VFL17 In Review!

I have now published my project on the View from Leicester website under the VFL17 section as A Mini Tour of Leicester. Before publishing it I went out again to take two photos, one of which I’d use in the final post an another to use in a promotional post on the VFL Facebook page.

The photo I used at the start of my final post on the VFL site can be seen below and was taken as a teaser to put next to the introduction with Lego man out of focus in the foreground and Leicester Cathedral in focus in the background:

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The photo I used for the promotional post of the VFL Facebook page can be seen below. For this I used the same teaser style as the previous photo with the Lego man out of focus in the foreground. I edited the image in Adobe Photoshop to apply the VFL17 text over the image and blended it in by lowering the opacity and using the eraser tool. This promotional post can be seen here.

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To see all the posts visit the Instagram account here!

Overall the account and photo posts have received quite a good response online in the couple of weeks since it was created with the account getting more interaction through followers, likes and comments than I initially thought it would. One follower commented that on their recent trip to Leicester they did’t get a lot of time to look around and so was enjoying exploring the city through looking at the photos. This is exactly the response I wanted from the posts to make viewers want to visit these locations and if not to give them a virtual tour of these places to see what they’re missing out on. Another commenter simply said that they liked the idea behind the account. I also received a few messages on the account with one of my good friends saying how the photos had made the city look interesting and completely different to what he’d thought/seen of it before. Another message I received to my surprise was from the De Montfort University account saying that the university press office loved the idea behind the account and would like to know more about it. So overall I am pleased with the outcome of the account and still have quite a few images to use in posts which I may still upload in the remaining couple of days until the deadline and may even continue on with this account afterwards as it’s quite fun to do.

(Click the image thumbnails to view a larger version)

 

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The @LeicesterLegoMan Instagram account at the time of posting.

 

More Posts!

With the photos I was posting on the Leicester Lego Man Instagram account I decided it could be improved by making use of the new “Gallery Feature” in Instagram that allows you to upload more than 1 photo in a post which the viewer can simply scroll right/left through the images.

I had therefore thought that it would be good to have the first image the same as before with the Lego man in front of the significant location/place and then following images in the gallery being a mix of other photos of the location or other shots of the Lego man in the location. This would show a wider perspective of the place, explain/show the caption information more and generally make the place more “advertising” or interesting to the viewer of the media. With more than one image each post is also potentially retaining the viewer’s attention for a longer period of time.

The first implementation of this gallery feature was when I posted about one of my favourite streets in Leicester that is probably not well known about. As seen below this post was about a Graffiti Street in the city centre called Short Street and includes 4 images; 3 of which show the Lego man in front of different locations down the street and then the fourth showing of a piece of the graffiti. This gallery was also to reposted by another Leicester related Instagram page as shown here. This Instagram gallery can be seen below:

I then continued to use this gallery feature in the following posts as I felt it worked well to give a wider perspective of the location being shown and talked about in the caption. The following few posts contained a varied number of images within the gallery depending on what there was to take photos of at the location. The most was 5 images in this gallery post of Abbey Park.

Like with the previous King Richard III post I decided to customize the Lego man again when visiting the National Space Centre to create another photo with this fun/funny effect by changing it to look like an astronaut. I think this again worked quite well to make the photo more interesting and engaging for the viewers drawing them in to look through the other photos.

Since posting these galleries up to this point the profile has again grown faster than I’d have thought with continually more followers and more interaction as I post photos more.

Having covered quite a lot of the major attractions/sights around Leicester now the profile photos show to some extent a “mini tour” of the city as you scroll through them. I also still have quite a few photos/photos galleries prepared to post which I will try to upload over the last few days up until the deadline but may not appear on any blog posts due to the timing.

To view all the posts and the most recent ones check out the account here!

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Account Setup & First Posts

To start I firstly created the account I would use to post these images on Instagram.

After a little thought I decided to go for the username “@LeicesterLegoMan” as this was fairly self explanatory as to what the account content would revolve around. The inclusion of Leicester in the name would be a benefit as it would ensure the account appears when anyone searches Leicester and also provides an immediate connection with anyone from Leicester as the account is primarily linked to this city through this name and the content that would be made.

To finish the account setup I also took the photo below of the Lego Minifigure I would use for the profile photo:

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This Leicester Lego Man Instagram can be seen here!

The first posts of the account were single images focused on the Lego man in the foreground with the significant places in Leicester featuring in the background. These started off being edited camera photos but then changed to mainly be more convenient “Instagram edited” phone photos. The captions to these images were largely informative telling the history or other information of the places with occasionally more personal thoughts/opinions captions. On each photo I used a few appropriate/relevant hashtags and the Leicester location tag to help promote the photos so they could be seen by the highest number of people possible while not coming across as “spamming” hashtags since I didn’t use anywhere near the limit of 30 allowed on one post. For one of the photos I even tried to link into an event that was currently happening too since I posted a photo of the Lego man in front of the DMU sign while it was a university open day.

A good example of one of the starting camera photos includes:

Just after starting the account I had to go to London for a day in which I posted two photos on the day of the Lego Man during the trip to London like the accounts I took inspiration from did when they travel anywhere. One was a more artistic edited camera photo of the Lego Man on some of the Santander Cycles while the other was a photo taken with my phone camera and uploaded while waiting for a train. I found this quite fun taking photos with my phone, editing them in Instagram and instantly uploading them since I usually spend a long time editing photos during my other photography work.

For one photo I tried to be a bit more creative by mimicking the popular statue of King Richard III with the Lego man I would take a photo of in front of it. I did this by adding Lego minifigure parts to  man to make it look like the statue by holding up a sword and crown and wearing some armour. I then posed the man in a similar way and took a photo of it in front of the real statue. As you can see in the image below I think that this created quite an eye catching and funny post:

As you can see by the screenshots below up to this point the account was doing fairly well since it had only been running a short while. The number of followers and likes was improving with every post and there had been some positive interaction from other users such as one that said they loved the idea behind the account and another that replied answering something I had written in the caption.

Idea Testing

I started to test one of the original group project ideas that I came up with to see what it would look like when actually created.

I took the idea I had of combining several posted photos from social media of the same location posted by other people/users into a single “collage” photo. These different perspective photos would be sourced from Instagram tags or location tags and then blended together as whole images. These images would show the story of different people’s perspectives on the world and how we each see the world around us. Since we all see and capture images in different ways/styles.

I originally planned to create this collage as just a static image but on consultation with others was convinced to make it animated or a video to make it more interesting to the viewer.

I set about downloading some images of Leicester Clock Tower using the Instagram Location Tag and then imported them into Adobe Photoshop. In Photoshop I used the Transform too to rotate and position these images over one another and then used the timeline tool to add in the different image layers over a set period of the animation. These frames were also set to loop.

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This Photoshop file was then exported as an animated GIF image as seen below:

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I think the final animated image looks good and is definitely more interesting than if it would have been a static image and also allows the use of more images that overlap. However I am not fully keen on this idea and so might work on another new idea relating to photos of significant landmarks or places around Leicester.

The final photos used in the above animated image are by Instagram users:

Background image – https://www.instagram.com/real__lbj/

Overlaid images:

https://www.instagram.com/ranj82/

https://www.instagram.com/pandorapink/

https://www.instagram.com/pablodabrowski/

https://www.instagram.com/my_random_makes/

https://www.instagram.com/mehzabin___/

https://www.instagram.com/carpediememmie/

https://www.instagram.com/anitaremek/

 

Gold Squad

For this assignment the task was to create a “find the difference” picture with at least 6 differences by editing things out of a photo.

My inspiration for this was my photography work in which I edit objects and things out of photos all the time to get a polished “perfect photo” look. For example this piece of previous work below comparing a “before and after” of the editing of a photo:

I therefore decided to take a twist on the assignment by editing a photo that I had taken beforehand. I would remove some bigger elements to create differences like the assignment asked and then would go on to do my “perfection” editing where I remove everything I find annoying or distracting within the image to create the best/cleanest photo I can.

I started using Adobe Lightroom to edit the image using Spot Removal Tool which works by specifying a source circle and then a destination circle for the source to be pasted over. You can also speicify “Heal” or “Clone” to determine how the source is pasted over it; whether it is just copied identically or healed/merged into place. The Spot Healing Tool view with my edited circles can be seen in the image below:

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To perfect the image I also used Adobe Photoshop to finalize some of the editing that I started in Lightroom and to remove some other parts that wasn’t possible with the Spot Removal Tool. I used the Spot Healing Brush Tool to get rid of minor parts since it fills them in automatically and then used the Healing Brush Tool to specify appropriate areas of the photo, position these copied areas over the parts to edit out and then blend them in using the Eraser Tool. My Photoshop Editing screen can be seen below:

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Here’s the final “Spot the Differences” or “Before and After” photos:

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As you can see there are quite a few big differences in the photos as well as the small minor “polishing” changes. The big changes include the guy in front of the door on the right, the guy by the Range Rover on the left, the red car/line in the bottom left and all of the Michael Kors and Dior branding on the shop fronts.

I was very happy with how this photo turned out since I edited it to the point where it is as good as it can be that I actually decided to post it online. For this I re-imported it into Lightroom, square cropped it and re-watermarked it in the new crop before posting it to Instagram as seen below:

I think my finished “before editing” and “after editing” photos shows some of the power of modern computer image editing and manipulation. There has been quite a lot of controversy online over this sort of “extreme editing” with relation to pictures of models/people edited by businesses or the media which set unrealistic standards/goals to society. For example this recent story demonstrates a magazine possibly trying to make a model on the cover look slimmer than she actually is. Another example of Photoshop editing being caught out which I find particularly funny is these North Korean state-published images which most are quite blatantly not real.

Here’s My Card….

For this assignment the task was to create a business card.

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Whenever I think of business cards I think of this scene from The Dark Knight. Image from here.

 

My inspiration for this assignment was from my Photography work which I actually needed to create a business card for at some point in the near future. This assignment therefore served as a useful opportunity to actually create a business card that I may actually use in the future.

Other inspiration was taking a look at other people’s business cards like this one from another automotive photographer and other general photography related business cards on this website. After viewing these I had thought that I wanted to have one side primarily of example of my photography work and possibly my logo while on the other side have the standard contact information.

I started making the business card in Adobe Photoshop using two project files. One for the front and one for the back. In the front file I simply pasted in some of my best/favourite photos into the document and resized them in an equal pattern to fit the standard size (3.5 x 2 inches). For the back I inserted my logo and then using the Text Tool to write my contact information. I also used three small icons on the back, two of which I adapted from logos and one which I created using simple shapes in Adobe Illustrator .

This first attempt can be seen below:

However after doing the first attempt I wasn’t overly happy with how it turned out so I went on to make more changes. to the design. For the front of the card  decided to reduce the number of images so that I could position the logo and about line on the front. I took 2 photos from the first attempt and found another that fitted well together having the horizon treeline lined up and sky above to provide a minimal background for the logo. On the images I did have to add in more of the sky to fill the height of the card which was done using the Content Aware Fill Tool which automatically creates pixels in that area based on the surrounding image. For the back I just rearranged the remaining content and made it larger so it’s easily readable since the card would be quite small if it were to be printed.

The finished product can be seen below:

I think the finished product looks quite good and I’m glad I was able to find 3 good images of mine to edit together for the front. The card could potentially look cleaner with one single image on the front however one image doesn’t show a “range of work” so that may need some thought before I go about actually printing any. Also on the card I need to finish making my website before I go about printing any. As mentioned making business cards was something I needed to go about doing as over the past couple of months I’ve had quite a few opportunities where it would have been very useful to have some to give to potential contacts/clients at various events I’ve attended. So I will definitely continue to develop what I’ve created above and probably get feedback from people before progressing to printing.

Photoshop Gone Rogue

For this assignment the task was to create an animated mosaic about a movie using a single image that then splits up into a grid of 9 different animated GIF images of various scenes in the movie.

My inspiration for this was from the Jaws example on the assignment page and from my last mashup assignment which was Star Wars Rogue One related. Differing to the Jaws example I had thought that the mosaic would be more easily created if it was using a landscape still image for the start as the GIF animations would be landscape orientated shots from the movie. During the thought process for this I also took inspiration from the Jaws example in that the GIF animations would appear momentarily one after another rather than at the same time.

To make this Star Wars Rogue One GIF mosaic I first sourced the starting still image of from this website. I then set about souring the 9  GIF images using the Rogue One Trailer 1 and Trailer 2. I copied this links to these videos and then using GIPHY as seen below specified the start points and duration of the animation which would make the selected part of the video as a GIF image which I could then download.

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After I then had all of the images I then set about compiling them together to create the final product. I first attempted to use Adobe Photoshop since this allows the editing of GIFs in Timeline View however this didn’t work out in the end as inserting more than one GIF created  quite a few problems since Photoshop works by making each GIF frame a different layer in the project file. This resulted in hundreds of layers for only a couple of GIFs and meant that to position a GIF each every layer would have to be moved manually since only one layer (frame) is made visible at a time. Another issue was that the background still image layer would have to be manually toggled to visible for every frame in the animation. Some of these Photoshop issues can be seen in screenshot below:

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I then decided to move to Sony Vegas instead to compile the animated GIF images with the still image. After importing them into a project file the still image was inserted on the first track on the timeline and then the GIF images inserted on the 9 layers above so they would be overlaid on top of the image. Theses were positioned on the timeline at various points after 1 second of still image to create the simultaneous appearing transitions and the crop tool used to position them in a 9×9 grid. After this white rectangles were created using Photoshop and overlaid to create the outline grid which would mask any gaps in the GIF cropping and be present on the screen at all times like in the assignment example.

Below you can see the Sony Vegas project file with some of the tracks visible on the timeline:

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To then make this into a GIF animated image this Sony Vegas project was then rendered as an MP4 video (since Vegas does not allow exporting in GIF file format). This video was uploaded to this website which can be used to convert video files to animated GIF images. Using this online tool the options  as seen in the image below were selected to make sure the animated image plays smoothly in real time and that it is the highest quality possible. I also did re-render and re-convert the video once during the process to cut down on the still image timing at the start of the animation as originally it took too long before the GIF animations appeared.Capture3.PNG

The finished animated GIF mosaic can be seen below:gif-assignment

I think the finished animated mosaic is quite an eye-catching way to view scenes of a movie and definitely takes a couple of loops to view all of the different GIFs that make up the grid. So it could be better if reproduced that the GIF animations were more delayed between each starting or repeated to give the user more time to see what’s going on in them.

I chose this movie for this assignment because I have loved the Star Wars movies ever since I was a kid and particularly like this latest addition to the story-line because of the stunning cinematic shots and use of CGI. For example the top right GIF animated image shows the amazing CGI establishing shot of the movie which rolls just after the titles which I like as it seamlessly drops you into the plot. Through the still image and some of the animated GIFs I have shown some of various troopers within the movie which are of particular interest to me since they are the coolest looking “characters” within the universe and also because I am actually part way through building my own Shock Trooper armour from the third Star Wars movie. On the mosaic there is also some key storyline scenes in some of the GIFs alongside the scenes I liked/am interested in; although there wasn’t much video content online to turn into these animated GIFs because the movie is still very new so the choice was limited. One of my particular favourites is the middle animated GIF scene with the AT-ACT brushing off a rocket fired from one of the main characters Baze as this adds a hint of comedy in the middle of the main battle scene. As of writing this I’ve seen the movie twice already and will probably see it quite a few more times. During the second time of watching I was keeping an eye out for the scene shot in Canary Wharf Underground Station but still missed it!