|Green and Purple Coleus Leaves|
Not that this image is very interesting in and of itself, but I saw possibilities here, so I loaded it into GIMP and started playing around with G'MIC filters. I eventually hit on a filter that simply created a mirror image of half of the photo.
|Mirror Image of Coleus Leaves|
What jumped out at me was the apparent figure in the middle that looked like it had the head of an owl, two wings spread out to the sides, and a long decorated torso. My next step was to use a layer mask to cut this figure out. Since it was symmetric, I masked off only the left side.
|Masking Off the Totem Figure|
Then I used New from Visible to create a new layer, copied the left side and pasted it, used Layer > Transform > Flip Horizontally to create a right side, then merged the two layers after aligning them properly.
Next I had to decide on an image size and come up with a background. I picked a 1 to 1.4 ratio (5x7) for the size. Then I took the original photo, rotated it 90 degrees, used the Gaussian Blur filter on it, and then did Colors > Invert. That gave me this:
Not terribly interesting, but again, there are possibilities. Back into G'MIC with this layer. I found two filter results that I liked.
|[G'MIC] Circle transform :|
|[G'MIC] Fish-eye : -fisheye 50,50,70,1|
I put the fisheye layer on top of the circle transform layer and added a layer mask to the fisheye layer with a black radial gradient in the center to expose the rays on the layer underneath, resulting in the following:
I didn't want a sharp edge between the totem and the background, so I added a purple glow around the totem. These are the steps I took:
- Created a new transparent layer beneath the totem layer.
- Switched to the totem layer and used the Select by Color tool to select the transparent background.
- Switched back to the transparent layer and used CTRL+I to invert the selection.
- Used Select > Grow to grow the selection (somewhere around 20 pixels).
- Filled the selection with a shade of purple that I picked off of the totem with the Color Picker tool.
- Used Filters > Blur > Gaussian blur to blur the glow (after removing the selection).
- Set the opacity of the glow layer to 60.
Then I did some minor repair on the totem layer using the Clone tool and ran that layer through a G'MIC smoothing filter to make it a little easier on the eyes.
[G'MIC] Smooth [anisotropic] :
|Smoothed Totem on Final Background Base|
The image was getting interesting, but it still needed more work. The background was a bit too boring. I decided to go with a vignette, so I used the Ellipse Select tool to create an oval around the totem and, on a new layer above the totem layer, inverted the selection and filled it with a dark purple. I changed the layer mode to Darken only and set the layer opacity to 19.
Using the same ellipse selection on a new layer above the vignette, I filled the center with white and set the layer mode to Soft light with a layer opacity of 16. This brightened up the background behind the totem and made more of a contrast with the vignette.
I wanted more of a defined edge between the light oval and the darker tones outside it, so I used a couple of layer effects to create two inner glow rings around the white oval. These layer effects are from a GIMP plug-in that I installed.
Layer Effects by Jon Stipe: http://registry.gimp.org/node/186I recommend the Python version because it has more features than the Script-Fu version. It installs at Layer > Layer Effects.
And, as a final touch, I added a transparent layer where I put two small green radial gradients to be glowing eyes in the face of the totem.
|Coleus Spirit Totem – Final Image|
Even though this process has been presented in a straight-forward manner, I didn't go through all these steps this rigidly. There was a lot of experimenting and discarding of things that didn't work. What I've described above was everything that turned out to be useful in creating the final image. The important thing in this process is to play around trying various things until you feel happy with the result. Since I had no goal in mind when I started, I didn't so much finish the image, I just basically stopped working on it when I was pleased with the way it looked.
Prints are available at Redbubble.