Making "Escape"

My friend Rhys McDonald recently asked me how I made Escape so I thought I’d do a step-by-step guide to show how it was done.

It was made using three vector images (pictured) and the brush tool options in Photoshop.

The first step is to download the RedBubble t-shirt template and open it up in Photoshop. Next, I opened up the splatter image in Illustrator, coloured it red, rotated it and copy/pasted it onto the RB template file. When you do this you will be asked whether you want to paste as a smart object, pixels, path or a shape layer. I always like to choose smart object as this allows you to resize at any time and not affect the resolution. I resized it to the size I wanted (very large) and hit enter:

The next step was to get the tree knocking out the colour so that it would change depending on the colour of the shirt chosen. So again, opening the tree in Illustrator and colouring it white, I copy/pasted into Photoshop. A quick resize and rotate to get the feel I wanted an we had this:

Now, to get the knock out, I could have selected the white areas and deleted from the red areas, but a better way to work is to use layer masks. If you haven’t investigated these in Photoshop, then you should read up on them. They are a brilliant, non-destructive way of messing around with your layers. Like a mask over your layer, you use black and white (and greys) to hide or show parts of that layer. First you need to make a selection of the tree layer – the best way is to right-click on the tree layer and choose “Select Layer Transparency”. Next, hide the layer so you can see what you’re doing, choose the red splatter layer and go the menu Layer>Layer Mask>Hide Selection which will add a layer mask knocking out the selected tree area like so:

Now I wanted I some leaves. But rather than painstakingly putting in every single leaf, I used the scatter option in the brush menu. This is an amazingly powerful tool that allows you to use the brush like an airbrush, scattering randomised instances of any brush shape you choose.
Photoshop already has a number of brush shapes in its library and more you can load, especially if you just do a search for ‘photoshop brushes’ in Google. Luckily there was already a leaf shape in the default set:

This next menu you’ll need to play around with to the get the effect you want. You can vary numerous settings such as shape, scatter even randomise colour. The great thing about the brush menu is that you get a live preview of the changes you’re making in the window at the bottom. Here’s what I used:

Then, I created a new layer and just sprayed leaves across the branch area, concentrating them closer to the trunk. Like so:

Then using the same layer mask technique as before, I once again selected the tree and made a layer mask on the leaves layer:

The final part was the addition of the bird. Opened up in Illustrator, coloured white and copy/pasted:

The final step was to hide the background layer and save as a PNG file and then upload!

I hope this all made sense. Feel free to Bmail me if you have any questions or if you’d like the Photoshop file to study.


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