Friday, October 16, 2009

Once in a blue moon

Complete fantasy ... another beauty shot, because it's been a rough day and I feel like relaxing, unwinding, with something pretty to look at. And you gotta admit, this one's pretty.

It was done in six layers, and rather than fiddle too much, I actually did a little painting on it, halfway through. You could fiddle it in the software, but I was tired, and I don't mind painting, so --! Anyway: layer one: a digital shot of the moon, taken from the backyard. I put a pale blue "cast" through the image which was absolutely b&w. Next: an Alaskan mountainside (one of Mel Keegan's 1997 pictures, scanned in at 1200 and enhanced a bit). Next, use the "magic wand" to take out the blue sky, and plunk the mountain range over the moon's dead-black background. Lock all together and export as 200dpi image at 1200w x 1800h. All the above was done in Micrographx PP7 ... Meanwhile, design a delicious young man in DAZ, then import the backdrop and render the scene. Reimport it into Micrographx to add the border. Ship it into Serif X3 to add the signature, and export the whole shebang at 200dpi. Beautiful.

Now, some people will say, why don't you just get Photoshop and do the whole thing (except for the 3D work, in the one program. And in answer, I'll ask another question. How much did you pay for Photoshop?! Micrographx Picture Publisher 7 cost me $16.95. Serif X3, I got in a sale for $49. Irfanview is a free download. Seriously, guys, you could take a trip to Tahiti on the savings, and the end result is identical. My recommendation would have to be, "Learn what your Windows clipboard is for," and don't be afraid to shuffle the image back and forth between four or five near-free programs. The image loses nothing by being tossed back and forth.

Same sort of process to do this one:

...except that I laid a texture under the image, put a feather on the edges of the main picture, and then gave it something like a 50% transparency, to give it a dreamy quality. Really makes it look like a painting, when in fact it's a 3D render processed through Serif X3, and took about ten minutes flat!
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