Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Week 2 ~ Clouds

Last week's theme for the 52 Captures was "clouds". As I'm only committing to one photo a week with this project, I didn't want to simply take a photo of clouds. My intention, in doing this project, is to push myself creatively and photographing a landscape with photogenic clouds wasn't what I was after. And a very big thank you this week to Aerokev, who I have roped in encouraged to participate in this challenge.

 ~ the heart cloud ~

I had an idea floating around in my head and I simply had to rely on there being suitable clouds. So here's the workflow that took place over a series of days:

* Photograph clouds for 3 days in a row. The weather was conducive to gorgeous white scattered clouds that popped with detail when using the polarising filter.
* As often happens with an idea, I need to see it take shape in my imagination before I can actually then try and create it. Pondering the idea and how it will come together while sipping coffee and eating chocolate works for me...
* Time to upload the images and print up a contact sheet full of clouds. I then picked out the appropriately shaped ones and edited them in PS. The main shape I was after was a heart and it was a matter of putting the cloud jigsaw together.
* And of course, as often happens, what I imagined was not translating onto the screen. I did persist with the idea and instead of ending up with a sweet collage of abstract cloud images; I ended up with a very early 70's evangelistic, very bad stained-glass-effect that still makes me shudder when I view it. I dislike it so much that I don't dare upload it anywhere! Idea scrapped.
* Onto the next idea - I still wanted to keep the idea of a collage of clouds, this time though, I wanted the clouds to be floating up in the sky. I use a drawing program and so had to draw the grassy foreground, the string and sky. I then imported the files into PS and began blending the images together.
* It's important to blend the various elements so that they all look as though they belong, and this is where adding textures (my own used) comes in handy. I used 3 different textures, blended them in various modes (overlay, soft and multiply at varying opacities).
* The heart cloud still didn't look quite right, maybe if it was a little rounder and 'flyaway', and this is where the Liquify Filter in PS comes in handy. I used the bloat tool and found I needed several attempts before I was happy with the result; it's not a tool I use a great deal in PS.
* My now bloated heart balloon was taking shape (sorry...). I used the Warp Tool to make the string 'fit' the balloon. I also added a subtle Drop Shadow to the balloon to create a bit of distance between it and the sky.
* To create the shadow in the grass, I used the Burn Tool - in a separate layer - and burnt the shadow into the grass.
* Some final tweaking with curves and vibrancy and the image was done.
I should point out, that I was working on 4 versions of this at the one time - as I couldn't decide which version I preferred. The one I uploaded to the group wasn't the actual version I had settled on! Oops! As I don't know how to change it, there it remains.

The version I uploaded to the 52 Capture Group, a slightly muted, more sombre version.
Onto week 3 where the theme is 'RED'.
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