Telling a story through pictures creates a connection with the world around us. Life doesn’t happen in one frame or moment; it’s several layers of events that create a composition.
Photoshop is one of many programs within the creative suite used to express creativity. I haven’t used Photoshop very much over the last couple of years, so I am excited to begin exploring it again. Every time I utilize the program, I find something new and look forward to learning more in the coming weeks.
“Life, as we know it, is more like a video. We are aware of a multitude of things happening around us all at once.”
This week I used Photoshop to explore its composition tools to create a story. I used several images of my kids and our dogs to show the chaos in capturing a few “perfect” pictures. Although our dog did not pull a photo down from the barn, this story displays the laughter, craziness, and love we shared. The composition was created by cutting images out utilizing the tools within the program and placing them in a way to give the illusion of depth and perception. I used the transform tools to distort the images, drop shadows, and a lot of color balance to create contrast. Additionally, I used the burn and dodge tools to work on the shadows and highlights. For the string and clips, I created these in Illustrator and brought them into Photoshop, where I adjusted the color and added shadows to bring them into the image.
My composition has ten elements to create my story. I used the side of the barn where we had a photoshoot this past fall and kept the color and lighting in the mid-tones as it was an overcast late fall day. I used various shading to create the appearance of objects being closer, further away, or behind another element. I did struggle with the lighting on the bottom right images; I wanted them to be brighter but didn’t want them to appear washed out.
The centerline of the composition is the string of images showcased on the side of the barn. They show silliness, seriousness, and fun. The illusion of the dog grabbing a photo draws your eyes back up to the images – and you resist the urge to giggle. The dog on the bottom left catches your attention while pulling your eyes back to the other dog, causing mischief. It’s a collection of chaos that shows the inner emotions of my family, my tribe.
A key element in design composition has a strong focal point. It does not matter how many elements you have included; however, you need to draw the viewer into an essential part of the design. Design communicates or tells a story; therefore, the focal point should be the most important message to the audience. The focal point for my composition is in the bottom right, my children. The entire design is about them and their relationship. They adore each other; their love is evident in these pictures. They are siblings, and it can be sticky, including when the dogs get in the act. But the focal point is her lifting him, making him smile, and that is the message I wanted to communicate to the viewer. Their relationship, even on the bad days, is rock-solid and unbreakable.
Robin Lande stated in her book Graphic Design Solutions, “Composition is the form, the whole spatial property, and structure resulting from the arrangement of graphic elements — type and images — in relation to one another and to the format, created to visually communicate.” Catching a person’s attention is essential for someone to be drawn to your design.
Photoshop is only one window into the creative world of design composition. It’s important to remember that design is all around us and not only speaks to our needs but gives us emotion with which to connect. I will continue to explore the tools within Photoshop, and I encourage everyone to step outside their comfort zone to start creating their story.
Tenenbaum, Sharon. (22 January 2020.) Telling a Visual Story Through Composition and Perspective. Retrieved from http://www.sharontenenbaum.com: https://www.sharontenenbaum.com/blog/2020/1/22/telling-a-visual-story-through-composition-and-perspective
Landa, R. (2019). Graphic design solutions. Boston, MA: Cengage.