Hello Darkness

Back to familiar territory and my darker themes…

Simon and Garfunkel’s song “The Sounds of Silence” has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it as a kid. Recently, a hard rock band I really enjoy called “Disturbed” remade the song. Their version is now my favorite version and I wanted to do something related to that song and, specifically, their very dark and powerful version.

I started by creating an image 4700 X 3500 Pixels in RGB at 300 pixels per inch on a transparent background. The images I used in this Photo-Manipulation are from Adobe Stock Photos and include the female figure and three different textures; two for the figure and one for the background.

Once I had all my images, I worked on the female figure first. I used the channel masking technique on the blue layer to cut the female figure’s image out of her background since there was so much detail in her hair that I wanted to capture. Once I had her background removed I dragged her over to my blank canvas. I turned her into a black and white image using a gradient layer so that I could still play around with the image to get it just right. I adjusted her levels to lighten her up a bit and bring out more detail of her face, and then used a brightness/contrast layer to brighten her up still more.

Once I had her black and white and adjusted, I added the first texture layer. I used Hard Light blending mode and then clicked on the cutout of her holding the Ctrl key to select her, then applied a mask to apply the texture to her. I then used the brush tool and brushed back in the highlights and shadows to make the texture more a part of her than appear just laid on top. With the second texture layer, I applied the cracks. I did this in two sections masking each and bringing out the highlights and shadows more until I go the image looking the way I wanted it. I then grouped all those layers together and collapsed them.

Next came the background. It took me a bit of figuring to get the background set just right, but after playing with multiple settings I settled on the multiply mode for the entire female figure which combined it nicely with the background texture. She was a little too dark, so I added another brightness/contrast layer on top of all her other layers and lightened her up a bit until she blended well with the background texture.

I didn’t like the size and layout of the original image I created, so I cropped the image using the Golden Spiral as a guide. to the current 5194 X 3356 size it is now. Again, using he golden spiral as a guide for placement I placed the text in the open field in front of her. The font I used was Papyrus at 72pts and again, I used the Multiply Blending mode.

The edges of the image were a bit too light. I wanted them darker to push the viewer’s eyes to the center, so I used the Custom Shape Tool and added a thin frame which I then adjusted the feather and spread on to make the edges just subtly darker.

The whole thing took about four hours to make and I’m thrilled with the results. Going to be exercising that creative muscle a lot more in the future!