Monday, August 3, 2009

Improve a Boring Black and White Image -- Anik Gets a Makeover

I've been posting like crazy with results from the wonderful Cumberland photo shoot, and have recently put a few hours into learning some new techniques. I thought it might be interesting to drop back a moment to the Aylmer photo shoot, my first Crombie McNeill workshop with models from Barrett Palmer Models.

At that shoot was Anik, a small but rather sultry looking model with amazing eyes and lips. Her hair was the perfect length for certain poses and I got several very nice images of her, especially in the fountain.

But there was this one image of her that I envisioned as a panther, prowling in search of prey. The image suffered extremely poor color and lighting, so I rendered it in black and white. And although it's a nice looking image, it does not really grab me. Here's that first try ...

What I find weak about it is the lack of punch, the mediocre lighting on her face, and the fact that it does not remind me even a little bit of the panther I was seeking.

So with my recent foray into black and white artistic renderings, I thought I'd take another swing at this image. I started from the original working copy (identical to the above but in large size) and worked it over with many filters until I found the right start. Water color with fairly dark hair.

That was pretty cool, but the face lighting still sucked. Easy enough to fix, I rendered an omni light on her face and blended it back with soft light mode to isolate her face somewhat. Much better.

One last thing, there still was not enough contrast, and the texture was not really working. I played some more and found another filter ... water paper. This one actually adds the fiber texture and smearing of fine art paper. This really helps darken the eyes and now I'm seeing that panther!

This is about as good as it gets, and is one of the rare images that actually looks better on my TN panel, which has a much brighter presentation.

Another interesting thought, it would require very little effort to take this to the point where she looked like the Joker's wife from Dark Knight. That would be a darker rendering, almost like the first vampire slayer in the Buffy series. But an interesting thing to attempt someday.

Bottom line: the eyes are stunning ... and I find this image much more exciting to look at than the original.


crazy football mom said...

She had the "Eye of the Tiger!"

Sue W said...

Very feral...