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ABOUT DIGITAL ART

A DETAILED LOOK AT THE PROCESS

1.  Editing in Photoshop

This article gives you a detailed insight into the process of creating a digital portrait.

The completed portrait is shown on the right.  I was originally sent several photos to choose from, and asked to combine a photo of the horse with the background of the folly.

The first consideration is to choose two photos that are compatible, i.e. the lighting is similar and the two combined look realistic.

This was the original photo of the horse.  My first job was to edit out the background so that I could move the image of the horse into its new background. 

To do this in Photoshop, I first double clicked on the background layer of the photo and renamed the layer.  This then enables me to erase the background, leaving a transparent area around the horse.

Erasing the background is a simple matter of selecting the Eraser tool from the toolbox and going over the background, making the eraser smaller as I work in the more detailed areas.

For a more complicated image, I might use the Extract filter instead.

When the background has all been erased, I made sure I had both images open on screen, and used the Move tool to drag the horse into the photo of the folly.

At this stage I usually adjust Levels, Shadow & Highlight and Hue & Saturation to make sure that the lighting and colour are as natural as possible.  I then e-mail a rough proof to my client so that they know what I have in mind for the portrait before I begin.

When I get their approval to continue, I flatten the image into one layer and save it as a Photoshop (PSD) file.

At this stage, I close the image and re-open it in Corel Painter (I use Version IX).  Further details in Part 2.  Digital Oil Painting to follow shortly.
 

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