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Thread: Please help with a picture in process?

  1. #1
    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Please help with a picture in process?

    Below is an entry I am working on for an art show. It is composite I have done many variations on - and I just have not got it right. I've got a homestead siding texture on the bottom, my parent's hands in the middle, and my great grandmother's prayer book is the top layer.

    My intent was to give some sense of family. The prayer book is turned to "family bible" entries, and a wedding tradition entered by my great uncle.

    Please feel free to comment and critique. I currently use Elements 8. I used multiply to blend each of the layers at varying opacities, and erased various parts of the prayer book to make areas of the hands more solid. When I was finished, I sharpenened and used a brighten/contrast layer.

    Please help with a picture in process?

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    It's a bit unusual to portray a hand with some writings in it. Maybe, that's the reason why the image doesn't seem to have a definite message. What I might suggest would be to put the hands on the top most layers and then slowly fade some of the other layers. I'm not so sure if masking can be done in Element but masking IMO is a must to this kind of post-processing. I wish I could help you on the procedure but I am not familiar with Elements.

    If you would entertain another idea, I'd suggest you can take some shots of your grandma's hands being held by her sons, and daughters and even the grandkids. Now, that's something that would directly suggest the concept of family. Then with some 45 degree lighting on the sides, you'll surely highlight the veins on the old hands to show strength and degree of family generations. Just a suggestion, Mary.

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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    i agree with giro , you also have an odd rectangle in there which is kind of distracting, the writing through the hands doesnt work IMO, maybe it might look better if the writing was was really faded through the hands ? i think you can mask with elements but not positive,cheers martyn

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    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Jiro, thank you for your commentary.

    The hands are my mums and da's. They celebrate their 60th wedding aniversary this year. The one with the diamond ring is mom's and the other with the gold ring is my dad's. I don't have the option of re-taking this image, but I might try brightening and sharpening their hands before I do my composite. I might be able to add some directional lighting while I am at it. If this picture still doesn't work, I'll try re-shooting with other images.

  5. #5
    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Martyn, thanks to you also.

    I'm thinking to decrease the strength and opacity of the base texture? Maybe this will get rid of that "odd rectangle" you see? Looking at it again, it seems that too much bleeds through.

    I'll also change the order of the pictures.

    thanks again. Marie

  6. #6

    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Marie

    Strangely I was messing around with a composite image involving a hand this afternoon. I would certainly agree with Martyn that fading the writing may help. Not sure what is achievable with elements though. The writing layer would need to sit on top of the hands and then brush through with a low opacity soft brush. To be honest I gave up with mine but I am not suggesting you do the same. he homestead layer is barely decernable - except where you do not want it to be. Have you considered three separate images in one frame? The hand fading through the book as Martyn has suggested may also make all the difference.

    Good luck and try blurring the homestead image if it needs to be there

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    Antonio Correia's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    I like this very much.
    I mean not only the concept but also the way you melted the writing into the hands.
    One think that stroke me at once: the position of the hands. It looks like meaning to show the ring of the man's finger. And perhaps there are too much jewels involved. A more sober / solemn / depurated / naked image would be more interesting to concentrate the attention on the hands with the writings on them.
    And if you can get a text with meaning but half hidden to attract the viewer, to make the viewer to ask what is it all about.
    Make waves with the text. Not flat, waves. Easy is CS

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    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Thank you Steve and Antonio!

    Steve, thanks for your comments. What another great idea. I will blur the bottom layer and experiment with the brush.

    Antonio, I originally did brush away the book some to highlight the gold jewelry. My thought was to bring out the warm tones in the picture. I am glad that you took the time to examine what the picture was about, and comment on that. You helped to solidify my direction. My goal is for people to study the picture and examine the details. I want it subtle and not to hit the viewer up-side the head. I want them to walk away and reflect when they are finished.

    I am really appreciating all of the input from everyone.

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    Antonio Correia's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Marie Hass
    I have no time now but have a look at this, will you ?!...

    Quite interesting in your context. Must go.

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    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Antonio, I'll not be able to view the link until I go into town tomorrow. I am remote and only have dial-up. Some of the dining faciilities have free wifi. I'll check it out then.

    In the mean time, I am still playing with this composite. This is another take on things. Again, commentary welcome.

    Please help with a picture in process?

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    Antonio Correia's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Sorry Marie Hass No. I personally don't like it
    I have rather the first one. I see now that the book is in German.
    I think it lacks contrast. You will have to re-shoot removing the jewellery (or part of) and giving more "enhancement" to the hands as it was on the first image.
    I hope my links will be useful

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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Hi Marie -- I think it's a great idea, but at this point, the elements are too equal in weight (I think this is what Antonio is saying about contrast), so there's not a real focus for the image. I agree with him, it should be the hands, and the other things should fade in to the background. I don't mind the rings at all -- I think they need to be there -- but I might like it better without the bracelet/chain.

    Have you tried other blend modes besides multiply, which tends to darken whatever you're adding on that layer? Maybe overlay or soft light might work? I guess the bottom line for me is that the text is still too prominent and the background paint? layer is a little too prominent at this point.

    I think this is well worth continuing work on, particularly because it's personally so meaningful to you.

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    Antonio Correia's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    Hi Marie -- I think it's a great idea, but at this point, the elements are too equal in weight (I think this is what Antonio is saying about contrast), so there's not a real focus for the image. I agree with him, it should be the hands, and the other things should fade in to the background...

    Absolutely Elise that's what I meant

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    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Thank you, Antonio and Elise for sticking with me on this one.

    Antonio, I agree with you about the second image. I did not like it either - I think I went too much the other direction. I cannot re-shoot my parents hands. They live a distance away. The best I can do is to crop. I do have another picture of hands I might try. I will work at it today and post this evening, EST.

    Elise, thank you for your astute comment about the weight of the elements. You and Antonio have provided me with "Ah Ha....." moments. I will get this picture right......Marie

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Marie,

    Take a look at this website, it is a contest designed for your style of photography although not necessarily this particular image. What I'm trying to say and I think some of the reviewers are saying is that there are different contests for different styles. Some photography contests will give you a bio on the judges and it can give you some insight into what they will be looking for in a photograph. But don't let something like that influence your style or force you to submit something you don't really feel passionate about. Another thing, the photos shown on this website will probably never appear in your standard set of wedding photos.

    http://www.weddingphotographycontest.../65/photos/all

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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Hi Marie, I'm new to the site and to the technical aspect of your picture, but not art. You haven't captured one moment but several. When I look at it it doesn't slap me in the face with shock, its intriguing. In a nutshell when people view your work they will turn their head, look closer, turn their head again, step back and look again. If your being judged by artistic expression I like it! Photographic expression I like it!

    Randy

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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Just an idea why not try a displacement map based on the hands and wrap the text layer to this displacement map. This would give movement to the text and further contrast.

    To make the displacement map for the hands place the hands layer in a new file, convert to greyscale add some gaussin blur via the filters menu then save the file as a psd file. this will be the map file you open when applying the displacement filter.

    Open the Text file only and apply the displacement filter to the file then save as new file.

    Bring this file into your current one to replace the current text layer.

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    Antonio Correia's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    But David it's what I have posted here isn't it ?
    Post number 9 in this very thread.

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    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    What wonderful commentary! My computer has been on the fritz and I haven't been on for a few days. It has been resurrected one last time (new stand alone will be ordered within the week).

    I have been at this picture again, and I like this version much better. Please don't hesitate to have another go. Thank you everyone for your input and astute comments. - Marie

    Please help with a picture in process?

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    Antonio Correia's Avatar
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    Re: Please help with a picture in process?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marie Hass View Post
    ...
    Please help with a picture in process?
    Hello Marie Hass
    This is indeed the best of all the images you showed us so far.
    The only thing I don't like that much here is the female hand (the upper one) doesn't have writings on it
    I like the way you blended the right upper and lower areas for example. Saying another way: the only area I don't like is your mother's hand without any writing on it.
    Oh ! I have told this before haven't I ?
    I also like the colours of the skins. Another try and you are done
    Others will comment for sure.
    I wish you success in your exposition/competition.
    -
    Second look before posting:
    There is almost a white stripe/area/band at the top of the image. It looks rather dissonant looking at the distance.
    And... try to rotate a bit clock wise. See what you get. Look at the distance. Get up, go to the kitchen, dring a glass of water and look at your monitor when coming into the room or get a fresh look at the image that is.

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