Monday, June 06, 2011

Tutorial - Mood Changes

This is an especially useful technique for avatars but will work in photo manipulations and other images, too.
Here is our original - this is a stock image from DA, check it out here:

The easiest way to change a photograph, especially a photograph with high contrast and good resolution is to use an action. There are many free ones available, here are two to show the effect:

L'air du temps freebie action by Apples & Sisters
It changes the mood of the image from bold to ethereal.
Tim Kainu's Sun to Gloom changes the mood from bright and sunny, to dark and a little scary.

Another great way to change the image is to desaturate the image (Image/Adjustments/Desaturate) which works well by itself but also makes a great starting point for other changes.
In some cases it might be necessary to use the Curves or Levels commands also in the Image/Adjustment menu to enhance the detail.
 You could for example apply a gradient to this (or any of the previous images)

Or you could add textures, gradients and a few brushstrokes to create this:
For this final sample I've used (bottom to top layer) -

  1. Layer 1: the desaturated original
  2. Layer 2: A blue / sand gradient (Blend mode Colour 100%)
  3. Layer 3: P7 from the Attic Treasures Texture Set by Shadowhouse (Blend mode Soft Light 100%)
  4. Layer 4: Eye Colour - turquoise just painted over the iris in each eye (Blend mode Colour 100% )
  5. Layer 5: Aged and Crackling Effects Texture Set by Shadowhouse (Blend mode Multiply 100%)
Check out the net for free Photoshop actions. Many of them are also available for Gimp and Photohosp Elements and they work really well and allow for quick and easy changes.

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