As usual, this was a great course! I received lots of information about Photoshop that I didn't already know and it provided me with great ideas for lessons to use with my students. I will definitely be incorporating some of the activities we did in my updates for next year's students and will probably add a few of them as extra items for students this year as well.
It was also a great reinforcement of the skills I already had prior to starting. Sometimes it is important to complete tasks using the skills one already has just to keep those skills sharp, if for no other reason.
Week 5 - Recreating a masterpiece
This week's assignment was rather difficult for me. We had to recreate a masterpiece and I simply wasn't feeling this activity. But, today, I felt creative and decided to give it a go. While I am not overly thrilled with this piece, I did enjoy the process. I did a quick search of Picasso on Google where I found a cubist work that caught my attention. So I decided to replicate it as best I could. To get started, I grabbed a recent picture of myself to use as a template. I realized just how difficult it is to trace the image using nothing but a mouse as I currently don't have a drawing tablet. I traced several parts using the paintbrush and used shapes for other areas. This involved working on several different layers, then merging them to create a single rasterized layer where I could use the fill bucket to add color. The shapes under the eyes were done using the brush on separate layers, then adding blend modes and once I was happy, merging them down as well. After I finished the basic drawing of myself and it was fully colored, I locked it and created the background with simple rectangles which I altered the colors from line to line. Below is the final result of my trying to recreate a masterpiece.
Week 4 -Animating in photoshop
This week we were tasked with creating a simple frame-by-frame animation using Photoshop. I put off working on it for quite some time but needed something creative to get my mind off lesson creation today, so I tore into it.
For starters, I had to collect the images I would need. I found a stormy sky on pexels.com, took a picture of me from hiking in one of the NC state parks last year, and did a search for a royalty free image of the Sistine Chapel. Then, I brought them into Photoshop for animating.
I started by layer masking the pieces out of each image I didn't want. I then duplicated the sky and placed it above the hand in the layer stack. Once there, I used a soft brush to mask around the clouds. Creating the individual frames on the timeline was pretty easy. I simply used the transform tool to relocate the images as needed before exporting the entire piece as a GIF. Unfortunately, when I tested it here on Spark, it didn't play even though it looped nicely in my browser and in Windows Photos. Weird...but it is what it is.
This could be a fun extension activity for my students, though I don't know if I would make it a required assignment. It's fun to do, relatively simple and can definitely draw students in for a quick exploration of animation. Great activity overall...now I need to see about doing a cinemagraph sometime in the future!
Week 3 - Photoshop Tennis
I'm working on getting a little ahead this week as I have a ton to do in the coming weeks and don't want to fall behind. This morning, I woke earlier than usual, so I went through the course materials and learned we are playing a game called Photoshop Tennis! My first thought on the idea was 'what a great game to play with my students!' So, I dove right into it.
We were provided with a starting photo and when I went into the shared Google doc, I noticed several other class participants had already manipulated it a bit, which made me happy. I wasn't too thrilled with the starter but the direction the graphic was taking gave me plenty of new ideas on how to edit it.
Somewhere in the process of serving the image among participants, someone had placed the developing work on a desktop with two Apple computers. My first thought involved adding wallpaper or maybe placing another object on the desk, but that changed quickly when I realized one of the computer monitors was blank. So, I set out to change that.
For starters, I went to pexels.com and found an image of cracked glass. I placed it in the image but thought that was way too easy. So, I next went to pixabay.com to find an image of President Trump. I got my start by working on the glass. I knew I needed to remove the dark areas for what I intended so I used Select by Color Range to grab the darker areas between the cracks, then removed them by destructively pressing the delete key followed by using the Rectangular Selection tool to fit the image on the monitor glass to the edge of the image. I then got to work on President Trump. For him, I used a layer mask to make him fit the monitor better in a nondestructive manner. I then changed my stacking order to place Trump under the crack and used Gaussian Blur to make him slightly out of focus. Finally, I used a Difference Layer Effect on the glass to make it pop out a little more. I like the end result (on soooooo many different levels!), how about you?
Week 2 -Digital Anachronism
This week I created a digital anachronism using nondestructive editing. Since I teach game design and was named after General Robert E. Lee, I thought giving him a bit of virtual reality might be fine. I bet Lee would have used VR to pre-visualize the upcoming battles or examine where the troops made mistakes if he had access to such technology during the Civil War.
Here are the steps on how I created the image
To accomplish this task, I started by bringing the necessary images together in a single document as smart objects. All images came from a Google search with free to use and modify usage rights. Next, I used the quick select tool to single out the image components I needed before placing a layer mask to hide the parts I didn't want to appear in my final work. When I created the mask, I used a 3px feather, which I am not sure works real well but wanted to give it a try. The result caused a bit of a haze around the VR goggles and the controller. Unfortunately, I didn't notice how awkward the haze was until I had saved, so I guess I have to live with it now. Maybe I should have tried creating a new mask? Anyway, once masked, I used the brush tool to neaten up the mask and with a few transformations, I was able to make the VR components fit in with the original image of General Lee. Finally, I added a little Gaussian blur and noise to age the VR equipment so it appeared to belong in the original image. Below is my finished work along with the three images used to make it.
Week 1 - Getting acquainted with photoshop
For our first assignment, we practiced working with pulling an item out of another image to make it look like it belongs in another. We were tasked with either placing ourselves into a scene where we obviously don't belong or to mix and match smaller/larger objects including ourselves in a scene. I started placing myself in an image from World War II with Eisenhower speaking to the troops, but I didn't really like where it was headed. So, I chose to do the alternative assignment of Big and Small. I found a barren scene image along with some pictures of toy dinosaurs on Pixabay.com, then I had one of my students snap some images of me (warning him I would be making some weird poses), then pulled them all together to make a quick composite image seen below. In doing so, I got some practice with several tools in Photoshop including the Quick Select tool, masking, and making transformations. I also added a small Gaussian Blur to make myself fit in with everything a little better. In trying to make the scene look more realistic, I used the burn tool to create shadows under the additional components. I also quick selected some of the branches and trees to bring them in front of the components I added, such as the stegasaurus, ankylosaurus and by my foot. I think it came out alright. Check out the final composite along with all the pieces I used to create it below.