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Changing backgrounds with natural look

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  #1  
Old 07-18-2007, 06:30 AM
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sharynideas sharynideas is offline
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Changing backgrounds with natural look

I think this was James Thurber's dog in a former life. I wanted to add different backgrounds for sort of a Walter Mitty look, but when I add a photographic background, it still looks unnatural. I tried a drop shadow and some opacity changes, but still not quite what I had in mind. I'm using Elements 5 or PSP 8.
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Old 07-18-2007, 12:02 PM
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Re: Changing backgrounds with natural look

Have no idea what a Walter Mitty background might look like. Looked up the charactger on Google. Here is my rendition of the dog on another background.
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File Type: jpg dogCouch.jpg (178.0 KB, 56 views)
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Old 07-18-2007, 12:34 PM
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Re: Changing backgrounds with natural look

Hi there

I don't know what a Walter Mitty look is.. but I dropped in a background I had on hand... looks ok to me...lol

Butch
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:56 PM
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Re: Changing backgrounds with natural look

Thought this would look good as a picture, not "natural" I know but I wanted to play.
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File Type: jpg dog.jpg (169.8 KB, 56 views)
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Old 07-19-2007, 04:51 AM
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Re: Changing backgrounds with natural look

James Thurber was an early 20th century writer and cartoonist. He drew and wrote about crazy looking dogs, sort of a cross between bloodhounds and something else. He also wrote a short story called "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" a mild mannered henpecked sort who had fantastic daydreams.
DCobb-I liked your changing the chair. I hadn't thought about that.
Butch- That's what I have in mind, but I wasn't sure if it looked natural enough.
Gary-Can you tell me what you did to the dog herself? Did you use a filter on her?
Shari
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Old 07-19-2007, 05:02 AM
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Re: Changing backgrounds with natural look

Here's one I did with a shadow, slightly faded background and mask.
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  #7  
Old 07-19-2007, 06:14 AM
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Re: Changing backgrounds with natural look

Well done, everyone!

DCobb: is there anything you won't try?

Butch: you did more than just drop in a background. What did you do to get that high contrast look?

Gary:
what steps resulted in that painted look?

Both effects are very nice. Please elucidate.

sharynideas: interesting shot and commentary. Thanks for sharyn.

Regards,

Michael
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:24 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Changing backgrounds with natural look

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharynideas View Post
Gary-Can you tell me what you did to the dog herself? Did you use a filter on her?
Shari
Hi Shari,

No problem. Here's an explanation of what I did (and for Michael as well).

First I extracted dog and chair and pasted onto new BG.
Adjusted levels on dog and chair.
Adjusted levels on BG.
Did graduated blur on BG.
Flattened image.

Duplicated flattened image to new layer.
Applied Cutout filter to top layer and reduced layer opacity till I got look I wanted. (about 50% if I remember right).
Flattened image.

Duplicated flattened image to new layer.
Applied Crosshatch filter to top layer, then sharpened using Gaussian Blur.
Reduced layer opacity.
Flattened image.

Finally duplicated flattened image.
Applied texture to top layer and reduced layer opacity to about 10-15%.

Please understand there was no particular effect I was chasing here, I just play around with things until I like the look of it. I've no doubt that some of the things I did could probably be done simpler or not done at all and the result would be similar.



I like the lighthouse treatment Shari, works well with the soft white vignette. Only problem I have is with the shadow, far as I know you can't cast a shadow onto the sky, so it tends to seperate the dog from its background, doesn't quite look right somehow.

By the way, this dog sits just like my youngest Dobermann (she's nearly 10 years old now so not young anymore, but she's younger than the other one). We've never seen another dog sit like her before, my wife fell in love with the dog you posted right away because of it.

Last edited by Gary Richardson; 07-19-2007 at 08:40 AM.
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  #9  
Old 07-19-2007, 02:37 PM
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Re: Changing backgrounds with natural look

Hi Michael

That dog has character… and I thought the Shari wanted a Norman Rockwell….well sort of look…lol

I use ACR for some initial adjustments.

I darkened the back shadow just a touch

Then a touch of Lucis exposure… I wanted to bring out the character of the dog and give it that little bit of Rockwell look.

Butch
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  #10  
Old 07-20-2007, 04:31 AM
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sharynideas sharynideas is offline
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Re: Changing backgrounds with natural look

Thanks everybody. I was trying to go for a sort of daydreamy look, which is why the shadow, but you're right. It just doesn't achieve what I was looking for. Thanks for your very detailed explanation, Gary. It's just what I need. I'm a complete novice and trying to learn as I go.
The dog not only has character, she is a character. We rescued her three years ago, starving and big hunks of hair missing (not easy with her smooth fur). She sits around like that a lot. She was watching fish at our lily pond when I took the picture.
Shari
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