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  • Larry

Not as simple as "Point and Shoot"

Don’t believe every picture you see.

You know what I mean, right? All those super perfect models and super stars on the magazine covers. Are they really that perfect? Usually not. Usually there’s a bit of touch up in post-production to help out in certain areas. I even do it a bit here in the studio. Yep, little ol’ me does post-production work too. Here, let me show you:

I take a lot of pictures and even though I try to line up the edges and make things straight sometimes the picture just isn’t good enough.

Take this picture for example. It’s okay. Yes, it needs to be lighted and such tonally, but the background is working okay, I wanted the outdoorsy look and I thought the yellow flowers behind the yellowish tractor would be kind of cool. I think it works but it could be better. Let me show you how I made it better.

First off, I want the picture of the tractor to be bigger, more dominant in. I want the side to be straighter and the slight skew to disappear. The colors could be touched up to bring out more contrast and saturation – I need to be careful here because I still need to represent the true colors of the painting. I would also like to get rid of the hand holding the frame upright and I need to make the picture a square, so it fits into Instagram’s layout better. I can easily make all these changes in Photo shop. Tools of choice are lasso tool, cut/paste, new layer, transform-skew, levels, color balance, eraser, clone stamp, wand and then I change canvas size.

It’s looking better but I have kind of messed up the background a bit in making these changes. Let’s work on the bottom portion first.

To fill in the bottom I copy the portion of ground on the bottom two or three times. I stretch them a bit to cover more ground then I blur the edges by about 20%. I spread them to overlap each other and cover the empty space at the bottom of the image. I then I need to run levels and color balance to make the transitions between each sliver seamless. I edit out duplicate blemishes, like the white dot that got repeated to the left of the frame. I also copy the frames shadow and stretch it so it matches same size of newly adjusted picture. After all this the image is square, the ideal shape for an instar gram post.

But now I need more. More What? More flowers!

To dig Deep - Fine Art Print

To Dig Deep Original oil painting sold. Fine Art Print available -click image to purchase

My third phase of work is adding more of the flowers. Not a crazy amount but I do want it to look bountiful and healthy. I thought about changing the color of the flowers to a more orange-y color to match the tractor but that made the tractor blend in too much so I kept them the cool yellow to contrast with the warm yellow of the tractor. This work was completed with lassoing the flowers then cut and pasting them. Next, I scaled, turned and flipped them to make the duplicates less noticeable. These were all arranged on separate layers within the Photoshop program then combine into the background. If you look closely, some of the flowers do not have stems. I thought I would leave them like this just for fun and see if anyone notices. I doubt it. And if I was a total profession retoucher I would work on getting some of the reflections out of the glass - but I'm not doing that either. I think it looks fine now

Now the image is ready to be shown publicly. Initially it will be used in my web store for the sale of the fine art print of this tractor. You can visit my store page HERE. I will also use it to advertise the print sale on Instagram, Facebook and other 3rd party websites.

Now you know how easy it can be to change a picture.

Questions? Please feel free to ask.



Here's an old tear sheet from my illustration days. All digital work. Top small images are what I used to make the larger main image bottom right. FYI -wouldn't try the phone number. It's an old one from my Pasadena days.

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