Concepts Week 4: Changing Up Appearances

February 26, 2011

There are plenty of things that a person can do to relax when times get rough. Some people like to knit, some like to go out dancing, some like to go to a firing range and shoot the hell out of stuff. And while this week I would have loved to stick hot lead into some hapless paper target, I simply couldn’t find the time. Do you know the effort it takes to find a range in the area, then actually go there, register and get familiar with the basics? Honestly, how do people fit it in their schedules? No, though this week had been frustrating, what with tons of nit-picky work to do and a raging supervisor who decides to give you a lesson on rounding numbers to the nearest decimal (I can’t make this stuff up), I didn’t go a-shooting. Instead, I turned to the next most relaxing thing I could think of: Photoshop.

Ok, so I didn’t really have much of a choice in the matter, considering that it was my assignment for Concepts, but still, I was happy to get back to a program that I neglected for so long. When I was in college I got into PS as a way to make my own desktop wallpapers. Even though I was frustrated as all hell, I was able to teach myself the relative basics, plus some extra techniques after two years. My love of Photoshop sort of fell by the wayside after I got a job (damn you work!), so it felt like coming home when I started working on this project.

The subject of my photoshop mischief was, of course, my lovely assistant, Ian. Taking the pictures I snapped last week, I was able to get back into my photo-editing groove.

Remember this picture?

110218_0046

I was able mess with the filters a bit and I played around with a function called Color Range. What that does is take everything in the picture with a certain color value and select it. So I selected it and messed with the color, giving it a more demonic red cast. I wanted to make it look more like there was something more sinister in there than left over mac & cheese. What we have then is this:

ONLY ZUUL

THERE IS ONLY ZUUL.

This next shot had me a little lost as to how to proceed. At first I was thinking to make it a bit like a comic book cover. But no matter how many times I worked at it, it just wasn’t working the way I wanted it to. So I took a different tack, making my own film grain texture since the filter wasn’t doing it for me. I basically added noise to the shot and sharpened it to make it look nice and grainy. Before I did that, though, I prepped the photo, desaturating it and using the Patch Fix tool to remove some spots on the wall behind him and getting rid of his dark circles. The result was this, which sort of reminded me of a newspaper picture:

Before:
110218_0023

After:
newspaperman

With that in mind, I made this:

newspaper

The end product was kind crude, mostly used to illustrate what was in my head.

The apple picture was one of the ones I enjoyed taking the most. It reminds me of one of my favorite paintings, (Magritte’s Son of Man for those of you not paying attention to my last post) and there are just a lot of things that I like about it. So, when I messed around with a layer mask and some filters, I was ecstatic to get this:

Before:
110218_0005

After:
realitybends

To me, it highlights some of the surreality that I had tried (and failed) to capture with the original shot.

This last change up is the one I am most proud of. I took this shot of Ian that sort of looked like he was running scared of something. I don’t even want to get into how much effort it took to get half of the effects I had wanted, but the end result looks pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. It took a lot of masks, inverting images, and sheer will power to make it look exactly like the way I had envisioned it in my head.

Before:
110218_0035

After:
itcamefromct

So there you have it! Four images, lots of editing and even more shouting and swearing, but I have four shots I’m more or less happy with and the catharsis made it all worthwhile.

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3 Responses to “Concepts Week 4: Changing Up Appearances”

  1. Mark said

    Nice work, looking forward to seeing more.

  2. Tom said

    Fun! Love the headlines in the morning rag ^_^

  3. air said

    Made me laugh : )

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