LESSON 14 – Final Project

CIOS F255 - University of Alaska Fairbanks


This week the goal is to take what you have learned in class and apply it to one of your own projects. Some of you may have been doing this all along to some extent. Push the boundaries this week and create something new and different along the lines of your own particular interest.

This is your opportunity to take all the knowledge and skills you’ve learned in this class and use them as fully as you can. If you can’t figure out how to do something specific, Google it, look it up in your reference materials, email your instructor. Creating from scratch in Photoshop is about figuring things out and troubleshooting using all the resources available to you.

Think back to other lessons when we did some research to investigate images that inspire us. You may want to explore some ideas that inspired you then or maybe you’ve been wanting to do something else for a while.

Tools you should be using for this lesson include:
Anything and everything you have learned about this semester. Pick something you would like to investigate more and dive into it more deeply.

Finding Ideas

Check out the images below. If  you need more inspiration, check out the Pinterest inspiration board I’ve put together.
Look back at the  research you did earlier this semester for inspiration.  The goal is to use every tool and technique you have learned this semester that make sense for your design to take your collage to perfection.  If you follow a tutorial, please reference the link in your post.

Here are some ideas for the final project.

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Create a work of art using brushes or effects. Hint – start with a real photo on the bottom layer, then use brush tool on higher layers and play with changing the blending mode as you go along.  

credit: https://www.practicalphotoshopmag.com/2012/05/25/gallery-photoshop-art-by-christophe-kiciak/

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Make a fancy clothing advertisement. Again – this final image has many layers with various approaches employed: blending modes, vector shapes, color, text, dripping & sparkle bush strokes, photography…

credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/86460496@N07/7920397018/



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Create a new species by combining animals and then make it more.   Try to tell a story with the combination. This one is ironic because the cat-mouse is licking it’s mouth like it’s hungry – did the cat eat the mouse and transform? Is this what mice dream of?  Add more elements – turn it into an advertisement because you are going to start selling your new pet to good homes – what is it’s name?  credit: https://www.funnypica.com/22-photoshopped-animals-pictures/funny-photoshopped-animals-funny-photoshop-animal-015-funnypica-com/


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Surreal illustration or dreamscape. Again, this collage is telling a strange story but is pretty simple. How could you make this type of collage a little more dynamic and complex? Add some more elements, maybe some atmospheric conditions or a poem.  credit: https://www.pxleyes.com/photoshop-contest/16434/dream-art.html


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Create a montage that illustrates a scene. This montage incorporates many photos at different relative sizes and custom vector shapes. Every detail is intact and carefully approached.   More ideas and tutorials via the image link.


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Choose a word and illustrate it. Again, lots of layers here with many different things going on. It’s on the edge of too busy but the section in the middle pinned to the ‘original’ works well.  credit: https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-z3c2xDUSwlE/T7le2cxPDAI/AAAAAAAADB8/fMqsPmG0WVo/s1600/Court+Joseph-Desire+photoshop+collage+riandesign.jpg


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Make or remake an album cover. Halftone b/w image, brushed color, grungy background layer, paint splatters, and text all make this come together.  credit: https://www.glamourvanity.com/music/like-madonnas-greatest-hits-album-cover/


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Make or remake your favorite book cover.  credit: https://www.ntmportfolios.com/KathyHarris/92/

Do you have a digital pen tablet (Bamboo or Wacom)? Painting in Photoshop requires a pen tablet to be efficient and this is why we didn’t get into using brushes much. If you have a tablet and want to try painting, check out this tutorial from adobe (click on image above).


animated GIF by Julie Murphy

Title: Chocolate Milkshake Day; Artist: Julie Murphy; Source: https://juliemurphy.info/animated-gifs

Create a longer Animated GIF to tell a story. The artist above, Julie Murphy, explains her piece: “I accepted the challenge of illustrating National Chocolate Milkshake Day with some trepidation, as I don’t digest large amounts of milk well. Chocolate milkshakes look beautiful, however, and I’m always tempted to drink one. I created a creature, the Bisonunicorn, to illustrate this conflicted relationship.”  


Assignment  14a – Final Project

Note: This assignment is very open but it is also worth 200 points and should reflect substantial effort and complexity.   Please take the time to make your final work well crafted and polished.    

Option #1 – Choose Your Own Adventure

Your choice – make a story GIF, paint a self-portrait, design a set of earrings and necklace in 3D…. whatever you want as long as it uses Photoshop, is well thought out, has something of a theme and is something that inspires you to dig deeper.

Option #2 – Collage Away

Create a collage with at least 6 layered elements – these can be photo layers, vector objects, text, layer masks… Use selections & masks, effects, adjustments, filters, brushes, shapes, etc. Use any technique that makes sense for your goal.  Your file should be at least 2000 pixels by 2000 pixels at 72dpi.

Create a blog entry with 2-3 screenshots during the process of creating it (including layers) and your finished project. Include your notes and thoughts: What was your inspiration? What tools did you find yourself using the most? What do you feel was most successful and what do you feel that you want to continue to work on?
Need Photos? If you need some photos to start with, you are welcome to download and use any you find from the CIOS255 Image Gallery at:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7tu3s9ttril7lqn/NV8EHNHS2t/CIOS255%20IMAGES    Try also looking for photos that are licensed with creative commons use:  https://search.creativecommons.org/

If you use someone else’s photo,  ask permission first and give credit or use a photo from the public domain. Also, do not use the file you found for inspiration in your creation – start from scratch. If you plan on trying out a technique that someone else used first, give them credit by linking to their website and try to transform the idea so that it becomes your own.    

Comments on other student’s posts are encouraged!

Extra Credit

Reddit is a place where communities are formed around topics of interest. Anyone can create a community and then members can vote posts up and down on what is important. Read more about Reddit here.    One of the many communities on Reddit is something called the Photoshop Battle. This is where you can compete for 2 things – 1. ideas in the form of a basic image that will be chosen to base a the next battle challenge on and 2. the creation of a Photoshopped image based on the challenge image of the week. Some challenges are nicer and more socially appropriate than others but it is always creative.


For extra credit (50pts) – participate in this week’s Reddit Photoshop Battle. Your entry must be completely ‘safe for work’ & please don’t make anything that would offend anyone in any way.    Follow all of Reddit’s instructions. If you don’t want to enter it into Reddit’s official contest, post it here instead, otherwise, provide a link in a post to your Reddit submission.


If you don’t like the image of the week or think it might be offensive, please use one of these instead from previous Reddit Photoshop Battles: flexible cat, mushroom, pilot Joe Walker, ballerina.

Good luck!


There is a final course survey that will be emailed to you by UAF.   Please take a moment and fill it out, I value your input for this class!