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GarryP

I Know What You Did... With Affinity Designer

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I had the idea for this rolling around in the back of my head for a while so I thought I'd give it a try and see what came from it.
I've now got it to the point where I'm not very happy with it.

I've added some shadows where some of the pieces of paper aren't fully stuck down - with a related curve - but it still doesn't quite look real enough to me. There's something missing but I don't know what. I tried to add highlights to the "curls" but they didn't look right.

Each letter is an individual shape with enclosed image and text layers, and the shadows are themselves individual layers, so it's all totally adjustable.

Does anyone have any suggestions for improvements? It's just a silly thing that I've made for my own amusement but I would like to get it looking better. Any ideas anyone? Feel free to get petty.

IKnowWhatYouDid.jpg

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A few thoughts…

 

  • The letters are all very uniform in size.
  • As is the spacing between the bits of paper.
  • None of the letters have other bits of text or ornamentation (such as a by-line, subheading, underline) that would commonly be found in a newspaper or magazine.
  • The paper shapes are very cleanly cut out, how about a  few torn edges / corners, mis-cuts that hit the letter?
  • The paper is all of uniform quality (think glossy magazine, cheap newspaper print, halftoned comic book)
  • The paper is all perfectly flat and smooth (some folds or crumple might improve realism)
  • The shadow is very subtle, I'd try cranking it up a bit.
  • Some of your letters have a neighbouring letter visible, but it always looks like the right letter for the message you've written… for example the 'i' in designer seems to have an 's' to the left, and a 'g' to the right - as if it were cut from the word 'designer'. Imagine instead that the 'i' was cut from the word Fishing.

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Wow, that's a great list of suggestions. Many thanks @Aammppaa

I think I need to go back to the drawing board on this one. My excuse is that because this started out as a silly experiment I cut lots of corners - no pun intended - just to get something down.

However, I'd like to be able to make something that's much more realistic so I'll try and take all of your comments on board and come up with something better.

Thanks again. You've given me lots to think about.

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That must have taken some considerable patience - if it was a whodunit question then I would be looking for someone who buys far too many magazines and stacks them in the living room just for cutting out ransom demand letters!

 

As a poster effect it does work, but for a little more realism the shadows need to stand out a bit more, I would also change the background, maybe add an overlay to it which gives the effect of creased paper, that would generate some automatic shadow/3D and help to lift your letters off the page occasionally. A trick that I used in previous Serif programs was to add another layer that was just a transparent/black gradient and do some nifty dragging of the transparency so that it just affects edges or corners slightly, and makes the letters look a bit roughed up and manhandled.

 

Having said that, I do like what you have done, it takes a lot to come up with so many good variations on this theme!


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Thanks @paulfromaustralia and @Sunset

I made a start on a new version but I didn't get far into it before other things came up. I'd like to finish it at some point though so your suggestions and interest are welcome.

Some quick notes on the changes I plan(ned) to make:
* I used way too many backgrounds in the first one so I started to create some partial pretend flyers which I could take "cuttings" from;
* I used a paper texture for the background but it didn't come out well so I'll need other options;
* The shadows I used were not very good and I need to be able to make the cut-up paper curl better (might need GIMP for that).

I've attached a lo-res snapshot of how far I got but it's still very much experimental. My aim for the next version - if I ever get round to it - is to try and make it look as realistic as I can, within reason, so any advice would be appreciated.

know_experiment_draft.JPG

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I need to organise my Mac filing system better! (Windows is organised to perfection!) as I was looking for an overlay that would really created a folded, used page, but just couldn't find it. What would you like the end result to be? I'm just curious, not meaning to interfere with your workflow :)


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Nothing wrong with being curious. I like getting constructive criticism, good suggestions and help.

I have a few paper textures, including some crinkled ones, but I'm not sure they would be right for what I want. I can't think of a good reason why the paper would be crumpled/crinkled in the first place. Most paper only gets crumpled (in my experience) when you are about to throw it away.

Note: This is a good place to get textures from: https://lostandtaken.com/

When I decided to try and do something more realistic I thought I'd take it from the ground up and think about who was making the note in the first place. Here's the "backstory" so far:

  • The message writer is probably American - most TV crime stories are American - and hasn't had a good/comfortable life.
  • He's out walking his dog at the park late at night - his "meds" don't work too good these days so he has trouble sleeping - and he sees a woman being attacked by someone he knows, but not well enough to talk to.
  • He thinks "This will be a good opportunity for some blackmail." and decides to make a set of messages like he's seen on TV.
  • What sort of things would he have to hand that he could use to make a note like this? Well he'll probably have plenty of gun/survival/adult magazines but he's not going to want to cut them up. He's probably not much of a reader - more of a man of action, see - so probably no newspapers but maybe has the odd free/ads paper knocking around the place.
  • What else can he use that's just lying around? Well, he'll probably have some TV listings magazines - gotta know when the next Steven Segal movie is on - and there will probably be some junk mail that he's kept for the coupons. And there are the fashion/celebrity magazines that his on-again-off-again girlfriend leaves around the place. That should do him.
  • What can he stick the letters onto? He probably doesn't have much paper stock in the house. He might have some jotters where he sticks news stories about local crimes or what-not into but he's not much of a reader so that's probably out. He might have a computer - for the pretty pictures of the nice ladies and the pirated films - but probably doesn't keep the printer well-stocked. He won't have any old school books in the house - the last thing he wants to remember is school - but his girlfriend's kid sometimes leaves a school book at his place so maybe that will do if he can find one. Just rip a page out of that.
  • He might have to fold the paper up a few times as he probably doesn't have a good choice of envelopes to send it in. What does he need envelopes for? And the paper might have a few extra folds or tears on it depending on where he gets it from.
  • Also, he's probably not going to be very artistic when he cuts the letters up and glues them onto the paper. He's not after an art prize, he just wants the money.

And that's how far I got before higher-priority stuff came looming. I know I've probably went too deep in my thinking but you never know where the details come from until you think about them. Not that I've done too much thinking about it.

I don't really know what the end result will be. I guess it will be whatever comes out of the process. I have a vague idea in my head but the process might give me something different.

Edited by GarryP

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It's good creative structure, I've never had a liking for making random stuff - whether the creative thinking initiates the process or comes along after reading a thread or looking at last years photos in the photos folder doesn't matter, there's always a back story. The outer shadow effect I'll guess you're already using, might be an idea to start with a very short radius blur with no offset to see if that separates the letters from the background paper and then tweak the offset and the direction as required on some letters. If he's using scissors then the edges would be straight anyway. If I was making the ransom note I'd go out of town or mail order and get a publication that was as far as possible from my usual tastes - pig farming weekly, or something like that, and tear a page out of that for the background - or I might want something more scary like a page from Sherlock Homes to give the idea that I was 'on the case!

 

A lot of fun, whether you finish the project or move sideways onto something else.


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Normally I don't have any kind of narrative behind what I make. I just get an idea in my head and see how it goes, but that doesn't always work very well. So many unfinished bits of rubbish on my hard drive.

Thanks for the tip about the shadows. I'm not sure how I'm going to get the paper to curl yet. I did a little playing around with GIMP and there are some filters - Map Object, Lens Distortion, etc. - that have some promise but it might take a lot of experimentation. (I really don't want to have to move over to something like Blender for this. There must be an easier way.) Once I get the curl right, the shadow might be easier to come by.

An intelligent person, as you say, would use items that weren't traceable to themselves but my "protagonist" isn't very bright. He's just got dollar signs in front of his eyes so he's using what he's got. If I didn't know any better he might even re-use an envelope that had his name and address on! Whatever he uses, his fingerprints will be all over it but that's only a problem if his intended victim goes to the police and admits his initial crime (e.g. Exactly why are you being blackmailed?).

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Garry, have a look at this link and go straight to the end credits at about 50:50 onwards. You should see something that you might recognise....and I don't just mean a certain app.

 

Can you recognise all the various wrappers used?

 

 

 

R.I.P. Edward Woodward (still clearing the trash from the streets and ignoring his superiors).


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http://www.pinterest.com/peter2111

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I had forgotten all about this thread.
Thanks for sharing peter.
I think I got most of them - Snickers, ???, Marmite, ???, ???, Milky Way, Hovis, ???, Dime, Nescafe(?), durex, Daz(?), Asprin, Lucozade(?).

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Good brand recognition skills. You got a lot of them right.

 

Here are the answers....I'll just put me anorak on (read: mangy donkey jacket) an' av a gud 'ol rummage through them

pockets...emptying them on the floor.

 

  1. Snickers
  2. Tampax
  3. Marmite
  4. Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire sauce
  5. Kellogg's Corn Flakes
  6. Milky Way
  7. Hovis
  8. Kia-Ora
  9. Mcvities Digestives
  10. Nescafe
  11. Durex
  12. Daz (had to search this one, looks too similar to Daim bars)
  13. Disprin, the soluble aspirin
  14. Lucozade

 

If you've noticed, there is a lot of differences; regarding torn edges, fonts, colours, sizes, skewing, a few extra letters and of course product types. Chaos is king here.

 

HTH

 

peter

Edited by peter
Typo

MacBook pro, 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB, OS X 10.11.6

 

http://www.pinterest.com/peter2111

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I would never have got Kia-Ora.
The shapes under the "a" just don't look like they would make "Ora" to me, and the colours don't seem right for a "tropical drink", but there we go.
A nice little game, and a blast from the past. Cheers.

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