Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Gill Man - Evolution, Part 1

Here is a random 2004 GOTG card to act as a reference point:

I started with this image cropped to the correct proportions:

The first step was to adjust the image background to be visible but faded. The first thing I did was use the Photoshop quick selection tool to select everything in the image except the Gill Man. Once that was accomplished, I added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. When you add an adjustment layer after making a selection, that layer only changes the area selected. With that layer, I cranked up the lightness, with the following result.

I left more detail in the image background than the real GOTG cards had, since the image was so iconic and I really wanted to have the heroine recognizable. Of course, the model card above had a more sepia tone to it. Luckily, the hue and saturation adjustment allows the image to be colorized. So, I clicked the colorize box, then adjusted the hue into the yellow range. At this point, I also softened the edges of the selection and added an embossing effect to bring in the shadow around The Gill Man. That took a lot of trial and error and I didn't do it in a way to save the intermediate step. So, all of the changes in this paragraph led to this result:

The next step was to add the border. This was fairly simple. I opened a real GOTG card image, scaled it up to the same size as my base image, then selected the border and hit Control-C to copy the selection. I went back to the Gill Man image, pasted it on.

This is where one of the weaknesses of my effort is noticeable. The border was at a different level of detail resolution which is blatantly obvious when you zoom in.

Next, I added the Fleer logo, and embellishment at the bottom, by using the lasso tool to select it on a real GOTG card then drop it into a new layer on my image.

Then I added a layer mask and used the pencil tool to mask out all the white space around the logo so the underlying image shows through:

I wasn't real happy how the logo looked at this point. So I cranked up the intensity of the red channel on the crown and lowered the brightness on the script to make it pop better:

The last part to complete the card front was to add text, which is a fairly simple thing to do. I had to make one change here. On the real cards, the text is in silver foil. But, that would not show up well in a digital image, so I decided to put the text in black. Also,the layout of the card led to a problem. Where the text went on top of the Gill Man, it disappeared:

To resolve this, I determined the "base" color of the card, since it wasn't pure white and dropped a solid layer of that color down over the top of the card. I then added a layer mask and basically brought the complete underlying image back in except for a one pixel border around the text where it crosses over the Gill Man's legs, so it can be more visible.

And that was it. The front of the card.

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