Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Match Made In DreamWorks?

Wow, it has been a long time since I updated this thing. Yeah, life has been busy around here to say the least. Thanksgiving Break was good; we had T-day dinner with a family from our church and I definitely did the whole early-morning Friday shopping thing. I went to bed about 1:30 Thursday night and got up at 3:45am. I was about number 200 in line at Best Buy when I arrived there at 4:25, but I was able to get the two items I was there for (an external hard drive and a cheap spindle of DVD+Rs). Then I was about number 12 at RadioShack for their 6am opening and was one of the seven people who managed to get the $10 Bluetooth Headset (normally $70). I need the hard drive so I can backup my Tablet’s hard drive; if it ever crashes I’m dead because my class notes and pretty much everything else is on it. My cell phone doesn’t support Bluetooth, so I can’t use it there, but I’ve found it’s great to use with Skype on my Tablet. It also works as headphones for the Tablet, so I can sit here at work and have sound without bothering any of the patrons, then, if anyone calls me on Skype, I can answer the phone and walk around the library and talk without being changed to the computer with headphone wires.

Anyways, I wanted to share with you a (not so) little Photochopping project I’ve been working on. No, that’s not a typo, Photochop is another term for “Photoshopping” a picture (aka, editing a picture in Adobe PhotoShop or a similar program), but is typically reserved for more dramatic changes to the picture (like changing backgrounds, faces, or creating an entirely new photo from several others to make it look like a single picture, etc) than just the typical tweaking one does to clean up a picture or remove redeye.

The inspiration for this project is my close friend and #1 apprentice Tiller (a frequent commenter on this blog). Several years ago I was watching the DreamWorks film Shrek and realized that Tiller has a strong resemblance in appearance, voice, and even personality to the character of Shrek. It was a strong enough similarity that I felt like I was watching a movie about Tiller instead of a purely fictional character. While just showing you a picture will never help to convey the personality similarities or at times nearly identical vocal mannerisms, you should at least be able to see some of the facial resemblance from this picture comparison:

Then, a couple of weeks ago I was hanging out with Amy and Tiffany from Mer’dith (I was there to study for an exam, but I’d finished my studying already) and Amy noticed a resemblance in appearance between Tiffany and Princess Fiona. As soon as she said that, I Googled “Princess Fiona” and we did a comparison. I guess the simplest way to describe it is to look at Fiona as having exaggerated versions of some of Tiffany’s facial features. Take a look for yourself:

So, inspired by these two similarities, I decided to make a picture of them together: as ogres. The problem is that they’ve never met (outside of one phone conversation during Operation Alpha). This is where the Photochopping came in. I had to get a picture of Tiller that was of sufficient quality to work with and was the right pose so that I could add her next to him. For her, I used the picture you see in the comparison above. I wanted to make the background a landscape from the movie (maybe the hill overlooking Duloc?), but there weren’t any high resolution pictures of that on the net. So instead I decided to make it a “touristy”-type picture, so after evaluating pictures from many famous landmarks (Mt. Rushmore, the Eiffel Tower, DisneyWorld, etc), I finally decided on the American side of Niagara Falls.

I first set to work by changing her hair color to be similar to Fiona’s hair and adding the ears so that they look like they’re actually attached to her head instead of just to the side of her hair. Then I went over to Tiller and wasted 6 hours trying to do the same thing (I wanted to give him the same color of brown hair that Shrek had in his human form in the second movie, but I couldn’t find any pictures of that online and my efforts to blend it all when I finished just didn’t work), simply put, his hair is just too short. So I decided our “Shrek” was going to have dark hair and facial hair and had to revert to an old saved version to undo those 6 hours of work on him. It took me a couple hours to figure out the right way to change his skin to green, but eventually he was finished.

Tiffany was a much greater challenge because there’s a lot of digital noise in the original picture of her. You don’t really notice it in the shot I posted above that much, but when I tried converting her skin to green it really looked bad. It took me many, many hours of trying out all sorts of different tricks to try and clean it up and eventually figured out the result you’ll see in a few seconds. Sadly, it came at the expense of sharpness and overall quality that Tiller’s picture has after the ogre-conversion. Oh well. Then I sized them to scale and added the Falls background and did the final touchups to make it look like they were in the same place at the same time and the lighting is reasonably close to the background lighting. That was especially hard for their faces because the original light sources are from entirely different directions. Anyways, after all that explanation (and hours of work), here is the final product:

One side note before I close this post. Before you go attacking me for how mean doing this to them is, keep in mind that they both have great senses of humor and love the result. They have now decided to make it their Facebook picture (Tiller’s is up, hers isn’t yet), and to get “Facebook married.” For those of you who don’t have the Facebook, it allows you to set your current relationship status in your profile and have it link to your significant other if you are in a relationship, so it’s become a fairly common joke to list yourself as “married” to a friend of yours even (especially) when you don’t actually have a romantic relationship with them. Anyways, I have homework to work on and I need to study for my 727 Simulator final tomorrow night, so I have to go. Hopefully I’ll be able to update again in a few days or during Dead Week.


At 2:41 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Ok, so blackmailing you might have been a little mean and uncalled for. I won't do it again...unless you start doing something I REALLY don't like!

At 8:57 PM, Blogger -Rachel- said...

hey Shawn, this is Rachel(Tiller's sister)I LOVE the picture you made...pure awesome!!


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