Painter Forum - In Depth Discussions
The Ruffled Feathers Challenge
presented by Cris Palomino on
Thursday, April 5, 2001

The bird photo in this image is used with permission and adapted from Sun Conure by Theresa Husarik. Please take a moment to visit Wild Things Photography and enjoy more of Theresa's beautiful photos (and please respect her copyrights).

Now, I shall try to remember the main events during the creation of this image. It was done over a period of almost two weeks with several versions culminating in the final one. This "painting with Glass Distortion" barely resembles my earlier attempts to make peace with the challenge and I'm glad that I didn't give up because this one's far more pleasing (believe me!), if not perfect (by a long shot). The steps, generally speaking:

First, I painted a Canvas with many saturated colors (a basic non-grainy brush, Cover Method), no image, only to get colors all over the Canvas.

Then I applied Glass Distortion (probably three times or more), using Image Luminance and alternating between Refraction and Vector Displacement. Pretty ugly, eh?

Working on a duplicate Layer (the original painting untouched, just to be safe), 
I scaled the Layer 200% Horizontally to stretch and distort the image further.

Then I copied the scaled/stretched Layer and pasted it onto another new Canvas.

Looking at the stretched image now, it appears that I used Effects/Orientation/Flip Horizontal before moving to the next steps. (It's hard to remember it all!).

Using the Lasso tool, I made a selection along what looked to me like a mountain range horizon, saved the selection and turned that selection into a Layer.

I loaded the saved selection, inverted it, and lifted the remaining portion of the original Layer to another Layer.

Then I renamed the two Layers "Sky" and "Land and Hills", duplicated them, and applied Composite Methods to each of the two "Sky" Layers and each of the two "Land and Hills" Layers.

I created a moon by using the oval Selection tool to draw a circle around what already looked a bit like a moon on the "Land and Hills" Layer, then I lifted a duplicate to a new Layer and named it "Moon". I forget now exactly how I handled it but probably used Adjust Colors to enhance the moon a bit. Then I applied Composite Method Lighten.

By this time, it was clear that I was going to need more Canvas so I added a bunch of pixels at the bottom.

I duplicated each of the four "Sky" and "Land and Hills" Layers and used Orientation/Flip Vertical to create mirror images I would use as the reflected sky and land, moved them into position, applied Composite Methods, and adjusted the Opacity for all four mirrored Layers.

Then I duplicated the "Moon" Layer, used Flip Vertical, and moved it into position over the reflected sky and land, then applied Composite Method Magic Combine.

I pasted the Sun Conure photo (having already removed the background by painting on the Layer Mask) into the image, then positioned it over the reflected sky and land, duplicated it on a second Layer, and applied Composite Methods Luminance to the lower bird Layer and Difference to the upper bird Layer.

In the Masks menu, I chose Copy Mask to save a selection of the bird. Then I highlighted the reflected sky and land Layers, one at a time and loaded the bird selection.. and this will take to long to explain in full detail, but I lifted a bird shaped selection from one each of the reflected sky and land Layers, then used the selection again to cut the bird shape out of the reflected sky and land Layers. Last, I changed the Composite Method for each of the bird shaped Layers, to create a softer, lighter background behind the bird.

The reflected sky and land were looking a bit too green so I filled one each of them them with blue, Opacity lowered, then positioned those two Layers above the reflected sky and land Layers.

Using DigArts Jungle 3D CD, I dragged a branch and twig onto the image and placed them just below the bird Layers.

Then I dragged my "Jin" logo onto the image, changed the Composite Method to Difference, and positioned it over the branch.

If this is not precisely what I did, it's the best I can recall after changing my mind a zillion times and doing things over again. 

Thanks again to Theresa and Cris! That was a great exercise for me, even if it took me forever to complete :o)


Jinny Brown April 12, 2001
last modified August 25, 2002
copyright 1994 - 2002, Jinny Brown