12 11 / 2011
A super overdue post because I couldn’t find time to redo my assignment 3 until now. Anyway, the theme is Urban fantasy. My first instinctive idea was to realize my fantasies in a urban setting. At this point in time, my fantasies are a mix of dance-battles, animes, hell-ish and gore related elements. I would love to create a dance related story whereby each character represent each genre of dance and be able to unleash mysterious powers with them, using them in battles against one another.
I then began to put them together into what I call the “Dance Off from Beyond”, affectionately coined after one of the local dance crews “Styles from Beyond”. This was the first attempt:
The idea was to make this street dance army that rises from the dead at night and takes over. One difficulty I met while creating this photomontage was that, while Dance is a verb, the photos are static, I can’t remove the feeling that my army are not dancing but are somewhat “posing”. And furthermore, the first try did not bring across the “urban” notion at all.
here comes the second one:
Version 2 is improved in terms of bringing the idea of “army” and “urban” across. And the army seems more powerful in taking over the night as they literally fill up the streets. I had luck in finding the background stock image that uses a distorted fish- eye effect that gives the viewer a feeling of smallness and fear.
I used smudge tool and blur filter to create the sense of motion for the giant, making it seem like it sprang out of nowhere and looming over everyone else.
I learnt a lot from creating this photomontage from various photoshop tutorial sources, and learnt to position subjects on backgrounds to make them look cohesive by using vanishing lines.
Stock photos that I have used in the second version are as follows:
08 10 / 2011
08 10 / 2011
This assignment is about the ketai phenomena, how it being so ubiquitous and advanced so far that it’s sub-feature, the ketai camera has dealt a heavy impact on photography.
My concept is to highlight how the ubiquity existence of camera phones altogether with mobile apps that enables the user to apply different filters to express their “perspectives”. Using a method that is similar to photo-collage, I took photos of objects from different angles and applied different filters, and pieced them together using Photoshop.
07 10 / 2011
In today’s tutorial, we went through a couple of techniques useful for creating a collage. I honestly learnt quite a couple of new tricks which I am excited to use in the assignment.
For selection purposes, I normally use the Rectangle Marquee Tool first, to select the required area and “inverse select” to delete the unneeded parts or by “Layer via Copy/Cut” to get the wanted area onto another layer. This step is to allow me to focus working on a smaller area.
Some times the most frustrating selection to make is when using the Magic Wand Tool to remove unwanted colors, most of the time when the unwanted colors are interlaced with wanted ones, and it takes a lot of effort and time to slowly delete by enlarging the photo and remove by treating small patches of pixels.
Today I learnt new and more efficient ways of doing such selections by using Quick Select Tool *new in CS5 (yay!) and tweaking the Refining Edge (see video).
Also, the adjustment layers (which I have been using) are made more clear in distinction against adjustments local to the image itself. Basically the adjustment layer increases flexibility in editing photos without changing the pixels of the original file, while making local adjustments is “destructive” as it changes the actual pixels themselves and if saved, will not get back the original image anymore.
Lastly we discussed about blend modes, which I have been using quite often but without understanding of the theory behind. Most of the time I just go by gut feeling and try out the different blend modes and see which one looks best. After some research, here’s what I learnt:
Blend mode applies when there are more than one layer.
Normal Mode is when the layers interact with each at 100% opacity, just like 2 opaque objects on top of one another, areas covered are not seen.
Dissolve: makes the lower layer take the color of the upper layer, effect is only seen when there’s some degree of transparency in the upper layer.
Darken: displays the darker color between the two layers
Multiply: darkens the lower layer based on the upper layer. white becomes transparent
Color Burn: burns the color of the upper layer into the lower layer
Linear Burn: intense version of multiply
Lighten: inverse of darken
Screen: inverse of multiply
Color Dodge: dodges lower layer with colors of upper layer
Linear Dodge: like screen but more intense
Overlay: multiplies the light colors and screens the dark ones
Soft Light: multiply dark tones and screen light tones
Hard Light: multiply dark colors and screen light colors
Vivid Light: dodges or burns the lower layer pixels depending on whether the upper layer pixels are brighter or darker than neutral gray. It works on the contrast of the lower layer.
Linear Light: same as Vivid Light but it works on the brightness of the lower layer instead.
Pin Light: changes the lower layer pixels depending on how bright the pixels are in the upper layer. It acts like Multiply when the upper layer color is darker than neutral gray, and acts like screen if the upper layer color is lighter than neutral gray.
Difference: acts on the difference between pixels in the lower and upper layer, larger the difference lighten the color, small differences darken the color
Exclusion: uses the darkness of the lower layer to mask the difference between the upper and lower layers
23 9 / 2011
This post is dedicated to the class exercise we had last week. We went out of the classroom to shoot photographs of anything we could find that befits the theme, using whatever gadgets that we have, and with the liberty of applying smartphone apps for photo enhancement. The photos Itook:
This photograph is visually appealing IMO, and tells a simple message: How extraordinarily Strong is Nature. A red filter was applied to it to make the color contrasts more obvious.
This was another photo that my group liked, a SDOF shot, and I was amazed to find that the iPhone camera is able to adjust its focal length so well. No adjustments were made to this shot. How it befits the theme would be: the lone ant that ventures far from its nest…
Leading Lines! :D
The best picture chosen out of the class was one of the cleaning auntie who works at arts canteen, it had deeper meanings and made people ask questions, which I think is a feat not easy to achieve.
19 9 / 2011
It is yet a again a late post as I finally muster up the motivation to revisit this blog. I happen to have an innate cringe whenever I visit this ‘portfolio’ blog. Beats me to know why.
Anyway, back to subject. This post is about the photos I have taken for Assignment 1 which is to experiment with basic photography techniques and produce photos of each category, namely: Shallow Depth-of-Field, Deep Depth-of-Field, Motion Blur, Freeze Motion and possibly Panning.
I honestly had lots of fun and spent enjoyable amount of time on it, I ended up with close to about 300 shots of different objects, people, time, place and composition. I was really quite impressed with myself when I squatted at the traffic light opposite ION Orchard for close to an hour, just to capture 1 satisfying shot. Which did not really happen, I was still unsatisfied with the best shot I have gotten, I guess everyone has got to deal with failures and limitations.
The idea is to show the contrast of static and motion. Difficulties I faced with regard to this photo per se, is that it was during night time around 8pm, there was little natural lighting. I was told that beginners will find it difficult to shoot at night, so true. I wanted to capture the motion blur from the traffic, yet I also wanted to give good portray of ION’s grandeur, (the flowers in the foreground are an added bonus which happen to sprout nicely right where I squatted). It was difficult to find a good balance of aperture, ISO and shutter speed.
In order to capture the motion blur, I needed a slightly slower shutter speed but fast enough to capture the vehicles. Most of the shots turned out really blur because my hands could not be steady for long and the lights were flying all over the place. And because I set my aperture to be wider and ISO high, the photos turned out to be overexposed and ION was just a mess of light. Other times, in order to counter the exposition, I tweaked my ISO, and in turn got back a bunch of underexposed pictures…
I’d love to blog more about that one particular shot but I guess I should shift the focus on to the shots taken for the assignment.
1. Deep Depth-of-field
This is taken at Vivocity’s open rooftop, overseeing the little gap of sea between Singapore and Sentosa. The original photo was much gloomier which I personally liked, as it gave a feeling of the ships being trapped under the looming thundercloud. I chose this picture over the next one because I thought the foreground, middle-ground and far-ground are more distinct.
Deep Depth-of-field 2
I love this photo very much. I felt so happy after I shot this and could not stop looking at it. I applied a vintage filter to the photo and amplified the feelings I get when I look at it, kind of like a childhood love story, don’t you feel? The little kids are really fun to take photos of, they don’t know what you have in hand yet they know you are being attentive to them and they show off their most beautiful smiles :)
2. Shallow Depth-of-Field
I waited for a certain bug to land on this flower for about 5min, and I gave up, and just took a SDOF shot of it.
3. Freeze Motion
I have trouble representing this photo here on the blog, the colors look so dull here, but the original file is much more vibrant with a vintagey touch. This photo makes me reminiscence my younger years, brings back so much memories even though this photo is not about me.
4. Motion Blur
This was my proudest shot from the first experimental shooting session. I firmly believe that luck is an important element in photography, aside from skills and gears.
Taken in a moment of frantic excitement as a string of bubbles suddenly flew past when I was searching for shootable objects. Again, what a lucky shot and lucky bubble :)
I learnt a lot out of this assignment, such as positioning the object, cropping the photos strategically, applying different filters and adjusting photo balance. And personally, such shooting trips are like precious me-times, where I can enjoy a serene time of just me, my camera and my surroundings.
01 9 / 2011
Sorry for the late post. I wrote a post on the day of our first tutorial out of pure excitement but my com had to restart itself at that fateful moment that I felt aptly “dulan” so I procrastinated until now.
But in the mean time, I had been experimenting with photography, and I am proud to say that I am addicted to it. I believe that years of watching anime and reading manga has indeed somehow benefitted me, in the sense of instinctively framing an image.
I do think that right now in Photography, starting out as a newbie, it is equally important to harp on the technical skills and to start opening my eyes and observing. I believe, like any other art or craft, it is pertinent to human experience and emotions, and photography is one among many other means to expression. Hence the thought, concept and story behind a winning photograph is what constitutes to the conceptual level of Photography. And at the same time it is also important to sharpen the skills to the point that it is instinctive so as not to be caught in the frustrations of unable to deliver/portray/communicate the message that one wants to put across.
Beginning with the panning exercise photo that Jing made us take during tutorial, I want to post a couple of shots that I am appreciative of, and possibly try to understand what about that photo makes one want to take a second look. Non of these photos are the ones that I am going to submit for Assignment 1.
1. Panning NUS Bus
2. A common flat shot of a tree. I like it and can’t help taking second and thirds looks at it. I guess it is the gradual colour change from darker shades of green to light greens, and finally fading off to the whites of the sky, that got me looking at this picture again and again.
3. Took this photo at U-Town, attempted to frame the building with the shelter of the boardwalk.
4. Took this photo on the way back to hall, about 6pm when the sun was about to set. Normally this setting sun will heat my room up so much it is possible to sun-tan on my room floor, but this shot makes me feel contrary to the frustrations I have towards the setting sun in relation to my hall room, I feel the warmth and light that the sun brings to us, instead of just heat.
There are so many more photos that I like coz I took them. But I guess I’ll leave it till next time. Ciao