May Challenge: Woodland Creatures
Winner of the April Challenge, with Steampunk as a theme, is Aramisdream with her work The Collector. Congrats - we will contact you regarding your prize soon!
1. Remember the occlusion shadow
Forgetting about the occlusion shadow is usually one of the most often made mistakes - that small area of very dark, very narrow shadow right below the object you're trying to place is an incredibly important piece of the puzzle. Without it, your object is very likely to be seen as floating. Remember to pay attention to the light direction, too - the occlusion shadow should follow the same rules as the rest of the shaded area.
2. Think of objects in 3D
Here's a cool video where you can see planes of the head!
3. Colour and light go together
Colour and light are tightly intertwined - the only time you can stop thinking about colour when you're dealing with lighting is a fully b&w palette. Whenever an object gets close to the ground, or another object, it begins to interact with it - shadows begin to "seep" into each other, and lighting takes on a different hue. This is why you should never try and shade things with just black or just white, and why using Dodge and Burn tools is a bad idea - this way, you will never get the full spectrum of the hues you'd get while painting in shadows and lights with colours.
Here's an example of colour interaction - this lipstick container has a pink hue on the edges because it's surrounded by pink background, and the coffee cup's shadows are tinted with brown because it's standing on a brown surface.
4. Hard and soft
Many beginners often use only big, soft brushes to paint in shadows, which can also result in floating objects. That's not to say that soft shadows don't exist in nature - sure they do! The trick is to know when to use which type. Soft shadows generally tend to come from larger light sources - for example, the sun (unless it's direct sunlight on a sunny day); natural lighting in general is more likely to give you softer edges.
Hard edges are more likely to appear when lighting comes from a small, concentrated light source, for example a light bulb, or a spotlight on a circus performer. Remember not to make the edges 100% sharp and crisp, though - that's going too far into the opposite direction!
Another thing to remember is proximity - the farther the shadow is from the object casting it, the softer it will be (for example, a ball held a meter above the ground will cast a softer shadow than a ball laying on the ground). Basically,
things closer to the ground have sharper edged shadows. Here's a link to an article that explains it really well: Click here!.
You can also use these rules a bit more consciously - hard-edged, stark shadows can help create an ominous, menacing atmosphere, while soft shadows will be more inviting.
5. Think about materials
An important, and a bit more advanced, thing when creating a realistic scene are the properties of materials you're using. Firstly, some objects reflect light, some refract it. Reflection is what happens when the light bounces back from the surface of the object in a symmetrical direction. Refraction occurs when light passes from one transparent material to another - for example, from air to water. When it happens, the light changes direction - which is why if you put a spoon into a glass of water, you will experience an optical illusion - the part of the spoon in the air won't seem to align with the part that's in the water.
Also consider whether things are transparent, translucent or opaque. When things are transparent (like clear glass) they let light all the way through. When they're translucent (like seawater, or dirty glass), they allow light through only partially. When they're opaque (like wood, or cement) they don't allow like through at all.
Why am I talking about this? Because these are things that you should take into account when you're thinking about lighting. For example, let's say you have a medieval helmet laying on a table in direct sunlight. If it's a brand-new helmet, it's likely to be polished metal, so it will reflect its surroundings to a high degree and have prominent highlights. If it's old and battered, the metal probably won't show any visible reflections, but since it's technically still a reflective surface, it's likely to visibly take on colours from the environment. It the table's placed in a home of a respected, affluent noble, it's probably going to be made of polished, lacquered wood, so it'll be highly reflective as well; if it's standing in a run-down tavern, it's probably going to be rough, coarse and not reflective at all.
Another example - if you're shading a character, take a look at their clothes. Materials that bounce off light and are more likely to have visible highlights are for example leather, silk or satin, while on clothes made of cotton or linen there will be little to no visible highlights.
Yarn doesn't reflect or let through light.
This polished metal ball reflects everything around it.
This woman's smooth leather jacket has visible highlights.
That's all from me for now - I hope you enjoyed the article. Is there anything you'd like to ask? Anything you disagree with? Anything you'd like to see explained in more depth? Let us know in the comments below!
*All the photos in this article come from pexels.com.
Time to let off some steam!
Guess what? The monthly challenges are baaaaack!
This month, we have a really cool theme for you: steampunk! All of us know the charm of Victorian England and steam-powered machines mixed with rich ornamentation and sometimes, even a sprinkle of magic! Who or what will you portray? A dashing detective? A brilliant inventor? Brave and unconventional ladies? We're looking forward to see what you come up with!
Please state in the description clearly that your work is created for this challenge. Works without such disclaimer will be moved to the general September folder.
Besides that, all the standard rules apply:
Don't forget to credit all stock used and use only legitimate stock!
Only ONE entry per person per month.
Your entry must be made and submitted no earlier than April 3rd, 2018 and no later than 11:59 PM PT on April 30th, 2018.
Don't forget that the prize is a 3-month Core membership (or 1200 points, your choice) from Community Relations!
projecteducate is hosting another Photomanipulation Weekend on April 28th - April 29th! We are seeking members like yourself to write/contribute articles to this week! Your article has to deal with something photomanip-related, but that's the only requirement there is. Wondering what type of articles we're looking for?
There are so many options and possibilities! Here is a list of ideas:
- Art Features
- Other informative articles on photomanipulation
- Workshops for Beginners - inc chats/live stream guides/video tutorials e.t.c
- Constructive Critique Sessions
- Photomanip-related debate topics
If you're interested in contributing to this weekend, please send a note to projecteducate to pitch an idea or multiple ideas to us, and we will get back to you as soon as possible! Please title your note "Photomanipulation Weekend Ideas"
It would also help us out if you took a look at previous Community Week articles before sending your idea to make sure your idea hasn't been done recently or at all!
It is an important definition to go back to in my opinion, as far too often, people wrongfully presume that an extensively edited image is a "photomanipulation" when this is in fact not the case.
For something to be a photomanipulation it should at least have two photographic images combined together, and, in my opinion, the interpretation of "combined in whole or in part to create something new" is absolutely key to discerning the difference between a photomanipulation and just an edited photograph. For example, many photographers will take multiple shots and merge them together, but they are not creating something "new" in this process, they are merely combining what they caught of, for example, one single landscape, and merging multiple images together in order to create a finalised image that might be more impressive than it would be otherwise.
To me, this is different than if someone took a portrait of a girl and then combined it into a photograph of a street to create this entirely new image that really has nothing to do with what each individual photograph was about on their own to begin with.
This distinction is very important to me because if we simply said every image that involves at least 2 photos merged together, there would be inordinate amounts of photographs that we would be saying belong in the Digital Art > Photomanipulations gallery, when in all reality, they would not belong there, and they would stick out in a very obvious manner as people would easily wonder "why is that in this gallery?". Photomanipulations involve a level of artistry that is in many ways different to that of photography, even when photography involves long editing processes/steps. The idea is to take bits and pieces of other photographs and create this whole new image with its own story, its own concept, its own message. And it is true, that many times you will see a legitimate photomanipulation wrongfully submitted into a photography gallery, for sure. And it is also true that what I am saying is very debatable, and that many will disagree. However, what I'm getting at is that there's once again a lot that goes back to artistic intent when creating a piece.
Examples of multiple exposure blending, etc (non photomanip stuff but that still involves multiples images put together)
Things get trickier when similar types of processes are used but in order to "add" a significant number of elements to an image, for example, when merging together a series of shots for let's say a portrait, with each shot involving a different element, maybe one shot has milk being thrown, maybe another shot has colored paint being thrown, maybe another shot has the model's arms in a different pose, and another shot has the model's facial expression changed, and then every shot has different lighting, and they're all blended together and further edited. At that point, while it is still quite a grey area, it is more likely that that piece should be considered a photomanipulation. Going back to what I said before, you would be "creating something new".
Then we can look at smaller scale things, like adding a moon in the background, or adding bokeh, minor edits like that, in my opinion only warrant the status of photomanipulation if there are numerous ones of them in the final image (so you added a bunch of things) rather than you just adding one minor thing to add to your final image. Cosplay portraits, for example, often add some small special effects to add a wow factor to their image. What does cross the line though, would be swapping out the entire background of your shot, which many do, and incorrectly submit their images to the photography gallery whereas those images should be considered photomanipulations, as again, something "new" has been created, by adding an entirely different background to the image (ie a portrait of a girl in a meadow becomes a portrait of a girl in front of a castle).
Photography vs. photomanipulation has always been a rather difficult and controversial subject – like Mrs-Durden wrote, many photographers do use quite advanced editing techniques in their work, often making the end result look completely different than the original shot. The most important part of photomanipulation is that you're trying to tell a story, or simply create a magnificent landscape or a beautiful portrait out of several images that are not part of the same whole. For example: if you took a photo of a model in your living room, and took a photo by a mountain lake and pieced them together, the result will be a photomanipulation - not a photograph.
When you're creating a photomanipulation, your work will involve a much higher degree of, well, manipulation. Simply changing the colours, clearing up skin of a model or changing their body proportions does not make your work a manip - it makes your work an edited/retouched photograph.
The one exception/gray area that I think is also worth mentioning, besides the ones already mentioned above, is beauty/glamour retouch, which is very often submitted to Photomanipulations/People. It would probably fit better in a Photography/Retouch category if we had one - which is something that might be worth considering? It's often the case that the original image was probably not shot by the retoucher, so it's easy to understand uncertainty regarding whether or not they should submit their works to Photography or (since there was so much editing involved) to Photomanipulation. Still, I definitely wouldn't classify this kind of work as a photomanip - you're not creating a new scene, a new portrait, you're not telling a new story. Advanced beauty/glamour retouching is extremely time-consuming and requires fantastic skill and eye for details, but it's something that simply has a different end goal than photomanipulations.
Some examples of advanced retouching rollovers, with before/after image versions available after you hover the mouse over the image:
I'll definitely agree with Mrs-Durden that if you're merging together a series of shots with each shot involving a different element - for example the quite well-known images created by throwing milk or paint or water, or any other liquid for that matter, then they would probably be more suited for the photomanipulation category than photography. Sure, you took all the shots, but the degree to which you manipulated the image is so significant that in my opinion it's no longer simply photography. It's the same case when you take many images of on person in different poses in the same setting and then piece them together. Still, it is a gray area, so each case will be very different - the boundary is sometimes pretty blurry.
Here's a good example of properly placed photomanipulations - all the photos involved were taken by one photographer (FlexDreams), and then merged into new scenes:
What is a photomanipulation?
What about mixed-media?
If your work consists of many elements, and more than 50% of them are not photographs, consider submitting it to Digital Art/Mixed-Media.
Photomanipulations focusing on the formal, non-representational aspect of imagery, emphasizing lines, colors, and generalized or geometric forms.
2.Animals & Plants
Photomanipulations featuring animal or plant life as the main focus.
This category is pretty self-explanatory - an animal or a plant has to be the main focus of your work.
Photomanipulations in which the idea or message, and not the execution, is the main focus.
If your main goal is to relay a message, a concept or an idea, then your work may belong to the conceptual art category. Conceptual works are often rather minimalist, focusing primarily on visualising the concept and reducing unnecessary distractions.
Photomanipulations displaying a dark theme or mood; having a mystical, obscure, sombre, grim or sinister expression.
In dark works, mood is the most important thing - if your intention is to convey an atmosphere that is sinister and threatening, alarming or frightening, then this is the right category for your work. Common themes in dark artwork are wild and chaotic elements, desaturated and/or muddy colours, and scary creatures.
Your work isn't scary, but still focused on an emotion? Then this is the right category. If your main goal is to make the viewer feel one intense feeling (love, loneliness, joy etc.) while looking at your art, feel free to submit to Emotional.
Fantasy is probably the most popular photomanipulation subcat. If your work has anything at all to do with magic, strange creatures or the supernatural in general, it will definitely be in good company among artworks like the ones above.
Photomanipulations intended to be satirical or amusing.
If your intention is to make someone laugh, consider submitting your work to Humorous!
8. Macabre & Horror
Photomanipulations portray or evoke extreme fear, such as represented by blood and gore, or psychological terror.
If you've created something seriously dark or gory, take a look at Macabre & Horror. Is your work disturbing? Are you showing startling violence, creatures straight out of darkest nightmares, zombies with flesh peeling off? If your answer is yes, then your art will feel right at home.
Photomanipulations with human characters, emotions, or actions as the main focus.
If your work has at least one human model, you're already on the right track if you want to submit it to the People category. Are you trying to tell somebody's story, but there's no supernatural elements? Did you create a portrait? Do you want to show a cunning thief, a witty businessman, a historical scene, a battle? Yes? Then you're in the right place!
Photomanipulations representing current or historical events in the political arena or depicting political figures.
Works in the Political category should comment on current or past events, political figures or ideas - a good example would be a critique of a government or a specific politician, trying to bring attention to an important cause or discussing actions of another public figure or organization.
11. Pop Art
Photomanipulations displaying objects or scenes from everyday life that employ techniques of commercial art and popular illustration.
What do you think when you hear Pop Art? Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein? Good direction! Pop art deals with all things related to popular culture and imaginative interpretations of commercial products.
12. Landscapes & Scenery
Photomanipulations of places and scenery, real or imaginary.
Works placed in Landscapes & Scenery should be focused on visualising places - natural or man-made. It doesn't mean that they can't include a human or non-human model, but it's the place - the scenery - that should be most important in your image.
If your work belongs in the sci-fi, or science fiction, category, then it should have something to do with either outer space or the future. This means: the cosmos, planets, aliens, futuristic cities, robots, astronauts, mechs, and anything else that may not exist now, but will maybe appear in a few (or more) years.
Surrealism has to do with dreams, and with anything that is non-rational, strange and unreal. When to consider this category? When your work depicts things that could not take place in a real world, but aren't exactly magical or supernatural - when you are focusing on things that are odd; on illusions; on defying gravity and illustrating the creations of a dreaming mind.
Did you read through all the descriptions, but still can't find a place for your work? Fear not; that's what the Other category is for. Feel free to submit here if your work doesn't fit within any of the boxes above.
Aand we're done! Do you have any questions about photomanip categories? Any doubts that you'd like to have explained? Feel free to ask below!
Tuesday Tips, Tricks and Tutorials is a new series of articles that will show up in the group on every last Tuesday of the month. Since a big part of learning how to create art is using knowledge freely shared by others, we decided to ask members of the DeviantART community to do exactly that - share. Every last Tuesday of the month, we're going to be posting an article created in collaboration with some awesome artists, asking them for advice for anyone struggling with the subject of the month, and about their own journey of self-improvement.
Besides that, we'll be sharing our own additional tips, and gathering resources both from DA and outside of it, with the goal of creating a big knowledge base that could serve all members of the group.
Want to contribute to an article? Do you know any useful tutorials/websites/people who could share their knowledge? Let us know! We'll be posting a schedule for the coming months in the next few days!
Let's learn together!
We wrote to some fantastic folks who, a while back, decided to share their hair painting knowledge in the form of tutorials. We asked them all the same set of follow-up questions, curious about how did their knowledge and work evolve since then. Here they are - meet sara-hel and @MagicnaAnavi!
Digital Artist from Lebanon who creates nostalgic images filled with emotion.
Sara's tutorial: Drawing hair with a tablet
1. What did you learn on the subject since you wrote the tutorial?
I learned to follow the same technique in all future photomanipulations.
2. What was the most difficult thing for you in learning how to paint hair?
It was so difficult trying to paint with a mouse before I got my graphics tablet.
3. What are the common beginner mistakes that you see? Did you make them too?
Not having a graphics tablet made me download hair brushes that are ready to just paste onto the model. The color looked so solid with no details or depth.
4. What method of learning proved most effective for you?
After getting my graphics tablet, I preferred following one same technique:
When extracting the model I don’t have to cut her hair perfectly, because I will go through some steps later on. I create a color palette of 4 to 5 colors, using the eyedropper and sampling colors from the hair of the model. Then I create a layer below her and call it “Hair base”. I paint with a large soft rounded brush for the general movement or shape of the hair, using the darkest color of the palette. I create another layer above the model and paint with very small brushes using the rest of the colors in the palette. At the end, I create a layer above all hair layers, set it to overlay or soft light and use a large soft round brush again and paint with black and white to define shadows and highlights.
5. Do you use any special brushes?
In addition to the round brush, I currently use the hair brush from DanLuVisiArt . Here’s the link to it: fav.me/d1ytm3r
6. Are there any other tutorials or resources that you'd like to recommend?
This one fav.me/d5d5usm . I also recommend viewing this one www.facebook.com/OmarRodriguez…. The technique is different from mine, but I really like it.
7. Do you have any additional tips or tricks that you'd like to share?
If someone is not very experienced with hair drawing, they can research images of models with blowing hair, for example, and try to imitate the movement.
A digital painter from Serbia who creates stunning female portraits.
Ivana's tutorial: Painting realistic hair tutorial
2. What was the most difficult thing for you in learning how to paint hair?
Tips & Tricks from us:
There's a skull under the hair - remember to keep the shape of the head while painting.
If your character is moving, then the hair is likely to be pulled in the opposite direction.
Stock above by the awesome faestock.
Hair isn't stiff - it's very flexible and light, so it flows, it curls, and is easily affected by wind, water, various obstacles and other parts of the environment. Remember to think in curves.
One of the common beginner mistakes is to paint hair either as a one big shape or overdo the details and draw each single hair separately. Don't do either of these - paint hair in locks or bigger strands.
The further your character is from the viewer, the less detail should be visible on their hair.
The longer the hair of your character is, the heavier it is, and therefore less responsive to movement, for example wind.
Remember your environment - where does your light come from? Is is strong? Is it weak? Is there more than one light source?
Colours interact with each other, so if your hair colour scheme isn't working, take a look at your character's surroundings - what sort of colours are dominant in the shadows, the highlights, the midtones? How contrasted are they? How saturated? Try colour picking with the Eyedropper Tool and creating a colour palette. If the hair colours differ too much, try modifying them to be a bit more similar to the environment.
Use references - if you're not sure how your character's hair should behave in the scene, try looking for reference photos to look at while painting. You can use DA, various other stock sites like Pexels, Unsplash, VisualHunt, or even Pinterest to find inspiration. Remember that references are not stock images, though, and should be used only as inspiration, and not directly as a part of your work.
Take your time. Painting realistically is never quick and easy, and takes a lot of study and practice, so don't be discuraged if it takes you more time than you expected to achieve satisfying results. You have to learn how to walk before you can run - be patient. If you feel that something's still not right with what you painted, go back to the basics. Analyse the movement of the hair, find some references, check the colours and lighting.
... and more!
From outside of DeviantART:
- MuddyColours.com - bit.ly/2FkqO8x by Serge Birault
- Paintable.cc - bit.ly/2ohrvIf, bit.ly/2GzlBcl
- 3dtotal.com - bit.ly/2EHL8mZ
- Theetheringtonbrothers: bit.ly/2BHmNuR
- Tumblr: bit.ly/2BHt21Q by XZ-Art
- bit.ly/2FkrCdz, bit.ly/2EIOG8R, bit.ly/2C9ZStd by Thundercluck Blog
- bit.ly/2sMpk4l by mannequin-atelier or Kasia Słupecka
Did you learn something new thanks to this article? Do you have any tips & tricks of your own that you'd like to add? Did you make, or are you still making any of the common beginner mistakes (if you are, don't worry - you're not alone!)? What's your best hair-painting example that you're really proud of? Feel free to share!
Or maybe is there anything you'd like us to focus on in the next articles of this series? Let us know in the comments!
Stock credits for the article:
faestock // pexels.com // unsplash.com // visualhunt.com: giulianoboiti / CC BY-NC-SA // pixabay.com
The time has come - here are the results of our awesome contest!
Thanks so much for participating - we received 34 (!) of fantastic entries. We're especially blown away by how many of you decided to create a photomanip despite it not being your primary medium - did you enjoy the experience? Are going to work on more photomanipulations?
To put more pressure on the theme of the contest, we decided to judge the entries in two categories:
- Going outside the comfort zone - is this piece different than other works in the artist's gallery? Did they try something new, something they didn't do before?
- Everything else - meaning technical skill, composition, concept and overall impact of the piece.
The points from category 1. were counted as 100% of their value, and the points from category 2. as 80% of their value.
Time for the winners!
panjoool with The Eagle Archery!
JayGraphixx with A Mother's Treasure!
cindywoo with Music Connection!
Congratulations to all the winners - we will get back to you regarding your prizes very soon!
Since the competition was fierce til the very end, and a lot of the entries were literally a point shy of winning, we decided to assign 6 honourable mentions to these awesome artists:
Mandelblute, Wesley-Souza, Mylene-C, Nikkayla, @TifaxxLockhart, Rui-Abel
They will all get a 100 points each. Congratulations!
Thanks again for your participation - we'll let everyone get a month of a break in February and we'll be back with our Monthly Challenges in March - we're definitely looking forward to it!
Hi, folks! In this handy tutorial, we're going to be talking about gradient maps. What are they? How do they work? How can you use them in photomanipulations? See below!
What are gradient maps and how do they work?
A gradient map is a type of an adjustment layer in Photoshop, which (unlike a traditional gradient fill, which fills an area using a linear or radiant blend of colors) uses the lightness/darkness values in the image as a map for how the colours are applied. This means that you can manipulate each value separately, assigning a different colour to your midtones, shadows, highlights and everything in between. It allows you to change the colour of an object in a much more believable and realistic way than, for example, using the Colour or Hue blending modes.
To use a Gradient Map, you need to go into Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Gradient Map menu in Photoshop. Remember that if you want it to affect only a specific layer, you can always use it as a Clipping Mask by checking the Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask box while creating the layer or right clicking your layer afterwards and choosing Create Clipping Mask. Read this: bit.ly/2Dv8v25 if you don't know how Clipping Masks work.
1. Okay; after choosing the Gradient Map from the New Adjustment Layer menu and clicking OK, you can see the properties panel with a gradient and two check boxes - Dither and Reverse. Reverse is pretty self-explanatory - it reserves the gradient, and Dither is an option that lets Photoshop apply random noise to reduce the banding effect that sometimes happens with gradients.
Let's click on the gradient itself, which will take you to the Gradient Editor.
2. The first thing you'll seeare Presets, marked with a helpful number 2. These are the basic gradients Photoshop offers, but you can always create your own by clicking New if you want to save a gradient for later use.
3. Number three on the image is Gradient Type - here, you can choose from Solid or Noise - the second type is basically a set of randomly generated and distributed colours within a range you define.
4. Smoothness - controls how gradual transitions between colours are.
5. Opacity Stops - the sliders above control opacity. For example, if you want the darker colours in your gradient to be less visible on the image, you can decrease the value in one of the windows below.
6. Colour Stops - the most important part, here - colour stops. Here's where you actually create your gradient and manipulate the colours - to do that, double click on one of the stops. By clicking anywhere on the actual gradient, you will create another colour stop. You can also move the stops around to control the transitions.
How can you use this with photomanipulations?
Time for some practical applications of all that theory - I'll show you how to turn regular objects into gold and change your model's hair colour.
The more advanced aspect here is that to use gradient maps correctly and get really realistic results, you have to know a thing or two about colour theory. Remember that all objects are afftected by the environment in terms of light and colours, and vice versa, and study how do different objects look in different settings in real life. Also, don't be afraid of colour picking - it's fantastic if you're able to properly figure out the right colours yourself, but if you're having trouble, remember to use all the tools you have on hand.
Make it gold
Gold is a tricky material to get right. It's a metal, so it's reflective, and due to that, it easily catches light and colours from its surroundings. Thankfully, gradient maps are an awesome way of turning regular objects into any metal you want with a bit of creativity - be it gold, silver, bronze.
Here's a regular statue from pexels.com.
The first step is to separate it from the background, so here's a tip: best ways of cutting things out are the Pen Tool (P), Quick Selection Tool (W) in newer Photoshop versions, or Fluid Mask plugin if you have some extra cash laying around. Do yourself a favour and don't torture yourself with the Eraser tool, there's enough suffering in the world.
Also, remember that it's always best to use Layer Masks to edit things undestructively. Here's a simple tutorial by eclipsy on Layer Masks if you don't know how they work: bit.ly/2EVqhZ1.
And here's the statue changed to gold, with my gradient settings visible. I applied it to the statue by using a Clipping Mask. Feel free to colour pick from this screenshot if you want to achieve a similar effect, but what if you want to get gold with a slightly different colour scheme?
I'm afraid there's only one way of doing it - namely, study the material you want to mimic. Below, you can see two different photos of gold objects, with the main colours marked on the images. Pay attention to how each of these palettes differs slightly, and how incredibly highly saturated the colours of gold can be.
Remember - to get a truly realistic effect, you have to not only know what sort of colours your material uses, but also how it interacts with its surroundings! The best way to do it is by experimenting - try playing with both hues, saturation and the number of colours you're using on the gradient to get the best results.
Change the hair colour
Let's say that this lovely lady in the photo, coming from pexels.com, has the perfect pose, face and clothes for your character, but the one you're trying to portray has a blonde hair. Since hair never uses just one colour, simply applying a darker tone using blending modes wouldn't work - here's where gradient maps come in.
Quick Tip: while changing the blending mode of just one colour wouldn't help, don't be afraid to play with blending modes and opacity of a gradient map.
I got this effect by using a Gradient Map set to the Linear Dodge (Add) blending mode on 50% Opacity.
Remember also to make the transitions soft - you can achieve that by using a soft brush on the edges of your layer mask. You can use this trick for manipulation every facet of your model's appearance, including skin tone, eye colour etc.
Did you find this tutorial helpful? Are you going to try out layer masks in your own work? Discuss below!
Outstanding Stock Photos
Fantastic Photomanips is a feature showing under appreciated photo-manipulations - all below 50 comments - that are, for some reason, striking - some due to the amazing colours, others due to fantastic composition or technical brilliance. If you like the works presented below, remember to leave the authors a comment or a fave!
...I can't believe it, but the last FP feature was back in May - man, did I lose track of time! Fear not, though - I'm full of positive energy and motivation, and January is going to be a week with lots of awesome stuff to come. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned!
Featured artists: JenaDellaGrottaglia | TylerCreatesWorlds | Lc-Korim | A7md3mad | majelus | Vectortrance | NaouriRedouane1998 | Iardacil | AbaddonArt | KirenBagchee | pepey |
Previous features: #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22 #23 #24
Enjoy, and see you in a month!
Also, remember about our contest - the deadline is set for January 17th!
CLOSED! Contest: Out of Your Comfort ZoneCLOSED!
The contest is now officially closed to new entries, and the judging has began.
Stay tuned to find out what comes next!
Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you've been wondering why there's not going to be any new monthly challenges for the next two months, it's because we've been cooking up something big and new for you - a full-blown, dazzling and challenging contest with awesome prizes!
The theme is: Out of Your Comfort Zone!
Have you been stuck within the same, comfortable borders lately? Feeling uninspired, lacking in creativity, or maybe you have simply been thinking about trying something new and fresh, making a change in the style you usually use while working on your art, trying out a new and excitingly unknown subject?
Are all your works with models? Maybe it's time to try composing a landscape? If you've only done equine photomanips before, maybe you'd like to try a human model,
Originally posted on martadec.eu/blog.
Freelance marketplaces, freelance platforms – however you call them, they are one of the easiest ways to get a gig as a new and inexperienced freelancer. They have their good and their bad sides, and in this text, I will tell you shortly about both.
I decided to describe 5 places which I have personal experience with: Upwork, Guru, PPH or PeoplePerHour, Freelancer, Remote and compare their pros and cons – among them size, fees and various features from the point of view of a motivated book designer. Getting jobs through them isn’t as easy as it may seem – you’ll have the mystic art of writing effective proposals to master – but they’re generally a pretty good way of supplementing your income and getting a foot in the door.
Upwork started its life as Odesk in 2003, and today it’s probably the biggest platform of its kind on the Web. At first, it didn’t really have good reviews – I tried my luck on Odesk in my early freelancing days and got a distinctly bad impression. The site was rifled with bugs, bots and known for clients offering pennies for complicated, time-consuming tasks – I left as quickly as I came.
In 2013 Odesk merged with Elance.com, and thus Upwork appeared – at first very much unfinished and with all the sins of its earlier incarnation. Improvement was, unfortunately, slow – but it happened.
How does it look now? Let’s get one thing clear – currently, you won’t a find a freelance marketplace with more jobs than there are on Upwork. It’s the best known, the biggest and the most popular, and even though things are happening with the speed of a particularly lazy sloth, the bugs and bad support are getting replaced with a better and more stable service. For example, quite recently they implemented a possibility to download invoices with both yours and the client’s data clearly displayed, which you might need for taxes depending on your country’s laws (and which many platforms don’t provide). At the same time, the site has also in the last couple of years introduced some very questionable changes regarding usage fees, which aren’t exactly endearing it to freelancers.
If you have a contract for $350 on Upwork, you will get $261.90.
There are several stages to fees with Upwork. For the first $500 you bill a particular client across all contracts with them, you lose 20% of your earnings. For billings between $500.01 and $10.000, you lose %10. If you exceed that amount, you lose only 5%.
But wait, there’s more!
If you live in the EU, on top of their standard fee Upwork will deduce VAT from your earnings unless you provide a valid VAT number. It doesn’t really matter to them that, like me, you’re not obligated to pay VAT in your country – the VAT is apparently “being assessed on the services provided by Upwork, not the services you provide to your clients”.
Currently, they’re the only platform that deducts VAT from your earnings. For example, for a $350 contract, the standard Upwork fee is $70, which reduces the amount to $280. If you’re Polish, after VAT you will receive $263.90… and if you want to withdraw your money to Paypal, you have to pay another fee of $2.
Why this system doesn’t work for book designers? Prioritising longer relationships sounds fine and dandy if you’re working with bigger clients. If you’re a small fish in the sea, you will often collaborate with many different indie authors, who might or might not write more than one book in their lifetime. If you’re good and made a favourable impression, they’ll come back. If you work with them only once, you’ll keep losing 20% of your earnings for most contracts.
TL;DR, or a summary
Upwork was created from a merger of Odesk and Elance. It’s the biggest and most popular platform of its kind on the Internet, which means there is the biggest amount of new jobs each day, and therefore your chances of getting one are quite high. The site does have some very useful features (like allowing you to download complete invoices for each job), but it’s also fighting with bugs and the support is generally unreliable. It will also take away more than 1/3 of your earnings if you live in the EU – the contract fees are high, and on top of it they deduce VAT.
Guru was founded in Pittsburgh in 1998 and is a rather small but reliable, well-functioning and well-managed marketplace. I’ve been working through Guru for a few years now and I don’t really have anything to complain about – the website is easy to use and they will routinely send you new job leads depending on your speciality and search results (which may or may not be well matched – you can get programming leads while being clearly marked as a designer).
On your profile, you will have the opportunity to upload several portfolios. Each should be assigned to a service you provide. For the services, you will be required to declare your hourly fee and a minimal fixed-price fee.
The biggest and saddest drawback to Guru.com? It’s small. This, unfortunately, means that there are few jobs to apply for, and each attractive book design job will be in high demand. Therefore, the competition is quite intense, which means that your chances of actually getting a gig if you’re a beginner are low.
There are several account types for freelancers:
- basic – free
- basic+ – $8.95/month
- professional – $15.95/month
- bussiness – $24.95/month
- executive – $39.95/month
If you decide to buy one of the monthly memberships, you will get perks such as a lower service fee, being able to feature your proposals, free skill tests, a search boost in the Guru freelancer database and a few others.
If you have a contract for $350 on Guru as a basic user, you will get $317.67.
Each of the different account types has different fees:
- basic – 8.95%
- basic+ – 8.95%
- professional – 6.95%
- bussiness – 5.95%
- executive – 4.95%
There is also a $1 fee for withdrawing your money to Paypal.
TL;DR, or a summary
Guru is a platform that is easy to use, reliable and, unfortunately, small. The fees are very affordable, they have several different account types with different perks, but unfortunately if you’re a book designer, there are few jobs and a lot of competition.
3. People Per Hour
PPH is a relatively new platform – it was founded in UK in 2007. It’s also a platform that works slightly differently than many others – before you will be able to submit proposals, your profile will have to be complete and approved, which may take a few days but is generally a good way to avoid scammers and fake accounts.
After you get the green light, you will have three months to bid on jobs. Within those three months, you will have to get at least two contracts and receive positive feedback from clients for you to be able to continue to use the platform. If you don’t, you will lose the possibility of bidding, but fear not – for a $13.95/month, you will receive another chance – another three months.
PPH is a fairly big and popular platform, which means that there are quite a few book design jobs appearing every week, and they generally pay well. You will have a decent chance to find something for yourself if you remember to actually spend some time submitting proposals – three months are definitely enough time to get your profile confirmed by receiving positive feedback.
Besides the regular bidding process, you will be also encouraged to post hourlies – small tasks or projects for a fixed price, that can be completed within a short amount of time.
If you have a contract for $350 on PPH, you will get $280 or $332,50.
PPH has two kinds of fees for new members – for the first £500 | €600 | $650 earned within a month you lose 20% of your earnings, but if you exceed that amount, your service fee will fall to 5%.
TL;DR, or a summary
PPH is a big, popular platform which screens its users to discourage fake accounts. You have a good chance of finding a well-paid gig if you spent some time and effort on submitting proposals. Their fees are quite high for the first $650 earned within a month (20%), but over that amount they fall to 5%. Besides the regular bids, you also have the ability to offer smaller, “packaged” services – hourlies.
Freelancer.com is a massive platform that was formed from several others in 2009. It has two basic ways of earning money – bidding on proposals, or participating in contests – the latter being, in my opinion, a particularly evil way of shamelessly using inexperienced freelancers to work for free.
A few more words about design “contests” – there is absolutely no guarantee that the winner will be chosen, and that anyone will get paid. You risk running into a very real possiblity that the person holding the contest is just looking to get some ideas for free. Remember – have some respect for yourself and your work. You deserve to get paid, and not slave away only to find out that the money was only imaginary.
Despite being a big platform, Freelancer doesn’t really have that many book design jobs, and the ones that do appear are often badly paid. To be quite honest, I tried working there twice and I resigned quite quickly both times – the interface is cluttered and confusing, and skill tests, which often help with getting better jobs, are often costly to take. There are several options for a paid membership, but I have no idea if they actually help with anything – for me, Freelancer is a marketplace where you have to spend quite a lot of money to even have a possibility of getting somewhere. Maybe it was just bad luck, but I can’t really recommend it as a good place to look for book design jobs.
If you have a contract for $350 on Freelancer, you will get $315.
For every contract you start, Freelancer will take a 10% of the agreed upon amount at the beginning of the job – which means they withdraw it not from what the client pays you, but from your bank account. Now,what happens if you get an unresponsive client who won’t pay you? Lose all the hope of getting that initial 10% back – it’s non-refundable.
TL;DR, or a summary
Freelancer is big, but the confusing interface and the fact that a lot of options are paid make it a bad place to look for jobs. You can both send proposals and participate in contests (and you should avoid the latter like the plague), but the jobs you’ll find will likely be badly paid, and the 10% service fee is take out of your account and it’s non-refundable.
The first thing you will see when you go to Remote.com is that it looks pretty and professional. It’s a new platform – it appeared in 2017 and honestly, it shows. You can find two kinds of jobs there – smaller, one-time gigs, or full-time or part-time positions.
There are also two kinds of profiles on Remote – a free one and a premium one. If you’re a free member, then after completing your profile and setting your preferences you will begin to receive e-mails when the platform’s AI finds a job match for you, or if you receive an invitation from a client. For those jobs, you can bid for free.
If you want to browse jobs yourself and decide which ones you’d like to submit a proposal to, you’re going to have to upgrade to a Pro account. It costs $19/month for 10 applications or $49/month for 30 applications. The more costly option has some additional perks, like a dedicated job search coach, for example.
When it comes to book design, there are quite a few interesting and well-paid jobs to bid for, and the monthly membership is a good way to weed out fake accounts.
If you have a contract for $350 on Remote.com, you will get $315.
There is a standard service fee of 10% for each job in addition to the membership, and as far as I can see, that’s it – there are no more fees.
TL;DR, or a summary
Remote.com is new, but promising – the monthly membership fee makes for a good screening process. It’s worth giving it a try since the projects are generally much better paid than the ones you can find on other platforms.
I hope I didn’t bore you too much and that you’ll find the information above useful – I decided not to list every feature of every platform and make it a more subjective review, listing both the bad and good experiences I had with the marketplaces above.
This list, obviously, doesn’t exhaust the subject – there are many more places where you can try your luck and earn some money for quality design work. If you’re new to freelancing, try out Upwork and PPH first – there, you’ll have the biggest chance of being successful.
Feel free to get involved with us and use the tag #TwelveDaysofFeatures in your submission! Be sure to check out the features of other CVs participating in the project: Cinestress, JenFruzz, JustACapharnaum, morbidman187, Mrs-Durden, pinkythepink, Queen-Kitty, SinistrosePhosphate, and TanyaSimoneSimpson
On the 12th day of Features, DA gave to me...
Feel free to get involved with us and use the tag #TwelveDaysofFeatures in your submission! Be sure to check out the features of other CVs participating in the project: Cinestress, JenFruzz, JustACapharnaum, morbidman187, Mrs-Durden, pinkythepink, Queen-Kitty, SinistrosePhosphate, and TanyaSimoneSimpson