Thursday, February 15, 2007

My First Digital Layering Attempt!

Spent all day yesterday (Valentines' Day - a big snowstorm) knocking my brains out trying to figure out how to do some very rudimentary work in Photoshop, and this is one of my 2 results.

Since I've been working with various methods of inkjet transfers and getting very frustrated with the lumpy uncertain results I've been getting (still working on it though- it's lots of fun!), I thought I would try to achieve similar results digitally - the ol' digital darkroom and all that, dontcha know. Well, since I don't know the first thing about working in Photoshop (and I'm in an old version, 6.0), my puny attempts felt like reinventing not only the wheel but all of civilization from the original primordial grains of dirt. But I DID IT! (with lots of IM help from Matthew, who was most obliging and very patient with my ignorance).

So what is it? Well, I started with a really cool photo of a weathered, rusty culvert that I snitched from Matthew's Flickr photos (, and I messed around with hue, saturation, and contrast till it looked pretty much nothing like the original, just a layer of texture & color. Then I took a scanned image of a very beautiful painting of a water lotus (someone else's work - don't know where it came from or who made the original), layered it on top of the altered image from Matthew's photo, and made it semi-transparent, so that the lotus flower emerges in a ghostly fashion from the background. I'm not entirely satisfied with the finished result - but I am supremely happy that I have made the first steps towards learning how to manipulate images digitally.

Sounds so simple, doesn't it? I'm sure it is very simple, for anyone who knows how to do it. Well, isn't everything pretty simple once you've mastered the skills necessary for each step? But I am a rank beginner, working with my usual scientific method of randomly pushing buttons whose names don't seem to have any relation to their actual function and are therefore utterly inscrutable to me, until something happens. Then, should I manage to achieve an effect I like, I am unable to replicate it since I have no idea of what it was I did. But I will continue to work with the digitals, stealing the incredible photographs done by my artsy kids and layering them with odd snippets and seeing what I can come up with. At least all this working in Photoshop doesn't get my fingers all gluey or use up my precious supplies.

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