This is a graphical breakdown of an initial project I did at University called “Yesterday’s Children.”
At University I did a variety of different projects and always took a great amount of time to make the presentation of these projects look as professional as I could. I therefore did a lot of custom promotional graphics and the above is one such example for a horror game project called Yesterday’s Children.
I thought that it came out very well, and this is a graphical breakdown of how it was done.
When beginning this, the main ‘theme’, or idea, that I had was to have a photograph of children having been scribbled out, turn out, stabbed out, and finally cut out of a photograph and for the entire graphic to look very dark and gloomy, but not overly so. i.e. No buckets of blood everywhere, which I find cliche.
| Third-Party Assets
For this Uni project I utilized some assets I acquired from other sources that I made sure were available to legally use for an educational capacity. These are below.
I started with just a basic wooden pattern which was darkened and slightly and the contrast lowered to make it look more dull.
The image of the cottage was then added into the canvas, re-sized into the approximate shape I wanted the photograph to be, and the contrast and brightness changed to look the opposite of the wood; very vibrant and bright.
A soft surface blur was then applied to the top, followed by a radial blur around the edges. This was done to add a somewhat surreal feel to the graphic.
A white rectangle was added underneath by expanding the size of the image by 10px, and the image made black and white.
On top of this, I created an additional overlay layer and added some scratch effects over the top to try and create an old photo-feel. This was done using dissolved stripe effects across, which was then duplicated and rotated twice. All layers were placed on a lower opacity.
On top of this, I added some grunge effects to the image. This was done using brushes I had previously created and are just ‘splat’ outlines with a lot stone-like texture applied on-top to add more depth. This was coloured a dark brown colour and also placed as an overlay layer, which dyed the black & white image this colour overall.
I also then did the same effect on the edges of the photograph.
An inner-glow was then applied onto a 0% fill layer the same size as the cottage image, to add a little more depth, and a satin fill layer on top of the edges of the photograph.
And finally, the shape of 2 boys were cut out of the graphic using the cut tool and saving the cut-out shapes for later. You can also notice I re-applied the layers and used perspective distorts to create a shadow for the boys. This would end up not being used due to additional effects placed atop the graphic.
With the image starting to take shape, I rotated the photograph into my desired location, so it looked sprawled atop the desk, and added a drop shadow beneath it. I also added some light blood effects onto the table and photograph, trying to imitate a ‘spatter’ going in the same direction.
This was done using, again, previously created brushes very similar to the grunge brushes but lacking any texture to them, coloured bright red, and then duplicated 3 times as overlay layers to create the desired effect.
I then took the scissors, rendered them from the white background, and placed them underneath the photograph. I feathered the edges slightly and lowered the contrast so they did not look as shiny.
And here I used the previously saved clippings from the photograph when cutting out the shape of the 2 boys. This was moved to the side of the photograph and was meant to show that they had been “cut out.”
The two boys were then coloured black, but rather than using a fill tool I simply used a hard brush to do it myself and deliberately causing an imperfect colour fill. You can see the photograph underneath still.
And this same hard brush was then used over the top of the outline to try and show someone having deliberately scratched and scribbled out the two boys using a pencil.
I then added the text for the title to the side of the graphic, utilizing the exact same hard-brush tracing to make it look scribbled on somewhat.
To add that final bit of depth and realism, since the image was coming together but still looked quite flat, I applied the entire image onto a single layer and rendered lighting effects to the side of the image. To make it look more like a real photograph being laid onto a table.
And this was the result of that. Already I believe it looks a lot more real and has a lot more depth to it.
The text was looking very hard to read, and I therefore re-applied a multiplied layer of the initial text, lacking the scribbled-out effect, to make sure that the text could be read. If the title of the project couldn’t be seen, that might be somewhat of an issue!
And that was the graphic finished! I believe it came out rather well and looks like a good piece of promotional art for a horror project which shows something happening, but doesn’t go over-board in explaining it fully and thus losing the mysterious element. Something very important for horror.
There was a few different outtakes I made that I changed my mind about. The first one was changed as I didn’t think the knife explained enough, and the second one due to the difficulty in seeing the cut-outs of the children.
What I hope I created was some exciting promotional art for my Uni project. My tutors were impressed and this was used on the front page. (And I felt bad for the printer which had to do it)