IMAGE MANIPULATION / CAS + Surreal Image Assignment / Term 3, Week 6

This week’s lecture was fairly short, only covering one topic and after that the class was dismissed – not without an assignment brief and ideas to explore and wonder about, of course.

But let’s not go there first and talk abut what this “CAS” is.

CAS is short (or at least, I shortened it as so) for Content Aware Scaling, which allows you to fit an image to certain dimension that doesn’t really fit with the original image, but without actually stretching it.

Left original, Right scaled

Firstly we have to select the area that we want to “protect” (from being stretched out). It’s usually the object / focal point that we want to preserve the shape. We can use lasso tool or masking to select the area. After that, create new channel for the selection. Select the image (take care not to select just the new channel that you’ve created) and go to Edit > Content Aware Scaling. Scale the picture like you’d do in free transform, and fill out the whole canvas. Voila!

You can see that the picture now stretches to the entire canvas, but it doesn’t make it look so stretched. We did two experiments on this one, masking just the bridge and masking the bridge plus the centered part of the picture on the second try. The second try’s result looks better, because the part that we focus our eyes on the most isn’t stretched, so it brings down the possibility of the picture to be recognised as a horribly stretched out image.

This particular technique is useful for packaging because most often that not, packaging have their own specified dimensions (by the client) and the picture that you need to, perhaps, cover parts of the packaging just isn’t in the correct dimension but you have to make it work somehow.

Other results of content awareness scaling


For our next assignment, we are required to create a surreal, digitally manipulated image. We can choose between 2 briefs – to create a surreal imagery based on dreams, or surreal advertisement (on either one of these: Automotive, Fast Consumer Moving Goods, or Fashion.

I choose surreal ads because I am more familiar with it, due to my research last term for Contextual class. It is also more intriguing to me, because ads have real purpose rather than just stunning aesthetics, and I think that there are a lot of smart, witty ideas that can be applied to surreal advertisements.

Surrealism was originally started by Andre Breton (made official in Paris) as a form of art and literary movement that sought to unleash creativity from the mind without logical reasoning or boundaries. Breton used the “automatism” technique, creating without paying attention to the aesthetics nor usual boundaries and social norms. Surrealist technique was then “re-newed” by Salvador Dali – he calls the method “Paranoid-critical”. (From what I understand,) It is basically creating art within subconscious, unleashing all the ideas while still retaining some consciousness. Techniques for surrealist art were painting and mix media collage (Max Ernst experimented with collage technique during the Dada & Surrealist period).

Now, with the advancement of technology, surrealist images can be created with the help of Photoshop and many other digital software. The execution for it is way easier these days, but having the idea to create a stunning, shocking surrealist image isn’t quite the case. Surrealist images in advertisement are less dream-like but more “shocking”, “stunning”, and while they still having the “other-worldly” quality, the effect and impact that the images brought is different. These shocking advertising with often repulsive but mind-opening images are called (true to its impact) ‘Shock Advertising’. Surrealist implementation in advertisement (and perhaps graphic design) was found earliest in Czechoslovakia – they had a long history of surrealist movement and the residue still shows in their to-date ads.

CONTEXTUAL AND CULTURAL REFERENCE / Shock Advertising and Surrealism / Term 2, Week 8

Lifebuoy “You are what you eat” ad campaign (notoriously known as “Lifebuoy kitten croissant”)

SK-II – Non-shocking, aesthetics & collage-like surrealist ad campaign


Just handsoap – nassstttyyy.

Wet wipes ad (stop using newspaper, use wet wipes instead. This is shockingly clever and witty and hilarious!)

Li Wei, contemporary surrealist photographer

I was going to make an advertisement for wet wipes, but after researching on it, I found out that anti bacterial wet wipes and hand sanitizer actually weakens human resistance to bacteria. In some cases, the overuse of anti-bacterial products would kill the good bacteria that are fighting the bad bacteria, causing the bad bacteria to grow to be resistant to the anti-bacterial and eventually resistant to antibiotics. This kind of bacteria are called “superbugs”. Wet wipes are actually also dangerous, as they transfer bacteria to other surface. A few squirts of hand sanitizer, apparently, is equal to few shots of hard liquor. There has been no study which proves that anti-bacterial products are more effective than regular soaps, and that people who use them aren’t much healthier.

Equipped with this new discovery, I’ve currently drew up some draft ideas for the poster. To promote the use of non-alcohol & non-perfumed wet/baby wipes (Mitu Baby Wipes?) rather than hand sanitizer, I’d have a baby on the poster drinking liquor shots. The idea came from the fact that hand sanitizer actually have alcohol and a few drops of the are equal to hard liquor, and many younger children & teen caught alcohol poisoning due to the ingestion of hand sanitizer. There’s also the concerning fact that some parents applies hand sanitizer on their babies’ hand. (But babies lick and bite on their fingers all the time!)  Dangers of Hand Sanitizer


The second idea is to promote washing hands instead of using wet wipes nor hand sanitizer, because apparently both products often contain alcohol and it’s still the best to cleanse your hand the primitive way – (REGULAR) hand soap and water. Due to the anti-bacterial agents in wet wipes and hand sanitizer, good bacteria on the skin (which fights off bad ones) are killed, while bad bacterias will develop resistance to anti-bacteria and eventually, antibiotics. Because of this, humans’ resistance on bacteria will actually drop lower, making their body more susceptible to be caught by harmful bacteria which cause sickness. In this idea, the poster will feature a person with humanoid head, but with a germ/bacteria body (symbolising their bodies’ lower resistance to bacteria & germs). Antibacterial vs Normal Soap



In my third idea (also promoting normal hand soap instead of anti-bacterial ones), I want to focus on this “superbug” and have it portrayed as literally as possible on the poster. Yes, a bug or germ with a red cape (or maybe black, because this “superbug” is the villain in the bacteria-germ-human game). “You don’t win the fight by killing (good bacterias)” is the “tagline” that I came up with for the poster. I think this has a loophole because technically, regular soap do kill bacteria, albeit not killing the good bacteria (somehow). And if a hand soap advertisement promotes to not kill bacteria, what would common folks think?? I guess they’d be fairly confused by it.


Fourth idea is “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT” (inspired by the Lifebuoy ad campaign). Similar with the second idea, the poster will feature a humanoid head ((plus a hand holding something up to eat with their bare hands)), but with non-human body. In this idea, I want to replace the bodies with reportedly dirtiest areas with most bacteria per square inch. (Toilet bowl, door handle, elevator button, etc.)


Fifth idea, which I thought about in shower quite recently, is to have a person holding something up to eat, close to their mouth, ready for the bite. The twist is, yes, that “something” won’t exactly be a food. It’d be partially / wholly replaced by dirty items with similar shape or color to the food. For example, donut would be replaced with the opening to a toilet bowl, fried chicken will be replaced by dirty leather shoe, etc.


I hope I’ll keep coming up with more solid and conclusive idea, but one thing is certain now – this ad will be very.bacterial.related.


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