The Third Card In The Valentines Series
The Last In the Valentines Series
I worked for 3 days and nights on this one. As usual after completing an image, I feel a bit disoriented, partly from being at the computer for such long stretches, beginning about 3 p.m. and working right through until the following morning. One night I didn’t get to bed until 9:30 a.m. the following morning. Then I slept for 5 hours and began again, working all afternoon and through the night. And again today most of the day, doing the final revisions and touch ups.
I’m feeling very satisfied with the intense colors and lighting in this one, the splashes of light on the window frame and ledge. I loved working on the birds, small creatures, but actually more intricate and difficult than many of the larger animals. I love the bits of weathered stone and wall and the nook with the birds nest that I constructed out of a hole in a tree. Believe it or not, one of the most difficult parts was the dark interior behind the window. It took a long time to get the mood and lighting right, with some contrasting yet complimentary colors. I tried a slew of different interiors and colors before settling on this one. It adds to the 3-dimensional appearance of the window.
Drinking Red Bull To Stay Awake
After the illustration marathon, I’m drinking Red Bull to stay awake and to feel human. I still need to work on the design for the inside of the card.
Photoshop Tip – Channel Mixer
Oh yes, I did promise to add Photoshop tidbits to this blog. I don’t know why it took me so long to discover the power of the Channel Mixer settings. Before, whenever I needed to change the color of anything, I used to use Hue and Saturation. But have you noticed how it is often destructive to color and pixels? Very frustrating. Even if you find the right color within its settings, usually it flattens the tone and makes it appear unnatural. Unlike the Hue and Saturation settings, Channel Mixer allows you to make very intricate settings to both brightness and all the subtle tones within an object’s color. I am amazed how beautifully it works.
At first the Channel Mixer’s palette seems a bit daunting because each output channel (drop down menu of red, green, and blue … each has their own red, green and blue settings. You have to experiment for awhile, keeping your fingers firmly on the CTRL / Z keys (CMD / Z on the Mac) to undo the slider if you set it wrong. You can also reset completely by pressing the Alt key (it’s a hidden command) When you press the ALT key after making a selection on the slider, you will see a “Reset” button appear. If you press this, it resets your colors.
After experimenting for a few months, I now know exactly what sliders to use to achieve any given color tone, no matter how subtle. It is a digital artist’s dream, and has saved me sooooo much time. I’d say it’s my favorite Photoshop palette in my 2008 arsenal, besides the dodge and burn tools. (I recently attended an Adobe Seminar where the presenter from Adobe said the Dodge and Burn were completely useless. I almost had a heart attack on the spot because I thought he was about to say that the tool had been eliminated in CS4, but thank goodness it hasn’t). I use it constantly for creating lighting highlights and shadows. Completely and absolutely essential tools. I bow to the feet of the programmer who created them. 🙂