Blog of Dane

Thursday, March 16, 2006

WK2 - Itchy, diseased, and other feelings

For the 4 images of which derived from the same, original image, and fit under the categories ‘itchy’, ‘cold’, ‘disease’, and ‘falling’ presented me with a great problem. What damn picture do I use to start with? Eventually I settled on a screenie from ‘Requiem for a Dream’.

Now for ‘falling’, my first pic, I simply grabbed the prominent figures in the image (cut them out using quick mask mode mostly) and copied them as multiple layers falling behind their relative subject. With each layer going backwards, I reduced the opacity slightly more each time in attempt to create the falling sense, to animate the still image somewhat. Each layer’s size going backwards was reduced to create the sense of perspective. Finally I cropped the pic to properly fit in the layers of Jared Leto – the reproduced layers of him were floating off the bottom of the page. Done.

‘Disease’ was much simpler to create than it may seem (to some), but this design to me is always effective. I find that simplicity is often the key to success in these situations. Anyways…I first cropped the pic for framing and position of character, etc. I then slightly dropped the brightness and upped the contrast until I got a nice strong blue, black-eyed Jared. This I found worked great – I’ve messed around with this in the past, but it finally worked in the sense that I always hoped it one day may do so. The ’28 days later’ effect. From there it only got simpler. My version of Photoshop is now packed (maybe too much) with brushes recently found on the net which make works like this so effective. The first used was a brush named ‘heavy scratch’, obviously creating the black scratches all over the joint. They are rather harsh, so I tuned the opacity down slightly. Multiple uses of the brush resulted in darkening the edges slightly. Similarly, I used brushes from the brush set titled ‘blood and prints’. A little colour change to red, some resizing of brush size, and careful framing finished the job.

Next was ‘itchy’. This rather abstract piece was me going crazy with the software. It began with cropping the pic for framing purposes again, then inverting the colours. From there is a little hazy…I believe I used the filter ‘torn edges’, as well as playing with the threshold levels until I got the desired black blobs. From there it was a matter of finding the right brush (from the default brush set) and printing a single black brush stroke repeatedly, over and over at varying brush sizes and opacities. I then did the same using white instead of black for some contrast in texture. Fin.

Last was ‘cold’. In an attempt to avoid the previously used blue images (which admittedly would have been my original plan), I tried to go for the ‘cold and alone’ sense of cold. First I scooped up another screenie of Jared in Requiem, this time sitting on the ground inside a damp, ‘cold’, graffiti infested room. Copy, paste in new layer. Resize and repeat, twice. So, with three extra Jareds floating around I grabbed the eraser, selected a similar brush to ‘itchy’, and went at each layer. As before, I varied the eraser/brush sizes and opacities so that it looked more misty than jagged. To top it off I believe I couldn’t help but increase the blue level. Only slightly, I swear.

I think the thing with Photoshop is that it’s on the computer. First problem. There’s games and websites and games that continue to taunt (damn you Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005). The quick access to music though is always a plus to the creativity. Anyways, I really can’t recall learning Photoshop, but I can say this was a learning curve. It began with an initial discovery of brush sets that the software already had (I know it’s dumb but no I didn’t know they were there before). I came across this new feature when I finally decided to try and create the scratch effect. Some googling and downloading of shareware brushes later and ‘voila’. Apart from that, all I can say is that Photoshop only allows you to get better and better each time you sit down and have a serious attempt at churning out pics. If someone showed me these 4 pics before I did them, I would’ve said I couldn’t do it.


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