Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cropping Photos for Fun and Design

Cropping Photos for Fun and Design

Probably the first time you cropped a photo in a creative way, you cut around a desired subject to eliminate a distracting background. It probably looked like this:

Now you may want to refine this technique to have a little fun with creating a fantasy photo.

1. Choosing your tools: If you are not comfortable with a craft knife now is the time to learn. You may use any kind of craft knife that you want. There are several different kinds of blades for some craft knives. A swivel-blade allows you to cut around curves better, but some people find a straight blade that is larger is easier to control. Whichever you choose, be sure to get extra blades and change often. You will also need a self-healing mat. These come in many different sizes, some as small as a postcard, some as large as a tabletop. Scissors will not give you the 45-degree angle that can be camouflaged.

2. Choosing the photo to silhouette: When you choose a photo to create a silhouette, try to choose a picture in which the whole subject is showing. If body parts are "cut off" or extending beyond the frame of the photo, you will make the placement on your final layout more complicated. You will also want to choose carefully so that nothing is extending into the part you want to keep, like the arm of another person or a foreground object.

3. Cutting around a subject: Pierce the photo with the point of the knife, being sure the point contacts the mat underneath. Keep the blade at a 45-degree angle to the photo so the thickness of the figure will be minimized. Then gently pull the blade toward you and to the left or right, depending on your handedness. Keep moving the photo NOT THE KNIFE. You will find using a knife makes it fairly easy to cut out areas inside the figure.

4. Refining the edges: When you have the figure cut out look at the edges closely under a good light. With an Emery board, file of any points where you prefer a rounded look, "burrs" where you might have pulled rather than cut, places where you did not cut close enough and the old background still shows. Remember to keep the 45-degree angle when you touch the edge up. Then take a brush pen in a color to match the figure. Touch the pen tip along the edges so the figure will blend into the background you choose.

5. Background: Place the figure into the background you choose and adhere. Carefully along the edges of the figure. Embellish for a fantasy look with stickers. If you wish.

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