Posts tagged ‘Photoshop’

April 13, 2011

Inner City

Skin:  Lara Hurley;  Leah, green gloss/pale
Hair:  Truth; Courtney, macaroon
Jacket:  Amerie;  S&S; Short Parka, pink
Shorts:  Fishy Strawberry;  Billy Denim shorts, black
Socks:  Twisted & Spoiled; Part of the Feisty in Black set
Boots:  GOS; Docs, 8 hole, pink, abused
***Disclaimer:  The boots pictured are actually a much lighter pink, not the darker pink I made them appear to match the hoodie***
Tattoo:  My Pinkie Skull;  Beauty Must Die, faded

 

I just love my new pink Docs!  I wanted to do a picture with them, but couldn’t seem to find anything in my inventory in a shade similar.  I wanted to get the picture done before SL started being naughty and crashing on me again, so I just threw on something in a darker pink and *made* the boots match through the magic of photo-shopping.  I know, bad girl.

 

A new friend of mine was curious about my Photoshop editing process and I wasn’t quite sure how to explain it and I’m really not the right person to attempt a blog tutorial.  But this will give anyone who’s curious a general idea of the steps I take.  One of the most important things to note is that there’s only so much you can do in Photoshop.  If you don’t start with a decent image, your finished product won’t be as good.  My personal favorite way to get a great starting image is NOT to use a facelight.  Use the preset WindLight settings (depending on which viewer your using):  Canimod, Exodi, or CalWL.  These will all result in a crisp, clear image as long as there aren’t any extra light sources in the vicinity.

 

The start of my process is the same for each one.  Firstly, I crop my image, removing any extraneous parts.  Then, if I’m using a green screen backdrop, I remove it and clean up any halo effects that may be left.  If you don’t know how to do this, there are already several good tutorials out there in blogs and on YouTube, just sharpen your Google skills and you’ll find plenty.  (I’m a trial and error type person, so I use the snapshot feature in the history panel frequently.  That way, I can always revert if I’ve done something I don’t like. )

 

Next step, I clean up the picture.  Using clone stamping, I fix any overt texturing errors, stray hairs sticking out of the body or prims that show awkwardly.  After that, I do probably THE most important step you’ll ever need to make smooth SL pictures:  Use the Liquify Tool!! With the avatar mesh in its current state, we all know about those jagged waists, necks and wrists, pointy elbows and knees and that strangeness of hexagonal boobs. Liquify can deal with all that and more and with practice will leave your pictures looking smooth and professional.  I’ll be honest, this tool scared the hell out of me when I first started using it, but Undo is your friend, experiment with brush size, do use the zoom feature, and practice, practice, practice.

 

At this point, each picture takes a different path.  I may use Dodge/Burn to bring out the highlights and shadows, add texturing or backdrops, create shadows behind the avatar, or start with any of the available adjustment layers (specifically:  curves, vibrance, hue/saturation).  Don’t be afraid to play with the layer blending styles, they can make a whole world of difference to the appearance of your image.  I also use the Filters menu quite a bit:  a little Gaussian blur, adding some noise or diffuse glow and unsharp masks.  It all depends on what that finished picture looks like in my mind and the steps I need to take to get it to that point.  Trying a feature, then reverting is the biggest portion of my editing process.  Finally, I go over any rough areas left with the smudge tool.

 

When I’m satisfied, I decide how I want to finish it.  Adding text, Beveled edges, colored matting, drop shadow or any of a number of options and finally, resizing.  You may want to resize in a couple different sizes, depending on whether the image will be used on the web or uploaded back into SL.  You may also want to save your picture in various formats:  JPEG, PNG, or TGA.

 

This layout shows the world of difference a few small editing steps can make to improve a raw shot straight out of SL.

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March 23, 2011

Picknic in Bed

Hair- Elikatira; Melody, Blonde 07
Skin- Laqroki; Phoebe2, Fair 05
Shirt- JANE; Francie So Innocent blouse, Milk
Pants- Zaara; Chirudar slacks, Mint
Shoes- Pixel Mode; Baby T’s, Dew
Bracelet- League; Wanderer set
Bed- Mudhoney; Mia Palette Bed

I’m still on “Spring Break” and using my laptop, so I’m away from all my nifty Photoshop editing tools.  I knew this would be the case, so I edited a few before I left home.  But what’s a blogger to do when she’s just not feeling any of the pre-made pictures?  I remembered that Flickr has some editing tools called Picknic (found under the Actions menu on each photo).

I had been searching for a new bed for the skybox I just built and finally found one by Mudhoney that was featured in one of the Saturday specials this past weekend.  The home-y patchwork fits in wonderfully with my new decor and it has several individual and couple poses built in.  I also picked up this adorable flowy blouse from JANE and wanted to show it off as well.

Since I was on my laptop, I decided not to attempt a high-rez photo, so the quality isn’t up to my usual standards to begin with.  But Picknik has some very basic editing and effects options for Flickr users and more available if you pay a fee for a premium account (yearly is approx. $25.00 USD).  Its layout is straightforward, simple to use and there’s is even an option to load the edited picture back into Flickr with the click of a button.

March 13, 2011

No Pressure…Really

A blank white page.  The cursor blinking impatiently, waiting …blink…blink…blink.  Its like standing at the edge of a cliff looking out into a vast horizon of possibilities.  So this is me, closing my eyes and just flinging myself out into the blogverse once again.

What’s it all about?  I’m glad you asked.  Its about returning to a virtual world known as Second Life and my experiences of places, music, shopping, and friends.   Its about satisfying my Photoshop obsession and furthering my education of editing techniques.  Its about everything and it may be about nothing at all.  Its a place where I’mma be me and if you’re along for the ride, it might be about you too.

I’ve been spending the last few days back buying a new plot of land and building myself a new skybox/studio.  I went completely opposite of my usual style of bright jewel tones and decorated in some soft pastels.  Is this the beginning of a kinder, gentler Kai?  *snorts* Get real, its just a reflection of how I feel at this point in my life.  At peace.  Calm in my mind and soul.  I’m liking where I’m at now.

While I was away from SL the past few months, I’ve been following my sistah’s blog, Super Gangster, and watching Bubbles have so much fun putting together looks for the 52 Weeks of Color Challenge.  I wanna play too!  So this week’s color is Umber.  Umberrrrrrr.  Hmm, my wardrobe is seriously lacking in the brown shades, but I was able to pull one off and get a picture taken early this morning.  If I’d had my necessary pot of coffee, I might have remembered to grab the SLURL for this sim.

I completely forgot to record styling notes.  Maybe I’ll remember next time.