Bear with me, this is a journey

I have fallen in love with Tim Owens’ Averaging Concepts using Flickr visual assignment. I liked it so much I did it before #ds106 Summer of Oblivion even started.

Then today came Lou McGill’s post Layers, which took the idea to a whole new level. I still aspire to make something as wonderful as the final image of his her dad. But that’s not the direction I went today, though I did push this averaging thing a little further along in a different direction.

It was Tim Owens’ averaging tutorial post that pointed me toward the work of Jason Salavon, in particular his portrait project. I am crazy for these things, these “atmospheric meta-portraits”.

As it happens, I had a ready-made image series to experiment with. In summer of 2009 I took a Drawing I class, and our final project was this: dress up as your alter ego, shoot a bunch of photos of yourself, pick the best one, crop it to the right proportion, print an 8×10, and use that as a reference to enlarge and redraw at 16×20 inches using our choice of media. We could draw black and white or color images. I chose to create mine in color using art markers. So you can see the photos I started with, here is a video I made documenting that drawing assignment.

So from the photo shoot from the drawing project, I had 62 photographs that were of similar composition. I decided to make an averaged portrait. I followed Tim’s tutorial. When I saw the result I was happy with it, but I still wanted to try adding it to another photo, like Lou McGill did. I tried some other photos in my catalog of images but I just wasn’t happy with the juxtaposition for any of them, and then it hit me:

Animated GIF.

I brought my final selection photo, the one I made my drawing from, and masked it using the Quick Selection tool to grab only my skin, feathering the selection about 60px and then turning that selection into a layer mask. I liked the Soft Light blending mode, but you could still see my face too clearly, so I reduced the opacity to 10%. Then I made an animated GIF, playing with the timing and whether the masked photo layer was on or off, varying the opacity when it was on. I only needed eight frames to get what I was after – a sort of flickering in and out of the more discernible version of my face.

So here is my final result, an animated GIF + amalgamated self-portrait using averaging. I’m liking it.

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4 Responses to Bear with me, this is a journey

  1. Jim says:

    This is so freaking awesome, animating the layers into a GIF. Talk about playing on and off one another.Lou McGill’s averaged concept as background was genius, she did a wonderful job with that. But this animating a GIF highlights the way we can all riff off the ideas out there an make something new and cool. Have I already said how awesome you have been?

  2. Tim Owens says:

    I absolutely love Jason Salavon’s work and you’ve done a great rendition here. I love how the “averaged” portrait has both unique qualities that make it “you” but at the same time it’s anyone and everyone. In fact the idea that you and Lou and others are taking this regular assignment and remixing it into even cooler things has great potential for the course. We all build on the work of others, refine ideas, and make some awesome art in the process!

  3. Lou McGill says:

    stunning effect – I love this

  4. Stella Meme says:

    Seriously beautiful and amazing. Love it on so many levels. For the product, the process, the elements that go into it all. A bit mind blowing actually. Thanks for sharing. Safe travels, looking forward to your contributions on the other side of the pond.

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