Here we have the EZ Arcade’s banner, an imaginary retro gaming site. The original file size was 1.1 MB and is now down to 79.1 KB. I probably could have gone smaller, but I’m so used to zooming in to look for graininess and artifacts on photographs, it’s going to take me some time to get braver.

I started by setting the canvas size in Photoshop and building the elements onto it. I originally envisioned it with a crowd of recognizable classic arcade characters rushing forward, but finding artwork with open permissions made my imagined hoard unrealistic. I settled on three widely-known starring characters.

The background is from a site I like and have used a number of times in the past called (which doesn’t require attribution). I thought the lights and colors gave it a bit of a retro/disco feel, and the silhouette element let me retain the advancing crowd that I wanted.

I brought the characters into Illustrator first to isolate them and rasterize, then exported to .psd files and brought them onto my canvas as smart objects. With Mario this was especially necessary, because his 3D design created banding lines on his body when I tried bringing it into Photoshop too soon. There were actually a few attempts on him to balance avoiding those lines without making him too blurry.

I used this assignment as a great opportunity to build the foundation for a larger print project. My maiden name is Ezar, so the color scheme on the text will change to read EZARcade rather than EZarcade. My gaming-loving brother is getting married at the end of October, so I’m building him a bartop arcade console that will emulate all of the old games we grew up with. Eventually some version of this image will become the lighted marquis at the top.


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