Week 3 – Progress

4As I’ve mentioned in this blog, I’ve always been frustrated by the camera’s inability to capture the true essence of a moment in time or a place in space. As humans, we’re able to experience a time and place with incredible depth. This is thanks to our brains’ ability to observe and absorb a scene with snapshots from our five senses. So for this project, I sought to capture the idea of the mind pulling elements together to construct a unique experience.

To begin, I went to a place on campus right outside of the Tech Building. There’s something about this spot amongst the trees that I find beautiful and I wanted to capture that. I started taking lots of random pictures. Eventually, I simply stood in one spot and took a series of pictures, panning from left to right. Pictured above and below are a few samples of the shots I took.

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I uploaded the pictures to my computer and opened each of them in Photoshop. From there, I created a MASSIVE new project  – 13″ tall by 75″ wide! I began stringing these photos together into the new project to create a continuous 180-degree view of the landscape (pictured below).

step 1 - compilation

From there, I wanted to create slices of different parts of the picture, which would be dictated by the tree trunks. To do this, I first made a copy of the layer – just to be sure I had a back-up of the original landscape. I created a “back-up folder” and put the original in there to keep it safe. Then, I began “cutting up” the image. I used the polygonal lasso tool to individually select certain areas between the trees. I copied each section into its own new layer so that it could be manipulated independently later on. Pictured below are all of those layers (without the background behind it).

step 2 - slices

There are 20 different sections there. As you can imagine, the amount of layers I was created was quickly becoming unwieldy. Due to this, organization was crucial. I titled each layer tree space 1 – tree space 20 (1 being the leftmost & 20 being the rightmost).

Next, I wanted to give each section a different feel. To do this, I selected each section and used the gradient tool to apply a unique color fade. I selected the colors using Kuler by Adobe. Below is an image of all the sections with their gradients.

step 3 - gradients

Before I continued, I also wanted to lighten the picture up a little bit. To do this, I made a copy of all the “section” layers. I put the originals in a backup folder and merged the copies. I put the merged layer over the background layer and put the “lighten” blend mode on. The effect can be seen below.

step 4 - filters

At this point I really wanted to add another dimension to the piece. I started experimenting with the ellipse tool. I used a gradient fill which faded from clear, to blue, to white from the center. It gave the impression of an eye, which is a major motif of the piece (seen below).

step 5 - eyes

I continued including more ellipses. Then, I began putting filters on some of them. For example, the ellipse around the Sun (the second one from the right, pictured below) was given the oil painting filter. In order to amplify the effect of each filter, I created a second layer of each ellipse and then selected a blend mode that accentuated the ellipse’s features. Furthermore, I copied the background layer on the far left (the one immediately after the large tree trunk bordering the left edge of the image). I put a color blend on that layer. I was motivated to do this because when I was playing around with the blend modes, I liked how the color blend affected that particular area of the project (but not the other areas). It was sort of a way of having my cake and eating it too. Ultimately, I think it created a unique and intriguing section of the piece.

step 6b - filtered elipse

All in all, I was feeling quite content with my work. However, I was given excellent feedback from Professor Krikun and my classmates to improve it. The professor suggested I split some of the ellipses, which I think is a phenomenal idea because it will give me a chance to convey how attention can be split. In addition, it was suggested that I darken the lines between the sections. Originally, I had been trying to lighten those cracks. In retrospect, darkening them would be an excellent way to represent gaps in our attention. Lastly, I am going to exaggerate the horizon as a way of carrying your eye through the image.

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