Hi art friends. As of this post, I’ve completed 53 of the planned 129 images for The Takashima Extraction. For today’s post, I thought I should share three images that have gone through the first two stages: compositing and running the From Dusk Till Dawn (FDTD) action. The final stage is to place the FDTD version of the image in Comic Book Maker, which runs another action that furthers the inky, hand-drawn look of the images.

I’m not sharing stage 3 today because, I don’t keep those tests. I add the FDTD file into the comic book page template to check it and then move on to the next image. Also, stage 3 is the comic book stage and well, there has to be something to look forward to, right?

The Composite Stage

Ok, there was no compositing done to the first image. I walked to Kinnear Park and captured this iconic view of the city through a piece of plastic, duplicated the layer and ran high pass on it; set that layer to overlay; created a new layer from visible and ran a Gaussian blur on it and set that to overlay for a dreamy look; created a new layer from visible then ran FDTD on the final image.

“View of the Space Needle from Kinnear Park”

Using a photo of Lucius Pinkham, heavily side lit using a usb ring light set on the floor about a foot from him to provide intense shadows on his left side and mimic the light in the location. I added a blank layer to enhance the whites of his eyes. I ran the Doll Extraction action I created then layered him over the black and white background of the Takashima Deck. Created a new layer from visible then ran the FDTD action.

“Lucius, locked and loaded”

This is one of my favorite composited images so far. Keaton and Camille were shot and extracted separately. The background did not extend as far to the right so I extended the counter and stools to indicate a larger work area just beyond the frame. I set Camille up on a doll stand to get the illusion she is walking away; the doll extraction action hides the stand nicely. I added a 50% layer – my version of dodging and burning. I paint black and white on the 50% gray layer, run a Gaussian blur on the layer at around 20% to soften the edges and enhance the whites for a nice glow effect. I added a separate blank layer to enhance Keaton’s eyes. The right side of his face was heavily shadowed so I had to add whites to his eyes as well as add a light reflection.

“Keaton watches Camille walk away”

From Dusk Till Dawn Stage

Once an image is final, I run the FDTD action. In this image, I kept the default settings.

View of the Space Needle after running From Dusk Till Dawn action

For the doll images, the primary concern is how the eyes turn out. Now that I know what to look for, I keep the composited image open in case I need to make eye adjustments before moving on to the next image. With Lucius mostly looking forward, his eyes turn out just fine.

FDTD version of Lucius Locked and Loaded

I really love what the FDTD action does with the doll’s hair, particularly the fur wigs, which is what Keaton and Camille wear. I thought I’d have to hand drawn additional hair to fill in gaps but it’s not necessary.

FDTD version of Keaton watching Camille walk away.

Initially, I didn’t care much for the default color scheme, but it makes no difference at the end because the final comic images are black and white, the action results in unifying the images into a cohesive look, and the odd colors give an overall bathed in neon light effect. Perfect for this story.

I’m using a Keynote slide show to keep track of my completed images. Once the FDTD action is run, I save the new file and export a .jpg file for the slide deck. As I complete images, I replace the draft images I dropped into the shot list version of the deck with the FDTD images.

At the end of each session, I put on my Takashima Extraction playlist and run the slideshow.

Today, I completed 6 images in 3 hours, which included setting up the dolls for some additional shots. I estimate another 38 hours/19 weekends of work, possibly less time if I can make use of existing photos. That takes me to the end of February, so March may be ambitious, but I’ll keep that goal for the time being.

Happy creating!