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Leloo's Tutorials

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  • Leloo's Tutorials

    Manipulation Tutorial

    Someone asked me a while back how I did my recent manipulations (1) and
    (Other manipulations done using this technique: (3), (4), (5))
    It's quite simple the way I do it and I am not saying it's the only way, but it's the way I do it anyway.

    First I choose the image I want to manipulate. I wanted to do an Amy Acker manipulation and I had just found some really amazing model scans over at Her Famed Good Looks.
    I chose my base:

    and my Amy Acker image:

    I place my base on a blank canvas:
    Like this.
    Then I cut out the face of AA, resize to fit the size of the original face, rotate and place it as presice as I can over the face of my base:

    I always try to get the eyes placed over the original eyes and if I can the nose and lips too.
    Sometimes it works but it all depends on the face size of whoever you manip. People's faces are all different in shape and size
    so even though you place the eyes the nose might be further down etc. I usually focus on placing the eyes as accuaret as
    I can or the chin depending on where the person is facing.
    A good trick to positioning, is to fade the top image (face) down so that the original face is showing through, that way it's easier to get it accurate.

    Then I duplicate my base image and place it on top.
    Now it's time to make the face appear and look natural.
    I zoom in to 200% (but it all depends on the size of your image and what you feel comfortable with) and I apply a layer mask.
    Then I choose a soft round brush, not too big (I use 9px) and start masking out the face of the model to make Amy's face show.
    It's really important to not just erase the old face. Because I choose to keep the original model's hair, I try to keep the natural shadows on her face too.
    It's a but tricky because I want the shape of Amy's face to be hers but I also want it looking as natural as possible.
    The trick is, as I mentioned, to try and keep bits of the old face, some of the forehead near the hairline and the part where the hair makes a shadow. I let a bit of Amy's har that touches her forehead come out too. It doesn't matter if the color isn't right, it can be fixed later.

    Sometimes as you erase the old face, you might have to adjust the size or placement of the new face. It's all about experimenting and adjusting little by little.
    When I am done, it looks like this:

    So now it's time to make the skincolors of the two girls match. I start by applying curves on Amy's face:

    Adjust color balance:

    Aswell as adjust the brightness/contrast. I do this little by little, switching between the face and the body so that I get them matching as accurate as possible.
    This part is probably the hardest part because sometimes the images are very different in color and quality but if you just do it slowly and in as many rounds as possible, it is actually possible to match pretty much anything.
    So now I have this:

    Now that I have the face and body matching to my liking, it's time to fix the rest.
    I create a new layer and by pressing 'ctrl + alt + shift + e' you copy and paste all visible layers. Make sure this layer sits on top. I apply median (Filters > Noise > Median) at radius 2. Then I press 'ctrl + shift + f' to fade the filter to 60%.
    I then pick my smudging tool set the mode to 'lighten' and strenght to 20%, choose a soft round brush (5px) and start smoothing out the face and arms.

    The part of the face I focus mostly on is the shadow on the chin/cheek. I want to soften it out to look more natural. Be careful not to smudge too much as it can change the shape and contours of the face.
    The main reason I smudge is to make both images look as one. In this case it's not as bad because there is no neck showing. But if you make a manip that has 'more neck' showing, the neck is where you want to smudge. Basically wherever the 'borders' of your manip is, try and smoothen it out so it looks like it was always one image.
    I hope that make sense.

    I now have this: (click to view full image)

    I am pretty much done although I feel the image is a little too unnatural bright.
    So I create another layer and again press 'ctrl + alt + shift + e'.
    I darken the layer a tiny bit by applying 'curves' to look like this:

    And I am done!

    My final image looks like this:

    It's now ready to be incorporated in my graphic. As you can see I only worked with half of the original image as this was scanned in two parts. To make my graphic I used the other half of the image aswell and by using the clone and stamp tool I created the missing bits inbetween these two images. It was a long and detailed process but in the end it paid off and I was quite pleased with how the final graphic turned out (as linked above).
    I used the same procedure for graphic (2) (linked above) but for that one I also found some photos of cliffs and beaches. The boat was already on a beach but it looked too nice and 'beachy' whereas I wanted it to look a bit more creepy and as if she was 'lost'.

    I really hope this tutorial was helpful.
    If you have any feedback or questions about this tutorial, please pm me.
    Last edited by Leloo; 21-04-11, 11:53 AM.
    >> and we want s p e c t a c u l a r v i e w s if we're to stay for the w e e k e n d <<

  • #2
    Character wallpaper using textures, gradients and filters

    I was asked how I did my recent Rory Gilmore piece.
    This tutorial will take you through every step of how I made this piece, it is not very complicated, mostly just layers and layers of textures, filters and gradients.

    I wanted to make a Rory piece for the "Into The Spotlight" challenge and was browsing Pretty As A Picture when I found the perfect image of Rory s1!

    So this is the image I want to work with. I place it on my 1024 x 768 blank canvas and adjust the size a bit.
    I pick a color from the background, and flood fill the background layer with it. I pick a darkish green next to Rory's hair. I then add a layer mask, pick a brush (from Zugma's 'cloudy' set) and set it at around 60% opacity and mask out the black border and some of the background.

    Because I am lazy, I can't be bothered to actually clean cut the image (which I have a tutorial on) but I also know that I will have some textures covering up my sloppy blending, so I'm not too worried about it.
    Anyway, now I have this.
    Some of the background is a lighter green so I add a layer inbetween my main image and the background, pick the lighter green color and again use a brush from Zugma's 'cloudy' set to "stamp" the color in areas I think it looks best. I'm not too worried about it because I will add textures and gradients but I really like the colors of the background to sort of 'flow'.
    Leaving me with this.

    I now duplicate all layers (shift + crtl + alt + e), duplicate the new layer (crtl + j) and add median to the new layer (filter > noise > median) at a 2px radius. I add a layer mask and mask out parts I don't want too blurry, in this case it is eyes, lips and parts of hair but it really depends of the specific image. I do think however, that median takes too much away from the eyes, which is why I always mask the median'ed layer on the eyes.

    Anyway, when I am happy with my median layer, I duplicate all layers again and set the new layer to 'soft light' at opacity 58%. Again, duplicate all layers, desaturate the new layer and set it to 'soft light' at 100%.
    Making it look like this:

    Now I want to add some color to the piece. The reason I keep the desaturated layer on top is because I think it adds nice contrast to the piece when you add textures and gradients underneath. Anyway, I'm now adding my first gradient map, you do this by clicking the little black and white circle that appears underneath the layer list.
    The first one I add is from Oxoniensis Art.

    I set that to Soft Light at 100% and mask out necessary parts.
    Then I add a couple of my own textures: This - set to screen at 85% and This - set to Luminosity at 63%.
    To both I add layer masks and mask out the parts that cover Rory's face, hair and some of her body.
    Then I add another gradient, this time (I think) it's from Black Lagoon. I set it to overlay at 45% and this time I mask out most of the parts covering Rory because I only want this effect on the background. I keep the brush opacity at around 60%.

    I now have this:

    I then duplicate all layers (shift + crtl + alt + e) add Fragment (filter > pixelate > fragment) and set the layer to Soft Light at 100%.
    I duplicate all layers again and copy the new layer. Now I do something I learned from Daydreaming. Using the 'dodge' tool and a soft round brush the size of the eyes at around 50%, I brush gently over the eyes and lower lip (using a smaller brush) as well as one stroke across the face with a very large soft round brush.
    Ends up looking pretty, no?

    Now I duplicate the layers again (I do this a lot, I guess it's because I like to have the opportunity to drag a layer on top to add filter if I need to).
    I now add a stock image that my friend took while flying over Greenland (I'd rather not share this one since it isn't mine to share but I am sure there's a similar one available on stock sites. It looks like white cliffs, taken from above). I set it to Luminosity at 8%.
    I add a gradient, I can't remember where it is from (it's not tagged but I never make my own so I know I got it somewhere. If you recognise it please let me know)

    Now, I feel Rory's face is actually too bright (funny, since I brightened it myself). I want to darken it a bit to add some atmosphere, so I add a Curves layer. This leaves the background very dark, so I mask out most of that using a brush at a low opacity (I think around 40%). I always use the default round brushes or Zugma's 'Cloudy' brushes for masking.
    These are my settings:

    And now I have this:

    So, even with the nice looking background, I feel like the piece is a bit empty. So I duplicate the layers once more and copy the new layer. I move the top layer around a bit, finding a good position for it and fade to 24%. Add a layer mask and mask away parts I don't want so that the image feels part of the background.

    Now for my favourite effect! I duplicate the layers (yet again lol) and add Glowing Edges (filter > stylize > glowing edges). I can't remember my setting because i always use different ones. Set this layer to screen and fade to an opacity to your liking. Mine's set to 31%. I mask out the bits I don't like.

    I feel the background needs some depth so I add a stock image of columns and archways that I found at Zammstock, set it to luminosity at 8%.
    I add another texture, this one from Colorblinded. I use Romain's textures quite often, especially this one. Here, I set it to Soft Light at 100% and only mask out a little bit next to Rory's face.
    Now I feel as if the background is a bit too yellow now so I 'untick' the layer making it invisible, and duplicate all layers so that the texture appears underneath the new one. I desaturate the new layer and set it to Soft Light. I make the texture visible again and now it looks better.
    Now it looks like this:

    I feel as if the background and the main image aren't really connecting so I untick the top desaturated layer, duplicate the visible layers and add Motion Blur (filters > blur > motion blur) Angle at -90 degree and Distance around 500 - 600.
    Set this layer to Screen at 100% and keep this layer under the (now visible again) desaturated layer. Looking better already.

    I add another gradient from Oxoniensis Art:

    Set it to Hard Light at 76%.

    Duplicate all layers again and add Lighting Effects (filter > render > lighting effects), which is another favourite of mine. I always have the same settings when adding this filter because I find they work the best and I just play with the angle.

    You can play with the settings if you want to, I have just found that these work best for me.
    I mask out parts of the dark edges at a low opacity and all of Rory's face at a higher opacity.
    That leaves it looking like this:

    Duplicate all again and add another filter, this time Halftone Pattern (filter > sketch > halftone pattern) which adds little dots all over. Before doing this, I have chosen two colors from my piece, a dark one and a lighter one.
    These are my colors:

    And my settings:

    I set the filtered layer to Soft Light at 58%

    Duplicate all, add Fragment (filter > pixelate > fragment) and fade the filter to 60% (crtl + alt + f), set it to Soft Light at opacity 91%

    Duplicate all layers (for the last time, I promise) and add Paint Daubs (filter > artistic > paint daubs) at low settings:

    Lastly I add some text, I wanted to keep it simple so I chose Century Gothic but looking at it now, I feel it may have been a little too plain.
    And that's it, we're done!!

    These are my layers, for reference. I always have a lot of them and even if some of my steps seem pointless, I like working this way. I feel that it's the many steps of the way that creates depth and life in a final wall.

    I really hope this tutorial was helpful. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to pm me
    >> and we want s p e c t a c u l a r v i e w s if we're to stay for the w e e k e n d <<


    • #3
      working with textures and stocks

      Someone requested a tutorial on how I use textures and stocks in my pieces (especially my recent Twilight pieces) and I posted it on my site, but thought I might as well post it here as well

      This isn't a tutorial on "how to make a wallpaper", it's more a guideline on how to incorporate ready-made textures into your art, along with stock images, to make it your own.

      This is very descriptive, I've tried as much as I could, to explain why I do something and my trail of throught leading up to the action I took. I don't know if that's helpful or not.

      Let's get started. I have my two images that I want to use, I have chosen Sasha Pivovarova to portray Irina for this piece, as I think she has just the right look - how I imagine Irina. Both my images are from fakingfashion@lj.
      I place my images on a blank canvas, clean them up (smooth skin etc), background fill #8e8c9f

      (click image)

      Add gradient map, from Jenni Lou's "fade to black" set, set to soft light 100%

      I make all layers invisible except my main images and the gradients map. ctrl+alt+shift+e copies all visible layers into one new layer. Place that on top of gradient, as I want to have the freedom to add stocks/textures underneath my images!

      Then I add a texture. Because I want this to portray Irina as being.. not wild but torn up, and in the book that meant she left her sisters behind and I'd like to think she spent a lot of time outside, doing some soulsearching! So I want to add some nature to this piece.

      Now, usually I add more stocks than textures - textures are almost like "skipping a few steps" and making it easier to get a certain effect. That's not to say it is wrong to use textures, not at all - I use them a lot myself, but most textures are made out of stock images, so what I am saying is that to me, it can give me direction of where I want to take this piece, and it adds a lot of depth to a piece. This is all my opinion, of course.

      Anyway, I try a few stock images and I can't make any of them fit right, so I find a suitable texture that I want to use instead. I absolutely LOVE Matilda's textures, so I always know that browsing through her selection always helps me. This is the texture I end up using.

      I place the texture on top of my layers, set it to "luminosity" and lower the opacity to 42% - I add a layer pask and mask out parts of the texture that covers Irina:
      (click image)

      Time to add a few stocks. As I mentioned previously, I wanted this to have elements of nature. Not too much, but enough to make it look pretty (essentially that's my goal will all my pieces - if it looks pretty, it works for me lol).

      I add a stock image of a "naked" tree, this one here.

      I re-size and place it underneath my main images - set it to multiply and lower the opacity to 52% - the opacities are mostly set at random, I usually play around with it until i find what works best for the individual piece. I mask out some parts I don't want showing.

      I also add this scan from _sinelinea@lj, and I place it underneath my main images, as well as the tree stock (so that the branches overlaps). I leave the stock as is, because I think it looks pretty cool like that.

      As you probably have guessed, stocks for me are not just symbolic, I don't just use them to help tell the story (though that's certainly part of it), I also add them because they help add depth and feeling to my piece.

      I very often end up adding a stock, playing around with it, and removing it again. There's a lot of trial and error when I make my wallpapers, I don't always have a clear image of what I want it to look like, or which direction I want it to take.

      So after trying some more nature stocks, I realize that that is not the direction I want to go. At this point, it's really great that I have added that texture earlier on, because I really love the circle shapes in it, and I decide I want more of those!

      I have a few stock images of the moon, so I choose this one, resize it to fit and place it between the texture and the main images, like so:

      I set the stock to Soft Light at 79% opacity, and I mask away the parts I don't want visible.

      So far soo good. I'm liking the way this is shaping up, even though it's still looking very undone.

      (click image)

      I decide to add a filter - I'll admit I use this very often because I find it so neat, what it does . I learnt this trick from a tutorial by Tam, found in this section as well

      Again, I copy all my layers and paste them onto a new layer (ctrl+alt+shift+e) and I add the filter "glowing edges" to this layer (filter > stylize > glowing edges). I always use different settings, because the effect is pretty much based on what your layer looks like. I usually have the 'edge width' set to 1, and brightness around 5-8 but it does vary depending on the piece. It adds a cool glow to all prominent edges in your piece! I always set this layer to screen and lower the opacity until I find it fitting. It usually ends up between 40 - 20% but again, it depends on the piece. With this one, I've set the opacity at 29% and I mask away the parts I don't want, usually that's the face (lips, eyes, nostrils) and parts of the hair.

      Again, copy and paste all layers (ctrl+alt+shift+e). I do this because I like having these layers in between, but I don't like to flatten all images, in case I need to go back and change something later. With this piece, I did go back because when I was almost done, I realized her eyes were more red than orange, so I went back a few steps and changed that. I'll skip my mistake in coloring now, and pretend I got the color right all along (rarely happens.. as I said, I do a lot of trial and error when I work. It's all about what feels right in the end, I think).

      Anyway, the piece feels a little to bare and cold, and I know just the stock image that can change this. I absolutely adore this stock from Romain, which I add and set to Soft Light at 60%. I mask away parts that cover the two main images.

      It looks better, but not quite enough, so I add another gradient, again from Jenni Lou's "fade to black" set:

      Set it to overlay and lower the opacity to 75% - I mask away parts of the face, but I leave the lips as I love how this gradients color the lips red

      (click image)

      Time for another filter, which I know will add some depth and some warmth to the piece as well. I copy+paste all layers again, and add the filter "fragment" (filter > pixelate > fragment) I fade the filter (crtl + f) to 60% and then I set the layer to Soft Light, at 60% as well. It's subtle, but really nice in my opinion!
      (click image)

      I don't like the bottom part below the two images, it sort of doesn't "connect" with the rest of the piece, and I have an idea that I want to add some white to this piece anyway, so I add another stock from _sinelinea, and place it across the bottom (set to lighten 100%).

      I add another gradient map, this time I set the colors myself, to black and white, and set the gradient to Soft Light at 64% opacity.

      I find the background a but dull. Maybe dull isn't the word to describe it, but something's missing and I feel Matilda's texture is still too prominent - even though it's a beautiful texture it's not enough for me to just have someone else do the background work for me. I like to use textures as part of my background, but not the most prominent part, if that makes sense. I like to have more than one stock image as well as more than one texture. It's all a mix I guess).

      Anyway, I have an idea that one of my own textures might add just what I am looking for, so I add this texture, rotate it horizontally, set it to screen and mask away parts I don't want.

      (click image)

      I now think this piece is turning too orange/brown and it doesn't really match up with the white, so I add a selective color adjustment layer, and play around with the different color settings. I adjust almost all the colors, except "magenta" and "white" - I can't really tell you my settings because there's no right or wrong here, it all depends on the colors in your piece. I know I want the reddish/orange/brown to fade a bit, so I concentrate on those colors.
      (click image)

      Great! Time to concentrate on those golden eyes!! The way I do it is pretty simple, I don't know if there are other ways because this one works for me. I add a new layer and choose a soft round brush (9px in this case) zoom in, and paint a circle to cover the iris. My color is #e79f2d (as I said, I had originally made it a deeper orange, but I went back and changed it to this one).
      I set this layer to Overlay and keep it at 100% - I erase parts that don't look right, and end up with this:

      I do the same to the eyes on the other picture of Irina, but I fade the opacity of these a little, as that looks better. I also add some color to her lips (reddish) using this procedure.

      I want to add a 'painted look' to my background, and instead of just adding the usual paint daubs once my piece is done, I want the background to be more 'painted' than the two main images. So I copy and paste all layers again, and add paint daubs to this (filter > artistic > paint daubs). I don't remember the settings, but the brush size might have been 1 or 2 and the sharpness 3 or 4. I can't remember, but it's not important because each piece is different, and you'll need to add what works for your piece. I fade the opacity of this layer to 51% and I mask away all the bits that covers my main images.
      (click image)

      Because I didn't do any blending to the two images, I'm not exactly satisfied with how they overlap. I also want more white, to tie together with the stock at the bottom, so I add a narrow line (17px wide) down the middle, and fill it with #fefefe (almost white).

      Again, copy and paste all layers (ctrl+alt+shift+e) and now I add another filter. I add film grain, which can give a lovely glow to the layer (filter > artistic > film grain). Again, I don't remember my exact settings but I keep the grain pretty low, and concentrate on the intensity and highlight area. I set this layer to Soft Light at a 85% opacity.
      (click image)

      For some reason, I still think the piece is "all over the place" LOL. So I try and see what the filter "light effects" will do. Again, copy + paste all layers, add filter (filter > render > lighting effects). The filter settings are up to you, but I choose spotlight and play around with the settings a bit, and add the filer. It's not working out the way I like because of the white, the black this now has doesn't match. I play around with layer setting, and end up on "saturation" at 63% and it works!!

      I realize I need more white so I use the same stock from _sinelinea as I had at the bottom, this time I place it at the top and I love how those thin threads flow. I set it so screen this time and mask away very little.

      I add a border, same color as the line down the middle (#fefefe), and approximately 10px. I have an idea, that I'd like some more shapes in this, but not white. I love red and I love the red color of Irina's lips right now, so I want something red, I decide! Again, _sinelinea is the answer! I love those scans! I add this one and place it below my border, and rotate it to only show very little of the stock. I leave it set to normal.
      (click image)

      Almost done!
      I want some light stocks, I think that would look neat across the bottom of this, so I add this one from More Adventurous. I flip it vertically and set it to screen. No masking or opacity change needed and I place this above my white border on purpose. Not that it makes any difference though

      Last but not least, I suppose this is a bit boring but I almost always do this, I copy+paste all layers and add Paint Daubs again. Usually at a very low setting (1 and 1) and I often fade this filter as well (ctrl +f) to 60-40%.
      I add my text, and that's it!

      Final result: Battlefield (more sizes here)
      I really hope this tutorial was helpful.
      If you have any questions about this tutorial, feel free to send me a pm
      >> and we want s p e c t a c u l a r v i e w s if we're to stay for the w e e k e n d <<