Saturday, November 29, 2008

Creative process of "Harbinger"

I had an idea of Lita being "a bringer of things", a Harbinger foretelling events. I did a quick sketch of my idea and began looking through my archives to see what setting I could use. I knew I wanted there to be a seaside cliff. I found the image "The North Sea" from my archives taken during my Coast to Coast Walk in England.
My first step was to turn it from day into a night image. I did this by using colorize in the hue/saturation adjustment. Tinting it blue, reducing the saturation and light. The blown out sky got replaced first with a layer of color, matching it to the image and then with a star field, created by using the Noise filter. To create the clouds, I used a Northern Lights photoshop tutorial paired with this black and white image of clouds, tinted and color matched to the previous layer.

The Eclipse and Lightening were created from scratch using photoshop tutorials. The rain was made using the Noise Filter and Motion Blur and then angled in the direction desired.

Next up was taking the relatively calm sea in the original photo and making it stormy. I used waves from several images in my archives, cutting, scaling, cloning, warping, smudging and matching colors until I was satisfied:

Now that I had stormy seas, I wanted to add a vortex. I used a stock image of a whirlpool and followed a tutorial. This was one of the most difficult parts of the image to work on. It took alot of cloning, warping, erasing, smudging, dodging, burning and perspective adjustment to get it to look just right. The ship was a stock image that was scaled down and skewed to look as though it was being sucked into the vortex. A final layer of Grit was added over the seas and sky to give it a bit more of a dark feel.

Now that the scene was completed I worked on transforming Lita. This was the starting image I chose to use, one which I plan on using again in the future (it has lots of possibilities!):

Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, I cut Lita from the scene. Using Levels, I lightened her skin. Turning her eyes green was done with the Elliptical tool and hue/saturation. Eyeshadow and lashes were added using brushes. I browsed costume images on Google until I found a cloak and gown that I liked. These were then cut out and pasted into new layers to be worked on separately. Cloning and warping were the main tools used to dress Lita. The cloak was originally on a naked mannequin and that had to be removed. The gown was originally a dull grey color and it was changed using the Color Match tool. Photoshop brushes were used in two colors to give her hair volume, length and strands blowing in the wind.

In place of the skull, I wanted a crystal ball. This was done with a photoshop tutorial and by using outer & inner glow along with dodging.

Finally, a Harbinger is in essence an two were added to the image...a black cat which was a stock photo and this image of a Boat Tailed Grackle, standing in for a Raven:

He was elongated using the skew & distort tool and place into the scene. After everything was in place I flattened the image and added the final touches of dodging highlights and burning shadows and viola! A piece of digital art!


Lita said...

All I know is that's one startling transformation! It gives me goosebumps.

Again, I can easily see this as a tarot card, or in a fantasy magazine.

I liked scrolling up and down to compare images. Thanks for jotting down and sharing your notes. I'll definitely refer to them for future projects.

Alex said...

Truly amazing! I am always in awe of the photos both you and Lita create. Your imagination and dedication are greatly enjoyed. Thank you for sharing:)

Laura said...

Thanks so much! It encourages me to keep creating! I appreciate you taking the time to comment!