Virtual murals

Creating a piece of graffiti art can be a demanding task, especially when you're working against the clock. Justin Maller shows you how to ease the pain by planning and designing a digital mural in.

I really admire graffiti artists. First of all, there's the effort they need to go through just to set up a proper session. Then you have to consider how the whole question of legality affects the artistic process. More often than not when painting a mural they're breaking the law, and have to think on their feet and work as quickly as they can.

This urgency seems to inherently neglect the pre-production process, and has always made me wonder how the graff guys plan their images - surely a notebook sketch doesn't translate effectively to a wall? It's not like there's time to set up a projector or something to provide guidelines to trace over first - it all has to happen in the moment.

In this tutorial, we'll look at how to plan a mural digitally, from taking the photos of a site through to wrapping up a cohesive digital image. We'll explore a couple of techniques for creating stencils, as well as a method for incorporating hand-drawn ones. We'll also have some fun playing with street signs, perspective distortion and image manipulation. There's a lot to cover, so it's probably best to get started!

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