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I Ink, Therefore I Stained

May 17, 2011

For a recent self-promo piece, I had myself sitting in a puddle of ink. Here’s that
part of the final.

Scroll down to see how the puddle and the reflected light effects were created.
Mark Armstrong caricature, ink bottle, sponge, bucket, and wet floor sign in a puddle of ink

Here’s the image before I added the puddle:Mark Armstrong caricature sitting on floor and pulling light switch

I used the Pen tool to draw the puddle, and saved the resulting path. Then I used the Direct Selection tool to select points on the path and tweak its shape until I liked the way it looked. Then I filled it with Black.  Mark Armstrong caricature sitting in black ink puddle

To add some extra humor, I googled certain images, converted them to Photoshop files at 300 dpi, then used the Pen tool to extract the various objects. I pasted them into my image, and added a bit of ink stain to the bottom edge of the objects, putting the stains on a separate layerMark Armstrong caricature, ink bottle, sponge, bucket, and wet floor sign in black ink puddle

At this point, the puddle looked very two-dimensional and unconvincing. I knew it needed some reflected light effects, but wasn’t sure how to proceed. So I googled “ink stain” and “oil spill,” and found this stock illustration. I liked the reflections on the oil spill, and decided to use the image as a guide.stock illustration of oil drum in a puddle of spilt oil

The first step was to create reflections for the various objects, as follows: Select each object in turn: the ink bottle, the sponge, etc. (They were all on separate layers.) Copy the object, paste it onto a new layer.

Desaturate the copy, then apply a Levels adjustment, moving the gray (middle) slider in the image histogram to the left to lighten the image. Rotate the copy approximately 180 degrees, and move it into position directly below the original object.Mark Armstrong, ink bottle, sponge, bucket, and wet floor sign in ink puddle with objects reflected in the puddle

Next step: apply a very narrow line of white (light) along the front edge of the puddle.

Steps: I selected the path of the puddle, and applied a Black brushstroke about 20 pixels wide. That made the puddle a little larger. Then I selected the same path again, and applied a White brushstroke of about 10 pixels. This gave me a white line around the entire perimeter of the puddle. I erased the portion of the line that ran along the back edge, and was left with a white line along the front edge.

I then used the Pen tool to draw a small semicircle near the right edge of the puddle. Using an elliptical-shaped brush tilted at an angle (trial and error), I stroked the resulting path with White, giving me an extra curved bit of reflected light.

Mark Armstrong, ink bottle, sponge, bucket, and wet floor sign in ink puddle with puddle giving off reflected light

Final step: select the puddle and apply a linear gradient from right to left, using foreground color = White, at low opacity. Here’s the final again. If you scroll back
up
and compare the results to the oil barrel stock image, you’ll see that we’ve achieved
a pretty faithful recreation of the reflected light effects seen in the stock image.Mark Armstrong caricature, ink bottle, sponge, bucket, and wet floor sign in a puddle of ink

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2011 11:29 PM

    You are so talented that you blow my mind.

    Like

    • June 2, 2011 6:59 AM

      Compliments like that blow my mind!!

      Especially when your own expertise is so enormous. Thanks so much for your support!! : )

      Like

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