Digital Collage: Emily Bruckner

Digital collage for project one depicting a progression of time narrative in the form space exploration. Done by Emily Bruckner, September 2018.

The images I chose for my collage were exclusively sourced from NASA’s photo database, the New York Public Library, and Google Images. All of the space related objects, or the planets, background, space shuttle, and the astronauts all came from NASA’s database. The characters that appear drawn were taken from the New York Public Library. The three sets of different wings were the only elements drawn from Google images, but were however used under the appropriate licensing. I chose the planets and the starry background for their beauty; they were the most stunning images of planets I could find, and I wanted them to appear ethereal and majestic to better enhance my narrative. The three sets of wings, I wanted to match with their planet counterparts, I also chose them for their realistic appearance. I sought to make a statement with the clearly visible astronauts especially the one holding the American flag. The space shuttle I used to give a greater sense of direction to where the narrative was going. The pictures of the early astronomers and the goddess, I chose were meant to look starkly different from the rest of the scene, almost out of place. This difference was meant to show the progression of time.

This collage’s composition is fairly unified so that one side does not overpower the other in the number of elements. The biggest aspect of this collage that the eye notices first it the stark contrast between the goddess and astronomers and the rest of the piece. These characters are colored differently from everything else in the collage and are clearly hand-drawn while the other elements are photographs. This was meant to catch the eye and direct it from the hand-drawn characters to the planets and then finally the astronauts and rocket. I wanted it to feel like a compete story or evoke the feeling of a progression of time with this contrast. The size of the astronaut facing the viewer was intentional to help draw attention back to the bottom left side in order to be a functional end to the narrative. The astronaut is larger in size than most of the characters to convey a closeness to the viewer and appears to be more self-aware by looking directly out of the collage.

I would hope this collage is seen as a narrative and a progression of time. It shows that the planets we once long ago misinterpreted as supernatural beings are simply objects floating in space that we can now visit and explore. I would hope this collage shows the viewer that the things we once worshiped as gods, we now conquer, explore and tread upon. It also shows the progression of science and knowledge across the years, from using primitive telescopes to the creation of specialized suits and vehicles meant to take humans into space. The reason why I used wings on the planets and the goddess figure was to even further drive home the heavenly or godlike portrayal of the planets as seen by early astronomers. The astronauts communicate a sense of power by conquering the moon with a flag and looking towards the viewer.

For the background and foreground I raised the exposure to appear brighter in order for them to stand out more. I used inner and outer glows for most of my planets and turned up the “noise” meter to make them appear to glow more. I used inner shadow selections for my characters and wings and softened hard edges with feathering, contrast, and smoothing tools. For the astronomers’ and astronaut’s shadows I copied their original forms, darkened them, used the Gaussian Blur affect, and positioned and distorted them until they appeared naturally occurring. I also used the lasso tool and the quick selection tool frequently to remove characters from their original backgrounds and scaled them down to the right size.

I would think my collage would have needed to be done digitally. The amount of tweaking for the exposure, softening of hard edges, generating accurate shadows, and the glowing aspects of the planets could not have been replicated manually without software. I think nature itself inspired me the most in this collage, I looked at different pictures of space and planets in different images to determine a suitable look for the piece.   



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