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Spice Up Titles and Graphics with Ink Spread & Ink Drop Effects

How to use everyday household items to create ink drop and ink spread visual design elements for titles and graphics.

Video Transcript

Design elements help improve your text or graphic by adding creativity and style, and we’re gonna show you how to make your very own unique design elements. Now there’s four things you need to know in order to pull off this effect.

The first thing is what materials you’re gonna need to gather. The second thing is how to set up those materials so that your camera can record it perfectly. The third thing is some techniques you can use to make better design elements, and the fourth thing is how to implement those design elements into your project.

I’m Dan Bruns and this is Design Elements. Now the two different design elements we’re gonna be taking a look at are the ink spread and the ink drop, and the materials you’re gonna need for the ink spread is a fish tank, some filter paper in order to drop your ink onto and watch it spread, your dropper to drop the actual ink onto the filter paper, some black ink, some water and a bowl to put your filter paper in and let it soak.

Finally another great material to have for both effects is a white foam core board to use as a background behind your fish tank. Next up is the set-up for both of these design elements. The first one we’re gonna take a look at is our ink drop. What you’re gonna need for this is a tank and you’re gonna want it placed on a flat table just like we’ve done here and then fill up your tank almost all the way to the top with some water.

Once you’ve done that you’re gonna want to take your foam core board and place it behind the tank either on a wall with some tape or on a post. Now in our case we use a C-stand. After that you’re gonna want to take two very bright lights and light your foam core board in order to over-expose it. This is going to help you to composite in your editing software. Now you’re gonna want to make sure you zoom in all the way with your camera until the white foam core board fills the entire frame.

Now the last part of this process is to take your dropper and fill it up completely with black ink in order to put into your tank. When it comes to the ink spread effect you’re gonna want to take the tank and place it on its side between two objects of the same height. Now in our case we used six shipping boxes.

When it comes to lighting, unlike our ink drop effect, we want the ink spread to look like a silhouette. Now in order to do this we’re gonna take two strong lights and put them directly over the top of our tank to make them shine straight down through the paper and make it look over-exposed.

The next thing you’re gonna want to do is take your filter paper and put it into a bowl filled with water so that you soak the filter paper completely. Then you’re gonna want to take that filter paper and place it on top of the tank and flatten it out so that there’s no air bubbles.

Similar to our ink drop design element we’re gonna want to take our dropper and fill it with black ink. Now the next thing we’re gonna look at are some techniques to pull off this effect. The first one we’re gonna look at is the ink drop effect. Now with the ink drop effect the first thing you’re gonna want to make sure is that the water stays even the entire time in your tank, otherwise, your ink might actually have a zig-zag design to it.

Another great idea is to link your camera to a video monitor so you can actually see what you’re doing and exactly where you should place that ink drop, and the last thing you’re gonna wanna look at doing is instead of just dropping one drop at a time into your water is actually shooting the drops into your water and this adds a lot of variety to your effect.

Now some great techniques you can use to pull off the ink spread effect is to make sure you have a tripod that can get low to the ground so that you can point it straight up through the tank. Something else to consider when pulling off this effect is to use different types of filter paper which will allow you to get a variety of ink spreads.

The last thing you can do is instead of just dropping single drops of ink on your filter paper you can squeeze out the ink to make designs. Now using this technique you can actually spell a person’s name out and watch it spread naturally afterwards.

The last step we’re gonna take a look at is how to implement these elements into your design. Now you’re gonna want to take these elements into your favorite editing application and make sure that the background, the white background from the foam core board is completely blown out or completely white by using things like contrast and brightness. That will help you when you use your composite mode such as overlay to get rid of the background and make it completely transparent.

Now once you have composited your elements into your design you may want to look at making your design even better by speeding up your ink drops and also by taking multiple ink drops and putting them together in one title design.

Making great video doesn’t always involve huge explosions and special effects. Instead by using the techniques we showed you today you can make your titles and graphics equally as impressive.

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