Registered: September 2001
Location: Metro Phoenix area, Arizona
Such a lovely little girl!
I decided that I wanted to use the sunflowers from a previous art challenge, and used a gradient to blur realistically towards the rear of the field. Resized the image to work with the girl and dog image.
Opened the Challenge image and extracted the girl and dog using the Path tool (getting practice at this to improve my skills) and dropped them on a black background to help me erase unwanted pixels left over from the Clear command. When I saw the effect of the black with some sunflowers peeking through, I decided to go for a low-key image with sunflowers around the image, but NOT in the image. I pulled out my guides from top/bottom and both sides to help me make a symmetrical look. I decided to try for a dark satin pillow effect for the dog to recline on, and tried several things before I found something I liked. I'm not exactly sure how this worked, and will have to try it again to see if I can recreate the effect, but basically I added a brownish tint to the "pillow" and used smudge tool to push it around and accidentally got light areas which looked (to me) like the glint of satin under low lighting. (I had tried layer effects, but didn't like what I got there and need to practice on those also.)
Cloned away the vertical scan mark. Added a layer for the top of the dog's hair that was burned out by the flash -- painted to match, added noise, and used the Angled strokes filter to simulate hair, then reduced opacity of the layer to taste. (I have trouble with hair, so I'm always looking for ways that I can create hair without having to be able to "paint".) Did similar effect for girl's hair where shadows blocked out all sign of texture.
Then I made a mask of her face and hand and made a copy (Cntrl-J) of those areas on another layer where I applied Dust/Scratches filter to really smooth the skin. Then I added a layer mask and reduced a bit of the smoothing in a few areas. Cleaned up her eyes a bit.
She's such a lovely girl, and it's such a sweet pose -- Phyllis, I hope you get some ideas for your portrait from our submissions.