StephenT (stormwreath) wrote,

Hiywan's Story update, wallpaper and a tutorial

The next chapter of Hiywan's Story is about half-done, but slightly stalled at the moment - although I have mapped out in more detail the plot twists and major characters to be introduced in the rest of the story. There will probably be a total of 30 chapters assuming each scene I've envisaged gets one to itself, so we're 10% of the way into the story. For those who may be wondering, the Shadow Men are currently pencilled in to show up not quite half way through; and the Scythe will also play an important role (you'll have to wait and see what that is, though :) ).

However, even though I'm not in a very literary mood at present, I am feeling more artistic; so I made some First Slayer wallpaper. It's currently set to be my desktop background, in the hope it'll inspire me to write more, or at least remind me I should! My own version says 'Hiywan's Story' as its text, but I also did this one with a quote from the show in case anyone else would like to use it. Behind the cut, I've also given a detailed tutorial on how I created it, since I've seen a few members of my flist express interest in such things lately.

(right-click and Save Target As on the image for the full 1024x768 version)

The screenshots came from (thanks to elisifor originally introducing me to the site.). I use Photoshop CS, and the commands I used most often were Transform and the Opacity slider in the Layers palette. 

I started with a 1024 by 768 document with a black background, and pasted into this the screencap of Buffy in chains from 'Get It Done'. I used Transform to adjust its size to fill the window, and set the opacity to 50% so that the black background showed through. (I could probably have achieved the same effect using the Brightness and Contrast adjustment sliders, but I'm so used to playing with opacity that it's become second nature to do it that way). 

Next came the trickiest part: substituting a picture of the First Slayer in place of Buffy in the centre of the screen. I used a screencap from 'Restless', looking for one where Sharon Ferguson was shown in roughly the same posture and camera angle as Sarah in the original 'Get It Done' cap. I used the Lasso tool to outline her body, copied and pasted it into my picture, then zoomed in close and used the Eraser carefully around the edges to take out the remains of the desert background. I then used Transform to resize and position the First Slayer into the same place as Buffy in the original. 

Next, I temporarily hid the First Slayer layer and used the Clone tool (and a little bit of the Smudge tool) to get rid of Buffy and replace her with stone walls and floor copied from the other areas of the background. Once done, I added back the picture of Sharon and merged it with the background. As final touches, I manually painted in a manacle around her left wrist, and her feet (!) since these were cropped out in the screencap I used. 

The next step were the 'filmstrips' of the shadowplay from 'Get It Done'. I created these in a separate temporary document, because they're wider than 1024 pixels. Each cell of the filmstrip is a separate screencap, reduced in size, set to a very low level of opacity, and desaturated to take out the pinkish tinge in the original images. I then arranged them side-by-side and merged them into a single layer. The text (which is the words Dawn recites from the book in the episode) was then added to each image - and again I reduced its opacity and merged it with the filmstrip. Finally, I pasted two copies of the strips into my artwork (they overlapped it at each edge) and used Transform to alter the angle and position until they looked good (and didn't hide any important elements of the main picture). The strips now frame the central picture of the First Slayer, forming converging lines to draw the eye in towards her. I deliberately positioned "They CHAINED her to the EARTH" directly underneath her as well... 

That completed the main picture, but there were still a couple of extra frills to add. In the large and empty area at the left of the screen I added a close-up of Sharon's face, looking very scary; but positioned this behind the main picture layer and reduced its opacity to a very low level so it didn't clash with the main image. I did the same at the bottom of the artwork, with a shot of the Slayer Spirit (aka "black swirly cloud of demon dust") emerging from its box. This is actually two separate images: the cap of the Spirit emerging from the box had one of the Shadow Men standing in front of it, which would have focussed too much attention away from Hiywan in the centre of the screen. Therefore, I took an earlier cap of the box sitting alone in the centre of the floor, and superimposed the middle section of this picture onto the other one; then used Clone and Smudge to blend the two together. Again, this image was placed behind the main one and reduced in opacity. 

Finally came the main text. The First Slayer doesn't get many lines of dialogue, but "No friends, just the kill. We are alone" seemed to fit the mood of the image, with her trapped and chained... but still defiant.

This is how it was then.
How it must be now.
This is all there is.

Tags: art, buffy, meta
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