Sometimes seeing the process of manipulating an image into a composition is as fascinating as the final result. I have always wanted to show how a composition evolves.
Ok, so the first step is to find an image of a house that is a good candidate to look haunted. I Googled "Victorian house" and after a few pages I came across this fella. It looks to be in very good shape and the vegetation is living, but we can fix those "issues" later. COPY and PASTE!
Step 2 was to remove all of that annoying blue sky. I also removed the neighbors on the right and the tree branches. There are way more sinister looking trees in cyberspace...
Now, about that sky. I have big plans for the sky in this scene so I needed to find an image that was striking but wasn't so contrasting that it would feel out of place with the house. This was my choice.
Ok, the house and the clouds have been formerly introduced. They will get to know each other better as time goes on. For now, direct your eyes to that little tree in front of the doorway. It has to go. In my opinion, it is right in the way.
The way I remove the tree is through the use of a tool called the "Clone Stamp". Basically, the clone stamp allows me to paint over an area of the image with other areas of the image. When used properly, you can hardly tell anything was altered.
The little tree next to the steps has been reduced to a small shrub. Later on I'm thinking of some gnarly ivy vines climbing those banisters. I added the door from an image of I found by going to Google images and typing "Victorian door" - go figure. The detail work is not perfect, but I don't care too much this early on. Now that I have a fairly unobstructed house to work on, its time to age it so its not so pretty.
The Paint is beginning to peel and chip. The shingles are mildewing and the plaster is starting to crack. The house is Starting to look like it's been abandoned long enough for a few ghosts to move in.
Second phase of aging the house. Broken windows and boards. Water damage. Collapsing roof. The porch is on its last legs as well.
After another round of aging, it was time to start developing a context for the house to exist in. This is where the creativity really comes into play. After messing around with a few ideas, this is a rough idea of the vision I am going to run with. To me, it still feels like a bunch of different pictures pasted together, but as we start adding color and lighting, it will feel more intertwined.
Almost done. Darkened the house, refined the lightning. added mist on the ground and a little reflection off the trees. A few more things and this will be finished.
The final product. I wanted to give the image one spot of contrasting light to counter all of the blue in the image. The illuminated room in the top serves as an interesting focal point and adds to the mystery of the image. (probably why most pictures of a hunted house have one) I could probably sit here all day and add little tweeks here and there but as an artist, you have to find a point to call it quits. Here seems to be a good place.
Hopefully, this album give a little insight into the process of manipulating a bunch of random images into one creative composition. If you can see the fascination in it, then you know why it is my favorite pastime.