Monday, March 22, 2010

GIMP Tutorial: Pseudo Marble Bust Effect *UPDATED 11-16-10*



First let me say, the effect is far from perfected, but at least its a start. I encourage everyone to experiment with different textures and masks to suit yourself. 

At first, I started tinkering with Bernhard Stockmann's "Turning People to Stone" tutorial and just wasn't getting to the place I wanted to be with this effect, although it was fairly close. If the zombie look is more of what you're after that would be the perfect tutorial for it. I actually use a big portion of Bernhard's tutorial here (up to Step 5).

After searching through some tutorials online, I found Lesa Snider's Photoshop tutorial at GraphicReporter.com that was more to my liking. There are similarities between Bernhard's and Lesa's tutorials but the ability to utilize layer masks really works best when you use shades of grey to white to minimize/maximize the amount of stone effect on your image. This makes a huge difference in limiting the number of steps you need to take to get your desired effect.

Before we get started, you need to prepare your image by extracting the outline of the face you will be using and adding a layer mask to the image.

I am experimenting with Jing videos to see how well they work. They are uploaded via YouTube. Please give feedback on whether you like them or not. I'd appreciate it. 

Step 1: Cutting out the image and creating a layer mask. Click here

Basic steps here involve selecting your image, outlining the subject with the Free Select tool using point to point.

Add an alpha channel to that layer, invert the selection and then press delete to remove the background. Turn off the selection (Select - None).

Right click the layer and add a layer mask. From the menu prompt, choose Black (Full Transparency).

Right click the layer again and choose Alpha to Selection to select the body outline.

Using the Paintbrush, Airbrush, or Bucket Fill tool, set foreground to white and fill the selection. You have now created a layer mask of the body outline (white area) and made the background transparent (black area). This is a big step, so pat yourself on the back.

Step 2: Duplicating the image layer. Click here.

Now that you have your layer mask, you need to copy the body area and paste it as a new layer. In the video, you see me clicking on both the image and the mask on the same layer. I'm doing this to point out that before you COPY the image, make sure you "highlight" the image portion of the layer and not the mask, because you only want the image to copy. 

Select the image portion of the layer - (Edit - Copy), then (Edit - Paste As/a new layer).

Step 3: Find the marble texture you want to use and an image of a bust. I used the following:


  1. Marble bust image.

  2. White marble texture.

Step 4: Extracting the face for the bust. Click here.

This step is critical in getting only the head/face portion of the image, because in my tutorial, I use the bottom of the Lincoln bust as a part of my image. So naturally, all I want to convert to a marble statue is the head/face of my current image. In the video you see me using the Free Select tool (point to point) with the mode set to Subtract from Current Selection, selecting the bottom portion of the image.

(Once you have the head and face selected, invert the selection and press delete. Turn off the bottom mask layer by clicking the eye, so all that you see is the head).

Step 5: Open the bust image, add your head image to it. Click here. (For those of you who don't know how to use the Clone tool, you press CTRL and left mouse click to "Select" the area you wish to clone on your image.)

Now that you have your head/face image created, it's time to move it to the Lincoln bust image. Copy the head layer, and then paste it as a new Layer on the Lincoln bust image. Please note that your head may be too big or too small, depending on the resolution of your head image. Not to worry, use the Scale tool to make adjustments (make sure the aspect ratio chains are linked and not broken on the Scale menu).



Once you have your head adjusted to where you want it, and depending on whether the bottom layer has portions showing underneath. To remove those areas, you use the Clone tool, on the bust image layer, to clean up around your new head layer. Like I stated at the start of Step 5, to make a selection with the Clone tool, hold down the CTRL key when making the initial selection.

Step 6: Using Color - Curves to emphasize your head image. Click here. (The settings may not be the same for your image, so please experiment. If the image hair is dark, you want to lighten it, and add shadow highlights to the face, that's the goal, to make it look "Statuesqe".)

First step is to desaturate your head layer (Colors - Desaturate).

Then run Colors - Levels (select the Auto button). (Important note: If running levels results in a very good balance between the two layers, you don't really need to run the Curves option.)

Run (Colors - Curves)  on the head layer to balance it to match the contrast and midtone/shadows/shades of your bust layer. The easiest way for me to describe this process to you is to run the curves settings until you get an acceptable blend of shadows between the head layer and the bust layer. When those two layers match (don't expect a perfect match, just get it as close as you can) then you can move on to the next step. 

Step 7: Adding the white marble texture and adjusting the texture mask. Click here.

Once you've determined the balance for both the head and bust layers, it's time to add the white marble texture as a layer to the bust image (should be top-most layer). Change the mode to "hard light". 

Right click the head layer again, and select "alpha to selection", switch back to the white marble texture, right click the layer, and add a layer mask (Black, full transparency). With foreground color set to white, fill the selection (similar to the latter part of step 1).

Copy the head layer, and paste it as a new layer (top-most layer). Change the layer mode to Value. Reduce the opacity to suit.

Duplicate the top-most layer if you need to emphasize the darker areas more, reduce the opacity again, to suit.

Step 8: Fixing the eyes (*OPTIONAL*) and touch-ups. Click here.

On a new layer, all I did was Free Select (point to point) the eye areas. Using the color eyedropper, I picked a light and dark color from the bust layer. Changed to the Blend tool, set on radial, and applied a radial gradient to the eyes. Turned off the selection, and lightly blurred the edges using the Blur tool.

Step 8.5: Adjusting the colors for the head. Click here.

Step 9: Smooth out the image using G-Mic (get it here), using Photocomix's Anisotropic Smoothing preset under Filters -  G-MIC - Presets. See the settings below:



That's it, you're done!

If you have problems following the Jing videos, let me know, I'll clarify the steps in the post.

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