Life On Mars

To paraphrase Sam Tyler, “These are my parents. They want themselves in a photo from 1972. But how can they do that outside of going mad, into a coma, or back in time? However it happens, it’s to be like they’ve landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can do some image editing, I can sort that out.”

An invitation design was needed for my parents forthcoming fortieth wedding anniversary in January and while flicking through the photos of the day a copy of their order of service fell out from the back of the album.  Since the theme of the anniversary was to echo the red and white colour scheme of the original event anyway, maybe there was a way to adapt this into the invite design, and do something cute with one of the original photos too…

Let’s take the above photo with the respective parents from the big day as a starting point.  There’s some slight damage from the original negatives to address and we’ll need the right hand side of it empty of people for what I have in mind.  The damage is easy to repair, but I feel slightly odd about erasing what are my grandparents who are now all deceased from the picture. 

Maybe there’s something to be done about balancing that out later…

An altogether trickier proposition by far is to get my parents as they are today dressed appropriately in front of a green screen, facing towards the direction of their previous selves.  Getting rid of the modern-day background is childs play in comparison after that!

Pasting them into the now empty half of the picture and scaling them down to meet the eyelines of themselves is a straightforward task.  But that’s exactly what it looks like, that is, someone cut out a picture and stuck it on top of another unfortunately, I’m sure we can do better…

The original picture looks to have an orangey tint to it and it’s also quite grainy.  The portion of it which was edited also confirms that it was a fairly harsh ambient lighting or flash which was used leaving sharply defined shadows behind the subjects.  Also, it may just be age of the photo or the 1970’s preference for beige tones but the colours are pretty washed out to my eye…

A quick warm hue, drop shadow and desaturation of the current day parents (with a judicious amount of transparency brushing where the foot overlaps the bridal train) and we’re just about done.

All that remains it to add some Gaussian Blur, tidy up the drop shadow where the background plane depth changes to make it less flat and crop it to size.  Unfortunately, this cuts out the mirror towards the top right which I’d intended to use as an ersatz photo frame to have the now edited previous generation represented.

The finished article is then added to the vector file drawing of the rest of the invite booklet to go to the printers.  It takes a bit of tracking down the Adobe equivalent of the font used by the printer to ensure the modified interior text matches that of the Order of Service and sadly the gold foil writing on the front of the original can’t be replicated by the printers so white has to be used as a compromise, but otherwise the end result turns out pretty good…


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