Hi art friends.

An extra post this weekend to show some of the Takashima test images created using the Photography BB From Dusk Till Dawn Photoshop Actions. It was a special set deal offered to the Sebastian Michael’s Awake Class students.

I picked it up because the deal included a comic book maker, with 47 page layout templates for Photoshop. If the demo video is to be believed, the workflow will be simple once I have my images prepped and the templates are smart layers, making them editable. That will be a test for another day.

The actions I tested for today’s post creates cinematic illustrated look in a cyberpunk fashion, also film noir-ish, except the colors are 80s neon vivid. Neon Noir, I guess you could say. The Takashima backgrounds turned out pretty cool. I chose the Illustrated action and did not tweak the settings very much. “Takashima Deck” is my favorite. I may have to get a print of it.

“Takashima Deck”
“Takashima Conference Room”

I ran the actions on the black and white office images.

For the next image, I wanted a Seattle hero image at the beginning of the story to set the locale. This one is from Pexels; for the final version, I will go up the hill to Kinnear Park and capture this iconic view. I Palmerized the image so the Space Needle is the dominant architectural feature in the skyline. The skyline is the only image where I did not run Filter Gallery Paint Daubs. I kinda feel Paint Daubs is a needed step to increase the hand-painted feeling.

I like the eerie color palette and illustrated look. I find many of the Photoshop hand-painted/hand-illustrated styles to look too computer-generated but I like these. I have yet to try the other 2 style actions.

Next, I ran the Illustrated action on a couple of the test character files. I started with one of the images of Keaton and Starfall, but it just didn’t look good, due to the grunge layers. That particular file was flattened, so I opened the image of Lucius Pinkham, which had all the layers and re-ran the Illustrated action.

Here is the the first pass of Lucius, which was the final black and white version.

“Lucius Pinkham, grunge style”

It’s just too muddy with all the grungy border layers. Lucius is somewhat lost in the image, even though the eye is supposed to be drawn to the gun. It’s just too busy so I turned off the grunge layers and ran Illustrated again:

“Lucius Pinkham, less grungy”

I fiddled a bit with the smart layers and this is both Cinematic 1 and Cinematic 2. Still a bit busy but Lucius is more the focus here.

It would be a dramatic stylistic change to go from the black and white grunge to this neon cyberpunk look but I do kinda like it. It gives me ideas.

The key takeaway from this test is something I’ve noticed previously: I need to visually simplify my imagery. I love complex imagery, but for a comic book, the images need to have enough information to tell the story but not crowd the frame and muddle the tale.

As I’m writing this, I’m mulling over whether or not I could incorporate key scenes as color images or have a convention where all the exteriors are in color and the interior is black and white. And now my brain is spinning.

Fortunately, that’s a decision I can put off for now. No matter the style I go with, all the images have to be composited. All are in color with a Black and White adjustment layer at the top of the stack.

Time to composite photos and see where my Takashima muse takes me.

I also want to try running these actions on some of my recent 2 Lil Owls class images. There’s some cool visual ideas buried in these actions. As with all tools, it will take practice to get good images from it.

Happy creating!