Week 11 – Surrealism and Photo Montage

Overview

One of the greatest things about photoshop and digital imaging is the ability to do photographic montage or composite in such an easy way. So, what do I mean by photomontage? In the most basic form, photomontage would be the ability to blend two images together. People have been doing this for years with film photography by doing double exposures. Some photographers were so skilled in the darkroom using enlargers that they were able to mask their negatives or their photo paper and create targeted, multiple exposures on the same print. The most notable of these photographers is Jerry Uelsmann. His amazing photographs depict impossible spaces and worlds created from multiple exposures and targeted masks all before digital photography had arrived. For me, the reason Uelsmann’s work stands above the digital creations done today, is that his images could not be thrown together quickly in minutes, his creations took a lot of time, planning and an incredibly exact darkroom technique. Jerry Uelsmann has a great website where you can see more of his prints Uelsmann.net

Jerry Uelsmann – click to enlarge

                  

The tradition for these images goes back to painting and in Modern Art most notably to the Surrealists like Magritte, Ernst, Dali and DeChirico. The paintings of Magritte show us a world that cannot physically exist in real space, yet do exist in the two dimensional visual space of his work. These are psychological paintings that function in the realm of dreams, the unconscious or, that which is beneath the real, the surreal. Ironically, the birth of Modern Art and the art of Surrealism, Expressionism, and Impressionism coincided with the need of art to redefine in itself in the wake of the advent of Photography and the ability to capture realistic images like never before. Photography laid waste to art’s need to document reality faithfully and realistically. Why get a painted portrait when you could have a photographic portrait? Why paint a scene in history when photography could document it more faithfully? The result was that artists responded with new direction for art that drew more from the mind of the artist than the the world that was in front of their eyes.

 Magritte – Surrealism, click to enlarge

Magritte Magritte     ;

Today, Surrealism has been embraced by other facets of our visual cultural as well. We are exposed to the surreal in our photographic images too; aided in a large part by the proliferance of digital photography and the ability to manipulate images with Photoshop. Today advertising, commercials and magazines make such heavy use of digital montage, that art critics have noted that photography has lost its claim to truth and objectivity, in short, to that which made photography what it was. The objectiviity of the lens and the machine have given way to the science fiction fantasy of digital alchemy as Peter Plagens comments in Newsweek: http://www.newsweek.com/id/73349 . But is it, that photography has lost its way, or has it just evolved into a new art form like painting had done all those years before? Is it, that the advent of digital photography proves that photography never in fact held any ‘real’ claim to truth, but that the meaning of the image always has been mediated by history, culture, and language.

Example Digital Manipulations from the Web – Click to enlarge

   

Photoshopped Magazine Advertisements – click to enlarge

     

Student Work Samples – click to enlarge

                       

Week 11 Assignment 1 – Create a Surrealistic Photo Montage

The work should combine 2 to 5 images into a single image.This project should access the surreal, things that can only happen in a subconscious reality. The images above are all examples of a dream reality created by image manipulation and montaging. What can you do with Photoshop? How can you show us the magic of photography to transform reality into dream? Create something that appears real, but yet surely cannot be… wow us!

Note: To create images like the ones above you need to be good at layer masks and making selections. You also need to know how to work with multiple transparent layers. I recommend watching the following Lynda.com video tutorials (see below), as well as my YouTube Danscourses video tutorials embedded at the bottom of this web page.

Lynda Tutorials you need to watch:

  • Chris Orwig – Photoshop CS3 Creative Photographic Techniques
    • 19 Composite Inspiration
      The Iceberg – Ralph Clevenger (must see!)
      Photoshop composite inspiration – Websites (must see!)
      Deconstructing a realistic composite Part 1 (must see!)
      Deconstructing a realistic composite Part 2 (must see!)
    • 20 Adding Shadows (Important: adding a shadow to an object you have dropped on to a layer really helps it blend in)
      Drop shadows and beyond (must see!)
        Blend modes and shadow tint
      Shadow point of contact
      Creating different versions

Turning it in:

Due Date: Next Sunday

Save your final image as a Photoshop file so you save all your layers and a high Resolution. Then reduce your image size and save your image as a JPG file. Post your final JPG to Picasa and the DansCourses Forum under the “Surrealistic Montage” category.


YouTube/DansCourses – A Silly Halloween Montage

Some of the Photoshop techniques I demonstrate in the video tutorials below can help you with the assignment above. I did this series of tutorials to coincide with Halloween during Photoshop in the Fall semester. They project in the tutorials is not at the level of excellence of some of the Photographers depicted above, but they cover some good techniques which can be used for lots and lots of fun, and that is important. Watch the 4th video first to get a sense of where I went with the project.

How to Scan a Film Negative Using Silverfast and Photoshop

How to Scan a Film Negative – Video Tutorial

In this video tutorial I shown how to use Silverfast, Photoshop, and a slide and film scanner to scan a film negative, import it into the computer, and edit it. The demonstration covers how to use a slide scanner as well as configuration settings like resolution, levels and cropping.

Week 10 – Levels and Curves

Overview

This week we will learn two of the most powerful image editing features in Photoshop, levels and curves. I will also assign a creative Photography assignment as well as a discussion topic.

Assignment 1: Improve the tonal range and contrast in an image using levels

I want you to improve the contrast and tonal range of an image using Levels. You can do it by using either of the following methods:
Image > Adjustments > Levels,
Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels
Remember that the advantage of using an adjustment layer is that it is non destructive and you can always go back and modify or delete the adjustment layer.

Learning Materials
1) Watch my video tutorial on the topic (see below),
2) Watch Chris Orwig’s videos for a more in-depth discussion of the topic: Photoshop CS5 or CS6 for Photographers – Chapter 13: Levels (Make sure to watch the first three videos)


Turning it in:

Due date: Sunday by midnight

I would like you to save before and after images as JPGs, upload them to your online photo album labeled “Levels before” “and after”, and submit links to your images when you submit your assignment in Blackboard.

 

Assignment 2: Improve the tonal range, contrast, and color in an image using Curves

I want you to improve the your image tonal range and color using Curves. You can do it by using either method:
Image > Adjustments > Curves,
Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves

Learning Materials
1) Watch my video tutorial on the topic of Curves below,
2) Watch Chris Orwig’s videos for a more in-depth discussion of the topic: Photoshop CS5 or CS6 for Photographers – Chapter 14: Curves (make sure to watch the first three videos, and “Using curves to enhance color”, and “Using multiple curves adjustments”)

 

Turning it in:
Due date: End of Week 11

I would like you to save before and after images as JPGs, upload them to your online photo album labeled “Curves before” “and Curves after”, and submit links to your images when you submit your assignment in Blackboard.

Week 10 Assignment 3

Creative Assignment – A Narrative Photograph (Double Points)

Week 6 – Layers to Animation

Overview

Photography in general has been influential in many different fields as a source of realistic documentation. Not only did photography change documentary journalism but it also influenced science, and the development of motion pictures and animation as well. One of the most influential and innovative early photographers who created a new science and influenced the creation of motion pictures and animation was Eadweard Muybridge. Muybridge used multiple cameras that were set to trigger the shutter based on a passing animal or human. In doing this Muybridge was able to realistically capture nature in high-speed motion. By using a device to flipping through his image sequences in rapid succession one could actually see the motion. This was a precursor to the motion picture film strip. Today many animators still draw from the work of photographer Eadweard Muybridge. His images are often rotoscoped or “drawn over” to achieve animated walking or running cycles.

                 

        

In the images above you can see a Muybridge photographic sequence in his grid format, and then in a auto-timed slideshow, like an animated flipbook (gif). Below you see two variations created by artists drawing on the work of Muybridge. Learn more about the importance of Muybridge, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eadweard_Muybridge and rotoscoping http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotoscoping which was used in films like Star Wars to create the light saber effects. There are many websites dedicated to the work of Muybridge.

Week 6 Assignment 1

This assignment will give you a chance to really practice with layers and selection tools, and layer masks. Create a looping animation based on the images of Muybridge. Here are the steps to the Assignment:

  1. Choose a Muybridge image sequence from the ones below.
  2. Copy and paste the images into separate layers in Photoshop.
  3. Align the images correctly based on guide lines. This will insure that your animation will not “jump”
  4. Using layer masks – mask out the backgrounds
  5. Add a background of your choice (optional)
  6. Add layer styles/effects (optional)
  7. Colorize your image overall or layer by layer (optional)

Muybridge sequences to choose from, Click on a thumbnail to open the image in a new browser window. Then click on the image in the new window to zoom in to full size, then right click on the image and do a “Save Image As” and save it to a folder on your computer:
     

Click here to watch my Video tutorials that demonstrate the process

Turning it in:
Due date: End of Week 8

Your assignment is considered finished when you have posted your animated gif file to the DansCourses Forum so we can all see it!

Please also send my your Photoshop file (.psd) as an attachment in an email to dan.alberghetti@gmail.com.

Week 5 – Layers

Overview

This week we are going to focus on the concept of Layers in Photoshop. So far, we have been working mostly with Adjustment Layers which are special filter layers which help add an effect or modify the image without committing it to the actual background image layer. Now we are going to address the concept of layers specifically and how to control them including creating layers, deleting layers, and re-ordering layers.  

Videos to Watch at Lynda.com

  • Photoshop CS5 for Photographers, with Chris Orwig
    Chapter 8. Layers
    Chapter 9. Selections

Videos at YouTube.com/DansCourses

Week 5 Assignment 1: Create an Image with Multiple Layers and Layer Effects Including Layer Styles, Opacity, and Blend Modes

Follow my video tutorials (see links above) that walk you through the process of working with a multi-layered image with text, layer styles, layer opacity, and layer blend modes (see my example image below) and the main steps that you will be covering.

Turning it in:
Due Date: End of Week 6

Your finished photoshopped image will need the following elements:

  1. a floating second image that was lasso’d, copy and pasted, on a secondary layer above the background image layer
  2. the floating second image (person, animal or object) should be erased neatly around the edges of its form/shape
  3. a descriptive text layer (with layer style: outer glow, drop shadow, etc.)
  4. a transparent color layer (transparency created using layer opacity)
  5. the floating second image should be altered with a Layer Blend Mode (example: overlay blend mode)
  6. an image border (created by erasing to transparency or with a blend mode and creative brush effect)
  7. Save your file as a Photoshop .psd file so you can save your layers and also do a file “Save As” and save a JPG version that you will post to your online Web Album. Post a link to your finished creation in Blackboard.
This image shows the final project with layer descriptions and the layer settings areas.
This image shows your starting background layer
This image shows the second copy/pasted image floating above the background image. Notice the layer’s blend mode has been set to “Overlay.”

Extra Credit!

Do you want extra credit on your week 5 assignment? If so…

Create a perspective shadow underneath your floated object. An example of this would be creating a shadow of the legs and body underneath the Buffalo above. Click here to watch my tutorial on how to do this.

Week 4 – Traditional Photographic Techniques

Overview

This week you will learn how Photoshop can be used to simulate creative photographic techniques that were traditionally done in the darkroom. 1) How Photoshop can simulate the use of photo filters on a lens; 2) How to create a sepia toned digital image and you don’t have to use super toxic toning chemicals; and 3) How to mask a portion of an image or paint in the color.

Week 4 Assignment 1: Improve a Landscape with Warming Photo Filters

Using one of your own digital landscape photographs, follow along with Chris Orwig and customize a landscape photograph with warming photo filters. For this assignment you will need to watch the following Lynda.com video tutorials:

Photoshop CS3 Creative Photographic Techniques, with Chris Orwig
Chapter 2. Creative Color
2.4 Warming photo filters

Turning it in:
Due date: End of week4

Turn in your assignment by uploading before and after jpeg images to your online image sharing account (eg. Flickr, Imgur, Photobucket, etc.) and then post links to your before and after images within the Blackboard assignment submission.

Week 4 Assignment 2: Create a Sepia Toned Photograph

With a separate digital photograph that you have shot yourself, follow along with Chris and create a digitally sepia toned photograph. For this assignment you will need to watch the following Lynda.com video tutorials:

Photoshop CS3 Creative Photographic Techniques, with Chris Orwig
Chapter 2. Creative Color
2.6 Sepia tone

In the video tutorial Chris starts with a black & white photograph, so I recommend that you do the same. To turn your photograph into a black and white image, open the image in Photoshop, from the pull down menu go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. Note: this technique is not an Adjustment Layer, this is a permanent change to the starting image, so to safeguard your original image, first do a File > Save As and save the image with an alternate file name. You should now have a black and white grayscale image, and you are now ready to follow along with Chris and create a sepia toned image.

Turning it in:
Due date: End of week 4

Turn in your assignment by uploading before and after jpeg images to your online image sharing account (eg. Flickr, Imgur, Photobucket, etc.) and then post links to your before and after images within the Blackboard assignment submission.

Week 4 Assignment 3: Create a Partially Colored Black and White Photograph Using Layer Masks

For this assignment, I want you to create an image, that you will manipulate in Photoshop, where only the subject of the image is in color. Think of a wedding portrait where everything is black and white except for the bride and groom, or a flower where only the petals and the stem are in color. Your photograph should have a discernible subject, which you will keep in color, the rest will be black and white.

Watch my tutorial video on how to use a Layer Masks in conjunction with an Adjustment Layer here: How to Paint Color Back to a B&W image with Layer Masks

Turning it in:
Due date: End of Week 4

Turn in your assignment by uploading before and after jpeg images to your online image sharing account (eg. Flickr, Imgur, Photobucket, etc.) and then post links to your before and after images within the Blackboard assignment submission.

Older Examples  

These Photoshop tutorials are older, but they are still worth watching:

Photoshop Brightness & Contrast, Adjustment Layers, Black & White

Overview

Now that you know how to size your images correctly, as well as crop and rotate them what is the next thing you need to know how to do? For me, I need to be able to adjust brightness and contrast, adjust my tonal range of white to mid gray to black, and I need to correct my color. This week we will learn how to do some of those things to really be able to improve our images.

Also we are going to be looking at some black and white photography so I thought it would be useful to know how to convert a color image to black and white.

Week 3 Assignment 1: Brightness and Contrast Adjustment Layer

Videos to Watch at Lynda.com

  • Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals, with Deke McClelland
    Chapter 7. Basic Color Correction (Watch the second video Brightness and Contrast)
    Note: this title is not in your class bundle but you have access to select teaser videos
  • Photoshop CC for Photographers: Fundamentals, with Chris Orwig
    Chapter 11. Improving Basic Exposure and Tone
    11.1 – Adding brightness and contrast
    11.2 – Fixing an Image that is too bright
    Chapter 14. Improving Exposure with Adjustment Layers
    14.1 – Automatically improving your images
    14.2 – Making custom levels adjustments
    14.3 – Fine tuning an image with Curves
    Note: If you are using Photoshop CS5 or CS6 I recommend locating the equivalent videos in Chris Orwig’s Photoshop CS5 for Photographers title.

After learning how to adjust Brightness and Contrast with Deke McClelland and Chris Orwig, and learning to do so in a flexible manner using Adjustment Layers which gives you the ability to go back and re-edit your image. Your assignment is to fix a photograph using Brightness and Contrast and Adjustment Layers. Please use one of your own images that you have taken yourself.

Turning it in:
Due end of week 4

Please send me your finished .psd file with a Brightness and Contrast Adjustment Layer. You may need to lower your image’s resolution to successfully upload it to Blackboard or email it to me. In Photoshop, do an Image > Image Size > check the resample image check box and lower your image’s resolution to 72 or 100 dpi so that it is easier to email me the file as an attachment.

For this assignment, please upload before and after jpgs to your online photo web album and then post links to the photos in Blackboard.

Week 3 Assignment 2: Convert to Black and White with the Black and White Adjustment Layer

Watch my video:

For a more in-depth tutorial watch:

  • Photoshop CC for Photographers: Fundamentals, with Chris Orwig
    Chapter 15. Adding, Changing, and Removing Color with Adjustment Layers
    15.6 – Converting to black and white
  • Photoshop CS5 for Photographers, with Chris Orwig
    Chapter 19. Black-and-White Conversion
    Watch all videos!

        

Since we are going to be looking at a great black and white photographer this week I though you should create a black and white photograph out of a color photograph. Your assignment is to manipulate a color photograph, turning it into a black and white photograph. The subject of the photograph is your own choosing but make it interesting because I want you to post it!

Turning it in:
Due end of week 4

Your assignment is finished when you save before and after images as .jpg files, upload them to your online photo web album and post links to the images in Blackboard! Please remember to give it a title too.

Week 2 – What is a digital image?

What is a Digital Image Overview

What is a digital image?
A digital image is called a bitmap, which is a two dimensional mapping of pixels that are themselves made of bits. This is like a large mosaic of tile pieces. The tile pieces are the pixels and the more tiles you have the more resolution you have.

What is image resolution and megapixels?
Image resolution refers to how many dots-per-inch or dpi an image has. We can also describe this analogously as ppi or pixels per square inch. If you have a higher image resolution you will be able to print in a bigger size or format. Generally, a better quality digital camera, will be capable of delivering a higher image resolution. You will see this capability promoted as a camera’s megapixels.
A megapixel refers to a million pixels. If your camera is capable of taking a photograph 1200 pixels wide and 850 pixels tall, then 1200 x 850 = 1,000,000 pixels (approximately) or 1 megapixel.

How many megapixels do I need my camera to have?
It depends on how big you want to print your images. Technically, you can print your image as big as you want, however it will only have photographic quality and detail if their are 360 dots per inch worth of resolution. Some schools of thought think you can go down to 300 dpi or even 220 dpi and maintain photographic printed quality. My experience tells me 360 dpi is photo quality. So if that is the case how many megapixels would you need to produce a fantastic 8″ x 10″ print? An 8″ x 10″ photograph needs 8″ x 360 = 2880 pixels tall and 10″ x 360 = 3600 pixels wide. 2880 x 3600 = 10,368,000 pixels which mean you would need a 10.4 megapixel camera to produce a fantastic 8″ x 10″ image. My camera is 12.3 megapixels which means I can take 8″ x 12″ at 360 dpi or a 9.5″ x 14″ at 300 dpi.

What is a pixel?

Pixel stands for picture element and it is one tiny square, a combination of color and light, on your screen. It is analogous to one color dot… except that it is a square. The color of a pixel is determined by how many bits of memory have been allotted to it. That is called the ‘bit depth’.

For additional information about pixels: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megapixel#Megapixel

What is bit depth (color depth)?
How many bits of memory are being used to color the pixels of an image are its bit depth. You have probably heard that computers are just made up of ones and zeros and that is true. A bit or binary digit has only two values one and zero. So if your image’s bit depth is a 1 bit your picture can only be two colors black and white. For instance zeros would be used represent the black pixels and ones for the white. The point is that each pixel can only have two values 1 or 0, black or white. The binary number system functions just like the decimal except that instead of counting with 10 digits (0 through 9) binary is just 1 and 0. So for instance a grayscale image can have a bit depth of 8 bits meaning each pixel has 256 diferent combinations of 0 and 1, or 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2 = 256 values of gray. A color image can have a bit depth of 24 bits. 8 bits for red, 8 bits for green, and 8 bits for blue (RGB) that means each pixel is made up of a possible 256 values for each channel of red, green, and blue. Total combinations of 1s and 0s is 2 to the 24th power or 16,777,216 different colors. The higher the bit depth the larger the file size and the more colors that are possible. It is important to know that there are different types of image files and each format may have a different bit depth and therefore a different file size.

For additional information about bit depth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_depth

What are the image file formats (saving images)?

You can save your images in different image formats which will result in different file sizes, bit depths, and other capabilities like transparency and saving layered information. Photoshop’s native file format is a .psd file which supports layer information. When saving photographs for posting to the web JPG and PNG are the most popular formats. PNG images can support transparent backgrounds whereas JPGs cannot, but if you do not need transparency JPG images are smaller files and quicker downloads. When saving an image as a JPG you can specify the amount of compression and therefore the quality of the output image. When saving an image as a PNG file you can specify whether to include transparency or not. Here is a table outlining some of the common file formats and their features:

File Format File Extension File Size Transparency Layers Colors/Bit Depth Compression Type
Joint Photographic Experts Group .jpg,
.jpeg
Small Files
(Web)
No No 24 bit color Lossy
Portable Network Graphics .png Small Files
(Web),
Large Files
Yes No 24 bit
&
8 bit
Lossy
&
Lossless
Graphics Interchange Format .gif Small Files
(Web)
Yes No 8 bit
256 colors
Lossless
Photoshop Document .psd Very Large
File Size
Yes Yes

32 bit

Lossless
Tagged Image File Format .tiff
.tif
Large File Size No No

24 bit,
48 bit

Lossless,
Lossy
Windows Bitmap File .bmp Very Large
File Size
Yes No

32 bit

Lossless
Raw Image File Format
Multiple Formats (No industry standard)
.raw, .dng,
.crw, .cr2,
.nef, .3fr,
.dcr, .k25,
.kdc
Very Large
File Size
No No

?

Lossless

 

Learning At Lynda.com – What Videos to Watch

These are the videos I recommend watching this week at Lynda.com. Choose the Lynda title to watch based on your version of Photoshop or maybe check out both!:

  • Photoshop CS6 for Photographers – with Chris Orwig

    Introduction – Watch all of the videos.
    1. Strategies for Success – Watch all of the videos.
    3. Color Settings and Preferences – (Optional) If you are interested in configuring your photoshop color settings then check out these videos out.
    4. The Foundations of Color Management – (Optional) If you are interested in configuring your monitor settings then check some of these videos out.
    5. Getting Started with Photoshop – Great videos for learning the Photoshop interface. Watch as many as you want.
    6. Understanding Digital Images – Watch all of these videos!

  • Photoshop CC for Photographers: Foundations – with Chris Orwig

    Introduction – Watch all of the videos.
    1. Strategies for Learning Photoshop – Watch all of the videos.
    3. Settings Up Photoshop – Color and interface configuration settings.
    4. Getting Started with Camera Raw – (Optional) If you have a nice digital SLR camera that can shoot Raw photo format you may want to check out these videos.
    6. Getting Started with Photoshop – Videos for learning the Photoshop interface. Watch as many as you want.
    6. Understanding Digital Images and Resizing – Watch all of these videos!

Week 2 Assignment 1 – How to Save a Photograph in Different Sizes and File Formats Using Photoshop
Week 2 Assignment 2 – How to Crop and Straighten an Image