Fairy Wings … Or No Wings

August 5, 2008 at 3:34 am (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , )

2 Versions – I can’t decide which version I prefer

Wings or No Wings, That Is The Question

If you wait 9 seconds, the image above will alternate between 2 versions, one with wings and one without. I usually have no trouble choosing between various versions of art that I create, but this time I like both versions equally and can’t decide which one to choose. I’m hoping that viewers might let me know which they prefer. I look forward to hearing from you.

I made this digital art piece for my friend Martine of her daughter Danielle. I began wtih this face:

and added this image for the shoulders and general position of the body:

I afterwards added different arms from other photos. I created the dress in Photoshop, overlaying it over her blouse, then changing it using the Liquify Filter. To make the dress I combined bits and pieces of lace and ruffle samples and bits white folded fabric. I overlayed some images of flowers and random texture to create the patterns on the dress, using various Blending Modes such as Multiply and Screen. I cropped this bits and continued to overlap and rotate them until they formed an interesting pattern. The background and surrounding elements are created with numerous bits and pieces of leaves, trees, ground, water, lily pads, etc. I love creating backgrounds and clothing, and look forward to the challenge of trying to fit each intricate piece together. I also enjoy piecing together the main character and watching the scene develop before my eyes, taking on a life of its own.

Final Unflattened PSB File 3.5 Gigs!

While working on the unflattened Photoshop file, it ballooned up to 7 gigs before saving. I learned awhile back that Photoshop’s PSD format only allows a maximum of 2 gigs to be saved, so I have gotten into the habit of saving in the large PSB format. The final unflattened file of this digital art piece is 3.5 gigs.

At one point I went to save the document and got a message that there was insufficient space on my drive. I have a terabyte of space on this D drive of my computer, so I was very surprised. When I checked, there was only 3 gigs remaining! This was due to the other project I recently finished, of the children’s book. The project consisted of 35 large PSB files and an equal number of smaller PSD files of each image spread. This took up a whopping 38 gigs just for that one project. So in order to be able to save this new art piece I had to shuffle a bunch of files over to my C drive that still had some space.

This image took about 4 days in total, not certain the total number of hours, somewhere around 45 hours. The little alternating gif animation is low res. Once I figure out which version is preferred, I will upload a good quality jpeg.

Visit my website: The Graphic Groove
Or my gallery on Flickr

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  1. Elisa Day said,

    I love you blog and your images. They are magic! I will be back here very soon

  2. Martin LaBar said,

    I’m not sure why, but I prefer the version without wings. Both are splendid, of course. Beautiful model.

  3. galefraney said,

    Thank you Elisa!

    Thanks so much Martin for giving me your opinion on the version. A few people have told me they prefer the ‘without’ version. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Annie said,

    I am often amazed at what magic lies within my laptop! Hard to believe that a whole world is just waiting for me when I press the on button! I was looking for some fairy images for inspiration and about 30 sites knee deep into the net, I discovered your work! Instead of a quick glance and moving on, I decided to stay for awhile and then I stayed some more, Over an hour and a half later, I think I’ve just about read every word on your blog and gone to your website and account on flckr! I have bookmarked your page and plan on visiting regularly, I hope you keep the blog up!

    Your work is inspirational! It’s lush and magical and the beauty contained within it, resonates with me! It’s late, but if my daughter was still up, she’d want to crawl inside one of your images and never comeback! Thank you for sharing your gift with the world! Oh, and I actually prefer the girl with wings!

  5. galefraney said,

    Hi Annie,

    Thank you so much for such an inspiring comment ! When your daughter wakes up, I hope she explores too and likes the art . ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. RobandWend said,

    Truly inspirational.

  7. galefraney said,

    Thank you RobandWend. Which did you prefer … wings or without wings? ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. San said,

    With wings!!!The wings are so “light” , it definitely seems as a part of the body!
    Forgive my english, I’ve just “stumbled” at your blog and have to say that I am in love with your work! You are going to be added to my favourites right now!
    Best regards!

  9. San said,

    I’ve just asked to “forgive my english” and completely forgot to say that I am writing from Brasil!
    San, again!

  10. Kate said,

    Definitely ‘with wings’ for me – it kind of ties the manipulation together, and works really well with the other magical elements such as the fireflies. Your model is beautiful but personally I think I’d probably either make her face a little smaller or her neck a little longer to scale it to the body more effectively – hope that doesn’t sound too critical because I really love your work and only wish I had half your talent! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Deadwords said,

    Great work, beautiful.
    I like more without wings. A girl enjoying in their fantasy world.
    iยดm sorry my english, is very poor. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  12. Linda said,

    I love the version with wings, but I am into making pictures of my grandkids into fairies etc and love the magical fairy worlds….
    I started doing pictures just over a year ago. I was inspired by you to start and also by a picture someone did of my granddaughter….in Fix my pic group……
    I am learning by myself using a free program Gimp as I can’t afford to buy a program. I am just awestruck by your pictures and thankful to see them.
    Lala50 on Flickr

  13. harpyr said,

    Absolutely lovely! I’ve been inspired by your work through flickr for some time now but this is the first time I’ve seen your blog. As an aspiring digital artist, I’m sure I’ll be checking in regularly. Thanks for sharing your work and knowledge!

    As much as I love fairies, I prefer this one without wings for some reason. I think that without them more attention is drawn to her beautiful face.

  14. galefraney said,

    Thank you so much. It seems to be an even tie, regarding people preferring with or without wings. That is why I’ve had such a difficult time deciding which version I prefer. Usually when I make an image I can quickly decide which version I prefer and I quickly delete the other version. But with this image, it was so hard to decide. Without wings it has a more painterly feel to it, like old art. With wings, it is more whimsical and light hearted. But I like certain aspects of both.

    Thank you everyone for such interesting and insightful input. I read all of your ideas carefully and really appreciate your comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Nan said,

    I just bumped into your images from Flickr. What beautiful work! Thank you for the inspiration.

    I like the wings. She’s already in a fantasy land so why not?

  16. galefraney said,

    Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Edher said,

    Hola, como veras no hablo ingles, pero con la magia del internet lo podemos traducir a casi cualquier idioma, te pido si es posible nos pases el PSD para descargarlo todo completo y es que la verda esta hermoso, de antemano mil gracias!!!!

  18. galefraney said,

    Hello Edher, I don’t know the language you are speaking, but I tried to translate it with Google Translate and from what I can determine, you are wanting to see the PSD to this file. When I was making this image, I didn’t make it with the idea of doing a tutorial so I’ve merged many of the layers. When I have a moment, if the remaining layers show some of the techniques I used, I might do a screen shot of them and do an tutorial explanation, as I’ve done with the tutorial of Scotty. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. piney said,

    I love the image, with and without wings. I think I am pulled a bit more to the one without, only for fantasy reasons though. The magic of a little girl finding a secret world and being accepted into it. Gets my imagination going ! =) I pop in on your flickr stream from time to time and thought I’d come check out your site. So wonderful!

  20. Adolfo said,

    Simply amazing… no more words…

  21. galefraney said,

    Thank you piney and Adolfo. Your words are very inspiring !

  22. OMM_Photo said,


    I have admired your work for over a year now. Thank you for sharing some of the techniques and planning that goes into your pieces! It is always fascinating!

    On the wings question, I truly loved the version with the wings myself. The entire work is magical!

  23. Scott said,

    Great Stuff!! I’m an amatur Photoshop enthusiast so any tutorials would be appreciated. I’ve added you to my favorites. Very inspirational.

  24. robandwend said,

    Much delayed answer (sorry) – With wings – but both are wonderful

  25. grandma said,

    Your creations are amazing. It might sound like a stupid questions but how or where can I learn how to draw clothing to use over my pictures. All of your dresses are so beautiful, it is fascinating. I am so curious. Anyway, I love your art and thank you for sharing with all of us.

    • galefraney said,

      Hello grandma,

      I use so many different things to create clothing. In this image I took samples of a simple cotton dress and superimposed a lacey trim from another photograph. Then I created the “gold touches” by painting with Blending Modes. I also superimposed some leafy branches to create the pattern on the skirt. I also use distortion and cut and rotate to repeat certain patterns.

      I superimpose a pattern for the blouse and use the Liquify Filter to add the frilly portion at the top. The trick to creating clothing (or any other item) is to look at bits and pieces, even ones that are totally unrelated and if they have an interesting texture or pattern I use them for entirely different purposes, ie: I can superimpose an image of snow, or a sunset or a fish to create a pattern on a dress. I’ve used the pattern from a pillow to create clothes, anything at all. I rarely use items for what they are meant for. In one of my digital art pieces I created the woman’s hair from a sea anenome. I’ve created dragon’s wing patterns with giraffe fur …. this is the best suggestion I can give. Look at the color, pattern, texture even if the object has absolutely nothing to do with “clothes”. In digital art anything can be morphed into something else.

      What I find is that people sometimes limit their imagination and would never consider using an ornate spoon handle as a pattern on a dress, etc. It is much more than mere technique. It is unleashing the imagination. Removing all restrictions.

  26. Coral McBride said,

    Thank you for the very helpful information. I am surprised that I have limited my imagination so much in this particular area. I tend to rely heavily on Photoshop brushes but will definitely try your suggestions. You have convinced me to experiment more – thank you.

    • galefraney said,

      Yes, it’s so easy to fall into a particular habit then not consider other possibilities. I am always struggling to keep things fresh, to consider new ways of approaching Photoshop and art. I find one of the best ways is to always take some time to wander the internet and look at what other digital artists are doing. It provides a fresh perspective and often it leads to new ideas, even ones that I’ve not seen, but that suddenly come to mind when I see other people’s techniques which gives rise to fresh thinking. ๐Ÿ™‚

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