I have to admit that I have had more fun that I’d anticipated with this exercise, and in the process learned quite a lot more about layers, custom brushes and actions.
I’ve created many images, some good, some less so, some little more than doodles. One thing I’ve enjoyed since the days I used slide film is creating double exposures, so that is where I started.
Using a photograph of a misty River Mole from Part 1, I added a low light self portrait as a new layer. Erasing using a very ‘soft’ brush to expose the background layer resulted in a merger of the two. I also used the blending mode between the layers to achieve a more subtle effect. This isn’t something I’ll do often – though I do have a similar on-going project based on my earlier Dungeness photos – but in this result I do like the way the shape of the tree mimics hair. The general mistiness helps as well.
For the remaining images to present here I decided to stay with the self portrait. It’s a nice simple photograph so the edits are nice and clear to see.
In the example below I have used Photoshop’s own filter capabilities to produce a fairly subtle watercolour effect, and then an Action that creates an effect like a water reflection. It’s possibly a bit subtle as sized here, but it’s quite spooky when displayed on a large monitor!
Returning to the original but keeping the watercolour effect, I’ve added a B&W adjustment layer mimicking a red filter. I’ve then used a brush to lighten the iris to give me the sort of steely don’t-mess-with-me stare I don’t possess in real life!
Here’s where it starts to get a bit crazy, and the next two are effect that, as much as I like the drama – could be seriously over-used. I downloaded an Action and an accompanying set of brushes which allow you to create a shatter effect. Again, the effect in this particular image is a maybe bit too subtle at this size – I also erased the adjustment layer to bring back the iris colour and boosted the saturation – Game Of Thrones anyone?
If the last one was a bit crazy, this is off the scale! Another action, this time like smashing fragments of glass. I doubt I’ll be using it much in the future, but this kind of reflects how work feels at this point in time.
And lastly, becoming Braveheart…
Here I’ve painted the blue colour onto a layer with the opacity reduced, and used one of the custom brushes I’ve acquired to rub it away in a random pattern like it’s been worn all day, perhaps at Murrayfield. Given the lighting used in the original shot I also had an excuse to add a fake light source and lens flair.
I’ll try Adam Ant next time…