Being in a particularly gracious mood, I did this image for my friend Charsi to send across to his fiance. And carrying on the philanthropic drive, here I explain to you how I did it.The source image is from the same session as this and this. It’s a fairly simple image of Charsi, lit from camera right with a Vivitar 285hv through an umbrella. There is another Vivitar 285hv (bare) at camera left (slightly behind the subject) to give some outline to the left side of the image.
Open up the image of Charsi. If you do not know him, or for some reason, refuses to pose for strange photography enthusiasts who keep mailing him with the subject line: Proposal for Sad photo session with FlickrAddict123′, any other particularly melancholic individual, gazing into the middle-distance in the general direction of the camera should be okay (at this moment, anyone from Wall Street in any pose would do – recent developments ensure that they look nowhere but the middle-distance. Oh, and you might also want to steer clear of places where you’re likely to find happy people, like in a bingo hall or a park). Duplicate this layer – I’m awesomely confident about my PS skills, everyday I find new ways of messing up a perfectly decent photograph. If you are as adventurous as I am, you can continue working on the original layer. Name the duplicate layer ‘I’m a sissy’.
On the sissy layer, do all the cool stuff with the curves, saturation and color balance, till your ego is massaged enough to consider yourself a PS pro. Make sure that you have some dark portion in your image (more on this later).
Now for the background. Add some texture to your background. Add a layer mask, and paint out the melancholic stock-broker so that you can see his face through all the mess (how true). Play around with the opacity of the texture layer so that it doesn’t look like a close-up of a Van Gogh painting (you might be a Van Gogh fan, but you are almost certainly not talented enough to pass off thick layers of paint as work of art). You might also play around with the different blending mode. Here, you can let go off the edge of your desk, as these changes are perfectly reversible. Once done, lean back and wait for someone to walk into the room and say something like I’ll be damned, you’re a genius.’ Do not, I repeat, DO NOT proceed further till this happens.
Detour: We need a nifty calendar hanging on the wall behind the broker. For this, you can use any image of a calendar. But being the perfectionist that you are, you might want to use an image you yourself have taken, and make a calendar out of it using FD Flickr Toys. The website is self-explanatory. Once done, you would want to add a bit of texture to the calendar to give it a more realistic look. A quick and dirty way of doing it is to open a new blank layer (ensure your foreground – background colours are default black and white; for this, just click D). Now, go to filter> Render> Clounds. Repeat this a couple of more times. Now, pull down the opacity of this layer; play around with the different blending options (for me, Hard Light seems to work fine), and you are done. Also, add a page curl to one of the bottom edges.
Now, open up the calendar file, and copy it as a layer onto the main file. Resize it, and place it such that some part of it is behind the stock broker. Rotate it a bit so that it does not appear geometrically perfect. Erase or mask out this bit such that it appears as if the calendar is on the Van Gogh wall and the sad broker’s body is obstructing your view of it. Now, in order to relieve your viewers of the anguish of trying to figure out as to why would anyone have a calendar painted off the wall, right click on the calendar layer, and go to blending options. Add an awesome drop shadow. Get some coffee.
Now, add a wet pane texture onto the top of the pile, and play around with the opacity and blending mode. After this, get your eraser out and delete out some text from the new later to make it appear as if the text has been written on the pane. If you’re using a stock-broker image, here is a suggestion:
There we go. You now are the proud creator of your very own Sad Stock Broker! Congratulations!
Note: Wet Pane Texture courtesy Grégory Millasseau