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May 06 Contest Discussion

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Old 05-31-2006, 06:46 PM
CJ Swartz's Avatar
CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Congratulations to you, Peth!

Congratulations to all the Top 10!
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:55 PM
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Nanls Nanls is offline
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Thumbs down

Congratulations Peth! Great job on the sketch!

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Old 06-01-2006, 03:53 AM
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Peth Peth is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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My method.

Unfortunately in a frenzy of desktop cleaning I seem to have deleted the layered file, which I wanted to make available to any who wanted it. Not that my methodology is by any means textbook.

So an explaination of each step will have to suffice.

Here goes... BTW all done in photoshop. Tried painter but too much of a Greenhorn. I suspect it would have given a very nice finish.

Step 1. Made image greyscale by using the Channel Mixer. Be sure to click the monotone box in the lower left hand corner. I find this to be by far the best way of turning any image to greyscale due to the advanced control versus simply desaturating or changing the image mode. Works really well for old restorations also.

Step 2. Adjusted the levels to eliminate any really black blacks and to smooth and simplify the contours of her face.

Step 3. Applied a gentle surface blur (CS2) which flattened any pores and the like and prepared a nice even base for my pencil work.

Step 4. Using a wacom pen I literally sketched over the entire image. I was going for a hard pencil look versus a softer 2B or 4B (grainier) finish. Tricky descision because many people understandably feel this is too close to photographic. But I knew as long as I drew over the entire image that it would reflect enough of the pencil sketch to be somewhat realistic.

BTW I used a small hard edged brush with diameters varying from say 3px to (I think) 9px to simulate a hard pencil that has bluntened over time. Bluntened... is that a word?

Step 5. Actually this was introduced throughout step 4 but anyhow... I used the smudge tool with a large (25px - 40px) soft brush on low pressure to simulate the softening one would normally create with a finger.

Step 6. Repeated steps 5 & 6 on a seperate layer in spots where there was not enough 'sketchiness'. When I was happy I lowered the opacity slightly and blended into the main image.

That's it! Took me 1-2 hours tops I guess. Since then I've become quite interested in the technique and started to experiment with rough brushes that simulate softer pencils... with quite pleasing results.

Oh one last thing. I adjusted the levels to take away any true whiteness that would automatically give the piece away as being digital... Not that it doesn't look digital as it is.

Hope that helps guys. Please, if can, treat yourself to a wacom. You'll love it and it makes so many disciplines from digital art to retouching and restoration so much easier. You may have read my comment on art coming from the soul and not a drop-down menu. I didn't mean this to sound snobbish but it was true for me... until I got the wacom I didn't have that 'connect' with the projects I worked on. It will change and improve your skill and enjoyment markedly, I promise!

Thanks for all your votes everyone and keep entering and learning.
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:16 AM
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Lorraine Lorraine is offline
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Congratulations on your excellent entry. And thanks for the details of how you did such a great job.

Would also like to congratulate everyone who entered. All of your work is outstanding.


Last edited by Lorraine; 06-01-2006 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 06-01-2006, 06:23 AM
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byRo byRo is offline
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Peth, my congratulations for the well-deserved win and thank you for the step-by-step description.

Maybe this christmas I'll find a tablet in my sock!

One thing though - you left out what I consider to be one of the principal qualities of your entry.
So many retouchers / digital artists forget that this is a very powerful tool - and one which you used here to great effect!

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Old 06-01-2006, 07:42 AM
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OnAir OnAir is offline
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My congratulations to Peth and to all contestants!
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Old 06-01-2006, 11:22 AM
dkcoats dkcoats is offline
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Congratulations to Peth and the other top vote-getters. And apologies for not voting. I came to work yesterday morning after being on vacation since Thursday and found that our internet/email had been down since Friday and our IT guy was out of town until Saturday. So it fell to me do deal with it. It was a real @#*&storm. By the time we were back up it ws too late to vote responsibly.

A fun contest, and a difficult one.

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Old 06-01-2006, 01:05 PM
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Peth Peth is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 44

You're quite right Ro! Yes, the crop. THAT was step one or two and WAS critical. I talked earlier about connection. For the viewer, you have a closer connection the closer you get to a subject... which is why we get 'close' to those we love.

We don't care about the blouse she's wearing or the bush she's standing next to, we want to see HER, know HER and make a connection... deep aye?!

Plus I didn't want to draw the leaves.

The dutch or rotate for me was as critical as the crop. It's a very feminine thing to do and has a softness which again is more personal. Check out Lorraine's avatar. She tilts her head slightly which gives her a sweetness. Without reading any of her posts, you get the impression she's a lovely lady.
That's what I felt this portrait needed.

hope that helps... it WAS a major oversight!
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Old 06-01-2006, 06:34 PM
Janet Petty's Avatar
Janet Petty Janet Petty is offline
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Congratulations to Peth and others. GREAT job and great contest.

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Old 06-01-2006, 10:09 PM
Northernshadow Northernshadow is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Calgary, Canada
Posts: 63
Congratulations Peth!

sure appreciate your steps!
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