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bicosteel
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How do I take a photo to be used as a texture?

Jan 3, 2013 6:21 AM

Hi all, new to Illustrator and design in general. We are looking to update or re-create our company logo and wondering how to take a photo that i can then use to create a texture.  A little background of what the object is will maybe help you all. We flame cut and grind steel plate for the tool and die industry, mold shops and machine shops.  Our current logo can be seen at www.burgeriron.com was created by a company no longer involved with us.  Anyway I would like to take some photos of steel plate and use it to create textures for the new logo similar to the current one.  I took a few with a digital camera and then sent them to a logo design firm, which we may or may not use and when they applied the texture to some of the logos it is out of scale and way to large. examples can be seen at www.burgeriron.com/logos.aspx you will notice some design use gradient silver instead of my image I sent and I have been told that the powers that be want a texture taken from one of our ground plates.

So now i have thought about trying to create a logo or at least a number of "B" designs that ahve a properly scaled texture that I can use as a basis and submit to the design firm.

 

Any thoughts, help or directions would be great.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2013 7:25 AM   in reply to bicosteel

    Creating a repeating bitmapped texture is best done in Photoshop. Illustrator is made for vector textures.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2013 7:44 AM   in reply to bicosteel

    It's really not good practice to use photographs in any logotype. The purpose of a logo is to be scaled and immediately identified at a variety of sizes and distances. Photographs simply "muddy" up any logo as well as present technical hurdles for reproduction, especially where print is concerned.

     

    The ideal solution, if you are stuck on metal textures, is to draw something with represents the texture but is not an actual photograph.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2013 7:47 AM   in reply to bicosteel

    There must be hundreds of tutorials on how to create a seamless texture. This one is one of them: http://devisefunction.com/2010/03/22/creating-seamless-textures-from-p hotos-in-photoshop/

     

    Why don't you just experiment a little and find out what fits best into your workflow.

     

    Logos should be suitable for printing in different ways and should be scalable from very small to very large. Pixel based stuff causes problems for both criteria. So keep it simple, so that it can be widely used and is better recoginzable.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2013 8:02 AM   in reply to bicosteel

    Any thoughts, help or directions would be great.

    Okay. Just remember; you asked.

     

    ...new to Illustrator and design in general....We are looking to update or re-create our company logo...

    You just said you want to recreate your business's primary identity mark, and in the same breath essentially said you know nothing about doing it yourself.

     

    wondering how to take a photo that i can then use to create a texture.

    A  "texture" is just a graphic. Do you mean a repeating texture that automatically repeats to fill a shape? If so, see the Illustrator documentation about Pattern Swatches.

    I took a few with a digital camera...when they applied the texture to some of the logos it is out of scale and way to large.

    Did you clearly communicate the real-world scale when you provided the photos to the designer? Did you communicate that you want the texture to be "actual size", regardless of the size of the artwork that contains it? (That will be a practical impossibility for online use, by the way.)

     

    If you're simply asking how to communicate the true-measure of the metal surface to the deigner, then just lay your pocket scale down on the metal and include it in your photo.

     

    "With a digital camera" means nothing. That could be anything from a cell phone using its cheezy built-in flash to a professional fully-adjustable camera with good lenses and studio lighting.

     

    ...you will notice some design use gradient silver instead of my image I sent...

    If the textures are actual photos, that means they will be raster images--comprised of pixels. The resulting "logo" files will not be freely scaleable, without having to take into consideration the raster resolution appropriate for each use. That's no doubt why someone has been suggesting grad fills to simulate metallic surfaces rather than raster images. Usually, you want identity marks to be infinitely scaleable for multi-use versatility. That's the inherent advantage of vector-based graphics and why they are most commonly employed for logo master files. Incorporating raster images largely obviates that advantage.

    We are...wondering how to take a photo that i can then use to create a texture.

    That's like asking 'how do I take a picture of a house?' (or anything else). It depends on the specifics and what kind of end result you want.

     

    The appearance of metal largely derives from its reflectivity. If you take a photo with flat, uniform lighting and no reflections, then it will work as a repeating tile, but it will also look flat and un-metalic and uninteresting. If you take a photo with an attractive metalic sheen, then it will not work as a repeating tile fill because the reflections will repeat, making obvious the edges of the tiles of the pattern.

     

    So if you insist on using raster images for the fills, you will need to either:

     

    • Use a single image (not tiled repetitions) large enough to fill the whole object(s) with a single instance.

     

     

    or

     

    • Treat the repeating elements separately from the spanning reflections. There is a number of ways to do that; but that's best left up to your designer--someone who knows how to use the design tools.

     

    Look; what I'm saying is, you're obviously going to be rather "picky" about this. And that's fine. A true logo is your business's first-impression identity--And you know what they say about first impressions. But some of your expectations are probably unrealistic. If you are attempting to do this yourself when--as you readily admit--you know next to nothing about it, you're better off confering with your designer who has the skills, knows how to coax out of you the specific requirements of what you want, knows how to explain to you the technical realities of what you want--and charges accordingly.

     

    Just like flame cutting and grinding steel plate for the tool and die industry, proper logo design is not a simple matter of owning a tool. Having a digital camera, a copy of Illustrator, and a little bit of free instruction in an online user forum doesn't equate to knowing how to get a job done well. An amateurish "logo" doesn't make a professional first impression.

     

    JET

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2013 8:53 AM   in reply to bicosteel

    no marketing, no art guys, etc.

     

    so the bosses assume that "whipping up" a logo is a drag and drop project

     

    More clueless "bosses." Go figure.

     

    Tell 'em I said so, and ask them why they aren't expending more of the company's resources on other activities in which it doesn't specialize; trail law, building airports, toy testing, and so forth.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2013 3:34 PM   in reply to bicosteel

    ...my attempts to explain to the company president and the shareholders that having the software doesn't make me a designer has fell on deaf ears.

    So?

    ...the results haven't been what the powers that be think they should be...

    None of these comments change the facts. What would you have me reply to that? "Oh, well, why didn't you say so? You work for a bunch of hard heads. In that case, here's how to do a quality logo design for your company in three easy steps."

     

    No one can do anything about that. It's been said that all failed businesses fail for the same reason: Bad management. Effective marketing is part of good manangement. Anyone here who has done creative commercial illustration/design for any significant time has had to deal with "powers that be" just like yours. It's a quite common malady.

     

    We are a small staff, no marketing, no art guys, etc.

    All the more reason your company needs to outsource this to a capable and talented design source.

     

    ...the bosses assume that "whipping up" a logo is a drag and drop project no matter how I explain it....

     

    It very often is. And it shows.

     

    Again, your situation is not at all special in that regard. Bad and mediocre management is more common than effective management, just as bad and mediocre design is more common than effective design. Sometimes, the only teacher one will heed is attempt and failure.

     

    Simply put I was told the questions to ask here, I asked and have gotten some great info.

    The most valuable advice you've received here has nothing specifically to do with using Illustrator. It's from experienced graphics people who can candidly say here what they're really thinking:  'Pass this advice to your bosses: Job it out to an expert, and listen to what that expert tells you.'

     

    There is no free lunch. Business people are supposed to know that.

     

    JET

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2013 4:47 PM   in reply to bicosteel

    bicosteel wrote:

     

    The better reply would have been "Don't take a photo to make your texture, here's why. Make your own, there are tons of tutorials on the Web or better yet hire a pro like XYZ company.  

     

    Okay... Don't use a photgraph in a logo for texture, ever!

     

     

    As for the results not being what they wanted and the link to the logos, please rememebr this is from a logo design firm that was sugested by someone.  They have sent 4 revisions and never once said they couldn't use the photo as part of the logo.

     

     

    In all honesty, it sounds like you just got a bad recommendation. Not your fault, but any company worth what they charge should seek to educate clients as to why something should or should not be done. They should have immediately returned to you with reasoning as to why texture photos were unacceptable. The fact that the company did not do jsut that says a great deal about them. At the very least, if they did not wish to explain, they should have created representations of the textures which were not photographs.

     

    I seriously doubt you've offended anyone, bicosteel. ASCII text doesn't always convey sentiment well. It fact, it rarely does. Sometimes things can read as if someone is saying "Hey, I have Illustrator.. how do I use it to create a $5000 logo by clicking 6 buttons?" Which to those who make their bread and butter doing this stuff just sounds silly. Good logo development takes weeks of work in addition to year (yes years) of practice, trial and error, and blood sweat and tears. Not everyone is looking for the "magic button" solution but often veterans can read a comment and that's the impression which is received. I don't think you are looking for a magic button. But you are in a difficult spot if management is placing this project in your lap simply because you have an aptitude for computers or whatever. I mean reading WebMd doesn't make you a doctor.

     

    If management is dead set on using textures in the logo, the optimum solution would be to find a different, better, design firm and explain to them you want your logo to encorporate metal textures, not simply gradients. You want a diamond plate texture, or a brushed steel look to it, or a polished chrome look, or whatever. I mean, face it every car company in business has a logo which reflects some aspect of metal. It can be done, and done well without photos. You just need to have the experience to pull it off.

     

    If hiring a design firm is not an option, you need to do quite a bit of studying. Studying regarding the basic tools in Illustrator, studying how to accomplish the appearance of metal in a flat CMYK, non-photographic, evironment (vector). Studying on what makes a good logotype. There's a lot, I mean A LOT, to learn. To be honest, initial designs from someone without all this knowledge won't be very good. But then, the concepts you linked to above were not very good either. So practice practice practice if this is what you must do.

     

    My best advice would be to start Googling while at the same time trying to convince management that this project is best suited for a specialist the same way pouring steel isn't done in the sales office. Goggle for "create metal texture in Adobe Illustrator". Google for "Illustrator Metal Tutorial". Google for "What makes a good logo". And just start playing, experimenting, and generally messing things up. You'll only reach a viable solution after trying hundreds, or thousands, of possibilities.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2013 4:45 PM   in reply to bicosteel

    Didn't want any special help, or a free lunch...

    And I'm not hearing you say that. You've made it clear your bosses do think that way. They, in your own words, "assume that 'whipping up' a logo is a drag and drop project..."

     

    I'm not beating you or anyone else up here, bico. You solicited candid advice and received it. A company's logo is serious business. Decent logo design is not kid stuff.

     

    JET

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2013 5:03 PM   in reply to bicosteel

    lynda.com is a great resource for learning just about anything related to software if you're willing to pay a little.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2013 8:10 PM   in reply to bicosteel

    The first thing to do when beginning with any graphics software is to methodically read and work through the provided documentation. That's how you gain an overview of the program's interface scheme, its terminology, its capabilities and, by inference, its limitations. It doesn't cost you anything but the time.

     

    JET

     
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