Saturday, February 18, 2012

Caitlyn's Next 200 Followers

For 200 of you deciding to follow this blog, I offer you a variety of caps!

Well it finally happened.  200 of you have decided to follow this blog.  I can't tell you how much that means to me.  I had intended to do a 'celebration' cap when I reached 100, but I missed it.  I decided that I would celebrate 150 followers... but yea I missed that too.

So I vowed that I would keep closer watch, and have an idea in the back of my head so that I could whip out a cap really quick to celebrate 200.  Now I should say that I don't really like the term 'follower'.  It makes it sound like I'm a leader and you are all banding together behind me, willing to follow me into battle.  Well thats just not the case. But by 'following' me you have shown an interest in what goes on here.  You've wanted to be notified easily when I make something new.  So while I can get thousands of page views, and hundreds of visitors a day, I consider all of you more of fans.  Or watchers.  And that I like!

So the basic idea I had was a spoof of my time capping.  I've talked before how I got to the Haven because of one of Dementia's caps.  So naturally she seemed to be the perfect person to join in my journey.  But I should forewarn you that this isn't the 'Dee' that really runs her blog.  This isn't based off of her preferences.  Its just part of the story that helped it ring 'true' while still being complete fiction.

Now I knew that the basic idea I had was to have 'Dee' push me into becoming 'Caitlyn' in more than cap and blog reality.  As I do enjoy the dirty, I incorporated that into this.  To me, that meant that I could use just about any 'dirty' image.  Therefore I didn't need to base the story off of an image, and I could just write.  And with all the design formats I've used, I figured I could write as long of a story as I wanted, and edit it down to fit in any format.

So I wrote and let the story take me where it wanted.  It ended up just a little over one page in Word.  Not long by my standards, but not short either.  For comparison's sake, what I've been writing recently (for a single panel cap) is about a half of a page in word.

I then went over to Fuskator to find an image that went with the story.  Thankfully I found this image and it really worked with the ending.  It originally had me needing 2 more, and I got three, but it was a simple edit to get it  up to needing 3 more and getting 4.

Now I just needed to design.  To be honest, when I saw that I had the 200 'follower's I wasn't in the most cappy of moods.  But I wanted this to be special, and more than just having a special story.  So instead of just making it in my newer format, I looked back at the design of some of my favorite caps.  I looked through them for... oh... about an hour?  and I kept thinking that I could make the story fit into any of these.  Sure, some were a lot shorter on text, but I could concentrate the story down to make it work.  And then it just hit me... why not do that?  Why not use several caps that represent 'milestones' in my progression of design layouts?

And if I'm going to do that, then why not start at the very beginning:

This is what I would do.  I pulled out my original Photoshop file and match up the design philosophy that I used at that time.  Here it was just a picture, a border of one color, a background of another color, and text in another color.  

This was one of my early favorites.  'Click Click Click' was the first time I used a coloring in method that has become one of the things I do often now.  It was also an early (although not first use) of using a stylized title.

This is one of the first caps I made with a titled image and text running around it.  That for a very long time was a key design element for me.

This was one of the first caps where I had the title sitting over a slightly opaque 'title box'.  The titles got a little longer, and a little more stylized. 

While this wasn't a design I used that often, it was coloring in an image in a different way, and one of my shortest formatted caps ever. 

Certainly not the first time I did this, but it was combining putting text in its own box, along with a title in its box.  both of them on top of the image.  It also represents the time where I started using my watermark. 

Last but not least, this represents my current designs.  I don't have one that I really consider my 'standard' of this design yet, so I didn't base this off of a current cap.  I also did the heaviest manipulation of the photo here.  Although to be hones, I was getting sick of working so much with this one image.  

Now one thing you'll note is that every cap has a different amount of text in it.  The 'entire' story is in the final version, but I don't consider any of the other variations to be incomplete.  You see when I make caps I have a normally have a design in mind, and know roughly how much text I need to make it look good.  I'm aware when I'm writing that I'll either need heavy editing or I'll need to find another image so that I can make it a multi panel cap.  So editing down this story to fit all these caps... that would have been my process if I had written this back then.  I tried to change it up for each.. sometimes they have more of the beginning of the story, and sometimes they have more of the ending.  But I think I would be happy with any of them standing up on its own.  

The same goes with the image manipulations.  When I pick an image, I don't always know how I'm going to crop it.  I don't always know if I'm going to play with the colors, give it a filter, smooth it out, or darken parts of it.  So the image matches up with the design, and I'm happy with how they all came out. 

And of course the same applies to the titles used.  I normally make the title knowing how much space I have.  Only recently have I really been altering parts of the title to make a longer one fit in a smaller place.  That's why these caps all have similar and yet different titles. 

One last thing I did, is I showed how sometimes my editing can radically change what I originally wrote down.  When I was editing the story down for 'Follower #201' I realized I could have gone with a 'willing' story and this premise would still work.  But that's the only cap where I specifically changed the 'tone'.  I do it.. just not often.  

Anyway... thank you all again for having an interest in my blog, my caps and me.  I hope that I'll continue to make caps that you enjoy, and I'll try to never be happy with what I'm doing so that I can constantly improve.  And you never know... maybe I'll have something special for my 400th 'follower'. 


  1. Wow!!! congrats Caitlyn and holey moley... I didn't notice your style changed that much :)

    Now I know there is still room for us other less incredible captioneers and that you started over something small too! :)

    I'll love to see where your style take you, and of course I'll try to keep up improving just like you do! :)

    Hugs and Kisses Alectra

  2. What are your orders, leader? ;-)

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your design evolution with us all. You've really done some amazing work and it's interesting to see how your mind work. Your work has influenced mine over time (especially lately) and it makes me happy to share ideas when you when we chat. Here's to another 200 followers coming your way, my dear.

  4. Really fascinating post. I have to say your constant dedication to continuing to improve and tweak your designs is inspiring. As someone who is primarily a writer it was really cool to see how changing the layout without changing the key points of the story was able to give such a different feel to each one of the captions.

    And congrats on hitting 200 as well!

  5. Caitlyn, congrats - not so much about 200 peeps but in the hours of your life that you've gained pleasure from this "duty" of trans caption design and execution. You cannot love 200 lovers unless you love yourself first, and I doubt you'd go anywhere if the only person who enjoyed it was Simone or Alectra. But they are fun to "perform" for ;)