Myyyy Photoshop, myyyy Photoshop, Top 40! Okay, so actually, it’s the Top 3. That is, the Top 3 entries in our recent Photoshop Top 40: The Contest. I asked you to create a magnificent piece of artwork that celebrates no fewer than three of the features from my Photoshop Top 40 podcast. Happily, your response was overwhelming. Sadly, your response was overwhelming on Christmas Eve, while I and my sidekick Colleen were with our children. But eventually, we found time to review all 146 enthusiastically submitted entries. (Thank you, by the way! Nothing gets us going like a hot contest!) From that, and with great difficulty, we have selected three winners.
I promised our choices would be purely subjective. And they are. But subjected to the things we love: Photoshop craftsmanship and creative ingenuity. And, go figure, we liked pieces that celebrated the theme of the contest, Photoshop Top 40. In other words, good art direction trumped precise execution, although our winners showed some mad skills.
Don’t think for a moment that we took this task lightly. We spent hours winnowing down the list. We started by selecting what we considered to be the Top 4 submissions. (I take this Top 4 business very seriously!) From that we selected the Best 12, which I will document here. And then, very reluctantly, we leveled the proverbial axe on all but the final three.
That said, here are the winners. (If you won, please email your full name, shipping address, and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The Olympus E-62, free Premium subscription to lynda.com, 30-day Premium subscription to fotolia.com, signed copies of three CS4 One-on-One books, dekePod t-shirt, and two Martini Hour glasses go to . . .
dekeLine, submitted by member MD (known in real life as Martin Dörsch).
We selected this image for five reasons: It’s beautifully designed, it’s impeccably rendered, it celebrates the theme, it’s high res, and it cleverly integrates the names of the features that Martin used to create the artwork. I also like the fact that dekes lacks an apostrophe. But thats me.
Martini, submitted by member MarcG (known in the actual world as Marc Gaudet).
This image turned into a topic of some debate. Member draken3d (who, I should say, liked the comp) quite rightly made the point that the background is low-res when compared with the other elements. But the design and composition are spot on. I regard this as a sketch for a beautiful composition. And as any working designer will tell you, the sketch is where the magic happens. Plus Marc submitted a layered PSD file, which showed his worked. (Not a requirement, but it swayed our opinions.)
Holiday Flowers, submitted by member Michael Brunsfeld.
Like Martin and Marc, Michael’s name begins with an M. (As does his gender.) But that’s not why we chose his piece. This was easily the most distinctive submission, and it uniquely shows off the power of Photoshop. Plus, it’s a bit self-deprecating. As Michael wrote, “I think my wife looks lovely, but I look completely off my rocker.” Alas, Michael, artists often do.
The Other 9
Okay, so much for the lucky winners. Now for the rest. Colleen and I are absolutely haunted by the remaining 9 in the Best 12. Did we really choose the Top 3? Or were some Other 3 more deserving? Although it won’t make any difference, that’s up to you to decide. While they receive no prizes (other than our respect and high praise) here they are, in the order they were posted:
Odyssey, submitted by member nickgreenaway: Dude, your skills are on fire. You don’t need my prizes. You’ll earn a living easy.
Shadow Edge, submitted by member c-monsta: I love everything about this, from the high-key model to the G. I. Joe-derived poster. When’s the movie come out?
The Man, submitted by member trudolph: The dreaded Man is rendered in every bit as much detail as his hapless victims. You execution is exquisite!
Lady in Thought, submitted by member nanderton: Both Colleen and I fell in love with this image. What a beautiful model, what a great photograph, what excellent work.
Why Did You Place Me on This Background, submitted by member macg. Such angst, such anxiety! And yet, our tormented model looks very much at home in his new environment. A composition I’d be proud to create.
The Knife Thrower’s Assistant, submitted by member jfrancis. Joe runs an extremely informative blog at digital Artform. As if to prove his chops, his comps are out of control, as witnessed by the following. Plus, it’s rated PG.
Winter Survival, submitted by member JDalool. Oh g-g-goodness, this has been a cold Winter in Boulder, Colorado. But one look at this image, and suddenly I feel warm. Even my tummy.
My Dream, submitted by member Lolka. In college I double-majored in math and art. And this image employs both math and art! Plus, it documents the specific prize (Honorable Mention) that Lolka was hoping to receive. If only everyone was so easy to please!
Circus, submitted by member stevecoda. How can you not admire a composition that includes me in clown shoes, Colleen in clown makeup, and a miniature blue elephant casting a shadow in the wrong direction? I love it!
To the other 134 of you, my most sincere thanks for your submissions. You died on the vast plain of Photoshop Top 40: The Contest, but I chant over your sacred remains. While I cannot comment on every one of your submissions (this post took me 5 hours!!), I can tell you this: You rock, keep trying, and keep being you.