Tips & Techniques
Tips & Techniques page 5
The place for "show and tell," to learn "how to," find ideas and maybe a secret or two...
Everything has been thought of before. The hard thing is to think of it again...
Using a creative surrealistic process to enhance your Images
by Tom McCall
While researching topics for the Digital Workshop Class I found several methods to create surrealistic images. Some were for film and some were to be used in a digital process. All talked about using two (2) images and combining them to create a montage. I tried thinking outside the box and developed a method of my own using one (1) image and duplicating it in the process.
My recommendation is to use this process as described until you feel comfortable in making your own modifications. You will realize as I did that for every method used there are a lot of variations in the ways they can be done. Think about each of the steps that have some sort of adjustment, like the Brightness setting, it isn't carved in stone that it must be set it at 60, try something else just to see what you will get. Then try a different setting with some of the others. Just remember that the process, as good as it is, won't work for all images. It works really well on some and not on others. Fall colors and some old buildings seem to be some of the better images to use but try lots of others too. When I first figured out how to get it to work the way I wanted, I tried it with over a hundred different types of images. The results were amazing...
Here's how to make it work with Elements 6.
Open an image and make a Background Layer copy.
Go to Enhance, Adjust Lighting, Brightness/Contrast, Set the Brightness to 60 and click OK.
Go to Layer, Duplicate Layer, Click OK.
Go to Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur, Set the Radius to 10 and click OK.
Then in the Layers Palette set the Blending Mode to Multiply, Adjust the Opacity to 70.
Hold down the Control, Alt, Shift Keys and press the E Key, which makes a New Stamp Visible Layer.
This combines and locks all of the previous adjustments and blending changes
into a new
Normal Layer so that you can continue.
Go to Enhance, Unsharp Mask and with the Amount set at 200,
set the Radius somewhere between 1 to 8 depending on the image and the results you want.
If you feel that some Hue/Saturation adjustment might be needed you can do it now.
You can make a Non-Destructive Dodge/Burning Layer to darken or lighten parts of
your image at this time also.
Select the top most layer, Click on the Create a new layer button, creating a new blank Layer.
Go to Edit.
Fill.., In Contents select USE: 50% Gray, Click OK.
In the Layers Palette set the Blending Mode to Overlay.
Select the Brush Tool, set the Opacity to 10%.
Make sure your Foreground color is Black and Background color is White.
With the Black foreground selected use the Brush Tool to darken areas (Burn) and by switching to the
White foreground (the X Key will switch them) you can lighten areas (Dodge) The D Key will reset the Foreground and Background colors to the default colors Black and White. Try a Large Brush set at Black and make a pass over some of the image just to see how it can enhance it also. You can use the color picker to set a different Foreground color to fill in if needed.
Some additional notes:
With the Gaussian Blur setting at or around a Radius of 10 and then using the Unsharp Mask settings, you minimize the surrealistic effect and still get the enhancements to the image. For different kinds of images try more or less Gaussian Blur and/or Unsharp Mask. Just remember that as long as it isn't overdone the images can still appear natural. Try the Multiply Opacity settings differently to get a darker or lighter result. I don't recommend a higher Opacity setting over 10% for your Brush when using the 50% Gray adjustment Layer because at higher setting the Brush strokes may be visible in the finished image. It's also recommended to use a soft edge Brush for the same reason.
If you have an image that you would like to get the full surrealistic image effect, change the Gaussian Blur setting to a Radius between 25 and 50 and click OK. Skip the Unsharp Mask steps but you can use the Hue/Saturation steps.
For those of you using Photoshop, the settings are the same it's just the locations where to find them that is different. Also if you know how to make Actions, you can make an Action with stops at all of the adjustments to get it done fast and easy.
If you have questions or comments, contact me at email@example.com
Additional Tips & Techniques pages:
- IMAGINATION by Jim Pittman
- IDEAS – AND HOW THEY WERE DONE by Jim Pittman
- Test images used to Calibrate Monitors
- TCCC Wildflower Fieldtrip Guides
- Surrealistic Image Enhancement with Elements 6.0 - You are Here
- Do It Yourself Flash Projects by Ted Post
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