June '21

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3 2 G R A P H I C S P R O J U N E 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S I G N A G E & P R I N T I N G T H E D I G I T A L E Y E | S T E P H E N R O M A N I E L L O B uilding an image with current tech- nology often transcends the limits of what was once considered impos- sible, impractical, or too labor intensive. If you really think about it, in the digital world almost any idea can be realized by knowing where to go to find the right tools and commands to generate magical effects of altered reality. Since documents can be built with successive layers stacked in such a way that content can be repositioned and manipulated at any time, developing a non-linear and dynamic workflow, the potential to produce the extraordinary is real. In this Digital Eye article, we'll ex- plore practical methods that stretch the bounds of visual reality using superim- posed images and special effects. I use Adobe Photoshop CC for this purpose but remember, many image-editing soft- ware packages have similar capabilities. DOUBLE EXPOSURE What is a double exposure? It's a retro- term to describe when two or more pic- tures are shot on the same film frame. Back in the day, when a photographer wanted to achieve this effect, a prelimi- nary exposure was made. The film was not advanced in the camera and then another exposure would be shot directly on the same frame. Sometimes the double exposure was accidental. The photographer forgot to advance the film and interesting results miraculously occurred. Other times the double exposure was planned. It sounds simple, but to do it right required adjust- ing the f-stop or the shutter speed so that the final picture would not be over-ex- posed. The whole affair took place either in the camera or in the darkroom where negatives would be exposed one after an- other onto film or paper (Figure 1). LAYERS Nowadays, perfect double exposures are a lot easier to achieve because of soft- ware that facilitates compositing images. The importance of knowing how to use layers and all of their attributes to your best advantage is critical to producing creative double exposure-type images. Because layers separate content and can be endowed with special effects, variable opacities, and blending modes, effects can be achieved that were formerly dif- ficult or even impossible to create. Let's look at a few methods of how dig- ital double exposures can be produced for dramatic effects. OPACITY Perhaps the simplest double exposure is to stack layers then adjust the opacity of one of the layers, as in the Tarahumara dancers in the "Rita of the Sky" movie DOUBLE EXPOSURE SUPERIMPOSITION FOR MAXIMUM EFFECT Figure 1. A vintage double exposure made with two consecutive shots in the camera. (All images courtesy Stephen Romaniello) Figure 3. A white to black gradi- ent fill was applied to the interior of the layer mask in order to fade the figures from top to bottom, and a global opacity adjustment of 75% was applied to the layer, giving the figures their ghostly appearance. Figure 2. Perhaps the simplest dou- ble exposure is to stack layers and then adjust the opacity of one of the layers, as in the Tarahumara dancers in the "Rita of the Sky" poster.

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