Bad Hair Day


Final photo-composite I turned in last night.


Where we left off last time.


Last couple images I used for reference/compositing.


Adding in some background noise/elements to compliment and extend that blasting geo shapes in the bottom right corner.  I used several different geometric shaped Brushes slowly building up to this point.  I played with the Rotation and the Scattering of the Brushes to get a more random flow.  Simply undoing anything that didn’t look/feel right.


Adding more robotic/mechanical elements, using the same masking process as before.  Also, using Level and Curves Adjustment layers to match the look of everything else.


Here you can see I used the same pipes as I used toward the front of her head, simply Rotating and Scaling them on different layers until they created the depth I wanted.


Here I erased the solid line in the background that kept grabbing my eye and began working on merging the human and robotic elements of her head.  I used the Magic Wand tool to grab that cyborg face plate from the image (you can see I didn’t take a whole lot of time to select it and there are a bunch of holes in it.  Being lazy made more work for me later).

I used a mask (of course) to erase portions I didn’t want and you can see on the top of the circular portion that I started using the Clone Stamp tool to create the rest of the circular area.


Combination of Curves, Levels, Color Balance, and Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layers go the layer closer to the color of the rest of her head.


Using both the Paint Brush (on a low opacity) and the Clone Stamp tool I started filling the holes, giving it some depth, shadow, and some details.

I also started adding a contact shadow.


Continuing the process of adding to it.

Also used a Guass. Blur to soften the shadows (also putting the shadow layers Blend Mode to Multiply)

I used the Dodge tool to push the sides of her face up so it looks like the apparatus is digging into her head.


The last couple things I did were to darken that portion of the pipes coming out of her head at the bottom right.

Then I added a Curves, Levels, and Color Balance Adjustment layer to the whole image to try to unite the whole thing together.

This was quite the hefty experience for me, I didn’t get all the lighting to match, but I learned a bunch of cool new tricks using the adjustment layers.  All in all a great learning experience.


“Everything you can imagine is real.”  -Pablo Picasso

Composite WIP


Where I stopped the other day.


My reference images.  I’ll probably use some more, but here’s what I’ve used so far.


Like most of my composite work I started off with a general concept.  I wanted to be able to see inside her head and kind of make the most of what was already in the image (bandages, screaming/yelling).

So, first thing I did was get rid of the background.  I used the Magic Wand tool to select all the red in the background and delete it.  Then used a Mask and a Soft Edged Brush to get a clean edge around her face and body.  I like to throw a bright/saturated background color behind the image to ensure I get all the unnecessary image out.


I played around with a couple of cool abstract images I found via a Google search, but settled on this one.  I liked how it was fading from black to a lighter value towards the top and the glowing orbs felt right towards the top and the exposed head.  The image itself stopped around her nose/mouth, so I added two layers behind that background image.  The first was a all black layer, the second was a Gradient that went from black to a light gray.  I then adjusted all three layers until they looked united as one.


I spent a long time searching for an image of an exposed brain or cut open skull that was both big and the right angle, but couldn’t find anything I though fit.  Instead I searched for a robot brain image search and found a couple winners.  This one was rotated, scaled and then masked to match the curvature of her head.  I’ll probably still take away some of the space between the wires, but for now I just left it as is.


I selected parts of the first image of the robot head/brain and parts of the robot arm and moved them around until they matched the curvature of her head and otherwise just felt right.  Then I put the gears on-top to make it look mechanical.  You’ll see several images repeated, this was a mixture of several duplicate images and the Clone Stamp tool.  I used a Mask and a Soft Edged Brush to erase what I didn’t want and merged all the little pieces together.

I changed the image mode to CMYK and applied a Curves Adjustment layer to the stuff sticking out of her head and got rid of the blue and pushed it towards the Reds and Yellows.

The background/mid-ground image was the last thing I did.  I wasn’t sure why I did, but looking at it, I like the angles.  It seems to match the frustration/anger from the screaming woman.  and the lighter values match the lighting on the back of her head too.  I’ll keep it for now, but who knows what’ll happen next time.

I definitely want to create more depth in her robotic brain area and connect the backgrounds more fluidly, besides that, I might play around with some broken and floating glass on top of the black background in the bottom left of the image.

It’d be cool to hear what everything thinks is working, or if something stands out.  I’m still early in the process, but with only a couple days left, I’d like to have a clearer idea in my head of where I’m going.  Let me know what you guys think.


“There is something even more valuable to civilization than wisdom, and that is character.”  -H. L. Mencken