Monday, January 03, 2011

Nathan's new coin

My friend Nathan had asked for a new sidebar image for his blog. He's an avid numismatist; in keeping with his hobby, I had used Nathan's profile and the words "Port Coquitlam Odysseus" on the original sidebar image. Because he had relocated, and because he was looking for a more geographically expansive label, Nathan wanted the new image to read, "West Coast Odysseus."

The creative problem, on my end, was that I had to remake the coin from scratch because I had "flattened" the layers of the original image in order for it to be a simple, Web-friendly JPEG. Simply erasing the text and replacing it would have meant hours of trial and error in an attempt to get the new text (and the text's background) to blend perfectly with the rest of the coin. I knew right away that my Photoshop skills were not enough for the task. Hence the from-scratch approach.

Luckily, I did still retain the layered PSD (Photoshop document) version of Nathan's coin, which simply showed the coin border, Nathan's unretouched profile, and an old version of the coin's text. I was able to rewrite, re-font, and readjust the text to "West Coast Odysseus," and then I decided to avoid the "Chrome" filter entirely so that the new coin would have a sleeker, more modern look instead of the pitted, shadowy, faux-ancient look of the first coin. Here's Nathan's original sidebar image:

The new sidebar looks like this:

In my email, I told Nathan I felt the new image was more "mature"-looking. I'm particularly pleased with how the "Bas Relief" filter preserved more of the profile's texture and gave the letters-- originally solid black-- a convincingly metallic sheen. This wasn't by design; I spent a couple hours putting the coin through a host of different filters, adjusting each filter several times before moving on and stumbling upon the right configuration. Little else was done to the coin, aside from the addition of a few tiny "scratches" (which may not even be visible in this 72dpi image) and the use of a single lighting effect to accentuate and balance out the metallic sheen. Here's the larger version of the new image:

Nathan has written a post about his new sidebar image. Whether or not you visit Nathan's blog to read that post, his blog is definitely worth your while, especially if you have an interest in the classics. Nathan has already written extensively on all manner of ancient works; his archives are there for you to explore.



Nathan B. said...

Thank you for doing that for me, Kevin! I think that your Photo-shop skills are commendable, and although I liked the old design, I like the new one much more!

Surprises Aplenty said...

I forget, is this the obverse or the reverse?

I like the coin, and your workmanship, but Nathan's mustache isn't prominent enough!

Kevin Kim said...

Surprises Aplenty,

The mustache wasn't exactly prominent in the original photograph, either. I suppose I could use the "brighten/darken" function to darken the 'stache, if that's what Nathan wants. Nathan?


Nathan B. said...

That's funny! I thought the mustache quite clear, but perhaps Brian is right. ;-[) Actually, though, I'm very happy with the coin as it is now.

Surprises Aplenty said...

Yeah, I was just making trouble. The mustache looks fine.