making it tall would be... o.k... but the design would suck.  It would be almost all text, with only the lower left corner having any graphics.

I must have mulled this over for about an hour.  Playing with the font, the font size, the canvas size... but nothing worked.  I knew what I needed, but I was getting frustrated.... I needed a second image.  The image that I'm using is from some desktop wallpaper site, so there wasn't anything that matched it.

So I looked for a bit hoping to find a guy with a headset on.  I really don't know how that would vibe with the story, but at least the pictures would match.  But I just didn't get inspired with any of the ones I found.  And even if I did, I knew I would have a hell of a time matching their backgrounds up.  You see the gradation that is in this one, IS the background of the girl.  So either the guys background would be completely different, or I would spend a long time cutting out both 'him' and 'her' so that I could lay in a matching background to both.

So I threw my hands up in the air and went back to square one.  I was looking for an image that would match this story in practically ANY way.  The only caveat was that it had to be part of a series so that I could snag two images to use.

While looking I came across a sexy image of a woman riding a bike.  It as small, a single image, and didn't match the story in any way, but it was sexy.  So I took a few moments to rip out a quick fun cap "Love Hate".  Feeling how easy it was to make that cap told me that I had no business working this hard for this cap.  I loved the story, but it just wasn't working.  So I started to save what I had, and close down all the windows that I had open.

When I came to the Google image search window, I saw that I was last looking for "Sexy Man Woman Phone" (odd that it came up with the woman on the bike, but I don't question the Google Gods).  I knew I wouldn't find anything, but I scrolled down a bit more.... and found this:

Sure.. it was a single image.  But I could split this couple up and have two images.  It was large enough that I could play with it, and it had a blank background making it fairly easy to add something in the background (and simply fade it out as it got close to the people).

I couldn't believe it.  After hours (close to 6 hours at this point), and actually giving up, I found the image!!

By the way, since I sat down and started writing the cap, I've had that song playing in the background.  I just got the song last night and according to iTunes I've now listened to it 96 times!  But back to the cap....

With this image, it was easy easy to step back to an earlier design, and push it out.   Once I got all the text in place, I decided against putting a 'design' in the background and opted for a simple gradation.  I really wanted the focus to be on the story, and I figured any design that I could work in, would be at least a little distracting.

I wouldn't say this is my best (or even really that good of a) design.  I wouldn't say that this is my best (or even really that good of a) story.  And I certainly wouldn't say that this was easy, either writing or designing. But I had a blast doing this, and I'm happy with the results.

1 comment:

  1. Music plays a big role in my capping process, I have to have the sound when I'm capping. It will usually blend into the background and I will just lose my self in the cap, having it influence me on a subconscious level. Which I have many songs to think for some of my favorite captions.

    And I've also made 2 cap's that incorporated the music it self into the caption. using the rhythm and beat to find the story in the picture/song.

    I haven't tried this approach, but I am very pleased with the end results! It's so well done and I think what really makes it work is the over all design of the caption. If it was anything else, I think it would lose something and it wouldn't have the same feel that you have gave it.

    Great work! and thanks for showing me this song when you did, I've been playing it all day!