Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Where The Ocean Meets The Sky Meets The Land

Image Crop of Panoramic

DS106 Surreal Panorama VisualAssignments, VisualAssignments1330 


I have been fascinated with surrealism art since I first learned about it when I was in highschool (1998). I was captivated by the works of Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali among several other incredible surrealists. What is interesting about surreal art, is that it often times combines photorealistic qualities to give a sense of realism yet something isn’t quite right with the juxtaposition of the elements in the scene. The viewer gets an odd sense of an alternate reality or dream like state. The inspirational works of surrealism provides a creative lens to the tangible world, and the world of visual arts.

Rough Concept Sketch
The works of Magritte has had such a profound impact on my interest in art, I chose to pay homage to the influence by focusing on the “water” and “clouds” in the scene I created. Many memorable works of Magritte include manipulation of clouds and water in juxtaposition with objects that are not naturally part of the environment. Initially, I drew a sketch of “sea clouds” with ships upside down and the earth landscape rendered as clouds.

However, after I starting creating I flipped the canvas and turned the boats right-side up. The decision to do this was because I did not feel the viewer could be as engaged without a natural gravitational sense. The viewer did not feel so inclined to look at the protagonist (the two boats in the foreground). The surprising result to doing this made the water look as though it was falling due to gravity and the “cloud earth” looks like a bubble or containment for the environment. Overall the experience of reliving my memories of Magritte’s work and creating the artwork itself was very satisfying.
Full Panoramic
The technical details to creating this work in Photoshop is fairly challenging. However, starting out with great images will simplify the process. Fortunately, I am familiar with a website frequented for video game designers who create level art called CGtextures.com. I’ve been using the website since 2006 for various video game projects. I downloaded several images of landscapes that I knew could work for the image I had in mind. I also perused my own photo library from a weekend vacation I took to San Diego, CA. I was able to get the water and the boat pictures from my own photo library. I began by stitching the landscape and clouds together to make a panoramic style image. From there I literally cut out cloud shapes with the selection tool over the images of water and pasted them into the scene. The most work involved creating the “sea clouds”. I used the warp tool and distort tool on my shapes and then used the smudge and erase tool on the edges of the shapes to get the feathered look. I used custom brushes that I created for past project painting backgrounds and clouds for games. I cut out the boats and changed the saturation and value on them to blend them into the scene. Finally, I flattened the image and applied some adjustment layers to increase the color and contrast.



Tips for success:
  • Create a sketch first.
  • Find appropriate images to match the design in your sketch (use royalty free or personal photos).
  • Keep it simple. Focus on foreground, middleground, and background development.
  • Have fun experimenting!
Enjoy the DS106 easter egg!