Tag: Clone

  • Adventures in Wonderland – Part II

    “Pull over right there,” Elizabeth said.

    The cabby pulled over, confused about why they were back here. When he set the transmission to park and stopped the metre, the driver looked into his rear-view mirror and found a stack of twenties on the seat with the door wide open. He caught sight of her hightailing it down the sidewalk while holding onto an old piece of pottery.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    After closing the door, he shifted into drive in time to watch a series of squad cars screaming in from around the corner with their sirens blazing. He slammed his fists against the wheel and shoved the transmission back into park. He would be going nowhere soon, considering how they cut him off at both ends.

    “This is going to take a while,” he muttered.

    * * * *

    “I’m here!” Elizabeth yelled while running down the alley.

    She saw a little girl dressed up like a nun standing in front of Clara. She ran to within a few yards, slowed, then dropped to her knees at Clara’s side.

    Elizabeth was out of breath. Adrenaline coursed through her veins and clouded her thoughts. Why did this child seem so familiar? Perhaps she was a fragment from some long forgotten dream or a faded memory?

    “Good,” Angela said. “Get ready.”

    “For?” Elizabeth asked.

    Angela smiled warmly, and reached for the handle of the knife buried in Clara’s chest. Meanwhile, she placed her free hand against Clara’s chest to get more leverage.

    “This is not going to be pretty,” Angela thought.

    “It will be alright,” Angela said to Clara. “Now I’m going to pull the knife out, and this nice lady will pour some ambrosia into the wound.”

    Elizabeth was gripping the amphora with all her might. Clara coughed violently in response, which startled Elizabeth, who jerked out of the way. Doing so caused the glowing liquid to spill everywhere. Fortunately, after some adjustment, a large quantity of the fluid managed to seep into the open wound.

    “Not very graceful,” Angela said with a giggle. “But it seems to be working.”

    When smoke rose out from Clara’s wound, the damaged tissue began to heal. Her coughing transitioned to a light rattle, and before they knew it, her breathing was back to normal.

    Clara’s eyes did not open. Instead, she slumped further onto the pavement. When her wing made contact with the hard surface, she grimaced in discomfort but did not wake. Angela took Clara’s hand, smiled, and watched her elder sleep.

    “Those wounds were pretty severe,” Angela said. “So it may take a while for her to recover.”

    Of course, fate had other plans for them. A police car stopped at the mouth of the alley, and two officers jumped out.

    “Freeze!” One of the officers ordered.

    “Just what we needed,” Angela said grimly, but a grin soon made her face shine. “I’ll go deal with the bulls. You wake her up.”

    Before Elizabeth could object, the young one turned around, smiled, and faded out of existence. All that remained was her grin, an eerie homage to the Cheshire Cat.

    “She was probably dying to do a bit of haunting,” Elizabeth said and was immediately filled with guilt for using the world dying in front of a spirit.

    Despite their distance, Elizabeth noticed a measure of confusion on the officer’s face. A shame that it faded away so fast once his training kicked in. Meanwhile, his partner noticed the hesitation and approached. Since this one was armed with a tactical shotgun, the situation was not progressing as well as she hoped.

    “Come on, Clara,” Elizabeth said.

    When she tapped Clara on the cheeks, the officer trained the pistol in her direction. Apparently, the application of first aid to the wounded did not comply with this man’s definition of freeze.

    “Freeze,” the officer repeated. “Hands where I can see them.”

    Elizabeth thought about complying, but the commotion in the park was getting worse. That meant Clara was needed out there.

    She slapped Clara harder, ignoring the armed men as best she could. Clara did not react, so Elizabeth wondered just how far this needed to go.

    “Last war—,” The officer said.

    Angela materialised just ahead of the officers and did so with the flair of an artist. At first, her bones faded into existence followed by sinew, muscles, fat, and skin. She remained partially translucent throughout, which had a profound effect on the nearest officer. He stopped breathing, his heart rate rose, and his hands began to shake.

    “We heard you bulls the first time,” Angela said.

    His partner, however, was not fazed by the show and brought his weapon to bear. He was about to bark out an order, but Angela turned to face him.

    “You really don’t want to do that,” Angela said while her skin dried up, and shrank until she looked more like a mummified corpse.

    When she smiled, the sound of that leathery hide crackling echoed throughout the alley. That would have been more than enough to scare the shit out of the average moviegoer, but it was her cackle that really sold it. Despite the special effects, the man remained steady and focused. He pumped the weapon one time to eject the buckshot and chambered a slug that would wreak havoc at this range.

    “Come on, Clara,” Elizabeth said, now visibly shaking Clara.

    Other than a brief interruption in Clara’s breathing, she appeared to be blissfully unperturbed by the impending storm. Elizabeth began to panic. She knew that the situation would only worsen and doubted the cops would understand her non-compliance once Angela ran out of tricks.

    The first officer snapped out of it. Emboldened by his partner, he pointed the pistol at Angela who showed no concerns.

    “Really boys,” Angela said. “Am I going to have to give you the high hat?”

    Angela’s features morphed into that of a youthful child. Her hair then defied gravity, resembling that of someone submerged in water. While the effect did not phase the cops, the world surrounding them certainly reacted.

    The air grew cold, and while it was autumn, the drop in temperature was sudden, and dramatic. Frost permeated from under the child’s feet, causing the pavement to freeze while it spread. Once the phenomenon reached the first cop, his breath turned to ice which forced him to back away.

    “Clara!” Elizabeth exclaimed, and this time she followed through with a slap loud enough to echo.

    The weather disturbance was starting to get the attention of other officers in the area. Some looked on in awe, while others radioed in the sighting, sure to bring in some reinforcements.

    While the frost continued to spread, it also became more focused. When the second officer moved his finger onto the trigger, the weapon itself iced over. The metal became so cold that it forced him to drop his weapon.

    “Come on,” Elizabeth pleaded.

    Elizabeth knew this situation was about to blow. She sighed, which oddly enough alleviated her panic and was momentarily thankful for the small miracle. Without any better ideas, she leaned in and kissed Clara on the lips, unsure of its effectiveness or where that particular idea came from.

    Angela began to laugh maniacally, which corresponded with an exponential growth in the disturbance. Anyone near the expanse was now actively trying to keep away from it, while those caught in its wake regretted their decision.

    Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s kiss lingered on those lips until her partner reacted. Before she opened her eyes, Clara moulded her willing body against Elizabeth’s. The passion they shared grew in intensity, and for a moment, there was no one else in the world.

    That’s when a frantic officer decided that brute force would solve this once and for all. He emptied a clip into the young girl, and while every shot hit home, her laughter only intensified.

    Clara did not react. Such sounds were like old friends to her now. Alas, Elizabeth, fearing that the shots were meant for her, jerked back and in doing so, caused the broken wing to shift.

    “Ouch,” Clara said before she smirked.

    That reaction showcased how Clara and that girl were cut from the same cloth. From that, it was easy to figure out how Edith could have fallen for both. She also realised that Clara had been milking this…

    “Milking this situation to get a kiss?” Elizabeth asked. “You’re an incorrigible flirt.”

    Clara adopted an impish grin, then looked towards the spectacle. While the frost approached their position, she was not concerned nor worried. Once Clara spotted the amphora, she smiled, grabbed the vessel, and swallowed several mouthfuls of its golden contents.

    “You know,” Clara said when she stopped drinking to get some air. “I’ve always liked men, but when I’m around you, I really have to wonder why I haven’t given the fairer sex a try.”

    Elizabeth should have been concerned, but Clara’s demeanour had a calming effect. Those smart ass words disguised as flirting succeeded in getting Elizabeth to smile. Even though it was fall, she felt warm, desired, and certain that she could survive anything, including a nuclear winter. All she needed was this lady to watch her back.

    “Watch this,” Clara said.

    Angela’s eyes began to glow, while her voice rose in pitch until it shattered nearby windows. The banshee’s intense scream forced people to cover their ears. All the while, a solid wave of cold air pushed forward, enveloping vehicles and men alike. Once the wave dissipated, she was gone.

    The immediate aftermath was a sight to behold. The ground was covered in a thick layer of snow, while more fell lazily from the sky. Anyone far enough away, would have seen something akin to a life-sized snow globe.

    While those caught inside were less than appreciative, at least they were alive. Their skin and uniforms had turned white from the frost and appeared to be nothing more than breathing snow sculptures. Meanwhile those outside of the globe were left wondering what they should do next. Should they assist their peers or avoid drawing out that girl for another round of games?

    “Carrots must have attended the same lectures I did,” Clara said.

    Elizabeth stood up, while looking over the spectacle and gasped. By now, she was nearly numb to such acts of wonder. As judged by Clara’s demeanour, it would take a hell of a lot more than that to phase her.

    She then grabbed Clara’s hand and helped her up. The other immediately brushed herself off and spread out her wings to their full size. Despite having seen them before, the sight of those magistic feathered wings.

    “They taught you about ghosts?” Elizabeth asked.

    Clara nodded, smiled, and said, “Professor Stephens taught us this subject as part of his second year lectures. I figured there was an awful lot of detail for something that was not supposed to exist.”

    “But—,” Elizabeth tried to ask.

    Clara anticipated the question and added, “He taught us about the creatures of myth and legend. Ghosts were noteworthy because of the depth of knowledge shown, along with the steadfast denial of their existence.”

    That had been the professor’s way of toeing the line, while providing his students with valuable insights. Angela, just like Clara, had paid attention. It did not take much to figure out that a soul called down from the heavens was a ghost in all aspects but in name.

    “She used up all her power with that stunt,” Clara said. “She will wake up in her own world in a couple of months once she’s had the chance to regenerate.”

    Elizabeth wanted to ask a few more questions but thought better of it. Sometimes ignorance was bliss, and this was the perfect example.

    Clara was surprised to see the conflict growing within and proud of how well Elizabeth was doing. Instead of saying something, she winked out of existence and reappeared holding a shotgun and a couple of police issued pistols.

    She then proceeded to hand a weapon over to Elizabeth and chuckled when the other recoiled from the cold. The recipient briefly glared at Clara and stuck out her tongue in an effort to diffuse the situation.

    “You ready?” Clara asked, extending an arm.

    “What about the amphora?” Elizabeth asked, but then noticed it was already gone.

    Instead of retracting her question, Elizabeth moved in and held on to Clara. With one swoop of Clara’s wings, they were airborne, heading towards the park. They did make an effort to avoid the snow globe, and despite their being witnesses, no one made an attempt to stop them. An angry ghost was more than enough for one day.

    “Gabriel is not going to like this,” Clara muttered.

    Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

  • Adventures in Wonderland – Part I

    Just as Edith was about to strike, a shot rang out in the alley, but the round flew low and ricocheted off the sidewalk. Elizabeth stood at the mouth of the alley, her hands shaking, eyes wide. Clearly, this woman was shocked that the shot had gone off.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    When Edith turned back towards Clara, Elizabeth sensed someone brush up against her. She looked up at the voluptuous woman and during this tense time? When Elizabeth’s eyes moved up, they grew in size.

    “Shhhh,” Edith said. “It’s a long story and we don’t have time to explain.”

    Elizabeth’s mouth hung open, her mind unable to deal with conflicting truths. Edith smiled warmly and tore the weapon from her stiff fingers. The cool chill of the grave that Elizabeth felt from that brief exchange was enough to turn her skin to gooseflesh.

    “You with me?” Edith asked.

    “Uhhh?” Elizabeth managed to vocalise.

    How could there be two of the same person? Although, this one appeared to be about a decade older as judged by the silver streaks running through her hair. Elizabeth wondered if this one also had a pair of wings.

    “Close enough,” Edith said. She then trained the weapon on her alternate self and said, “You need to head home now. Fast as you can and get that amphora!”

    “Wha…” Elizabeth asked.

    Edith fired one round that rang out loud and clear. She then looked over to Elizabeth. Her eyes widened and her head motions to the street to indicate the arrival of an oncoming traxi.

    When Elizabeth didn’t move, Edith sighed and said, “Go! Be sure to bring it back here—and hurry.”

    This time when the shots rang out, Elizabeth was already waving down the cab. Edith fired every round to the best of her abilities, adjusting the angle of the shots as they struck until one flew true.

    When she expended the clip, Edith turned around and melted into the crowd before her alter-ego could spot her. They needed a diversion and now that was over and done with, it was time for Angela to step up.

    Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

  • 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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.

  • 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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.