Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Close-Up

So… Close-Up. This one really surprised me when I watched it; great, but not at all what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be a real challenge to design a cover for, since it's very much a film of ideas more than visuals, but as it turned out we hit on a great basic concept in the briefs meeting, and the rest pretty much just came down to execution.

The basic idea, of zooming in super-close on a printed image to reveal the process dots that make up the printed image, might seem a bit on-the-nose for a film titled "Close-Up," but is actually kind of perfect: Kiaristami's whole methodology in the film is to lay bare the structure of filmmaking, it's both the main mover of the plot and the theme behind the whole thing. But then, of course, he's playing with you, too, you're never entirely sure what's real and what isn't, what's "re-enactment" and what's documentary, and even some of the things that seem to be very real--the final scene, for example, where the audio cuts in and out--are actually very deliberate choices to draw attention to the constructs of filmmaking.

Similarly, the 4-color process dots in the cover here draw your attention to the actual process of printing, but of course are actually an affectation… there's no press in the world that would use dots that big. (That's one reason why the cover was made totally digitally… we could have actually printed something out very small, then scanned that in and blown it up, but I liked the artificiality in this case, I thought it worked toward the theme.)

So anyway, with that idea in mind I put together the following comps. The very first one I did is the clearest execution of the concept, taking an image from the lovely scene at the end of the film--the greens and pinks really hold the whole thing together, (and it didn't hurt that this seemed like a good moment to use green in the design for an Iranian film):



I was pretty convinced that was the way to go, but I did a few more variations on the theme just to give people some options to chose from. This first one below is kind of interesting, but kind of blows the 4-color process concept by printing all 4 colors at the same angle (i.e. directly on top of each other). It's a neat look, though, I should just it for something else sometime… (I recommend clicking to embiggen.)





The rest are just variations on the theme, not terrible but not as nice as the first one. So that's where we wound up!

10 comments:

Cub Pup said...

Thanks for sharing! I was curious as to how you went about recreating the image digitally using the color dot process, any further explanation you might be willing to share?

Eric Skillman said...

Sure, Cub Pup… It's just a standard photoshop filter called "Color Halftone" (filter > pixelate > color halftone) For the final cover, I think the pixel radius was set to something large-ish like 15 or 20, angles at the regular default settings to achieve a standard rosette pattern. There's also a layer of a beige color on top of the whole thing, to soften the CMYK somewhat.

Or, for the look of that second comp, same deal, just set the all angles the same number, so that the dots will print exactly centered on top of each other.

Does that make sense, I hope?

ccayuric said...

This is amazing... I am very jealous of your talent! Do you work for Criterion Collection? or did you just do this for fun?

Andrew Bacon said...

@ccayuric

This is the official art of the Criterion Release.

http://www.criterion.com/films/1092-close-up?q=autocomplete

Anonymous said...

this is my favorite Criterion cover. it fits the tone of the film perfectly. thanks for sharing!

Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

Is the process-dot pattern's resemblance to tessellate patterns in Islamic art really purely coincidental? is that just me?

Eric Skillman said...

Aaron--

That's a neat idea. I wish I could take credit for it, but it wasn't something I was thinking about at the time...

onur รง. said...

what did you mean by saying "a good moment to use green in the design for an Iranian film"?

Cub Pup said...

Eric, perfect sense! Thank you for sharing.