I’ve always enjoyed a bit of photomanipulation. Ever since my fanfiction days, I’ve used photoshop to make banners for my stories. It’s been a while since I last had a go, so I teamed up with willing volunteer, my little sister Taylor (who has her own blog here) to take a few photos for my story series on the blog.
Here is the finished result:
It took a lot of playing around to get the starter image to this final banner.
This was the original image. Now, I’m not the best photographer, and the boyfriend has already pointed out that it looks a little like she only has one leg, but I think we both did quite well given the conditions.
I always wanted the photo to be taken against a plain brick wall. Easier said than done – the only part of our house that has a plain brick wall is next to the pond… First we had to drag some giant bags of garden waste out of the way, then I had to teeter on the edge of the pond, crouching uncomfortably to get the best angle. Poor Taylor had to stand for ages in my shoes and wind blowing a gale before I deemed I had enough photos that surely, by law of averages, one would be good enough!
In hindsight, I should have moved the fishing nets on the floor, as the first thing I did was photoshop them out, but oh well.
Using the clone stamp tool I covered over the poles of the fishing nets with another section of the stone tile. It looks a bit obvious at first, but later on when all the other effects are added it won’t stand out quite so much.
The hardest bit to do was getting the crack between the two tiles vaguely straight. Again, it was a bit obvious it had been tampered with at first, but it was close enough to not be noticed later.
I decided to leave the bit of wood in, as I quite liked how it broke up the brick wall and looked a bit gritty. Incidentally, I have no idea why there is a random bit of wood nailed to our wall.
After I’d finished getting rid of the nets, I cropped the photo so the bit of windowframe on the left side was cut out.
This had the double advantage of making the wall look vaguely symmetrical and also cutting off a section of the tile with the most nets on. It was harder to make that tile look realistic with the clone stamp tool because of the ratio of net to tile.
It still doesn’t look great in this picture, but being right in the corner means it’s not the first place someone would look anyway.
So, with Taylor’s background all sorted, the next stage was to turn her into a fairy…
I used a photoshop brush to give Taylor her fairy wings. The brush was from a set called SS Fairy Wings which I downloaded from here. It’s a really pretty set with many different types of wings, but these were my favourites. I liked how soft they looked!
I lowered the flow and opacity of my brush so the wings came out translucent rather than an opaque blob, then printed them over the top of Taylor.
The photo wasn’t quite big enough to contain all of the wings at the size I’d set them at, but I was happy with the amount of wing showing and didn’t really want to make them any smaller.
Now my fairy has wings – just need to make them look like they are behind her, not in front of her.
Setting the history brush tool to the stage before the drawing the wings on, I returned Taylor’s arms to the forground.
That’s all the adding to the picture I wanted to do, but it still looks like a photo of Taylor in our garden. Time to add some atmosphere to the picture.
I was hoping to go for a gritty, mysterious look with this one, but also wanted to give Taylor a bit of an ethereal quality to make her look like she’s a bit mystical.
To set the mood of the photo, I played with the levels a bit – bringing out the black tones in the picture. It makes it look darker, but also crisper.
After using the ‘image-adjustments-curves’ tool to sharpen the black, the bricks in the background still looked a bit bright. It was making the bricks the focus of the picture, not Taylor.
To lower the brightness, I used the ‘image-adjustments-replace colour’ tool to darken the tone of the bricks. Fortunately Taylor was wearing mostly blue, so darkinening the terracotta tones didn’t affect any other section of the photo.
Next I extended the size of the photo. I set the background colour to match the colour of the tiles at the botom of the photo.
Using the crop tool, I dragged the boundaries of the photo out beyond where it ended originally. This left me with a block of bricks next to a block of green. To soften the transition I used a fading eraser to blur the boundary, then using the wing brush again, extended the tips of the wings onto the green background to make sure definition wasn’t lost at the edges.
To soften the edges and give Taylor the desired ethereal glow, I duplicated the background to form a new layer. Using the ‘filter-blur-gaussian blur’ set to about 6px, I blurred the image, then set it to ‘overlay’ the background.
After playing with the opacity of the blurred layer until I was happy with it, I combined the layers then used the history brush from before the blurred layer to return a bit of definition to the body of the wings.
Next I created a new layer filled with black and used the ‘filter-noise-add noise’ to create a grain effect. I set the noise to about 140% and checked the monochromatic box to make them white rather than coloured.
After setting the layer to ‘screen’ so it sat over the top of the background, again playing with the opacity til I was happy with the effect, I combined the layers and adjusted the overall saturation of the photo to reduce the blue glow on Taylor’s clothes.
Then I just had to add the writing. I think both fonts were downloaded, but I have so many and got them all so long ago that I can’t remember where I got them from. The title is written in ‘Burton’s Nightmare’ and my name in Aleia.
Once I was happy with the positioning, it was just a case of saving one last time.
And there you have it. How to turn your sister into a fairy in nine easy steps!
(All images in this post are linked to their source image. Click on them if you want to see the full size picture.)