What an incredible…

…Icon set you’ve discovered!

So just like last week, I wanted to break down another icon set. Once again, Facebook (and Lucasfilm, LTD.) provided a fantastic set to analyze. So I am just going to dive right in!

The Icon Set

This icon set are part of Facebook Messenger’s sticker collection. They are fun and more complex emojis, with some dynamic and some static collections. Over the past four years, when a major blockbuster movie hits theater, the marketing campaigns will sometimes create a sticker set to help promote their film. In this case, Lucasfilm, LTD and Facebook created a set for Star Wars; The Last Jedi.

The Common Elements

When we look at this set, the first major element that the twenty stickers are tied together by, is that each of the characters are being framed by a circle filled with a gradient. To create variation through out the set, there are a few different sized circles in the set.

One of the other rules that have been applied is that if the character is as tall as a normal human adult, or taller, then they are cropped from about the waist to mid-chest. The smaller characters, with the exception of R2-D2, are fully rendered.

The Sith

Next, there is a common background depending upon  if the character aligns themselves with the Dark Side. The background is a dark red gradient. For those that are either Light Side, or neutral in their political standing, we see that the set employs a lot of blues and purples, with a couple of yellows to help add some contrast.


One of the major traits of each of these stickers is that if the character’s face is visible, a particular style was implemented. The eyes are almost all identical, with a line being drawn through the bridge of the nose.

Exclamations and Questions

Like I said earlier, these stickers are meant to be a very complex emoji set, so for some emotions, a little punctuation was used to get the emotion across. Where it was used, there were placed in the exact same spot, and break past the circle.

Breaking out

To help create an interesting icon set, it is important to look at each icon’s silhouetted shape. If the shape is plain, you can end up with a very boring icon. To add some visual interest, each of the stickers breaks outside of that basic circle shape on average of 2-3 times. If you look at the draw-over to the right, I circled where each icon broke past the circle.

Some of my own critiques

After analyzing this amazing icon set, I noticed a few things that could be improved on. For example, when I did the “breaking out” analysis, I noticed that there were a few icons that had points where they created tangents with the circle, where they almost escape its borders, but felt content to just touch it (i.e.: C-3PO’s left arm). As for the color of the circles, when it came to the Dark side, I felt it was very well executed, where as for the others, it left a bit to be desired. The missed opportunity I think that they could have used was that the Light side could have all been shades and hues of blue, while the Neutral characters could have been purple. The two yellow stickers feels out of place with the rest of the set.

Hope you enjoyed this post! I will be posting one more time before the end of the week with some of my own icons that I have been working on for the past two weeks!

How do you React?

Let’s find out!

Hello everyone! Sorry it has been so long since my last post- a semester ended, I went to a wedding out of state, work schedule changed, and now a new one has begun. To ease back into the swing of things, I thought it would be a perfect time to once again do a Reverse Engineer post about some professional work, complete with my own draw-overs! Today, I will be analyzing the Facebook Reaction emojis.

About the Reaction Emojis

Facebook Reaction Emojis

Facebook unrolled these set of emojis in February 2016, in response to user request. Up until that point, the only way to interact with any post was to either “Like” by hitting a thumbs-up icon, or to create a thread on the post with a comment. Many users were wanting more options. What if users wanted to react, and not comment, to something sad? Clearly the then thumbs-up icon would be inappropriate for the post, and presented a problem for users. Facebook met this challenge and developed six additional emotion icons for users to use to react to posts. The user would either touch and hold the “Like” button, or click and hover their mouse over it, and all seven emojis would pop up, each with its own little animation and one word description, and then the user would select the emoji that they wanted for the post. After the selection, the emoji would no longer be animated and would sit where the like button was, along with the accompanying one word.

Now to break it down

The Reaction Emojis are a set of icons that follow specific rules that help to identify them as being part of the same system. They are pretty basic rules, but having followed them, the emojis are of professional quality.


The emojis are circles.

Each of the emoji icons are bound within the same shape, outlined in red in the draw-over. Regardless of whether that icon was an silhouetted shape or a face, each of the seven emojis are contained within the same sized  circle.

The Silhouettes

The “Like” and “Love” Emojis

There are two distinct icons in this set; the “Like” and “Love” emojis. These two icons are bound in a same sized circle, and then they are silhouetted on a solid background color. The icon themselves are also relatively the same size within the circle and are centered.

The Face Emojis

Face Reaction Emojis

The remaining five icons are all faces that display an emotion. Once again, each emotion is contained within the same sized circle. The sad emoji is the only exception. It has an added element (the tear drop) that creates a variation in the established pattern, but if it were removed, the emotion would still be contained within the circle and be still easily recognized as part of the same system.

Color Pallete

Color Swatches for the Emoji System

Across the seven emojis, there is a consistent color pallete that helps to tie all of the icons together. In the draw over, I created swatches of the four colors that Facebook implemented in the system. As can be seen, these colors are implemented across all of the emojis.

Some Final Thoughts

Something really interesting to note is the “Like” icon. The  original “Like” icon did not change with the update, and at first glance, the new reaction emojis can feel slightly out of place with it. But because of the icon set’s rules that we just outlined, we can see that they all actually fit together. Facebook created circular shaped icons, created another single silhouetted icon to match the design with the “Love” emoji, and the tear drop on the “Sad” emoji is the exact same blue. Each of the icons are bound together as part of the same system. Well done Facebook!

It’s here!!

Like I mentioned recently, I have completed a photo book! This has been quite a fantastic experience. I was able to pour a lot of my graphic design skills and knowledge into making it, and I am rather happy about it!

The book features a good number of the images that I have posted here since January. If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, here is a link to my publisher, Blurb.

And a treat for all of you for following me, I am going to give you a preview version of the book here! Either click the image below, or the link below it to take a look! Enjoy!

And here is the clickable link!


March Madness

…and its quite competitive.

March has been quite an interesting month thus far. As I am sure you have noticed, I haven’t posted a lot about new images or projects that I am currently working on. Between getting my Photo-book finished, adjusting images for large printing, I haven’t had much time to go out and shoot. In addition to all of that, I have also been prepping some of the images I have taken to enter into a couple of contests. Here are two of the ones I submitted photos for, and which images I chose for each!


This was a contest suggested by one of my instructors on campus. For this contest, you have to pay to enter, but the winners would be featured in one of their monthly publications, and receive a monetary prize and camera lens (for 1st and 2nd place); definitely making the payout feel worth it. All participants, just for entering, would also receive two month’s of their publication. For more info, you can check it out here: Photographer Forum Magazine.

The following were the five images that I submitted.


The Ring

The last one is a new one. I did a small photo-shoot the other day, details in a later post, but I did a macro shot of an engagement ring. pleased with how it turned out, I thought I would submit it and see how it does in “The Big Leagues.”


Mock up of Bannack, Montana Fine Art Photographs
Featuring, from right to left, “The Bar”, “To The Blue Galaxy”, and “Lichen”.

As a student, this seemed like a perfect chance to submit here! The contest is designed to help art students of various fields get recognized for their work. The contest is run through Adobe, and they feature the artist on a couple different media outlets, as well as offering a chance to be in attendance to one of its bigger events later in the year. For more info, you can check it out here: ADAA.


For them, I entered three of my fine art images from when I was in Bannack last month (see the image caption). We’ll see how it goes!

And the winner is…

…To the Blue Galaxy!

Thank you so much for all of the comments and messages as to which of my images I should make a large print of! I got a lot of useful feedback as well from peers to help make it transition very well from screen to print. So, without further ado, I made a video where I talk a bit about it!

And just like I mentioned in the video, and in the original blog post, this was originally a bracketed shot. I wanted to show you what those shots looked like before I started editing them:


So as you can see here, a lot of the colors actually aren’t too well seen in any of the images, they were still rather blown out by the exposures. So as part of the edit, once combined, I went in and also adjusted the saturation of each color a little bit to bring the original colors that I had seen in life back into my image, which, as you know, got me this:

To the Blue Galaxy

Thanks once again for all of your help in making this decision, and if you are interested in getting your very own print of any of my images, or even for your own copy of my photobook, leave me a comment, or message me on any of the following places, and I will get you the info as soon as I can!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/L337producti…

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/l337product…

Twitter: https://twitter.com/L337Productions

E-Mail: al337production@gmail.com

Making a Selection

…can be very hard.

Since the start of the new year, I have taken thousands of images. I have had so many opportunities to take different types of images, and I am really grateful for them. I have seen a lot of improvement since I first started, and I see it keep on growing. What is hard now, is I am going to be making a large print of one of my images, and I need to narrow down the thousands of images to just one. After much work, I was able to narrow it down to these five. I would love for your thoughts and opinions as to which one I should choose, so please leave a comment at the end of the post! Thank you in advance! Also at the end, I have an image from my recent trip down to Utah, let me know what you think!

Rexburg Main Street During Storm
The image was taken using a 13 second exposure, f/22, ISO 100, 31mm focal length, and a tripod.
To the Blue Galaxy
The image was taken using a 1/250 second exposure, f/3.5, ISO 200, and a 24mm focal length.
Watercolor Schoolhouse and Lodge
The image was taken using a 1/250 second exposure, auto bracket, f/22, ISO 200, and a 22mm focal length.
The Native Woman
The image was taken using a 1/125 second exposure, f/5.6, ISO 100, and a 45mm focal length.
Macro Plant
This image was taken using a 1/125 second exposure, f/18, ISO 800, and a 50mm focal length.



I went on a travel study class to SLC and Provo this last week! As I was testing lighting, I got a super over exposed image. Normally I’d throw that away; it was mostly white, with sparce, little patches of blue. Instead of deleting it, I left it in my camera till I got back to the hotel room and set my computer up. The thought came to look at it as a negative. So glad I did, and I hope you do too!

Negative of SLC Temple
This image was taken using a 1/160 of a second exposre, f/4.5, ISO 200, and a 18mm focal length. Negative image was made using an adjustment layer in Photoshop.

A Matter of Perspective…

…can distort the sense of Scale.

I mentioned it a few weeks ago about wanting to do this, but between learning how to use a DSLR camera and my trip to Bannack, and all of the editing and posting, it has been difficult. But I did not forget! I finally was able to get a photo-shoot organized where I could do some Macro photography!!!

Thank You! 

I currently do not have all of the gear and add-ons for a macro-shoot, so a big thank you goes to Caryn Esplin for providing the necessary tools and tips to make this shoot even possible. She set up the location with all of the props, lights, lenses, and the needed filters. Check out her website (by clicking her name) and you won’t be disappointed!

The Macro Shoot

For this shoot, I wanted to capture some close ups on little random knick-knacks, as well as some cool effects of water on flowers and plants. Over the course of the last few weeks, I have been getting more and more away from using the automatic settings on the camera, and I finally stepped away from the auto focus. That being said, I ended up taking a lot of images, because I wasn’t entirely sure if I was going to be able to capture a sharp or clear enough close up of everything. I ended up with a lot of really successful images as a happy result! I would like to now present to you my top seven favorite images! And please leave me some of your thoughts about these images in the comments! I would love to hear what you think about them as well!

Macro Plant
50mm, f/18, ISO 800, 1/125″
Macro Rose One
50mm, f/18, ISO 800, 1/125″
Macro Rose Two
114mm, f/22, ISO 800, 1/125″
Macro Rose Three
50mm, f/18, ISO 800, 1/125″
Macro Red Budda
95mm, f/8, ISO 800, 1/125″
Macro Thimble and Thread
135mm, f/8, ISO 800, 1/125″
Macro Time Piece
135mm, f/8, ISO 800, 1/125″

Let’s Face It…

…Its worth every of the thousand words.

Just like I promised yesterday, this is my last series of images from my trip to Bannack! And its one of my favorites. I ended my trip by taking some amazing portraits of a lot of the models that so graciously came and posed for me. I played with different types of lighting, as well as different angles and compositions that could more perfectly capture the essence of who was on the other side of the lens. This is my best of all of the shots, so enjoy! And once again, please leave me some of your thoughts about these images in the comments! I would love to hear what you think about them as well!

The Western Gentleman
High Stakes
The Cowboy
The Mountain Man
The Cowgirl
The Native Woman



Art. Photography. Together? Very Fine Indeed.

Let’s take a look at some then shall we?

Third post from my trip to Bannack! Just one more after this one, and I will be showcasing some of the portraits that I took in that one. I am a little exited to show you, because they are pretty dang amazing. But today’s are just as good! They are a series of images that I consider some of my best, non-portrait photographs, that I took that I haven’t shown you yet. I will talk about a few of these this time, because they have a little bit of a story.

Please leave me some of your thoughts about these images in the comments! I would love to hear what you think about them as well!

The Bar

When I first arrived, the first place I visited was the saloon. I didn’t want to carry around all of my equipment and props that I had brought for the entire day, so I dropped my gear behind the bar, and began to explore the one room. I took a few test shots, and got close up to a lot of the different objects in the room. I took a lot of different and odd angle shots, and this was one of the them. Running along the top of the bar was this beautifully carved design. I got up close, set my camera up on a tripod, and got in as close as I could, and snap! A beautiful image! I brought it into Adobe Lightroom and adjusted the cropping and fixed the rotation to make it level.

Watercolor Schoolhouse and Lodge

This was another from that initial stop in the saloon. There was a barber’s chair in the corner and so I played around with the different angles I could get, as well as tried out something new that I learned. This is a composite shot, made by bracketing. What that means is that I took three different shots of the same image, but I overexposed one, underexposed another, and had just the normal shot. A few different Adobe programs (I used Adobe Lightroom for this one) are able to combine and align (if needed) the three shots to make one image. The advantage of doing this allows me to go in and make more precise adjustments and keep all of the pixel quality. Its a fantastic feature that I have come to really love.

The title of this piece comes from the beautiful distortion created by the old windows on the saloon. I thought that it contrasted so complimentary to the geometric lines and shapes, as well as the primarily orange hues found inside of the saloon.

The Schoolhouse and Lodge

This was another composite of bracketed shots. This time I used Adobe Bridge to merge them together. I wasn’t as impressed with the merge, but I wanted to test it out and compare it to the merged image created from Lightroom. I had to take the image into Photoshop to bring back some of the highlights and whites that came from overexposing the image and the normal exposure. Adobe Bridge always seems to make a much more darker merged image, and it is a lot harder to bring those lights back into it.

To The Blue Galaxy 

After I left the saloon, I went across the street and entered the building directly in line with the saloon. When you first enter the building, you are greeted by this stairway in the entry room. This house was a good example of having had many different tenants over the hundred year history of the town, because there were so many different layers of wallpaper on top of each other, vinyl flooring, as well as peeling paint. But this stairway was a masterpiece all by itself. To explain why I found this stairway a masterpiece was that you could see the change in paint on the walls, and the way it transitioned from the yellows at the bottom, to the beautiful blue at the top. Standing there at the bottom of the stairs looking up, it gave me the impression that I was looking at the very stairs that could take me up into space. The blue patch looked like a little blue galaxy, inviting me to just go up. I took another set of bracketed shots of it, and combined it once more in Adobe Bridge, determined to try and master the blending. And I think I did a much better job doing so. That Blue Galaxy just popped, just as it did when I was there in person.


At the end of the day, and the group I was with had packed up the bus, we left the town of Bannack, and made a quick stop at the Bannack Graveyard. We then held a five minute quick photoshoot contest. We had five minutes to take the best pic we could, then we would judge them while on the bus ride home. By this time, I had no battery power left in my Canon, so I went out with my Samsung Note 8. This was one of the shots that I took. It wasn’t one that I had submitted to be judged, because I wasn’t sure about it (looked a bit different on my phone). But when I brought those pics into my computer, and I could see it much larger, the more and more I loved what I was seeing. The lichen on the tombstone monument was stunning. The orange popping against the fading blue sky. The overall lack of really any color just seemed to draw me to it more.

Type, Type Everywhere

…and its pretty amazing.

So to continue from yesterday’s post, I wanted to share with all of you a series of photos that I took while I was still at Bannack. I really enjoy typography, learning about it, seeing interesting images of only type, and learning about the history of different type faces. In fact, one of the classes that I am currently taking has been focusing on finding type in unlikely places. So I decided that I was going to take advantage of the hundred year history of the ghost town to find as many different types of type as I could. I don’t really have as much to say about each one like yesterday, so if you have questions, leave a comment and I will answer them! My next post should be Monday, so look forward to it!!

Cole’s Air Tight Furnace
Kimball Upright Grand Piano
Monarch Oven
Montana Licence Plate
The Bartlett Sewing Machine
The Koken Barbor’s Chair
The United States Rubber Company stamp wood burned into a crate
Vinegar Barrel