Piece By Piece

Posted Saturday, February 6, 2010, 2:11 PM

I made another babe-related wallpaper today, and I thought I'd show how I made it.

To look at it, I hope that you'd think it was a genuine untouched photo. That's certainly my plan most of the time. Whenever I make a matte painting, I try to get it as seamless as I can, so it's sort of become my default approach, though I don't always achieve it (I am notorious for cutting corners and cheating).

So I started with this original photo of actress Missy Peregrym (from the TV show Reaper, and a brief role on Heroes). If you look her up on Google Images, this is the pic you'll find most often.

But there's a minor problem with adapting it directly into a wallpaper - it's in a profile orientation; that is, it's taller than it is wide. I could crop it to fit, which I did try, but it cut off too much of her lower half, which was a great shame; plus, she's so centralised in the framing, it was not as nice a composition.

I took the highest resolution copy of it I could find, kept it full length, and scaled it to the vertical height of my monitor, which is 1050 pixels. Then I expanded the width to 1680px, leaving a huge block of empty space to the right.

There was a second pic I found online, from the same photo shoot, which had a little more of the door behind her, so I knew I could match that up if I distorted it to align the perspective. This filled up about a third of the empty space, but still left a lot more to fill. So I took that same pic, flipped it, and, after more distorting, joined it up like a mirror image. An overlap and a soft edged eraser blended the mismatched edges.

Because simply flipping didn't match exactly, I extended the edges of the panels with the clone stamp tool, maintaining their angle. Then I deleted the light on the wall, eliminating the obvious repetition, and mixed in a dark gradient to keep the corner in shadow. That not only drew the eye to the lighter part of the image, where Missy is standing, but also helped hide the fact that there's no door handle. I bet you didn't notice that.

I removed the word that was painted on the door, and added Missy's name there instead.

But a couple of days later I was looking at it again and I realised a couple of things. One is it had a horrible green tint to the image, presumably as a stylistic choice. I am red-green colour blind so it wasn't as obvious to me as it might have been to others. I have adjusted the tint back to a warmer red.

Then the other thing I did was changed the opposing wall. As it stood, it looked like a door at the end of a narrow corridor, but I think it was more likely to have been a corner of a larger room, so I took the rail and skewed it to be straight, and re-textured the wall to remove the corner-ish nature to it, so now it looked like the room was bigger.

And that's how I did it.

It was a relatively easy pic to put together, too. Some that I have done in the past have been ten times more complex than that. Always fun, though.

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