Custom Waterfowl Graphic
October 11, 2010 by Justin Clifton
When I first started designing with Ryan at 3plains I began by updating older websites we felt could use a new coat of paint. Once Greg Galli of River Valley Outfitters (Located in Northern California) was made aware of our plans I was given a folder of his photos and pretty much free reign over his semi custom website to update the design with new photography, header graphics, logo text, and colors & textures.
After visiting his website I knew right away I wanted to start with reworking his header graphic.
Old Header Image for Greg's Website
When I came across this photo of Reno, Greg's lab, I just knew I had to use it. What a great image of Reno retrieving that beautiful drake!
Original Reno Image
Right away I wanted to paint out the power lines in the background, which fortunately is an every day task with a digital pad and some layer masks in Photoshop. I also cropped the image down to about the size we wanted the website's header graphic to be. It got a little technical trying to paint away power lines behind all the grass stalks in the foreground that needed to stay, but I was working on a low resolution image for a website so things didn't need to be pixel perfect, so I just worked carefully until I was satisfied with the results.
Reno Image with No Power Lines
With the original header graphic in mind, I knew the mountain range was a landmark for River Valley Outfitters, and I also thought to myself, 'wouldn't it be fun to blow Greg away by putting those mountains into the background of the photo of Reno that I'd just cleaned up?'... So I set about finding the original photo of the mountains that were in the old header graphic.
Original Mountain Range Image
Once I had that image I simply cut away the mountains from the sky and the water.
Mountains with Sky & Water Removed
Because I was laying the mountains over the top of the image of Reno I'd cleaned up, I had to paint away and mask the portions of the mountains that would be "behind" everything in the foreground. That included all the grass stalks and Reno himself.
Mountains with Sky, Water, and All Overlapping Foreground Elements Removed
Once everything in the foreground was masked away the mountains looked pretty natural there behind Reno and his drake.
Reno Image with Mountains in the Background
Then we added a few flying mallards to fill in the sky a bit. I grabbed this image from Greg's homepage and cut the mallard away from the background.
I then resized the mallard, copied it, resized it again, adding a blur to both to give the appearance that they're moving.
Reno Image with Mountains and Mallards in the Background
The Final Product
After adding the necessary logo text and contact information to the header I felt like we had something really special for Greg and River Valley Outfitters.
Final Header Graphic for the River Valley Outfitters Website
Greg was indeed blown away... I wish I could remember his exact words to Ryan after he saw the new website go live with this graphic at the top. It was a great feeling to have made such a transformation for Greg's business.
Almost immediately Greg was asking for more work with regard to the image so he could use it in a larger capacity. This began with a print for his office that didn't include the text... which unfortunately meant I had to do the entire project again from scratch, because the original work I'd done was on an image 900 pixels wide. (Roughly only 3 inches when printed).
Not to be discouraged I requested all the original photos from Greg in their largest original (hi resolution) form, then retouched, edited, masked, and erased all over again with more detail and precision, to provide Greg with the same image at a much higher resolution and quality that would allow for printing. Greg got that print for his wall, and I believe he used the image for stickers and other print marketing materials as well.
Then I got an email from Greg asking me what it would take to get the image I'd created for him onto the tailgate of his truck. After some correspondence, and some work with the vendor who would actually apply the decal, we did some resizing, moved a few things around to keep them out of the way of the badges and handle on his tailgate, and got the adjusted file off to printing for his truck.
The tailgate of Greg's truck.
A big thank you goes out to Greg and to my boss Ryan, for letting me dive down the rabbit's hole with this project and really spend time with the image editing in Photoshop (twice) to make something great. I had no idea the project would snowball and end up where it did. It was an absolute blast to work on, and its been fun to revisit it to reveal some of the magic in photo editing and manipulation.
» Visit River Valley Outfitters website at: www.valleywaterfowlhunting.com
Tribue to Reno
When Greg sent us this image of his tailgate we were thrilled to see how it turned out. Ryan got Greg on the phone right away and during their conversation found out that Greg had just retired Reno from hunting. So here is a tribue to Reno...
Reno working in the fields of Northern California with owner Greg Galli
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