Saturday, June 01, 2013


Self-portrait photo, April 28, 2013

 This picture happened by accident. In the Corel Painter class I was taking this semester, I needed a photo to base a computer-painted self-portrait on. I was probably going to use one taken by a friend in a class last year, but as insurance I went out on the balcony on a sunny afternoon to try to take some side-lit shadowed pictures.

I am very un-photogenic. And I was in front of the camera, not behind it, so I couldn't see what I was getting. The sun was in my eyes. The kittens came by to see what was going on, and got bored and went away. I took lots of pictures, which meant that I had to go through hundreds of desperately ugly pictures to find a few not-so bad ones.

But this one had kind of a nice smile...

I didn't know that the corners of my mouth turned down when I smiled - way beyond my ability to draw.

But I didn't see until I had enlarged it onscreen —  a reflection in my glasses. No wonder I was smiling. Lassie the kitten is reflected there. She was sitting on the railing in the sun. 

The kittens are my darlings, even grown up.

This is minimally photoshopped, in terms of making myself look better, the usual use of Photoshop. I turned down the red sunburn color some. And I photoshopped out the tape holding my glasses together. My usual style of eliminating distractions without materially changing the effect.

In other ways, there is significant photoshopping:
  • To make more interesting shadows, I duplicated layers, then set the top one to multiply at a lower opacity.  
  • I substituted a virtual batik background for the porch shingles. 
  • I made my shirt aqua instead of blue.
I think all that makes a better image.

But that reflection in the glasses — I couldn't have planned that.

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