About two years ago I was creating a lot of royalty-free iPhone illustrations – then, all of the major microstock websites started cracking down on anything that they deemed to be copyright-protected material. That put an end to my iPhone image production real quick, but…they seemed to be very popular. I’m still making a lot of them to this day (to give away as freebies), and here are three quick examples:

  • an iPhone 3Gs with a gun sitting on top
  • an iPhone 3Gs with a glowing orange fingerprint on the screen
  • an iPhone 3Gs with a large microphone standing on top

I’ve got a few more of these images lying around that I need to upload, and I’ll get around to that as soon as I can. And I should probably build a 3d model of a 4G iPhone as well…

Most people probably don’t know this, but my bread and butter is website design. That’s what I spend the most of my time doing, and I have a full list of great clients who keep me very busy. And like any other busy web designer, I’ve got my fair share of web templates and website elements that never made it to final production. Case in point: these five website banners. They were part of a large collection of concepts I made for a client a while back, and these are the rejects. Shame to let them go to waste, right?

Feel free to download and use however you wish. They are all fully editable (requires Adobe Photoshop).

I’ve been really busy for the past 10 days or so trying to put the finishing touches on a series of client projects that needed to be wrapped up by March 31st. Combine that with my always busy schedule of creating and keywording new images, and well…I barely had enough time to breath. During this time, a neat little video surfaced on YouTube that set the graphic design and photography worlds on fire: Content Aware Fill from Adobe had been revealed.

I follow a lot of miscellaneous graphic and web design forums on the internet, and this was the one thing that everyone was talking about. To be honest, I didn’t really have the time to sit through a long video demo so I just blew it off and bookmarked it for later viewing. Finally, with all of my client projects complete, I had a few spare moments to have a gander.

Holy crap.

If you’ve ever struggled with stitching images together, or pulled your hair out trying to remove lens flare, you already know that this is the feature that will save us all from those kinds of technical tasks. The YouTube video made it look like magic (hence the reason for so many calling it a hoax), but I am very curious to see how it will work in the real world. There are many times that I just can’t get an image to look right in FormZ (my 3d modeling software of choice), so I’ll just render the basic image and then spice it up in Photoshop. Cloning, cutting, and pasting is something I do very often, and I’m totally geeked about the amount of time this will save me in post-processing my images.

Adobe Photoshop CS6

But is it too good? The only thing about Content Aware Fill that makes me cringe a little is the thought that it might make it easier for image thieves to remove watermarks from copyright protected photos. Of course, there are plenty of people doing that now (manually) so it isn’t like this will spark a new wave of image theft – but I think that there is a strong possibility that it will make it easier for those thieves to get away with it. But such is the life on the internet. As a content producer, I know that it is pretty much impossible to keep people from stealing images if they want them badly enough. If there is a will, there is a way.

Watermark-removal aside, I think Adobe hit a home run with this feature. If it will be included in CS5, sign me up for an upgrade.

As you would probably have guessed by taking a 2-minute stroll around my portfolio of illustrations and 3d renderings, a large majority of my work is highly conceptual. To be honest, I don’t have much of an interest in generating images of plain objects sitting on plain backgrounds, as I don’t feel like I’m contributing much to the royalty-free stock market by doing that. I mean really – if you need a picture of a simple book on a white isolated background, there are plenty of other places on the internet where you can easily get that in any color or perspective you need.  Of course, creating simple images of isolated objects is easy and it would be a fast way to boost the size of my portfolio but I have little interest in re-creating such common imagery.

Generating thousands of 3d renderings a year is tough, especially when each one needs to illustrate a specific business metaphor or technology theme. It helps that I have spent many years working for large corporations, because I feel like my head has been forcefully crammed full of those catchy buzz-words and phrases often used in big business such as, “let’s touch base”, “coming down the pike”, and “action items”.  I admit that some of this business-speak is a bit over the top (see, even I do it too) at times, but it is catchy and the most clever ones usually spread like wildfire – until they get played-out and are replaced by something fresh and equally bizarre. The good news for me is that most of them are fairly easy to represent with simple objects, and I can usually come up with several variations of the same buzz-word or cliche in a short amount of time. However, there is one new buzz-word that I’ve been hearing more and more lately, and I have yet to come up with a decent image for it: disintermediate. Basically, I think it means to cut out the middleman, but…I’m not really sure. All I know is that it’s one that I’m starting to hear more and more, and that means I should probably look it up in the dictionary before I get left behind.

Another big source of inspiration for me comes from business journals and financial magazines. Those publications usually include a ton of highly-clever illustrations and photography to support their articles, and I can usually generate several new ideas with a brief thumb-through of each new issue.

Creating these conceptual images is very challenging, but as much as I hate to admit it, my years spent at big mega-corporations have been very good for me. Without that experience, I’m not sure I could have come up with half of the ideas and concepts portrayed in the Norebbo portfolio. I’m always looking out for new trends and buzz-words though, and luckily, there are new ones infecting big-business all the time. I can’t promise that I’ll cover every one of them, but I do have fun trying.