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I'm trying to create a logo for our medical students NGO in Sofia, Bulgaria, so I want to transform this image of Saint Sofia

St Sofia Statue

into an Emmys-Award-type of logo, like this (either gold as well, or light-blue)

Emmys logo

Can I do this in Photoshop? I have Photoshop CC 2015, or do I need Illustrator?

Thanks in advance!

Btw, if you're interested my idea for the final logo is to have the statue-logo and the caduceus (medical symbol) next to her, in the same style:

Caduceus

On one side of the caduceus to say "EMSA-Sofia" (how our NGO is known in Europe) and on the other "AMSB-Sofia" (how it's known in the international federation). Any feedback would be appreciated!

4 Answers 4

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You could do it in Photoshop, however you can also get a screw into a piece of wood by using a hammer and hitting it hard enough, instead of using the proper tool - a screw driver. For logos, Photoshop is a hammer. Illustrator is a screw driver.

Photoshop has only very basic vector capabilities, so it's not entirely impossible. You could use the Pen Tool to create the shapes, and fill them.

Illustrator also has a Pen Tool, but you can also merge and cut paths and shapes using boolean operations in the Pathfinder - something that can't be done easily in Photoshop.

Of course, you don't necessarily need Illustrator - there are other vector image editors that are equally as capable. For example Inkscape(dot)org is free and Open Source.

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As already told, goto vector domain. Inkscape costs nothing and it has proven to give pro quality results. But the user must be up to the task. That means ability to see, how the subject should be shaped.

Illustrator is not easier. Both programs can trace photos. Tracing results are usully far behind the drawing made by a person who has some talent. But tracing can show to a beginner the direction where to go.

Here are some examples of tracing:

enter image description here

At the left there's your photo, the background is removed with the quick selection tool

In the middle there's two BW tracings with different tresholds

At the right there's a tracing with greyshades. The borders can hint, where some additional white is needed if the logo is drawed as BW. Unfortunately I do not know any mechanical system for such decisions.

One possiblity to make the logo mechanically in BW is to find good tracing settings for different parts of the statue and combine the results.

If 3 different greyshades are allowed, then mechanical methods work better. Here's one result (=2 different BW tracings, white ignored, another has got grey fill)

enter image description here

ADDENDUM: Someone had taken a sharper photo, which of course is a better starting point to mechanical transforms. This is another greyscale tracing. It is colored afterwards

enter image description here

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  • Amazing! Thank you very much, I will attempt with that method to see if I can do it with color, as well.
    – Sai
    Sep 10, 2017 at 20:06
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There is one thing I am not comfortable with the answers.

This kind of things is not done by just vectorizing a bad photo (bad light, bad angle).

It is made with an intellectual process of abstraction.

The Emmy Logo you provided is a simplification of the idea, it has some negative areas that separate the shapes, it has some highlights to give it some volume and overall visual equilibrium. on the version on the right, one highlight is inclusive made to accentuate the butt, to make it more feminine.

The image you provided of Saint Sofia is just a random image, with no particular set of light and shadow, highlights or angle.

Vectorizing the gray material on the bottom will be complicated to justify in a logo, where colors and shapes must be simplified.

My answer would be...

Start sketching what is the really important thing about the sculpture, about the iconography, the allegory. (It is similar to Victory, Liberty, Justice)

Use a 3D application like Daz Studio and make a base pose, you can modify the proportions of the shape to make it more stylized, define the basic dramatic illumination... and work from that.


Look at this other angles of the statue

https://www.google.com/search?q=saint+sofia+bulgaria&rlz=1C1GKLA_enMX664MX664&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjF2re7z53WAhXCSyYKHXktCycQ_AUICigB&biw=1920&bih=1012#imgdii=_L__FrbTUF_kJM:&imgrc=km7BzjvK2iWzTM:

She has a really open arms seeing in the front views, which is not shown in the angle you choose,

enter image description here

and the clothing is really waving into the air in the side views.

An abstraction could retake those elements, the really open arms, the waving clothing, into a single image.

Look at this composition of light and shadow. This could be a starting point to work on that.

enter image description here

Source Images

http://s3.amazonaws.com/everystockphoto/fspid20/45/07/14/statue-sofia-bulgaria-450714-o.jpg

https://media-cdn.sygictraveldata.com/media/800x600/612664395a40232133447d33247d3834393333303535

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  • Wow, thank you for the input. I should definitely try with one of these images. Also, evidently I will need more creative help :D
    – Sai
    Sep 12, 2017 at 8:07
  • I would modify it. Take a frontal view and make the dress fly to the left.
    – Rafael
    Sep 12, 2017 at 15:44
  • Thank you! I've added my twitter, but also isn't my email visible? Where would be convenient for you to contact me? I don't know if it's allowed to post info in comments.
    – Sai
    Sep 13, 2017 at 11:56
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Draw it, don't "trace" it . . .

Ideally, you sketch this out on paper to determine the minimal amount of elements necessary to convey the shape. Doing this "on the fly", so to speak, is a very haphazard method at best. There's no automated process which is going to yield fantastic "icon-like" results. It requires human intervention and an artistic eye to study the shapes, understand lighting, and determine what's needed and what's not needed.

No one creates iconic art like your Emmy example by opening a photo in an application and running some process. For even mediocre results, you have to draw the image, then refine. You don't start with a photo and run some filter on it.


I would do this via Illustrator as well. But it could be done with Photoshop. Illustrator's actually better because Photoshop always snaps to pixels so it won't allow you to always place anchor points where you want them.

First, if possible, find a larger, better source of the Saint Sofia statue at the angle you want. That shouldn't be too difficult.

Open the image in Photoshop, grab the Pen Tool and draw a path around the outer edge of the statue, following the contour of the shapes:

enter image description here

Once you have the outer path, draw paths to show the reverse areas or "holes" in the shape which will provide more definition overall:

enter image description here

This is where things become far more "art" than "process". You have to experiment with what is and is not necessary to convey the overall image but still not superfluous.

A quick, dirty, and unrefined, example:

enter image description here

There are several areas that would require exploration into creating the proper definition to suggest shapes without actually drawing the shapes.

Overall this is the basic method I'd use. Again, I'd use Illustrator after sketching all this by hand on paper to determine the optimum shapes to use.

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