Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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04/12/2004: "Alarming side affects from using too much PhotoShop"

I spend hours everyday working from phtographs that I manipulate in PhotoShop before I ever start a painting. This is one of the work habits I've adapted from not being able to afford live models. The tools I use the most are the "Magic Eraser" and the "Lasso" tools.

With the magic eraser you can click on any solid block of color to delete it. So, for example, if I have a photo of a person with their hand out, and I want them to be holding a bottle of wine, I might find an image of a bottle of wine, delete the background and cut it out using the "lasso" tool so I can transfer it into the person's hand without any of the image's original background included. I can also take the bottle of wine and change the color, rotate it, flip it, change the direction the light appears to be hitting it, etc.

Then when all of that is done I can experiment with cropping the composition, delete the color of the sky then use the Paintbucket tool to add in a different color, etc. until I get it just the way I like it and then I use that image as a reference point for the painting.

Recently, whenever I'm watching TV or having a conversation with someone, a part of my mind starts working them over using PhotoShop tools...especially the Magic Eraser. When I see a solid block of color, I also see a little eraser icon happily bouncing about, clicking on their shirt, the blue wall behind them, or whatever, pretend deleting it (I always use a transparent background so what I see is the little grid of white and grey boxes). I can't turn it off either, which actually kindof worries me.

I'll be talking with someone and oops, there goes the lips, and let's just clone stamp over those zits shall we? Hmm I don't like those green pants he's wearing, let's try making them, not that shade, let's use the Color Picker to find a better shade...ahhh that's it!

It reminds me of those old movies where directors or photographers walk around using their hands to frame shots.

And all of this is going on in the background while my mouth is saying "I'll get this written up and ready to report to the committee next week". Talk about multi-tasking!

Replies: 6 Comments

on Tuesday, April 13th,">Steve B. said

Funny, maybe you need unplug for awhile(except for the blog of course.)

on Tuesday, April 13th, Dio said

Cor! Wouldn't it be great if you could real life photoshop - every day would have psychedelic clouds and adjusted levels.

The possibilities are endless - it sounds like a great theme for a challenge.


on Tuesday, April 13th,">Elise said

I'm not familiar with the expression "Cor" but I do think it would be great.

also, what is the "theme for a challenge" you speak of? It sounds interesting.

Steve, unplugging might be a healthy thing to do but realistically, impossible.

on Tuesday, April 13th, Dio said

Sorry, I was being very colloquial there. Cor, an expression of wonder and excitment as in cor blimey!

As for a theme, I was thinking of something like a challenge where they give you a theme and everyone submits photoshopped work on that theme.

However, the theme would be along the lines of 'If you could photoshop the real world...' Its a hypothetical thing really! :D

I will stop rambling now. :)

on Tuesday, April 13th,">Elise said

Wow, do people really use the word "blimey" where you live? (Wales right? I checked out your site and I LOVE your pinhead paintings by the way) speaking of colloquialisms, if you want to see some from where I live check out Local Lingo: How to Speak Alaskan from our local newspaper.

Thanks for letting me know about they have some hilarious stuff on that site. You should suggest the 'If you could photoshop the real world' idea to them. I know I'd be into it.

on Wednesday, April 14th, Dio said

Hey, thanks for the compliment on the paintings. :) I'm currently sporting some Wallpaper from your site.

Blimey is in fairly common usage, I know I use it fairly often. Sucker hole is my favourite from the list there - its one I think I will get plenty of usage here with our weather.