Friday, April 10, 2015

On Safari With Photoshop Thanks To Glyn Dewis

Click on image to enlarge.
I recently picked up a copy of Glyn Dewis’ new book titled “ThePhotoshop Workbook”.  I’ve been a fan of Glyn’s ever since Scott Kelby “discovered” him and started bringing him over to “Photoshop World”.  In the first chapter he shows an image he made of a couple giraffes out on the savannah.  I said to myself “self, we have a couple images of giraffes from the Bronx Zoo”, hmmm.  I thought I might be able to do a reasonable takeoff on his image.  From his description it seemed he had a fairly easy time extracting the animal from its original location.  In the one I did, I didn’t have too much trouble, but apparently more trouble the Glyn.  Not a big deal, but it proved a point.  I did want to make my image different enough from Glyn’s so no one would thing I just filched his image.  To find out what I did and the differences between the two are, hit the “Read More”.

In my attempt I used one giraffe image (duplicated, flipped and Puppet Warped in Adobe Photoshop (PS)).  Other images were the distant hills and sky and a couple shots of seagulls.  That’s it for actual clicks of the shutter.  The grass and the tree were PS inventions.

As I said in the first paragraph, the giraffe shot was taken at the Bronx Zoo in New York State.  It’s an easy hour drive from here, so it’s pretty handy to have a world class spot to grab some pix anytime you get an idea for something.  The one problem is that it doesn’t look very savannahish.  Being in the northeast hardwood forest area of the US you get more “non native to Africa” type trees.  So, basically anything you shoot would have to be extracted and placed in a more optimal “natural” surrounding.  In PS the Quick Selection Tool (W) was used to make the rough outline of the animal.  Once made the image (before committing the Selection) was enlarged and gone over closely.  Occasionally the tool would be tricked by a similar tonal value and produce a strange cutout.  Either adding to from subtracting from the body.  Because the Quick Selection Tool is a “learning tool” you can reselect (the QST is automatically in the Add To Selection mode) parts to be added or unselect (hold down the ALT key) pieces outside the body.  Once there was a pretty good selection the Refine Edge Tool was brought up.  (It’s on the options bar and is titled “Refine Edge”.)  The edge was brought in a couple precent and given a feather of about two pixels.  The output was set to New Layer with Layer Mask.  That way the Mask and always be adjusted if needed.
The tree is total PS.  You can find a “tree builder” under Filter/Render/Trees.  There’s a choice of thirty something different trees and just about anything can be adjusted.  The tree, the number of leaves, the angle of light, the color of the leaves or branches, etc.  With a custom tree built it was sized using Free Transform (CTRL T).  While in Free Transform ir was squished somewhat at the top and widened out at he canopy area. 

 The birds are seagulls shot while on a ferry from Cape May, New Jersey to Lewes Delaware.  For the entire ride we had gulls hovering over the boat.  To “Africanize” the gulls some color was applied to reduce the obvious seagull appearance.  Again, Free Tranform was used to size the birds.
The grass is another story altogether.  It’s strictly a standard (as in comes with PS) Brush (B).  The Brush looks like three blades of grass.  There’s about four Layers of grass with varying sizes and colors.  The Brush Engine was used to vary the angle, spacing and color characteristics.  The routine was paint a Layer, change size and color, paint another Layer and repeat a couple times.

 So what looks like an expensive trip to Africa was actually a $20.00 (?) excursion to the Bronx.