Individual Certification


Every 6 months, the battery must recertify in their specific job.  This serves as a time to relearn basic tasks, as well as validating the key competencies that a firing battery must have to fully support a maneuver unit’s mission.  I chose to focus on the individual portions of certification for this Photoshop project.

For inspiration, I researched images already created by Army SOF Recruiting ( and images from  I noticed a major component to military imagery was action, as in a Soldier was doing something active or a part of something that was moving. Another thing I noticed was that some or all of the components of pictures added to these images are dark.  I used a combination of action and darkness to stay within the style of Army publications that have already been made.

I started the process of creating this image by making a landscape background upon which I used the paint bucket tool to color it red.  I then added an image that I found on ( I set the opacity to 25%. I then applied a gradient to create a tapered effect of color from black to red to black. I then added the main images.

Each image was chosen to show a different aspect of the certification process based on the position that a Soldier holds within the unit.  On the far left, is a cannoneer training for the Gunner’s Test. This task includes using the telescope site on the M777 to accurately input firing angles on the gun.  This event is timed and demands expert knowledge of the equipment to precisely aim the gun.

In the middle is the Fire Direction Center section, training for their written safety exam. This test involves calculating all of the firing data that the gun teams need to fire at the target.  A fire direction team must be able to compute all of this data safely and accurately for rounds to fall exactly where maneuver units need the rounds.

The far right image is a platoon sergeant within the battery conducting and validating air assault capabilities. This was the final event of leadership certifications and served to validate proper rigging techniques for the M777 so that it may be air lifted by helicopters.

I chose these 3 photos that serve as the anchor of the image to show the 3 main groups of jobs within the unit: the gun section, the fire direction center, and the leadership.  The image above the 3 is a photo of a Chinook Helicopter lifting a M777, as this was the culminating event for leadership I felt is served as a piece of unity for the other photos.

For each of the lower images, I made them roughly the same size and equidistant from each other.  I also added a frame around them using the “stroke” effect.   For the helicopter, I used the pen select tool to select all of the area around the howitzer and helicopter to delete, leaving the outline.  I used the hard light effect on this image to create a darker image that also seemed to dissolve into the background.

The final thing I added was the text of the title for the image.  I chose this as a title so that the image may be used for various communications within the unit as well as for the purpose of this blog.  I created a text box, typed the lettering and then placed the bevel and emboss tab to put texture on the text.

The individual testing for Cobra battery is nearing its’ end.  Once all tasks are complete for the individual teams will begin working together to tackle team certifications, followed by platoon, and finally battery certifications.  Each task is a different stepping stone of proficiency for the battery and serves to better train the Red Legs of the US Army.


3 thoughts on “Individual Certification

  1. Good day sir, it’s a privilege to be in the program with you. My 3 favorite parts of your image are the back ground, the center planning room image, and the right image looking off the ramp of what I think is a C-130, maybe a 141, or a CH-47? There are few days that go by for me that I do not think back on those days, those days when I was staring out into the cold of altitude from the open ramp of a Hercules or door a 60! Forgive me, I miss being in, take my advice here even if you don’t on the image, value your days doing what you’re doing now! They’re the best days… So stay with the black and red background, but perhaps give me more hoo-rah text up top left and right of the title. Tell me more about what I’m seeing, maybe who I’m seeing if this is internal to the battery. I want to know why those people in the center are working so well together. The image borders are think and strong, they have a real beat to fit and paint to match swagger about them. So good proximity arrangement, good similarity with the arena topic, but do more with the borders, a rough pattern, a camo shaded bevel, something metallic or tech… in fact give me more tech! You need to recruit from this younger gamer pool now, aviation, math, physics, things that amaze them even though they don’t know what they’re seeing! The image is strong, make it stronger with the images and the accents on those. And that will bring the closure. I tip my hat to you, good luck.


  2. Your collage told a story of action and determination before even reading your blog post. The colors, shadowing and photos that you chose added intense feelings, and the beveled texture to the title was a great finishing touch. I felt that texture title added to the story you were trying to tell depicting the hard work and focus that goes into the certification process. It was very difficult to critique your collage and provide feedback on anything that needs to be improved on. You did a great job. I’ve had to come back to your blog several days trying to figure out what to suggest. As I was going over you post again this evening trying to determine where you could make improvements I looked closer at the middle picture of the Fire Direction Center section training for the written safety exam. I’m not sure if it was the angel the picture was taken or how it was cropped. It may have gotten stretched a bit when you were editing it to fit in the rectangle. I’m also wondering how it would look if you were to minimize the thickness of the white border around your pictures. Is the focal point the black chopper or the three pictures below? I feel that the larger the white border the more it distracts from the photos. Overall, great job. Like I said, it took me several days coming back to your post to find anything to suggest improving. Good luck!


  3. The points brought up through the critiques of my peers and the instructor were very similar. They led me down the path of understanding what was missing from the draft, which was pointing the focus to what was the attention-grabbing images while letting the eyes and brain digest everything else. To fix this I plan to make the title text bigger and the main focus. I then plan to enlarge the helicopter image since it is the piece that ties all of the other images together. The unity of the 3 bottom pictures will remain the same, however, I plan to decrease the size of the frames and the image and adding a title to each, to add a little more information that I believe was missing. Overall I hope that the final product is more cohesive. Thank you for all of the insight.


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