Buffy Casablanca Poster poppy wreath  RS

....by any other name...

Promotional photo of SMG by Greg Gorman for Season 5 of btvs from The Chosen Two gallery. (ETA: Thank you infinitewhale for providing Gorman's name.) It's one of my favorite images of Sarah - promotional photography as high art - and I'm not sure that a prettier image of her exists. I wanted to do an image where I used a lace texture over her face, specifically cropping close to he eye, but couldn't achieve what I wanted. I'm still too new with textures (or what I think of as "overlays"), knowing how to crop them and size them to match the other image, to make it work quite yet. I was vaguely inspired by the composition one of teragramm's gorgeous, beyond-the-beyond Spuffy artworks, "Darkness and Light" that maybe someday I'll be able to touch with the tip of my little finger.

I photographed my landlord's rose in July of 2013, a month before our apartment fire, when summer was high and everything in front of his yard was in bloom. (in other words, before everything went to shit. Now it's almost a year later and of course 2014 was going to be better and it has been except for losing my only...oh, you know
what? Never mind.

I used a cropped, unsigned version of the rose photo as a texture in ipiccy over the photo of Sarah, fiddled with brightness, contrast, etc; alternated Orton effect, which creates that nice, soft luminous "bloom" and the plain old softening tool, with the sharpening/clarifying tool. Then I brought it over to Photobucket for a little more blending work on the face, a little more sharpening/clarifying of the edges, and topped it with my beloved "San Carmen" effect, which warms and softens it further and adds that nifty "vintage photo" edging. Ta-dah!

Not bad for one of my first real efforts at using "textures" - or an overlay, or whatnot; it took a lot of tries and rejected efforts but I think I got the balance of the flower and her face just right.  If I do it over again I'd center the blossom and her face most likely, although I'm not sure if I'd actually like it better that way. I'm  slowly teaching myself how to match images as textures to the photo I'm working with, what size does each need to be and how to crop both of them so they match up the way I want them to every time I fiddle around.

Hopefully I'm one step closer to making a fic banner/poster for a very special friend in this fandom that I've got mulling about in my head.

Feedback, whether hugs and puppies or constructive criticism is always appreciated!
As always - please give proper credit and don't change or deface, claim as your own.
Don't hotlink whatever the heck that means - I don't know but everybody says don't do it so it must be bad.
And don't put in another website without asking first or doing any of that really uncool shit that you know you're not supposed to do
and which my friends wouldn't even think of doing because they're artists themselves and just wouldn't. Knowwhatimean?
That is so gorgeous! And even moreso because you used a picture that you had taken yourself, too. Of the rose - it's gorgeous!

I'd never seen that picture of SMG, so thank you. That makes my day a little prettier and a lot better!
Thanks hon! I'm really happy with the rose and how I got the balance of sharp focus and softeness. I haven't done many photos of flowers so I surprised myself with that.

And you must follow the link to the Gallery - that entire set of promotional photos of Sarah are the prettiest ones of her I know of. I'm very glad it brightened your day. (I saw your last post, are you feeling any better?)
Holy crap, those photos are astounding! She's a beautiful woman to start with, but those shots - the juxtaposition of the decrpit area around her with her so put together and looking...NEW....thank you! Those are great pictures!

And yeah, feeling better. It's been a good day. This post makes it even better!
Right? I really wish I knew who the photographer was, because these are "promo photos" as art, IMO. I tend to think of Sarah as cute or pretty rather than beautiful but she's just beautiful in these, full stop. (And the hair, goodness me, the hair porn alone...) It's interesting (depressing) to contrast the promo photos of S6 where she's so thin and pale.

And your compliments make my night. :)
Oh my goodness THANK YOU! I'm always very anxious about the opinion of other, more experienced artists, so I'm very glad this passes muster. *hugs*
This is SO INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL. The image is warm and colorful and pretty. And I LOVE the photo you chose, it's really one of the best Sarah's photo ever. She's just the most beautiful woman in S5. In my opinion this is one of your best ever artwork.
Thank you Kiki! I thought of you when I was making it because I knew you'd enjoy it. *(hugs)*

The photos from that shoot really are amazing, I don't know who the photographer was; but when you compare them to other promo shoots from other seasons (even S4 & S6) it's stunning how rich and artistic they are. Someone pulled out all the stops for these, and she was never more beautiful.

In my opinion this is one of your best ever artwork.

I have a lot of "artworks" I have never displayed here, so it's rare for me to make something and post it the same day. This one I just really wanted to share, it makes me happy. I have the version without the San Carmen effect, which is a bit more vivid and saturated color-wise but this is more "me" if that make sense?

Thank you so much.
Oh my gosh hon thank you! I'm really surprised how well it turned out - happy accident.

And I'm not sure that any "talent" was involved. Lots of mucking around and trial and error (*hides rejects in the closet*)
Greg Gorman. And yeah, the crew probably did the best job with the S5 promos. Everyone is well-dressed and well-lit in an interesting space that isn't too busy. The S6 promos done by Andrew MacPherson are bad. Not just Sarah--everyone. Everyone is so, so pale--more so than they appear on the show for some reason. When the guy playing the vamp has a darker tan than everyone else, there's a problem. The space, too busy. I'd blame UPN, but I think Macpherson is just a crappy photographer.

I do wish the show aired today sometimes just 'cause the print promos would be awesome since they're designed for the web now instead of B/W inserts in TVGuide.

Greg Gorman.

Thank you for that info! I'll add it to the post.

I'd blame UPN, but I think Macpherson is just a crappy photographer.

Maybe he was doing what he was told - but I assumed the photographer has to come up with the concepts? I've looked at a lot of photographs, this doesn't look like art, it looks like a photography 101 amateur mistake. The overexposed lighting alone (and that with the very very bright makeup the painted on Sarah and the others, oy vey.)

I do wish the show aired today sometimes just 'cause the print promos would be awesome since they're designed for the web now instead of B/W inserts in TVGuide.

Oh my god I forgot about TV Guide. Starting to feel middle-aged here. *lol*

He might not have had control over setting or make-up, but those are things you adjust for with lights and such. I'd say it's him just based on his other work, which seems to have the same problems.


Oh my god I forgot about TV Guide. Starting to feel middle-aged here. *lol*

Yeah. I was surprised to see they still sell that mag. Though it's gotten much bigger and more expensive. :P
His stuff seems "workmanlike" but nothing more; he knows how to aim a camera. It's a girl in a frock in front of a plain backdrop. Big deal.
That is an absolutely gorgeous shot of SMG. And my, your blending techniques are just excellent in this. I love the curl of hair through the petals, the way you've still got the shine of her eyes and lips coming through and then the solid bit of leaf between her hands. Love the border treatment you've picked. Buffy so is a 'rose among the thorns'. Well done. Ps Love your rose photo too.
I've been building my own collection of textures. It's great fun. :D
Oh my! The Handmaiden is very happy that her effort finds favor with the Goddess!

I didn't even notice that bit of the leaf edge between her hands until you mentioned it, isn't that funny? It is a gorgeous shot of her. And I hadn't really appreciated how nice my rose photo was until I started working with it - I couldn't see it properly on the older computer monitor before.

So glad you think this works. The eyes and mouth especially - her eyes were what I had initially focused on capturing somehow.

I didn't have to use the blending tool very much, the original photo of her is already so beautifully done; I did utilize the Orton effect and soft focus in ipiccy and then just a bit of blending on the face around her features in Photobucket. I wish I could remember exactly everything I did here. (ipiccy has a ton of blending tools for specific things - one for eyes, one for wrinkles, etc - that ends up being overly complicated IMO.)

Now that I'm doing more blending thanks to your advice I've become SO aware of it when I see it in professional promo photos, etc where I wasn't before.

Buffy so is a 'rose among the thorns'.

That's lovely - you have a way of capturing her in just a few words.

I've been building my own collection of textures. It's great fun. :D

Isn't it? I make my own yogurt at home, and a couple of weeks ago was emptying out the jar and noticed a nifty pattern on the inside of the glass so I decided to try to turn it into a texture.

So basically ANY image can be a "texture", yes? I'm still perplexed by the distinction between layers and textures; or how to size a texture image to make it fit a certain way with the other image or vice versa. (the way the rose "settled against" Sarah was such a happy accident.)

Is there a science to that or a lot of trial and error?
I didn't even notice that bit of the leaf edge

This happens to me all the time. It's why I try to make me leave a piece sit for a day or so and then look at it again. Wait till you start adding texture on texture on texture - that will make you look. :D And yes a texture is simply an image of something - I frequently use the image I'm working on as a texture further into the project or bits of it anyway. That confused me at first the use of the word 'Texture' but I guess you've got to call it something and they do add 'texture' to the piece. People paint and draw images and then scan them to make textures. Watercolor textures are made this way for instance. Or use the pattern left on an empty yogurt bottle - very clever. :D

Layers are simply that. Like the layers of an onion - just images, textures, adjustment layers laid one on top of the other. A texture sits on a layer of your project. An adjustment layer like Curves sits on top of your image as opposed to applying a curves layer directly to the image. Layers let you change how they affect your work easily by removing them or changing them. If I apply a curves adjustment directly to the image I can't go back and change it except by deleting history. And you will have altered your image directly so it will never be the same because pixels will have been changed and deleted. Layers are 'non-destructive' to your original. That is also why you use a mask to erase because your original stays the same and you can change or delete the mask. Very cool. :D

Is there a science to that or a lot of trial and error?

It's both. It's your eye seeing something that would go together even if it's not immediately obvious and sometimes it's happy coincidence. Then a lot of trial and error moving, shading, erasing, blending till you get what you want. The more you do the more you will have a good idea where to start though. For some pieces I just start and do stuff and add things and then there is the image. For others I've got a theme in mind and I spend a great deal of time looking for the right textures, caps and fonts to make what is in my head come out. But loads of trial and error and going back and tweaking so I almost always try to do everything through layers and not directly to the image itself so I have an easy undo if I need to. I also try to remember to do 'snapshots' if I'm going to go off into wild experimentation. :D