Photoshop is one of those applications that many people can certainly take for granted, and a lot of designers that have it could probably get away with using something a *lot* less powerful for their every day needs, myself included. However every once in a while (seems like a great while lately), I’ll get to catch up, stretch my legs, and bear witness to the truly awesome power that is Adobe.
Long story short, I was working on a recent cover test for one of my employer’s mail pieces. The copywriter provided headline & body text, and a general idea for an image. The piece had to do with the subject of aging and (ahem) virility, and the original stock photo chosen showed an older couple in bed with a bowl of cereal:
The only problem was that the female subject in the photo didn’t quite have the exact ‘look’ my editors wanted for the piece. I volunteered to perform what we refer to in-house as a “head-ectomy” on the image. A colleague did a little photo research and found this as a replacement:
While the head angle works when I flip the photo, you can see that the skin tone needed some work. And since the copy of the piece had to do with ginko biloba possibly assisting with (ahem) virility problems, the cereal needed to be replaced as well. An earlier draft included a pile of ginko leaves in the bowl, but after brief consideration (who eats a bowl of leaves?) it was replaced again by a cup of tea — ginko tea, to be exact. Take a look at the final product:
As you can see, I also had to alter things like the color of her hair, as well as the tone of her lips. I also removed the earring, because being completely made up in bed is something exclusively reserved for soap operas.
The biggest obstacle when you do any work like this is making the body part you’re using as a replacement blend in with the rest of the old body. Some of the trickiest work I had to do was in the area where the face meets the neck, because not only did I have to deal with a different skin tone but a completely different skin texture as well. The original woman had a much more ‘leathery’ look on her face and throat area, while the replacement woman’s skin was significantly smoother. If I wasn’t careful about it, the head would definitely have looked ‘pasted’ on.
I like to think that the final photo could fool a few people — the only detail that still bothers me is the slight blur on parts of her face and hair. The original seems to have a bit sharper focus in that area. I think in the process of tweaking the hue of her skin and blending some of the wrinkles on her face, I may have made that area a bit too ‘soft’.
But hey, that tea cup looks DAMN good.