How I became a graphic designer is actually quite accidental. I recieved my first computer when I was a sophomore in college. It was an Acer Aspire Pentium I - 200mhz, with 32MB of RAM and a 2 gig hard drive....state of the art for 1997. I would take lots of pictures and I wanted to scan them into my computer since I wanted to electronic copies of my pictures as a back up.Well the only scanner was at the College of Architecture building. I remember spending hours at that computer lab scanning in computers.
Later that year my dad bought me a flatbed scanner for my birthday. My dad is one of those types that if he buys something and finds it incredibly useful he'll buy it for someone else even if they don't need it. The good news was that I needed since I was constantly going to the Arch. building. Well the first scanner was useless because it kept freezing my computer. So I got an HP 5100c (which ironically enough, I still own and use).
I'd scan in pictures, but I didn't have any way of fixing the problems with them or able to crop or enlarge them. So again I found myself constantly at the Arch. building to use Photoshop to fix or edit the photos. A few months later, a guy down the hall who was an Architecture major happened to have a copy of Photoshop 2.5......broken up onto 14 floopy disks. He said I could have it since there was a newer version and so I took it. It took a half an hour to install the software.
As the years went, my copy of photoshop was upgraded by people who would by the newer version. So the next year, I got version 4, the year after that I got version 5, when I graduated I got 6 and 7 from an employer.
Ok, where was I? Oh yeah, editing pictures. Well when I first got Photoshop 2.5, I had this massive program at my finger tips. I mean there were all these huge menus full of stuff you could do to pictures. Well, the picture to the right was one of the first images I'd ever toyed with. It's a picture of Chicago that I found on the internet a long time ago. I warped the image and added a lense flare and did some blurring. Though I thought this was cool, I never really thought I'd actually have a purpose for these kinds of wild features. I mean who would want to do THIS to a picture? No one.
The next semester, a friend of mine who was a model wanted to remove all the color from a photograph except the jeans he was wearing and he asked me to do it. Though most designers realize that this is a simple procedure, when I discovered it I was like 'wow, that's pretty cool. You could make 'art' with this.' That's when I first started to realize just what kind of power Photoshop had.
As time went on I used some of the more advanced photo tweaking features to improve the quality of photos that I scanned.
When I decided I wanted to be a screenwriter about 9 months later, I hit a sever patch of writers block with my first script. I needed something to jump start my creativity. That's when it hit me: design the poster for my script! So I set out downloading and installing fonts that I thought would be appropriate for my 'space' story. I typed a bunch of letters on the new graphic and tried to make it look intense using the skills I had learned while editing photos. The picture to the left is my very first attempt at the 'The Lone Star's poster. Pretty weak, eh? But at the time I thought it was pretty freakin' cool. I mean none of my other friends could do this, so I must be good......right?
Well I even used these skills to build all the graphics for the website I built during my junior year of college called The Urban Jungle.
Well, the more I wrote the more I wrote scripts, the more my imagination and visualization of my stories increased. I could see my stories so clearly, that my imagination had litterally expanded beyond my digital creative abilities.
Then I discovered layers. Well that opened up a whole new door for me. I no longer had to carefully plan out my image ahead of time. I could just create a new layer and if I didn't like it I could delete it. And by that time I was well in to my second screenplay, 'Guardian'. This was a story that had some really damn intense visuals as the story had a fantasy thrust to it.Using the famous image of Earth taken from space, I created the first offiicial poster of my portfolio.
Then I graduated and moved to Chicago. I didn't do much writing or design......until my company wanted me to do a compnay-wide power point presentation. That's when I discovered 'layer blending options'. This is when my design ability really took off. With these features I was able to do things that i couldn't ever do. My graphics were once again taking off through the roof. In fact, they were so good, that the President and Vice President of my company both complimented me on my superb work in front of the entire company.
At this point, I went back to my original posters for 'Guardian' and 'The Lone Star' and decided to revamp them.....make them look like real posters. Eventually, I created this image for Guardian (though the next incarnation is quite ground breaking) and later I made this image for The Lone Star. The one for Lone Star made the top 3 images for the month of August on Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Virutal Studio in 2002.
However, after creating the new 'Lone Star' image, I created more and more and more. Eventually I became so proficient at graphics creation that several of my friends asked me to create images for their various websites. They would give me the initial images that they wanted me to work with and I manipulate them into what they wanted.
In the summer of 2002, I was hired on as a poster designer for the indpendent films BURNING ANNIE and OBLIVION. Both in radically different genres and both requiring me to learn new skills, especially the Burning Annie project. Both posters and the images that led up the the final images that were used can be found here for Burnning Annie and here for Oblivion. All the incarnations of my posters can be found in the Posters Section.
Today, I spend my time creating posters for my films, creating custom graphics for friends and colleagues, and am currently learning Macromedia Flash. I also am quite proficient at adding objects into other images and making them look as though they are really there such as the image I used for the Fun Stuff Section of this site and a gift for a friends uncle who really likes Ralph Lauren clothing.
1322 W. Barry Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
For Screenplays, Teleplays and all other forms of creative writing: Tony@TonyMachin.com
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