Conclusion

My finished images, are I think in the end, alright. Though not nearly as good as my inspirations would make them seem. I think part of the problem was far greater ambition than my technical skills allowed. While the images get the essence of what I’d envisioned across: flying cities, elephant man, etc. They don’t always look that realistic. Part of the problem, especially for the final set of images were the lighting conditions I shot under, which were universally bright and sunny, which made the darker elements (especially the underside of the flying cities) stand out against the much brighter sky.

Overall I’m most pleased with my second image for the mutant assessment, which I think looks the most real. Whereas my third project images didn’t look as real because of a lack of practice of the technical parts of photoshop that I’d have to master. Though I do think the final prints are alright. If I had the chance to do it again, a greater focus on getting the perspective tow rk, and also waiting for better lighting conditions, would be my priorities.

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Project 3 – Cyberpunk Sydney Design

To actually create the images of the cyberpunk city, I first drew some rough sketches of what I thought they could look like. The outlines I had influenced the photos I took for the final images. I wanted to have two exterior shots, showing flying cities above Sydney, and one interior shot that gave a more focused view of a particular part of the city.

For the above image I’d originally had the idea of a shot of Sydney Harbour, with a gleaming city contrasted next to the results of the technological advancement. Much like the below image I’ve mentioned before.

Worth Enough?

For the end result though, I wound up ignoring that original plan, to focus on creating a panorama of the city and making more flying cities obvious in the image.  Part of the problem I had while creating this particular image was based on making sure that the flying cities were the right distance from the viewer, to give the effect of actually being flying in the air, far away, and yet also be big.

My second image was a close up of flying cities from below.

It remained mostly unchanged, and I only really added in more buildings, after finding that it looked too empty.

The final image, based on an interior shot of the Queen Victoria Building, was originally meant to be much more ‘gleaming’ so to speak. A sort of idealised shopping centre of the future, with screens along the sides as shopfronts to be ordered from.

For this image, I felt that I didn’t manage to do as good a job as I would have liked. It ended up with nor real features, that made it stand out from a normal picture of the Queen Victoria Building, and in regards to the screens along the side of the wall, felt worse than my original photo.

The main problem I felt I had working on these images was that I often found myself with technical problems: not knowing how to get the best angle for the perspective of the flying cities, and in the case of the final image. Not knowing the best way to get the sort of screen effect I was looking for.

In the end though, I’m pretty pleased with my first two images, while not as pleased with my last one. I gave them all a sepia tone for a sort of contrast between the futuristic technology on show and what it might look like in the future, as a matter of fact way of life. I think the overall effect is pretty nice, though it doesn’t save the final Queen Victoria Building image, which I think failed due to a lack of planning on my part in terms of what I would include in it. Whereas I knew I wanted to have the flying cities in the first two images, they were last minute additions in that one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Project 3 – Cyberpunk Sydney Inspiration

Cyberpunk is a particular subset of the science-fiction genre that is heavily influenced by ‘noir’ films and novels and usually involves a future in which technology and corrupt corporations control the world, setting up an upper and lower class based on who controls the technology and who is controlled by the technology.

Live for Films

In terms of visual aesthetic, the film Blade Runner is a major influence, showing a a future Los Angeles which is overcast and oppressive. The architecture of this future Los Angeles is a major part of this; there’s a major emphasis on skyscrapers which tower over any particular scene, along with the use of gothic architectural elements, particularly gargoyles, which gives the movie a darker vibe.

Scene Stealers

This along with the omnipresence of advertising screens, as well as bright neon lights, gives the city a particular edge, that I’m considering using as a major influence in my portfolio images.

Alt Film Guide

On top of these images, I’d also like to use this image as inspiration, for the creation of my final piece, bringing into account the huge gulf between potential futures.

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Project 2 – Mutant and Background Design

When planning the design of the mutant, I’m taking inspiration from the comic series Elephantmen. In it, genetically engineered animals are used as super soldiers, called Elephantmen, even though Zebras, Hippos, Giraffes and Crocodiles are all used.

Looking around at the huge amount of Elephantmen images, it’s possible to see that the overall design is of an anthropomorphic animal that can stand on two legs. To move away from this, I’d prefer to have a mix of human and animal features to better get the idea of the ‘mutant’ across, as opposed to simply a bipedal animal.

Here I’m taking more of an inspiration from Daniel Lee’s “Manimals” and I’m aiming for the look of a distorted human face, one where the skin of the mutant looks like it’s been pulled across an animal skeleton. This distorted effect could also be compounded by the protrusion of animal elements from beneath the skin. This could obviously include the tusks of an elephant, and perhaps parts of the animal skin, but depending on the final animal I choose, could be different.

What I want to make sure of when developing my animal mutant, is that it isn’t too “clean” like the ‘Manimals’ appear to me to be. There’s the feeling that they’re still human, which works for Daniel Lee’s work, but with the mutant I’m trying to create, I want to aim for a more bestial look, like the one evoked in the Elephantmen images. Essentially a mix between the ‘Manimals’ and the Elephantmen types of mutant, my final image should have an obvious human base, but be weird and uncanny. Scales might be in the place of some parts of the skin (after different animals were mixed and matched) tusks and horns might protrude out of the flesh, and

The above is a rough sketch of what I have in mind, the lack of actual body below the head and before the hand, is something that I liked from the original ‘Lord Kitchener Wants You!’ image; as it gave the text of the poster enough room to be actually seen, and not be drowned out by the body of the figure. Finally, I’m hoping that in making the background I can do something similar to the Uncle Sam and Lord Kitchener posters, and have an almost sepia feel, if not, then at least a background that allows the main figure to stand out more.

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Project 2 – Mutant Idea

I’ve got a few different ideas for the mutant image, most of them following a militaristic theme, where the mutant in question is shown in a war-zone or similar setting; or ideas related to that idea. I’ve laid out below some of the ideas I’ve had.

Based on the ‘Lord Kitchener Wants You!’ poster and other similar images, I’m considering an image where a mutant points out towards the viewer, trying to persuade them to join the ‘Mutant VS Robot War’ or words to that effect. The overall effect should look somewhat cheesy and corny; whoever made the poster is clearly trying too hard, and there’s the possibility of an old-style, more grainy and muted colour poster. Since the image has to take into account the background, and the poster it is based on only used a flat beige background, it may be an idea to have the poster appear on the wall it’s attached to, with paint and other posters visible on it (but not much).

Images from Wikipedia

Looking at the various posters based on the original, especially the ‘Uncle Sam’ one, the important thing to remember when coming up with my own version, is the importance of the face. Aside from the pointing finger, it’s the most important part of the image. Not the most iconic by any means, but it’s what would allow a viewer to know that it’s a mutant and not a human doing the pointing.

A real inspiration is this image of a ‘Mars Needs You!’ poster:

Concept Art thread source.

Artist’s blog.

This follows the basic design I’d like to work into my own image: the worn background, as well as the extra arms to hold a gun, and the big blocky font that this image shares with the original. The main aim of the final image should be something that is immediately recognizable in terms of silhouette design, but which is radically different in terms of what is expected; like how the above image shares the same head exaggeration that is due to the hat in the Uncle Sam image, as well as the same tilt of the shoulder; but is obviously different in that it’s an alien not a human.

In regards to complementing the finished mutant with a background, this particular image may not need one. The simple beige/off-white background used in most of the original posters and their offshoots, works remarkably well, and adding in anything else would detract from the effectiveness of the image.

Another idea is to have an image of a more photographic nature; instead of a poster image, something that takes inspiration from a war photo like those of Eddie Adams, Robert Capa or Joe Rosenthal. These photographers have all taken photos that have become iconic of their respective wars. Capa in the Spanish Civil War, Rosenthal in the 2nd World War, and Adams in the Vietnam War.

Robert Capa

Joe Rosenthal

Eddie Adams

What I can tell from these images is that most iconic photos (at least war photos) have a central figure, while ‘Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima’ has more  of a group, it does have a central silhouette, that is instantly recognisable.

What’s important is to not simply replicate any of the above images with new, mutated characters in the place of the original figures; but to recognise the elements that make these pictures memorable, and work them into my own image.

In no particular order of importance here are some elements I can think of:

  • A recognisable silhouette, that in most cases can tell you the story of the photograph immediately. (See the ‘Falling Soldier’)
  • The figure or figures will take up the centre of the frame, grabbing the viewer’s attention and holding it there.
  • Most of the military photos are in fact (fairly) peaceful, taken during a lull in the action or at a moment when none of the subjects were fighting. There are exception; Capa’s photos of the D-Day landings or obvious ones, but I think this element is true for the most part
  • A used look to the photograph: in the cases of those I’ve shown above, this is mostly because of the black-and-white nature of the photos, giving them a particularly old-time look, that also seems slightly grimy.

There are other, more recent photos that I also consider interesting; the below photo of Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller was taken during the 2nd Battle of Falujah in Iraq.

James Blake Miller

What I’m thinking of in regards to this particular image is the idea of a war journalist in the future taking a photo of a mutant solider resting. The image could be taken from further away than the one of James Blake Miller above, but would be similar in showing the soldier’s face in shock.

‘Two Thousand Yard Stare’

Considering the background, which in this image would be much more prevalent than in the poster image, the above image gives me an idea of what to follow: A ruined landscape, perhaps involving famous Sydney landmarks, with the mutant figure staring out of the image and past the viewer.

The idea of ‘The Thousand Yard Stare’ is probably the main other theme I’d be interested in doing, over that of the ‘I want You!’ poster-image. The choice between the two is partly based on easiness: the poster image would be a matter of making sure the mutant looked realistic, and then depositing it in front of a beige-white background and adding in text. While the Thousand Yard stare idea would require more complex compositing of the figure and the background. The ‘I Want You!’ poster also has the advantage of being more striking, if done in the manner of the original Lord Kitchener one, with only the mutant’s head and arm visible.

This I think, is what I’ll aim to do, it would be possible I think, to add in a ruined war zone as a background, perhaps focused on Sydney landmarks, while making sure that the mutant figure is light enough to see against the background. I think that this (semi) combination of my two main ideas will work well.

 

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Project 1 – Tattoo Print-Off

After printing off the final tattoo image, I had a chance to look at it more closely and figure out what needed some more work.

What I realised was that the first print had too much of a change from the darker side of my face to the lighter side. The colour of the tattoo went from a black to a more brown colour, which was distracting, and didn’t look all that realistic when seen in the print out.

I thought that best way to make this problem a little less severe, was to colour the tattoo in, and I decided on a blue-gray colour, since it seemed one of the more prevalent colorings in the world.

The final image works better than the one before it because of the way the tattoo develops across the face under the different lighting. While the left side is obviously darker than the right; the right side doesn’t fade out as much or change colour as dramatically, which makes it all the better on the whole.

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Project 1 – Tattoo Work in Photoshop

After taking two photos of myself, one using soft lighting leaving most of my face visible, and one using harsh lighting, creating a much darker and scarier effect. While I liked the lighter image, which is easier to see and would make the tattoo stand out more, the darker and photo provided a greater sense of menace and is much more sinister.

The final clearer image was edited in the RAW editor of Photoshop, to make it slightly darker and add a bit of contrast, but it’s still a lot easier to see than the dark image. After copying the tattoo image into the face image, I start by using the liquefy tool to warp the tattoo around the contours of my face. This part was difficult due to having to make sure that my nose and chin were left visible, especially since it’s very easy to let the tattoo ‘flatten’ my face by not warping it enough. I then had to work on ‘burning’ the tattoo in, and I had to choose whether the whole tattoo should be burned in, or just part of it.

I eventually found that leaving out the lower arms made the final image look better, as it left the chin clear, though I left in the ‘target’ circle on my neck, as it worked all right in that position.

The final image works alright I think, especially since the darker side of the face allows the tattoo to be darkened as well, and still look realistic, while the lighter side has a lighter tattoo, which stops it from seemingly taking over the face.

 

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