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

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