Guitars 'N Roses

I've had several requests regarding the process used to create an image from Fred Miranda's Weekly Assingment called Rose Redux. I've put together a tutorial outlining the steps I use. Here is the original entry in the Weekly Assingment:

Click here to see a large version

What I thought I would do is start from scratch and provide a step by step tutorial. This will not provide an exact duplicate of the image I submitted, but rather show that each work is and can be an original creation.

DISCLAIMER: I'm sure there are other ways of accomplishing many of the steps I've used... these just happen to be the ways I've become comfortable doing them.

Step 1: We'll start with the original photo of the guitar. Make a duplicate of the image.

Step 2: Now, using the Cloning tool from the main tool pallette, we'll clean up the hot spots and other undesirable flaws in the image.


Step 3: I like to keep the tool settings (for this instance) at about 35% opacity, 50% Flow and the brush hardness at about 35%. I'v zoomed in at about 500% and I'll use a brush size of 16px for the large section and 10px for the smaller imperfection.

Use a sample close to the edge and make brush strokes as if you where painting. Work from the top edge and then the bottom edge alternately.

Step 4: Next, what we'll want to do is clean up the background so we end up with a "studio" black infinite background.

This was pretty simple, really. I used the Magic Wand selection tool from the main tool palette. I set the tolerance at 20px. You may have to hold down the shift key to "add" to your selection a few times and then use the lasso selection tool to clean up some edges. I also used the Polygonal lasso tool to get a nice straight edge on the guitar neck. After your selection is complete, use the Modify/Smooth selection option from the Select pull down menu. I used 5 pixels and did this twice. Finally, from the Selection pull down menu, add 5px of Feather.


Step 5: Now this is complete, with your background palette selected to Black, delete your selection.


Step 6: With the image now floating on the black background, we'll want to bring the quality of the image up. Colors need punching up and we still need to do some un-sharpening. To get the colors up to where I wanted them I used the Levels adjustments and the Selective Color from the Image/Adjust menu. I also worked with the Brightness/Contrast adjustment. Since these adjustments are a matter of taste and something I do by eye, I'll let you decide what's right for you. For the Unsharpen Maks settings (In the Filters pull down menu under Sharpen), I use a setting of 100%, 0.5 Radius and a 0 Threshold setting. Note: I heartily recommend Fred Miranda's Intellisharpen II Plug-in - it give you much more control over the sharpening process than Photoshop's USM.


Step 6: Now we need to work with overlaying the Rose. For this we'll use the Paste Into feature located under the Edit pull down menu. But first, let's open up the rose and select the part of the image we'll be using. I used the Magnetic Lasso from the main tool palette. We don't have to be super careful here.. just get a good clean selection.


Step 7: Next step is selecting the area of the guitar that we are going to fill with the rose. The settings we used in the first step when we selected the background will work fine. The Magic Wand is good for this job since it's mostly a solid color. Use the wand a few times then under the Select pull down menu use the Similar tool. This might select more than you need... like on some of the chrome parts. You can eliminate those extra pixels by using the Option key (Mac) and the Lasso tool to subtract from your selection. Once it appears you have all the red selected, use the Smooth command again, (maybe twice) to be sure your edges look smooth. Set it for 5px. When you're sure you've got everything, use the Feather command also with a 5px setting.


Step 8: Now go back to the rose and under the Edit menu copy it to your clipboard. Now return to the guitar image. Again, under the Edit menu, use the Paste Into command. This will put the rose inside our selection on it's own layer... layer 2.


Step 9: The first thing you'll notice is the rose needs to be moved and probably grown a bit. We need to manipulate it to fit graphically where it compliments the shape of the guitar... or vice versa. You can do this because we've pasted into our original image and you can also use the Transform/Scale command under the Edit pull down menu. I ended up scaling up to 150% and repositioning the rose like this:


Step 10: Now we need to apply some artistic effects to our rose. We're going to use the Artistic/Poster Edge command under the Filter pull down menu. Within Poster Edge we are offered three adjustments... the Edge thickness, the Edge intensity and the Poster effect. The greater number in the poster effect is actually LESS effect. We'll set it at 5. The Edge thickness and Edge intensity are what give the painted look.... we'll go with a Thickness setting of 0 and an intensity level of 1. Feel free to play with the combinations of these to suit your tastes. Treat them as if they are spices and you're cooking. There isn't a right or wrong.


Step 11: Now we'll want to adjust the Opacity and Fill levels on Layer 2. Go into the layers menu. Make sure Layer 2 is highlighted and change the Layer master Opacity from Normal to Overlay. Now adjust the Fill and Opacity sliders to get the desired blend effect. I used 90% on both. Now you should see the 3D shape and rounded edges of the guitar return.


Step 12: As a last touch, I flatten the layers and tweak the levels just a touch more to punch up the image to taste.. and maybe another dash of unsharpened mask.

TIP: Remember the "Fade" tool under the Edit pull down menu. Anytime you apply an effect of change you can immediately go to the Fade .... command under the Edit menu and adjust what you've just done. It's the perfect tool for tweaking things to suit your taste.

Step 13: Now I'll fix the crop a bit and apply add a Frame using Fred Miranda's Frame Action. Viola!


Click here to see a large version