Hey there! Brian Dys here — I’m a visual and visceral person at heart. Ever since my mom lent me her old film camera, I fell in love with photography. All of my creative musings were exemplified by my second brain, the computer. This journey is a topsy-turvy ride of creative pursuits — from electronic music to UX design.
I enjoy every dull and wild moments of it — yes, this life of mine that I share with a woman named Jaycelle and a boy named Bryce. Take a peek into my kaleidoscope!
Recently, I hopped on to Spotify as an artist. I released several electronica singles under the label Weet Weew. The experience was liberating in the sense that I’ve been putting it off for quite some time and finally got to grapple with it. I got to revisit some old compositions and reacquainted with a DAW (digital audio workstation) of choice: FruityLoops.
Preparing for a (rather bleak) future when crazed fans would ask me for autographs, I thought I needed to have one. So I practiced using a big round-tip marker and settled with a 0.6 mm-tip pen.
With a trusty scanner, I scanned it with a resolution of 600 to be able to “blow it up” and properly enhance it. From Photoshop to Illustrator to Figma to its destination, Spotify — it took me around an hour to do all this.
We’re using Adobe Photoshop to prepare the material for vectorization in Illustrator.
File → Open To open the material
Image → Adjustments → Desaturate To convert it to grayscale
Image → Auto Contrast To make the paper whiter and ink blacker
Image → Adjustments → Threshold To convert the paper to pure white and ink to pure black; yes it will pixelate, that’s why it’s important to have a high resolution material; some areas might be lost, so you might be working on several layers with different threshold amounts
Window → Channels Copy and paste the artwork into an alpha channel and select it (it will select the white part, so, invert the selection to select the black part)
Window → Layers Go back to the layer while the selection is active
Layer → New → Layer Via Copy To copy and paste the black part into a new layer
Layer → Delete → Layer Select the original layer and delete it
Manual Adjustments Now you have a line art (with transparent background) that is fairly easy to adjust — like if you need to extend or erase some parts
File → Save → .PSD Save the file as Photoshop file
We’re using Adobe Illustrator to convert the prepared material into vector. Sure, from the scanned material we can go straight here — I personally see the result is better when we prepare the material prior vectorization.
File → Open To open the .psd file
Photoshop Import Options dialog → Convert Layer to Objects To keep the layers (if any) in the material
Select the Object To select the particular layer we will vectorize
Window → Image Trace To customize settings for vectorization
Object → Image Trace → Expand To vectorize the object and see its layers
Manual Adjustments Now you have vector objects — remove any unwanted layers like solid backgrounds (to make the background transparent); also prepare for the desired artwork and artboard size
File → Export → Export As → .SVG → Use Artboards Save the file as Scalable Vector Graphics file; for handwritten signatures in particular, the default setting for SVG Options will do (it’s a different case when you have images and fonts in your material)
Figma is awesome because you can use it for free and it is web-based (use it alongside Facebook on the other tab of your favorite web browser). Really, this part is optional — it just so happened that my Spotify header image template is conveniently in Figma (you can use Photoshop or Illustor, too).
Right after I uploaded my updated header image to Spotify, I turned to see that my notebook has grown itself some robot doodles, courtesy of Bryce. Consequently, I asked him if we would like to color it in Photoshop and that lit up his face!