An Alien Angle
25 September 2013
The lens that I decided to put on this project mirrors the lens of my view in the fact that we are taking a new object and viewing it in a new light. The artifacts that I decided to use are designed in a way so they are artistically pleasing as well as serving a practical function. I decided to break the common thought that “if there are aliens out there, they must be way more intelligent than us!”
I used the perspective of an alien race that made their way to planet earth, and discovered the human race extinct due to some type of natural disaster. This forced the not-so-bright aliens to come up with their own conclusions on what the artifacts were, and what the use for them was. I took the photographs in the way they would have been if they were in a type of earth artifact museum set up by the aliens, and the didactic texts were written as explanations to be paired with the artifacts in the museum.
When creating my work, I used little outside research but a considerable amount of brainstorming on an interesting, whimsical idea to keep the project fun and appealing. The cloth was extremely wrinkly, so I did enlist the help of a couple YouTube tutorials on how to smooth out a wrinkly background. An obstacle I encountered while working was the fact that the white background I shot on came out a very dirty yellow color, so after getting the wrinkles out I used a slight white color overlay to clean it up and give it more of a museum feel to it. I used only Photoshop to construct the images.
I began by separating the image from the background and played with the lighting and contrast on both the object and the background until it popped. I also decided to crop down the images into perfect square to give it that perfectionist neatness that my alien creations would approve of. Next, I refined the edge of the backgrounds, smoothed out the wrinkles using the clone stamp tool, as well as the eyedropper to get a color I liked, then the brush tool to go over the top and bottom of the work. Finally I added a little more shadow to the bottom of each object with a black paint brush tool and faded it back, then copied the actual object and flipped it vertically and faded it back to give it the reflective bottom appearance – which I was really excited about and felt finished the composition off the right way. I would spend more time next time on making the lines a bit clearer where the floor of the background meets the wall because through my editing it came out too blurry.
I got inspiration from looking at this picture made by Bungee and Activision, as well as other digital videogame concept art. I feel like the themes of this picture relate to this project’s lens because we see things like armor and gun weapons that are familiar to us, but we are still looking at them with an outside eye. These things are everyday objects to the aliens, but when we see them with a new eye, and no preconceived notions, we may miss the mark completely on what they are if we had to take our best guess.
This composition by Sven Sauer is very interesting to me, and I enjoy the optical illusion effect it has. The way that I feel it fits into my lens is that there are different ways you can look at it, just like there are different ways someone can look at an object. This work embodies one of Gestalt’s principles of good figure; you see an object one way until you realize the other form it takes, then you can see that other form clearly without trying – even when it was invisible to you beforehand. For my objects, it was easy for the aliens to see a gameball, when if they had been directed to the fact that it was actually a wine cork, it would have made perfect sense. Same goes with the good luck statue – a piggy bank; the poison hunting spears – animal pens; the transgender fighting tool – a bottle opener; and the tooth holder – an incense burner. This all goes with my idea that people can perceive one object in various different ways.