Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Multiply yourself!

What are we going to do here?
We take photographs of ourselves at the same place. After this we load them into the image editing software Gimp and with the help of layers and masks, we make it look as if we exist several times, like twins of triplets.

Before going into Gimp and doing the magic you have to take photographs of yourself.

  • Choose a place where the light does not change over the time you take your photographs. When going outside this means clear sunshine or a reliable clouded sky, which is also good at daytime in any room with windows. Inside it just means set up your lighting and do not change it.                                          
  • Stabilize you camera, which preferably means any tripod construction. If this is not available put your camera on the top of a desk, cupboard, wall ... and once done do not move it anymore.                             
  • Mind using the automatic mode of your camera. If you have a really good camera with really good automatic adjustments to the lighting situation this might work out. Still, often cameras adjust in slightly different ways per photograph which causes that the representation of yourself shows you in different light. In extreme this may be one is light, one dark, one is blueish the other yellowish. This may look good, but generally it does not and you do not achieve the effect that you exist more than once. The illusion is simply down. You can not betray our experience we have made with light and that we sort this out anywhere in our head. So inform yourself about using manual modes if they exist.                           
  • Position yourself various times in the area that can be scanned by your camera and shoot. How? Use if ever possible a remote control to leave the camera in a stable position, otherwise use the self timer of your camera or ask a friend to take the photographs, but take good care on not moving the camera. This would cause visible displacements when you start editing.                                                         
  • When you have your photographs save them so that you can access them for the editing phase.

Here I provide a Gimp  tutorial on how you can place yourself several times in one picture.

First open two of your pictures you have taken to show yourself repeated on one photograph:

  • Go to the File Menu and choose Open.
  • Again go to the File Menu and chose Open as Layer.

Now you have two pictures on two layers. On your screen you can see the picture on the top layer. We now want to make part of the underneath picture visible. For this editing software solutions are providing Masks. You can add a mask to any picture and manipulate which part of the picture is visible and which not.
For this tutorial it is important that you use a mask of white color, which means the picture is fully visible. If you now paint with black color on you mask, you make part of it transparent, which means part of the picture underneath becomes visible.

 Now we will add a mask:
  • Right click on the top layer and choose Add Layer Mask. (You can also find this in the Layer Menu)
  • In the pop up window choose white (full opacity).
  • Click the Add button.

Next we will choose the brush tool and we will make sure that the chosen color is black. You also have to set the size of the brush.
Then you reduce the opacity of the top layer, so that you can see something of the underneath picture.
(Don't forget to reset the opacity to 100% when you have finished the masking.)
Finally you will paint on the mask to make parts of the picture transparent which causes that parts of the underneath picture become visible.

  • Go to the toolbox and choose the Brush Tool.
  • Make sure the foreground color is Black, which is also the color of your brush.
  • Set an appropriate brush size.
  • In the layer window set the opacity to 70%.
  • In the picture window with the brush paint over the parts where you are in the second picture, so that these parts become visible. (This will appear black on the mask.)
  • (Be sure you have clicked the mask preview in the layer window, not the picture preview. Otherwise you paint black on your picture.) 

To make one picture out of the two layers you have to merge them. (You may like making further adjustments to make the two pictures look more alike in color and/or light before merging them.)

  • Set the opacity back to 100%.
  • Right Click the top layer and choose Merge Down.
  • Save.
Repeat the above steps as often as you want to place a variation of yourself in the image.

Go on and share your image!

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