Hello Photoshop, my old friend . . .

It’s good to play with you again (yes, that darn song is stuck in my head.  The ukulele version).

Mixing old photos and a face cast of an older friend  – a way to tell corny (and in this case made-up) stories.  Tonight  I should dig out my little projector, and compare ‘real’ with Photoshop.  Hmmm.

Photoshop overlay on plaster

Overlay – a wild suffragette past

cast with photoshop layers

Overlay – A family past

By the bye, Steve Caplin’s How to Cheat in Photoshop still absolutely my favourite “how-to” guide. I borrowed this four times from the library before buying my own copy, and have since given copies to friends.

Going dotty

Ink dots – stippling if you want to use the correct term – are one of my favourite ways of playing with ink, a soothing change of pace from scribbling in a mad frenzy.

stippled ink dot portrait

Ink on A3 watercolour paper

Wildlife portrait photography

I admit, it’s very small wildlife.  These were taken in the garden this afternoon, playing with a new macro lens  on my nearly new camera.   I’m finally getting the whole aperture/depth of field/shutter/iso interactions sorted in my mind, which is just as well since at this scale the tiniest tweak can drastically affect the outcome.

macro wasp

macro snail portrait

They say to always focus on the eyes

macro fly portrait

macro spider portrait


Restoring old photographs

Lady with a drawer

I love the aesthetics of old photographs – especially the early ones where the photographer was using natural, uncertain light, and the subject is in their best formal clothes, holding a pose for an unnatural length of time.   I like twisting and reusing the images in my own work,  but a minor pleasure is ‘rediscovering’ the original image in an abandoned damaged old photo.  And by abandoned, I mean sold on Trademe or ebay for a few dollars.

One challenge of using all those wonderful Photoshop tools is balancing cleaning up with losing the original texture  – I’m want my result to still look old, with the character preserved, but with details of hair and clothing revealed.

This time I mainly used the healing spot and patch tools, cleaning up the dust and mildew marks, and various odd little scratches on a copy of the original layer (which I protected and kept at the bottom of the layer stack). I then created copies of the cleaned layer and blended them using overlay and multiply modes, trying different ones, fading the effect, until it looked right.  Finally, for a few bits I zoomed right in and gently used the dodge and burn tools with a very soft brush, and at very low density.

This example is perhaps 95% finished (as I’m not trying to make it look new), I’ll leave it for now, and see how it looks in a week or two.