After Effects Layers

I did not realise when working through some tutorials that most of the adobe collection have similar tools. A main example of this are the transparency settings and the pen tools.

Transferable skills are very important in any industry, let alone the design industry. One cannot expect to be a master of the entire Adobe collection, but one can aim to conquer the key skills. Transferable skills allow easier transitions between jobs. Using the pen tool, for example, is helpful in Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects, and yet the use of the pen tool can be for different purposes. In one sense, the key to transferable skills is that you need to know how to do something but be able to know that that skill has many purposes.


Whilst waiting for Youtube to upload the Audi video, I checked out a few more of the tutorials available to me now.

The tutorials I looked at and worked through were on how to import documents from the other Adobe programmes, including Illustrator and Photoshop. I think it is very important as a designer to be able to use the Adobe software, since it is industry standard.

I was upset when I found out that we would be combining our course with the animation course. Looking into these tutorials in particular, it became clear that actually it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Using After Effects, although associated with animation, can benefit us, not only if we choose to specialise in motion graphics. When presenting work to a client, for example, we can now import it to a video format to give it a more dynamic feel. Videos are more easier accessed, thanks to the likes of Youtube, than ever before.

This medium can help us boost our opportunities. The times are changing, we must keep up with them since it’s survival of the fittest.

Layers And Masks

Cabinet of Curiosity (Final)
Cabinet of Curiosity (Final)

Using my Cabinet of Curiosity image I created as an example, I’d like to talk about layers and masks.

Using layers can be advantageous in many respects. Using layers can not only help with adding depth to an image, but it can also help arrange an image, and edit specific points without damaging the rest of the image. Blending options can help the piece look more natural, in the image above, I used the blending options to merge the multiple layers in a more natural progression. If it weren’t for these layering options, not only would the image look like it wasn’t on a grunge styled paper, but also, the images of my late grandparents would not look like one image, and the blending watercolour effect better myself and my father and my grandparents would look unnatural. The idea of good graphic design, was once said, to make things look and feel as natural as possible.

Using masks instead of deleting parts of an image can also be advantageous. If you were to delete parts of an image, you would never get it back properly. By using masks, if you make a mistake, or choose to feather the image slightly, it is easy to modify. Using masks can also help you work in textures, for example the water colour effect in my image.

From the photoshop tutorials, I have learnt that layers are vital and using masks instead of deleting an image are very advantageous. I hope it will prove to help in the future, and not just for this specific project.


Plagiarism is a common problem in most industries. Art and design companies tend to get their work copywrited or have their work patented. In an ideal world people would not steal ideas, they would buy the rights to use it. Sadly with their being not much new under the sun it is very different.

In Adobe InDesign, you can choose to place an image that is just a link to the folder it is in. This means that if the document is used on another computer, the image will not be there, only a box, as the image ‘would not be found’.

Although this method can be advantageous when it comes to avoiding plagiarism, it can be a hassle when trying to show others your work on other computers.

Primary Vs Secondary

When learning about Adobe InDesign, we were taught the difference between copying and pasting images from the internet and using the place tool. In looking into this deeper, as designers we should consider the differences between taking images off of, say, Google and using our own work. There are pros and cons for both.

By creating our own work, i.e. photography or illustration, we will have more to take credit for. We can also control the quality of the image more than we can if we copy and paste from the internet. From the internet images can be distorted or an image that we like can be at a resolution lower than we need. Secondary sources can be very convenient though.

In considering this, we must question how much credit we wish to take for our own work. If we specialise in just layout design, then it is fine to use other people’s works, especially if, when employed you would work as a part of a team, and it would just be stepping stones for working as a team if we used alternate sources now.

Less Is More

Whilst working through the “Making Marilyn” project tutorial, I noticed something very specific. When tracing an original image you are told to simplify the path you draw to make it look neater.

It made me consider that perhaps less is more. When working in design, there is a fine line between dynamic and over the top. I think we need to learn to master the art of knowing the difference and set our standards there. If this project has taught me anything, it’s that beauty can just be simple, it doesn’t need to be complex at all. Just like in music, where if you strip back the music to just an acoustic piece, it will always sound beautiful.

Academia In Adobe

Week commencing 10th February, taught me that there is a lot more to graphics than the philosophy and making work pieces. In the tutorial session, we briefly went over how to use Adobe Premiere Pro.

It brought me back to high school’s ICT and business communication lessons. It refreshed my memory on what certain terms mean and what the abbreviations for items were. Part of me regrets saying “When will I ever need this in the real world”. I think it’s like karma. Thankfully, I remembered the majority.

We learnt about file formats, and what they would be best suited for, for example, the differences in using R3D formats to Standard HDV. File sizes and quality are a key point to think about when choosing these formats. 

We looked further int how we could save the documents, for example we could use multiple devices that had RAM in them, to help speed up the working process. Many people, including myself, would probably get frustrated at how slow a computer can get when working on large files. 

Finally, during this tutorial, we learnt how edit a video, briefly. There were three ways to “cut” a video piece: using the razor tool, using ripple delete and a 3 point edit. All of which were effective and couple be used when editing real documents. 

Basic Typography

In todays Illustrator tutorial we learnt the basics in hope to draw our own type. We also learnt how to set up guides, and their designated names, including baseline, midline etc.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 10.25.38

As seen above, you can see that we experimented with not only colour, but also dissecting intersecting lines, to create a new shape, but also experimented with stoke sizes and the pen tool.

Typography is an important part of graphic design and will need to be studied further if I choose to pursue this topic further.