Creating a memorable self promo - Part 1

I needed some memorable self promotion pieces to get PalbergWERX Creative Direction noticed in this over stimulated communications age. The good news is that my Vancouver based design company is all about creativity - so, time to get out the pencils and begin concepting. Download 5 reasons why great design will increase your profits!

Actually, it would be inaccurate to say that I began with a pencil, I actually began with research. I was looking at how various social sites create interest, what content type creates the greatest engagement. There are a lot of statistics identifying that content and my take away was that recognizable images get clicks and some of the most recognized are classic artworks. Beginning with that idea, I looked for artwork that would be available through the creative commons for my professional use.

This post will be the first to explore how I created the specific image for the PalbergWERX promotional piece from Edvard Munch's famous 1893 painting 'The Scream'. Link here to view interactive before/after slider

As I mentioned, it was important that the work was now in the creative commons as well as well known and this painting fit the bill. The Scream has been parodied before and has a very good click through rate when seen side-by-side with clever copy. I did some Google searches for high resolution copies of the painting as this would be the background for the promotion. I needed them to be high resolution so that I could build the promo at the minimum of 11"x8.5 at 300dpi. This would give me the freedom to print it if required.

I set up my Photoshop doc to size and imported the image as the background. The next step was of course to do a photo shoot of myself - after all, I am the representative of PalbergWERX and the principle clients meet with.

In the original Munch painting the figure screaming is wearing black and I choose a traditional black turtleneck. My studio was being used and since I would be heavily processing this image, I did a quick, 1 hour photos shoot in my kitchen in front of my white refrigerator. This would make it easy to mask out myself from the background. I always use my computer to remote shoot and view when I am doing any self portraits, this gives me the opportunity to watch how I look when 'acting' the part. I used a four light setup: Two lights in front with softboxes to soften any shadows, one light for a strong rim light and one light to give some fill to the dark turtleneck sweater.

During the import I take advantage of Adobe's Camera Raw tool. It is fantastic to now be able to color correct and make other edits in the Camera Raw tool, import the image as a Smart Object into Photoshop and if necessary, further edits can be applied to the original image - all without causing any permanent file changes! Next it was time to mask myself out from the background. I use the quick mask selection tool and further refine the edges as needed. As I don't have any hair to speak of, it is a snap - haha.

The most important parts of this job was to characterize my face, clothing and color to blend into the painting. I began with my head and face, after making a copy of the masked layer. Now I have to commit to the mask, because when using the Liquid tool, the mask will not be effected and that will create some strange problems. I worked the eyes, eye brows, forehead and mouth as I felt that this was the essence of the scream characterization.

As you can see in the image on the right, there has already been some color correction done during the Camera Raw import stage. The original photo had a florescent green cast and that needed to be fixed before proceeding.

The next area that I wanted to concentrate on was the sweater, it was just too modern and didn't fit with the expressionistic quality of the original painting. I began by using the photoshop filter 'glass'. Another layer and then the filter 'paint Daubs'.

It was beginning to look better, but still too representative. I next took it into the handy Liquid filter and began swiping the image as if I was painting - this created the movement that I was looking for. Now it was time for color - the image really needed a lot of color work to blend into the original painting. I usually take the approach of selecting colors from the original image and painting new layers freehand. Each of these layers is blended with the background using various blend modes and opacity until I feel the image is just right.

The tag line was created from the original painting title, 'The Scream'. I was looking for a humorous hook and after some work, began hitting on the children's sing-song, 'I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream'. I love this text, and it is a startling juxtaposition to the original intent of the painting.

I've left room below the text for any type of copy, depending on the specific need of this image.

Below is the final image

If you would like help with your next campaign,

call PalbergWERX Creative Direction

at 604-356-1144 or email me at

I can help you craft an inbound lead generation campaign via 'Lead Magnets'

or develop a social media campaign with A/B Split testing to verify your ROI.

#photoshop #marketing #promotion


PalbergWERX Creative Direction

604.356.1144  /

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