Rhythm Project – RhythmLastFirst.jpg

photo by Junior Ortiz

After one full semester of working with Adobe Photoshop, you are starting to get some skill in editing and playing with images. Second semester we will spend more time and energy on how to better shoot pictures – each assignment will begin with you going out and taking more pictures so that you get the experience of being a photographer.


photo by Edgar Almager

Our next assignment of the second semester will call on your timing and composition skills. This means that you will practice catching a person in fast motion, while also preparing for and thinking about what is in your background as you shoot.


Now for a second illustration of the illusion of motion. This piece is entitled ‘Three Worlds’, and is by M.C. Escher. This is another perfect example of creating rhythm and motion in art. Note the repeated elements throughout the picture. Three trees shadow the top of the picture, evenly spaced across the top, and darker than the rest of the picture. Your eye goes immediately to those darkest lines in the drawing. The leaves are also repeated elements. These provide an element of rhythm that draws your eye down the picture to the surprising new element at the bottom, a catfish swimming under the surface. Your eye is led through the scene to the most important element in the picture.


When the subject repeats itself over and over like the stairs do in this photo, you create Rhythm in your artwork.



This project asks you to be a visual storyteller, and to use your subject repeated over and over to generate Rhythm. This is a movement in which some elements occur regularly.  Like a dance it will have a flow of objects that will seem to be like the beat of music. If an Element is used more than once (such as lines that repeat themselves), that can be used to create Rhythm.

Which of the images do you think has the most action? Which one has the least? To take a good action photo, you have to be able to time and shoot the image which has the most potential energy or motion in it. Notice how these shots have many diagonal lines in them. Sometimes the camera is tilted or skewed to create a more interesting angle or shot. The person’s body or limbs will be moving along these diagonal lines (like the skaters arms or legs).

photo by Jackie Nemhard



As you shoot and edit, your job is to tell a story. Look at the image below. Now listen to how the story might go, as told by the photographer:

The first thing we are introduced to is the two running players, they are excited, but we don’t yet know why. They catch our eye partly because they are the largest things in the photo (using the Element of Size), and because they are the brightest things in the photo (using the Element of Value). We quickly take in that they are on the same team (matching uniforms), but why are they running in the same direction with no ball? The photographer uses them to lead our eyes (from left to right)to the kneeling player. Notice that their bodies are diagonally pointing to the subject: He is their teammate, and he is kneeling, but not because he is hurt. He also does not have the ball. He is celebrating a goal that we now know he must have very recently scored! The celebrating player is the subject, the center of our focus. Notice how the action and story build as we move from left to right, since we read from left to right. Notice how the background does not compete with or take away from our subject. The background supports and sets the stage for our enjoyment of the story! If we followed the Golden Spiral, it would lead us right to the kneeling, celebrating player- our subject.

What Element of Design will you use to lead your viewer’s eye towards your subject? Can the golden spiral rule be broken? Sure, check out the next image…

Practice Images

action shot by Vaughn DeVera

artist: Paola Acosta

Find the setting on your camera where multiple shots are taken in one second. There may be several versions of this, where you can choose how many shots the camera will take in one second. Only playing around while you shoot will tell you which setting gets you the results you want. You may have to hold down the button to take the photo half-way (to focus the camera on something before you shoot), so take some time to play around with it before you try and get the perfect shot.

pantoja, alejandro

Art by Alex Pantoja.


Create a practice image with a minimum of three (3) masked images of a person caught in the stages of some action or motion and tell us a short story.

Composite Action Project (100 pts)- Directions

Your composite action photo project will be due his Friday the 11th before Spring Break.

Once you have completed your practice image, get a partner or group and plan an action shot that involves your favorite sport or activity. You must plan to take a series of at least five (5) images that you will mask in series where the viewer can follow the steps of the motion! Make sure that you plan how your background will appear, and how you will mask in the other 4 images of this person into that background. Save this file as RhythmLastFirst.psd (in the Rhythm Project folder) in the Submit folder on the Digital Photo server.


Pay attention to the angle of your shot- where are you shooting from? Are you below the action? Above it, like this image?

Will the composited images of this person touch each other, or be separated?

Remember, as the photographer your job is to tell a story to the viewer. Capture the attention of your audience! What captures our attention when creating action or motion? – Diagonals! Check out all the diagonal lines in this image. Create a shot where many diagonals can be found, and you will have good action and motion.

Once you have completed your work, please turn it in to the server. Look for the folder called Rhythm Project, and save the image as RhythmLastFirst.psd as this is our third project of the second semester. Make sure you turn in your work as a PSD.

Check out these images where students here at CI have taken their project to the next level! Removing the backgound and adding an element of fantasy or alternate reality takes their work from ordinary to extraordinary.

Here are some tutorials to enhance your images:







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