Dramatic Skies in B&W – Behind the Scenes

I posted the below photo on my Instagram feed yesterday, and people seemed to like it, so I thought I’d do a little behind the scenes post.

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That’s the dramatic black and white sky photo.  The photo was taken yesterday afternoon while I went out for lunch (that’s the advantage of going out everyday) on my Micromax Canvas HD phone.

The original image is rather dull and uninteresting as it is –

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I took it into Snapseed and straightened it.  Initially, I thought I’d include the electrical wire as a straight line in the final photo.  But after straightening, when I was trying to work out a crop that looked good, I decided to do away with the wire and just focus on the sky.

I applied the “Drama” filter in Snapseed and then boosted saturation.  That resulted in the below image, which is a bit more visually interesting than the original –

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But this looks kind of overcooked and garish.  I thought I’d play with the colours to tone it down a bit and then post.  But then, I decided to try a black and white conversion.  Snapseed has a nice set of options for converting a photo into B&W.

In Snapseed you can simulate putting a colour filter in front of the lens when taking a B&W photo.  If you’re shooting on B&W film, putting a red, yellow or orange semi-transparent filter in front of the lens has the effect of darkening the sky.  Basically, anything that’s blue will get darkened.

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That’s a sample screenshot of applying the filter.  (It’s being applied to another panorama photo I took yesterday.)

So here I saturated the image further since I knew the more blue that’s present in the image, the darker the sky would be.  I think I used an orange filter for the final image.  Tweaked the contrast and brightness a little, added some grain, and there you have it.

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Raw Deal

I am a big fan of 1980s action movies, and as a kid, I used to idolise Arnold SchwarzeneggerCommando, Predator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day I think I would have seen about 50 times or more.  Well, recently, I was looking up some 1980s music tracks on YouTube and I came upon the track “Kaminski Stomps” from the 1986 Schwarzenegger movie Raw Deal.  This is one of Schwarzenegger’s lesser-popular movies from that era, and I had only seen it a few times, many years ago (watched it in the theatre when I was in school, and then later on on VHS, and on TV).  So I rewatched it a couple of days back, and while not up to the standard of those other movies, this was pretty fun.  That inspired this drawing –

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Raw Deal - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramThe drawing was done in ballpoint pen mostly.  I used a bit of red gel pen to add the blood splats, and the gun was done with a black marker pen.  Nothing that fancy.  I scanned the image and then added a paper texture to it, and then the text, in Helvetica Neue font.

You may notice that the title of the movie is different in my poster – it says Triple Identity.  That was one of the working titles for the movie, before it got retitled to Raw Deal.  I thought that sounded stylish, so I used that instead.

The movie stars Schwarzenegger as Mark Kaminski, an ex-Federal Agent working as a Sheriff in a small town (doesn’t this sound very similar to his 2013 The Last Stand?), after a legal case forced him to resign.  He is approached by the FBI’s Harry Shannon (Darren McGavin) to infiltrate the gang of Chicago mobster Luigi Patrovita (Sam Wanamaker) and take the whole operation down.  Kaminski enters the gang posing as the criminal Joseph P Brenner, and what follows is a fun outing as he carries out what he was asked to do.

I’d rate the movie overall a 7/10, as the action quotient is a bit less here, but one thing to enjoy are the one-liners.  I also liked the music by Cinemascore (which I guess is an umbrella term for the people who contributed music to the movie – Chris Boardman, Tom Bahler, Albhy Galuten).

In-progress Drawings

Here are a few in-progress shots as I was drawing this.  These were all taken on my phone (Micromax Canvas HD) camera and processed in Snapseed.  The collage was made with the PhotoGrid app and I finally posted both of them on Instagram.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in RAW DEAL - Artwork by Karthik Abhiram - In-ProgressThis below picture I call “Kaminski Stomps”, after the name of the track that inspired me to do this entire drawing.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in RAW DEAL - In progress artwork by Karthik Abhiram

Soundtrack

You can find music from the soundtrack uploaded on YouTube.  Below are two of my favourites.

“Kaminski Stomps” – this is the track that plays during the end credits –

“Brains & Trains” – this is the track that plays during the opening scene of the movie –

The movie is good fun.  Nobody Gives Schwarzenegger a Raw Deal!

Resident Evil: Retribution Drawing – Original Scan

A couple of days back, I was showing my drawing of Resident Evil: Retribution to some people and they were asking me what elements of the final image was done traditionally, and what was added digitally.

So, I thought I’d post the original scan of this drawing to show this.  You can click the below image to see an even larger version –

My scanner is a Canon CanoScan LiDE 110, which produces very nice images.  It doesn’t require a power source – just connect through USB and you are good to go.  The software that comes with the scanner has an “Auto Adjust Colours” option, which automatically boosts the contrast in the image (unlike other scanners, where the scanned image would be very light).

The drawing was done on a sketchbook that has A5 size paper.  So it’s quite small.  And the orange/brown area at the bottom of the image is my hand – I normally press down the book onto the bed of the scanner so that it picks up as much detail as possible.

I scan images at the highest resolution that the software will allow.  Editing is also done at that big size.  This scan for example, was 4865 x 6984 pixels in dimension.  After doing edits in Photoshop Elements, I make an 800 or 1000 pixel-wide image which I post online (Facebook, etc), but I always keep the huge PSD file, so that I can take a large size print if I want.  I follow a similar procedure for photos as well.