Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Photographic Montage or Collage?

I have never really understood which term is the correct one to use for a photograph edited from several others.

Recently we visited Whitenge Garden Centre, a large adjacent garden is open to the public (for a small fee) and is used as an examplar for the garden design business operated by the owners. Lots of unusual features and water features, follies, etc. An enjoyable visit. However of course, I had my camera with me and took lots of photos. Now I am in the middle of writing a novel - yes I know, boring ... but in order to bring characters to life, I am using images which I have edited to visualise various scenes in the novel.

It is a fantasy novel and features a wizard. So I made use of two of the garden sculptures and a photo of one of the follies. Bringing them together to stand in for one of the scenes in the book. now my question is, is this a montage or a collage? Does anybody have a definitive answer?

If you study the knight and the wizard, you will see that they have been hurriedly extracted from shots of other parts of the garden. Then pasted into the shot of the folly with "ruined brickwork" and resized to match the perspective of the two figures. The little imp looking over the wall was in the folly to start with.

OK, a lovely feature for the larger garden, but id does help me with visualising my story. I have done this a number of times now and am finding it so helpful. Want to read more about my novel, pop over to my blog, "A Novel Appears". You can also use the navigation bar under the heading at the top of the page.

Oh by the way, I have used two overlapping images of the wizard and blended them with the soft light mode to increase the contrast and bring him forward in the image. Also, just a little touch ... I added the grass at the magicians feet to place him within the scene.

The original photograph of the folly and the statues:-

See you next time.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Still playing with blend modes in Photoshop

I seem to have started something for myself with the book I mentioned in a post back in March. When I take a digital photo now, the first thing I do before I use it, is to just see if a better image can be "developed" by using blend modes rather than simply individual tools like brightness and contrast and opacity levels.

The book I found in a charity shop, inspired me to start playing around with the blend modes but it is rather like a cookery book. The author himself actually calls the examples recipes, and gives settings to explain the results on the photos which he shows. Great for showing what you can do - not so great for explaining what you do to achieve a required effect. I started looking around on the internet using Google and lo and behold, as you might expect, there are lots of great tutorials. Some are just a little too technical with lots of maths, but bookmarking one or two is well worth while for reference. I would recommend

Photoshop blend modes explained to understand how  they work  

Photoshop’s Five Essential Blend Modes For Photo Editing, a brilliant article explaining how to use the blend modes to achieve a desired effect

Photoshop, using blend modes  - a little more complicated usage but well explained.

I am sure that a quick search will bring up many more, of which, you may find your own favourites. There is a mixture of ( fairly complicated maths), what they are, what they do and how to use them in all of the articles and your own requirements will colour your choice. But for now, take a look at how I improved this simple macro-photograph of an amaryllis flower.

Quite a decent shot but I prefer a little more contast in my images, a personal choice. So I looked at the blend modes which serve to increase the contast. After switching through those half dozen modes, I decided to go with "OVERLAY" which gave me the results as follows:

I thought this bought out the scarlet of the petals whilst darkening the centre of the trumpet. If I was looking for a botanical image then the first is going to be best because more detail is seen in the shaded centre of the bloom. But this was to be purely for effect, so I went for it.

I also edited the shot to reduce the information in the background here. I selected the flower using the magic wand tool, setting a high tolerance and adding small areas by shift +clicking until the whole area was selected. I then inverted the selection and used image/adjustments/hue&saturation to give the effect which I was after.

But the flower then seemed to be floating rather then existing in the scene, a last touch was to copy the stem and paste into this image.

A small touch but it worked for me.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

More Blend mode experiments in Photoshop

I have a lot more images of flowers to show you but don't panic!

I have been playing around with blend modes again and will simply show you a photo and note which blend mmode was used. Just for fun really, I am not even going to show the originals but encourage you to try these experiments for yourself, if you have a photo-editor which allows it.

This amazingly shaped tulip just had to be photographed, the problem was that it was white and in strong sunlight. Little detail of the flower was seen in my original photo. I used the MULTIPLY blend mode to bring out detail in the centre of the flower.

More tulips, the centre of these blooms was a beatiful profusion of colours. To enhance these I used the LINEAR LIGHT blend mode.

The VIVID LIGHT blend mode was used to bring these yellow tulips forward and suppress the background earth.

And finally a little fun. The bright red peatals on this little group of blooms was given this strange appearance using the EXCLUSIVE blend mode.

Why not try experimenting yourself? Some of the effects are startling and beautiful.