Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Universally Foxy

Was looking through some images in my archive as I had an itch to draw something.  I found an image of a model named Kristen, who goes by Mrs. Foxy in the modeling universe.  The image is a good candidate for my art fix because it has a great expression and decent lighting.  It is also "out-of-place", meaning her level of expressiveness is unexplainable given the lack of activity around her.  So, lets add some activity!

First a bit about the lighting.  I am using three lights in this shot, Alienbee AB-800s, both left and right but slightly behind model at ƒ5.6 with a small softstrip and cloth grid on them.  The grids prevent spill as well as keep the light out of my camera.  The key light is another AlienBee AB-800 with a 22" beauty-dish about 4' in front of Kristen and 2' over her head.  It is also set at ƒ5.6, which is plenty of aperture to keep her entire body in focus.

Photoshop was the fun part, and the reason I decided to get this image out in the first place.  The tool of the day is LIQUIFY!  Get to know this tool (shortcut is Shift-Control-X), as you can do so much with it.  Normally one used liquify to remove bulges and other little bumps, but you can also be creative with it.  I have even used it to turn a head 20 degrees or so, but that took a long time.  On this image there are around 15 or so layers with abstract "smudges" placed on them.  Here is what I did to create these:
  1. Create a little doodle on a new layer with a soft brush
  2. Enter liquify and use the twist and push brushes until it is more "flame like".  I did this my moving in-and-out of the shape.
  3. Create a color overlay layer effect and set it to an interesting color on the new doodle you have just finished.
  4. Use Control-Click on the layer thumbnail to load the transparency mask for the layer.
  5. Contract the selection, I think I did this by 30 or 40 pixels
  6. Create a new layer and paint in the new selected area with a similar color
  7. Set the layer blending mode to Screen or Hard Light (or fiddle around with other modes)
This should give you a nice shape with a glowing middle area.  As you add more layers of this type keep playing with the blending modes.

Add some finishing touches with some little wretched sparkles and glares on the models skin from the light behind her.  Avoid using the "render lens flare" as it is just to typical.  It was very simple to create the light bursts I have in this image from scratch depending on what I needed to complete the look I was after.

It should be noted that the model loved the image so much she contacted Fredrick's Of Hollywood about it.  However, they will only look at a photo if you print it fairly large and mail it to their offices, along with another stamped envelope if you want the image returned.  Needless to say I was dumbfounded at their grip on technology and wondered if they perhaps would prefer delivery of images via FAX so they could step into the 1980s with their review of images. :-)

Total time to complete, 90 minutes.