Friday, December 27, 2013

Memphis Tigers Bowl Tie-Ins Infographic

It looks like I'm sneaking in one last blog post before the new year. I figure it is a good one to get in now while the bowl season is on everyone's minds.

This is a piece I did for the University of Memphis football team detailing all the bowl tie-ins they have being in the American Athletic Conference. Who knew there is going to be a bowl in the Bahamas soon!? Anyway, I went they way of the infographic again to help showcase both all the places the players have the chance to visit as well as the wealth of opportunity they have by coming to the Tigers. I think it turned out very well and is a quick, concise read that gets the information across that they wanted.

Here's wishing everyone out their a Happy New Year and I will see you again in 2014!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Memphis Tigers Name Tag

It has been a while since I've posted here on the blog. Currently times are a little crazy as I try and pack and get ready to move to New Hampshire for a new full-time position. However, I continue to do my freelance work in between bouts of taping up cardboard boxes and wrapping things in bubblewrap.

Above is a name tag I recently finished for the University of Memphis football team. It is a background piece for them to use when they are showing recruits around the campus. They will be putting a name label in the middle area towards the player's number. I really love this shot of #44 because of his intensity, as I believe it reflects the kind of enthusiasm the team wants from its players.

Anyway, if you don't see another post from me until after the 1st of the year, it is probably because I am in transit/unloading my family's things in our new place. If so, have a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!

Monday, November 11, 2013

UT-Chattanooga 2013-14 Wrestling Media Guide Covers

Front Cover
Inside Front Cover
Inside Back Cover
Back Cover

A couple weeks ago I wrapped up another project for UT-Chattanooga athletics, this time for their wrestling team. I had the pleasure of creating the covers for their 2013-14 media guide for this season. The theme I had run throughout each of them was the metallic title bar, that I now see kind of resembles a stylized boxing/wrestling championship belt. Happy accident, I guess. In my original layouts the bottom half of the front cover was blue instead of gold, but they decided to go with the gold to vary the look a little more between the front and back cover. Overall it was a neat project to work on, especially since I'd really never done anything for a wrestling team before. I was very pleased with the turnout, and hope the team does well this season!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Southern Miss Social Media Graphics

It's a busy time down in Hattiesburg, and one of the ways they have been getting the message out about all that is happening in athletics is through some of the above social media graphics. I've been creating these graphics for the past few weeks to help promote a variety of athletic events on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

I love that these graphics give a little life to the regular social media post. The addition of the players make them human and connect the fans to the student-athletes. The graphics also allow me to get creative with the display of the game day information, adjusting the line height so that it just runs together. I feel that helps draw the eye to that information and the coloration then helps create a hierarchy. If you check the Southern Miss social media pages frequently, you'll be sure to catch a few more pieces of my work on there.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Southern Miss Basketball Short

I'm back at the After Effects tutorials, this time working with some jittery text with a little stop motion feel. I saw this tutorial from Red Giant on how to create this effect and thought it had a really neat look. I decided to give it a shot and I think the resulting piece turned out very nice.

As I've been working a several items for Southern Miss basketball recently, I decided to do a little list of highlights of their past accomplishments. I found this effect worked very well when I overlapped each fact a little bit. That way, new text started falling into place as the final characters of the previous one fell out of frame. I reduced the frame rate in half to get the stop-motion feel, and then added a little camera shake and background opacity jitter to the whole piece to further the aesthetic. It is definitely a technique I am going to keep in my bag of tricks for video use down the road, as I think it works great as a text animation. I could see it being very useful in several types of projects. Thanks again for tuning in!

(Also, I would like to credit Hyde Producer/Composer from, for the track in this video. It can be downloaded here.)

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Hat-centric Personal Facebook Cover Image

I'm definitely a hat guy. I've loved them probably as long as I've loved sports. Because of that, I have always gotten a hats not just from the teams I root for, but from each team I've worked with so far in my sports design career as well. These hats help show the story of my design career in a very neat way that your standard resume or written biography just can't accomplish. They add personality, color, and life to the journey I've been on.

Because of all of that, I decided to create the above image as a cover photo for myself. The hats tell my story so far, and the message below them shows that my drive is only getting started. I can't wait to see what other hats get added down the road.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Southern Miss Logo Reveal Title

As I continue to learn After Effects I am obviously trying new things. On this project I decided to work a little bit with sound effects and stock footage to create a neat little title based around the Southern Miss football helmet logo.

I started at Aetuts+ where I found this quick tutorial on a neat logo reveal using the Stroke Effect. It was really easy to figure out to apply to the Southern Miss logo, as I focused it around the yellow outlines. I added a little glow to the moving strokes to give it a bit of flare as it animated on.

I then broke the logo into two parts, having the white interior reveal itself while a light sweep happened across the yellow outline that had come into full view. I'm a sucker for the slightly flashy, so I went with it.

From there, I wanted a cool transition to the second title, the Southern Miss athletic theme for this year, "Rise to the Top." As I sat there pondering where to go, it hit me: "Michael, you need to put fire in this video." So I did.

I took the basics of the Green Smoke tutorial on Video Copilot (a must-see website for all who want to learn more about motion graphics) and applied it to my video, having the helmet logo kind of melt away as the fireball shoots across the page. From there, I finished up with the Rise to the Top logo fading in from the burnt-out area of itself to finish the whole thing off. It was a fun piece to create, and suggestions are always welcome!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tennessee Smokies Website Background

If you stroll over to the Tennessee Smokies website now you will see the background I created for them at the end of my internship. I love having this piece in my portfolio as it is main thoroughfare for people to get Smokies info and thereby also see my work.

My idea on this one was to show the unique connection the Smokies have to two areas: the city of Knoxville and the Smoky Mountains. I achieved that by putting the skyline across the header that goes as if you were looking up from southern Tennessee at the trek across I-40. I then put the stadium lights on either side to echo the "stadium in the mountains" (even it is a little bit down the road from them). I felt the stanchions rising out of the mountains just gave the whole background a cool look and helped to frame up the header nicely.

Hendricks and Baez were probably the team's most successful players last year so we decided to highlight them in the background as well. I chose pictures that pointed towards the main info to help frame up the body of the page.

In all, I think this piece turned out great, and I hope you stop by the Smokies website to check it out live!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Little More After Effects: Baseball Matchup Graphic

So as I mentioned in my blog post last week, I have been teaching myself After Effects recently. With that I have been creating projects for myself to continue to get accustomed to the program.

I had the above idea one day while fiddling around in the program. As I get more into motion graphics, I'm realizing just how many there are around me, especially being such a big sports fan. With that in mind, I wanted to take a stab at my own matchup graphic. I used the last matchup of the Tennessee Smokies season as a test run since it is where my baseball career has left off at the moment.

I really loved the idea of steel doors shutting on one thing only to reveal another, so I went that route. After revealing the matchup logos, the video felt kind of stagnant, so I added in the team names sliding in from center. Even with that though, the piece still felt like it died after those names finished. To alleviate that feeling, I added a little rotation expression to the logos to keep them moving throughout the piece, thus keeping it "active" for the full duration. I made this rotation happen in 3D space to only further that feeling.

I feel overall that I accomplished my goal with this piece, exploring scene transitions and movement from various directions. However, I am up for suggestions on ways to continue to improve. Thanks for viewing!

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Memphis Tigers Infographic - Texas Players

This was a neat project I wrapped up for the Memphis Tigers football team this past week. They wanted to send out a flyer showcasing how many players on their team were from the state of Texas. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to create an infographic to showcase both the number of players on the team from Texas as well as the footprint the Tigers have in the state.

To do this, I first started with the list of players, topped off by the list title of "16 Current Players from the State" to give the eye a starting point. I pulled out a couple players to showcase via photos to bring a little life to the piece as well as to help the viewer's eye move around the page a little. I then thought it would be a great idea to tie each player to the city they were from, and what better way to do that than with a map of the state? By tying the list of players to all the cities they represent, I created a great little crisscross of connections that showcase the footprint the Tigers have in the Lone Star State.

This piece was very enjoyable to work on, and I think it does a great job of delivering the message the Tigers wanted.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Southern Miss Women's Basketball 2013-14 Schedule Poster

Above is a poster I recently finished for the Southern Miss women's basketball team. As you can see, I really shifted my recent schedule poster trends. I moved the title all the way to the bottom and put the schedule to the top. It's something I've never really seen a lot of but I thought really fit with the horizontal team photo. The team really wanted a 3D effect on "Rise to the Top" so by splitting the schedule like I did I left myself a perfect spot to insert that into the background and let it move forward into the foreground.

To go along with the brighter pieces that Southern Miss is trying to come up with, I once again kept a light background but added a little extra pop to the jerseys as well. I really think the jerseys jump off the page and put the focus on the players. As I've seen recently, the schedule is really almost secondary on a schedule poster, and these pieces are really a place to show off the team.

This piece was a new challenge, working with an interesting layout and 3D type, but I think it was a major success. I hope to be getting a printed sample in the near future and will hopefully have photos of it to show down the road.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Portfolio Video: An After Effects Creation

Recently, I've started to get involved in motion graphics creation. It has been a world I've always kind of shied away from, as I've always been more focused in static design, whether it be print, web, or social media, up to this point in my career.

However, I felt the time had come to expand my abilities, and so comes this project. I thought creating a video version of my portfolio was a great way to get into After Effects and learn as I create (which I feel is probably the best way to learn). I'm obviously relatively new to this field compared to my static design experience, but I think for a first project it turned out pretty well.

With that being said, I am definitely open to any feedback on how to improve on motion graphics. As I start learning, I'm like a sponge and ready to absorb all the information I can. Thanks for watching!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Southern Miss 2013-14 Men's Basketball Poster

A big shift in the style of my Southern Miss work came with this poster. As you probably notice, this poster is much lighter than my previous work, as the athletic department now shifts to using lighter backgrounds on most all of their work. One of the difficult things about the light background was making the yellow still a usable/noticeable color in the image. Do try and help achieve that, I mixed in some textures and drop shadows, as well some thin black strokes in places to make it pop. Once again, I was playing with the the picture vs. pictures foreground to background, and I again turned to a faded background to help make Coach Tyndall pop off the front of the poster. I was pretty pleased with the outcome, and you can definitely expect many more Southern Miss pieces to have a similar color scheme down the road.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Southern Miss 2013-14 Cheer Poster

It has been a quite busy time for me the past few weeks wrapping up several projects across the board. Above is a poster I recently completed for the Southern Miss cheer squad. It was a challenge making the two pictures not clash with each other, but I believe in the end the faded on the background photo and extra pop of the colors on the front made everything work together. The biggest challenge actually came at the bottom of the poster making sure all 13 sponsor logos made it onto the poster along side the Southern Miss social media info, making sure all of this didn't take away from the poster itself. In the end, I think I found the right balance and the overall look was a success.

Friday, September 20, 2013

UTC Baskeball 2013-14 Schedule Posters

Even though football has barely gotten into full gear, I've been hard at work cranking several designs promoting the upcoming college basketball season. Two of them that I recently wrapped up are the posters pictured above for UT-Chattanooga's men's and women's basketball teams. Each one presented it's own unique challenges.

The women's poster gave me the challenge of trying to fit 16 players and a new head coach onto the poster, while highlighting the new coach and 6 seniors. To achieve this, I made the 10 background players smaller and put a bit of a color overlay on them to try and establish as much depth as I could between the two levels of players with the amount of space I had to work with.  I then tweaked the photos of the 6 seniors and head coach to be a little brighter with a higher contrast as well. I then put a little spotlight behind them to help them pop off the page a little bit.

The men's poster probably posed the greatest challenge I've ever had in putting together a schedule poster. The team's theme for the season is "Chaos" and so they wanted a chaotic background going on around their players, while focusing on the three in front and their new head coach as well. To give me the ability to create a couple levels of chaos, I created a little depth by laying out the players in 3 rows with the players in the back 2 rows being smaller than the front. I then went through several dozen fractal brushes, blending, resizing, and mixing their shapes to create the web of light basically exploding throughout the poster. In the end, I came out with the exact look they were hoping for and I was very pleased as well at tackling this challenge with such success.

Both posters were a blast to work on, and here's hoping both teams go on to successful seasons!

Southern Miss Can-Am Commander Contest Advertisements

It has been a little while since I have posted to the ol' blog, so I have a little catching up to do. Above are a couple graphics I wrapped up last week for the Southern Miss Eagle Club. They are raffling off a Can-Am Commander X and needed both an email graphic (top image) and a standard 8.5x11 print ad to promote the contest. Because of the two different sizes, I ended up having to make the ad work as both a landscape and portrait layout. I kept the layout of the information similar so that it could transition easily from one to the other. In the end, I was happy with the outcome of both ads, especially getting to work a little outside of the usual USM color scheme and incorporating some earthly textures into the background.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Southern Miss 2013 Soccer Poster

In the rush of college football getting underway, you might have missed that college soccer is in full swing as well. With that in mind, I am posting my design for Southern Miss' 2013 poster.

I'm trying to develop a consistent feel across the posters I am working on for them this year. The yellow bars and marble look of "SOCCER" echo my same treatments on the volleyball poster I created for the Golden Eagles as well. I did mix up the design of the bars on the bottom as well as a couple other treatments on this poster so that, while relating to the volleyball poster and other subsequent posters, it still has its own personality. Be on the lookout for more posters down the road.

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's Time for a #TNSTitleRun - Knoxville News Sentinel Ad

This past Monday, the Smokies clinched the Southern League North Division 2nd Half Championship. The team is now playoff bound and will be kicking off a series against the 1st Half Champion Birmingham Barons down in Alabama starting on Thursday, September 5th. Their first game back by the mountains will be on Saturday, September 7th, and we are heavily promoting that matchup. We were able to get an ad in the Knoxville News Sentinel to help us promote the matchup.

Having been in football mode while the team has been on their playoff push, the idea of the hats facing off, much like a helmet matchup graphic in football, popped into my head. I then went with a simple rundown of the possible playoff dates echoing a boxing tale-of-the-tape. Overall, I believe the ad turned out very well and I hope to see plenty of fans out supporting the Smokies on Saturday!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Southern Miss Gameday Central 3D Helmets

As of yesterday, the 2013 college football season is well underway. However, the season doesn't kick off for the Golden Eagles until Saturday night. With that being said, you can head over to their Gameday Central site to see all their matchups this season using the helmets I created (at this point I need to give a shot out to member davidson for his 3D helmet templates found here). I have never really worked with truly 3D looking objects, so this project was a fun experiment that had some awesome results. Check them out!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Couple Southern Miss Projects

I wanted to take a moment to post a couple projects I've worked on for Southern Miss Athletics over the past few weeks. The one above is for the digital information kiosk at the Hattiesburg Train depot. It's always fun to work on digital signage because of it's ease of final output as opposed to large format printed signage. I liked this one especially because I was able to work in my secondary tagline of "16 Sports. 1 Mission" that came from the overall #RiseToTheTop campaign of the athletic program this year.
The Rise campaign transferred well to this print ad for Southern Miss men's basketball season tickets. The men's team looks to be the flagship team of the program this season, having fallen just one win short of a trip to New York City for the NIT semifinals. Expectations are high and I wanted to reiterate that by tweaking the main tagline to become "Continuing the Rise" as this team is on the upswing.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Final Tennessee Smokies Gold Glove Bobblehead: Darwin Barney

This past Saturday the Tennessee Smokies wrapped up their Gold Glove Bobblehead Series Giveaways with the third piece of the set, Darwin Barney. It was awesome to see the collection come to its completion, and to finally see ally three of my box designs together. This was an amazing project to work on and I think the overall design I chose worked seamlessly between all three of the different box dimensions.

Below are some more pictures of just the box for the Barney bobblehead:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Memphis Tigers Football 2013 Season Invite

As I stated in my last post, college football season is right around the corner, and everybody is gearing up.

For the Memphis Tigers, I once again had the chance to design their season invitation that is sent out to recruits and coaches for them to catch the team in action at the Liberty Bowl. It is a project I always look forward to and I believe that this year's is one my best pieces I have done not just for them, but overall as well. The desaturated gold background really lets the Tiger blue pop off the page. By boxing in the games in a vertical layout in the center of the page, I both highlighted the games as a whole as as well as individually, with each box giving each game its own moment. I then created a frame around the schedule to kind of hold the eye in place by flanking the schedule with two action shots on the left and right, the main title at the top, and the necessary information for players or coaches at the bottom. As always, it was a fun piece to create, and I certainly hope it brings many recruits out to the Liberty Bowl this season.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Southern Miss Football Single Tickets Splash Page

In case you hadn't noticed, football season is right around the corner, and with it fast approaching, it's time for every college football team to start encouraging fans to purchase tickets for the upcoming season. At Southern Miss it is no different, as the team pushed out their single game ticket sales this week.

I had a lot of fun creating this splash page for the Southern Miss website, as I took inspiration from several other teams' plans of showing their schedule for the season and listing their game themes. To expand upon those references, I went with a tilted schedule look to immediately draw the viewer's eye to notice that this isn't just another splash page. Football is the big sport on campus at most every university, and so it usually requires a little more attention when it comes to promoting it.

Hopefully my splash page will attract many of the Golden Eagle fans to get their tickets early for all of their team's home football games this year. Be on the look out for more football related graphics as the season approaches.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Southern Miss 2013 Volleyball Poster

As I continue getting my blog up to date I wanted to share a project I wrapped up for Southern Miss about a month ago. I had the opportunity to work on the schedule poster for the Golden Eagles volleyball team this year and I was very pleased with the turnout.

I tried something new with my title treatment on this poster, going for an indented marble stone look on "Volleyball." I think it turned out very well and the small inner shadow on it makes that area work. The golden flares were a design element put in both for show and to create a holding place for the schedule at the bottom. I plan on trying to incorporate them into the other Southern Miss posters I work on this year as a connecting theme throughout them.

I was also pleased with the secondary title at the top with the "Rise to the Top" tagline that is the mantra of Southern Miss sports this year. By turning the opacity down on it and letting it fade into the background a little, I made sure the viewer's eye was drawn to the brighter title at the bottom and the player photos directly above.

This piece came together very well and I really couldn't be happier with the turnout. Be on the lookout for a post on the printed version in the near future.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Smokies Park Entranceway Signage

There are plenty of backlit signs around Smokies Park, and I'm glad to have left my mark on a few of them this season. Above are a few of the ones that are in the stadium's entranceways highlighting a couple of the team's 2013 promotions as well as the Smokies Radio Network. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tennessee Smokies Wall Pad Art

It has been a little while since I've posted some more of my work but I am now getting caught up posting some more of the signage I've done around Smokies Park.

I created these two signs to showcase the team's complete Gold Glove Bobblehead Series that has been going on this season. They are located right beside the first and third base dugouts on their respective home plate sides. 

It has been a neat experience to have so much of my work making up the signage at Smokies Park this season. Check back soon for more from around the park!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tennessee Smokies Gold Glove Series Bobblehead Box Design #2 - Yadier Molina

It's hard to believe that the 2013 season only has a little over a month left, but according to the calendar it certainly looks that way.

With that being said, the Tennessee Smokies continued their Gold Glove Bobblehead Series this past Saturday night with the Yadier Molina bobblehead giveaway. This box was a fun one to work on because of Molina's current fame (and great season he is having this year), his wealth of success, and the fact that I had some great photos of his days at Smokies Park to work with. I think using the image of him in his Smokies gear on the front of the box made it a really awesome cover. It then allowed me to put a little image of the bobblehead on the back of the box just above the stats (and man was that a list to whittle down!).

The Smokies will wrap up this series of bobbleheads on August 17th with the Darwin Barney bobblehead. It has been really awesome to have played such a big part in putting together this collector's series, and I can't wait to show off the complete collection come next month. Be on the lookout!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tennessee Smokies Desktop Wallpapers

As a designer, I believe that desktop backgrounds are one of the most fun projects to work on. They really are canvases of unlimited potential and allow you explore your design capabilities.

I recently created several backgrounds for the Smokies that are now available for download on the team website. The supercharged "TS" logo is one I actually created for my personal PC back when I started with the team in February and I am glad to be able to now share it with the fans. I included a couple fan-favorite players as well as other uses of the Smokies logo. All in all, I tried to create a good variety for people to choose from while exploring styles that were more graphic heavy versus ones that were more texture heavy. I loved expirementing with just what happens when you start mixing things together in Photoshop and seeing what comes out. I have posted a few below, but make sure to check out the full selection at the link to the Smokies website above!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Smokies All-Star Graphics for Chicago Cubs Leadoff Show on WGN America

On July 6th, the Smokies had a special that aired during the Chicago Cubs Leadoff Show on WGN America. They highlighted those members of the team that had been selected to the Southern League All-Star Team. You can watch the full video here.

Working with the Smokies Radio Network team, I created several graphics that appeared throughout the video. It was quite a thrill to see my work broadcast on national television. You can see the graphics below and please be sure to check out the video at the link above!