Profile Picture

Have you seen my new profile piccy? A moody black & white one – the larger version looks even better. Well, if only to prove how simple things can be, here are details on how it was done (and it means I don’t forget… stupid rubbish memory I have).

There are two versions of this photo, both of which are in various sizes. One has a Polaroid-style background, the other hasn’t.

First of all, here’s what you need (or rather what I needed – feel free to use your own alternatives)… one wife for camera duties, one old-ish Konica 5mp digital camera and an aging (but still perfectly fine) copy of Paintshop Pro 5.
Here’s what I did…

  1. Wearing a tatty old t-shirt, I turned it back-to-front so that the plain back was in view, rather than the crabby picture on the front.
  2. I sit on my landing sideways against the wall, looking side up towards the camera. Sitting because Jen takes the photo stood up (although a little crouched). Looking up means my face relaxes rather than bunches up (and saves you having multiple chins).
  3. Anyway, a number of photos are taken and I chose the best. The first thing I do is port it into PSP5 and chop out the relevant part (head and shoulders). At this point I realise that because of the angle, it wasn’t just wall behind me. Over my left shoulder is a large proportion of door jam, and interior of my bedroom. Arse. So I spent some time lifting sections of wall from elsewhere in the photo to patch over the top. A little bit of the smudging tool and you wouldn’t notice anything amiss. You might also notice some white “sparkles” – the joys of digital photography – so I have to remove those as well.
  4. Now I convert the image to black & white.
  5. Hmm, that nose is mind is looking a little shiny, so using a similar technique to the wall, I remove this by adding in different parts of the image.
  6. My eyes are said to be one of my most attractive facial features, so I decided to take advantage of this and make these colour. Initially, I tried to transfer the eyes from the original colour version of the photo onto this new black and white version. Unfortunately, my eyes also picked out a lot of surround colours, such as some bright blues and flashes of white light (not from the camera – the flash was off that). So plan B was to simply highlight (using the circling tool) the pupil and then colourise it. This worked a treat.
  7. And that’s it for the standard picture. For the Polaroid version, I found a blank Polaroid on the Stock.XCHNG website. This was angled so I first had to straighten it. Then I had to extend it’s length for my picture to fit onto it. Finally, I highlighted the surround of the polaroid before adding a drop shadow for effect.

Voila! How beautiful, eh? Hmm, that’s up for much debate, but it’s a reasonably good picture to use.


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