Wedding Prep Part 1: Style Mood Board

January 31, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

This is our wedding style mood board.  Go on, take it all in.

I should've known the minute Kelsey said yes to my proposal her beautiful head would immediately begin spinning and riffing on creative ideas for our wedding.  Like many girls, she's dreamed of this scenario her whole life.  I'll be honest and say thats where the typical comparisons seem to end, as she soon made it clear she wanted a 1950's tropical tiki beach paradise theme with mermaids and shells and bright sparkly things everywhere.  I quickly decided this very specific brief wasn't going to be easy to summarize in words, so I set about producing a big mood board in the hope of cramming all those themes into one image.  Queue hours and hours of Photoshop masking and placing and general meddling.  Its a good job I happen to enjoy this kind of work, because it took bloody ages to finish.

First we started with the simplest call of all: color scheme.  Rich tones of lime green, pink, aqua, warm red and a sunny yellow.  As a base I used some frames I shot at sundown on Venice Beach; the strong linear silhouettes would be easy to build everything else around.  I've shifted the color channel for those bright highlights to the color scheme as decided above.  This is the bottom layer into which everything else would be woven.

Kels and I spent hours online looking up key words and downloading hundreds of inspirational images that fit the brief.  These all went into a dedicated folder and I knew I would be getting to mask them all pretty soon.

So, on top of the basic layer I dropped in some textures such as shells and bubbles and fish and a tiki-style pattern to lift out some additional detail.  I knew I wanted to make this frame as busy and chaotic as possible.

Next to go in was a tailor made banner of our names, tattoo-style, complete with birds and more bubbles.  This heads up the image nicely.  A fabric texture of toucans blends in with the surfer dude, too.

Around the banner I dropped in some faces, which help to draw the eye in.  The banner itself is decorated with bangles and pineapples in sunglasses.  Then I got weird and put a Hawaiian shirt on a chameleon and had his tongue shooting out to lick the pinup girl.  Oh and she gets a new shoe and a spliff-toting tarsier on her arm.  Why not.

Also the image title is complete with the 'wedding style' text.  I was delighted to use up a whole bunch of textures and fabrics within the fonts, because I had a lot of these knocking around in the source folder.

I learned very quickly that collaging like this isn't so easy.  Its not as simple as dropping anything anywhere.  Decisions are sometimes difficult to make.  Available space changes and there's always a struggle to maintain some kind of coherency.

These eyes at the top of the image help to keep your attention and centre the whole piece.

I was constantly referring back to the folder of source images, glancing through the hundreds of files and wondering what would work and where.  I kept shapes separate from textures, and often they were merged together such as these fish floating below.  Many other things are just forced together, such as J-Lo in a mermaid wig holding a pineapple purse.  She looks happy with her new accessories.

In other places I played with layer opacity to create depth, such as these models walking over the hill behind Ariel the Little Mermaid, who herself has a fish scales texture blended into her tail.  Other stuff such as the shells were plonked anywhere on the image for moving at a later time.  

At this point the layer count is stacking up and it was important to label each one correctly.  This is good Photoshop admin.

At this stage the image is coming along nicely, with a tidy grouping of busy information in the middle and spreading outwards.  It was feeling like controlled chaos, and with still so much source material to cram in I risked plonking down anything, anywhere.  This just would not do, and I needed a way of creating new available spaces in the corners of the image. 

And so, sticking with the beach theme, I sketched in a pair of waves, pulling outwards from the banner in the centre and rising up, thus creating two new coherent planes for placing more detail.  It also mixes in a new medium of illustration to go with all the photo images.

A few more bits and bobs were dropped in before I started to get really tired of looking at the picture and I called it a day.  I sent it over to California for immediate review by my very shrewd fiancé.  Deep breaths for everyone: she liked it.

Now everyone knows what our weird and crazy wedding will look like!

 


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