Sunday, 23 January 2011

Unit 108: Final Images

Here are my final four images for the digital manipulation unit. Like my other unit, the idea for my manipulations has changed a bit over the last sixteen weeks. I originally had grand visions of incredibly complex pictures, using all sorts of different filters and cropped images. All this however, was before my main assignment began to spiral wildly out of control. I was concentrating so hard on trying to get that sorted, that this became an almost secondary consideration. As a result, I realised I wouldn't have time to take all the photos I needed for my other ideas, so decided to try something simpler. Having seen Faye Heller's work, I thought this would be a far more achievable style to try. Again though, I left it far too late to try take the architectural photographs I'd need, if I was going to emulate the pictures of hers I liked. I decided to use photographs of objects instead. Marie kindly let me come in to college early again last week, and we took pictures of almost every object in the studio. Unfortunately, I've yet again wasted her time (sorry!) After looking at the images at home, I couldn't find any that I thought would make an interesting collage. Having hit this stumbling block, I frantically checked all my personal photos, and came up with a plan! I recently went to an art event in Bristol, and while there, took pictures of all the street art in the area. I've therefore decided to make my collages using these. Although I keep talking about collages, that isn't my theme, the theme is Faye Heller's style, i.e. Black and white pictures, with large blocks of blank space, around single images, or collages.

Before we start, I'd like to make a brief apology (other than to Marie for wasting her time.) I'm not an artist, I've never been particularly artistic, and I probably never will be. So I'm afraid the collages aren't great, but they're the best I can do. You'll just have to suck it up, and try to battle your way through!

Three of the pictures are made up of multiple photographs (they are collages after all), so to keep this post as short as possible, I won't include the original files on here, I'll just give them to Marie in a file. I also decided that because I was using multiple pictures, I needed to settle on a standard size for the final composition. Knowing some of the images I wanted to use were small parts of larger photographs, I thought A4 would be a good size to go with. It's big enough to make an interesting picture, but not so big that any small files would have to be stretched too far, and therefore suffer from pixelation.

Because these images are all my own, I didn't have to worry about infringing any copyright regulations, or intellectual property rights. There might have been a problem, with reproducing other people art works, but as the photograph were all taken on public property, and the art itself is also on public display, legally, that's fine. Because they don't contain any actual people, the usual issues of confidentiality, obscenity, and using images of children weren't a problem.

 Image 1: Banksy

For this first image, I've used two photographs. The main one being the Banksy, and then the smaller one, a random piece of art I came across.

I'm fairly happy with the final result. I think the balance of the overall composition works well. I like the way the white line draws the eye towards the man with the glasses and then the direction of his gaze, further draws you to the main photograph. The only slightly unfortunate thing, is that his eye line seems to be pointing straight at the naked man's groin, but you can't have everything!

To produce the final image, I started by opening a new A4 document in Photoshop. I then opened the two photographs as well. Selecting the Banksy picture. I copied and pasted it in to the template file, and used the move tool, to position it where I wanted. Using the rectangular marquee tool. I then made a large vertical rectangular selection on the left hand-side of the picture, and went to edit-fill, and used black as the fill colour. Again using the marquee tool, I created a thinner vertical rectangle, and filled it with white. 

For the other photograph, I used the marquee tool to select the part of the picture I wanted, then went to image-crop, and pasted the resulting image in to the main file, before using the move tool to position it. I decided I wanted to have the man looking in the opposite direction, so went to edit-transform, and pressed flip-horizontal.

To tie the picture in with my overall theme, I needed to convert it to black and white. As I don't have photoshop CS5, there's no black and white adjustment option, so I created a new hue & saturation adjustment layer, and slid both bars all the way down.

All I then had to do was check the final quality of the image. Using the actual pixels zoom option, I checked that the sharpness and resolution of the picture was still high, and hadn't been affected by my modifications. Looking at the photographs, I realised they needed to be boosted a little, so created a brightness/contrast adjustment layer, and slightly raised both.

Image 2: Marvin & Andre

This image was also created from two photographs.

This is my favourite of all the pictures. I think the stark black and white features of the Andre the giant poster, make an immediate visual impact. I'd have preferred a photographs of the poster with no other pieces stuck on, but in Bristol people can't pass a flat surface without plastering something on to it. I also like the composition produced by having the more muted central section. It makes the other two parts stand out even more.

This was a fairly easy picture to produce. I opened an A4 template, then with black selected as the foreground colour, went to edit-fill. This created a completely black background for me to place the images on.

I opened the Marvin picture, and used the marquee tool, and image-crop, to produce the middle section. Then copied and pasted it in to the template file. To make sure the image was as centrally positioned as possible, I used the view-new guide option to provide a reference point.

Opening the Andre photograph, I again used the marquee, image-crop, copy and paste process, to make one large selection. Then used the marquee tool to split it in half, producing the upper and lower sections.

Creating a new set of guides, I used the move tool to align all three sections at the correct distances from each other.

Finally I reduced the hue & saturation in an adjustment layer, to create the black and white effect.

I then performed the quality checks on this image. The sharpness, was fine. But I need to provide a little more definition to the pictures again. I started by creating a layers adjustment layer, and moving the white marker a little to the left to increase the impact. This did however have an unfortunate effect on the middle image, so I used the layer mask to remove it from the adjustments influence. I did create a separate brightness/contrast layer though, because that section still needed to be altered.

 Image 3: Fly Posting

This was by far the easiest of the pictures to produce. Unlike the collages, this is only one picture with a large frame around it. 

To make this picture I simply opened an A4 template, copied and pasted the whole image in to that, then manipulated the size with the free transform tool.

To add the frame, I selected a 200pixel brush set to 100% hardness, then holding down the shift key (to maintain the direction), dragged it along each edge.

I also added some graining, with the noise filter.

Like all of the pictures, I really wanted to make this image pop! So I created a levels adjustment layer, and using the layers eyedropper selectors, clicked on the photograph, to define the black and white base markers.

When I performed the quality checks, I noticed a strange bobbling along the edges of the frame. This was easily solved by using the marquee, and brush tools to redefine the edges.

Image 4: Devil Girl & Friends

I'll be honest, my already shallow pool of creativity was starting to run dry at this point. I spent about 30mins looking at the photos I had left, and was drawing a blank. I knew I wanted to include the devil girl, but I wasn't sure exactly what to do with it. I eventually came up with the picture above. Although I think it's the weakest of the four pictures compositionally, I do like the positioning of the two pictures on the right. It gives the impression that they're looking in to each others eyes. Whether this is due to some predetermined cosmic romantic inclination, or a simple mutual sense of disgust at having to appear in this collage, I don't know...but I like it!

To create this picture I opened an A4 template, and again filled it with black. This time however, I decided to alter the aspect, by going to image-rotate canvas-90° CW. I cropped, then copied and pasted the three images in to the template file, then positioned them with the move tool. Creating three new layers, I used the brush tool to draw the frames (again holding down the shift key to maintain the direction and width of the lines.) I then created a hue/saturation adjustment layer to convert the image to black & white.

After performing the image quality checks, There was the usual need to boost the overall look with a brightness/contrast level.

Because this was all done on the computer, I needed to take a couple of health precautions. I made sure I took regular breaks, allowing my body to adjust and relax. I also ensured the light was at an acceptable level, so as not to strain my eyes.

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