Interview: Digital Arts Creativity in Motion competition winner Jason Pooley

Through October and November, we've been giving you the chance show off your creative talents in association with Dell and Intel – and win yourself a Dell Precision M4700 mobile workstation worth £1,500. The brief was to create and upload an artwork or photo to illustrate the theme of 'creativity in motion'. The Digital Arts team has been poring over the hundreds of entries and we've selected a winner (above), which was created by 25-year-old graphic designer Jason Pooley from Kent.

We sat down with Jason to find out more about him and how he created the above artwork.

DA: Tell us a bit about yourself and your creative career.

JP: "I've had a huge passion for art from an early age and from school I needed to think about what I wanted to do for a career in which graphic design caught my attention. I then moved onto college to study graphics where I learnt the basics from the software side as well as how to tackle design briefs in various ways. I then realised how open the graphics world was and I knew straight away that I wanted to pursue this as a career.

"My first proper design job is also where I currently work now: at Brands Hatch race circuit for MotorSport Vision. I design anything and everything they require from websites, stationery, advertising to mock=up visuals, race car liveries and teamwear.

"I have also started to freelance in the evenings and weekends, which has given me great opportunities to build up client relationships and work on other areas other than motorsport. I'm a designer for a global lighting company based in Canada as well as doing smaller projects for local companies and individuals."

DA: What does 'Creativity in Motion' mean to you? How did this inspire your artwork?

JP: "From the start I had the idea in my head, I wanted to create a person on a train designing on his laptop with his creative thoughts bursting out of his head. If I have a strong concept in mind then I usually just go for it rather than draft other ideas.

"Creativity in motion made me think of a few things: visual graphics in physical motion. I started to think of the places I would [most] like to design from: somewhere really peaceful with no distractions like the Grand Canyon – or simply sat on a train with a laptop. I chose this route. I don't actually own a laptop or ever design on the move but this is how I would imagine a lot of people who commute on public transport would be working."

DA: Tell us a bit about how you created it the piece

JP: "To start my design, I bought a stock image online of the man sitting at the table. This would be the base for all the objects to shoot out from. I started by cutting through the top section of his head to create the open lid effect, to allow space to flow the abstract lines from. I didn't know what sort of objects I was going to have to I began to draw the lines shooting out of his mind into the air where the type and objects would sit within.

"For the typography I used the Reina typeface, which is one of my favourites because of how you can select different alternates for each case and you have to really think about how you want each letter to fit in with the direction of the burst.

"After this was in place I decided to place random objects around the type that relate to my perception on design and creativity. For example, the clock would represent time as most projects are to a tight deadline and everything you work on revolves around time. Yhe eyeball would represent detail because I like to pay attention to fine detail when designing, and this usually shows the difference between a good design and an outstanding design.

"The butterflies and bird was a bit clichéd, but I wanted to give it some life. The space section was purely because that subject fascinates me.

"Once all these bits were in place I went about adding the detail and effects. I wanted to make the whole piece to glow. I applied an Outer Glow to a lot of the lines and lens flares from photos or textures of lens flares, with the blending mode set to Screen so this overlaid in a way that you couldn't see the edges. All the particles and exploding bursts were created from various Photoshop brushes and photos/textures or inks splats and paint bursts.

"I also added some smoke textures on the edge of some of the lines. I distorted them and moved them around to make it look like they burst out of certain areas. I also added in some light particles that were from photos of light flares from a rainy day.

"To give the backdrop some atmosphere, I added some clouds and smokey effects – again using photos and textures, and erasing the edges with a soft brush while knocking back the opacity. I wanted the background of the train to be very subtle, so I created it by drawing the basic shapes in Illustrator, then copied them into Photoshop. This wasn't the main focus of the design so I chose to darken this right down so it was barely noticeable.

"To finish the design off, I played around with the light levels to get a sharp contrast and overlayed a colour gradient, as I wanted the whole thing to have the same colour tones – and I felt the colours I used looked best compared to the purples and greens I was trying beforehand.

DA: What are you going to use the prize for?

JP: "I'm really excited about trying it out, I've always used Apple products at home and Dell at work, but have never worked off a laptop in both instances. I've started to learn the basic of Cinema 4D, experimenting with renders of typography – so by looking at the spec of the laptop it will be really useful for this. Maybe I can actually give designing on the move a go myself now."

We're also showcasing the 2nd and 3rd place winners below. They don't win anything, but we want to show them to our readers.

Noctua by Craig Minchington

by Kevin Walsh

Dell is currently offering a special offer, with £80 off all of its Precision workstations over £899 – both desktops and laptops. To take advantage of the offer visit Dell's site and use the code 1CJ58GLDSS1X2V

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