Evelyn Chartres Author
Evelyn Chartres – Page 69

Let There be Night

Digital Alchemy – Part 4

This is part 4 of the Digital Alchemy tutorial and where previousy we Isolated the Lady’s Lips.

A colourful painting with a sunny background will probably not evoke a sense of dread and horror. The best way to achieve that is to turn the background into the night and we can do that with some basic features of Corel PaintShop Pro and a gradient layer. Since we are dealing with the Background Layer for now, hide all other layers.

The first step is to transform the Background Layer into a Black and White image. While there are a myriad of ways to achieve this step; the easiest is by clicking on the Effects Menu, then Photo Effects and selecting Black and White Film.

Note

Converting the image to grayscale converts all layers to grayscale as well.

The Black and White Film window will appear and enables you to fine-tune the process. The BW Normal setting had the desired effect.

When satisfied with the settings, click on OK and you will have the following effect.

Now we have an image that has no colour whatsoever and lacks elements to make it appear as a night scene. Now its time to apply an Infrared Filter, from the Effects Menu, select Photo Effects then Infrared Film.

The Infrared Film window will appear and enable you to play with the pre-sets or select one that achieves the desired effect. In this situation, the Strong pre-set from Settings was used as seen below.

When satisfied, click on OK to get results similar to the image shown below. Now the shot has gotten darker with some elements emitting a silvery hue, a nice effect that provides a haunting look.

Now we need to create the effect of a night sky. Night skies are not uniformly black, especially when light sources like the moon are present. Gradients will add transitions along with varying transparency.

From the Layers Palette, click on New Layer and select New Raster Layer.

For moment we will not play with Opacity; provide a Name such as Night Gradient as like we find below.

The new layer may appear at the wrong level. Corel PaintShop Pro layers have precedence based on their level; layers nearer to the bottom are overridden by content from higher up.

Prior to this moment, all new layers were placed one atop the other. Now we want to make sure the Night Gradient does not affect layers other than the Background. We need to shift it down, select the Night Gradient Layer by clicking on it then move it just above the Background.

Now it is time to play with gradients, from the Materials Palette click on the Icon on the lower-left of the colour selector (either will do). Select the second option called Gradient, after which you need to hover over the Colour Selector (a dropper icon will appear) then click to select.

This brings up the Material Properties window. Setting up gradients can be daunting at first; to gain some insight, scroll through existing pre-sets available and see how their settings are applied. When you create a New Gradient, it will have no transitions at first.

To add colour transition, click below the bar and a new Transition Point will appear. You can add as many as you want and removed by sliding them off either edge.

New transition will come with two components, the first of which looks like a House and a Diamond. When one clicks on the House, select the colour it will transition to, whereas the Diamond dictates how gradual the transition will be. In our examples, we begin with Black to the middle then transitions to a Dark Blue towards the end.

The top of the bar adjusts transparency. Similarly the colour transitions, clicking above the bar to create a new transparency and in out situation we create one then set its Opacity to 75%. The transition will create an area unaffected by the gradient, which coincides with the background body of water and adjourning trees.

Note

If you create a gradient that is the inverse of what you want, click on Invert check-box to correct the alignment. Alternatively, modify the Angle to achieve the same.

From the Tools Bar, select the Flood Fill Tool and then left-mouse click (right-mouse if you used bottom selector) on the Night Gradient Layer. This will fill the layer with the gradient and cover over the Background.

Note

If you encounter a situation where the Flood Fill Tool only fills a portion of the layer, make sure the Use All Layers option is NOT selected.

To blend the Night Gradient layer with the Background, adjust transparency from the Layers Palette. Set the Transparency to 60% to get the desired results.

Tip

If you want fine-grained control over the transparency settings of a layer, double-click on the layer then adjust it from the Layer Properties Window.

With that the gradient is in place, the background looks more like a night scene. This forms the basis for the future modifications applied to higher layers.

Next in Part 5, Lady Shade will Awaken.

Isolating the Lips

Digital Alchemy – Part 3

This is part 3 of the Digital Alchemy tutorial and previously we Isolated the Rose for later use in these tutorials.

Another visual element that one can change the overall feel of the portrait is the Lady’s lips. The steps outlined below are reminiscent of those employed in On Cloning and Layers and Isolating the Flower.   From the Layers Palette select New Raster Layer.

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

Use the Clone Brush in the Tools Bar then select a Source from the copied image. As done in the previous section, select a Target point on the Lips layer, in order to make a copy of her lips.

Note

Do not worry about accuracy at this point; use the Eraser Tool to correct any problems later. In fact, it may be beneficial leave in a buffer.

Next in Part 4 we will embody the expression Let There be Night.

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!