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Creating a photo-bashed composition.

I have been instructed to abandon my previous attempt of painting over the basic 3d render I created, and instead to create a similar composition by using photo reference material. This was mainly because the result I was obtaining was not really of the greatest quality. Instead for this exercise, I am taking the task of creating a photo-bashed composition by taking different bits of pictures and placing them together to sell the idea of a novel creation.

Of course the challenge in this case is tricking the eye of the viewer into thinking that they are looking into a real photograph, instead of a collage of pictures that look like cut-outs from a magazine. Since I am currently in the beginning stages of finding bits of pictures and placing them together, the work in progress image looks unfinished. At least I think I have gathered most of the photo bits that are going to compose the main temples at sight. I am trying to find first the largest pieces of photo textures I can find, and then try to find smaller shapes within photos to make the scene look complete.

In terms of separating the foreground, mid ground and background, the challenge is in making them very distinguishable. Since I don’t really have much experience at all in photo bashing, the best I think I can do is grouping the color values so these different depths are appreciable to the viewer. I have done this in Photoshop by going to “adjustments” in the top menu and then “levels”. The shortcut for this is pressing command+L (for Mac, control+L for Windows). For the foreground for instance, I have lowered the lighter values a bit so that the overall shapes look darker in relation to the mid ground temple shapes.

To add more shadow detail in the scene, and sell the idea more of depth, I have created selections with the lasso tool, and darkening those to compensate for the editions of larger layers in the scene. For what I have seen sometimes as a beginner mistake is that some artists simply apply an effect to a large portion of photo texture without going into the details of creating the illusion of depth. The result I think is that a scene, even for an untrained eye looks a bit off, by being able to see this large layer of photo texture that is not really integrated into the complete scene.

I think that this struggle of creating depth is applicable for both a photo bashing process and a digital painting process. The difference in workflow is that for photo bashing, one is mostly working with Photoshop’s photo editing tools, and when using digital painting techniques, the important elements seem to be being able to mark the difference between round and soft edges, and the ability to portray texture at the right size.

I still have ways to go in photo texturing exploration, but so far I get the impression that a large portion of the emphasis in creating a new composition from existing photo material is tricking the eye into thinking that this new created scene could be real, in which all elements are seamlessly incorporated into each other.

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