We Are All Made of Light
Walkthrough by Sergey Kanatyev
The original photos for this work were:
At first lets put in some work with sky. Use instrument Clone Stamp to remove needless landscape at the bottom – trees, telegraph poles etc. On this stage to my mind one shouldn’t face any difficulties. Then use instrument Crop to frame our photo to adjust to the composition to come.
Clouds were photographed in overcast day so photo was almost monochrome. Let’s try to add some mood to this photo. At first open dialog window Shadow/Highlight (available from CS and later versions) and make our picture to be more gloomy darkening light zones. Simultaneously one can lighten shadows. Both these operations are especially useful for digital photos with under-timed or over-timed exposition. These actions broaden artificially the dynamic diapason or rather make semblance of that. In this case there is no need to correct shadows so we push OK button.
Then open dialog window Image/Adjustments/Selective Color. Add warm hues into whites and cold hues into blacks. Again, push OK button. Then one can open dialog window Selective Color again and correct every individual hue more accurate.
We will get something about this:
Leave our background in rest. Lets work with pigeon. For a start separate it from background. There is no any universe method in here. In such cases I usually create mask augmenting as much as possible contrast in the appropriate channel which should be doubled. Then mask should be manually drawn in detail. Utilizing of mask lets one to return to the original picture at any moment or to correct details which are not evident on prima facie.
For example when pigeon was placed on the foreign background it became visible that some parts of wings became excessively transparent. So mask should be slightly corrected. There is one nuance in here – when object is placed on the final background some inexactitudes are concealed but new ones become more evident. When you think that you did your utmost to make object to look naturally in any surroundings it is not out of place to save it in individual file as it might be useful for other work like in my case.
So place the bird on our background. I decided that pigeon looks rather dirty so I lightened its breast with the abovementioned filter Shadow/Highlight working with shadows this time. To keep pads I copied them into individual layer. Then I removed yellow hues from bird image with Selective Color. But I decided that was not enough so I copied the pigeon than lightened it and overlaid above with opacity of 25%. Opacity of the lower pigeon was 85%. After this the bird image became more airily:
Now I’d like pigeon to shine. Again, duplicate the pigeon image and place it above background and under over copies of pigeon. These other copies one should better switch off meanwhile. Open Image/Adjustments/Levels and move white point on histogram to the left at maximum, i.e. crop all the tone scale leaving only white. We get an ideally white silhouette of pigeon. Then one should go to Filter/Blur/Radial Blur, choose Zoom as Blur Method and set Quality parameter in Best position. Blur Center should be in the place were the bird’s head is situated. Then press OK button and wait for some time while filter counts. If your work has big size you can now have coffee break. This operation can be proceeded several times with small value of Amount. In this case quality may be established at Draft significantly increasing processing speed of filter. But in last circle one should establish Best quality or smear a little a received image with Gaussian Blur. The result is:
Now we can switch on the other layers and estimate them together. I created several copies which were processed with Radial Blur filter and established different values of opacity for them:
I’d like to exaggerate the mood and to deepen the picture. With that end in view we create a new layer. Than we choose brush with large radius with smooth edges, establish low opacity for it and cover over the edges of our picture with black. To soften this effect we change the overlay mode from Normal to Soft Light:
But I still think that our picture is lack of something. I have some favourite textures which I use sometimes. Here is one of them:
This texture is texture of cloudy stone which was discoloured and corrected with Curves. Place it onto the picture as upper layer. I put it over in Soft Light mode with 30% transparency. Then I doubled this layer and changed overlay mode to Lighten. This operation allowed texture to sparkle on the dark parts of the picture. I suppose that’s all. Here is the result of our exercise:
Sergey “E_X_I_L_E” Kanatyev
Email: e_x_i_l_e [at] mail.ru