creating a single narrative image depicting shifts in time



My task was to complete a illustrative image to support a narrative about a Louisiana landscape. This illustration in particular is center on a hypothetical catastrophe in New Orleans and the periods before and after the event. in this narrative the attitude about levee systems and engineered infrastructure was laced with complacency. After the catastrophic storm event the city and its levees were not rebuilt and the river was given room to overtake the land that was New orleans. This sing Illustration shows the chronological shifts in attitude and geography in a single perspectival image.


To help distinguish between periods of the narrative a color story was developed. Different color ramps were created using color selection tools on inspiration images  as a starting point and were further developed in Adobe Kuler. The color ramps I created are pictured below. Images used in the final narrative image would be manipulated in photoshop to match the color family assigned to that part of the overall story.

color swatches 004



I began by layering different images of The Mississippi River and the New Orleans skyline. I added Black and White adjustments layers to images at varying opacities to begin to fade source imagery into the defined color palette. This allows the designer to use images in different color families and manipulate them for desired color values and effects.

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The next step was to begin to alter the New Orleans base image I created to represent the different phases to the narrative storyline. the period of catastrophe would be distinguished by a darker palette, a more violent and ominous sky and deeper  tones of  grey and black. The sky in this section is made up of different sky images all made black and white at different intensities and shown at different opacities. There are also cloud and lighting .png files layered over top to create desired effect.

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Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 4.20.54 PM

Because of the original black and white palette and subtly in the base image I created, no further manipulations were needed for the complacency period. So the next periods to actualize related to the transitional aftermath and desertion of New Orleans. This part of the narrative introduced more saturated and vivid color than other other part of the story. The colors were chosen to represent sunrise at the horizon. A metaphor for “change on the horizon” and the mood was meant to be positive from an ecological standpoint. Images of rubble depict all that was left of the city after the transition. Images here had hue and saturation adjustments in addition to brightness and black and white adjustment layers. The opacity of each adjustment layer is manipulated to create desired effect.



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Next, a section was inserted at the bottom of the image to represent a sectional cut through this part of the River. This particular section line was drawn in illustrator over an image of a  google earth section cut  through the site. The illustrator line was drawn using the fill option and the stroke was turned off. The illustrator section was placed in the photoshop file and was color burned on top.As with all steps in this process the section lines and complementary textures were manipulated with a black and white adjustment layer as well as brightness and contrast.

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Finally, annotations were added as well lines showing the end part of the storyline. Dates are also given to explain how much time has passed between phases. the annotations are done in a color that does not blend in with the colors used to narrate the story in an effort to add clarity.

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