How The Image Was Made

The group was arranged on the outside utility access stairwell of Wean Hall. A 35mm SLR was used to photograph the group on print film. I later did some long exposure photographs of our Intel Paragon Supercomputer to provide the black panel and lights of the final image. 4x6 proofs of both images were scanned using a SilverScan II flat bed scanner at 400 dpi, using some initial gamma correction. Adobe Photoshop 3.0 was used to rotate the image of the group to correct for a slight angle in the original image. Then, the image was warped to correct the backward tilt of the original image (the photographer had to point the camera slightly upward when taking the picture because there was no surface at the same level of the stairwell for her to stand.) The lasso tool was used to do an initial selection of just the members of the group, which was then refined using selection expansion and feathering. This selection was then used as a mask. The original intent was to do a color based selection using the fact that Wean Hall is a sort of uniform grey, but this proved unsatisfactory.

The Paragon image was significantly cropped, color enhanced, and unsharp-masked to bring out the lights. Then, it was tiled to produce the "big Paragon" look. This result was pasted into a new layer of the group image, and the the group mask was used to make the group members appear in front of the paragon image. The "front" of the "stairwell" was then selected and the motion filter was applied to it to provide differentiation between the "front" of the stairwell, and the "back" of the Paragon. Some minor lines were added to strengthen this differentiation. The group was then unsharp-masked and the edges of the selection were feathered (with a light color) to further improve the differentiation. Finally, all layers were flattened and the image saved as a JPEG.

Peter A. Dinda