Monday, March 7, 2011

Photoshop Makes Time Travel Possible - Sort Of

It's not often you get to see someone travel through time and distance.  The gentleman in today's image is standing in the street in Colonial Williamsburg.  If you've been to CW you may not recognize the location.  That's because the location is an alleyway in Litchfield, Connecticut.  Litchfield is a colonial era town in the beautiful hills of northwestern Connecticut.  Several images that have appeared in these postings have been from Litchfield and the surrounding area.  In fact, last Friday's post is from about two blocks away from today's.  From the site of today's image you just walk up (literarily) West Street, turn right onto South Street past four or five houses and Friday's image is in the side yard of one of the stately homes that grace the wide boulevard there.  Flipping back to the man in today's post, one of the nice things about Colonial Williamsburg is that the re-enactors  will all stop and pose for anyone with a camera.  While we were there, Thomas Jefferson, Martha Washington and other historical figures and "towns folks" obliged us as we snapped away.  After returning home and visiting Litchfield again I thought it would be a great idea to have some re-enactors go up to celebrate its colonial heritage.   I couldn't find a group who thought that was a good idea.  So, we have a mashup  of a fellow from Williamsburg "posing" in Litchfield.  To find out how he got there, hit the "read more".
The first thing that needed to be done was to remove any vestiges of the 21st century. There wasn't a whole lot looking down the alley, but enough glaring items that were a dead giveaway pointing to today. Electrical and phone wire were fairly common. Wires ran in the trees over the carriage house. There was a pretty heavy piece of conduit, with a distribution box on top attached to the wall of the building on the right. There was an "Open" sign in the lower window and blinds in both windows.

The wires were removed in a combination of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5. Some wires lent themselves to being removed with the Spot Removal Tool in LR3. Others wound up being too close to critical edges to be removed without leaving unwanted artifacts, so the alley was brought into CS5 and the retouching continued there. The process of removing the wires wound up be a bit of a dance. do whatever could be done in LR3, switch over to CS5, save back to LR3, go as far as possible with another area, back to CS5, do a little work, save back to LR3 and keep bouncing back and forth.

The alleyway was completed before our "model" was imported, so the windows behind him were retouched completely before he was brought over. The upper windows had modern blinds in all the panes. One pane was defined using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) on a new Layer. It was filled with black (with black as the foreground color - Alt Backspace). It was made into a Smart Object (right click in the Layer box and choose Convert to Smart Object) and a Add Noise Filter applied (Filters/Noise/Add Noise). The finished pane was copied three times and moved into place using the Move Tool (V). Once one set of four panes looked good the Layers were combined (Click on the top Layer of the sequence, Shift Click on the Bottom Layer of the set and use Ctrl E to merge the layers). The resulting Layer was copied and pasted to a new Layer. Using the Move Tool (V) the set of four was moved into place over the next set of panes. The steps were repeated until all panes looked proper. The upper set in the lower sash required a Layer Mask to reduce the size to the correct dimensions.

The gentleman was brought in and an Alpha Channel created using the Quick Selection Tool (W) and right clicking on the selection to find the Save Selection panel. The edge was smoothed and feathered using the Refine Edge dialog box.