Technical tip- If you don't know how to do something, ask. It takes a lot longer to erase the background of a picture, then to ask someone for an easier way to do it, (trust me :)
Portrait tip- Find common ground so that you and your group can have fun and still achomplish something.
Use lots of layers, and label them right away. This makes edits much easier later in the process.
Always put your ideas out there, don't be afraid of it being a bad idea, because even if it's a "bad" idea, it might help you or someone else think of a new better idea. Even throw out silly ideas or ideas that might not fit the project description. The key is collaboration-and you need a free flow of ideas for it to work well. Start with a brainstorming session where you just keep saying ideas, keep it positive. Start to narrow down the ideas later.
Collaborative portrait comments:
1. Technical suggestion: When combining layers of photographs, there is many times a white square background that gets in the way. To remove this, select the background eraser tool (the magic tool seems to work best in most situations), and use this to remove the background. Then you can overlap photos without the white part becoming a problem.
2. Collaborative portrait suggestion: When working on photoshop, if there are a lot of little details that have to be completed, it is more efficient to have each group member working on a separate computer. That way, everyone can be working on something, and then each part can be combined later. This allows everyone to take part, rather than only one person working on a computer and everyone else only telling them what to do.
-When doing the collaborative portrait, I find it helpful to begin by talking about what the different parties have in common. From there you can go on to decide which method you will need to use in order to put these themes or ideas together into one solid piece. If you find it doesn't work, then you can always go back and reference the original ideas for another that works.
-The one thing that I think might have helped was for our group to start off with a list. That would make back tracking easier and it also creates the initial ideas. Otherwise, I would say that the participants should definetly have prior knowledge with the technology being used, this is mostly a time-saving idea.
2. From someone with limited skill involving photo shop, this was quite the learning experience. I really was amazed at the tools available to us via photo shop. Michelle and I did encounter frusteration with an inefficient method of cutting out our bodies to transfer to the final page. The tool available was just a tracing tool, which, with eight bodies to outline was very time-consuming. We spent many hours outlining the bodies, with the one helpful tool of zoom aiding the task. Zooming in allowed for more accurate tracing, but also took more time. This did make the final project something we both felt proud of because we knew we'd taken the time to make it the best we could with the technology available. I do recommend for future collaborative projects that students know about this lack of efficient outlining tool so they could make a project that didn't require outlining as much as we did. I do know that the layout of the final page took some tweaking with light, angle, and size. Knowing about how to use 'layers' also helps when working on the final page layout. Overall, I learned about the tools available on photo shop and what they give a student possibilities of - a lot!
1. The collaborative projects were a great way of exploring new artistic possibilities. Michelle and I had different ideas about the project initially, but compromising on a project we both felt represented us was process worth going through. The collaborative project was a way for me to branch out of my comfort zone, because Michelle had great ideas I hadn't thought of before and I got to explore the technology of photo shop. The project is a good way to learn a little about yourself, what you feel could represent you in an artistic way. Photography especially is a different form of art that required the viewer to see beyond what is physically represented, so the process of finding a way to convey that is also challenging. What I found to be neat was the differences Michelle and I had, but yet, we could tie them together in a large general way. This reminds me of how everyone has SOMETHING in common with everyone, but the process of discovering that, through art, is an experience that can't really be explained in words. A project that tested my creative expression, my technology knowledge, and even time management skills - I truly felt it was a satisfying final project and successful at showing Michelle and I as different people but also a connected in both a physically sense and mental sense.
Part 1: I really enjoyed created collaborative art with comrades in class. I would most deffinitly reccomend putting time into deciding a theme for your piece before diving in to the photo process. At first my group started taking photos but didn't really no where to go with them. Then we started to really think about ideas. If I did the project again, I would probably do the latter first. Once we started talking about possibilities for our project we saw that we three people we had less in common. So, we went for a broad theme: the fact that all of us are here in Minneapolis adjusting to the college lifestyle. We decided to make Minneapolis as the main theme, and backdrop for our piece. Once we had our main idea, the ability to express our feelings through the city was the next step. We added ourselves into the portrait in unique possitions to look almost as if we might be playing with the city. After this step we felt the piece was quite bare and needed more. I reccomend that at some point in the middle of your collaboration you should step back and talk about how to add flavor and convey your true message to the audience. This is exactly what we did in order to come up with adding props, outlining Minneapolis, and adding the grafiti (my personal favorite). Once everything was in place it felt accomplished, which is exactly how I think a collacborative portrait should feel.
Part 2: In regards to technically improving a collaborative portrait, I would suggest using some of the distortion methods to spice up your work. I really enjoyed these features, and even though my group decided against using a lot of them, I think they are still great tools if they fit your particular piece. One frustration I had with the photo system was cutting out our exact body outlines to fit in the picture. The tool used to do this on the photo system is tedious and not completely user-friendly. One thing that made this tool easier to use was to zoom in to the particular area that I was working with. Zooming-in made everything easier to see and saved me time. I also think using a new tool or feature wether it be on the photo system or not is a great idea just for learning purposes. I learned how to use the grafiti tool online, for example, and really enjoyed it!
1) Add your portrait to the category listing Collaborative Portraits. (Primary Category = Collaborative Portraits).
2) Each person in your collaborative portrait group then adds their own 2 part comment about your collaboration:
part 1 - a suggestion related to the collaborative process that you would recommend to others
part 2 - a technical suggestion for constructing a collaborative portrait that you think is helpful, fun, inspiring, a way to avoid frustration or visually interesting.