Combining images with layers

It’s been pretty nasty weather here and I’ve not been able to get out to take many pictures. I did however manage to walk to the local supermarket yesterday and on the way I saw some, near death, sunflowers hanging over a neighbours wooden fence. There was a flat white sky behind them and I wondered if I could get a nice silhouette shot. Answer was no…but I tried a few different compositions and decided to have a look at what I’d got back in the house out of the rain later.

Sunflower out of iPhone

In actual fact I couldn’t wait till I was home and as I stood in the huge queue at the checkout I started checking the shots to see what I had. There was one shot that I liked the central composition of (when I took it I was deliberately trying to shoot the sunflower head for a square crop). So I opened it up in iRIS (INFO HERE) and did a square crop. It looked good but very washed out. At this point it was my time to pay so I stopped and put the phone away till I could get back home. On the walk back I kept thinking about the flower shot and how the head looked like a bedraggled face and I wondered if this could be used in some way. Back at base I looked at the cropped shot again and decided to fix the levels on it to get some depth back in to the picture. It ended up like this.

Cropped, levels fixed

So with that image saved I decided to look to see if I could add some eyes to it to make it more like a face. I had on my phone some portraits from my film/phone project and I took one of them that had nice clear eyes and used it. The original flower shot was set as a base layer in Juxtaposer then I added the portrait on top. Juxtaposer app allows you to then paint mask, resize and reposition layers as well. So I moved the eyes to where I wanted them on the flower and painted in my mask to allow them to peak through in to the flower image.

Added Eyes

So now it was taking shape. It had a creepy, evil look to it but it still looked kind of washed out to me and I didn’t like the colours. So I put it in to PhotoFX app and looked at different colour toning options. The X-ray version looked kind of cool but I really liked the tobacco colouring I got on the leaves with the colour IR tone setting. It still needed a little punch to it so I then ran that through Film Lab app (INFO HERE) and added a little sharpening and contrast. Now it looked good but there was still no detail in the middle part of the face.

new colour tone

All the time I was doing this I kept thinking of Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers picture and of Dr Who’s Vincent episode. I then remembered that I had an app called toonpaint that, if you set the parameters up right, could give shots an amazing van goghesque effect. So I ran it through that app on several different settings until I got the effect I wanted. It’s just black and white but that was OK as I was going to blend it with the image it was based on at the very end. This is what toonpaint did.

stylised line drawing

So the last part was to open the colour ir toned sharpened image in iRIS app again and set it as a base layer. Then open the toonpaint line drawing as a new image and choose blend with base layer option. Then choose blending mode as multiply and set the opacity so that the texture of the drawing comes in to make it Van Gogh like while keeping the colour of original. End result a very scary, troubled sunflower, job done.

Sunflower, The Madness of Vincent Van Gogh

2 Responses to “Combining images with layers”

  1. Miko says:

    You are odd… and brilliant… in nearly equal measures ;)

    Seriously, this is really creative – very cool that even though the weather’s been terrible you managed to get a shot and make something interesting out of it.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Donald Verger and Maureen Doallas, Gordon Fraser. Gordon Fraser said: New blog post. Combine images Use layers #iphoneography #vangogh […]

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