I was playing with GIMP earlier, trying to produce a nice Halloweeny image that I might be able to sell at Redbubble. Here's what I came up with today.
I will explain to you how I came up with this image. It was quite simple, but it's only easy if you know how to do it. With all my mapmaking and cover making this year, I've learned a lot on how to make an image that I can be proud of, even when I didn't make any of the constituent parts myself.
Note: I only use free programs because I'm not gifted financially and I really can do almost everything I want to do with GIMP and Photoscape.
Finding suitable images for manipulation
How I wish I could produce all the images I wanted myself! However, this is not the case, so I head off to Google for an image search.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Not everything on Google is free!!! And not even everything listed under "labeled for reuse with modification" is fair game either. You have to learn about Creative Common licensing.
There are different levels of CC licensing with different attribution requirements. Since I'm looking for something I can actually sell, I decided I really wanted to use CC0 licensing, which means "no attribution required" - so that if I lose the source at some point, I don't immediately have to panic. Because I'm the type of person I am, I will still give attribution if possible.
For today's image, I am using these two pictures:
(Image from AliasLibrarian at Pixabay)
(Image from LisaLiza at Pixabay)
Basic photo editing
I started with the pumpkin patch which was going to be my background. The original photo lacks the vibrance that I wanted. No bold colors or anything, so I took it over to Photoscape (excellent and free photo manipulator) and used my standard edits. I try: autolevel, backlight and things like this, but the one that made the biggest difference today was the "color enhance" setting which I hit once or twice to really brighten the oranges in both the pumpkins and autumn leaves.
Now, I have this image:
More involved editing
The leaves picture was a lot more involved. Mainly, I needed an image that would have a transparent background to drape over my pumpkin patch. So, that means removing all the green and blurry leaves so that I have a nice, crisp image to use.
The first thing I did was to make sure I had an alpha channel on my image so that I could have a transparent background. I right clicked on the layer name, and selected "add alpha channel" - then, I could start deleting stuff.
There are several ways of deleting parts of your image in GIMP. The "select by color" tool can be very useful at times, as can the "fuzzy select" tool (magic wand.) I found in this case, because the colors were so variable, there were unacceptable smudges and fuzzies of color everywhere when I used these tools, so I eventually tried something else.
Instead, I ended up using the humble eraser at about 20 pixels and 400% magnification to gently pull the unwanted color away from the good leaves and stem.
When I finished with that, I used the "free select" tool (the lasso) to select the larger areas of unwanted color and deleted those.
Here is what I was left with:
it's not perfect, but the imperfections are well hidden by the pumpkins. It's definitely a usable image now!
I "open as layers" this image onto my pumpkin patch image, scale it to match the image, move it over and now I'm very happy with the image. The last thing I did was to enlarge it to about 300% so that it would fit on more products.
I did work with adding "Happy Halloween" and "Happy Harvest" on the image, but the products at RedBubble generally work better without the extra lettering. So, here's the final again:
Pumpkin Patch Harvest is now available in my RedBubble store!
author/designer at A'mara Books
photographer/graphic artist for Viking Visual
Crossposted to: Whaleshares and WeKu
Banner by @shai-hulud