From the time that I first began to understand photoshop, which took a while, I was taken with the idea of altering the look of a photograph. Don't get me wrong, I don't do this to just any photograph. A good portrait or photograph is just that and doesn't need effects to enhance it. However I have 'played' with textures and blending modes for a long time and the results have tended to be sent to people as birthday cards. Or lost in the depths of my portfolio. I have produced various invitations and other graphic work when it has been needed but I haven't actually seen this work as a skill, more as play, to be honest.
The first image above I made using textures in 2011 and the second I have been modifying to put up on a wall here in Thailand, it's not quite there yet but once I'm happy with the text then on the wall it will go.
Imagine my surprise then when I sent Pete, my guitar playing friend, a couple of ideas for his new cd cover and he said that he liked the second one and would probably use it. Admittedly my so-called play has, over the last three years become increasingly easier to do and my interest in text and the input of helpful hints from designers who were trained in graphic design has increased my range considerably.
Here is the place to thank the person who has provided free textures over the years. SkeletalMess is a contributor on Flickr who has consistently produced beautiful textures which he gives freely and only asks that he be credited with the texture. I now make my own textures as well.
Applying textures to images and blending them using blend modes in photoshop is a constant source of wonder. Different images require very different textures and the blending is always a touch more here or a little less there, very like the ingredients in a good meal.
So here is a look at the process of some pictures that I'm working on of a young dancer. I will not be able to provide exact measurements because non of my actions have been recorded but I can show the pictures, as they began and approximately what I did along the way.
Not great pictures, I had no flash so I'd ramped my ISO up to max, the lights in the ceiling were changing colour all the time and the 'for sale' signs didn't help at all.
With both pictures I selected the dancer and moved her over into a new background. One was a picture of roses that I desaturated and took the opacity down to 25. The selected picture of the dancer I also desaturated a little and took the opacity down a few stops on her too.
I left the roses covering her as it didn't take away from her and I quite liked it. The frame came from onOne photo effects. this is really simple and I could have done a lot more, including putting some shadow on the ground but again I quite liked the idea of her floating in the background.
And the second shot I spent a long time on, there are two textures and a photo filter on the top of this. I spent a lot of time getting rid of the green hair. I used a reddish filter over the top of the textures then painted some of it out in the mask. I'm at the stage that I'm not yet happy with either of these shots so they will be put away for a day and then I'll go back to them and make some decisions on how to finish them off. Work in progress. I'm more of a make things grungy than pretty person so these two pictures are a challenge to me.
So finally to Pete's cd cover picture. I am not going to explain the processes for this but it involved two photos and several textures and blend modes. I was very pleased with the bleached look of the background and overall this definitely works for me although if it hadn't already gone out then I'm sure I'd still be adjusting it, a little here and a little there. Thankfully he took it away with him and now everyone has seen it so that is that.
The CD will be selling very soon and I look forward to buying my copy. It's very exciting that Peter has made the music and put it all together, now packaged and selling very soon . I am very impressed with his focus and energy in seeing this project through. I know it will be a great success.
Thanks for reading those of you who've made it to the end. I will continue to post as I travel around and occasionally post more technique based posts like this one.