Saturday, May 2, 2009

At the Beach III

Update: Fixed some glaring errors that I had overlooked but were spotted by the ever-vigilant Undersquid, who gets a virtual hug. May 7, 2009

Update: Fixed some errors in the shadow that BobManDo pointed out in the comments. This may never end. May 17, 2009


  1. I just love the beaches on your world.

  2. The interaction between the woman and the man is wonderful. Great smiles, terrific eye contact, and even better physical contact. I have some difficulty finding material I can easily mix and have that sort of touching going on, so I know you have to engineer it that way. I know what it takes, so good on you for developing this concept as you did.

    I'm wondering about the brown thing behind his head. What is that? A pillow? It doesn't quite look like a shadow, so maybe it's a hat or a darker section of the tent.

    I'm going to guess the shadows weren't there, or as we see them when you started this collage, so I bet you spent a great deal of time on them. I can just imagine all the bad words I would have said if I'd had to do what you did.

    The colors are also great! Just right for this time of year. I keep digging through my material to get myself going with a few summer-themed collages, and these sand-and-sun tones, the tanned skins look great. I also know how long it takes me to mess with skin tones until they look right, so if you had to change them a lot (which I can't tell), great job!

    I also think his hair is not as brilliantly blended as the rest of his body, but I'm not gonna say anything about it because this is a great collage.

  3. Thank you for the compliments.

    Now that you've mentioned the imperfections though, Undersquid, they have started taunting me with these shrill horrible voices and I'm going to have to go back and fix them! Aaaaargh!

  4. Thanks for pointing out the errors. I've gone and fixed them. That weird object under his head was a projection of his head into a shadow shape on the canvas, except I completely overlooked filling it and converting it into a darken layer. And you're right about the blending of his head (and her arms actually). When I made this image, I hadn't yet hit on the combination of mask/feather after scaling which works much better than mask/feather before. Small imperfections in masking are amplified when scaled down, so that was why there was a lot of jaggedness.

    Both figures were in the original image, there was no color balancing needed. I still don't quite like the shadows I made of her. I did it by taking her body cutout, filling it in black, warped it to make it somehow fit on the canvas curvature (an inexact science) and then set it to darken. I forget the opacity, 70%? The problem with the shadows is that they don't seem dark enough, yet when I make them darker, they look worse.

    The rest was moving her body position and head position, moving his head so that he looked up, moving her arms etc.

    Well there you have it. I promise I won't bore everyone with details like this every time. :D

  5. "these shrill horrible voices"

    LOL I know those voices! They shriek at me too sometimes. My work here is done, hahah!

    You did an excellent job with the changes. I could tell the difference even before I opened up the image file. I don't even know what masking means yet, even though I've seen it for years when I work with Photoshop... so you are light years ahead of me on technique. There's plenty I'd like to learn, and I will. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to poke at this stuff, eh?

    Opacity for shadows always drives me crazy, especially when dealing with highly contrasting ones from direct sunlight. I have to say I admire the work you did here with this image. Body cutout shadows are the ones I despise the most, because there's always bending and adjusting one has to do, and opacity has to make sense when the shadow changes place. Man, it can be pure madness.

    I'm really liking the Burn and Dodge tools for skin-to-skin shadows, though. I find them really easy to manipulate when I want to fake fingers pressing onto a much larger surface, or the way skin pales when a little body part exerts pressure on it, etc.

    "I promise I won't bore everyone with details like this every time."

    Please include details like this any time you want to. I enjoy them tremendously! I'm always thinking no one else does, so I think I know what you mean. But I'll always read them! These technical details are fun to read, and helpful as well.

  6. Oh, and a virtual hug for you too! :D

  7. ya know, I really love your work.... AND now that you mention the shadows... On this latest one, her head shadow is just wrong! Her jaw sticks out too much on the shadow... the light is from the behind... I would expect to see perhaps a slight jaw or none at all... Also, the left part of her back is in the shade so the projected shadow should be weaker... and the sun on the wall should fade going left if I believe what I see on her back.... I would have just enjoyed the picture had I not seen the discussion above. No changes needed, just observations. and Thanks!

  8. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!

    No can do, BobManDo. (Hah!) Those shrill voices have started again. You're right really, all of it, and since I'm an incorrigible perfectionist, I'm going to have to fix that.

    I will also have to hold back the strong urge to scrawl SHADOES UR DOIN IT RONG all over the current picture.

  9. Hahahah! Oh, I feel your pain, trinket, but I couldn't help but laugh when I read your comment above. Please don't hold it against me. Laughing distracts me from my own shrill voices.

    I'm thinking of creating a LOLZ GTS image with your "shadoes ur doin it wrong" as a caption, unless you find the idea too painful. :)

  10. Undersquid: I'm thinking of creating a LOLZ GTS image with your "shadoes ur doin it wrong" as a caption, unless you find the idea too painful.That might ease my pain, actually. Laughter is the best medicine.

    So I went outside yesterday to play with sunlight and shadows and therefore to see how those things work. My neighbors probably thought I was nuts, a grown man making shadow puppets with no one else around.

    BobManDo, you're absolutely right about the chin shadow, I've fixed that, it looks better. You're also right about the shadow on her back which I overlooked but the shadows on her back are not as dark or distinct as the shadows cast by her on him. These shadows were there to begin with, since they were both in the original photo.

    What I discovered: a faraway object casts a lighter and less distinct shadow than a closer object. I remembered something about this in my high school physics but I googled just the same. The darkest area is called the umbra and the vague area is called the penumbra. If the occulting body (I'm using words I learned in the Googles!) is closer to the surface of projection (ie further from the light source), then the more the umbra dominates, which is what causes sharp dark shadows when you are close to a surface. The further you are away from the surface (and closer to the light source), the more the penumbra dominates.

    This is all based on single-point light sources. From this point on it's all my own conjecture. Since the sun is reflected on a myriad of surfaces and also diffused by the sky, in sunlight, we actually have multiple light sources. What occurs then is that the shadow that is cast by a far away object is also interfered with by reflected light from other sources onto the surface of projection, which causes shadows from far away objects to appear less dark.

    I've observed this by putting my hand in front of a shadow caused by power lines which almost 100% penumbra while my hand projected almost 100% umbra on the surface. The shadow cast by my hand did not change darkness throughout its area at all. Meanwhile, if I put one hand in front of the other, the shadows merge, but still remain the same strength.

    Well, long story short, I've made more shadows on the tent to match the ones projected on her back. They are light enough to either come from a faraway object or from some translucent gauze-like material, which you often see attached to beach structures like this. I've also darkened her shadow a little bit.

    It's still not perfect, I don't think it'll ever be. I guess what this makes me then is an incorrigible but flawed perfectionist.

    Now that I know what I know about shadows, from now on, all my collages are going to be in total overcast.

  11. I appreciate your perfectionist I is one too... with programming in my case, and in my realm it necessary and often erk-some. Thanks... AND I guess I'll go out in the back yard on the next sunny day and play with shadows too.