Self Portrait in the Bath (yes, really) – The back story

by JB on February 2, 2011

There’s no point living in denial, a week after breaking a bone in my foot, tearing tendons and other stuff that can be summed up with a loud CRACK! I have a bit of cabin fever. The plaster cast is off, I have a nice medical ‘walker’ boot that takes the strain and relieves the pain. I’m not supposed to be doing too much. Doctors orders. That means lots of elevated leg to reduce swelling, lots of ‘rest’, and short walks with the dog to give it some exercise. I have a fabulous limp out of all proportion to the pain (the walker boot is built up making for a natural limp).

Trying to stave off cabin fever I’m setting myself some tasks, details after the image.
Viewing on an iOS device? Click here.

The challenge was just for fun but would ideally make use of, and sharpen, my Photoshop work……………….


It’s my way of turning on its head a popular trend.

Apps are fabulous- Hipstamatic and Instagram being just 2 camera apps for the iPhone. They do all sorts of things to make crappy mobile images look a bit better than they actually are by adding effects, filters, textures and so on. Even the most thoughtless capture can be made to look ‘arty’.
What I’m trying to do is take a sharp, technically competent image and make it look like a cheapo one.

It’s all in the software.

As you can see below the original image is clean, neutral and natural. My reflection in the overflow is distorted but that gives a nice touch of reality to it.
iOS devices view it here

In Photoshop I added 3 texture layers – some wood grain, some stone and some scratches. I dialed down the opacity ensuring we could still see the original image underneath. I also used the eraser brush on the layers so the face didn’t get too distorted or obscured. (It is supposed to be a self portrait after all).
Additional layers included some colour filters to warm AND cool areas of the image. A selective colour layer on the skintones. An old polaroid film frame layer, a curves layer and a sharpen layer. Oh yeah, finally, a bit of drop shadow. Drop shadow is considered a bit passe but I don’t like to go with the flow.

That’s a lot of layers going into an iPhone app style image.

Does it work? You decide.
Is it more Hipstamatic than Instagram? Or another App entirely? Again, you decide.

Leave a comment below, tweet me, facebook me, email me or, shock horror, you can even talk to me. It’ll ease the cabin fever somewhat!

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