Monday 28th April
Today I wanted to get all the photos edited that I had so I began putting them all into Photoshop and sorting them out. I also wanted to start again with the previous image I had started to edit and wanted to start it from scratch so I deleted the .XMP file to remove all the data about the changes I had previously made.
I started with one of the images for my Daily Mail article: In my head I pictured the idea of a guy sat at a computer screen with an arm reaching out from the screen to grab him by throat. After a short bit of research I found that it was something that had already been done, but mostly in a bit of a joke fashion almost.
I decided that I wanted to try create a more sinister version of the image which would require some work on the lighting, perhaps in the post processing stage. This is my only option now having obviously already taking the images.
I initially took a picture of the laptop sat in the same position on the table as it would be in the other images, but this time the laptop was the only thing in the shot. So I used the quick select tool to make a selection of the laptop and then using ‘Refine Edges’ I made sure that I carefully selected enough of it to make it look professionally done when I transfer it to my other image, but little enough that it wouldn’t be transferring a good chunk of the table as well.
Then I opened up the other image which had the laptop lid closed, with Jonny sat at the desk with Jordan crouching down grabbing him by the throat so that the arm would be roughly in the right position of the screen when it came to cutting it out. I then brought the image of the cutout laptop over to my new document, lining the laptop up with the reflection of the closed laptop in the current image for that extra consistency.
Then I had to cutout Jonny’s arm to make it come in to the foreground to cover the near side of the laptop, I did this using the exact same technique as to cut out the laptop including the refine edges mode.
It doesn’t matter so much to be neat on the bottom edge of the arm because that will be being lined up with the same part of the table and you won’t be able to tell so the important bit is to make sure the cuff and the hand are cut out well as they will be showing over the top of the laptop.
I realised that the cutout of the laptop was a bit sharp and so it was noticeable that it had been placed into the image, so I used the Blur tool and set the setting to 50% so it wouldn’t quite be so powerful an effect and I could build it up until I got the desired effect. This also gave the impression that the blur effect wore off the deeper into the picture you got and therefore the laptop cutout became sharper close to the actual focal point of the full image.
I am quite happy with the settings in this image except for two things. I think that the look on his face is a bit happy and needs to show a bit more stress to say that he is being strangled by the hand coming from the laptop. I also think the whole lighting in the image needs to change a bit as it is perhaps a little bit bright for the mood of the photo. I may even adjust the clarity to make it look a bit more rugged and see if that helps at all.
I showed this image to Kerry and she said she didn’t even realise that it was an arm coming out of the screen at first so another alteration I may make is to change the Hue of the sleeve to make it stand out a bit more and to tone down the exposure of the hand so there is a noticeable difference in colour between the hand and the neck that it is holding onto.
I have now added some sharpening to the original image to bring out a little bit more detail so it looks a bit clearer. I then used a hue/saturation adjustment layer and layer masked it so that it would only affect the area where the arm is. I changed it to red to show connotations of bad and evil as it is supposed to represent the cyber bully. I then applied a photo filter adjustment layer over the whole image and selected the colour as black with quite a low opacity so that it would make the image less saturated and almost look a bit more gritty and grainy.
I then used the liquify filter tool to drag Jonny’s mouth down slightly to make him look more uncomfortable as before it was almost like he was smiling slightly. I then pulled the brow down a bit so that it matched the nature of his facial expression in his mouth.
This was the image I previously edited but I have started again. I wanted a split line running down the centre of the face to give the appearance of the well known effect of having a split personality. This is to show the idea that someone who is being bullied could also be the bully. This illustrates one of the key quotes I will be using in this piece of writing and was supplied by a teacher who stated that anyone can be a bully or be bullied, it just takes certain circumstances.
Firstly in Adobe Camera RAW I highlighted the left side of the face in one mask and the right side in another, this was so that when I changed the settings, it would only affect the relevant part of the face. The left side of the face was the dark side and the right side was the light side and above you can see the selection of the left hand side. I then adjusted the clarity and sharpness of the left side to be really quite gritty and it makes it look quite rough which suits the appearance of a bully. I also toned down the exposure so there was a noticeable split in skin colour showing the difference.
After that I wanted to change the colour of the eye on the dark side to red to show connotations of the evil involved and did so by simply changing the colour slider to show a lot of red, I then sharpened the eye to keep it sharp and stand out. I didn’t realise when I was thinking about what I would produce, but I think it works quite well that the same model in the photo of the computer with the arm coming out is the same person that is in this photo which lends itself to showing the idea that the bullying victim can too be the bully. I didn’t plan for this to happen as I wanted the two images and planned to use the models I could get hold of, so I think it has worked quite well. The right side of the face I then increased the exposure of to slightly hide the skin imperfections and also give it that ‘angelic feel.
I feel that the effect is working quite well, however simply by lightening up the right hand side of the face isn’t enough to give it the implication that it is the bullying victim. It simply looks like a normal face so it would be more to say that everyone has a dark side, whereas I want to balance that up with the effects of being bullied. The easiest way to show this would be to use damage from physical bullying even though it is cyber-bullying that I am focusing on. From past experience I knew that it would be possible to create a slight bruising effect by simply using the burn tool and figured this would be the best way to achieve it. So I set the brush impact to 30% so I could keep building the effect up by layering it on until I got it to look how I wanted. I applied this effect to the eye to make it look like the model had a black eye and to the corner of the mouth to make it look that had also suffered some form of beating: I also wanted to apply some sort of cut effect to the image to show like he had been shoved to the ground and hit his head. Obviously all this is working as a metaphor for the emotional damage as opposed to physical. I had a look at some tutorials online to see if there was a good way to replicate a cut using Photoshop, but some of the YouTube tutorials I looked through got bad comments saying that they weren’t very good and looked bad, which after watching a couple of videos I realised these were correct. A while ago I downloaded some brush presets for Photoshop of a smoke effect that you then simply use the paint tool and paint the effect on. I decided I would give these a try as there were some various different angled lines in them.
I set the colour to red and applied a single click stroke of a couple of different types of brushes. Then I used the eraser tool and rubbed bits out so that it wasn’t obviously just a smoke pattern in red. I then turned down the opacity so that it didn’t stand out too much and looked more like part of the facial damage and here is my result:
This left my final model face looking like below:
I am happy with the effect that I have managed to achieve with this image as I feel it accurately portrays the meaning I wanted it to, and plus once it is anchored with the quote that it will be illustrating it will make a lot more sense to someone looking at the image within its context.
Tuesday 29th April
Today I shot the fourth and fifth photos for my articles, the first one of the keyboard displaying specific letters and the second one which I will be turning into a graphic fit for purpose of the small person looking up at the large computer.
I have also edited the image I shot of the ‘computer troll’.
The first one I have edited is the one of the keyboard.
This was my initial image and similar to how I planned it, however I feel that it was too similar to the work Jordan was working on. I had planned to do an image like this with the keyboard and writing from quite a while ago, but I think through a combination of talking to him and writing about anonymity in my work and for my essay module I have slightly borrowed the idea from what he was using.
To avoid any complications through issues of plagiarism and whatnot I want to change this. I also don’t like how I had to separate the word across three lines in order to get it to fit and would much prefer if I had a word that spanned just a single line. The trouble with this is that there is only a certain area of the image that is in focus so the word would need to be quite short. I eventually came to the conclusion that ‘Fear’ would be a good word to use as it is relevant to what I am writing about and also fulfils the criteria of being short.
I had actually taken three of a very similar image just at varying depths of the keyboard so that different areas would be in focus and I could just cut out the letters form the other image files and drop them into the one I was using. So I did this and after dragging them in lined them up with the letters on the current keyboard.
A problem I noticed here was that originally the ‘A’ was quite a bit darker than the other letters and looked noticeably darker, so I adjusted the exposure of the layer just containing that letter to +1 to make it match up with the current document.
I then proceeded to use the ‘patch’ tool to remove the letters. This was a simple case of circling an area around the letter on the key and then dragging it to another part of the key for it to sample and use that to fill the area I had selected. Leaving with something looking a little bit like this:
Then when I had the gaps all I had to do was fill the letters in and revealing the layers as I had only hidden them so I could see where I was working, this left me with how it looked below:
I think the letters are clear and they work well here, however you can only really tell that the letters have been changed round if you know that you are looking for it, as I found out by showing the image to my girlfriend. I wanted to adjust this so to emphasise the letters I merged all their individual layers together and then added a layer style with a red outer glow to put the stress on these letters. This left the image looking like this:
After this I remembered the fact that there are a couple of company logos in this image including the Lenovo badge and the Windows icon, obviously I haven’t had permission from these companies to take these images so I thought it best to hide them.
Initially I tried this mosaic effect and I thought it worked quite well, however it also looks a bit unprofessional to have the blurred pixels in there and I thought that in the real world they would just remove the logos completely. So again using the patch tool as I did before I did this to create the same image but just with blank spaces where these logos are:
I am happy with this result and think it looks a lot more professional than the pixelated images so I will keep it this way.
I felt that the image around the outside was a bit too well exposed, not that this is a bad thing but I feel that it draws away from the emphasis I have tried to place on the lettering I have used. In order to help with this I used a black > transparent gradient in the gradient tool with the radial effect so that the outside would be solid colour and it would fade as it got towards the middle. Basically I have created an artificial vignetting effect on my image, but I think it works well with what I want to achieve and I am happy with the final product:
The next image I worked on was the one to create the appearance of a troll. I want to go for a generic troll appearance if possible so I want to make the skin appear to be green.
I managed to do this in Adobe Camera RAW by creating a mask of the face so that when I applied the effects it would only change the settings in the area covered by the face. I chose a dark shade of green and set the saturation up a bit which made the image look like this:
Now I needed to turn this image into an illustration so I used the technique incorporating the pen tool to create a drawn path. Then with the path selected I went into the path pallet and chose a brush with a 45 degree angle to it and then right clicked the path and selected ‘stroke path’. This basically applied the paint brush tool to all the area I had drawn lines on with the pen tool and then if I hide the background layer you can get a good view of how this appears:
I then created a duplicate of the background layer and set it’s blend mode to ‘colour’. Then I chose the black paintbrush and on a new layer and painted the colour over the image. This created some colour over outlines that I had already got but it didn’t produce enough colour, however this was the method stated by the tutorial that I was following. In order to correct this I just applied a normal paint brush layer and built the effect up by using a lower opacity which gave me the image looking as it does above.
I then thought that the white background looked a bit plain, as all the illustrations in the Guardian articles all had full colour and none were really left plain.
So I selected the area around the outside of the sketch using the quickselect tool. Keeping the area selected I used various shades of red to create an almost pattern like effect just to make it look a bit artistic but keeping the area selected meant that I wouldn’t accidentally get any of the pain over the image I had created.
Here is the final image:
I am happy with this image on the whole and think that it works quite well in terms of the illustration. Although I am not fully satisfied with the colour that I have used and feel this may be down to the method used by the tutorial. For my other illustration drawing I am thinking that I will start off the same way creating the path and highlighting it with the pen tool but then for the colour I think I will do it my own way. I will just used a standard paint tool and layer the colour up to create the effect I want as opposed to using the duplicate colour blend layer.
Wednesday 30th April
Now I had four of my images it was just time to Photoshop my final one and bring it all together and make it fit for the purpose of the guardian article.
I had taken some pictures of the Jordan previously in the studio, stood facing the white backdrop with the light bouncing off the backdrop and towards his face. This would give the impression that he would be facing light which would work well as the light coming from the computer screen. At the time I shot it I was thinking in terms of it looking correct and to try make the image look as real as possible, of course forgetting that I would be turning the image into an illustration so the effect of the light would almost become redundant.
To begin with I had the shot of Jordan from the back, and I took a picture from a low angle looking up at a computer screen at home, I then screen shotted my Facebook homepage as I wanted to use that for the screen but in the illustration I planned for it to be noticeable as Facebook but without stating that it actually was. This would be done through the use of blue and white colours and the layout of the page.
I used the quick select tool to select all of Jordan’s body, which as it was shot against a white background was a very easy task. I then transferred the image across onto the picture of my computer screen which I had removed the background from by simply selecting it and deleting it.
Then I imported the screen shot of Facebook and using the warp transform tool just dragged the corners of the screenshot to meet up with the inside corners of the monitor to give the impression that the Facebook page was ‘live’ on the screen. This gave me the following image:
Then using the same process as for my previous illustration I drew round the image with the pen tool and used the stroke path effect to make Photoshop draw over the lines I had created using the paint brush:
Then learning from my mistakes of last time, I decided I would create my colouring in layer beneath the outline layer so that the colour wouldn’t spill over the lines and they would remain prominent and visible.
I also didn’t use the colour mode layer and so my colours look a lot more vivid and fuller, and much more like the actual illustrations they use. I firstly coloured in the screen and monitor border and then Jordan’s body leaving the outsides of the image still white. I selected the white areas and used various shades of orange on top of each other to create the same effect from the previous illustration but having only selected that area meant that I didn’t overlap the image where I had already coloured in.
Here is my final image:
I am much happier with this illustration that the previous one. The colours look much better and not as faint as they did in the other one. The layout on the screen is also very distinguishable as Facebook and I have not used any text to signifiy that that is what it is so I think this works exactly as I hoped that it would.
All my images have come out very well and some, especially the one of the arm reaching out from the computer and the split face personality ones, have come out even better than I expected and I am very happy with what I have produced.
They were also the ideas I thought most about and wanted to execute the best and they were also the more physical taxing ones.
This has caused a little bit of concern with me for my final project as I initially set out thinking that my writing was better than my photo work however due to the hiccups I have experieced with being able to get people to talk to me on the writing side I feel that in the end product my photography work may come out better than the writing. This will be a little disappointing to say that I will be writing 5,000 words and accompanying it with only 5 images. I do still believe that I wouldn’t have been able to surpass 10 images on this subject however and I would have required at least 15 if I had chosen to produce the hyrbid format for my artefact.
Friday 2nd May
Today I found a great thing that I wanted to add to my article. David Cameron posted a positive tweet, about a positive issue / story and still received a torrent of abuse in response.
Twitter / David_Cameron: An honour to meet @_StephensStory …. 2014.Twitter / David_Cameron: An honour to meet @_StephensStory …. [ONLINE] Available at:https://twitter.com/David_Cameron/status/462265068361895936. [Accessed 02 May 2014].
I thought it would be good to post a link to the donation page at the end of the article:
Stephen Sutton is fundraising for Teenage Cancer Trust . 2014. Stephen Sutton is fundraising for Teenage Cancer Trust . [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.justgiving.com/stephen-sutton-TCT. [Accessed 06 May 2014]