As part of a challenge to design, photograph, and post-produce a printable 3D font out of a non-traditional material, I created this all caps, sans-serif font out of light.
The challenge started with an allotted time to brainstorm a concept for what objects we would use to create our fonts, and how we would shape and photograph that object. My idea was to use a light painting photography technique to shape my letters out of light trails, then edit and invert the photos so they could be printed on regular white paper.
When I started shooting the photos, I realized that while my camera could see the path of my letters while I shaped them, I could not. I had expected this, but it was more difficult than I thought to accurately dot my I’s and cross my T’s. To make things easier I moved my camera to have a window behind it which reflected enough light for me to more accurately trace my letters, but not so much that I was visible in the photos. This also helped me ensure I had my light source aimed at the camera while I shaped the letters.
Then I came to post-production. In order to save time, which I was beginning to run out of, I saved my Camera Raw adjustments in Photoshop on the first letter, applied it to the remaining 25, and inverted the colours to show black letters on a white background. The result of which didn’t have the semi-transparent 3D look the letters had before being inverted. To me it looked like someone had just done a poor job of writing letters in black ink. So back to the drawing board!
I went back to the photos before I had inverted them, added a colour cast over the highlight areas of the photos and then inverted them. Success! My orange cast was now a blue letter with a bold outline and semi-transparent body. I now had a 3D font that I could easily change the colour of.