April 28, 2016

Turn5, Inc.

About two months ago our Art Director handed over a desktop mock of the future Turn5, Inc. site that included a total rebrand including a fresh modern logo and new color palette. From there I converted the desktop mock into a mobile mock and got to work with the development team to make the mocks come to life. After leading a few photo shoots, retouching images, rounding up numerous blocks of copy and testing the various stages of development, today was finally launch day. The brand new www.turn5.com site is responsive and showcases the professional yet casual environment my place of employment provides. While our brands our within the automotive retail industry, Turn5, Inc. provides an excellent working environment for professionals. If you are job hunting, definitely check out our career opportunities. 

This site offered a great opportunity for project management experience as I worked with the various departments to pull the entire site together. One of my favorite parts that I found most successful was working with our in-house photographer to get shots of employees working throughout our various buildings and departments. Adding those to candid shots from several events and employee testimonials in a collage within the Our Culture section is one of the most visually interesting aspects to the new site. I am also quite grateful for the video that can be viewed on desktop applications. The video team did a great job compiling footage of the various departments that make up Turn5. All together it is a great representation of the hard work and fun that goes into keeping Turn5 a thriving company. Below is a screenshot of the desktop layout, but be sure to check www.turn5.com out for yourself.

April 25, 2016

Meet the AMA Flat Track Stars at OKC

AIR is putting on an event the Friday before the Oklahoma City Mile that I am happily apart of. Of course that also includes designing flyers and other advertising materials to get this show on the road! I took the photograph at the Lonestar Half Mile race in Austin. Above is the initial event flyer, stay tuned for more designs regarding this and other AIR events. See the Facebook event for more information if you'd like to join in on the fun! 

One Nation

One Nation is an AmericanMuscle t-shirt design I created recently and is now available online for purchase at: AmericanMuscle.com. This design is a 4-color screen print on a poly/cotton sand colored shirt. The web photography was done in-house.

April 23, 2016

Pink Rose

I set out to paint several 8x10 canvases this weekend with bold, vibrant roses. I wanted to paint more of my traditional styled roses. While I was sketching the rose in white paint over a bright pink canvas, I began to become intrigued with the sketched line work. I sketched in white first, then began to outline in black and topped it off with some white splatter from a toothbrush. I let that dry and as it did new ideas bounced in my head. I decided to make this painting unique from my traditional drawings that involve smooth shading from white to black within defined line work. I decided to add a touch more sketch lines in white and called it complete. Below is an animated gif and the final image of the painting. I will have this one and several others for sale in two weeks.

April 19, 2016

I thought it might make for an interesting post to break down one of my recent photo composites I have done. About four years ago when I began working at Turn5 I had zero compositing skills. Since then I have created quite a few composites using a variety of resources including photography, stock imagery, 3D renders and various Photoshop tools and techniques. I've posted the final versions of this specific AmericanMuscle F-150 campaign before, however, here's how it all came to life, more or less.

The top image was the initial rough concept to represent spring mods. This is a photo with a few Camera Raw adjustments that was taken by our in-house photography team. One of the first edits I made to this image in order to make it feel very seasonal, was to remove the one boat with the tarp. I also tidied up the environment to remove any distracting pieces.

Now that the majority of the environment was cleaned up and feeling seasonal, my next step was to focus on the F-150. Since AmericanMuscle is an aftermarket automotive business, it would make sense that the truck be a bit more modded than when it was photographed. Our vehicles tend to transform over time with mods and at times they appear less modded than others. When a vehicle appears to be less modded, it doesn't hurt to add a few in post that transform the entire look of the vehicle.

Above you can see the addition of the upper and lower grille on the 2015 F-150. Essentially, I could call this composite complete and begin placing it in the variety of web, email and display templates along with the campaign copy, however I decided to take it a step further below with some foreground elements.

One of the nicest additions one could make to a photo composite is foreground elements that fit within the depth of field with the photograph. I chose to add some greenery to the bottom left of this image that matched the out of focus boat. These blurred out blades of grass overlap the front tire of the F-150 to make the overall image more convincing (especially for when I show you the next F-150 year that was not shot in camera). I personally thought more green would only help the overall concept of spring for this campaign.

Finally, this 2015 image is ready to be placed in the variety of templates, however the project is not complete until the image is made generationally.  Currently AmericanMuscle sells products for 2015-2016 F-150s and also 2009-2014 F-150s.  Those products represent two very distinct body styles that we refer to as generations.  So in order to complete this project, I first began to remove the 2015 that was in camera to get a nice clean backplate.

Above is the cleaned up background. There are definitely some highly visible imperfections that reveal I used the clone/stamp tool to copy and paste elements from the image. With this I wasn't concerned with making it perfect since I knew the new F-150 would cover up those imperfections. The next task was to find a different in-house photograph of a 2011 F-150 at a similar angle that would fit my scene.

Not only is a close angle important when compositing, it is crucial to use images with similar lighting and environments. The 2011 F-150 above had similar elements and as you can see is also outside on gravel, surrounded by trees. After retouching the truck and clipping it out, it fit pretty nicely in the scene.

After retouching the truck and clipping it out, it fit pretty nicely in the scene above. I made sure to take the shadow from the original image and tweaked it slightly so it lined up well with the new 2011 F-150. 

Above shows the upper and lower grille mods that I also added to this truck to transform it and make it look more unique than other modded trucks we have shown in our previous campaigns.

Finally, I use the same layer that includes the foreground grass in this composite as I had in the 2015 version to make it a complete and finalized image to use for the spring campaign. Compared to where we started with the original 2015 photograph, I think both vehicles turned out well visually and fit the campaign direction nicely.

April 18, 2016

Catalog Process

Take a sneak peek into my process when tossing a catalog together:

These are technically three different catalog books but they are essentially the progression of how I handle each one individually within InDesign. Once products are selected from our Merchandising team, I make item names and charts per spread. Second I grid out the images, keeping in mind the general ratio of each product that I've come to learn over the years. Lastly, I pull the assets and pop the photos into the grid while adding lifestyle imagery and other design elements. I've found this process to be fairly efficient and visually organized. Oh the power of the grid!

April 17, 2016

The TDSC Spring/Summer Line

The Throttle Down Speed Co. Spring/Summer clothing line began as a very broad concept. We knew we wanted to make a larger collection than we ever had before. The goal was to make some Throttle Down Speed Co. items that were very specific to the brand, a few flat track-specific designs and some general motorcycle related apparel that would appeal to all riders and enthusiasts. Personally, I wanted to include designs for both men and women while picking quality shirt and tank top canvases. It all began in my sketchbook, selecting garment types from our printer.

Another goal with this collection was to offer more than one color version for each design. We were inspired by several apparel companies that already offer these options and find a way to display them efficiently on their websites. We also set out to accomplish a way to show all designs at first, but show color options on each product page.

Eventually these designs were put into action and sent to the printers to test and receive sample garments. After some trial and error, we finally turned our conceptual pieces into real printed apparel items.

Above showcases primarily new designs sketched out, as well as former designs. A few above have not made it to the printers or our store for several reasons. For example, the draw string bags are still something we hope to add to our collection, however, the timing did not work out with that one. The pink shirt on the top right, though, will not be printed due to design cuts and the decision to only offer the best designs.

Once we approved all of the samples, we were officially ready to host the first Throttle Down Speed Co. photoshoot with all of the new (and previous) designs to perfect our website. Most of the photos were indoor studio shots, however, we were fortunate enough to shoot a few outdoor lifestyle shots like shown above. Once the shoot was completed, clipping and retouching were the first priorities on the list and then we could promote our brand new collection.

Above are the 15 brand new designs that we launched and are for purchase on Throttle Down Speed Co.'s website. See the full collection here: throttledownspeedco.com/collections/spring-summer-2016. This collection is definitely something that we are truly proud of at TDSC. A lot of hours were put in, and we appreciate everyone who takes the time to check it out. I look forward to more designs and collections in the future. The hard work surely is worth it.

April 16, 2016

Another Idea I Woke Up With

As you can see, this idea began as a drawing. I photographed it and vectorized it. I'm sure you'll be seeing this in some form via Throttle Down Speed Co., so stay tuned. I just need to determine what that form(s) will be. I'm pretty amped on it, so I hope you all are looking forward to see what I come up with!

The Dan Bromley Brand

I've mentioned it briefly in previous posts, however the Dan Bromley branding deserves much more attention than that. In 2015 Throttle Down Speed Co. took on Dan Bromley #54A as its first sponsored GNC2 flat track motorcycle racer. In 2016 Bromley moved up to the GNC1 class and along with that move, branding efforts increased with TDSC. The goal was to design a logo for Bromley that could be used primarily for his race t-shirts. Below is the final vector logo that was designed.

This was one of the most efficient logos I had designed and surprisingly did not have nearly as many versions as most of my logos do. I thought about the concept for a while before a pencil touched a piece of paper and visualized stacking the name and number before implementing. There were a few typeface variations and a few design elements I played with along the way, however, I felt that this base font worked well. I outlined the letters in Illustrator and then began customizing the angles to get the tough, slick feel that this logo has. I felt the outlines made for a strong bold logo to represent Bromley as a motorcycle racer. Once the logo was created and approved, we took it to vinyl and of course apparel.

Above is the mock of the Dan Bromley 54A logo accompanied by four brand logos that all support Bromley's race program this year. A few of those logos needed to be vectorized for a final polished look to send to the screen printer. Currently these two shirt colors are available in Bromley's race pits along with a dark grey v-neck for the ladies (which is by far my favorite). With this t-shirt design, the thought was that the logo has done it's job! At the time they were printed, there were really no further known applications for the logo, however, that quickly changed.

In Daytona we had stumbled upon some Dan Bromley autograph posters in the AMA tent at the Daytona International Speedway that sported the fresh logo. Of course Bromley had a stack of them at the race track for him to autograph for all of the flat track fans, shown above. As you can see, he also has some sweet Throttle Down Speed Co. vinyl on his moto helmet, which led us to our next project: the custom painted full face Bell Star helmet.

In an earlier post I showcased a progress shot of the custom painted helmet. Our friends at Colored Controllers hooked us up with a sweet gloss black base that worked perfectly with our added 1shot enamel. My painting process was entirely organic in that I did not have a final design planned out on paper before the paint hit the helmet canvas. The fluid process turned out quite well for this helmet that was meant to not only represent Bromley and Throttle Down Speed Co. on the race track but also to embrace the hand painted/hand built culture that is so important to the TDSC brand. With that said, the first design element to the helmet was going to be the Dan Bromley 54A logo centered on the lower back portion of the helmet.  Below are a series of shots of the other painted elements on the helmet that made for a complete look.

The above five photos were taken by Bromley once he added the visor and all of the other vent covers and parts that were stripped off during the painting process. Every element of this helmet is painted, including the Bell logo on the front. We were ecstatic to see how this helmet came together and was debuted at The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show flat track races on Friday, April 8th in Austin, TX. The next day Bromley sported the helmet again at the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National 1 Race at the Lonestar Half-Mile.

If I were to guess, I'd say this is still the beginning of the development of the Dan Bromley Brand. Stay tuned to see what else we work up with our sponsored riders, and visit Bromley in the pits to see the custom helmet for yourself. 

April 14, 2016

Doodle Turned Into Vector

Last evening I had a spike in creativity and felt the need to create some handwritten typography and toss it over one of my new photos from the trip to Austin. Below is one of the doodles I made last night and its transition from a sketch to vector to photograph.

April 13, 2016

Austin, TX

What can I say, my trip to Austin, TX was nothing short of awesome. I've heard killer things from everyone and it truly fit the bill.

Arrival: Thursday, April 7, 2016 - 10:30am central
Upon arrival it took me a bit to get out of AUS and figure out how to snatch an Uber/Lyft. I was a total newbie for catching those rides, but eventually figured it out. I had the driver drop me off at the Jones Center of The Contemporary Austin. There I wandered around the smaller gallery that was currently showcasing Mark Mothersbaugh's Myopia. From there I hit the streets of Austin with my roller luggage. I stumbled upon a few food trucks and Wholly Cow Burgers sucked me right in. After that I headed south, still dragging my blue carry on, towards the Colorado river. After snapping a few photos of the perfect clear-skied view, I found a pathway that lead to a trail along the river. I found a place that rented canoes for $10/hr which is by far the best deal I've ever seen, and added that to my bucket list for the trip-once I got rid of these bags! Eventually I walked down Barton Springs to my friends Air B&B spot and finally got to relax. This was the first time since waking up and catching a plane from Philly to Detroit that took off at 5:45am. That flight landed early so I had the opportunity to walk the entire terminal to my gate to catch the flight to Austin. For the record, Delta is on point. Anyways, after meeting up with my friends we set off to do some exploring, finally without my luggage in tow. We ventured up and down South Congress into all of the fun and quirky shops. My favorite was Yard Dog which was a small gallery filled with exciting bright colored paintings and such. Eventually our afternoon led is to Rainy Street, another one of my favorite spots I had found down there. We grabbed a drink outdoors at the first spot we found and enjoyed the perfect Texas weather. My two friends from Oklahoma City arrived around 7pm and we eventually headed back out to Rainey Street for the night. Rope lights filled the sky, live music filled the air and I was amongst some of the best company.

Friday saw another sunny day in the 70s. During the day the Oklahoma girls and I ventured to 6th Street to check out the shops and entertainment. We stumbled upon The Museum of the Weird and had to give that a whirl. It ended up being well worth the few dollars to enter the self-guided tour that led to a performance by a man who was immuned to electricity. Yep, similarly to Uncle Fester with the light bulb in his mouth. This man held a power cable in his hand while a girl held a lightbulb on his other hand and when it touched his skin, the bulb lit up. Furthermore, when you fist bumped him you would get shocked. He then took it a step further and held the power cord to his tongue. I'm telling you, he put on a show. We explored a few other shops and eventually headed to Fair Market for the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show that was having Flat Track Races and featured the traveling Oil and Ink Expo art show. Throttle Down Speed Co. rider Dan Bromley entered the flat track races aboard a borrowed Triumph with the number 278. This was the very first race Bromley sported his freshly painted TDSC Bell helmet (detail shots coming soon). Bromley was quite competitive but the results just didn't shake out in his favor for how quickly he was running. Either way, it was a total highlight to see that hand painted helmet on a race track. The Handbuilt Show was packed and the line was forever long that we decided to come back another day to see what all was inside Fair Market. For the night, we were off to dirty 6th street.

Saturday was the big race day and we were one of the first to arrive in the P1 lot. I ventured around the pits and track and found a good spot out of turn 3 to watch practice. Unfortunately, right before turn 3 the track quickly developed a huge "pothole", which sent two riders tumbling into turn 3 with their bikes twisting in the air. Many others hit the hole but managed to hang on to their bikes, but it was clear that this track was on the dangerous side. It's difficult to build a track and have it work out smoothly right away. The best tracks are seasoned tracks that have time to get packed in, worn in and have a sound structure. (This is why clay car tracks and horse tracks are commonly used because they are very well seasoned and broke in). With the track being in the shape it was in, it proved to be a very technical night for the riders and all in all they put on a helluva show. I watched the GNC2 main on the back stretch with Throttle Down Speed Co. rider Tristan Avery and cheered as my buddy Andrew Luker battled and held onto the win on the Texas half-mile. For GNC1 I moved to turn 4 to watch the main that turned into a battle to see who would last all 25 laps. The races ran late and the night was long, but I thought it was one of the best days. I'm so very fortunate to have such great friends within the pits of flat track and would not trade the experiences with these people for the world.

Sunday morning my goal was to hit up the Colorado River in one of those kayaks. We met up in Barton Springs, rented single kayaks for $15/hr and it was the best money I could have spent. The skies were cloudy but the water was calm and extremely clear. About two rows in I saw turtles swimming in the water and fell in love. We paddled our way out to the Colorado River and ventured towards the bridge that entered downtown Austin. With turtles in the water, live music in the air and the city skyline straight ahead, it was a very sensual experience. So beautiful, so at peace, I'd do it 100 times over. When we got back to land we eventually ventured on over back to Fair Market to get into the less busy Handbuilt Motorcycle Show. I particularly liked this show, but I have to tell you, the bikes outside of the show were just as beautifully overwhelming. I've never seen a city with so many gorgeous pieces of metal cruising around. We saw the Wall of Death, which I was surprised with the differences in the performances that I had seen in Daytona the month prior. It was very entertaining and the entire event at Fair Market was a huge success. Sunday afternoon we found ourselves back on South Congress venturing into different stores and shops including The Museum of Wax. We grabbed famous doughnuts from Gourdo's trailer, (I highly recommend the Chunky Monkey), and cruised on over to the bridge to see the bats come out at dusk. What an event THAT was. Well for starters, Fuse Box was having a music festival that weekend and they ended their fest at the bridge with a sound art performance which was indeed quite interesting. I particularly enjoyed partaking and witnessing the reactions to the performance as we waited for the bats to fly out from the bridge. When the bats finally did begin to trickle out, I really had no words to describe what we were seeing. It was... unbelievable, also somewhat eery and gross and certainly nothing I've ever seen before in my life. I'm glad we marked that off of our list, it was worth it.

Monday was departure day with a flight out of Austin at 11:52am. I woke up early to head there early and ventured around the surprisingly smaller airport. We connected in Houston, a much larger airport, and arrived in Philly before 8:30pm when we were scheduled. I have to admit, I'm uncertain of ever being so happy to be in my own bed by myself when I finally got home. I'm telling you, the trip was awesome and those were just the highlights. I failed to mention the authentic BBQ from Iron Works, Texas-shaped waffles at the hotel, late night tacos from the truck at Bungalow on Rainy Street, Pizza from Home Slice on South Congress, the pricey yet delicious burger from a truck at the race track and the delicious blended scoops of ice cream from Amy's Ice Creams. So many things, and such few pictures. It was great.

April 06, 2016

AmericanMuscle Rebate Graphics

A small portion of our projects include rebates for both AmericanMuscle and ExtremeTerrain. Currently I have two F-150 rebates live and one Mustang rebate. Below are two versions of the creative for a rebate for Hurst Mustang Shifters that can be viewed on AmericanMuscle.com. Since the in-house photography is so sharp, I was able to really focus on type treatments and subtle design elements.

The Throttle Down Speed Co. Pizza Shirt

The Throttle Down Speed Co. pizza t-shirt was a fun idea for April Fool's Day. Our goal was to do something goofy, but indeed real! We had a few buyers of our fun shirt that was for sale for only three days. The design began as an outlined sketch done with a spiffy gel pen, then tossed into Photoshop where I painted shading around the edges to give it some dimension. From there I used a stock image of a delicious pepperoni pizza to blend with the drawing and digital painting to get the final product. The shirts were printed, and in my opinion, were one of the best designs we've come out with:)

Above is the raw drawing and the final logo. The last image is the logo on the shirt with of course a crazy vector background to really get the full April Fool's effect!

April 05, 2016

F-150s at AmericanMuscle

AmericanMuscle recently added F-150 aftermarket parts to their line of products and the amount of creative has definitely skyrocketed in a good way. I can definitely say that I am proud of the print catalogs and web graphics that we continue to pump out of the creative department. The quality has increased along with quantity, so be sure to check out the F-150 portion of our site. One of the most recent F-150 projects I have designed that is currently the large homepage banner is Top Spring Mods. The blue 2011 F-150 is an in-house photograph that I retouched and added some additional spring elements in the foreground. Our 2011 was photographed primarily stock, so I composited one of our aftermarket upper and lower grilles onto the front. From there I wanted to make a 2015 version so I removed the 2011 in Photoshop to create a back plate, found a similar red 2015 angle and composited that into the scene. With some lighting/contrast/reflection adjustments and of course a new shadow, I believe the 2015 fits in as nicely as the 2011. The 2015 also has aftermarket upper and lower grilles added to appeal to our modding customers. Below are the images of the two generations of F-150 trucks.

April 01, 2016

Dan Bromley Bell Helmet

Made some more progress with Dan Bromley's hand painted Bell helmet:

Overall this is really turning out well. The gloss black base coat that Colored Controllers hooked us up with is working seamlessly with the 1 Shot enamel over top. Part of me was concerned that when I use the brush cleaner (which I occasionally do to touch up any minor mistakes) it would take off the gloss black. Luckily that is not the case and when I clean up any mistakes it is perfect. I am really happy with how the hand painting is going. The final product will definitely have an imperfect look to it, but that's definitely the look I am going for. We live in a world where computers can generate perfect crisp line work and imagery, that it is nice to break out of the norm once and a while. The process and tactility aspects of painting are what make it so special. So if you are looking for a crisp, perfect product-this helmet design will not be to your liking. Often I enjoy embracing the hand drawn, hand painted, hand built culture in my work and this helmet is fitting in just nicely. Stay tuned to see more detail shots. Goal: to have this bad boy on the track in one week!

Happy April Fools Day

Occasionally we do silly things at Throttle Down Speed Co. To not do one on April Fools, would be a huge miss! So here you have it, a very limited edition "Greaser T-shirt" - the one and only Throttle Down Speed Co. pizza shirt that you can add to your closet. This shirt is only available from now through Sunday so please don't waste any time & check it out here: throttledownspeedco.com/pizza. Have I mentioned being creative is reeeally fun?! Haha, happy April to everyone!