Monday, October 31, 2011

Lesson idea: Alter Ego Photography - Digital

This project is a favorite of the graphic design students. Most students take the course thinking that we are going to do "cool stuff" to their photographs and are very disappointed by the fact that they don't use their cameras very much. There is actually not much photography that is required with the exception of a few projects. This one is one of them.

I first saw this project idea over five years ago when I was an avid blogger on a much lesser known blog community hub called Diaryland.  One of my fellow D-landers was a graphic designer for a major magazine publishing house in NYC and during one of her down times between deadlines, she posted some images of herself digitally cloned. I thought it was SO cool and tried it with my own self-taught photoshop skills (read: more like hacks). I was able to do it reasonably well for myself but I kind of was doing it just to see if I could do it so there was really no point to even doing it in the first place. I ended up mentally bookmarking it for a later time when it would serve a better purpose.

Three years ago (when I was blessed to be able to step into this position) the curriculum for this course was wide open. The instructor before me had very limited experience with using/teaching photoshop and I was told point-blank that the sky was the limit with regard to the class and what could be done. I immediately thought of the clone photoshop trickery that I was once so enthralled with. Funny thing is that it was also something that had become a bit of a fad for others as well. In my research to show my students examples of what could be done, I found a whole flickr community dedicated to it and the idea was also featured on one of the Real Housewives franchises. (Don't judge/hate that I just openly admitted that I have seen this series. *wink* For the record, I am not an avid watcher of it.)

Because I have been a fan of this project long before I was a teacher, the tutorial did not originate from textbook that we use for the class. I created one that used pictures of my daughter taken at home that walked them through the general steps well enough that they could refer back to the steps to create their own pieces.  Overall? This project has come a LONG way in terms of the polish that the students have added to their finished pieces. They are no longer just merging multiple images together to be within one frame. Now they are employing great acting skills to be able to interact with their digitally cloned selves in addition to thinking about  a larger picture of what they are ultimately trying to say with their multiple selves. Their technique with merging the images is also better and the renderings are a lot more seamless. I encouraged them to try and not use flashes and also pay attention to lighting in their final images. They had a lot of fun overall that I added a second very similar self-photography project into the curriculum that introduces the idea of surreal photography and levitation. (I'll be showing images of this some time this week!) Here are their clone/alter ego images just to whet your palettes. I'm so proud of my students! They really are doing well and making great strides overall.

1 comment:

  1. Those. Are. AWESOME!!!!

    Ps- I was totally a Diaryland-er, then a livejournal...


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