Oh Snap! Planets!

I have been trying to figure out how to finish thegrav.com.  I need planets, in two sizes, I know that much… after that I will need to sit back and think once again.  This means I need to paint a few planets.  So I set out to paint 6 planets in total.  I figured this time around I would try to reach out with social media and poll some of the people that follow my art page, in order to pick which planets I was gonna use.

The six choices I have given my fan are: A Metal World, Ice World, Living World, Desert World, Volcanic World, and a Dead World.  I however don’t get off easy, I still have to paint all 6 before I can really ask anyone to vote!  So far I have finished three!  Check em’ out!


Head on over to my Facebook Artist page!  Throw me a Like, and vote for your favorite!



And Now I am making Fake Newsweeks…

The Devil is in the details…  Or so I am under the impression.  For my current art piece, I am working on a spoof of the Most Interesting Man in the World.  My version is the Most interesting being in the Universe.

For this piece I decided to create a fake Newsweek, and as a tease I am gonna go ahead and post it now 🙂

Fake Newsweek, Graphic Design, Ryan Berry



thegrav.com, progress and updates…

As revealed in my last post, I am currently hard at work fixing up thegrav.com, and turning it into my primary portfolio website.

thegrav.com, portfolio website design, Ryan Berry

This is my progress toward finishing the digital painting which will become my websites background, and eventually hover behind my website links.  This is the basic color step, where I am blending the colors and defining the values I will use to finalize the painting.

Follow along with the next few posts to see my progress.


Inspiration and painting…

From time to time I have felt the need to break the cycle on either my graphic design work or with my digital painting.  My newest tactic has been to paint with acrylic on canvass.  The newest piece I have been working on is an underwater plane for my girl.  She is a scuba geek!

Here are a few pictures, mainly of some of the fixes I did recently.

Scuba painting, Ryan BerryScuba Painting, Ryan BerryScuba Painting, Ryan Berry

Quick note, the white lines are conte, mostly marks of where and how I want to add color, or tweak lines.

Scuba Painting, Ryan Berry

Quick Note, I need to figure out how to Photograph my paintings, more soon!


TheGrav!?!? Where have you been!!

The last few weeks have been a little crazy… I have experienced being laid off, experienced crunch time in City 7s timeline, and I have started to try and gather everything I do together to see if I can’t make it as a freelance artist again…

Long story short, I have been pretty busy, and really bad and posting…

The largest task I have undertaken is in the composting the first 25 seconds of our short Zombie Movie, City 7.  As an artist and graphic designer I have had some experience with matte painting, which is basically the term used to describe how an artist might help a director create a scene that just can’t be filmed.  Some of the greatest examples of matte paintings in film, are in the Original Star Wars films.

Matte Painting at ILM

When I was in middle school and lived in San Francisco, my Dad and Step-Mom took me to see an exhibit of the largest single collection of Star Wars props, it was pretty damn cool, and I think it was there that I really started down the path towards art and graphic design as a possible career path.  I saw a handful of these paintings in person and going back to watch the films was just impressed with how they did it.

There are several good examples of digital matte painting in this little clip from ILMVisualFX.


Of course with a budget somewhere in the neighborhood of only $2500 we did not have quite the number of resources these guys did!  But we do have a cool little intro!

Our movie is set to release in full in the next few weeks on our YouTube Channel Digital Raven.

More to come!



Please make sure to follow me, send me any questions you have, or just in general keep and eye out!

On Advertising.

My main job seems to fall somewhere between Marketing Guru, Graphic Designer, and Web-developer, despite what my door plague claims.. It lies, it’s advertising after all.

I find that I have to be all three in order to stand on my own and continue to be productive in my line of work.  All these things do make me incredibly aware of my surroundings, in away I don’t think many people are.  I know when I am being advertised too.  Don’t get me wrong here, I think lots of people THINK they know when they are being advertised too, but I really see it, and then I pull it apart and poke around the engine a bit.

There is a billboard on my drive to second job, yeah they still exist, that claims it can teach you a new career in an “Expanding Market of Computer Professions” in just 6 months!  I mean what a deal!  Also it goes on to claim “Learn a new skill in the only industry not effected by the Recession!”.

Now I am paraphrasing a bit, but that is the meat and potatoes of the message.  Now here is the issue I have with it…  Before the recession I ran a marketing consulting and printing solution company that focused mainly on printing t-shirt and developing signage/websites.   I will admit, we “grew” at the being of the recession, it even looked like we were gonna make it, then reality hit, and I ended up Over-qualified, and working at Starbucks as an untitled Assistant Manager.

I now find myself working in the Computer Science field, as a coder that does a lot of marketing/graphic design.  But the recession has not been “good” to this field.  Our web team is three people, and non of us make anywhere close to “industry standard”.  The fact is the market sucks, which means even if there is a huge amount of need for a skill set like computer programming or graphic design, the people hiring are only doing so because they need to dig themselves out of the hole the recession slammed them into.  Meaning their pool for pay-role, is a small pool.

Yes the jobs exist, no they don’t pay what they should, and there are 100 other people all trying to get that ONE job that does pay industry standard.  Marketing is crafty though, because that school, they are making the money, and they are sending people out with 6 months of education and zero hours of experience to get these “magical” jobs.  The funny thing is technically, they aren’t lying!

How can they not be lying?  Well the entertainment industry is growing, and seems to be pretty well unaffected by the recession.  Video Game sales are continuing to rise, in fact records where set in 2010 for game sales, Movies are still being made, and Music is everywhere.

All these industries create Computer Science jobs.  But not the one you can get with 6 months in a class, and no experience, nor do they create jobs that everyone in our field will ever get into.  I sought out training in Computer Science, and later Illustration/3d Animation because I WANT to work in the Video Game industry.  And I work in Real Estate.

Point is.. our industry is like any other, hit by the recession, the 1% so to speak are doing okay, the rest of us, we could bag groceries at a union controlled Vons and make more money.


Working with images

One of the things I do often as a working graphics guru, is use found/purchased images in fun and different ways to get an end product my client is happy with.  Sometimes I can afford the time to go and get my own images.  But scouting a location, collecting the shoots I need and then going through them is a process that can be long and wasteful.  Which a lot of times is not in my clients budget, or doable based on my deadline schedule.

In these cases I have to fall back on a number of tricks and skills that can save me time, but deliver an awesome end product that fits my clients needs.  In this short tutorial I will go over creating “header” or “banner” style images, which can be used in many different web applications.  I work mostly in Photoshop and on a PC so keep that in mind as you follow along, the tools I will outline and mention normally have equivalents in most other graphic programs.

The image I am starting with is a couple of sail boats at dusk.  I am going to fit this image into a 940 x 198 pixel banner (compatible with WordPress headers), so I search for a big image.  It is important to also find a high DPI or high pixel count image when you are planning a project like this.  Make sure you save the file and don’t overwrite it, often I will save and image as “sailboats_src.jpg”  or something along those lines.

Doing both of these steps will help you out in the long run.  It is always easier to shrink and image than it is to blow it up.  The nifty “enhance” trick made fun of in Super Troopers and often seen in shows like CSI is complete bullshit.  Yes you can do it.. But it is massively time consuming and just a waste, plus your end product will look grainy or pixelated.

After a quick search on Google I have a 1024 x 768 image I want to use.  After dragging it into my template I end up with something like this:

Photoshop, sail boats, sunset

You will notice that it doesn’t quite fill my work-space, I have a big chunk of white to the left of the boats that is a bit out of place.

This is what I will focus on fixing to make the image which is not at the right ratio, look right.  There are a few ways to do this, painting new information in is more artistic but ultimately almost as involved as going and taking the shot it wanted in the first place.

I could drag another image in, to hide it, but that isn’t what I want, I could clone it, which works but can look to “doctored”.  So what am I gonna do?  Mix all three of those methods of course!

Transform, Sunset, Sail boatsFirst I will cut and paste the image in again.  It some in on-top and I have gone ahead and used ctrl-t to transform the image so you can see the outside bounding box.  You can see in this example how big the image is and why I couldn’t just shrink it down to get what I wanted.. the Ratio is just to far off.

This is the Layer box, or Layers Menu.  As you can see the image I dropped in is currently “on top” of the other image, so it displays as if it is physically on top of the other image.  A good way to look at layers is just like that, each one is a new “photo” that has been dropper onto the stack.

However “Layer 2” is not the layer I want on top, so I will simply use the drag and drop feature to place it below “Layer 1”.  This way the white space on the left is covered up, just as mentioned above this is one of the ways I could have fixed the banner…

This is not enough however it is only part of what I plan to do in the long run.  Simply covering the white space still leaves something to be desired.  And this is what we end up with..

Now I need to get it the way I want it.  There are a few different methods for getting this done, but what I will do is use the Transform tool or ctrl-t to move it, resize it, twist it and even distort it until it looks good and like something I can use.

Here what I mostly did was shrink it to almost the right size and then distort it by stretching it to get the mountains and water where I wanted them.  Again I left the transform tools bounding box up so you could get an idea of how much I tweaked the image.

From here we are getting pretty damn close.  In my lazier moments I will toss some text, or even just a thick black line over the image to disguise the “weld” line but that isn’t enough for this project, so I will get into using my skills as a painter and the clone tool to get rid of that line and make this header really work.

Below you can see what I have started to do, and as in most good art projects, I started by making a

Sunset, Boats, Banner

mess, that then needs to be refined and perfected into a finished piece.

From here I start to pull out all my tools, burn, dodge, smear, and even some digital painting will go into making a finished piece.  This is really where you have to decide how you want to work, with what tools and how fast.  Remember MAKE A MESS!  Then refine it, also make sure you are looking at the whole piece as much as you can.

It can be tempting to zoom in and get lost on details, but my warning is this: You will waste time, and you will lose what you are working on.  The zoom feature is awesome, but your audience won’t see it zoomed in… so you can make the corner perfect! But no one can see it and it doesn’t match…

Sunsets, Boats, BannersAnd there you have it, I will continue to weak it a little one way or another, but I am happy enough to show my client and move on to the next part of the process.  I would stress that this is however a small element and just a draft, a final may include a different picture or even more refining.

Create Away!