Key Animation

Our final project of the semester was working on key animation. It was pretty fun, and it was a great look behind the curtain about how animation is done in the digital age. I learned to work within technical limitations and evolving ideas on the fly.

My original plan was to have a snowman being built piece at a time as it rolled across the frame, but iMovie only allows for one dynamic piece at a time. I settled for working to make a believable rotation cycle for a snowball. From photoshopping each rotation stage and placing each by hand, I have a real appreciation for all the work that animation professionals put in to make movies and shows.

I will probably keep working on this project on my own with some different software in order to bring my original idea to life.

Digital Art 2520 was a really fun class and I’ll take a lot of the skills I learned with me and continue to develop as a digital artist.

Illustrator and Postcards

Moving on into Adobe Illustrator, we took a crack at making vintage-style postcards. Given the license to use any location real or fiction I decided to work with imagery from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The painting-like aesthetics and varied environments gave plenty of options for sourcing the photos that were overlaid on each letter. After all the pictures were set, the final touches were done in photoshop, including increasing saturation and overlaying a vintage paper screen tone to make the postcard look like it has aged.

I was surprised to find out that editing text was a multi step process. After setting the type, one needs to turn it into an object to manipulate. Overall the process had a less steep learning curve than Photoshop, but no longer having access to a layer viewer was an adjustment.

Overall I am very, very happy with the finished product and I have really enjoyed working with Illustrator.

Photoshop Final Project – “Breakthrough”

For my final project I wanted to tackle the feelings I’ve had throughout this academic year. I wanted to show what it feels like to have a breakthrough. But that isn’t the end. Encountering challenges, pushing through barriers and seeing the positive results that come from refusing to back down is something I hope a lot of people can resonate with. Whether you have already overcome them or are just getting up to bat, I wanted to depict the stages in a journey to give hope to people who see the odds stacked against them.

The image itself is built to have strong line and harmony. The shooting star that creates a physical line from the batter to the firework carves a strong path for the eye to follow. The batter was given high contrast with the background to create a starting point for that line, finishing with the firework. The colors of the environment and placement of objects aim to create a feeling of unity, focusing on dusky oranges and deep indigos in agreement with the firework and shooting star.

Some of the photoshop processes used include color overlays on the batter and lots of composite imaging. Most of the elements are put onto the background by masking out the surroundings and dropping them onto the field. The shooting star and broken glass are the result of lots of transform techniques. The line was split into two pieces to make it look like its going through the glass, one in front and one behind.

After having a peer critique, I was given the suggestion to skew the glass so it looks like it has depth. I am very happy with this advice, because now it looks like the glass is forming a dome over the landscape, which goes well with my theme. Overall I am very pleased with the final product and hope it can resonate with people.

Lessons in Portrait Editing

Frequency separation was a humbling experience that showed me there is a lot more to photoshop than meets the eye. Splitting color and texture into separate algorithms and adjusting them accordingly is no easy task. I also learned the importance of saving projects as usable file types, and it was my failure to do so that delayed this blog post so much.

But all these problems are useful in the long run. Now, I’ll double check to name, save, and organize my files correctly. I’ll make sure that the source images I’m working on have enough light so that you can actually see the brightness added to the eyes.

One piece that was very successful was the process of removing blemishes using the healing tools. That is a very applicable skill that I can use in future portrait edits while I work on mastering frequency separation.

Overall, I failed forward and will take these constructive lessons with me as I continue my photoshop education.

Final Project Brainstorming

For my culminating project in Photoshop, I want to focus on the theme of overcoming challenges.

This topic is very dear to me because in remaining diligent through difficult times, I have grown the most and learned a lot about myself. Breaking through limits, at least wanting to, is very relatable to many people. I want to express what breaking through feels like as the inspiration for my final project.

I’ll want to avoid common imagery like mountaintops and staircases. Though good visual shorthand, that isn’t what breaking through feels like to me. Its more like trusting that you are strong enough to withstand the storm while exerting your strength against what holds you back. I want to use those feelings and ideas to push the direction my works go in. Something that shows both fortitude and drive sounds pretty good.


Weather the storm, strike decisively – CH

Digital Collages & Exploring Hockney

Making collages with photoshop was a big step in understanding the power of the program. As a group, we used a set of source images we took to test the ability of Photoshop to automate, and took a manual attempt at creating another collage. Though it did the best it could and was a good starting point, photoshop could not match the vision or end product a human touch could accomplish. I think the physical collage was the best overall, because we as the group had full control over where we wanted to go. Working from scratch offers possibilities and ideas that are hard to see when you are given something partially finished to work off of.

David Hockney has issues with Photoshop because he feels the individuality of photos has been removed. The more you can tweak and touch photos up, the less real and more similar edits can look. As photo editing lets people chase an ideal aesthetic, all photos begin to show evidence of this similar finish line. However, I see photoshop as a tool to allow for images that aren’t possible to be created. To me, photoshop can be a toolbox and studio in the same way a sculptor’s room and instruments are.

To me, creativity is the ability to act on a feeling. Anyone who acts on a vision has the ability to create something unique and important. Creativity is objective to the point that someone cannot tell another they aren’t creative, as long as they had an idea and produced something from it. In the discussion on whether AI can be creative, I do not believe so. AI can only execute on things they have been taught, and cannot have a vision or feeling to express. AI can still be very helpful to an artist, but as yet another tool to be utilized. All authorship belongs to the one using the tool, not the tool itself.



Photoshop’s automatic collage from source images



Our manually edited version of the automatic collage.



A physical joiner-collage made from the same source photos our group took.

Multi-Image Layering

Using the lasso and other selection tools from photoshop, you can create composite images using pieces from many different sources. By layering these pieces you can create a whole scene.

Historical Face Swap in Progress

For practicing color matching, layer masking and transformations, I decided to put my face into Jacques-Louis David’s “Napoleon Crossing the Alps”. This era of painting resonates with me strongly with its blend of evocative imagery and realistic figures. Plus, I thought it would be fun to be in a photo riding a horse. The color matching of the original was a slight challenge, but the real breakthrough was warping Napoleon’s side-locks over my face in a semi-believable fashion. Overall I’m very happy with my progress and hope to have a finished project very soon.

Photoshop Color Manipulation

Grayscale takes the image and erases all color data, leaving only black and white values


Desaturation dampens the colors in an image, effectively moving them towards the center of the color wheel


Monotone creates an image where there is only one color spread across many values


Channel mixing lets the user play with the RGB values associated with different colors to alter the colors of an image.