Buffy Casablanca Poster poppy wreath  RS

Speaking of Slayerstillness - Congrats to the Winners of Round 36, and some unrelated pretties

But first, a word from our sponsor: I need to give proper congratulations to the winners of Challenge 36 rua1412, sweet_lyri, tempertemper and debris4spike, and a huge round of applause to comlodge for her amazing banners. They reflect an aesthetic that is at once Victorian and contemporary, painterly and cinematic all at once; and that reward repeat viewings with their attention to detail, ornamentation, warm colors and sophisticated font and texture effects. Wonderful.

Her use of "frames" and warm Old Master's color palette inspired me to try to do something on a larger scale. I was also inspired by tempertemper's Bangel icon for SS Challenge 24 in May. I had no idea how she got an image inside a frame atop a realistic looking wallpaper. I've been wanting to do a proper gold frame around the fanart of Buffy that Megan made as a gift for me back in September but didn't know how, nor could I find an image I liked or that fit the size of her poster.  This week I've been goofing off, experimenting with dodge and burn tools in ipiccy per rua1412's suggestions, and I made another Buffy poster with my usual color variations and tried again. After a day or two experimentation I think I got it right, albeit with a new poster I made rather than Megan's.

And because I was just telling velvetwhip how hard it is for me to sit still and read long multi-chapter fics on the internet (thanks, ADD!), it seems that the same might be true for other folks with my commentary so I'll have the images visible and the commentary hidden. To read or not is your choices Gentle Friend but enjoy the pictures either way:
Click to enlarge -  it's worth seeing the details but they're fairly large files, so be warned:
1037x1216buffydarkgiltframecropped_zps6b828511         buffybeautywallpaperrectangle_zpsf99cae63     f4c1d2c6-6e61-4813-bc93-4f3ebce6c6e1_zpsa90483f7 01-03

buffybeautydarkwallpaper_zps5f4c77a0       5buffydarkwallpaper1_zps86b48674 04-05

The photographs of the vintage-style wooden frames on all the images come from VIctorian Frame Company, which has some very high-quality images of their reproduction period frames. The outer borders on 2,4 & 5  are "Victorian wallpaper" images that I found on the internet. I don't know who the creators are as I've misplaced the links, so f any one knows I'd love to give proper credit.

[Commentary track part 1 here:]

For the first time since I got the news of her passing, (20 days ago, really not that long at all) I sat back and didn't ask myself "Would she approve?" because I know she would. She said to me months ago in reference to some of my icons for SS, "If this is what you can do with ipiccy, imagine what you could do with a really good program" like Photoshop or Gimp.  It turns out I've still got a lot to learn and master in ipiccy, and even Photobucket's crude suite was useful here.

The photographs of the vintage-style wooden frames on all the images come from VIctorian Frame Company, which has some very high-quality images of their reproduction period frames. The outer borders on 2,4 & 5  are "Victorian wallpaper" images that I found on the internet. I don't know who the creators are as I've misplaced the links, so f any one knows I'd love to give proper credit.

#1 made entirely in ipiccy ; for #2-3 I took the poster sans frame to Photobucket to apply the vintage San Carmen filter once or twice, then brought it back over to ipiccy to apply the wall and frame layers. This is the first time I experimented properly with dodge and burn tools in Paint mode, after a recent conversation I had with rua1412; I was able to achieve somewhat more precise control than using the generic exposure and saturation filters. The various bokeh and light leak effects are all pre-set options in ipiccy.

For #1 I was trying to avoid cropping the poster in Layer mode, which meant I had to stetch/pull the image inside to fill the gold leaf frame, and squish the frame a little because it's a bit more square than the rectangular poster.  The decorative scallop on inside edge of the frame made it possible to mask any slight gaps or imperfections in matching the images that would have been visible with perfectly straight edges.

Cropping in ipiccy Layer mode is incredibly tricky because when I'm working with layers, the program does not allow me to see anything except the layer I am currently working on, so I have to guess if the crop will match the space, then hit the "edit mask" button and try again if it doesn't. Also, there are no guidelines or grid for me to go by when I crop, so if I want to achieve a straight edge I have to eyeball it. All of this means that I end up cropping less often than I should and sometimes back away from ideas, try to find a workaround, smudge, blur or mask the imperfections with other layers and textures, or simply learn to live with them.

The final step was to crop out the white background around the frame with the basic crop tool.

#2 - I bit the bullet and cropped the poster art to fit within the dark wood. I decided I wanted to emulate tempertemper's aforementioned Bangel icon and cover the white background with a "Victorian" wallpaper image I found online (again, I would love to credit the maker if anyone has a link.)  Then I applied the wallpaper image over in texture rather than layer mode, set to darken or multiply. This works only if the images are compatible sizes, which these were, in order for the texture pattern not to appear distorted.

Texture mode allowed me to erase rather than crop the portions of the wallpaper that covered Buffy and the frame. Erasing and repainting around the edge of the picture frame was the most time-consuming element of this step, but the idea of cropping the wall "in reverse to" to make it fit around the frame was too headache-inducing to consider.

#3 then is just #2 with the wallpaper cropped off.

The poster images of Buffy is not "perfect" by any stretch of the imagination. I could never figure out how to eliminate the pixelated edges without making making features look too smudged out.  Hence the light leak textures, which don't solve the problem and only distract a little. I was less bothered by the edges on her face oddly enough than her hands and fingers. My original thought was to throw up one of these unframed fanarts and ask "What can I do within ipiccy or photobucket to fix this, if anything, folks?" and concrit is still warmly appreciated.

I also found a very pretty "cathedral" frame shape on the Victorian Frame Co. site, so I meant to try to cut her hands from the image altogether, but then it didn't look quite right and so:

456D_VW__47477_zpsbbbbfba9 buffycathedralframebeautyinlay1_zps83ccc041 06-07

[Much shorter part 2:]

The frame photo is the same in each. I put the two images together in layer mode; the frame itself set to multiply to keep it as dark and opaque as possible over  the other layer. This time I didn't crop either layer; the space within the frame was white so that posed no problem in terms of Buffy showing through the frame. but then her arm and shouder show through the frame slightly on the right side. I had no idea how to fix that without going back and cropping.

#5 is another wallpaper pattern set around #6, again in texture rather than layer mode so I could erase the pattern from within the edges of the frame, choosing a file size compatible with my poster to avoid image distortion. A lot of painstaking work around the edge of the frame, although a little bit of light and softness doesn't bother me and it gives it depth. #5 was the first of the "wallpaper" versions I completed but I wasn't happy with the pattern and I didn't care for the color/tonality of it or the frame itself. And I still had the issue of the underlayer being visible through the frame. For #7 I experimented in texture mode with the wallpaper image in #2 & 4 above; when I set it to Overlay, it looked as though the pattern on the frame was actually incised into the wood which was a thrilling happy accident; and it lent a warmer, redder tone that suited the image better. It also slightly conceals the transparency on the right side of the frame that bothered me.

I added the same wallpaper image a second time to get #4, this time erasing the pattern from within the edges of the frame, and doing the whole erasing/repainting process along the edges.

Happy holidays or whatever you do or do not celebrate this year, a nice cuppa raised to pickamix's  memory, I'll be back after the holiday with some more art and don't forget to vote in slayerstillness Challenge #37 in between all and everything you do.

I hope everyone reading this is exactly where they want to be, with whom they want to be with, or will be very soon.      
Aaawww. First of all I ADORE that S5 photoshoot and that particular photo. Sarah is just gorgeous with that red shirt, so royal. So you picked a favorite of mine - and I think your already knew that - second: these could be Spike's pictures of Buffy since he's Victorian inside and he loves to look at Buffy. I love all the variants!
So you picked a favorite of mine - and I think your already knew that

You found your way here, yay! I was going to send you a link anyway. I know you love them and I never get tired of looking at Sarah in Greg Gorham's photoshoot. I suppose I ought to start working with some of her other photo images, she's got some wonderful ones. I suppose it's a bit lazy of me but I was interesting in working with new techniques so using a familiar image actually provides a bit of a comfort cushion.

I also made some Buffy/Vamp Willow art using the same techniques which got me wondering about redoing the Dreams and Mirrors poster art I made for you, with a more realistic frame - and maybe a single line of cracked glass, instead of all the mess I put on the other version? That could work.

these could be Spike's pictures of Buffy since he's Victorian inside

Interesting! I can see him carrying a creased and messed up snapshot in his back pocket, but I hadn't thought of him in this context. I don't tend to associate him with "things" but in fact he had a very sumptuous bed in S5 and he has things, just not in the same way Angel does; he doesn't collect fine objects d'art.

I love all the variants!

Thank you hon!

I forgot to add links to my original posters without the frames:


- (Anonymous)
Oh thank you hon! I'm so glad you like this and am super-duper flattered.

Your use of that tool is already wonderful.

Do you mean the burn or the dodge tool or....? (I suspect ipiccy and PS are more different to each other than I ever realized before.) Those are actually a rather minor part of this but I enjoyed being able to darken/lighten or saturate only where I wanted to, rather than having to do it in reverse.

I also discovered another way of creating "bokeh" effects with applied shadows and light with those tools, which was fun.

A lot of what you're seeing is actually my favorite ipiccy textures, light leaks and light effects, including the "false bokeh". If I were to do these again I'd use the shine remover tool on her face a bit, I'm just learning to get comfortable with that tool.

I still have no idea how to get rid of the pixelated edges from this point except to shrug and say, better luck next time. Thoughts?

I love the effects you've used with these new Buffy pieces! Brava!

Lovely work. I so love the bokeh effects. I have to admit when I had a look at one of these online editors a while back I do remember wondering why I kept beating myself up trying to learn Photoshop. They offer such amazing effects and tools.

Still, I'm a Photoshop junky and can't give it up now. It has clipping masks! Lol. :D
Lovely work. I so love the bokeh effects.

Thank you, Janice! I adore bokeh effects too (obviously) and am in danger of overusing them I think.

you did some lovely things with bokeh effects for this round of slayerstillness! #17 of course but I particularly liked your unconventional use of it in in icon#3, where it was green and looked like part of the background shrubbery and thus very well intergrated with the image. (And also, it's behind and around Buffy rather than an overlay like conventional bokeh.) Does PS allow you to select that green for bokeh effect or was it a texture you added?

And while I'm asking questions - how did you get that amazing image clarity in #11 and those rich inky blacks in #17? Deep black in which the pixilation isn't at all visible is so hard to achieve.

(You took me by surprise with your Buffy submissions, btw! - I had no idea whose they were. Some lovely work with chiaroscuro and soft, muted colors - which probably should have tipped me off they were yours. What inspired you to work with Buffy exclusively this time around?)
- (Anonymous)
I like the top image. The shades of gold in the background makes the image.

Thanks so much sweetie! (And, wow, I was 150% certain I replied to this already, my bad.) I assume you mean the image in the gold frame? It goes very nicely with the image I think I appreciate it more now than when I made it the other day. I'm very glad you like them.
Beautiful work!
Love the details and the bokeh and the stunning lady that is Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Well done!

Happy holidays, sweetie!
Merry Christmas and joy to you, love! And thank you so much for the compliments to my work (and to the lady herself, she is easy on the eyes I'm glad you think I complimented her beauty.)
These are gorgeous have have such a talent for art. Happy Holidays to you too.
Lovely work. I especially like #2 and #5 the best. They feel like they could be hanging in on a wall on somebody's house.
They feel like they could be hanging in on a wall on somebody's house.

This makes my day because that is exactly what I was going for!

And my favorite changes daily - all my babies, does that work? *lol* I love putting up the different versions because everyone will have different favorites.
These are all really pretty! Still my favourite is the first one, because the warm gold is just so very "Buffy".
Thank you so much for the compliments!

the warm gold is just so very "Buffy".

I wasn't even thinking of it consciously at the time either but you're right, very much so - California sunshine girl, the symbol of light to Angel and Spike. I was initialy fonder of the paler versions but that one has grown on me - the light sepia one doesn't have the same meta associations.

And I adore Buffy anyway (Can you tell? *lol*) I've tried cooler toned versions and I don't think they work quite as well, there's something a bit "off" to them without some warmth.