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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Aging the Angel

I got a lot of great photos during my cemetery walk this past October 19. The day was bright, the leaves were at peak, and lots of beautiful scenes were presenting themselves. One of the more striking photos was this one of a monument topped by an angel, either praying, or gripped with grief, or both.

I really like this photo, but today I reminded myself of the neat things I can do with my fairly simple Adobe PhotoDeluxe Home Edition 3.0 software when I took a sharp, new digital color photo and turned it into a simulation of a grainy, aged sepia-tone photograph. I decided to try to do the same thing here.

The first step was to desaturate the image. I didn't do it all the way, because I wanted to have a hint of color to play with in later steps.

I then modified the dominant color into something much more amber, by playing with variations that made the image more yellow and more red.

I desaturated again, added noise (monochromatic noise, using a Gaussian distribution), and played with the lightness, brightness, and contrast.

I repeated these steps several times until I had something that looked pretty close to the image I wanted.

After I had it where I wanted it, I used the Extensis Photoframe tool to simulate some edge damage in the photo.

I actually applied two of these frames, with the second flipped horizontally and vertically relative to the first and then skewed by a few degrees.

Next I created a border, which, since it is white, is only apparent if you select this image. I did this by increasing the "canvas size" uniformly in both the horizontal and vertical directions.

Next I "aged" this border by yellowing it slightly.

To add verisimilitude, I included a note in the lower margin. The font I used is Akbar, which replicates the lettering of Matt Groening in his Life In Hell comic strip. I stretched and skewed the text a bit. The color is blue-black.

Next I saved this image as a jpeg. This is because there are ways you can manipulate an image layer that you cannot manipulate a text layer. So I saved it as a jpeg and reopened it for more manipulation. I then smudged the text area somewhat, added a little more noise, and used the Soften tool to soften the entire image.

And that was that. Here is the finished image:

Not bad for a half-hour's effort.

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