My buddy Bill asked me to create a header for his blog Groovy Doom where he reviews horror movies which fall within his favorite genre.
I started a new file, 700 pixels wide by 430 pixels deep at 72 ppi (the size of the header on his blog at the time). I opened a photo of my pal Skully the Skeleton in Photoshop and, using the Move tool, dragged and dropped the photo right into the new image space, creating a new layer. Now I had the Background layer and Layer 1.
Skully's photo was waaay too big for the small image size (the original photo was 2176 pixels wide by 3384 pixels high at 300 ppi!). So, with Layer 1 selected I hit Ctrl+t (Free Transform) to put a Free Transform bounding box around the photo. Then, holding the Shift button, I manipulated the corner nodes and shrank the photo down until the head fit inside the image area. Once done I tapped Esc.
To erase the unnecessary background, I used the Pen tool to outline the skull, which creates a vector mask. I right-clicked over the vector mask to get the Make Selection... option and pressed Okay. I deleted the Shape 1 layer in my Layers palate so I was left with just marching ants. I inverted the selection (Ctrl+Shift+i) so I had the entire background selected, then pressed Delete. This left just the skull on the top layer and the Background layer showing underneath.
I adjusted the colors (Ctrl+u brings up the Hue/Saturation dialog) of the skull and Background layer, manipulated the layer styles and blending modes until I came across something appropriately creepy. I flattened the layers (Alt+l+f) into one Background layer, then saved the file as a .png.
Opening the .png in Illustrator, I used the Pen tool to draw the letters for "Groovy". I knew I wanted the two o's in the middle placed over the eye sockets of the skull. When the letters looked close to what I wanted, I opened the Effects/3D/Extrude & Bevel... option. Manipulating the Custom Rotation box with the Preview checkbox checked, I rotated the letters to match the angle of the skull. Attempting to move the shape nodes of the original shapes caused the 3D effect to blink out and lose the colors (If I'd have remembered what I wrote about this tool in a prior blog on my DeviantArt page http://vallianteffort.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=96#/d2e7iai I wouldn't have gone anywhere near it!). Once finished I selected all the letter shapes and went to Options/Expand Appearance which converted the 3D effect into vector art (with an excessive amount of nodes and layers of shapes!! Would rather have created the letters freehand with just the Pen instead of using this tool.)
For "DOOM" I used the typeface Impact. After typing I turned the type into vector shapes via Ctrl+Shift+o. I then went to Filter/Distort/Roughen... and used a setting like Size: 1 and Detail: 18 with Relative and Smooth radio buttons selected. With "DOOM" selected I copied and pasted another version in front, offset the two copies, and played with the colors, Blending modes, and Transparency until I found something I liked.
I'd like to go back in and make some little changes, like the distance between the o's and the size of the D in comparison to the M, but otherwise I'm happy with this, and so was my buddy. :)
Photoshop CS2/Illustrator CS2