The goal of this project was to create a photography montage that blended several images into a central theme, along with an applicable quote. The central message was intended to be spiritual in nature.
I’ve always liked Isaiah 2:2, a verse that references the building of the Lord’s temple in the last days, and I wanted to create a project around that verse. The key words that stood out to me were “temple,” “mountain,” and “flow,” and I wanted to use images that played on those words. I picked photos of a beautiful stone mountain, a flowing stream, and the spire of the Salt Lake temple portraying the statue of the Angel Moroni.
I wanted my project to flow in a circular path. The angel statue is the first thing to draw the eye, so I placed it in the left on the one-third line facing back into the image with the trumpet toward the scripture reference and the top of the mountain. Then, from a central spot on the mountain I placed the stream flowing out and down, back toward the left and to the temple spire.
My process began by opening the mountain photograph in Photoshop. I resized the canvas to 1650×1275 pixels. Then I reduced and positioned the image to fit in the canvas where I wanted it. Next I opened the image of the stream. I used the lasso tool to select the area I wanted and adjusted the feathering. Then I moved the selected area to the main mountain canvas, resized it, and positioned it. Finally, I created a layer mask and used the paint brush with low opacity to ease transitions and blend with the mountain. I repeated this same step with the Angel Moroni image.
For the text, I used the eye dropper to add blue from river and gold from the statue to my color palette. I created a new layer and added a horizontal blue rectangle. Then I created a layer mask of the rectangle and blended it with background, transitioning it away toward the left. Next, I added a text box and used Baskerville Old Face Serif and Microsoft New Tai Lue Sans Serif for the scripture passage and reference. Then I added smoothing to the text and duplicated the layer for a stronger effect.
I wanted to add an artistic filter to some element of my project, and I chose the horizontal bar that contained the text. I duplicated the horizontal bar layer, added a mask, and used the “tiles” filter under “stylize.” After some testing to get the effect I wanted, I used the paint brush with low opacity to blend the new layer with the background.
When I was satisfied with the project, I saved it, flattened all the layers, reduced the image size, and saved it again as a JPEG file.
My first critique was from Brother Stucki. His primary suggestion was regarding the font and text area. He suggested I add more leading (1-2 pts) and smaller font to the Isaiah reference and bump the word “mountains” down to second line, or increase kerning and tracking by 10-15 points to increase the length of the second line. I took his suggestions, but also shortened the total length of the verse by removing less important wording and adjusting the length of both lines.
My second critique was with student tutor Adam Harper. His suggestions included blending out some more of the gray haze around the temple image, bringing out more of the water in the stream, and changing the fonts to add more of the San Serif from the Isaiah reference into the main lines of the verse. He then guided me as I made many of the changes he had suggested.
I also had a third critique from my sister-in-law, Kirsten Naughton, a BYU-I web design student. Her primary suggestion was to remove some trees with distracting colors from the mountain photograph. I did so by adjusting the size and position of the photography, which essentially removed the trees from the canvas.
The message of this project is to bring to mind the fulfillment of the ancient prophesy that a temple of God would be built in the last days and people from around the world would migrate to be near it or come from far away to visit its grounds.
The audience is members of the LDS Church who recognize the fulfillment of the prophecy.
Top Things Learned
Learning to use masks and the paintbrush to remove or add back portions of a layer is a helpful talent for my tool belt. Being able to blend images with subtle transitions is wonderful, and something I’d like to experiment with more.
Color Scheme & Colors Used
I used a complementary gold & indigo color scheme, taking text colors directly from the angel statue and the water in the photographs. The blue is primarily CYMK 74-47-17-1 and the gold is primarily CYMK 14-24-79-0.
Font Names & Categories
I used a Serif font called Baskerville Old Face to highlight the important words of the text. I used a Sans Serif font called Microsoft New Tai Lue for the less important words of the text and for the Isaiah reference.
Original Unedited Images
All images came with public reuse rights. The mountain photograph was submitted to Unsplash.com by Luca Bravo. The temple photograph is from the LDS Media Library. The river photograph was submitted to Unsplash.com by @kazuend.