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More Variations on a Theme

Congrats to the winners of otherworldlyric round 170 ("Bad to the Bone") xclaire_delunex , kwritten and chic_c for deconstructing a testosterone-drenched song marvelously and beautifully.  Question: Is Claire's winning entry of Elena in TVD? I have no idea but dear lord that image - that expression, I want to get to know this character - and HOW is it possible to get such superb high quality resolution in an icon?

Congratulations also to the winners of slayerstillness round 22 ("A Room Full of Emptiness"): tempertemper, teragramm, kwritten, rua1412 and debris4spike!

Entries for the next rounds for both are due this Friday, May 2.  I sent in my entries for slayerstillness a while back and have been sitting on my hands for nearly a week wanting to show them off, win or no win.  OWL?  Well, I'm working on something; we'll see if any of them turn out to my liking.

Icons after the cut but first, a little sneak peak:

[Well goodness OF COURSE there's more after the cut!]


I want to give a special shout-out to debris4spike's entries this round of slayerstillness, especially her Cave Buffy icon (#15, also on her journal). Beer Bad is a very underrated episode, IMO. Check out beer_good_foamy's meta as to why, if you still need convincing. The scene where Cave Buffy is first revealed to us in the episode still gives me shivers, particularly in retrospect; Cave Buffy foreshadows The First Slayer as well as the newly-resurrected Buffy in Bargaining, wandering dazed and disoriented in a town that went to hell in her absence.

I was just starting to play with the "splash" effect on Photobucket that allows me to add and erase color from an image but worried that it was too "simple", not sophisticated enough, everyone's been there, done that, etc etc...and then I saw Debra's Beer Bad icon that uses this subtractive effect very subtly and skillfully to wonderfully dramatic effect; so she unknowingly gave me "permission" to continue to play with it.

I was feeling that I'd run out of tricks as far as Photobucket was concerned and hit the wall of it's limitations as a program until I wondered "What does this effect do...?" to myself the other day (aka a couple of months ago but who's counting, really? In my world, time is rather, shall we say, elastic.) Oh, it does this:

1) 2)   3)

Rather nifty! Not quite out of tricks yet, then, after all.

4)


I actually made this one origin for the slayerstillness challenge # 22 that just ended, which focused on negative space around characters. (Hey, it takes skill to plan for a challenge five days in advance and still manage to miss the deadline by a whisker, kids.) You're probably tired of hearing me say "This is one of my favorite icons I've made" but I love how this came out. Such a happy accident and unlike anything I've yet made. I have never made an image before that ended up looking like a screenclip from a hand-tinted early 20th century photograph or movie frame. And I'm not sure that I could possibly reproduce it.

I loved the idea of Dawn's red sweater representing her beating, bleeding heart full of love and courage, and the only thing a still-disoriented Buffy can focus on in that moment. Summers blood is indeed the blood of champions. (Sadly, S6 downplays the trauma both of them would "realistically" experience going forward in relation to one another. What in the world must that do to a person? To Dawn? Her sister sacrificed her life before her very eyes then is brought back from the dead just as suddenly and shockingly.)

More icons for the challenge I missed using the "splash" effect. Of course some Anne and Empty Places icons, naturellement:

5 ) 6) 7) 8)

No I wasn't listening to Martha Reeves and the Vanellas when I made #8, but I am a native of Motown.  And now you can't get the song out of your head either, can you?
The font is one of my favorite's PB's "Acme".

9) 10)  11)

Clearly I am a fan of multiple color variations. You can blame my college-era fascination with Monet for that. I don't think this set is anything that hasn't been done before, but I wanted to use the subtractive effect to suggest the way depression (hopelessness, grief, despair, apathy, spiritual and moral exhaustion) actually feels, as well as to focus on the negative space around her.


12) 13) 14) 5) 16)


Another thing I am clearly a fan of: using quotes from one season, in this case Ken's comment to Buffy in Anne, with images from another to tie them together across the years (#14 - 15).  And ff OWL ever uses Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty" for their prompt, I've just shot myself in the foot posting #16; but whenever I watch EP or look at screencaps from it, that song is running through my head. I like the concept of 12-16 and the overall look; I like the composition, the slump of Sarah's shoulders and the way the coat, which she first wore in "Him", seems to hang off her meagre frame. I love the way the floor in # 13 shines as if it were newly-varnished wood; and the brilliant violet-blue of the lockers in the background sunlight, especially in #16, and how those details make Buffy's despair feel a little sharper. But I'm dissatisfied with the clarity of the images; too fuzzy and not on purpose. That is one aspect that I still have a lot to learn about.

Lest you think I'm all about the angst and gloom, this one began as another attempt to do a negative spaces icon for Slayerstillness and went...in a different direction.

17) 18)


Now it can be told: It wasn't the oppression of her captor's that broke through Buffy's apathy in Anne. It was the realization that even in Hell, you are constantly subjected to advertising. In fact that may be the very definition of Hell. (That and the whole hopelessness deal.)

What are some of your favorite "effects" in whatever editing platforms or suites you use, Gentle Reader? What have been your moments of serendipity and happy accidents?

I presumed that was Katherine Pierce actually? I know mine is Katherine and not Elena. (both played by the same actress)

eta: ps- I really think #5 is my fave. totally gorgeous colouring and definition in the face. awesome.

I've been having trouble with Michelle Trachtenburg's face not working well in the 100x100 format. She just kinda becomes a puddle. Nina Dobrev and SMG are not as tricky for some reason. They have a lot more intricate shapes in their faces that catch really good light and shadows.

faces are weird

Edited at 2014-05-01 05:18 am (UTC)
I know mine is Katherine and not Elena. (both played by the same actress)

I am intrigued by this.

I really think #5 is my fave. totally gorgeous colouring and definition in the face. awesome.

*SQUEES* Thank you, I am so happy to hear that because I worked really hard on that set and deleted several because I was unhappy with her face. I felt like she was more "unspecified dickensian/hollywood urchin" than Buffy specifically. So glad it came out right! I wish I hadn't missed that challenge deadline because that's one I wanted to submit.

It's funny, I had you in mind when I made #4 but I ALWAYS have you in mind when I do a Dawn-centric icon. (Although now you and Lucy are sharing that mental space. tis a very cozy space btw)

She just kinda becomes a puddle.

Dear god tell me about it. Esp in S5 she has the sort of face my sweetie hated trying to draw sculpt or paint a portrait of in art school: Young (white middle class) children (in north america) have soft faces and undifferentiated bone structures that are hell for a portrait artist. MT is "on the cusp" between childhood and adulthood then. I was looking at caps from the Body today and she is just the cutest little thing but such a "soft" face.

Nina Dobrev and SMG are not as tricky for some reason. They have a lot more intricate shapes in their faces that catch really good light and shadows.

Exactly. Sarah was five years older than Buffy so her face has more definition although she's still pretty "soft" in the first couple of seasons. By S6 she looks more like a woman in a 15th century italian portrait by leonardo or raphel with those cheekbones and that nose.

And even at that I'm sure my sweetie would still prefer to paint a portrait of...a horse. *LOL*

Yes, I believe that's Katherine, also played by Nina Dobrev. She's definitely a character worth getting to know. :-)
Well I've finished Orphan black so my viewing schedule just opened up (Lexi is rec'ing Veronica mars next but that's only two seasons, I can whip that out in no time.)
Lovely icons! ^^
/the realization that even in Hell, you are constantly subjected to advertising/ - :D
Thank you! I don't know where this stuff comes from sometimes... :D

I would have loved to do something like I've seen xclaire_delunex and other people do sometimes, tilting the text slightly or making it less opaque to give it more of the illusion of actually being written on the wall, but I need to explore these new programs a bit more, PB doesn't have that capability.

Weirdly enough there were other shots from Anne that I attempted to add a lightly satirical text to and couldn't if I felt like I was making fun of Buffy's pain.
Aw thank you - you are a great friend.

I really love that simple image of Buffy ... the bleached out look goes with the whole pain that she is suffering ... and the focus is also, then, on her hand.

Beautiful.
You're welcome sweetie, and thank you; but I don't know about "great" - a friend who can't keep up her inbox because she's got so many great friends is accurate though. *lol*

and the focus is also, then, on her hand.

Oh yes, very much so! We could do entire sets just of the hand symbolism in btvs, they're so important. Buffy is "the Hand" and increasingly expresses herself physically when she is unable to verbally. But in this scene her literal hand betrays her, reveals what she is trying to conceal emotionally: injury, pain, trauma.

Did you see the ones I originally did for an icon challenge in March btw? These were sort of a follow-up to those:
http://red-satin-doll.livejournal.com/36397.html

I didn't get the correct shade of red that I wanted though. (Bright pink was not my intention) but Photobucket doesn't allow for much control in terms of hue, temperature etc. #2 ended up being the best - using a "san carmen" (vintage photo effect) that gave a brown tone to the red worked best.

Very nice icons, I like the progression of color. I especially like the #5-8 set and I love the blue background.
I especially like the #5-8 set and I love the blue background.

Thanks sweetie! I loved making that set but it was a lot of work, too, getting her face right. But using it as an excuse to play with the splash effect was a lot of fun. I tend to bump up the saturation and brightness when I do icons of Buffy in Anne (the Hell sequence) because then the blues and yellows really pop in those shots, and you'd never know it looking at the screencaps, the scene is so dark.
These are wonderful dear! Especially #2 (cropping and delicate colouring), 5 (the vibrant contrast), 11 and 14 (the b&w background highlights her loneliness). Running on Empty is a great prompt, I don't think it's been used at OWL. And you remember her outfits, wow! Also 18 is the truth: no escape from advertising, ever! :D

Brilliant idea using multiple editors to combine the various effects! If you want to keep the quality of the image save it as a .png because .jpg is lossy and some hosting sites ruin small jpgs with their compression (so I've been told). :)

As always your comments are very interesting and make me want to read more meta, thanks for linking the one about Beer Bad, I never understand why it is often listed as one of the worst eps.

Thank you again for your lovely words, in both challenges the entries were fab and congrats to all the winners! ♥
These are wonderful dear! Especially #2 (cropping and delicate colouring), 5 (the vibrant contrast), 11 and 14 (the b&w background highlights her loneliness).

Thank you and I apologize for not replying sooner! I really love #2, and I'm surprised how popular #5 has been but I'm grateful for it. And I love doing images from S7, they tend to be underutilized.
I think the reason I remember the coat so well is because I've rewatched Him so many times.

Brilliant idea using multiple editors to combine the various effects! If you want to keep the quality of the image save it as a .png because .jpg is lossy and some hosting sites ruin small jpgs with their compression (so I've been told). :)

The downside is I never know how I did something exactly and don't know how to replicate it *lol* The habit of layering effects started because PB has such a limited toolkit, so I started layering effects on top of each other when I did moulin rouge icons many years ago.

I really don't know a thing about converting to .png; recently I tried submitting a spuffy icon to slayerstillness and it was a png - I should be able to submit png but the link wouldn't work. Thanks for the tip I'll have to look into this.

I never understand why it is often listed as one of the worst eps.

"not the best" I understand but one of the all-time worst? No, I don't get it. But then I don't get the hate for I Robot, You Jane or Doublemeat Palace either.


Great icons! I really enjoy seeing your different uses of color in these. My favorite is number 8, I love color splash icons and I like the screencap you used of Buffy in motion and the text!
thank you so much sweetie! I'm really having fun with the splash effect (oh yes there are more in my stash), as well as layering effects from different editing suites atop one another.

I LOVE color, and love your use of it so your feedback is making me blush! (ten years ago I was doing Moulin rouge icons and I might do 40 color variations of one image.)

And I'm particularly fond of #8 - the lyrics just popped into my head and I couldn't help myself. As I was telling kwritten upthread I deleted a lot of efforts at that scene because I couldn't get the face right. "Motion" is one of those things that often doesn't translate sized down. So glad it worked.
Lovely icons. I especially like the ones from After Life (Yeah, I kinda adore that episode) and 8 and 18. So intriguing the advertising concept! You expressed perfectly.
(Yeah, I kinda adore that episode)

Of course!

And thank you for the compliments! glad to know my sense of humor isn't just being wasted on me.
Oh, you've definitely got the bug! Your enthusiasm for making icons brings joy to all who encounter it. I love reading about how you are trying new things and your icons are stunning! Really stunning. I especially love the color variations of 5 through 8. Excellent work, my dear!
Oh, you've definitely got the bug!

Full disclosure: I made hundreds of moulin rouge icons ten years ago but didn't have a place to show them off - or rather it didn't occur to me to do so because no one else did where I hung out online. Which was a mistake because people would have liked them and they were very pretty. So I had the bug, lost it for many years but now I've got it back again. I've had to re-learn a lot but it's fun doing so! (I really don't need to do the dishes....right? *lol*)

And I can't thank you enough for your wonderful compliments and encouragement, m'dear! *blushes*You really are too kind but I am so happy that other people enjoy these. And VERY pleased that you think 5 - 8 came out so well; the splash effect was the fun part. getting Buffy's face right (and not just looking like a puffy blowfish or something) was very hard.

I need a "blushing" icon. (Buffy in HB? Tara in Hush? hmmm.....)

- (Anonymous)