Hello hello hello my gorgeous pancakeprinces and pretzelprincesses!
I am Yewrezz and today I am going to tell you, my dear cakes filled with awesomness, something about pre-prepping.
We all know the term "prepping", as it is what we all need to do to make a horse look believable in a background where it doesn't originally belong. However, like I've noticed with chemistry, you might find it hard to know where to even start all this. Tools I used: Photoshop CS3, basic knowledge in photoshop.
How do you get the most out of your stock image? In this tutorial I will try to do just that with the stock I choose. For some of you pre-prepping might sound like wasting precious time, but if you would really like to give your manipulation just that last hint of uniqueness... I would suggest reading on!
Horse stock by fillyrox, background stocks by RiNymph-Stock and LucieG-Stock
If you do have questions in where you can find some of the tools I mentioned, don't be afraid to ask!
Sooo I hope you read what I said above ^ , now let's look at the stock:
When choosing stock I look at quality and how well it fits the image and the character that I am going to portray. I also be sure it fits the composition. Be sure that you make the horse the right size in comparison with the bg. (pay attention to stones, trees, grass etc.) To re-size the horse: CNTR+T --> hold shift (to keep the format the same) and drag into the size you want.
What I tend to do is compare the quality/sharpness of the background with the horse, just so that they are both about the same level of sharpness. If not I sharpen the horse or the background a bit: Go to Filter --> Filter gallery --> Paint daubs. (I already did that here.) You can also use a different sharpen filter, whatever your preference is.
If your stock is grainy you might want to go to filter --> Noise --> reduce noise.
The character I will be doing is very light and Disney princessy-ish. It is also going to be pale palomino so I also keep that in mind. First, however, I look at the pose. Is it elegant enough?
I think it looks a bit too fat and bulky for a princess. What I do to fix that is this:
I take my selection or pen tool to select the parts that I find too rough. Like the horse's butt; it looks too big for me. I select it and drag it down, knowing that I can fix the now uneven edges later on with the Clone stamp-tool. I actually divided the horse into different layers. (head, front, butt.) "I changed the neck with the warp tool: I selected parts, made a new layer and used CNTR+T --> right click, Warp to change the form.
When I'm done I merge all the layers together.
Another way is using the Liquify tool. Filter --> liquify. I am not a specialist in that area so I do it the old fashioned way. With this you don't have to mess around with selecting and layers.
If you're a perfection-obsessed person like me you spend at least 2 hours on doing this.
(and removed the halter of course.)
- Made the neck less straight, more elegant.
- Rotated the horse a bit so that the right front leg stood more straight on the surface to make it seem that the horse has more careful pace.
- Cropped parts of the butt, breast and left front leg.
- Lowered its back.
- Made the head bigger.
Now I will merge all of the different layers together again to soften all the rough edges I created with the Clone stamp-tool.
Looking at the picture closer I'd noticed these purple outlines that where the light reflections on the original stock.
I remove these by making a clipping mask and go around these edges with a different color to cover them up. Mostly darker shades of brown and green.
When I'm done I merge the layers again. For recoloring it's easier to have just one. The color I want is pale-palomino, so I used Cntr+M (Curves), Cntrl+L (Levels) and the sponge tool. I also used the burn tool to darken the crotch, the belly and the part under her head a bit.
When doing the real prepping prep you will of course be focusing more on the recoloring than I am doing here.
This step is how i personally like to do it, from here it differs for everyone how they do their prep work.
I start by locking the layer. Then I smudge the real grainy parts a bit to make the look a bit more soft. I do keep a lot of sharpness in it though, especially near the lines. I just noticed I tend to smudge places where there is a lot of light and keep the most shaded parts more sharp.
- Is the size of the horse right?
- Is the horse grainy --> reduce noise
- Compare sharpness of the background and the horse.
- What is your concept? Does the pose fit the character?
- Clean the stock (reduce the unnatural edges)
- Recolor using CNTR+M and/or CNTR+L too the desired color as much as possible.
All of these are optional of course, after all; this is just a guide-line.
I hope this helped you a bit and if you have questions leave a comment.
Thanks for reading!
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