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The Talent of Face Swapping

05.16.13 / Danielle Fontaine

When I sat down to come up with my first blog entry I was confronted with endless topics to write about and was having trouble deciding on which one to pick. As I sat at my desk, I looked around the Studio for inspiration. My eyes glanced around the room at the various models and presentation boards for projects and settled on a poster high up on one of the shelves which made me smile…I knew what I would write about.

One of my favorite things about ARC is the office culture and as one of the Studio members I have the opportunity to play a big part in it. Each week the Studio is tasked with creating a weekly-themed poster announcing the end of the week social event on Friday. The unveiling of the theme is a long-standing studio tradition that creates a fun light-hearted atmosphere and also gives us a chance to enhance our Photoshop finessing skills! These posters are not only a great way to really get to know everyone in the office but they give us the chance to see what ARCers would look like with a whole new body and hairline. They also serve as an entertaining way to incorporate everyone in our studio “shenanigans.”

I wanted to take this opportunity to showcase a few of my favorites as well as provide a short “how-to” into our creative process. Our process is similar to how we approach our projects here at ARC, we have a lively discussion and information gathering period, followed by a collaborating and interactive planning session and then comes the hard part…building consensus among the group.

First and foremost, the most important decision is choosing the theme. Most weeks we use current events that are happening around the world and/or Boston. This usually ends up centering on sports, weather, holidays or (if we really feel like being risqué) politics.

However, there are also weeks when there are no obvious topics and that is when the really fun posters begin. To choose a theme on these weeks, we turn to this-day-in-history or obscure holiday websites (surprisingly, there are a lot of these websites). This-day-in-history topics could be anything from inventions to famous birthdays, while obscure holidays could be anything from Star Wars Day to Save the Rhino Day to International Tuba Day (just to name a few in recent weeks).

After the topic is chosen, some quick internet searches provide the base image(s) that we use to superimpose some ARCers’ faces on. We then make the executive decision on who to feature in our poster. This is usually decided by either personality or how well (or sometimes poorly) a face will work with our image. Then with some Photoshop cutting, pasting, blending, blurring and shading, we bring these posters to life. Important Tip: I am a firm believer that if you want to make a person believable on a new head, that it is all in blending the hairline! 

Of course schedule is also a major factor in the design and implementation of each poster. Some weeks we are working with much tighter timelines due to varying workload but, like everything else, we rise to the occasion and meet our deadlines.

Over the years we have put together photos from hidden family albums, game winning goals, wholesome holiday dinners, and secret ARCers’ hobbies. At the end of the day, I find it rewarding to help bring a smile to someone’s face after a long week. 

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