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The midweek challenge

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
We had a request for how to work with smaller dark pics do here it is, Heidi has donated a pic of Ophelia (I hope) to work with.

At some point we will do one of the smaller pics with a clearer focus too

Give it your best shot


and lets try making them into a sig and saving small enough for TCS too

ETA: I guess some tips would be helpful
work in layers using the lightening modes (screen and soft light/overlay etc)
you will also need to blur a bit to get rid of the grainy look
post #2 of 19
Thread Starter 
I will be back to post how I did it, but here she is
post #3 of 19
Oh icklemiss - you pick the 'good' ones lol. Thanks for these challenges - but this one will be hard I think lol...will go try.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
OK here goes, this is a long one...

1. copy original pic twice and set both layers to screen to give more definition to the edges.
2. flatten image
3. use lasso tool to cut out Ophelia, copy and paste to new layer
4. crop to get rid of excess pic that will not be used and discard original layer.
5. use a soft edged brush to paint in green of eye and black pupil part of eye (on separate layers) - use small guassian blur to make them more natural
6. make two copies of original (grayish looking) layer and set to soft light BELOW eye colours
7. with a soft edged brush, on a new layer, 'paint' over the white(ish) areas with pure white, and guassian blur at 6
8. repeat step 7 with black (ish) areas (pure black colour to paint)
9. repeat step 7 with pinkish (ish) areas (choosing the colour by clicking on her ear)
10. merge the 'painted layers' and set to soft light at 80% opacity.
11. I thought the eyes were not bright enough so copied another layer and set it to linear light at 40% opacity
12. merge visible layers and resize to siggy size
13. paste it to new siggy sized document
14. create background (used dark rather than bright so it didn't look too 'busy'
15. clean up edges with soft edged brush eraser at 50% opacity (so edges don't look too harsh)
16. copy layer and set to soft light at 40% (ish) opacity, blur this layer by hand and add outer glow
17. added name and outer glow
18. save for web

and just remember, you will never get the 'perfect' look with a bad pic, but you can make it look a lot better, so don't be put off, but don't try being a perfectionist with them either, they will never look as good as you want them to
post #5 of 19
Here is my try


I did it by using Brightness/contrast to lighten the photo, then cut Ophelia from the background. Then I selected the white bits and did them like the colouring Abby one, with the Hue/saturation/colourize, then I did the same with her black bits and her nose. I did each separate bit a couple of times until it looked the best I could get it.
post #6 of 19
This is what I came up with..



I cut Ophelia out using the magnetic lasoo with feather (10px). Then enlarged her to work on. I duplicated several layers and put some on screen, vivid light and soft light. I adjusted the opacity of the layers..it was a case of playing with each layer's level of capacity until it looked right (so some would be at 75%, some at 25% etc) Then I merged the layers. I also despeckled the pic a few times. And then adjusted the hue...until her fur was dark enough.

By this time...her pupils and any colour in her eye were hardly visible (too dark).

I redid her eyes by zooming in a few times...drawing the black pupils in with the circle eclipse tool and gaussian blurred them out. Then drew in the white light dots and blurred them out. For the green of her eyes, I zoomed in, added a few drops of green with the paintbrush and gaussian blurred them out

I selected her nose area with the circle selection tool and replaced the pink colour with a darker pink and the same with her ear in reverse (e.g. made it a lighter pink).

I added her onto to a siggy size background and positioned her where I wanted and adjusted her size. I added a drop shadow effect around her to blend her in. The drop shadow brush wasnt the best for this so I just painted blobs of white/grey around her and gaussian blurred them in (to give the appearance of mist)

Then did the background on a pretty white flower theme.

I did try playing with lighting effect...usually I find a soft omni light around the cat higlights the cats face nicely. But when I did that it just highlighted all the speckles in her coat and undid all the darkening I had achieved from playing with the layers earlier! Her face looked good with the lighting, but it had to go as her fur was blue, black and speckly like in the orginal picture.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
You just need to save it a little bit smaller
and how did you do it?
post #8 of 19
...when I do 'save for web' I go for 28k. So I think Im ok. But then when i paste it here its just over 30k. I dont know why this keeps happening. I'll resave it.
post #9 of 19


It's been brought to my attention that I had yet to do any homework. Of course, the current assignment is my least favorite thing...dark fuzzy pictures. Aaanyway...

I cut little Ophelia right out of her meowmy's loving arms (with the magnetic lasso), and attempted to make several layers. For some reason, I was having issues with the drag and drop...it kept dropping her off the page. So I ended up only working with two layers.

I brightened them both. One layer I did gaussian blur and a soft outer glow and layered it on top of the other. Then I cut the transparency to 50% on the blurred layer. I then merged the two.

When I do eyes, I don't cut them out as many do, I paint them in. I saw that Ophelia still had "kitten blue" eyes, so I painted in some blue with a 1 pixel sized brush, and made a tiny 4 pixel-sized highlight in the eye. Since the other eye was so underlit, I left it in the dark. Since I couldn't work with too many layers, I went for clarity over softness.

I made a simple background with gray/lavender as the first layer, the second layer was a simple brush in gray/blue, and a third layer in gray/pink.

Since the design of the background was whimsical, and Ophelia is such a romantic name, I chose a font that would fit in with both of those things, using lower case. I chose green/gray for the color, and added a soft drop shadow to help it stand out since it is such a delicate font.

I then merged all the layers, and gave the whole thing a soft inner glow.

Bada bing, bada boom...a siggy.

Can I make a suggestion for a future challenge/tutorial...that is Eithne, if you're up to teaching all of us...I would love to make brushes. I don't know if all of the programs have this capability, but I think it would be fun. I once made a brush (of jinjin's face), but couldn't figure out how to save it. I think it would be great fun!
post #10 of 19
Great job everyone! I still need to color Abby before tackling this!

Quote:
Originally Posted by minxie View Post
...when I do 'save for web' I go for 28k. So I think Im ok. But then when i paste it here its just over 30k. I dont know why this keeps happening. I'll resave it.
I have the same problem with Photobucket. Save it around 27K. It is a lot easier that way.



Quote:
Originally Posted by clixpix View Post

It's been brought to my attention that I had yet to do any homework.
Where are the rest of your assignments?
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by clixpix View Post

Can I make a suggestion for a future challenge/tutorial...that is Eithne, if you're up to teaching all of us...I would love to make brushes. I don't know if all of the programs have this capability, but I think it would be fun. I once made a brush (of jinjin's face), but couldn't figure out how to save it. I think it would be great fun!
I have done that one before somewhere else, let me try and find it
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
post #13 of 19
I'm not good at working with these kinds of pictures, because it's next to impossible to make them look good.

Here is mine:



What I did was Auto Levels and Auto Colour.

I then made several layers in screen, soft light, and added Gaussian Blur to them. I then pasted then flattened the background, and added the Grain filter to the signature, because the picture was still a bit grainy. So I decided to make the entire signature grainy. Oh....I also used the regular lasso to circle each eye and added green and cyan as well as increased the saturation to the eyes, to bring out the eye colour.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbysMom View Post
Where are the rest of your assignments?
Shhh!
Quote:
Originally Posted by icklemiss21 View Post
Oooh! Thanks!
post #15 of 19
I just want to say that I'm really impressed with everyone's results with this really bad picture. Considering it was taken 7 years ago, with a digital camera where you could fit 20 photos on a floppy disk, with no flash and at night... It's probably about the same or worse quality as you would get now with a camera phone.

I can't wait to start playing with you guys on these challenges, but I just got a computer upgrade, upgraded to Vista, and haven't gotten Photoshop loaded yet.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
I just want to say that I'm really impressed with everyone's results with this really bad picture. Considering it was taken 7 years ago, with a digital camera where you could fit 20 photos on a floppy disk, with no flash and at night... It's probably about the same or worse quality as you would get now with a camera phone.

I can't wait to start playing with you guys on these challenges, but I just got a computer upgrade, upgraded to Vista, and haven't gotten Photoshop loaded yet.
Geez Heidi, technology-wise, you might as well have carved it in stone!

You would have been better off with a disposable film camera!
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by clixpix View Post
Geez Heidi, technology-wise, you might as well have carved it in stone!

You would have been better off with a disposable film camera!
It was one of the first digital cameras on the market and state of the art at the time. The sad thing is that we paid about $1000 for it!

And if I had used a film camera...I still wouldn't have the picture. I was horrible about taking film to be developed!
post #18 of 19


Here's another attempt on this picture. My first picture was a real rush job. I did it including the background in about 15 minutes because I had to leave for work soon. This one I think is much better.

1st I used the Auto Levels and Auto Colour to brighten up the picture.
2nd I used the blur tool to smooth out the pixelation on the black and white areas.
3rd I used the Dodge and Burn tools to make the blacks blacker and the whites whiter.
4th I used the lasso to circle each eye, and adjusted Colour and Saturation to make the eyes show up green, then I lightened and contrasted the eyes. The only painting I did was the black pupils of the eyes and the white dots on the eyes.
5th I made the background.
6th I put Ophelia on the background
7th I made a new layer, at Soft light and Gaussian Blur at a low setting
8th I duplicated that layer and set opacity at about 65 percent and lightened it a little with the brightness and contrast setting.
9th I added an Outer glow on the bottom layer of Ophelia
10th Flattened the image.

Then I added the text of her name, flattened and saved it. And that is it.
post #19 of 19
Here's my cheat!

I'll be back with a color oen later!

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