Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tutorial: Difference Mode

So there are a million things that you can do with the Picmonkey photo editor. But most likely I will just use it to do the same things that I always do. That is called personal style. I feel like a fake trying to do things "grungy", "gritty", "hip" because that is not me any more than trying to do things "goth" or "emo". I have a style and that is all there is too it. The trick is to figure out how to make your style show with the tools that you are given. And figuring out how picmonkey's tools work can be a fun adventure or a lesson in frustration. Just in case you are not into adventure I've made a tutorial to show you how to get the look that I did.

A word of caution though: this looks like a complicated tapestry with color splashed in a random, willy-nilly fashion. But the key to pulling this off is actually restraint. I've limited the palette of overlays to one color way (two shades of the same green) and I've only used texture templates that will keep the colors within a narrow bandwidth on the color wheel, keeping in mind that orange and blue are opposites. This is where the highest contrast should be. It keeps things interesting. If I were to throw in lots of bright opposites it would get confusing. So where there are elements to add depth I've kept close on the color wheel with neighbors (the blue violet and the teal green). It sounds confusing right now but as we go along it should be clear.

So first:

Upload your original work to picmonkey. I have a few flaws with the photography, primarily the hot spot in the top left corner. The first choices I make with be to diminish it's presence. Sadly though the crop feature, while most expedient would destroy one of the main elements. The photo is crooked so I will adjust that with the straighten tool in the rotate menu. Adjusting the exposure with the auto adjust isn't going to do a lot to make me happy with this either. So now I know that the textures menu is the key to fixing my poor photography. Onto step two.
The left side of your screen is where all the main menus are. Under each tab is a drop down menu to edit your specific choices. And this is where the fun begins. I didn't know that I wanted to go in this direction until I started playing with the various modes. Once I hit on Difference I knew that I would have to be a bit more explorative with the textures. You might make other choices based on the work you are editing. These are the choices I made.
Step 2
  • TEXTURE> EDIFICE: select water mark set mode: difference set saturation 38% set fade 20%. This flips the temperature of the painting to its opposite on the color wheel. Cool spots are now warm. Warm spots are now cool.
  • TEXTURE> SMUDGE> PAPYRUS set mode: multiply set saturation 120% set fade 16%. The three choices that lead in the direction I wanted to go were Papyrus, green marble, or the red milk paint. I chose PAPYRUS. In this application I got a tartan weave that I wanted to preserve. And it expanded my palette by turning some blues to a teal green and some of the reds to violet. An added benefit is that the top part of the lekythos took on a batik feel and some of the details faded a bit. 
Step 3
  • THEMES> WITCHES> ANTIQUATE> DAMASK set mode to lighten, set saturation to 154% set fade to 0%. Then use the erase tool (look for the brush button on the drop down menu when you first  open the ANTIQUATED menu. Erase parts with the softer setting of the large brush to retain details in the lekythos. You want the damask pattern to sit in the background and draw only a little attention while adding in some background texture that was lost when the original flipped in step two.
Now save. SAVE SAVE SAVE! This is key. At this point if you don't save you won't be able to fix any future mistakes easily. And it will be easy to make mistakes with the next step. The next step mimics the process of masking and over stamping. We are going to bring in a few of the details from the original.

Step 4: Overlay the original. Open the Texture menu. In a nondescript button right at the top is a button that says "YOUR OWN". Click and open the original. It will appear on your screen in a teeny tiny version. Grab the corner and pull until it is the same size as the one you are working with.
  • Fade this to 80% to place it over the same spot. This will be a bit tricky if you had to straighten the original as this one won't be able to be straightened. Once placed, fade to 49% to work with the eraser.
  • Select a soft brush setting and use a large brush. Keep the jar and flower intact. Erase everything else to let the background you just created come through.
  • Shrink the brush setting on your eraser and go into the center of the flower to bring the background through there as well. Use the soft setting so that the petal edges aren't harsh on the outside. To get the center of the flower to be sharply defined, increase the hardness while using a smaller brush size. I also nipped into the petals a bit where they are shortest around the center  at the bottom to add some contrasting blue into the petals. Not much!
  • Now set the mode to HARDLIGHT and the fade to 63%.
  • MERGE LAYERS ( the button for this is across the top of your screen next to the setting gear)
  • SAVE!!!!!!!
Step 5: Embellish
  • Open the OVERLAY menu. >RIBBONS select an appropriate design. When this menu opens you will be shown a color select menu. Click color one to open the color picking menu (looks like an eye dropper) chose a color from the image you are working on. As I said, keeping it simple I chose the green. When you select it there will be a set of numbers highlighted in grey next to the sample box. Save this by using the control C function. This will let you keep choosing the same green for subsequent overlays. THIS IS IMPORTANT!
  • Keep color 2 transparent set fade to 15%. Erase parts over the jar and flower. Allow some of the ribbon to go under the flower to keep the illusion of perspective through layering.
  • OVERLAY> CORNER> select one you like. Place and resize according to your image. Set the color by pasting the numbers you just copied into the place where all the zeros are. set mode to overlay. Erase where it overlaps the flower.
  • repeat with another corner, place at the top in a smaller size.
  • OVERLAY> LEAFY STEMS give the flower some stems using the same technique and colors as with previous embellishments.
  • OVERLAY> BURSTING BLOSSOMS> select one. Paste the color code, set fade. Erase parts that overlap the petals.
  • SAVE!
Step 6 Edging.
  • EFFECT> DARK EDGES> select color. set size 40% set intensity 30%
  • TEXT> sign your work. Use a keyboard short cut to create the copyright symbol: Make sure the NUM LOCK is engaged, hold the ALT key and type 0169. Release the buttons and the symbol appears in the text generator box. Add your name, select a color, size to fit and then save.
Easy right?
Well..... that overlay with the original image is going to be a pain in the ass. I had to do it about 3 times to figure out how that was supposed to work. Fortunately I had begun with the intention of doing the tutorial, in part to help me remember how I did this, so I was careful to take notes.
I hope when you sit down to play with the editor that you will find it a bit easier going. I found that it was easier to concentrate when I put some music on. My choice for today was to put Vampire Weekend's "Oxford Comma" on repeat. It also makes writing easier. I don't know why.
Have fun!

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