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.
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.
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.
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:
We will go to the top here. Royalty.
we will go for the old, but intact look. The structure will be intact if slightly bedraggled, and aged. A few iconic accessories.
Egypt definitely, outside some sort of ancient complex with symbols of that time, now older. (not a lot of swamp dwelling mummies are there?)
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.
Step 1: A Base Image - Scene with Man
A. Base Image
This is kind of unusual for me since I usually put the background in last, but this picture was so perfect for what I had in mind for this project that everything I needed was there. I then proceded to replace 99% of the image completely with other pictures...funny that.
But it is our base. The steps will be isolate the man, egyptify the background from it's current Indian cultural memes, put on his hat, cover him with bandages, and add accessories. Not too bad.
First step is to isolate the man. You can duplicate the base image and then isolate the man with the tools of your choice (masking, erasing). While you are at it duplicate the man again and isolate just his face and put it on the top layer, it may help with positioning the head-dress. Link the 3 layers so they don't wander.