Instructables
Picture of Mummy Photomanipulation
Egypt Sources.jpg
A wall indian.jpg
For this tutorial we will be making a nice Mummy Scene. This will work well for any spooky events you have for halloween, archaeology, or monster balls.

Requirements:


Imagination
Photoeditor (in this case Photoshop CS2 but any editor will do, none of the techniques are especially fancy)
cheap digital Camera or stock image site access
Immunity to Mummy's Curse ( and Malaria an asset)

This instructable assumes you know some basic workings of the editing  program, basic layers, the simple tools, dragging and dropping, and simple colour adjustment sliders.

The rest of this section is some notes on helpful LIFESTYLE habits of being a photomanipulator/artist and how the theory of the image comes up, before you do any work at all with the photos.  You can skip to the next page if you just what to see how to put pictures on canvas.

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As in all photomanipulations I advise everyone to buy a cheap digital camera and carry it around with them at all times and snap several dozen shots a day until they build up an extensive archive of what doesn't have to be anything in particular. Rusty paint on posts, concrete on walls, tacky stuff at garage sales, metal on old lamps, woodgrain etc. You never know when a texture, a form, or a piece of metal will come in handy to build something that doesnt really exist.

I usually use my own shots exclusively, but this time I created an entire work with royalty free, stock from one of the many free stock sites online. I encourage everyone with large clear shots of anything (interesting or not)  to volunteer their old photos cluttering up their hard drives to stock sites for artists. They are an invaluable resource for artists. If you are a world traveller, get into the habit of snapping shots of back alleys, wide vistas, gargoyles, textured patterns and anything that you can't find at home. An ideal help would be a nice 360 degree series of interesting things, especially the back.  You never know when a fancy doorknob on an antique latch in darkest africa can suddely become a fantasy artefact in the hands of a master photomanipulator! If you have ever been in the middle of creating a fantasy battle scene of warriors rushing into the fray, you will understand why the BACK view of a wolf is suddenly invaluable as a picture, even though most photographers would never consider that angle.  If you need some stock let me know I have lots of bits and pieces all online.


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This image of course will start off in our heads and at the library or online resource.

We start with the 5 questions Who What When Where Why? You should answer all the questions so you know what you are getting into before you open up your editor.

Flip open any book or e-resource  on your topic and find out everything you can on how writers DESCRIBE your topic, in this case a mummy but it could be a ship, a building, a sword, anything. Writers distill everything to it's basic components and those things will be your base instructions for what to put in your scene.

In this case we are doing A MUMMY, but what do we know about mummies? A guy in bandages. Done!

So there you are wrapping grandpa up in toilet paper and asking him to pose right? Sure if you are going to a Halloween party! This is actually a good start, you can see how light hits the paper, how it sticks out how it is highlighted and so on. Finally a fun reason to make friends with old people!  Just picture yourself walking down the street...."Hey Mrs Johnston! You're Old! Would you like to pose for me to make a picture of a decrepid looking monster older than dirt?"

Um...right, grab a thesaurus and use fancy words that sound better.

But actually if you are  poor  like me, I highly encourage the friendship of people of different generations. It is amazing what happens when you put on a clean shirt and talk to grandma's friends. A lot of people when they are older like to be helpful and have the time to do so, and they may have resources well beyond yours...like TRAVEL PHOTOS. Older people travel a lot and they tend to go to more interesting places than the average youngster. A dream vacation to a beach and bar may be great when you are young, but once that becomes a bore, more interesting things like Tibet, and Egypt, Morocco, Deserts, China, and exotic locales are within their budgets and desires. A kind word to grandma and her friends may net you thousands of nice shots of far away ancient and exotic scenery and textures and details if you let them know before they go.  A simple mention that you manipulate photos and would love to have a nice series of hieroglyphics in Cairo can bag you some really special shots to work with and they will usually give them to you just for the asking (or sometimes a little help with computers that you thought a 5 year old could do, but is a mystery to them). Later when you have your art show, you also have a built in audience of people probably with more money than you and your friends to come buy up all your stuff too!  Word to the wise: Network with what I like to privately call "they old lady network"  as you get older you will find out more and more that they somehow run the world, with nary a computer to be seen. You never know who "Martha" may have lurking in her extended family, and how much that "nice boy" she lives next to, should meet her Son's wife the art gallery director, or apply for that obscure annual  grant or  scholarship that some long dead friend of hers who liked painting set up to encourage young people, but  only 2 people actually know about. Gotta love'm.  :)

So armed with research we learn all the common details found in the Lore of Egypt and its history. So we have a lot of choices:

Who: A pharoah, a servant, a cleric, a beancounter, what did the LIVING person do?
What: What kind of condition is our mummy in? Everything from bare bones, to old but intact could happen.
Where: Inside, outside, what angle,  lighting conditions, etc all must be considered.
When: Time of day, in the past, now, or future date?
Why: The character works better, when it serves a purpose, it can change the body language, mood, expressions, and surroundings.


We look around for sources and our best bet looks like these:

Who:
We will go to the top here. Royalty.

What:
we will go for the old, but intact look. The structure will be intact if slightly bedraggled, and aged. A few iconic accessories.

Where:
Egypt definitely, outside some sort of ancient complex with symbols of that time, now older.  (not  a lot of swamp dwelling mummies are there?)

When:
Mid-day, in that bright yellow sunlight of the Nile

Why: We will leave this ambiguous. He will be armed, but not agressive, a puzzle, but accessories as clues.


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photocredits:

http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=205087
http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=276053
http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=487327
http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=762628
http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=770231
http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1102906
http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1109671
http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1110742
http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1117402
http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1134712
http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1135694
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulu





 
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solipsism (author) 2 years ago
A little shocked the gun didn't win instead, but I will take it. Booya!

Happy Halloween!
Tygerson2 years ago
Fantastic! Definitely goes above and beyond the usual grungification tutorials!
bakesalot2 years ago
wow there is a lot of writing in this Instructable! I thought it was going to be explaining about the actual process you used (which I was hoping for) but it was all explanations pertaining to alot of other un-photoshop related things.

It would have been nice to actually see the tools you were using, the menus you went into/ the different layers panels, etc, so that novices could actually replicate the results. Just saying you "burned this" and "blurred that" is not really giving solid directions for others to follow.

I do have photoshop experiene so I understand the terminology but I think for most people hoping to learn how to re-create this effect the whole thing is just too wordy and confusing and not focused on the actual teaching process.

Also, I just wanted to mention calling one of your steps "Step 10K: Where Lesser Artists Fail - Secondary Interest" might have been a bit bold and could offend people who would have potentially voted for you. Just my 2 cents. Good luck in the contest.
solipsism (author)  bakesalot2 years ago
First Page:

"This instructable assumes you know some basic workings of the editing program, basic layers, the simple tools, dragging and dropping, and simple colour adjustment sliders."


so, a novice, has some googling to do before looking at this right?

If you need to see what the tools and menus look like, there are many resources online, and tutorials for every tool you need. I really don't need to tell you how to "burn something" if you meet the minimum requirements. Burning means you click the tool, and wave it around on the image and it gets darker. I could have labelled all 200 strips of cloth shown you the exact panel screenshot for " upper anterior tibia" open the open the tool palette which would be about 6 screen shots for the opacity, flow, brush size, and a million other things, double that for instructions on a mac, then shown to hold the left mouse button down click on the cloth at sector 8b, more screen shots, from beginning to end, with arrows, screen shot, release the mouse. Or I can assume that you know how to use the burn tool and understand "use the burn tool to make the middle darker" and then teach you something useful that ISN'T covered in a million beginner tutorials online.


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As far as following along:

If you skip the first page (like it says) and then only read the numbered steps, someone that knows how to use photoshop basics should be able to follow along fairly well.

I also tried to generalize the instructions for ANY photoeditor, all of which have the majority of the functions used in this project. Since a lot of the image ends up being an ART project, there just isn't language to tell you how to paint something. This took 8 hours as it was, just to tell you the important steps, let alone holding your hand telling you how to "save a file" and other trivial things.
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As far as what you call the "non-photoshop" instructions. They are actually the most important steps. This instructable is a guide how to make ANY image, and make them above and beyond the everyday stuff you see online every day.

An instructable on say making a vampire that informs you "stretch the teeth" and add "a cloudy moon sky" in the background is fine for what it is, but, what do you do after that? Anyone can do that. If you read the parts of this tutorial that you don't like, you will quickly see all the things that would take it from the everyday quickie, to something well beyond, the verbose things I said, tell you how to find out what else to add by "reading" and how to get "legal" sources for your art.

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Instruction 10K "secondary interest: where lesser artists fail."

This is one of the most important titles you have EVER read in photoshop.
Once you use photomanipulation for a couple years you basically run out of tools to learn and you need to know how to get "creative" and think your way to better work. Tools only get you so far, you can master a tool and not have a clue what to do with it. Clearly there are infiinte "lesser artists" out there. I consider myself one of them when I look at some better peoples work, but I learned from some of the best and they told me the same thing, it was a quote actually, so I used it. Tjere will always be better artists than ourselves and lesser artists than ourselves, there is nothing offensive in recognizing that fact. A quick trip to cgnetworks will teach you that really quickly. :)


If you have any specific questions feel free to let me know.