Need help with a small website design challenge
September 7, 2011 11:14 AM   Subscribe

I'm building a simple website for a "PumpkinFest" event that my son's school is running this fall. I'm OK with the HTML, but I'm looking for some help creating a background graphic. I'm not sure how to find a designer/Photoshop expert for help with this small project.

In short - I'd like a background graphic that looks sort of like linen or parchment paper - a light shade of beige or khaki - with slight irregularities or imperfections. Then, in the upper left corner, I'd like one (or maybe several) large leaves (e.g., maple), showing rich fall colors. I don't want the entire leaf(s) - I'd like them to appear as though they were partially offscreen. I'd also like the leaves to look photorealistic.

So far - this doesn't seem too hard (although it's VERY hard for me, since I don't know how to use Photoshop or similar tools).

But here's the hard part - I'd like the leaf(s) to cast VERY realistic looking shadows over the background. In other words, I'd like the leaves to look like they're floating just off the background (or, perhaps lying on the background, but casting shadows where their natural curves lift them off the background.

It's also important that the leaves appear to have a natural three dimensional look that's consistent with their "placement" on the screen.

For a *rough* idea of what I'm looking for, check out

I'd be happy if the leaf(s) and background were part of a single graphic, or if the leaf(s) were separate graphics, with alpha shadows.

Of course, I'm happy to pay for this project, (although I'm paying out of my pocket).


1. It'd love to find a mefi user who'd like to take up this challenge.
2. Alternatively, I'd like a recommendation for how to find a designer for a project like this.
3. I'd love some guidance on a fair price for this work. Since I don't know photoshop or it's capabilities, I don't really know if this should take 1 hour or 20. I also don't have a good source for the photos of leaves (e.g., Veer, Corbis, etc), but I know you can spend HOURS looking through those. My goal is to make the designer happy s/he took the work - I don't want to be cheap about it.

As I said - this project is pretty small - I don't need an entire site designed, just help producing this single graphic.

Many thanks in advance!
posted by stuehler to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
MeFi Jobs?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:22 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

You don't need a designer per se. You can acquire leaves cheaply and there are about 3,000 open source background textures (some from the same source) to layer them over. You basically need a PS friend, I think. Do you not know anyone locally? This should take under an hour.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:29 AM on September 7, 2011

Admiral... D'oh! I've been using askmefi for YEARS, yet somehow completely missed mefi jobs. That's exactly what I was looking for.

Darling... thanks for your thoughts. The tricky parts (for me) are that I don't want a rectangular block around the leaves. So, even though leaf images are easy to find - I don't know how to extract a single leaf from an image/background. And I definitely don't know how to create natural looking shadows. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone with these PS skills. Any recommendations? (The person could be anywhere - no need to be local...)
posted by stuehler at 11:36 AM on September 7, 2011

What I'm saying is that you would provide a Photoshop person with the leaves and the background and the shadows mandate and they can do this, easily, from the provided materials.

I will MeMail you a contact.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:42 AM on September 7, 2011
posted by davey_darling at 3:05 PM on September 7, 2011

Bigger leaves?
posted by davey_darling at 3:21 PM on September 7, 2011

I'm sure I'll get yelled at by the design pros, but this sort of little job for a non-business is pretty much what is for.
posted by bystander at 2:01 PM on September 8, 2011

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