Make a Digital Collage Using Photoshop

This is a really simple tutorial that will cover two features of Photoshop, the Quick Selection tool and SmartObject manipulation, which will be useful for creating You In (Digital) Collage Form! There are many ways to approach this task, and this tutorial uses a method I’ve found useful.

Obviously, with this specific assignment, you’ll need to do some brainstorming. What are your hobbies and interests? Anything significant about your childhood? Your favorite place to be? What makes you, you? Take a minute to think about this and write a list, then search for relevant images that convey whatever you come up with. The more images to choose from, the better. Once you’ve saved all of your images in one folder, open an image you’d like to use as your background into Photoshop. This will serve as your working project.

For my example, I chose to incorporate my family, pet and hobby. Ideally, you’d have more images, but for the sake of this tutorial I kept it simple.

Open an image you’d like to incorporate into your collage. Select the Quick Selection tool on the left menu bar and adjust your brush as needed using the settings at the top of the page. The + sign will highlight your selection, while the sign will reverse the selection. Select a specific piece of your image by dragging the brush on it while the + sign is active. If you go past a border, you can reverse it by switching your brush to the sign and cleaning the parts you don’t want selected.

Once your desired section is selected, right-click it and select “Layer via cut” or “Layer via copy”. Your isolated selection should then appear in the Layer list on the bottom right. To place it in the image you chose as your background, simply drag that new layer over to the tab that contains the background image and release over the canvas. This transfers the layer to your working project.

The images you collected will probably vary in size, so you’ll want to manipulate this by converting the layer into a SmartObject. I like to resize images/layers this way because it’s easy to use and you don’t lose quality in the process. In your working project, select the image you’d like to resize from the Layer list, right-click, and select “Convert to Smart Object”. Resize and move your image however you’d like against the background image.

These tools make it easy to build a unique digital collage. You can play with scale, placement, and incorporate as many images as you want. I hope this tutorial was helpful!

My World is Baby Blue

I loved editing videos last week, so I decided to do a video mashup. The What Color is Your World?  assignment instructed me to photograph a single color throughout a typical day and layer it with a song about that color. I decided to film blue things around my room in motion as opposed to just compiling still photos. Some things I recorded included blankets, robes, a bottle of perfume, the sky, and my colored contacts.

Once I had enough footage to edit, I imported the clips into Windows Movie Maker, trimmed, rearranged, and slowed them down to match the vibe of the song I chose, which was Baby Blue by King Krule. Although I filmed blue objects in my video, once I started playing with video effects, I found a blue filter and decided to use it on several clips to enhance the color. It’s very amateur but I think I did a nice job of editing the footage to compliment the song.

America Runs on Ice

I love coffee, but I really love iced coffee.  Every morning, regardless of the temperature, I grab an iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. That’s why my mind immediately went to Dunkin’ when I stumbled upon the Consumer Mashup assignment. This assignment required me to redesign a company’s logo by incorporating my favorite product. Using Photoshop, I removed the hot coffee image from the Dunkin’ Donuts logo and replaced it with an iced coffee. Then I edited the text to read, “America runs on ice”. I think I should get this made into a bumper sticker for my car because this actually sums up who I am as a person.

Bellydance Snapshot

I decided to use my experiences as a bellydancer for the College Snapshot assignment. I’ve been lucky enough to have been a part of UMW MEDC since its foundation in Spring 2016. This club has led me to establish some amazing friendships, and has ultimately helped me become more comfortable with myself. I felt that this assignment was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on my experiences throughout the years.

I searched through my phone, Facebook, and YouTube to find several pictures, performance videos and music clips from over the semesters to a brief, unique video. Using glitchy ol’ Windows Movie Maker, I ordered all media chronologically and even synced the audio clips to the performance videos I included. Movie Maker almost failed me several times, but I was eventually able to pull it off and created a wonderful MEDC montage.

My Thursday in 40 Seconds

The goal was to film one day in 60 seconds, but I didn’t realize how challenging it would be! Maybe it’s because my day was pretty relaxed, and maybe it was because I forgot to whip my camera out for some moments, but I only got about 35-40 clips.

To present events as a narrative, I started with my daily routine and ended with my nightly. At the start of the video, I made sure to include a shot of me opening the curtains in the morning, and I made the final shot one of me turning the light off. Everything in between consisted of me driving to places, buying food, going to class and practice, etc. Each time I took a video on my iPhone, I trimmed it down to 1 second and saved that as a new clip. At the end of the day, I imported all of my 1 second clips into Windows Movie Maker and added credits and music. Despite not making it to 60 seconds, I really love how it turned out and I’d like to continue making these kinds of videos.

Advice to my Teen Self

I decided to do the Sixteen Year Old Me video assignment. This assignment allowed me to reflect on/deal with some of the things I was experiencing when I was younger. Teen Ashleigh was generally shy, extremely anxious, and she missed out on a lot of opportunities simply because she had very low self-esteem. Since I don’t usually take the time to think about how far I’ve come, making this video definitely got me in my feelings.

I wrote all my thoughts down and formed a brief yet meaningful letter. I went through tons of old pictures and collected a handful, which I imported into Windows Movie Maker. I tried to arrange them in chronological order to tell more of a story, beginning the video with images from my 16th birthday and ending with one that was taken only a month before my 17th birthday. I also tried to arrange the photos in a way that somewhat corresponded with the topics I covered in my letter.

screenshot editing

I recorded my script in Audacity so I could adjust the quality and volume of the audio. When I was finished, I imported my narration into movie maker. I added background music that suited the introspective tone of my video, I adjusted the duration of clips to match the script, and then added the title and credits. When I was finished, I saved my project and uploaded it to YouTube.

Digital Tool: VLC Frame Extraction

I decided to write a brief tutorial on how to extract video frames in VLC media player. This is a tool that can prove useful if you’d like to create a GIF out of your favorite video or movie, or if you want to just save a batch of screen shots from the best scene. I used this tool to create a series of glitched GIFs from a fantasy film. (Read about it here!)

First, you’ll need to install VLC media player and download the video or movie of your choice. Once you have everything needed, open VLC and go to Preferences, then select ;Show All’ near the bottom left corner. A list should appear in the dialog box, and from there you should select ‘Video’, then ‘Filter’. A series of boxes will appear, and you’ll want to check ‘Scene Video Filter’ to enable the image-saving setting. Once you do this, return to the left menu list and display the drop down menu for ‘Filter’. Select ‘Scene Filter’.

Once you’re here, establish how many frames per second you want to save in the ‘Recording Ratio’ text box, and indicate the location where you’d like your frames to be saved in the ‘Directory Path Prefix’ text box. I’ve indicated in my example that I’d like one our of every 2 frames to be saved to my Pictures folder, but feel free to play around with the FPM; the lower the number, the more image files will be saved to your computer. When I create GIFs, I usually set it to 2-3.

Once your settings are saved, hit File and open the movie/video and play it through. Once finished, you should have all of your frames! Yay!

BEWARE! You should go back to Preferences > Filters and uncheck ‘Scene Video Filter’ so that VLC doesn’t continue saving images everytime you watch something.

Draw Something in Under 20 Seconds

I decided to attempt the Google Draw Something assignment by clicking here and drawing something in under 20 seconds for Google to guess. This was way too fun, and also stressful, because I had to use my laptop’s touch pad and the time went by faster than I’d thought it would. I was surprised to find that the computer guessed all but one drawing correctly (and quickly)! I had a pretty easy time until it came to the animals… I found myself pausing to think of a game plan before hitting “ok” because it didn’t seem like enough time. Check out my masterpieces:

Google quick draw

Shopping for Magic on Craigslist

After a few failed attempts at editing other webpages, I ended up remodeling a Craigslist page. Craigslist pages are basic enough to make substantial changes in the content. I’ve been feeling very shpooky lately so I decided to transform the search results of “health and beauty” into “magic and witchcraft”. This was a little difficult because I had to brainstorm several tools, animals and concepts found in the fantasy genre, then I had to find the perfect image and price it accordingly.

The search results page was endless, so I only edited the first 18 items, but it’s still pretty cool to browse through as though I were an actual customer looking for these things. You can shop for magic and witchcraft here.

craigslist magic

Communication & Digital Studies Ad

We needed at least three commercials for our radio show, so I took on another for this week just before my group recorded and assembled our podcast. Since I graduate this semester, I’ve been thinking (and stressing) a lot about potential career opportunities, and reflecting on the different ways that being a UMW student has helped me develop skills an employer would find valuable.

The Comm & Digital Studies major encouraged me to test my creative limits, to become a better writer and public speaker, and to develop a strong sense of digital literacy. I figured I should verbalize these positives and encourage others to look into the major through an audio advertisement. I formed my thoughts into a script and found music on Free Music Archive to play in the background.