Digital Media Design


Principals of Computer Graphics – Personal Portrait

Personal Portrait

Wednesday 1st December 2010

Making changes and adding more effects

Adobe After effects & Premiere Pro Screenshots

Adobe After effects & Premiere Pro Screenshots

During the post production process for the Viral Video I discovered a number of interesting effects which prompted me to look again at the Personal Portrait and make some changes and see if I would be able to include some of these effects adding to audience participation and the look of the end result.

I particularly felt that the ending of my film was a bit weak and needed something to enhance both the image and sound. Luckily I remembered a very small sound sequence that I’d heard recently which seemed very appropriate. Incorporating this sound sequence gave me an idea of how I wanted the final film sequence to look and so I began to look at and experiment with effects for example Tinting; adjusting the Hue, the Lighting, Edge Effects and others until I found a combination which worked for me and the overall effect I was trying to achieve.

I was aiming for final video sequence to just show the outline of the image, somewhat similar in effect to the Stamp filter in Photoshop. After experimenting by trying each effect in turn I hit upon  the right combination of effects which was ideal for the look I was after, this also had the additional benefit that allowed me to cut and edit the clip almost seamlessly syncing the mouth movements to the soundtrack. The effects were a mix of ‘Change Color’ using the Color Correction Mask which I then matched to White and then inversed it. Then finally combining this with ‘Solarisation’ to give this outline/Stamp like effect for the final image.

I also decided to up the quality of the content to HD that is 1080p and compress the running time of the film to be just less than a minute.

The completed Personal Portrait


The intended message for an audience to take from my Self Portrait is in it’s representation of time – in this case time passing. Each photograph is representative of its place in time, be it a decade, a key moment in time a memory, an interest. My Digital Portrait is in two parts – the first part began as a 2D image a digital composition produced from photographs which I then imported into Adobe Premiere CS5/CS4 and edited into a video sequence. This part of the Portrait remains a 2D image even though it has now been transformed into a moving image. “In this interface, the horizontal dimension represents time, while the vertical dimension represents the spatial order of the different layers making up each image” Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. The MIT Press, 2001, p. 155. The second part of the Portrait, a series of five video sequences again edited in Premiere has also been edited using After Effects CS4 and a number of effects have been added (See previous Blog entry) and this adds another dimension to the images. “If the Premiere interface conceptualises editing as an operation in 2D dimensions, the interface of one of the most popular compositing programs, After Effects 4.0, adds a third dimension.” Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. The MIT Press, 2001, p. 156.


As to influences the most obvious is David Hockney recently introduced in a lecture and his work on Montages for example Pearblossom Highway, 11th-18th April 1986 and assume vivid astro focus exhibition at the Tate Liverpool. “This new work, commissioned for Tate Liverpool to complement the exhibition Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era, is an all-encompassing environment combining exuberant wallpaper designed by the artist and several video projections. The centre piece is a video montage, an on-going project of potentially unlimited duration since new footage is added to it for each venue.”

Another Personal Portrait – this version created using my Facebook Profile and the Intel Application ‘ The Museum of Me’ which went live in June 2011 but I thought would be worth posting here.


Principles of Computer Graphics – Personal Portrait – Video

Personal Portrait

Wednesday 3rd November 2010

Personal Portrait  – Montage

Personal Portrait - Photo Montage

Personal Portrait - Photo Montage

We continued to work on the development of the personal portrait in class today.

Following on from my work earlier in the week  and armed with my Photoshop Montage I looked at importing the images into Adobe Premiere Pro in order to investigate how I could develop my still images into a moving image. By experimenting with the import options, I tried something new, at least for me by importing the complete Photoshop PSD file as a  sequence. I was gratified to see that when the entire PSD with all it’s layers were imported each layer was assigned separately and in sequence to the workspace. I’d only imported merged layer images previously, having control over the individual layers offered much more options for video transitions.

This would make the design much simpler as I’d be able to work on the individual layers but as they had been imported in the planned sequence the final image/montage would be achieved just by running this sequence. The effect that I wanted to achieve could be done by applying a Transition to each individual layer.

Personal Portrait – next steps

I already had some idea of how I wanted the film to progress, I wanted to show how the entire image was made up of individual layers/images and how they all come together to make up one big picture just like a Jigsaw puzzle. I positioned each layer roughly in time sequence onto the video tracks, offsetting each video tracks starting position by a few seconds. I continued to do this until all the layers were added and then played it. The result worked but was somewhat boring as each individual image popped into existence as the film progressed. It was obvious that some kind of effect was needed at the beginning of each track as it started.

After experimenting with a number of 3D Transformations I settled on ‘Spin In’ as the most effective. Each image would now appear from the centre and spin to it’s position in the Montage. I was really pleased with this initial result and could see that with further development and refinement this would be a very effective video sequence which could either stand in its own right or could be included in a longer video sequence with more elements to be even more effective.



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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