Saturday, September 22, 2018

Let's Discuss Artist Selfies

What’s worse than seeing yourself in a photo - maybe hearing you voice in a recording or that number on the scale - well for me all three are horrific. If you told me a year ago I would even consider taking a selfie I would have laughed and laughed hard! 

I tend to make a lot of people based images and I like taking my own photos.  I have photoed friends, family and occasionally sneaked a pic of a stranger here and there. But sometimes your are the best or only model. 

I purchased a holder for my iPhone so I could mount it to a tripod that I already had and a remote shutter release.  I dress up and take photos in my house - in a hallway in front of a neutral colored wall - and most are awful.  I don’t care, as I am not going for that perfect shot - I am going to alter the picture a lot, sometimes even cutting off my head. 

So let’s talk about “artistic” selfies, not photographs. Remember you are making art not doing a portrait shoot and for me the messier the better - blur, lots of texture and other junk are your friends. 

Lets start with taking a few shots of ourselves - even the normal selfie is fine.  If this is absolutely out, then maybe some pics of someone else because the final image is not a depiction of an actual person. Take all kinds of pictures - close ups, head shots, full body, sitting, standing, posing - just take a lot of photos. Maybe try a photo of your shadow remember you look tall and thin in shadow pics, a win-win!

If you do not have a tripod and a remote have someone else take your pictures or photo someone else - you want images to choose from and to work with. If they are out of focus or just plain awful who cares - mine usually are!

Now for the actual image making part - I will call these images “artistic selfies” for the sake of our discussion. When I start doing one of these images I am thinking mood and interesting composition - something people will look at and think art not photo.

I will position the head off center, cut off the top of the head or side of the face, position the subject high or low on the canvas space.  I may zero in very close and just show part of the face or eyes only. I may cover the face or head all together. If I am working with more of a figurative piece, add a hat or glasses.  Be creative.  How about an upside down or sideways person. At this point I am just working to get positioning for my subject and starting to work on an idea or a composition.  For me this would be in iColorama, Procreate or SuperImposeX but any app that has layers would work.  I start with a size and shape in mind - square or rectangle either white or dark BG with the selfie layered on top. Right now I am not interested in masking out anything, just positing.  I start with the selfie layer - enlarging, moving it around, moving it off the canvas, making it smaller - just moving towards something I find interesting. If something needs to be masked out or removed I do it here after I establish my position. 

Once I get the overall position of the face/figure I go into Touch/Retouch to fix any  areas that need it. Better that plastic surgery!!!! Now I start thinking if I want to add any other objects to my image - and I usually do since I am the queen of stuff!!

Next I start running my image thru a lot of different apps and saving the results - nothing is too crazy here, you never know what you might get.  Don’t think of these images as a finished piece just steps. 

I finally start to evaluate what I images I have saved and start to layer them over my original keeping parts of some, masking and adjusting. I start adding other stuff maybe lettering, textures or objects - not really thinking too much about it yet.  Sometimes I like to draw and paint on top of the image, for me in Procreate. Always on a separate layer.  

I keep working in this way until I get something I like. I may still make other images from my saved work.   I may take one of the images I particularly like and start a new image from it maybe moving in closer, moving out or cropping - all these images can be reused. 

Some additional information: 

I LOVE my remote shutter release and use it a LOT, not just for selfies but for other photography as well.

Some apps I particular like for this type of work:

Affinity Photo
Repix - one of my favorites for making painterly images
Adobe brushstrokes
Any app that is destructive
Also texturing apps, Forumulas, Stackables, etc. 

Try any apps that you have

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Certain Kind Of Light

iPad Pro 
Apps - iColorama, Touch/Retouch, Decim8, Formulas, Lens Distortions

Playing with light. I haven’t really been creating much art lately. Spending too much time getting my hard drive back after a crash.  Ready to dive back in!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Let's Discuss B&W

iPad Pro using the following apps - iColorama, Touch/Retouch, LightBrush, Formulas

This is mage is for the FB group IAG-IOS for a discussion on Let’s Discuss B&W

Let’s Discuss Black & White Images

I love B&W images and when I think of a B&W image I think good strong values and contrast.  I think well defined lights and darks and strong supporting middle values.  For this discussion we will talk about actual B&W images.  

Questions to ask:

Am I going to actually start out making a B&W image or when my image is complete will I convert it to B&W just to see how it looks and feels?  Not every image is cut out to be a B&W but some that you convert can really be striking. I often do a B&W conversion at the very end just to have a look-see and sometimes I am surprised with the outcome and end up using the B&W. 

Will my subject matter look good in B&W?  Lets face it some images are just meant to have color and lots of it.   I find B&W to be for more dramatic subjects, when I want to create a mood, or when I just want to do something different. I tend to make a lot of monochromatic pieces. 

Can I mix B&W with color and still get a good final image?  In my sample image I combined four major image and a few textures and overlays.  The figure was originally in B&W but the landscape, trees and moon were in color.  My method for this particular image was to work with the B&W and color to build the image, even adding the text and birds.  I worked layering until I had the final image I wanted and then I did a final conversion to B&W using iColorama but there are many apps that will do a B&W conversion.  

Do I have a good mix of values within my image?  My way of thinking is that if you are doing a B&W only a portion is actual true B&W or light and dark.   The majority of the image is going to fall somewhere in the grey scale and this is where you own sense of aesthetics comes in.  I played with this image making it lighter and darker until I had the mood/feeling that I envisioned.  What you are going for here is balance BUT that is not to say you could have an image almost 80 to 90 percent very dark and just a small spot of white/light and it would be amazing. (Something to try).  

Do I have an obvious light source?  Not that you need it, but in B&W an obvious light source or direction is helpful in most cases.  In my sample image my light source is not obvious.  It is not the moon as it  logically should be.  My light source is out of the picture plane to the right and about 1/3 down from the top of the image.  My reason for this is that I wanted to place my model in the right portion of the canvas and I pretty much had to work with that.   Once I decided that the major light would come from this direction I made sure everything else in the image worked - even lowering the brightness of the moon. This can be tricky and I had to add some additional shadows and lights to my model and her dress.

If you are using your own photos do you want to just shoot in B&W?  I do this occasionally but most often take my photos in color.

The title of this image is “Keeper Of The Secrets”. It was created entirely on my iPad Pro using the following apps - iColorama, Touch/Retouch, LightBrush, Formulas.  I personally love iColorama and use it to create most of my images.  I do all my layering/combining/masking there. I used Touch/Retouch to remove any unwanted stuff that ended up in my image.  I went back into this app a number of times to touch up areas.  After I had an image I was happy with it had areas of B&W and color I took it into iColorama and did the B&W conversion and added a slight blur to the model. I used LightBrush to lighten or darken specific areas of my image particularly the model. I finally used the app Formulas to add a final texture.  

I am not usually concerned about what apps I use but more about the look of my final piece. Other apps that could have been used:

To create the actual image - SuperImposeX, Procreate, Leonardo, Affinity Photo (any layering/masking app)

To do the  B&W conversion - SuperImposeX, Snapseed, Pixlr (actually any app that you can use to desaturate an image but remember if you have layers it needs to be flattened to covert to B&W)

To lighten or darken the whole image - SuperImposeX, Snapseed, Pixlr, Procreate (any app that allows you to do adjustments)

To lighten and darken specific areas - Snapseed, Pixlr, LightBrush (I LOVE this app).

To add textures - Formulas, Stackables, Distressed FX (or any app that allows layering and blend modes)

Monday, August 13, 2018

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Ancient Faces 5

iPad Pro
Apps - Apps - iColorama, Repix, Snapseed, Procreate
Another image from my Ancient Faces series. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Secrets Told

iPad Pro
Apps - RipPix, iColorama, Procreate, Touch/Retouch, Formula
For a FB challenge using RipPix