Saturday, April 18, 2015

Start of a big Photoshop weekend

With my return from spring break in Las Vegas (I did not have as wild of a time there as a lot of other people have, but I saw Blue Man Group at its third different Vegas location and was part of a piano bar party at New York-New York on the last night of my trip; sadly, Blondie [the make-believe one] didn't perform), I come back with the first of two posts this weekend dealing with personal Photoshop projects.

Up first is a new version of my Little Boy Records publicity poster.  This time I refer to Brittany Raylene by her "real" last name, to reflect how I feel about her in my heart.  Remember that I created the character due to my disillusionment with Britney Spears, the Louisiana country girl who strayed from her roots to become a provocative pop tart.  (Oh, by the way, Britney's got a Vegas connection too: a residency show at Planet Hollywood.)  This was more difficult than it looks: I had to isolate the original text from a static photo, erase the text, clone some of the "stars" back in, type "SPEARS," and resize it to match the original on a separate layer.  Fortunately, the same font I used to create the first version is also available in what I use at home.

A few weeks ago, I also dressed up Buddy Wayne as an Elvis impersonator.  I have stated that Elvis Presley is one of B.W.'s musical heroes, and this was his favorite Halloween costume as well.  The suit portion comes from a picture of a local impressionist in North Carolina I found in The Daily Record (Dunn, NC); I resized the head to match the proportion.

For my next post (hopefully late Saturday or early Sunday), I will present my biggest project ever - a colorized photo on a bucolic background with a whopping 35 people pictured.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Two of my characters bet on the Final Four

No picture montages for you this week, but I got a brainstorm this morning relating to the upcoming NCAA men's basketball Final Four, to start later today and continue Monday in Indianapolis.  In the first game, Michigan State will take on Duke at 6:09 p.m. Eastern time.  Forty minutes after the moment of conclusion will be game two between Wisconsin and Kentucky.  It's the latter game that has drawn the attention of the house.

Buddy Wayne is married to Brittany Raylene (Spears), a native of Beattyville, KY and by osmosis a huge fan of the Wildcats.  She hopes to attend the Final Four and sit next to, or at least near, the actress/superfan Ashley Judd.

In contrast, B.W.'s aunt Reba Pearl "Hambone" will be rooting for the Badgers.  Why?  The story goes back eight years, when Badgers head coach Bo Ryan did a hambone routine that was shown on ESPN during a game coming out of a commercial.  I would then have them perform together in July 2014 at a party following the "Big 10K," a series of 10- and 5-kilometer runs that promote the Big Ten Conference and Big Ten Network.  They would become each other's biggest fans and Ryan would offer Hambone tickets if UW made it back to the Final Four.  So I trust she would be at Lucas Oil Stadium as well, if she had also existed.

It has gone to the point where a bet has been made on tonight's game:
  • If Kentucky wins, Hambone has to wear a replica of Brittany's wedding dress from the renewal of vows as shown at the end of season 2.
  • If Wisconsin wins, B.W. has to learn a hambone routine and perform it in front of the entire house.

The wager results will be carried out on Monday morning just before the national championship game.  Good luck to all!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Playing dress-up with the Mommas again

The photo montage of five of the Barefoot Mommas Club members wearing Roman Originals dresses last week led me to another brainstorm, setting up this week's "picture."  It's also a bridge between my made-up "reality TV family" and an actual one.

Last fall, Sadie Robertson, part of the Duck Dynasty cast, made headlines for her second-place showing (with Mark Ballas) on the 19th season of Dancing with the Stars.  Robertson, the daughter of Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson and the former Korie Howard, has also been concerned about the suggestive look of many prom dresses.  In 2013, she struck a deal with professional designer Sherri Hill for a new line of dresses called "Live Original"; these are billed as "daddy approved."  They debuted at the famous fashion week in New York City.

For this montage, I started with this picture taken in downtown Long Beach, CA.  I copied it from the teacher file of Nabawia Oliveira, teacher at ABC Adult School and founder of the ABC Film Festival.  I retained the fountain in the foreground and had Brandy, Annie, Brenda, and Jennifer stand in front of it.  One of the Sherri Hill dresses (found in this file) was made into four different ones, using hue/saturation and curves layers just as I adapted the Roman Original dresses before.  After that I posed them in roughly the circular pattern suggested by the fountain.  To match the heads with their faces, I used curves layers on the arms of the dresses.

The backdrop was replaced by these elements via separate layers:
  • On the left is the "Pink House," the home of M. Vinson Barefoot that I chronicled in this post two years ago. (I gave the character one name, then renamed it, so the page title is unfortunately inconsistent.)  The house was originally white and came from a Brady Poirier teacher file; I used hue/saturation and curves to change the color.
  • On the right is a continuation of the sky from the Pink House layer, and grass from two different sources.  Above the grass is a farm house and grain mill, which also came from Poirier.  I lightened it up with brightness/contrast.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

More Mommas stuff as old meets trendy

Remember the furor earlier this month over a dress because, it seemed, the entire world argued over what color it was?  Although I chose not to participate myself, I did ask where the dress came from.  Well, someone I know on a forum connected to the sports media coverage website the506 (registration required) gave me not only a picture of a dress similar to the one that caused the uproar, but also named the company that made it: Roman Originals.  The company reports that sales have quadrupled since the picture was first placed on Twitter (but of course).

Once I saw "the dress," I sought a way to have the Barefoot Mommas' Club model it.  Well, here it is, with Elma, Jennifer, Brandy, Brenda, and Annie in front of the "bridge too far" creek.  The photo is straightforward, except that I had to use the warp tool in transform to make sure Elma was facing sideways based on the pose of her face.

As for the colors, there are no questions on any of them.  I started with the blue dress my fellow the506 member gave me, then changed the colors of the other four using two adjustments.  For all four of the non-blue dresses, hue and saturation was the basis of the color change; for the yellow and bright red, curves adjustments were also used.

Here it is as the old school moms pay tribute to what's hot online.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Barefoot Mommas Club doubles in size!

Occasionally over the few years of this blog's existence, I have chronicled the Barefoot Mommas Club, a group of women that meet to make crafts, share stories, and have fun.  At first, I limited the group to the four
oldest females who live in the farm house - Brenda, Annie, Jennifer, and Brandy.  As a reminder, here they are quilting.

I then tripled the membership to 12 for a 1920s-themed party; I added Rozelle, Elma, Ila Ruth, Allene, Patsy, Janice, Betty Lou, and Myrtle, as seen here.

That was it for me - until I saw a book in both a local library and at Barnes & Noble called Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen.  It's one of the many literary offerings by members of the Robertson family as seen on the A&E series Duck Dynasty.  On page 150 of that book is a "muffins for moms" group photo.  Among those in the photo is Kay Carroway Robertson a/k/a Miss Kay, wife of Phil, mother of Willie, Jase, and Jep, and sister-in-law of Si. (Here's how an invitation to such an event typically looks like.)

I ended up creating a "copy of a copy" by taking a photograph of that page at Barnes & Noble.  In addition, store lighting reflected off the picture; I tried all I could but every part of the store had that lighting.  All these led to a picture-quality problem that I have to apologize for - and also had to work around.   I did so with the clone stamp tool and a slight brightening of my copy.

Once that was done, I substituted the four original members, the eight from my first expansion, and 12 new "characters" from another expansion for the people in Miss Kay's group.  The new "mommas" are Michelle (someone I identified as "ldbaltimore," but could not determine her real name), Deborah (Anne Marie Dingleberry of Endicott, NY), Lela Pearl (Taylor Barefoot, Four Oaks, NC), Rowena (Jennifer Brister), Mary Lee (Rebecca Matter, CEO of American Writers and Artists Incorporated), Barbara (real estate agent Robinette McLeroy), Pam (Mindy McHorse, professional copywriter and publisher of, ironically, The Barefoot Writer), Rhonda (British recording artist Susan Boyle), Teresa (Diane Dubois, city council member here in Lakewood, CA), Parlia (Mrs. Sam Patton, wife of a Southern gospel artist), Alma (Brenda MacDonald), and Beth (Elizabeth Barefoot).

Here is the splendid result:

This is the largest group photo montage I've ever made, as well as the most challenging.  But as long as everyone in it is happy, I don't mind at all!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gone Barefoot 50-state special: The West

Here is the final part of a four-part series about a mythical episode of Gone Barefoot, which would be a two-hour clip special with highlights of the series' runs symbolizing all 50 of the United States and Washington, D.C.  This post details the 13 westernmost states of our country.

Mountain states
  • New Mexico - Bryson acts out his Western-movie fantasies in Showdown at Las Positas. (Season 4, episode 3)
  • Colorado - Bobby Ray and Jennifer join members of the U.S. military in watching a college basketball game in South Korea. [The state is home of the Air Force Academy, Fort Carson, and NORAD among other facilities.] (Season 5, episode 2)
  • Wyoming - Ralph tries on a loincloth as part of a weekend of prehistoric hunting and gathering. (Season 3, episode 1)
  • Montana - Bryson is treated to a night of old Western movies thanks to a big screen and a generator. (Season 2, episode 7)
  • Idaho - Ralph reveals her crush with Beatha McCaughtry, performer at the Irish dance show in the New Jerusalem.  [Ireland and Idaho are both famed for their potatoes.] (NBS)
  • Utah - Popeye visits the hall of records in Johnston County to answer his questions about Barefoot family history. (Season 1, episode 5)
  • Nevada - Belinda marries two of her dolls: Sarah Michelle MacSmelliefoote and Benjamin Jeremiah Boogerberger. (Season 1, episode 6)
  • Arizona - Hambone and her chaperone Ralph pass pre-show time by visiting a nature preserve in the Golan Heights, which has a similar climate and ecosystem. (Season 5, episode 6)

Pacific states
  • California - The Honey Bees, a "lip rock" group that includes Hambone and B.W.'s cousin Beth, perform at a special youth event. [This symbolizes the youth and reinvention associated with the "Golden State," which I know so well as a lifelong resident.] (Season 4, episode 6)
  • Oregon - Bryson's dream treehouse opens. (Season 3, episode 2)
  • Washington - Belinda and Bryson engage in their first apple-picking contest.  (Season 1, episode 3)
  • Alaska -  The family makes quilts, blankets, and even footwear to prepare for winter. (Season 3, episode 6)
  • Hawaii - B.W. surprises the house by dressing as Elvis Presley for a show, and in fact even wears a lei to honor his comeback show in 1968. (NBS)
Thanks for taking this journey with me!

One other thing to tell you about: I am working on another group photograph, and it's the biggest to date.  I have doubled the size of the Barefoot Mommas' Club to 24, and their new "publicity photo" is based on one which contains a reality TV star.  I will work on it in the coming week and show it to you all late Friday or overnight Saturday next week.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Gone Barefoot 50-state special: Midwest

This is part three of what I now know is a four-part series dealing with a mythical episode of Gone Barefoot honoring its 50th episode by re-airing scenes dedicated to every state in America.  The Midwestern states are the subject of this post.

Great Lakes states
  • Ohio - Lil' Jack intercepts a pass to seal a victory for the family's football team in its debut at its new stadium.  (Season 4, episode 7)
  • Michigan - For Christmas, Buddy Wayne receives a street-legal version of a NASCAR "Generation 6" race car.  (Season 1, episode 13)
  • Indiana - B.W., Bobby Ray, and Bunky battle for the family go-kart title at Matt's American Boardwalk in the New Jerusalem. (Season 5, episode 7)
  • Illinois - B.W. introduces bean blossoms to his property.  (Season 1, episode 11)
  • Wisconsin - Brandy and her cow Ellie take on Hambone and her cow Mildred in a spirited milking contest.  (Season 1, episode 2)
  • Minnesota - Hambone climbs onto a freeway overpass and shows a very provocative sign which actually has an innocent meaning that's only apparent when one really reads the fine print.  [She shows "loon-y" behavior, get it?] (NBS)

Great Plains states
  • North Dakota - The Barefoot Mommas' Club stages a flapper party. [Much of the music reminds one of Lawrence Welk's bandleader music; Welk was born in Strasburg.] (Season 3, episode 8)
  • South Dakota - Belinda recites the list of presidents like those at Mount Rushmore. (NBS)
  • Nebraska - Bobby Ray shows how he deals with slaughtering cattle. (Season 1, episode 7)
  • Kansas - Ralph finds a bounty of grains in the briar patch during the "roots of man" weekend. (Season 3, episode 1)
  • Missouri - Brenda shares her recipe for an "all-in-one" barbeque sauce, using influences from various styles of BBQ, including those of Kansas City and St. Louis. (Season 3, episode 2)
  • Iowa - Harvey makes his professional mixed martial arts debut. [Many MMA fighters have backgrounds in wrestling, which is a statewide passion.] (Season 5, episode 2)
Next week, I'll go out west to my home region.