Thanks for your comments on my "Life Clock" in the DA contest... I responded there but wanted to take a few more key strokes to explain how I made this. 1st comes the inspiration. That is-- our days are numbered. 2nd - How to present that concept in art? I use Photoshop CS3 as the "brush" and decided to use my life cycle as the basis for the piece.
I started with a large blank sheet and after selecting an agreeable text font I typed the year 1953, then I typed the year 1954 and enlarged the font size by one, I typed the year 1955 and enlarged the font size by one... and so an for every year 1953 through 2010. Each year is a seperate layer that can be individually modified. After this step it looks like this:
The next step is to take the years and one by one rearrange them to create the concept of the years trailing away in spiral form, To do this you have to select the year, select edit, select trasform, select rotate and then turn the year to what ever angle you want and then position it in correlation to the previous year. As I was spiraling outward, I started with 1953 and worked forward going through the above process for each year until this resulted:
After getting the years to spiral, I added a drop shadow to all of them and I then put the irregular red shapes between the years... this was done with the pen tool, going from one year to the next, filling with red. Each shape is an individual layer that can be adjusted. Next I created the black circular border for the years by using the selection tool (set to oval) to create a circle, then changed the tool to deselect an area and created a smaller circle inside the larger circle, inversed the area selected and then filled via paint brush with black.
The red shapes looked lonely so I used the paintbrush set to 50% opacity to "illuminate" the spiral concept with yellow... I made the brush tip larger the farther out I came to make the brushstroke wider.
Next I added the days of the month to the black circle. One again find a good font and size for the days... I typed the number one, On that layer, select the effects button and added a stroke effect to the number (that is the red outline around the number) and then select the effects button again to add a drop shadow to the number. I played with that process a while to find what I liked. Once happy with the 1, I created a new layer of the 1 and changed the text to 2 and repositioned, then duplicated the 2 and edited to a 3 and repositioned and so on and so on for each number 1 through 31... each being individual layers that can be adjusted/modified. It took some time to get each number somewhat equally speced from each other.
By this time I recognized I didn't want the clock to end "now" and added the year 2011 (and later 2012) and changed the opacity on each to fade out the solid black as if it wasn't solid because of the uncertainty of the future: Now it looks like this:
Next came the months... again with the text (similar to the days, but with a black stroke effect instead of red) and again with a drop shadow. Then, of course, selecting, rotating and positioning each month around the outside of the days. Then adding the Red line/shapes to the areas between the months and highlighting with yellow... only through the time used so far this year just as I had done for the years. Now looking like this:
Next, I had to create the hands of the clock and in some way select the year, the month and the day. Instead of just using a pointer, I decided to surround the actual date events and then magnify the text that was below the date selections. The ovals around the date events was done with the selection tool, just as described in making the black ring, and then the selection tool was changed to polygon to link each of the "hands" to the point of birth (the center) and filled with blue via the brush tool.
Inside each date event circle, I selected the layer and then the edit, then the transform, then the warp tool and changed the shape of the calendar event to fill the oval... in effect magnifying that event from the other surrounding layers. Then selected the brush tool and 20% fill, painted purple behind the event to highlight that event further. Then I added a drop shadow to all three arms to lift them from the surface. Then because each item is a seperate layer, I was able to move things up and down the spiral to give the illusion of depth because dates, red shapes could layer over the arms of the clock.
Finally, I used a softer yellow to highlight the days of the month that had already passed with the paint brush and the same color yellow at 30% opacity. Next adding the days spent (actual days for me so far on the planet) and the days remaining, representing that my time too will pass... it is only a matter of days... just as it is for everyone. Then added my name to the corner in 20% opacity so as to not detract and then added a black frame border by enlarging the image by .1 in size, filling with black. And to do something with the background, I used the gradient fill tool to add a very soft blue to yellow transition.
So... starting with a totally blank canvas and moving through adjustments layer by layer... some 4-1/2 hours later you can have something that looks like a pie chart or something fit for a margarine tub.
Perspective on the past and the future.