Black & White Portrait Challenge

This week’s Monday Meme is a nice, simple one, but since I love black & white photography it’s one that I really loved doing.

Meme Instructions: Share a black & white portrait (headshot) of your Second Life avatar. You can post a raw shot or process the image as much as you like. Don’t forget to leave a link to your image in the comments and also share it in the Blog Memes flickr group.

I could have gone with a nice, brightly-lit, clear image, but c’mon… this is Skell. Prince of Darkness, or something ;-)

I was so damn pleased to find an amazing set of smoke brushes for my knackered old Photoshop, since most of them are for the newer versions and aren’t compatible with mine. Seriously, I’m using PS6, for fuck’s sake. It still works damn well and I’m buggered if I’m shelling out £600 ($980) for the latest version. Yeah, I know it’s about $600 in the US; what you guys over there pay in $ we pay in £ over in Blighty. It’s fucking extortionate. And no, I’m not risking my computer with a cracked version. Been there, done that, in my keygen-using past, and suffered the virus outbreaks to prove it.

I used to use Paint Shop Pro (again, an old version – 9 in that case) for all my photo editing, and I had a really great set of smoke brushes for that. Sadly, when I bought this new monster of a gaming computer last year, the AMD card wouldn’t let me load PSP9. Something about an incompatible version of the Catalyst GPU management software. I went hunting online for a solution, only to find that I wasn’t the only person who couldn’t load PSP9 after buying an AMD card. *sigh* Ah well, my next card will be NVIDIA again.

For reference, here’s the original of the above shot:

Edits used: general smoothing (those damned nose triangles!) in Photoshop, then I used my latest favourite editing software: Photoscape. It’s completely free and has some amazing features. Those of you following my Flickr stream will have seen some of the effects I’ve been trying out on there. And I’ve only touched the Editor and Page functions so far. There’s so much more to play with!

Anyway, the Photoscape options I used were: backlight, bloom, deepen, decolour (twice) and sharpen. I was tempted to add one of the textures, because I love the paper grain ones, but less is more. Or so I’ve heard ;-)

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