Behind the front page – an afterthought comes to life

5 min read

Come and take a look behind the scenes on how the front page of Where2go was created. We’ll talk about why and how things are done. And show you some examples.
If you have questions, feel free to use the commentform at the bottom to ask them.

Photos by Kennet Havgaard The photoshoot with Peter Frödin og Hella Joof (shot by photographer Kennet Havgaard) had gone very well and art director Mads Bastell was very pleased.

A few days later when he was looking through the contact sheets from the photosession trying to decide on which photo to use he thought to himself: “It would have been really cool if they where standing on top of their names”.

A quick mock-up is made It might have been possible in real life, but it was too late to do anything about it now and besides, building life size letters would have cost a fortune and be very time-consuming.
Maybe it could be photoshopped? He made a quick sketch and pitched the idea to the editors who gave it a thumbs up.

Thunderbirds are go.

I believe it’s always important to get the photographer in on a project as early in the process as possible and this is something Mads is really good at.

We discussed the project thoroughly. Could it be done and would it look real? What about the camera angle. Could that be replicated? What kind of letters and where would we find them?
With a tight deadline looming, could I make it on time? How should the letters be positioned and would the names fit? Could we make the signs look see-through? Should they hang from string in real life? Would it be better to just type the letters in photoshop and style them to look like real letters?

I had recently done another but smaller photoshop job for Where2Go of a Street in Copenhagen which consist of about 60 photos stitched together and photoshopping images is something I’ve done before.

Today’s show is sponsored by the letters IRL

We decided to get as much shot in real life as possible. The project’s Achilles’ heels are the letters on which Frödin and Joof stand. So we began searching the web for shops close by who stocked large letters and more particularly the letters we needed.

We found 17cm tall letters at Panduro Hobby. They had all but the umlaut O (Ö), but that we made out of an ordinary O.

For the sign’s headlines we found smaller letters at Tiger. The body copy was printed on to sheets of overhead ‘paper’ and glued to clear plexiglass (this would later prove to be a problem). The large where2go sign was hand cut and are about 20 cm tall.

The letters look too thin and the angle is wrong. I started shooting the letters one at a time and from many angles. chucked them into photoshop and pasted the names together. It looked like shit. The angle is all wrong.

Played around some more with different angles but to no avail. It didn’t look realistic and they seemed to thin.

Beginning to get a little frustrated I stack them the way they would have stood in the image and ta-da. That was it. The wobblyness looks real and the angle is perfect. Super. The project is moving forward.


Images where put together later in photoshop and adjusted.


Much better. The angle is lower and it just works.

Most of the smaller signs where OK, but the large ‘GO-sign’ proved to be a problem because the glued sheets didn’t go edge to edge. photo of large bad one + photos of smaller ones


The fact that the sheets of glue paper don’t go all the way will prove to be a problem and have to be photoshopped.

All images are hauled into photoshop, grouped and retouched slightly. No need spending to much time on that until later on when I know what goes where.
A quick comp is made and sent to Mads so he knows what’s going on. OK, now the fun stuff starts.

The devil is in the shadows

Both are cut out and a gray background is inserted behind them.
Hover the image below to see the original image.


The woman was moved down a bit.

Shadows in Photoshop


The Letters are inserted. Hella Joof gets some extra inces on her coat. This is drawn from scratch.


The feet get shadows – this is done via several layers.


Slight shadow


Slightly darker shadow


Darker shadow

I’ve made the shadows by creating a new layer from the letters layer (drag to copy), distorted them to my liking, selected the area around them (magic wand) and choose a wider feather.

Inverted selection. Created a new layer and used the brush tool (black colour) to fill out the selection. Then I used the eraser to make a graduation in the shadows.

Finally I set the transparency to about 25% – 50%. Things start to look realistic.

Reflections i Photoshop


Light reflection.


A bit more reflection


Reflections are gradually erased.

I’ve copied the letter layer, flipped it and distorted it to my liking. Used the eraser tool to make graduation.

Signs at bottom are inserted


Sign is inserted


It gets poles to stand on and shadows behind it. Created via line tool.


This sign originally stood on top of the letters, but was moved down to give space to the VIND sign hanging down.


Shadows are added by selecting the big letters behind, creating a new layer to draw the shadow on.

The sign gets some blurry shadow.

The signs consist of several layers so I can create perspective and control transparency. The where split into ‘see-through plastic sign’, ‘body copy’ and ‘headline’ layers. This way it’s easier to control all elements. Layers are your friend.

Signs in middle are inserted


A little and sign has made it passed security.

The text layer is inserted.

Strings are hung on the VIND sign. Created by the line tool
Shadows are added and things start to look realistic.

Top signs are added


The GO sign is inserted


String are added


Giant Where2Go sign is hung up behind.


Strings are added.

Originally the Where2Go sign was gray with a metalic look. But we decided to slap some happy colour on it. OK. Almost there…

Shadows are added to the top signs


Direct shadow


Blurry shadow

Ta-Daaaa

Where2Go / Chiligroup

Behind the front page – an afterthought come…

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