Today I tried to cover the essential steps in a making-of and how-to on this blog. The suggested requirements are Photoshop from CS3/4/5 a Wacom tablet and it is an advantage if pen tool, brushes and layers are familiar to you, just in case you want to recreate the image. The workshop is for advanced users.
If you are German and want to read the whole tutorial, bitte hier klicken und das Magazin bestellen.
The idea for the following was inspired by a stock-image from Marcus J. Ranum (first frame in step 01) and was used with written permission for this workshop. If possible I recommend making your own reference or stock-images, but because no one can be gifted in everything, nothing speaks against a collaboration with talented photographers and models.
For commissioned work, my workflow is somewhat different and starts usually with a rough sketch. This method of working although allows for a very free approach and also to concentrate on new techniques.
Compositing and the possibility to play with different elements is the kind of freedom I embrace in photo manipulation combined with digital painting.
For this I took and cut some paper boards and findings and draped them into a graphical arrangement like you can see in the unedited shot in The image above, pretty basic handiwork. I made a photograph of it and adjusted that with camera-raw converter into black and white.
In between I cropped the figure with the polygonal lasso tool from the background, so that I am able to put my newly photographed paper-mess behind the model. If you´re not fond of the lasso tool, my friend Conzpiracy has a nice introduction to the pen tool as a way to cut or remove parts, recommended watch!
Subscribers to the magazine mentioned at the beginning, are able to download the complete background PSD-file to see how it is done layer by layer.
The tubes in the image below were done using the pen tool in Photoshop, the basic technique on how to run a brush on a path can be found in this video resource here.
If possible, I always work freehand without using masks.
Masking limits the creative approach needed to create the design directly on the skin. Even a machine is not 100% perfectly assembled, so don´t try to replicate something as perfect as it will never be, the result will be artificial and viewers notice that.
Seeing this picture I remember that there was another tube, the one the bird has in its mouth, well the same technique from-path-to-brush-stroke took place here and a little more "cut-and-paste" to get the tube between the jaw. The image of the hummingbird can be found on istockphoto. I changed the colors with layer-styles and made the wings look as if they were moving with various blur tools.