Self Portrait in Photoshop – Part One - Introduction

This project is a "self portrait" about who you are - not what you look like. There should not be an image of your face in this project. The image you create will be a collage of several images that represent who you are. You will use a scanner for this project.

Artistic Goals:
· Create depth
· Create a focal point
· To think about an overall composition – rhythm, positive and negative space
· Increase awareness of color usage
· Use texture as an integral part of design

Technological Goals:

Increased familiarity with Photoshop’s tools – such as:
· paint brush
· layer masks
· filters
· color adjustments
· eraser
· working with selections

Choose subject matter that is of interest to you personally. You will be working with this for a while so we want it to be enjoyable.

It may be easier if you make some sketches on some paper before you start. You will not need to show these sketches to me, but it will be easier if you do some planning before going to the computer. Don't waste your valuable time by going to the computer without a plan. Stay away from the computer until you know what you want to accomplish.

The easiest way to get started on this project is to make lists of who you are: what you do with your free time, what hobbies you have, what your work is, where were you born, what sports you do, etc. Then, look at the list and start prioritizing. Which things on the list are easiest to represent visually?

Requirements for this project:
· Depth in the form of aerial perspective or linear perspective (explained below)
· A focal point (use either value or color contrast to achieve a focal point - as with the leaf project)
· Rhythm – a motif that repeats throughout the composition (explained below)
· Positive and Negative Space (explained below)
· A minimum of three scanned images (photographs, original art, etc.)
· A scan of an actual object placed on the scanner (scan #4)
· A scan of something textured to use as an added texture to your piece (scan #5)
· A minimum of four layers; one layer with a layer mask, one using the opacity slider, one with some painting, one with a filter (these can be applied to the layers with the scans)

Here are some examples

The left image represents the abstract ‘sketch’ that the artist worked up before adding imagery.
The image on the right has the imagery added.

Creating Depth in and image

Some of the ways to create depth in an image are:
· linear perspective
· aerial perspective
· overlapping
· placement

Linear Perspective
Linear perspective deals with the concept that lines converge at a point on the horizon. Imagine standing on an open plain with your feet between two railroad tracks that shoot straight off to the horizon. In your mind you know that those railroad tracks are parallel and never come together.


However, if you did a drawing of those railroad tracks, the two lines would come together at a point on the horizon. This is called one point linear perspective. All lines converge at a point on the horizon. Artists use linear perspective to create the sense of depth on a two dimensional surface. Two point perspective is used when your view includes two vanishing points.

Aerial Perspective
In both of the examples above, lines are used as a way to show depth.
What if the image has no obvious lines? What if you are creating a scene in nature with mountains, trees, rivers and rocks? In the case of representing nature, aerial perspective is often used. Think of “air” or “atmosphere”. Aerial perspective deals with the concept that objects fade with distance and objects that are closer to us will have more detail and contrast.
Here are examples of aerial perspective.

One of the simplest ways to create depth is by overlapping. A still life of objects on a tabletop will make use of overlapping. In these examples you can tell which objects are closer to you because objects are overlapping each other with the closer ones in front.


Our brains process information about images in such a way that what we see lower in the picture we will perceive as being closer. Study these three examples.

In the first sketch we perceive the larger triangle as being closer to us, and the two smaller triangles further back. The three triangles could actually be the same size if they were brought together.

In sketch #2, we perceive the larger triangle as being further away from us and the two smaller triangles are closer. We think this only because they are lower down in the picture plane. We also perceive that the two smaller triangles are much smaller in size than the big one that is farther away.

In sketch #3, we perceive all three triangles to be next to each other and we know for certain that there is one big one and two smaller ones.

In summary, most images use combinations of methods of perspective. As you are working through your projects in this class you will be asked to make use of various methods of depth. You will find all of these methods of depth defined in the course glossary and you can come back to these explanations at any time.

Rhythm simply refers to an element in a design that repeats throughout the image. For this assignment, you are to have a repeating motif. This can be as simple as a repeated shape, such as a circle or square. In this example, trees are the repeating motif. The pattern helps the viewer’s eye to travel through the composition.

Positive and Negative Space
Every work of art and every web page layout consists of positive and negative space. Positive space usually refers to the subject matter in a picture and the negative space refers to the space around the main subject. A good design keeps both the positive and negative space in mind and attempts to give both equal consideration. Here are some examples:

The image on the left was used for a play about Apartheid in South Africa. When I first saw the piece, I noticed the black profile first. Then, my eye caught the map of Africa and finally the white profile. I thought this was a great example of the visual plays between positive and negative space. The black profile is the positive space with the white behind as the negative. Then, the white becomes the positive (when we see the map) and the outlying areas in black become the negative. This is a good example of a well planned design taken to it's simplicity to represent a complex issue.

The image on the right - of the radishes - also has strong positive and negative space. Imagine that you captured all of the image and turned it black. All the radishes and leaves would turn black and all the white stays white. In an image with strong positive and negative space, both elements should be equally interesting to look at. This drawing, transformed into just black and white, should have equally interesting shapes for both the black and white areas. Your self portrait project should have strong positive and negative space. Think about the positive and negative spaces and shapes when you are doing your preliminary sketches.

Some of you are taking this class for Web design production. When you are designing Web sites, the negative space is another artistic element that you are creating whether you are aware of it or not. Imagine filling all of your subject matter with white, and changing all of the positive space to black. Would the shape of the negative (black) space be just as pleasing as the positive (white)?

The theories of positive and negative space will come up again in each of your assigned projects through the end of the quarter.

Once you have read through this introductory information in Part 1, move on to "Part 2 - Scanning Hints”. Once you understand the particulars of scanning, then you can move on to studying "Jan's Example" in Part 3 and then get started with the Step by Step instructions in Part 4. Part 5 gives you the directions on how to turn in your finished work.