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Old 09-16-2014, 07:56 PM
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asmith38 asmith38 is offline
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Background foliage

I have been trying to figure out how to render the background foliage, especially above the bird, but I'm getting frustrated . Two weeks, at least, and nothing I've tried works.
How would you go about it?
Thank you for any suggestions !
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:11 PM
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Re: Background foliage

Consider simplifying the pattern. Only accentuate the split leaf and make the background a bit more vague. Might work, worth a try.
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Old 09-17-2014, 12:29 AM
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Re: Background foliage

First, I love the deep reds of the bird.

IMO, this reference is difficult to work with as is - for compositional reasons. It's a diamond in the rough. A lot of the background is superfluous - especially left side. If it were mine I would crop in a lot closer, probably with a vertical format. I find the right half more interesting.

The background foliage is in focus and cluttered with detail. The challenge is to simplify and soften the colors/contrast within the leaves. And have enough contrast in the subject (using enough darks and chroma) to keep it prominent rather than being lost in the foliage patterns
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Old 09-17-2014, 04:17 AM
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Re: Background foliage

Paint the whole background a soft misty blue green and then add a few leaves and stalks here and there softening the edges. This is what I would do as the colour and shapes would not compete with the lovely little bird. The red will pop against the blue green bg. Hope you manage to sort things out - take a deep breath and go for it.
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Old 09-17-2014, 07:57 AM
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Re: Background foliage

I'd crop too - unless all that foliage is your picture and focal point rather than the bird! The basket adds nothing to the picture!
Consider what you want to emphasise - bird and some leaf shapes?
All else should be reduced to non-specific and general 'impression' of light/shade/foliage.
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Old 09-17-2014, 09:11 AM
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Re: Background foliage

Do you have photoshop? The blur tool would really soften the background as Chammi alluded to. Derek
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Old 09-17-2014, 09:52 AM
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Re: Background foliage

Wow! I didn't expect so many great suggestions! You guys are amazing!

Simplify, yes, good idea, especially since I still have so much to learn. Thank you Idylbrush.

Difficult reference - Just your saying that lifted a load off my shoulders. Really! My husband took this photo while in Panama. They have incredible birds there. Crop, simplify, focus on the bird yes I like that. Thank you Patrick.

Deep breath - Oh yes, I need it LOL! I like your idea of just a few leaves and stalks. Thank you Chammi.

Crop again, general impression of foliage. I will try as I'm not good at loose painting. Good idea, focus on one of the other. Thank you Maureen.

I have Gimp, which is similar to Photoshop. Blurring, I can do on the computer, not so good at it with the paintbrush. Something I need to learn how to do. Thank you Derek.

I really appreciate everyone's help!
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Old 09-17-2014, 12:01 PM
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Re: Background foliage

That's why we're here! Glad we could offer help!
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