I could not have had a better experience at this year’s PA-TSA State Conference. Sometimes, you need a reminder as to how good winning feels, but also a look back as to just how far you’ve come. If you’re in the tag and seeing this, thank you to anyone who was at that conference and helped make it amazing. Truly a tradition of excellence.

The  competition was Promotional Graphics and I had to advertise the Music Production competition so ya

My Required Technical Response For The Graphic:

For this year’s competition I chose the theme of Music Production.  As a music lover and amateur musician myself, this theme was right up my alley.  I had an idea to visually represent music bursting out with color.  The idea that music is an art form really inspired me.  I researched and listened to past winners of the Music Production competition to gain more insight.  Based on my research, I found that digitally produced music was a trend.  This helped to further shape my idea for my graphic.  With the advancement of technology during my generation, digital music has become more widely used.  Digital music paves the way to create a variety of new sounds.  With new sounds comes new possibilities in music.  Inspired by this migration to digital music, my idea of using colors exploding and emerging from music and creating new music began taking shape.

I decided to add a musician in the middle of my colorful explosion of music.  I took a picture of myself playing a keyboard.  I decided to use a keyboard because digital music has utilized the keyboard as an MIDI instrument.  After I took a picture of myself playing my keyboard, I loaded it onto my computer and opened it using the program Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended.  I masked the picture out and imported it into Adobe Illustrator CS6.  I used its Live Trace feature to give it a good outline and black silhouette.   I chose the black and white feature on Live Trace to make the silhouette.  Once I finished, I imported it back into Photoshop.

After completing the picture, I started to build the graphic around it.  First, I used a new technique with my pen tool.  I created five connected triangles coming off the page and made them white. To give them a swirl effect I warped them.  I warped the area where all the points meet.  Once it was warped I used my eraser tool and took one of the chalk brushes and started erasing parts of the edges to give it a grungy look and feel.  Next I used the flat angled brush, on the brush tool, at a low opacity and modified settings.  I gently made strokes using the pen pressure setting on my Wacom tablet.  This gave it that glowing galaxy like swirl (it took very long to get it right).

Once I was finished with most of the backdrop I used Riot Gear.   Riot Gear is made by Video Copilot, and it is royalty free stock footage and images that are available to use in your videos and images.  I used the paint splatter images to give it a wild look and feel.  I like incorporating urban art into my work.  I took a big paint splatter, warped it, put it right in the middle, and then put down its opacity.  This gave it a swirly feel to go with the swirl behind it.  Then I added more small white paint splatter on the edges of the swirl to give that decayed and splattered look. Next I added music notes on the swirls and splatters. I used a Photoshop brush set made from a user on Devianart (in works cited below) that was brushes of sheet music.  I took those brushes and painted them onto the swirls and splatters.

The next task to do was to add color.  The color represents all the different kinds of music that can be made with just a keyboard and all it’s many settings for sound.  I used a gradient of different colors and placed it over my swirls and splatters.  I set the blend mode to Color Burn to give the coloring a rougher feel.  I showed the sheet music on only the splatters and swirls.  I wanted to show the splatters and swirls as beautiful music bursting everywhere with new and inspiring sounds, represented as color.  The sheet music represents music being produced. The next task was to place the silhouette of myself and resize it in the middle.  I added a splatter from Riot Gear and inverted it to make black.  I placed it right under the cut off of my legs to look like I was splattered.  The end result was a visual of a piano player creating the wild and inspiring music which opens up a whole new world of musical possibilities.  I used Times New Roman as my font because it is a complicated image that needed simple text to balance it.  I added the title Music Production using a back stroke and a drop shadow.  I split those into layers so I could adjust them further.  I did a poor man’s 3D and added a Bevel and Emboss to the stroke to give the text a sense of depth.  Then I just warped it up a little to make it pop more.  The final task was adding the TSA logo on the bottom corner.

Works Cited:


Video Copilot. Riot Gear. Computer software. Video Copilot. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.


“Music Brushes by ~RainyDoll-Stock on DeviantART." Music Brushes by ~RainyDoll-Stock on DeviantART. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <>.


Programs Used:


Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended

Adobe Illustrator CS6