Monday, March 9, 2015

Photo Challenge #14: Welcome to the Funhouse

After playing along with Erin's 30 Word Thursday weekly challenge on her Treasures Found Blog for the past year I have finally taken the plunge and started taking photography more seriously.  Starting with my iPhone, I soon found that the limitations of that device were getting to me.  Upgrading to a Cannon Eos Digital Rebel SL1 camera, I've started experimenting more with technique.  I have also invested in Photoshop Elements 12 and most of my post-production on photos will be from that program.  As a way to force myself to try new things, I'm doing a weekly photo challenge--each week focusing on a different photography or editing technique.  Some of these may be simple and others more difficult.  I encourage any of my readers to take part in the challenge! 

Photo Challenge #14: Welcome to the Funhouse

This week I mess around with the Liquify Filter from Photoshop Elements.  I get the magazine Photo Elements Techniques bimonthly and the first article this month demonstrates using this why not try it out?  With the Liquify filter you can Warp, Twirl, Pucker, Bloat, and Shift Pixels.  Liquify can give some cool fun-house effects, but can also be used more sparingly to edit photos.  You know which tack I'm going to take!

This is my friend Al.  He and I got the chance to make mead commercially with Tim Roets at the Minnesota Harvest Orchard this fall after hours.  Al decided to be complicated and make a Black Currant Mead which required hand crushing and blending a veritable ton of red drippy fruit--and resulted in him looking like he had just committed a gory murder.  Al is a ham and foolishly posed for this picture.  The room was very dark and picture quality is very full of noise, but I did my best.

So, what better than to make Al look even more insane?  Yes please!  I used several of the Liquify Filter effects on this shot.  You may have to look at the original to see the difference (once you get past the overall Zoom Burst effect.) First I took the Twirl setting and made his squinted eye a bit more uneven and strange looking.  Next I used the Bloat setting and made his open eye bloated to a larger size--making it look very unnatural and protuberant.  And finally I used the Warp setting to push the edge of his mouth out of shape even more to give him a proper undead rictus.

One thing I discovered when using this filter was that the maximum brush size didn't get big enough for me to alter large areas of the picture, so this is more useful to change smaller areas of the photo. One can take these techniques and use them for good instead of evil.  If you have a portrait where your subject is squinting slightly, you could use the Bloat to widen the eye a bit.  You can also use the Warp to give a hint of a smile to a more serious look.  But I prefer to make my friend look even more like a terror zombie…

I didn't have much time to do more this week, so I'll cut this one short.  Feel free to play along by linking your own page with the tool below.

Next week we go back to basics with Sepia Tone!  Let's make a picture or two look olde fashioned by changing them to sepia.  Bonus credit if you can make one look beat up or otherwise actually old looking!  

1 comment:

Al Boyce said...

Lovely. May I steal it for my FB page?

- Al