Digital Notan Design (S2PO5LastFirst)

Digital Notan

Your digital Notan project is due this Friday the 27th– turn it in to the folder on the server called Notan (S2P05LastFirst.psd).

Taking a great digital portrait, then challenging your self to play this positive space (the image) against the NOTAN design in the negative (empty) space, is the point of this project. This is the art of Balance! How can you use the negative space to draw attention to the image w/o taking too much focus off the portrait?

Artist: Jamaica Amauro

Notice how one piece of the image has been cut and modified, but not flipped over like every other white and black shape. The eyes are usually the center of any portrait, so the artist has chosen to cut and move a geometric shape that frames the subject’s eye! This is using the Notan design concept to draw attention back to the visual center of the image.


Design and shoot at least three (3) portraits or self-portraits with extreme contrast between light and dark. Use artificial lighting if you have any.

Mask out the portrait from its original background, and import it into a blank document 12 inches wide by 18 inches high. You will need to create this image from scratch by choosing the File -New- menu and selecting a blank PSD with a resolution of 200 DPI. Leave the back ground of this new document empty.

Once the image has been created, create a 8″x8″ black square on a separate layer to use for the Notan. With the portrait layer, use the Move tool (V) to arrange (compose) it where you think it has the best appeal. Think of the lessons your have learned about the Golden Spiral and imagine the path that your audience’s eyes will take as they move over your image. You may crop the portrait by pushing your portrait over the edge of the document like the girl’s portrait above.

Now select the lasso tool and make your first selection, making sure that your line starts and ends on the same side of the black square. Once your selection is complete, Free Transform it (Control + T) then right click your transformation and choose Flip-Horizontal or Vertical (depending on which way you want to flip it). Try your next selection with the polygonal lasso tool. Move the new selection so  that it is just outside the square, and is now the mirror image of the old selection! 

Now select the Type tool (T) and choose the Type mask variation, then a vertical or horizontal type mask. Type your word or phrase along the edge of the square, then Free Transform the selection, right click it and move it til it is the mirror image of the text you just cut from the black square.

Your goal is to create a complex but balanced image where you have used some of the black, negative space in the image for your cutout designs. Once you are finished, please name this work S2PO5LastFirst.psd and turn it in to the folder called NOTAN on the Digital Photo server.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s