Research #5 – ‘Creation of Adam/Hand of God’

Creación_de_Adán_(Miguel_Ángel) michelangelo


The final part of my research is to to look into the background, meaning and discussion surrounding the fresco painting ‘Creation of Adam’ by famed High Renaissance artist Michelangelo. When I was coming up with and ideas and thumbnails for my image, I immediately thought of this image, especially as it enables the viewer to read a certain power relationship within the image. For my own image, I want to communicate that in these new laws surrounding vaccinations, the government has the ultimate power. They are ultimately using money to force parents to vaccinate their children and so they hold the most power and control. Within ‘Creation of Adam’, God has the power, as he is in the act of creating Adam – he is creating a human life-form which is an immense power to hold.

Here are some notes on the ‘Creation of Adam’ (Taken from Wikipediasorry!)

  • The Creation of Adam is a fresco painting by Michelangelo, which forms part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, painted circa 1511–1512. It illustrates the Biblical creation narrative from the Book of Genesis in which God breathes life into Adam, the first man.
  • Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam are the most replicated religious paintings of all time.
  • Another point is that Adam’s finger and God’s finger are not touching. It gives the impression that God, the giver of life, is reaching out to Adam who has yet to receive it; they are not on “the same level” as would be two humans shaking hands, for instance.
  • Several hypotheses have been put forward about the meaning of The Creation of Adam’s highly original composition, many of them taking Michelangelo’s well-documented expertise in human anatomy as their starting point.

Research #4 – Composition

In regards to my image, and how successfully I can communicate the message contained within my article, I believe composition is of paramount importance. I have conducted research in to composition and come up with some notes for successful composition within design.

From ‘’ – Composition and the Elements of Visual Design:

  • Organizing the various elements within the frame of the viewfinder in order to create an effective design is more challenging than it might seem at first. A painter can position the elements where they want, whereas a photographer must search, find and organize visual elements within the camera viewfinder.

From ‘’ – An Introduction to Composition:

  • Composition is about laying out all your ideas and design elements into a whole; composing your design.
  • A design principle used in photography and film-making (and much more), the rule of thirds is a good compositional layout for designing. The rule of thirds is a guideline which proposes that an image should be split into nine equal parts (three across, three down) with elements of that image or design aligning to the edges of each of these parts.
  • Heavily involved with mathematics, the Golden Ratio (or Golden Section if you’d prefer to call it that) is one of the most recognisable (in name, at least) composition layouts or tools in any form of design. Often thought to be created by the Ancient Greeks (clever folk, they were) the Golden Ratio describes the relationship between two proportions. The Golden Ratio is 1.618(03398875…) and it seems that a lot of elements in nature are often found corresponding to this ratio. It’s therefore always something that is more reassuring and pleasing to our human eyes.
  • Because it is such a familiar pattern to us, it makes sense to try and use the golden ratio in our designs; to create an harmonious balance that just seems to feel right and make sense.

Composition is important because I intend to replicate the ‘Creation of Adam – Hand of God’ with the subjects of my image. If I do not compose my image in the same way that is contained within ‘Creation of Adam – Hand of God’, then the intended message of my image may be lost in translation. As a side note, I may also not need to do much in the way of setting up my composition, as I will replicating the previously mentioned painting. I also believe that in terms of composition, I will have to make sure that I think about it as I am taking the pictures – rather than when I get to the manipulation of my images. However, I still have to get the composition placement exactly right for the composition of my image subjects.

Research #3 – Manipulation Techniques

I have found a place online which has very comprehensive explanations and examples of various image manipulation techniques. In this research I will include and discuss the techniques that I would like to use in my own image manipulation.

From ‘10 Techniques That are Essential for Successful Photo Manipulation Artwork

  • Shadows: Photo manipulations are made so that you can bring out things that would never happen in the real world. Shadows are our next focus and the second technique you should know before starting a photo manipulation project. Look carefully at the image and notice that the airplanes have shadows under them. Now making shadows is a whole other discussion, but a simple way to make them is to duplicate your original stock that you need the shadow for. Then turn it completely black. Then add a Gaussian Blur to it. Then you can reduce it in size and put it in the correct place.

  • Proportion: Now proportion is probably one of the most important things a person has to grasp if he wants to do photo manipulations. You can not have your dog bigger than your house, or your horse bigger than your car. If you’re going to make a design that is extremely far fetched, than you have to make it look realistic and proportion makes a huge difference in how realistic your art looks.You have to remember that images that are supposed to be far away have to be smaller than the ones that are closer to you. So remember that every image you use should be used in proportional harmony.

  • Texture: Now textures don’t necessarily add to the realism of your art, but they do add a nice kick to blend all your images together evenly. Blending is a huge part of photo manipulation, so textures are something you have to carefully pick out. Textures add to the depth of your art. If you are trying to go for a photo manipulation that is dark and dirty looking you can use a rough ground surface as a background texture; or if you are looking for something smoother you can use paper, or a wall texture.

  • Colour Blending: Not every image you use is going to match your background, your texture, or even your other images. So that is where color blending comes in. Things like Photo Filters and Gradient Maps are used in Photoshop to either add or take away color in your images. This either gives a certain image that little boost of color, or takes away that extra color. This helps the images blend with one another and most importantly form a nice coherent work of art.

Discussion: These four manipulation techniques are very crucial to the success of the communication objective of my image. My image is intended to be very minimalist and simple and so complicated manipulation techniques won’t be overly necessary. I think it is most important that I get my shadow and colouring technique right for my images, as I think these will important in regards to the content elements of my image.

Research #1 – Semiotics

Researching semiotics has been quite interesting, as there is quite a vast range of information covering the topic – from academic and non-academic sources. By conducting research into semiotics I have come across two sites that explained the concept quite comprehensively. The first site is ‘’ with a post titled ‘Semiotics for Beginners‘ and ‘’ with ‘Explaining Semiotics – Info-graphic‘.

Some notes taken from ‘Semiotics for Beginners’:

  • For the designer, the creative mark maker, it’s therefore about the complex relationship between images and their meanings.
  • Graphic artists take various visual fields and fill them with constantly changing symbols and signs to convey meaning. As Andrew Foster, an illustrator and lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, points out: “Illustrators are visual thinkers, not stylists.”
  • Context is of paramount importance. Essentially, an image relies on context to bring out subtle meanings, and an understanding of the viewer’s context will enable the image’s creator to better code meaning into his work.
  • Signifier and signified – together, they constitute a sign, the basic object studied by the science of semiotics. The image is the signifier, the concept or object the signified.

Some notes taken from ‘Explaining Semiotics – Info-graphic’:

  • ‘Denotation/Connotation’ – Denotation is the physical object that we actually see that makes up a form of communication. Connotation is the key to how we understand things. being built on our experiences, ideologies and expectations, often meaning people react differently to the same thing.
  • ‘Icon/Symbol/Index’ – An icon is the physical resemblance to the signified. A symbol is the opposite of an icon, so it does not resemble the signifier that is being represented. An index describes the physical connection between the signifier and the signified.

Discussion: I have realised, through this research, that I may not need/use a significant amount of semiotics within my image. My original objective was to use more abstract and obscure religious allusions within my image, but the problem is that they would have to make sense to the viewer. As mentioned above in the notes, context is very important when employing semiotics within your design and for the viewer to understand your intended message. However, I would still like to use the ‘Creation of Adam’ painting within my image to communicate a message.

Research #2 – Use of Colour



Smashing Magazine (.com) has a very comprehensive three part series on the use of colour and colour theory within visual design. It covers similar material from the lecture, and also provides examples to support the discussion on colour theory. The articles explain that colour is something which is very subjective in nature – what you may interpret colour as being, may be completely different from another individuals perception of colour. What may be considered as a ‘happy’ colour to you, may be a very ‘sad’ colour to someone else. This may be a result of our own personal or cultural experiences, however, there also exists a science around colour to explain certain interpretations.

Part 1 – The Meaning of Colour. | Part 2 – Understanding Concepts & Terminology. | Part 3 – Creating Your Own Colour Palettes.

Some of the points from part 1 that I have found interesting:

  • Red and yellow are both primary colors, with orange falling in the middle, which means warm colors are all truly warm and aren’t created by combining a warm color with a cool color. Use warm colors in your designs to reflect passion, happiness, enthusiasm, and energy.
  • Orange is a very vibrant and energetic color. In its muted forms, it can be associated with the earth and with autumn. Because of its association with the changing seasons, orange can represent change and movement in general. In designs, orange commands attention without being as overpowering as red. It’s often considered more friendly and inviting, and less in-your-face.
  • Cool colors include green, blue, and purple, are often more subdued than warm colors. They are the colors of night, of water, of nature, and are usually calming, relaxing, and somewhat reserved.
  • Use cool colors in your designs to give a sense of calm or professionalism.
  • Blue is also used extensively to represent calmness and responsibility. Light blues can be refreshing and friendly. Dark blues are more strong and reliable. Blue is also associated with peace, and has spiritual and religious connotations in many cultures and traditions (for example, the Virgin Mary is generally depicted wearing blue robes).
  • The meaning of blue is widely affected depending on the exact shade and hue. In design, the exact shade of blue you select will have a huge impact on how your designs are perceived. Light blues are often relaxed and calming. Bright blues can be energizing and refreshing. Dark blues are excellent for corporate sites or designs where strength and reliability are important.
  • White is at the opposite end of the spectrum from black, but like black, it can work well with just about any other color. White is often associated with purity, cleanliness, and virtue.
  • In design, white is generally considered a neutral backdrop that lets other colors in a design have a larger voice. It can help to convey cleanliness and simplicity, though, and is popular in minimalist designs.

Some of the points from part 2 that I have found interesting:

  • Chroma refers to the purity of a color. A hue with high chroma has no black, white or gray in it. Adding white, black or gray reduces its chroma. It’s similar to saturation but not quite the same. Chroma can be thought of as the brightness of a color in comparison to white. In design, avoid using hues that have a very similar chroma. Opt instead for hues with chromas that are the same or a few steps away from each other.
  • In design, colors with similar saturation levels make for more cohesive-looking designs.
  • When applying color values to your designs, favor colors with different values, especially ones with high chroma. High contrast values generally result in more aesthetically pleasing designs.

Some of the points from part 3 that I have found interesting:

  • Monochromatic color schemes are made up of different tones, shades and tints within a specific hue. These are the simplest color schemes to create, as they’re all taken from the same hue, making it harder to create a jarring or ugly scheme (though both are still possible).
  • Analogous color schemes are the next easiest to create. Analogous schemes are created by using three colors that are next to each other on the 12-spoke color wheel.
  • Complementary schemes are created by combining colors from opposite sides of the color wheel. In their most basic form, these schemes consist of only two colors, but can easily be expanded using tones, tints, and shades.
  • Triadic schemes are made up of hues equally spaced around the 12-spoke color wheel. This is one of the more diverse color schemes.
  • When you mix in tones, shades, and tints, you expand the basic 12-spoke color wheel into an infinite number of colors for use in your designs.
  • Neutrals are another important part of creating a color scheme.

*Emphasis mine.

From this research into colour, I have concluded that a blue hue is appropriate for my design, as it represents responsibility, and responsibility is a concept that I would like to communicate within my image in regards to getting vaccinated. And to make my complementary colour palette more creative, I will opt to experiment with adding tones, tints and shades to bring out the right ‘feel’ for my image.