competition technique underwater

BSoUP Lionfish

I was very pleased to come 4th in the BSoUP competition this month – the theme was “Photoshop Bonanza” . The brief was to be creative with image editing software like Photoshop. You can see the other winning images on the BSoUP Website Here.

I decided to try emulating Michael Aw’s Amazing Van Gogh Style Images which I saw via Facebook last year in which the backgrounds are reminiscent of the eddys found on the surface of a stream or the way smoke moves under the slightest breeze.

Lionfish and Silversides abstract

A bit of research lead me to understand that “pixel bender”, an add-on tool for use in Photoshop, would help me create the sort of image I was after. A LOT more research made me realise that this tool was very difficult to come by! Apparently, it’s built into the latest version of Photoshop but I found it impossible to find something which worked on previous versions!

The deadline for entries into BSoUP competitions is midnight and it was approaching that time fast so I figured I’d have to just crack on and create my image manually!
I had several candidate images but I selected an image I took in Nuweiba last year… Since there were a lot of lionfish and a big school of bait-fish hanging around, I’d tried to capture An Image Similar To Those Which Alex Tattersall Had So Much Success With.

Although I don’t think I really got the original photograph I was after, I still got some images and for the competition, I chose one which I thought would withstand manipulation… My intention was to keep the prominent subject sharp, perhaps enhancing the colours and contrast a little, whilst blurring the background with swirl patterns. The uniform pattern created by the bait-fish lent itself well to the technique I was trying to apply… I set to work using the smudge tool to drag the background ink with my cursor. I started trying to create swirl patterns but I found it tricky because the baitfish blurred too much… I felt I’d already managed to create a sense of movement which I liked so I continued the effort. The fish were “dragged” but were still recognisable.

So, I’ve ended up with an image I quite like but not really similar to what I set out to achieve. Having said that, I enjoyed the process of manipulating the image and I learned a lot in the process. I don’t think I’ll be doing it with all my photos just yet but it’s a useful tool to have for the future.

Hope you like the image as much as I do and if you voted for it at the BSoUP meeting this month, then I thank you!! 🙂

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