Project 52: Week 14 – Creating Graphic Silhouettes

I was having trouble getting motivated this week, so I picked an easy project, creating silhouettes.  I mean how hard can it be to throw something on my lightbox, snap a few frames, pop in a colorful background, and say job accomplished.  Well, as Peter (rightly) pointed out last night, this was a project that went completely off the rails.

I am always amazed about how something so seemingly simple, can spark so many avenues of creativity.  I started with a very basic idea, throw some watch parts on my light box, but then it morphed into create pop art using colorful backgrounds, which then sparked the idea of triptychs, and the next thing I know I was on to texturing images because some of the shapes reminded me of microscopic sea creatures, and then I was researching star constellations and trying to create similar shapes.  Anyway, I think you get a sense of how things were turning out.  I think I could go another week or two with this project, but Peter reminded me to keep moving.

I seem to be on a “time” kick right now, vintage alarm clocks, watch parts, etc.  Not sure if the universe is trying to tell me something.  I chose watch parts because they had a variety of graphic shapes that I thought would look great as silhouettes.  So I ordered 40 grams from eBay, and this teeny tiny pouch showed up in the mail.  To give you a sense of how tiny these things are here is a comparison shot (needless to say I am sure there are many of these parts all over the house by now, just waiting to hose up our vacuum cleaner).

I learned so much during this project:

  • Figuring out how to distribute and align multiple images in Photoshop is like decoding an ancient cipher.
  • Color combinations are really hard to put together; I think I must have gone through 20 shades of yellow, and am still not completely happy with the results
  • Shapes that are interesting in full light are completely boring in silhouette (see the shape in the lower right corner of the image above)
  • I went through a lot of trial and error in my processing technique, ended up completely turning my workflow upside down, and ended up with something that is repeatable (and hopefully I can remember).
  • Youtube is a great resource for specific techniques and answers.  I used it to figure out how to smooth edges, and center an object (the multiple object thing, I finally figured out on my own after two days).

So here are the results – I have a ton more to work on, but Peter reminded me I had to get moving, I was already behind schedule.  To see a larger version, click on any image to view in slide show mode.


I think the only thing harder than aligning and distributing multiple images on a Photoshop canvas was spelling “silhouette” for this post.

Injury index:  All the detailed cleaning work I did on the shapes has flared up my tendinitis. So this week counts as injured.  7:7

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