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A couple of hints for photo 'manippers'
vigilante
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Hopefully, this will be helpful to the folks here. I have had a great time looking at all the images and thought I might pass along some tips to help artists improve their techniques.

1. It may be worthwhile for a visit to worth1000.com. It's a Photoshop sight/forum that's full of images, contests and tutorials.

I haven't been there in a while since I have been concentrating on 3D work, but the site is a wealth of information on photoshop techniques. I use PaintShop Pro and have had to 'translate' some of the techniques, but I have found the tips and hints there useful. (Don't know how useful it is to GIMP users since I have never used GIMP. Maybe others can provide insight on other software packages.)

2. I notice in a lot of the manips that the masks have a definite C&P (cut and paste) look to them. Here's a couple of suggestions that may help improve techniques.

a. Feather the masks. In PaintShop Pro (and I think also Photoshop -not sure about GIMP or others - maybe someone can confirm that tool functionality in other software) there's an adjustment you use before you start your mask. Usually only a few pixels is all that it takes. I start with 3 and work up or down a couple pixels from that starting point. The edges become a bit softer and blend a bit better without the harsh differentiation between some lines on the images.

b. Use the darken brush. After you apply a texture to the mask, look at the image and think about the shadows in the image. Use the darken tool (or similar) along the edges that should be shadowed a bit. Set opacity at a lower percentage (20-30%) and build the shadow in the darker side and let the shadows taper off as you approach the ligther sides. This adds depth to the image and cuts down on the C&P look.

c. Flatten image then soften edges. First, flatten the layers and save flattened image as some other file in case you want/need to go back to the original. Then set the Soften brush/tool to a small size, trial and error usually but again only a few pixels is enough but should overlap the edges. I start with 5 to 7 pixels depending on image, resolution, etc. I usually set opacity (or its equivalent) to around 30% and build on the edges with a couple of passes of the brush. Run the brush along the edges where the masks were used to again soften the line a bit.

These aren't cure-alls and vary depending on the effect you need. Sometimes a sharp edge is required (separate back ground from main image). But generally a softer edge, particularly where clothing textures overlap - like an arm folded across a persons lap or chest, works better.

Hope you find these tips useful.

Robert

Posted on: 19 12 08 07:38 am
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Re: A couple of hints for photo 'manippers'
Time Lord!
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Thanks for the suggestions Robert. It's nice to hear from a fellow PSP user.

Can you elaborate more on what "flatten" really does? I know it's a layer function... Of course it accompanies the merging of layers, but is "flatten" simply another term for merge, or does it do something else besides?

Posted on: 19 12 08 01:41 pm
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Re: A couple of hints for photo 'manippers'
vigilante
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Quote:

Wasmith wrote:
is "flatten" simply another term for merge, or does it do something else besides?

Flatten is same as merging all layers as opposed to merging down (one layer merged to the layer below it), merge group, or merge visible (you make layers visible or hidden by clicking the eyeball icon by the specific layer).

Hope that helps.

Robert

Posted on: 19 12 08 06:16 pm
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Re: A couple of hints for photo 'manippers'
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As well couple things to what I have ready so far here. You as well should be able to select around the area of your image, basically you will select the image as a whole and then feather those edges outside of the selection, this should save your image from feathering too much.
As well and I use CS3 PS but you should be able to merge all visible into one layer. I usually merge as I go but only into one layer. If I have to go back to edir or change anything this will allow my progress to be able to be edited for a change or something I decide to change later. As well hope this helps, very avid fan of PS. Thanks for the great tips though here as well. Good things to keep in mind. :)

Posted on: 19 12 08 10:57 pm
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Re: A couple of hints for photo 'manippers'
vigilante
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would you happen to have any tuts avail to teach your technec

Posted on: 5 08 09 09:37 am
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Re: A couple of hints for photo 'manippers'
superhero
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On the topic of merging layers....I use CS3 for the PC. If you hold the ALT button while you merge visible, it will merge all your layers into one new layer, but it will keep all the individual layers seperate for later modification if need be. I find this useful for if some reason after you finish an image, you want to change a color, or layer style, you already have the layers there to use.

Posted on: 5 08 09 05:05 pm
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Re: A couple of hints for photo 'manippers'
Kling on HM (WebMaster!)
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I NEVER flatten or merge my layers. Doing so is "destructive" to you image... mainly meaning that once it is done, and you work out of your allotted number of undos... you can not go back and edit. I personally create my images one layer at a time and I never flatten. I will have a "mask"., "shoe", "hat", etc. layer and they stay that way until I am finished.

Of course, we all work in different ways... and each person's process works for them... I was just letting you know how I work.... When I work.

Posted on: 6 08 09 09:41 am
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Re: A couple of hints for photo 'manippers'
deluded narcissist guru (Whateverator)
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I group layers rather than merge them. It's essentially what cypher describes. Jr is right... once you go merge, you can detroy your image, and not be able to fix it.

Posted on: 6 08 09 11:07 am
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