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Self Portrait – The Montage as a still image

Tuesday 2nd November 2010

Starting with all the photographs that I had scanned into the computer the previous weekend, I began to isolate the image I wanted to include in the Portrait by removing it from the background. I used Photoshop CS4 and the Magnetic Lasso tool to follow the image around it’s edge before cutting this out and making a new image ready for adding to the final 2D Portrait as a new layer.

I repeated this for all the images I wanted to include in the final Portrait and so armed with over thirty images I set about designing my personal portrait by importing each of these images that I’d carefully removed from their backgrounds into the new one.

Personal Portrait - Photographic Montage V1.0

Personal Portrait - Photographic Montage V1.0

I initially thought I’d make the final image follow a timeline, a sequence starting with the earliest photograph and building up until the final image of me in 2010. Although this seemed to make sense the initial result looked too regimented and the overall effect was less than I’d hoped for. Instead I looked at the images and decided it was a puzzle and it would be better to match images and shapes much like a Jigsaw and so like in all good Jigsaws I started with the edges first. This seemed to go much better especially fitting those photographs with a straight edge to the images edges. There was no time-line to the image now but I made sure that the most recent photograph was located centrally so that all the other images seemed to be related to the most recent one of myself. I then included some images of activities that are important to me that is cars, motorcycles etc.

The final image looked as good as I’d hoped but I felt it still needed an Artistic edge otherwise it looked just like a collection of photographs cobbled together rather than a carefully constructed piece of artwork. Knowing the available filters in Photoshop I knew that what I wanted was the final image to look like a Poster and so I applied the ‘Poster Edges’ filter to the merged layers of the Montage. This gave a good overall effect but some of the images looked blurred, out of focus and so I decided the only way forward was to apply the ‘Poster Edges’ effect to each of the individual layers adjusting where necessary the amount of effect the filter had on the image. this worked much better and as well as controlling the effect on each image it allowed me to balance the effect across the whole Montage in particular balancing the photographs in Black and White with those in colour.

With the still version completed I then began to think how it would work as a moving image. Referring back to my earlier ideas I realised that none of them would achieve the result that I wanted although they could be used in future projects and so I needed a new idea. The one I came up with followed the idea I had in producing the Montage that is looking at it as a puzzle and eventually as a Jigsaw and so I thought make the process of making the Montage from the individual pieces coming together just like a Jigsaw into a film. This would also have the additional effect of showing how through the images I have chosen, I have become the person that you see now.

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