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.

Posted by David Artiss

Enterprise Happiness Engineer for the WordPress VIP team at Automattic. Gamer, film lover and general fan of all things Marvel, Star Trek and Star Wars. Failed comedian. Writer for The Big Tech Question. World's Greatest Grandma.

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