Evelyn Chartres Author

Isolating the Rose

Digital Alchemy – Part 2

This is part 2 of the Digital Alchemy tutorial and previously we covered Cloning and Layers.

One visual element identified early on in the development process of the cover was to manipulate the flower on the Lady’s dress. Steps outlined below will be reminiscent of those we employed in Part 1 – On Cloning and Layers.

From the Layers Palette select New Raster Layer.

A pop-up will appear, matching the settings below. When complete, click on OK to create the New Raster Layer.

Use the Clone Brush from the Tools Bar and select a Source from the copied image. As done previously, select a Target point on the Rose Layer to make a copy of the Lady’s Rose.

Next in Part 3 we will Isolate the Lips.

On Cloning and Layers

Digital Alchemy – Part 1

This is Part 1 of the Digital Alchemy Tutorial and in the our previous tutorial Creating the Base we generated the image below.

These steps will separate the Lady from the rest of the painting.  This enables us to process the image individually on her vice the rest of the background.

The first step is to create a new layer. Within your Layers Palette, you will notice a little button on the lower left corner. Click on the New Layer button then select New Raster Layer.

01-New-Raster-Layer.png

This will bring open a New Raster Layer window. You can put in a name to identify the layer, or you can opt to use the default. Personally, I find providing a meaningful name makes finding layers with greater ease, especially if they are not visible.

The rest of the defaults are fine, so click on OK and a new layer will appear within the Layers Palette. Now select the Background then use CTRL-C to copy the Background layer.

The next step is to create a new image from the background as shown below. From the Edit menu, select Paste as New Image.

This will create a new image, click on this new image tab then select Clone Brush from the Tools Bar.

The key to using the clone brush is selecting the appropriate Source and Target. This selection is critical when copying parts of an image onto another layer. A shift by a few pixels will result in the entire image being shifted in lock-step.

In this situation, we are using the copied background to populate the new layer we created, so we need a focal point. An ideal point can be readily identified, as in glint in the eyes or a key feature in the flower on her chest. Zoom in on her flower and you will see a cluster of pixels that are easy to identify.

Here we have a zoomed-in view. We hovered over a cluster of identifiable pixels then clicked on the right-mouse button. This will select the source image on the copied image.

Now Select the image we are working with on then select the Lady — Normal layer we created. Zoom-in similarly, to how you did for the copied image, then left-mouse click over the same area you selected within the Lady — Normal layer to start cloning.

For now, keeping the Background layer visible is important for the initial alignment. You can select visibility be clicking on the little Eye Icon besides a layer within the Layers Palette. Once the Source and Target are aligned, left-mouse click over the layer to transpose the lady.

Initially select a large Brush Size and Shape to cover more area then switch to a smaller size to fine tune. Later, it may be beneficial to toggle Visibility of the Background layer. This outlines areas that needs work, such as holes in the copy.

If at any time you have gone over where you expect, you can undo quickly by pressing CTRL-Z.

Tip

Use short and concise changes for your detailed work. The Undo function reverses whatever was committed when you last clicked.

As long as you do not switch tools, the Target and Source points will remain intact. When content with the bulk of the work, you can use the Eraser Tool from the Tools Bar to make any additional corrections.

Erasing will work the same way as it did for Cloning, remember to use an appropriately-sized brush and Undo when necessary.

When complete, you end up with a copy of the Lady that can be manipulated independently from the rest of the image. We do not want to cut her out of the background completely so that we can use blending effects later.

Note

You can opt to create a duplicate layer of Lady by duplicating the background then removing the excess using the Eraser Tool. It is up to you on how you want to complete this step.

Next in Part 2 we will Isolate the Rose.

The Mind of a Child

A couple of weeks ago, I was cooking on the balcony when my daughter came out.  Despite the rainy weather, she asked me the jump her, which involves picking her up then launching her into the air several times.

I told her it was dangerous, considering how the wet cement and we were three stories up.  My child said I was right, though not for  reasons I thought.

According to her, she would likely fall onto a tree branch located just off the balcony. I would then have difficulty in catching her once she dropped from a branch to get down.  Not once did she consider falling to the ground and get hurt or worse.

Sometimes we forget the innocence which exists in the mind of a child.

Parents have life experiences to draw from either be it direct or anecdotal.  News sources often describe scenarios that makes parents cringe and help us form a bias.

Children on the other hand, rarely have any such background when formulating risk.  This is compounded by the fact parents tend to shield them from certain aspects of reality.

Hence as a writer, it is important to remember what children say.  Use this as guidance when formulating characters of that age.  Our own memories are likely biased and in some cases distant.

So when you write about a young character into a situation.  Do not assume they would make the same decisions as us. Chances are they will find a way to surprise you!

Pictures From Within the Portrait

My first novel The Portrait includes pictures as well as prose.  In the gallery below includes all of the works excluding the cover itself.

Finishing Touches

Creating the Base – Part 6

This is part 2 of the Creating the Base tutorial and in Part 5 we Extrated the Frame.

Original-Cropped.png

Unfortunately, there are artefacts left over from the original photograph. Some of these have been circled in the image below and can be corrected using the Clone Tool.

Original-Artefact.png

From the Tools bar, select the Clone Tool.

Process - Tools - Clone.png

This tool is useful for copying, moving or removing parts of the image. In this situation the Source and Target are the same, however this need not be the case.

To correct this error, right-mouse click near the offending artefact to select the Source. Be sure to select from an area that has similar characteristics (i.e. colour and tone) to blend.

Once the Source is selected, left-mouse click over the artefact to paint over the Target as shown.

Process - Tools - Clone - Adjust.png

Experiment with Brush Sizes and Source points until you get the desired results. Repeat this process for all other artefacts to get the following end-result.

Original-Clone-Tool.png

Unfortunately, the ability to change the face on a whim is not an inherent feature Corel PaintShop Pro. The program that I used was FaceFilter3 by RealIllusion which came bundled with Corel PaintShop Pro X7 Ultimate Edition.

FaceFilter3 is a mixture of intuitive and black voodoo magic, enabling you to adjust any facial feature such as the location of the eyes, makeup and overall shape. After some fiddling I narrowed the face, shrank the nose and added definition for the eyes/lips.

For those who are adept at image manipulation and have a steady hand, you can use the Clone Tool; a complex process which involves trial and error. The completed base with facial reconstruction shows up as follows.

Alchamy-Base.png

While the above forms the base for The Portrait’s cover, additional modifications are needed to make this a reality. Some of these changes are featured within the Digital Alchemy tutorial.