Alright, this is the first of the PROJECTS threads. I'm sure many of you aware of the TECHNIQUES threads, well this is an extension to allow you to not only learn the tools but how to use them.
The point of these is not so much to learn how to do a given effect, but to allow you to stretch your mind and learn how it all "comes together". I'll be taking a project and walking you through it. Where necessary I'll point to tutorials on the web, tutorials I've done or TECHNIQUES threads so that it doesn't become too huge. The goal, after all, is for those who are already familiar to extend their expertise by doing a "task".
If you are following this, consider it homework to come up with your own similar (but not identical) design. Mine will simply be an example of one way of going about what the PROJECT is.
Your first PROJECT is to create a wallpaper (background for your desktop) of a celebrity. I suggest going to actual fan sites, as trying to find decent (non nude) pictures can be hard to do on the 'Net these days!
I've chosen Mandy Moore, both because she's photogenic, and cause she doesn't do anything raunchy, it's nice for a change. (www.mandymoore.com)
Aright, my goal will be to create a "different" shape for this wallpapare. One which isn't full-screen. I will start by creating a 1024 x 768 image (sizing up or down from here is easy).
I have chosen this photo: http://www.mandymoore.com/photos/sec2/photo_1100_6.html simply becuase it is what I'm looking for. Clean and playful. We can do anything with this from retro to really linear to whatever, we aren't bound by trying to make her look totally sexy, red hot or anything that isn't really appropriate.
Aright, my next post will be preparing this image for our wallpaper, balancing colours and doing some minor airbrushing/duplication.
Excellent idea J! But what do you want us to do? Start on our own wallpaper and maybe afterwards explain how we accomplished it? Or are we waiting for you and imlpementing your tips/techniques into our own wallpaper? I might be following this
1. Open your image, ensure you are in RGB mode (Image > Mode > RGB Mode)
2. Using either the magnetic lasso tool (faster, less completely accurate) click on the model's head, then drag the lasso around the image clicking whenever the angle or colour you are selecting changes, or the pen tool (more accurate, slower), select your model. You could also use a masking tool/application/filter if you have one.
3. Copy (CTRL + C) & Paste (CTRL + V) your model. This will create a new layer which we can then work with. Hide your old layer.
Your image should now look something like this:
This image is fairly good in terms of brightness and contrast, however we want her to look more alive (she is after all).
Instead of doing a straight Image > Adjust > Brightness/Contrast let's use an Adjustment Layer (Layers > New > Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast) so that we can adjust the settings later.
4. For my image I'll be using these settings both to bring some more life to the shadows (which we'll also touch up later) and to make her black shirt completely black (allowing us to pain over her mildly exposed area): +24 brightness, +14 contrast
Normally with brightness/contrast adjustments on images which are already fairly balanced you'd put the contrast at [x] and the brightness 1-1.5 times that. In this case we want her to seem vibrant, young and alive so I've gone a bit beyond that level.
Now the image is more alive, and she looks more "normal" as well so I won't need to adjust the levels as I thought I would (though you can paint in some saturation using the Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation if you so desire.
Okay, as far as I'm concerned this level is "pre-wallpaper ready" so our next step is to decide on what type of shapes and tones our wallpaper will have (colours would be nice too).
Alright, I'm a different kind of person. I like different things. Most wallpapers are these cool images that fill up the whole screen. I hate that
So, I've decided to make some kind of circly type of "cutout" to stick Mandy in. This will not only give me the shape for the design, but I can reuse that shape inside the design (though I may not go with the style I'm thinking, I may just use the shape in the design, you never know with me... It's the beauty of unplanned art!).
Aright, here's what I've decided to go with (for now):
It's really simple (but will probably change):
1. Open your piece
2. Draw the 3 circles
3. Filter > Stylize > Wind
Now then, that's it for our background. This step is really a "throw away" step as it's main purpose is to begin stimulating ideas. Our next step (another post) will be to begin working on our piece, with colours and so on.
Aright, I've been sitting here looking at this picture and you know what? I may go with a full-screen wallpaper, as much as I hate the thought.
Okay, here's where I'm at:
Here's what I've done to achieve this:
1. Fill with background colour
2. Take the adjusted mandy pick into the comp (our wallpaper)
3. Adjusted the size to both put her weirdly cut legs below teh border of the piece, and give her head some breathing room.
4. Copied mandy, motion blurred her and applied the displayed curves to bring out more colour in the blended copy
5. I've also locked the normal and blended copies of mandy together:
Aright, as you can see mandy is rather jaggedy, so to smooth that, and to blend her into the blurred copy of herself I'm going to do some rough and tumble unjaggying (while saving a copy of her behind our background).
Okay, sorry for the delay, but I'm gone for the night, I'll finish this tomorrow!
Aright, it's time to start making this have some life, something that actually makes it look like something other then a happy chick.
Okay, I'm looking for a semi-random pattern from the left that I can use to either colour dodge or underlie a pattern I'll put on later.
So, to get that random effect, it's easiest to use something that isn't really random (trying to create a random effect on your own never works). So, I've decided to simply write in some text (appropriately with mandy's name as the text). Make sure to render the text (right click on the T that is shown and render):
Okay, now do the following to go where I'm going:
1. Render layer
2. Filter > Stylize > Wind > Stagger (from left)
3. Filter > Blur > Motion Blur > 57 pixels (or whatever looks good)
4. Edit > Transform > Distort (give it a weird shape)
5. Stretch it to fill the image
6. Layer blending mode > colour dodge
7. Opacity > 30%
You may need to do another motion blur if the lines are too defined.
Now, this looks a bit drab, so we'll add some texture in here. Copy your kinda randommy lines layer (they didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped), invert the new layer (CTRL + I) and change it's blending mode to Colour Burn.
Now, bring it down and to the right a little bit and you should see a simple bevel effect, but because of the blurs and colours it looks ... interesting. It's not quite "right" yet, but we'll work with it. At this point, any shape or pattern is good to launch from (it's always better to plan your pieces beforehand, I hope you're all catching this as I fumble through this one).
Okay, next we're going to add some depth, try playing around with some shapes some and hopefully start seeing some kind of what we're liking at the end of the tunnel (as you can see, when I play, I change stuff a lot).
I've fixed mandy up a bit (I'm really not happy with the quality of the picture and don't feel like touching it up right now), and dropped some white (colour dodge, opacity 30%) text in (serpentineBD font).
At this point I'd be willing to let this lay, since I'm a minimalist sometimes, but I don't think I will since in reality I haven't shown you guys anything truly cool except how wacky my brain is.
Remember, at the end of this, I wanna see some from you guys too *L*