Author: Andrew Campbell

Project #4: ‘Zine Collage


Creating the Base Drawing
Working with the theme from the previous projects, one will create a drawing as a foundation for the collage. Some themes that were part of the first three projects included being watched, an oppositional gaze, unsettling environments, and uncomfortability. For my base drawing, I drew a girl looking around in a panic next to some large hands.

 

Compiling/Photographing Textures for Masking
Some photos should be collected that have relevence to your theme. These should be taken from free stock sources or can be photographed independently. Once the photos have been acquired, they should be imported into Photoshop on to individual layers. For now, they may overlap, as we are just compiling images. I photographed Art and the Creation of Minds by Eliot W. Eisner, my own hands, and my eye, to create visual assets. I also used a starry night sky from a free stock image website on Google.

Liberating Visual Assets
Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, the Quick Selection Tool, and the Magic Wand Tool, in conjunction with Masking, depending on the complexity of their edge. Once each piece has been visually liberated, students have to option of Control+Clicking (or CMD+Clicking, for Macs) to create a selection space. Students may now use the contours of the original asset as a boundary for other textures. In other words, there may be two identical shapes that possess different textures. I had two images of the girl’s arm that used a text or a starry night texture.

Printing
Each image should be printed individually. To do this, the image must be fully visible in the 8.5 x 11 frame on the project file. With each individual print, the next asset should become visible. If assets do not overlap, two or more may be printed out at the same time.

Cutting Out
The printed images may be cut, torn, and overlapped to create a visually-interesting piece. I overlapped several pieces that had similar contours in order to mix textures inside of the confines of one shape. For example, the main subject’s body blends from a starry sky into text for a book page.

Animation

Like in Project #3, each asset will be nudged slightly and saved to compile a final animation.

Project #3: GIF Animation

Liberate Graphical Assets
I imagine this project would be an extension of Projects #1 and #2. Using the Polygonal Lasso, Magic Wand, and/or Quick Selection Tool in conjunction with Masking, one removes the pixels around the desired element. The Quick Selection Tool works well for high-contrast liberation of assets, whereas the Polygonal Lasson Tool and Magic Wand work better for lower contrast and patchy areas, respectively. Using Masking will allow us to non-destructively edit the assets.

Creating a JPEG Sequence:
Once the assets have been compiled into multiple layers, the file should be viewed as frames of an animation. Small nudges and adjustments should be made for small changes, whereas large shifts of assets should approximate wide movements. I even shifted the background about to emulate a parallax sense of space. At every interval where each graphic has been shifted, a Save As function should be applied. At about 16 frames, I felt the animation would be sufficient. I saved these as their own animation to compare with later iterations (see Compiling an Animation).

Glitche!
I imported each image to my phone via Bluetooth. The same result could also be achieved via e-mail or USB drive. Once the files were on my phone, I uploaded them individually to Glitche! and used a variety of “hack” tools to alter their appearance. I tried to organically balance the filters used. Every time I transitioned between frames, I used a light application of the previous hack with the new one to keep each frame new and interesting. Once each image was altered, I now had a set a new set of frames to work from.

Compiling an Animation
I imported the files back to Photoshop, all in the same file. Using the “Create Frame Animation” and using the “Make Frames From Layers” with all of the layers selected, I now had an animation to work with. I edited the time duration of the frames to .1 seconds, to make the animation more choppy and difficult to follow.

3D Project How-To

 

 

Pastel Sketch of Eye/Iris

 

Like the previous project, I began this project with drawing pastel eyes towards the beginning. I drew an iris later on, as I realized it would need to be moving separately.

 

Pastel Sketch of Flesh

 

I drew a surface that matched somewhat the outside of the pastel eye. Later on, I would feather the edges of the eye to allow it to seamlessly blend with this “flesh” image.

 

Pastel Sketch of Background

 

Though I decided on a background much later in the project, the sketch should have occurred much sooner. This sketch would serve as a texture for the background of my 3D clip.

 

Photograph

 

Like my previous attempts, I tried to keep the angle of the lens perpendicular to the surface I was photographing and tried to reduce interference with lighting. I uploaded all images to Photoshop for further manipulation.

 

Liberation Through Photoshop

 

Using Masking, I liberated the eye and the iris by painting out feathered edges. For the flesh, I used the “color range” option under Select and picked a few color swatches to eliminate. I masked out the sections that were paper-colored and feathered the edges. Now, all my assets were liberated.

 

Creation of Mesh

 

Starting from a plane texture, I used the Split Polygon Tool in Maya to create a mesh of my 3D model. This required me to count edges and faces (the sections that make up a mesh) in order to get an eye that looked realistic. To create the eye, I created a separate spherical mesh. To create the background, I created a larger cylindrical mesh.

 

Texturing of Mesh with PhotoShop Assets

 

After mapping the mesh section by section, I exported the UV map to Photoshop, where I began placing textures over the appropriate areas. Once the textures were placed, I imported the final map back into Maya and placed it over the models.

 

 

 

Animating

 

I created keyframes on every frame to give the eyes a twitching motion. Using the Graph Editor, I set the looping to “post-infinity” to ensure that the motion would repeat.

 

Duplicating

 

I made several copies of the model and gave them each their own individual animation to create some variety. I also sized some up and down to increase variety.

 

 

Camera Animation

 

Using the Create Camera function in Maya, I now had a tool that would record only what I wanted the viewer to see. I keyframed points that I wanted the viewer to focus on. Larger intervals between keyframes would allow for long pans while shorter ones allowing for quicker transitions between models.

 

Rendering

 

Because Maya was unable to export this video as a Quicktime Movie, I exported all of the frames of the animation as JPEG files. These were later uploaded into After Effects and compiled as a final movie.

 

2D Project How-To

Sketch

The initial sketch for this project was done in pencil. Pencil is a media I have much control over and is great for planning rough drafts of my projects. For this project, I drew from a reference photo of my girlfriend with her mask on. I added eyes and a city background for a moody atmosphere. The sketch and later iterations were all done on napkin paper, because I always like to use materials that are readily-available.

 

Pastel Final Physical Copy

From the initial sketch, I began to use pastels. I am not too familiar with pastels, so it was interesting to experiment with them, push and pull colors, and see which colors blended well together. I tried to be careful with using too much color, as it could dilute a later color applied to the same area (a la underpainting). When I felt that the image was complete enough, I began the next step.

 

Pastel “Spritesheet”

 

I created a spritesheet of closed eye poses. They were drawn on a background that matched the surface they would later be placed on. I would later photograph and digitally upload these for the animated portion of this project.

Photograph

 

Because I was not using the edges of the napkin in the final piece, I did not keep strict constraints on photography. However, I did try to keep the camera relatively perpendicular to the surface I was photographing and to limit the interference of the shadow cast by my arm. When I’d photographed the pastel copies of the scene and the closed eye poses, I uploaded them to a Mac computer.

Liberation Through PhotoShop

 

Using Masking, I liberated the irises and the closed eye lids from their compositions. By painting in a feathered outline, a viewer’s eye has a tougher time detecting a hard edge on the assets. This makes them blend more seamlessly in later steps when they are animated. Once all the components were free, I uploaded them to Flash.

 

Picking Layers in Flash

 

I selected the individual assets and placed each on its own layer, to manipulate them more easily.

 

Free Transforming

 

I used the Free Transform Tool (Q) to manipulate the height and length of each graphic, allowing them to appear as though they were stretching. This gave the illusion that the eyes were distorting as they closed. I animated these portions and then used the Tween function to interpolate the frames between the key poses. For the irises, I nudged them slightly in various directions on each frame to achieve a twitching motion.

 

Finalize Project

 

When I had a functioning animation, I cross-faded the sketch into the pastel animation and VOILA! A short animation!