Saturday, March 2, 2013

How It's Done

I'm not brilliant at writing tutorials, but I thought some of you might like it if I showed how I pull my pictures together. The true magic is the magic of Photoshop, and even Photoshop Elements is capable of producing amazing things.

The picture below is one of the pictures they have featured in Somerset Digital Studio.

Click image to enlarge.
The photos I often use are not always brilliant photos. Below are the four I used: A picture of the sea taken with a lesser camera because I never take my Canon Rebel out to sea, my hand holding a spoon of chocolate ice cream in the blazing Florida sun, four chocolate chips (probably Ghirardelli), and a photo of the moon, courtesy of NASA.

Click image to enlarge.
I did this for a mint chocolate chip challenge, and in the middle of the hot Florida summer decided that nothing could be nicer than to be in a sea of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Probably the hardest thing and most time-consuming in doing digital art this way is the trimming. If you are patient, are not in a big hurry, the work is worthwhile. Sloppy trimming looks like sloppy trimming, and while there are shortcuts, you need a sense of when they are a good idea and when they aren't.

The picture of the ice cream was terrible, because it was really hot that day, and the ice cream was melting. In case you were wondering, I ate the ice cream when I was done. It took extra layers to make the ice cream green without turning my arm green.

I took the shadows away when I cut out the chocolate chips, but paid attention to how they fell so that I could create new ones on new layers that I could make transparent. I did a similar thing with the hand--I just tried to imagine what the shadow might look like that the hand and spoon had cast, and made a silhouette of them on another layer and distorted them to make them look like a cast shadow.

I don't even try to take decent shots of the moon, and the folks at NASA have better access to outer space. Government images are never copyrighted, so I can use them guilt-free. I have since then made a brush from the moon, which of course had to be reversed to make it work.

I think I may do more of these if everyone likes them, so please do give some feedback.


  1. Oh yes, Deborah, please do keep showing us how you did these brilliant pieces of art!xx

  2. I very, very much like this, as I see wonderful Digital Art shown but very often with little or no indication of how it got to where it is. I think this is the first full explanation I've seen. I would love to see more. It also made the finished picture so much more interesting to me.

  3. Deborah, may I say how impressed I was to find such a fabulous spread in Somerset Digital Art Magazine. You are very talented and your work rocks, my friend.


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