This is a very quick tutorial I have cobbled together for those using stock images who want enhance their photos. My method isn’t perfect, many imperfections can be seen where I didn’t finish off this or that, but if it weren’t for a before and after shot, your eyes would probably accept the final image. More advanced photo editors will spot areas that needed to be cleaned up and adjusted more. But this is a start in the right direction for you to play around with your photos more and what you might do.
I started out with a stock image I took earlier today on location. I took a photo from another blog post of myself, prior to editing, and very, very roughly cut myself out. Had I taken a specific shot for this tutorial and a blog post on it, I would have green screened, or taken more effort to emulate some of the tones of the lighting used in the stock image. But that’s not always neccessary, I just like to cut out the middle man as much as possible and do most of it inworld. I made a copy of my stock image, and cut out the upper right hand corner’s leaves all the way to the tree itself. I then removed much of the sky between the leaves as quickly as I could, and then enlarged it so it would take up my entire avatar. I then made two copies, I played with the transparency, and multiplied them over my avatar. I had to reduce the brightness of my avatar as it stuck out like a sore thumb, while to my eye I can tell the avatar was not part of the shot, I still need to keep it a bit brighter as I would be blogging the outfit, and it needs to be seen. I could reduce the brightness much more to make it blend in and it becomes nearly a different photo. When doing this, keep in mind where your lighting is in your stock image and how it would effect your avatar when you take the avatar photo. Try to mimic the same lighting in your studio.
Always keep in mind what you want to show. Don’t be afraid to cut out, or use overlay’s creatively. For stock images, you can always go out on location and take your own, or use stock images from the Second Life Stock Images flickr group. I have also prepared another image using some overlays from Insight Designs to show some effects. I used, if I recall correctly, at least 2 0r 3 overlays from Insight Designs, above. Here’s a link to the earlier blog post for that image, done completely different with no overlays. Here’s a link to another quick tutorial on using stock images and playing with brightness, and contrast in a couple of programs. If you use any stock images from the group, please leave a note and a link on the stock image you used, so we can see what you did with it! Oh, and if you want details on the first outfit, see the earlier blog post on it here. If you have more tips, tricks, and links to more tutorials people might like, please leave a comment to share them. I will be checking back regularly to moderate them so they post.