Tony Hewitt Uses Multiple Images to Build Texture
So this is one that was called the boab tree, and it's a type of tree that you get in the southern hemisphere, mainly in Australia. I think in Madagascar they got the boabab
Boabab yeah something like that, yeah
It's very similar or something like that. And we were on a workshop, and on this workshop during the workshop period, somebody came up to me and said, we had about an hour, and they said, "Can you produce an art piece while we're "sitting here in the workshop?" I said, "On what?", and they go, "Anything." So I said, "All right." So I had a look at the photo we'd taken that morning, I said, "Well let's see where we go." So this is a flight of whimsy. This is just having fun for the sake of having fun, because you know, I'm a professional photographer, I shoot commercial, I shoot portraits, and a lot of the work that when I'm sitting on a computer is it has to be done a certain way. So I kinda sat there in the classroom, said, "Okay, let's just see what we can do." So I'm gon...
na take you through that process pretty quickly. Created a background copy and then I thought, okay, you know when you look for framing, you're out there, you see a picture of a mountain, you think, oh those trees could frame it, or perhaps there's two other mountains could frame it, or you're in a valley and a tree at the end, that frame. I think, I kinda feel like this needs a frame around it but one of those frames within the frame. So what did I do? I found a picture of a room that I shot through a window walking along a street in Paris. As you do. I mean, the idea here was to say to the class at the time, no rules, let's just see what we can come up with at the end of the day. In my mind, I'm thinking, what am I trying to say here? I'm gonna tell the story of a tree. Okay, that's what I started with. So I though I just aesthetically need that, and I used the mask to sort of rub out a little bit of the effect over here. Then I wanted to add a little bit of color in, so I brought in a picture which was actually shot in the Canson factory, but don't tell them. There was some painted walls and it all deteriorated.
I thought I just need some texture. So a lot of people, and part of it was me having a go at a few people 'cause, you know, everybody felt that everything I did always had texture in it. Everyone thought I was
You're not talking about me again are you?
I'm talking about you and Christian, (Peter laughs) and anyway, so, people felt that I always used textures, which I don't.
Tony, I think you always use textures.
There you go, so I did.
I might be 200%, Tony is Mr. Texture. There we go.
So then I, and just coming back to that, you talked about opacity. Obviously up here I'm only at 80%, right? So if I take it to a hundred, just a little bit more, but I chose to not push it all the way. The next one, I added another one, is only at 40%. If we take it all the way up it's just a concrete wall. Now why is it there? It's just to break up the image a little bit I suppose. It's just to add, to separate, 'cause I put that false frame within there, I didn't want it to look to separate to the picture, so by bringing in other textures, it pulls them all together a little bit.
And then I've chosen to sort of stamp the visible of what I see there, and I've got this picture that looks okay. And I can see a frame within a frame, but it's a little bit distracting still. So then what I do, I got rid of it. Almost got rid of it completely, because it was too distracting.
So what if you, okay so when you say you got rid of it, what do you have on the top there?
So I went through, I would have gone through, turned that off. So I've gone back down here, turned that off, all right? So that one there is when it was on.
So let's turn that one off. Then I went back here and... Let me take that back one step. I get to this stage.
And I say right, let's just stamp visible, and here I might have hit Auto Contrast.
And what's it gonna look like? And you know I'm thinking
So that was destructive?
'Cause what you, okay
Oh well basically I stamp visible to get a feeling for where I'm at.
What's it all look like?
Okay, all right.
I didn't like it. So I turned it off, went back down here and thought what's not working? That wasn't working.
And then I did a couple of other adjustments with my layers, and I ended up with this
You stamped that up.
Okay, that's my next starting point. So often the process for me is I work my way through, play around, play around, try this, go backwards, go forwards, that's pretty good, stop, and I'll often save that, because often with your computers you got, you know, you showed 432 layers and this one's got close to that. It starts to build up and starts to slow down. So I'll stop, save as version two. And some of my pictures are version 23. So then I start with that, and I go, right, what else am I gonna do? So I went straight into levels, and if you look at my levels here, I've pulled that in there, you can just see that level there.
Right, so just turn that layer on, you can see what it's doing. I just tightened it up a little bit and brightened it up a little bit, okay? You see the black, I brought that in just to give it a little bit more of a crunch.
Yep, a grounding, yep.
Then I've gone into Curves, had a play with that, and thought, I've left it here to show for the purpose of the demonstration, I would have played around with it and I thought, you know what, I'm not gonna do anything with that, I'm gonna leave it. Went back into my levels, and I crunched the blacks a bit more. Now this is on a bit (Peter mumbles) And that's why we're so
So that's a good point. We are always working in 16-bit in Photoshop, but because of the size of our files, we're finding that
In order to demonstrate, 16-bit multiple layers on a little laptop if we pull it all in at the full size
Slows it down too much.
It's gonna slow down.
So that's why our histogram's got all of those white lines down there.
So then I looked at it and I felt that I really would like to bring something in to sort of add to the whimsy of what I was doing. I had a picture...
Is that French?
Yes, it's in France.
Oh another showoff comment, okay.
So I brought in something that said photography. It was about that, 'cause this was an exercise in whimsy. But I used the mask to just grab the inside of that piece, so you wouldn't actually see the edges on that piece. So you can see here if I turn that mask off, you can see it's actually a square picture. I've just popped it in, used the mask to soften the edges and then blended that back into my image.
What have we done here, Tone? We've...
I get some words.
Let's see your history, Pete. Tell me what that is. Where would you find that?
Where would I find that?
Where would you
Where would you be standing?
Oh I don't know. Come on, put me out of my misery.
You would be standing under the Arc de Triomphe.
Oh, okay, right. Showing off three times on this.
I have, yeah, yeah. As part of the exercise, it was, you know, people saying what about textures, what can you use as textures? I think one of the questions we had was, does it have to be, you know, like, concrete, or wood grain or something like that? Sorry, poor cameraman's trying to keep up with me and I'm bouncing. But I said, look, what about words? What about something like that? So I grabbed that, brought that it. Just hope there's no copyright issues on that (laughs) And then I played around with that for a little bit, and then I've gone into a little bit more of a distinct mask. So let's just have a look here. And I've created something pretty special, where, by going into Luminosity Masking and bringing it right down and then selecting only those dark points, I was able to create a almost lithographic picture, right? Come back into here. This levels looks pretty dramatic.
So that's just being overlaid, is that what you're doing,
lithographics? So that's just giving you the black.
Yep, yep, understand.
Then in here I've just selected this tree using again Luminosity Mask
Or Channel Mask.
Sorry, Channel Mask on this one. And then I've actually softened off a few other areas, and that particular part of the tree, if you have a look at that level, I've actually tightened it right up
Right, yeah, and so you're clipping heaps there. Again, no problem doing that because we're at the end
All the dark areas Correct, right. So we come into there, and then I've gone and solidified everything.
Okay, stamped up again, right. You've got a few to go haven't you?
All right, no good?
Let's work through quickly. So levels again, I made a little levels adjustment. Little bit of a mid-tone pushup there. Here I've just added a bit of vignetting
Oh, you've done a vignette! I love you! Hey, look at that! How many years have I been trying to get you to do a vignette?
Well, actually it wasn't a vignette, the edges were a bit light and I just wanted to even up.
It's a vignette, vignette.
I brought it all in again. Now you notice that when I started, I wanted a frame and I started with a room. And now it's gone, it's not even in part of the picture anymore. Cleaned up the color a little bit, and I started to get this idea about the ground. The ground just looked too obvious. And I thought what about a cutaway? And I had this picture, which you've seen before, which I brought in, and it's this picture here. Which you can't see. Let's just disable that, and let's bring up the opacity. And I brought that in, as one of the things about this image that always hits me is when you look down on this aerial, it always make me feel like I'm looking at a cross-section of the earth. And I thought, what if this image here... So if we re-enable that, and just pull that back a little bit. What if this image here had that feeling in there? Like the earth was being cut away and we could see what was underneath the tree, because it's not about a boab tree anymore, it's just about a tree, and I wanted to get a little bit more whimsy into it. So I started playing around with the curves, darkened it up, and you could suddenly feel like you were looking under the ground, okay? And then I was getting on a bit of poetic roll here. Played around a little bit more, and like Pete, just building up, building up. Hue and Saturation, I felt like it was a little bit too saturated, bit too sort of candy. (gasps) Let's bring back this. Let's try it again. Go on Tony, have a crack at it. I brought the wall back. I thought, oh maybe I need to, this just doesn't feel like it's framed properly. But in the end, I ended up pulling it straight back out. Hue and saturation, again it felt a little bit bright in here, so you can see a little bit of masking down here, just to even it up a little bit.
So just a very small adjustment once again, yep.
And then I thought I needed something else. So what I did is I needed a third figure. I looked at this picture and I thought, it needed another counter to the tree, the tree is just too centered
A third object, yep.
A third object. Like you had your main head, and you had the background head. And I had a picture of a friend of ours, Christian Fletcher doing something pretty stupid, which isn't uncommon. I say that with respect.
No you don't. (both laugh)
And if i just disable that. So this is a picture that I've started to work with, and I had this one to start with, let me just go back, okay. So the first picture I had, I thought, a figure in this would make it quite interesting, and Christian was jumping around on a mud flat, so I thought I could grab that, mask him out and have him jumping under the tree, but it just didn't work. So thought what about if the tree had leaves, and I had a picture of him throwing these leaves up in the air.
Are those boab tree leaves? (Peter laughs)
So now this is where the truth gets in the way of a good story. So again, it's a flight of whimsy. Let's go bring that up to there, and turn that one off. So this little bit here was the part that probably made the picture, because if we look at the mask, all I did was go in using tonal masking and eventually get down to the very tones of those leaves. There's a couple of other things around the picture, but I blacked them all out, and all I was using from that image of him jumping and throwing the leaves was the leaves themselves. That brought in the element that I was looking for.
It's really key isn't it? It's amazing how, I mean funny how people use birds these days and just drop them into the sky and it is a great focal point.
Yep, so then what I did is I decided I need to increase the hue and saturation on that area. And those words shouldn't be turned on so I've obviously left something back on that I didn't have on in my final image. But I chose to bring up this here by using a clipping mask on that layer where I've got the leaves masked off. So I'm starting to get a little bit complicated here, but effectively that little arrow there
That means that the adjustment's just been made only to your leaves below.
And so you can see that when I do that it affects everything. When I do that it only affects this layer. And as you can see, we've that to desaturate these so they become more of a shadow, and then I brought that in there, and again it was only for those leaves. So I desaturated the color then put a photo filter to make them warmer, and at the end of the day, we ended up with that.
Beautiful. (Peter sighs) (audience applauds)
So, somebody could say to me, "Well what was the method and the structure in that?" (Peter laughs) Well, you know, I'd be giving you BS if I said there was a real method and structure. It really is a little bit about exploring, and I don't feel uncomfortable saying that. I've watched artists work, and it's interesting that they teach their students how to paint, a lot of them will say you gotta learn the rules, but then when they go out to paint themselves, they'll scratch on then they'll take things off, and I had my portrait painted recently, did you know that?
They took me, I was wearing this green jacket, (both laugh) and it was interesting, she did this painting, I had a look at it. The next time I came, the background had completely changed and she'd started again. Fantastic artist, she'd painted this thing, she said, "It just didn't say who you were, "it didn't feel to me like it was supposed to." Hoh, that sounds familiar. She'd started completely again. Great.