Natalie Maddon is a Phoenix, Arizona based mobile artist and a member of the mobile photography collaborative We Are Juxt. She uses masking techniques to transform ordinary scenes into fantastical escapes from reality. Follow her 13-step process to see if you can acheive the same look.
You can also read Maddon's exploration of the theme "Out on a Limb" on the We Are Juxt site.
Approximately one hour.
I always begin each image with a solid base in Art Studio. For the best quality, select the custom option and make the canvas 1024 x 1024, which is the biggest size most apps will support.
Hold down the layers button to view layering options. I like to create a solid colored layer to build from. Red is generally the easiest for me to use as a fill color as I can see if I miss any pieces when I am masking layers. When the photo I am masking is nearly cut out, I will switch the fill color to more closely resemble the tones of the image.
This is the picture that I started out with. The background is obviously not ideal, but I know that all I need is the model in the right pose. Everything else can be easily manipulated.
When completely replacing the background I can get pretty particular and I like to have multiple options. I cut the main image out of the background using a hard eraser for the most part. I leave some of the old background because I will go back in and use a soft eraser for more detailed work. I like the cutout to blend with the background that I chose, using a soft blur on the edges so that it doesn’t look like a 5-year-old's art project.
In this step, I make a few extra layers and try out different options until I find one I like. You can hide a layer in order to view others by tapping the eye icon. Tap the eye icon again to make the layer visible.
Once I get the background and the main image situated, I start working to blend components of the image further. I use the blur tool with the opacity reduced about half way and pixel sensitivity reduced to around 15. I blur the edges only on the layer with the main image I am adding to the picture. This softens the edges and makes it look more realistic.
I use the smudge tool to blend some of the smaller elements together. It is softer than using a pencil and you don’t need to match the colors. I adjust the pixel size and always turn the opacity down a touch, otherwise the tool is very similar to the pencil tool.
The smudge tool feels like finger painting; it creates a soft line without getting sloppy. You can use it to manipulate lines already in the image, but if you are drawing from scratch, try the pencil and spray paint tools.
I wanted my subject's hair to be blowing in the wind, but as you can see in the original shot, it was just not happening. Hair is tricky and has had me cussing up a storm on numerous occasions. Achieving the look I like often takes me a few rounds of trial and error.
I started by using the smudge tool as I did on step six. On the layer with the original photo, I drew small, twirling strands by manipulating the hair that was already there.
It drives me crazy when my subject's hair ends up looking like a helmet after I've cut the figure out. But it's impossible to cut around each hair, so I draw it on after. For the hair I'm adding, I work on a separate layer. This adds depth and dimension in the coloring. I go back and forth between the spray paint, smudge and pencil tools.
Remember to start with the opacity low, then go back in and add darker shadows with higher opacity. Hair looks much more realistic if there is range in the color as well as the size of the strands. Practice until your fingers hurt. Mine hurt just thinking about it.
Next, I added the peach to the tree using the spray paint, smudge and blur tools. I wanted to add bright light behind that area, so I made it appear blown out with the light landing on the curves.
I decided that I wanted more clouds. Thankfully, I hadn’t already flattened the image, so I just made a new layer, masked out the clouds from another image using the eraser, and then moved it behind the girl. To move layers forward or behind, you just hold down on the image in the layer bar and drag it to where you want it to be.
Once all of the elements of the photos are the photo are in place, I use the pallet tool and then adjust the hue, saturation and lightness of the image to create a more uniform look. This was my last step in Art Studio, so I saved the image and exported it by sending to my email as a PNG. (I've been told emailing, rather than saving to camera roll helps retain image quality.)
Next, I opened the image in Snapseed. The center focus tool allows you to select the size of the focus area as well as the inner and outer brightness. The photo looks more realistic with the main subject in focus and the background more blurred. I saved the result to my camera roll.
VSCO Cam is one of my go to apps for different filter effects. It creates a soft sheen to the picture. There are 10 different paint pallets that you can chose from that all have different effects. Number 5 and 6 tend to be my favorites. Some of them make the picture look matte; use whatever floats your boat.
Lighting is always my last step and Lens Light is definitely my favorite app for this purpose, with different light effects, textures and colors to choose from. You can adjust the size of the light source as well as the brightness. Lighting could be its own 100-page tutorial, but the key is to pick a light source and make sure the shadows and highlights all make sense with the placement. By doing this last, the light will really shine.
Nov 13, 2015
Nov 10, 2015
Nov 5, 2015
Nov 4, 2015
|Sophisticated construction by the nature by Orchideon|
|After the Rain by Flor Tempra|
from Macro - Something Pink
|Asilah by Limburg|
from Cozy Corners
In a blog post the imaging engineers behind the dual-camera in Andy Rubin's Essential Phone explain how the imaging components were developed and calibrated for best performance.
Tamron calls it an 'ultra-telephoto,' and for good reason: this lens offers a massive 27-600mm equivalent zoom range. But is it sharp?
It started with a great idea and a slick promotional video, and ended with the company headquarters being raided by the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. Wired reports on Lily, the selfie-drone maker that never got off the ground.
With card readers disappearing from MacBooks, USB-C card readers are now a necessity. Macworld's helpful guide compares five models and decodes the current mess of card speeds and certifications.
A Sony a7S II mounted on the outside of the ISS' Japanese Experiment Module (KIBO) for the last seven months has sent back some impressive 4K video and stills.
A Federal judge has refused to throw out a copyright case against controversial artist Richard Prince, who used an image by photographer Donald Graham in an exhibition.
Sony has teased its customers with news of an upcoming announcement: it will soon take the wraps off a new CineAlta motion picture camera, one sporting a 36x24mm sensor.
QuikStories is integrated into the latest version of the GoPro app and automatically creates 'stories' using the video clips you've shot during a day.
Journalists photographing a protest in the US Capitol building claim they were told by Capitol Police to delete photos and videos of arrests.
The Meizu Pro 7 Plus secondary display can be used for music playback, date and weather-related information, or as viewfinder when taking selfies with the rear cameras.
Nikon is marking its 100th anniversary in many ways, including the creation of a new scholarship program for 'future visual creators' in the USA and Canada.
Take one Digital ELPH (or IXUS), rotate it vertically, add a fully articulating LCD and a lens with a camcorder-like focal length, and what do you get? Why, the Canon PowerShot TX1, of course. In this week's Throwback Thursday we revisit Canon's one-of-a-kind hybrid stills/video camera.
Just in case there was any doubt in your mind, here's the definitive video proof that yes, a $50,000 cinema camera beats the pants off a $50 camcorder in a side-by-side test.
Photographers who fly frequently in the US may want to finally invest in that TSA Pre-check status: in standard security lines, cameras and all other electronics larger than a smartphone will need to be placed in a separate bin for screening.
Images have appeared which claim to show Nikon's forthcoming D850 DSLR, the development of which was announced this week. If genuine, the pictures indicate that the D850 will offer illuminated controls and a tilting LCD screen, but no built-in flash.
To celebrate the Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 lens' successful Kickstarter campaign, Lomography has announced a chrome-plated version of the lens in Nikon and Canon DSLR mounts.
Nikon just released four new firmware updates, adding features and fixing bugs in the D600, D610, D750 and the KeyMission 80.
It probably hasn't made your landscape photography bucket list just yet, but there's a good reason to visit Idaho. Here are 9 must-visit locations in this beautiful state.
Oops... Adobe accidentally leaked their unfinished Lightroom-powered cloud-based photo editor 'Project Nimbus' to some Creative Cloud users yesterday.
Storm chaser and award-winning photographer Mike Oblinski just released his latest time-lapse, and it is absolutely stunning.
Looking to level up your video capture capabilities without buying a whole new camera? Blackmagic's Video Assist 4K is well worth considering, despite a few flaws and its lack of 4K/60p support.
We're big fans of Fujifilm's fast-growing GFX system, and the GF 110mm F2 lens is no exception. Positioned as the system's classic portrait lens, its optics are just as impressive with non-human subjects as well.
Nikon turns 100 years old today, and the company is celebrating with a wacky music video, some tributes to its history, and a new vision presented by president Kazuo Ushida.
Phottix just released the Premio Parabolic Umbrellas series, replacing their Para-Pro line with a stronger, deeper and better made set of parabolic umbrellas.
The Moto Z2 is Motorola's first dual-camera smartphone and, compared to its predecessor, comes with a number of improvements and new camera features.
Researchers at Stanford have revealed a new '4D camera system' built for robots. The system is based on the same light field tech that allowed Lytro cameras to refocus images after they were taken.
If you want 'beautiful rendition' from your lenses, follow this simple rule: only buy classic low-element prime lenses with lead glass elements—everything else is junk.
In an interview with CNBC, Leica Chairman Andreas Kaufmann said he dreams of a 'true Leica phone,' and hinted at what's next for the Leica and Huawei partnership.
Wildlife and nature photographer Peter Mather tells the story behind this exceptional shot of a mama grizzly and her cub searching for salmon in Yukon, Canada.
Popular YouTube channel TastyTuts has put together this 33-video Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop—a godsend for anybody who wants to learn Photoshop from scratch.