Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Midterm Portfolio - Photoshop

For the Photoshop aspect of my portfolio, I decided to showcase my photo collage and my mood piece. These, I believe, are the best pieces from this semester.

Photo Collage:

I think the photo collage was incredibly fun but one of the most challenging assignments, despite it's early appearance in the semester. This assignment required us to take 4 pictures from different sources (a black and white glossy, a color glossy, a magazine reproduction, and a line art drawing) and assemble them in a cohesive composition.

I learned how to scan photos and descreen a reproduced photo so the photo would look less grainy in the Photoshop document. I also learned how to affect single layers with different types of effects while also applying general effects to the whole document.

Through the compositional aspect, I found that making the color photos blend with the black and white segments was the hardest part, since the color naturally made those aspects pop out and contrast with the rest of the piece. In order to counter that, I decreased the contrast and brightness of the color photos. The pink purse still stood out too much, so I placed some greyscale grass in front of it, which not only lessened the intensity of the purse, but gave the whole composition a lot more depth. I then surrounded the whale with some grey-blue brush strokes to further blend him into the greyscale sky. The line art was filled with a satin overlay to give it a three-dimensional effect. Yet the piece still felt very unbalanced, so I added decorative brush strokes on opposing corners to fill the dead space and give the piece an artsy feel.

This piece helped me stretch my abilities in Photoshop. I came back to this piece and improved upon it: I added some of the blue texture to the rest of the sky, giving it a subtle color, though there is none in the original photograph; I added a Gaussian blur to the magazine photo to further descreen the image; I made minor placement adjustments and contrast/color adjustments to enhance the piece. Though no major changes were made in my revisit, I feel that the piece has improved and I am proud of the result.


This piece, though still using the collage idea of the previous work, incorporated a completely different set of ideas. The assignment called for us to create a mood using 3-5 pictures and no words, and also use channels and clipping paths to assist in that task.

I had never learned how to use channels effectively, and this assignment definitely helped me see the value in channels and the incredible asset it can be. I also learned the difference between using a brush and a pen tool to create a clipping path, and incorporated both in my piece.

I had taken an incredible picture of a late sunset with a tree silhouette, and wanted to use that in this piece. So I decided to create the mood of impermanence and mortality. In order to show that, I used this leafless tree as the background to my piece, signifying that this depletion of life (the leaves on the tree) is inevitable and always looming. I then placed a high contrast cluster of blooming flowers in the top left corner, but upside down, so that although they are still alive, they are facing downward (towards death). The shape of the flowers loosely mirrors the shape of the tree, further connecting the inevitability of one transforming into the other. I then added a clock between them, faded to near transparency, to remind the viewer that the difference between the flowers and the tree is simply a matter of time. I added in a few brushstrokes of leaves to simulate wind, and the "winds of change," and also to emphasize the lack of leaves on the tree itself.

I then created a mask using the channels of the flowers, and placed translucent silhouettes of the same image, but in increasingly smaller scale, along the bottom of the piece. Then I altered the color, creating neon versions of this flower cluster, further emphasizing the artificiality of life and how quickly it fades to nothing but an outline of what it once was.

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