Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No HDR, Just Playing

It’s true, despite the garish colors and the heavy patterns, no HDR work was done to today’s image.  The colors were pumped up, a Divide Blend Mode was used on a Layer, filters were used to push and pull the image into an oval shape, Smart Objects were put in Layer upon Layer to keep everything editable, but no HDR.  It looks HDRish, but no HDR applet, plugin or application was used.  It started out as just another shot of Bearskin Neck on Cape Ann, Massachusetts.  The idea was to straighten it up a little (it’s a wide angle shot so it showed a little barrel distortion), adjust the colors and be done with it.  Then I got to playing.  I went down a couple rat holes and had to back out a few times, but each wrong turn took me further down a rabbit hole until I felt like Alice.  Since I already was in a “Wonderland” of my own making I decided to explore a little.  I went left, I went right, I stumbled a couple times and finally got to where I thought I was at an end.  It was pretty much an extreme posterization of the image and looked reasonable.  I thought, what’s another step I could add seeing as, by that time, I was fairly deep in the woods anyway.  Decided to play with Polar Coordinates (Filter/Distort/Polar Coordinates) to see if I could come up with something circular.  To find out how I got “the town square circle” , hit the “read more”

The bank was on the far left of the rectangular image (I didn’t want to say “the straight image” because, by that time, it really wasn’t “straight” in a normal image way. Therefore the lower left tip of the building (at twelve o’clock) was at the center of the circle of sand. Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) I selected the quarter from twelve to three on a clock face. A simple copy to a new Layer (Ctrl J) made it its own, editable Layer. Using Free Transform (Ctrl T) and switching between Distort, Scale and Warp (right click on the Free Transform area) I was able to push the spear tip up to match with the other end of the road.

That left the tip with the correctly pushed end of the building overlaid. Using the same Lasso one quarter technique I then selected the lower left quadrant of only the sandy area. Again using the Free Transform applet I moved the pivot point from the center of the selection to the upper right tip of the selection. Taking the cursor outside the selected area the cursor became a rotational tool. The sandy quarter was spun around until it covered the tip of the building. Right clicking inside the selected area brought up the Free Transform option list. Using Skew, Distort and Warp the sandy area was filled in.

Content Aware Fill on the Healing Brush (J) was used to blend the outline of the sandy quadrant with the rest of the hard ground area. To blend it just a little more a selection was made (L) of only the sandy area. A slight rotational blur (Filter/Blur/Rotational Blur) or 2 or 3 pixels was added to create a slight swirl effect.