Visual Assignment: Chimeratic Composition


For this assignment, I wanted to use some pictures I already had. I started going through the many vacation pictures we have. I was looking for photos that offered some “space”over which to layer other images. I took a photo from our trip to England of the Roman Baths in Bath, England and combined it with a picture of my husband rowing a boat which is actually from another trip, this time to France (where else to row a boat but France, right? Très romantique!)

I chose the rowboat image because he would still be in a body of water, just one that is smaller than a neighborhood swimming pool. I added the parrot because it seemed having a bird on your shoulder would be something you could do on a boat (I guess I was thinking pirate…). The pirate is NOT from a past vacation, but rather a google image search of “parrot on shoulder”. I knew I needed a parrot on a left shoulder and was able to find one.   Here are the three unadulterated images:

126 111parrots

For this, I stuck with Pixlr and used the layering and eraser tool quite a bit. I used the baths as my background layer.

Then I selected “open image as layer” for the picture of my husband and layered it over the background.

layerI then employed the eraser function and made my brush REALLY big to erase the entire rowboat picture except for my hubby.

Next, the parrot. I initially slapped that photo on top, unedited, but it was too messy to erase. So I saved it as an image, then used the crop and eraser tools to get the image down to just the parrot with a white background.

parrotsedited From there, I repeated the “open image as layer”, placed the parrot on hubby’s shoulder and erased the parrot background.

compositeI’m sure there is some kind of cut tool that would have let me cut away swaths of layer instead of erase, but I was on a roll with the eraser from my first assignment and figured if it’s working for now, why stop? Next time I work with layers like this, I’ll do my research to do it the “right” way if there is one.

As for the result?  I’d say this is some pretty cheesy photo editing.  As a positive, I did become much more comfortable with Pixlr, get more practice with layers and got to put my imagination (and old vacation pics) to good use in this assignment.  The size of both the parrot and my husband is so large as to make them almost monster-like in their proportions to the bath and the other people in the shot.  I also gave both my husband and the parrot a bit of a haircut in the process of layering them in.  I would probably look into resizing the images in the top two layers to make them more proportional.


5 thoughts on “Visual Assignment: Chimeratic Composition

  1. This is nice! I like your neat edges of the single images.

    I consider it a challenge to make a composition from pictures of various sources.
    What always helps is thinking about the shadows and lights, which are mostly different in the different parts of the composition.

  2. Pingback: Asleep in the car seat on the way home… | I haven't a clue what I'm doing!

  3. Just fantastic- the question is, how does your husband feel about the image? The scale does not bother me at all; it represents a point of view as if we were there in the boat (if you scaled it down, the perspective would be from someone watching form farther away.

    This will become a new model example of how to write up a ds106 assignment- I can trace your ideas to the way you put it together.

    The keys for doing this kinds of collage/montages is learning how to use the selection tools. The lasso tool helps you trace out a contiguous area; you can often circle around the back ground elements, and then delete them. Often I will select around the subject (parrot or husband), and then use from the Edit menu “Invert selection” so it chooses everything but your subject. Boom, delete.

    If the background is a solid color or similar colors, try the magic wand selection; it chooses areas of similar color (so you can delete).

    It can eb tricky to get the edges. If you want ore fine tuned, you may want to select closer to the subject to remove, and then find tune the fringes with the eraser.

    But you totally have the concept down for composing in layers.

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