A Different Sort Of Rock Art

I was editing some images from the trip to Karijini National Park for inclusion to my next exhibition. I have a range of different sorts of images from 6m wide panoramas, the result of stitching up to a dozen 80MP photos, to rock texture detail and water abstracts. Lately some of the rock textures have caught my attention and over the last few days I  have concentrated on assembling  a collection. I am still undecided how to present them in the gallery, but one idea is to have either a group of small images hanging together, or actually make a single composite image.

So tonight, I was scrolling past this image and was thinking it was “nice”, but I felt it could become much more than “nice”. I am not sure why I did, but something in the back of my head suggested using this single image as a reflection.

I opened the image in PhotoShop. I then expanded the drawing canvas by doubling both the width and height – in this case 174cm x 131cm. I then duplicated the layer, used transform to “flip” the image, then drag it to a spare corner of the canvas.

Next I did a “copy visible” which I remember as the “eagle claw” keyboard shortcut, as you press four keys (all at the same time) Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E (Windows), or Press Shift+Command+Option+E (Mac). This simply creates a new layer which is simply a copy of the current visible layers. This third layer I then flipped vertically, again using the edit, transform command.

The final combined image was really starting to interest me – suddenly I noticed that the image needed rotating – WOW! I could not believe this could come from a simple image.

Next, to start to bring out more of the features l as used curves to create a darker version on another layer and gently revealed parts of the darker layer with a mask and soft brush. I then flattened those layers and have been fine-tuning with a “dodge and burn” layer. There are lots of different ways to do this, but a simple way is to create a new layer and fill with 50% grey. After setting the blending mode to “soft light” use a soft brush set at 5-10% opacity. Areas you brush with a black brush will darken and areas you brush with a white brush will lighten. This technique allows you to gradually build up the effect, as multiple brush strokes are accumulative.

I am still learning to be subtle, but multiple light brush strokes are preferable over a single heavy one.  For this sort of editing a graphics tablet is invaluable.

The final image is still a work in progress, but I got excited over what I had created and had to share straight-away…


Karijini Rock Art Starting Image

Karijini Caged Monster Rock Art

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