Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Start And The Finish

Today's image is another one of those that has a fairly dramatic change from what came out of the camera to what ended up in the frame. The thought process was that the image needed to be much "darker" in mood than the light, airy window scene that was shot. Producing the drama was a project that does take longer than the quick "corrections" that we normally do to create a fine art piece. There are several major changes to get to the final print. Cropping is obvious, as is coloring the sash, the liquids, the stoppers, and the floor of the bay window. The number of individual layers adding up to the result is considerable. Each color change is on its own layer. Each burning and dodging has its own layer. Every angle of the mullions (center dividers in the window) has its own coloring and layer. There are clipping layers, blending changes, and flips from RGB Mode to LAB Mode and back. The layer panel looks like a scroll rather than a panel. If you'd like to find out more about the changes in the color of the liquids, hit the "read more".

Whenever I do a change in color, whether it enhancing a woman's makeup or changing the color of the liquid in today's image, the method is pretty much the same. Basically, it's hit it with a hammer and then soften the blow. I just did a "makeover" on a woman, touching up her makeup to have the result a little more dramatic. In that case I tool Pure Violet Magenta as a foreground color, with a fairly soft brush and, on its own layer, drew in some "eye shadow". At first glance it looks like you'd either be a six year old coloring a picture of mom, or going for clown makeup. Total overkill. The key to making it look more like properly applied makeup and less like you were painting a wall is to change the Blend Mode to Color. Instantly it gets to looking better. Now, because you have the color on a separate layer, bring the Opacity down to taste. It's much easier to go nuts and bring things back than not to go far enough and have to either start over or try to add more color. Either way is a hassle and more time consuming than being able to "fine tune" using the Opacity slider.

The same technique was applied to the liquids in today's image. Each color on a separate layer, be outlandish with the color selection, switch the Blend Mode to Color and dial it back with the Opacity slider to get the color right where you want it.

It's not a hard trick to master and comes in handy for a wide range of subject matter.