Since we exclusively license our images to our clients, each image we create must be an original work. We develop our images from scratch, and every element we use is our own creation. Unlike other photographers and designers on various stock photography websites, every image we utilize is exclusively ours, and each step of our graphic design process must be our original content. This article demonstrates one example of how we craft our silhouette images and graphic designs.
Silhouette photography stands out as one of the most creative techniques an aspiring photographer can employ to go beyond technical competence and craft truly compelling images. My personal exploration of silhouettes has allowed me to create photographs brimming with dramatic mood and an air of mystery.
One of our iconic and most beloved images, ‘Heart in the Sky‘ originated back in 2010. This image features two hands forming the shape of a heart against the backdrop of a stunning sunset sky. You can delve into the detailed information of how we created this image in an article from 2010, accessible here: Resurrecting Beauty: Transforming Low Quality Photos Into Striking Vector Silhouettes
Now, we are embarking on a journey to recreate that timeless image, infusing it with a fresh perspective and a new approach. Our aim is to achieve a unique result by employing different methods and incorporating several images to create the perfect composition.
First, let’s talk about silhouette photography: Silhouette photography is a captivating technique that encourages viewers to engage with the subject on a deeper, more personal level. The distinct contrast between a dark subject and a lighter background immediately identifies it as a silhouette. Silhouettes offer a glimpse into the unseen, serving as mirrors reflecting the inner thoughts of the photographer or viewer. They provide just enough information to spark the viewer’s imagination, inviting them to become part of the storytelling process.
In essence, a silhouette is a solid, dark representation of a subject set against a brighter backdrop. It can take the form of an outline or a sharp shadow and is typically composed of a single color, often black, with contours following the subject’s shape. The interior of a silhouette is devoid of detail and stands out against a well-illuminated background.
Silhouette photos achieve their striking effect when there is a significant contrast or dynamic range between the subject and the background. This technique is particularly effective when capturing subjects against a blue sky or during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset, enhancing the visual impact of the silhouette.
Let’s discuss and start with our project: We have an image titled “Love Heart in the Sky by Hands” which was captured in October 2017. This image features a silhouette of two hands forming a heart shape against a stunning and vivid, yet softly blurred sunset backdrop.
Step 1: We will be working on the original image “Love Heart in the Sky by Hands” to create a clean and detailed silhouette. We have chosen to use CorelDraw, a vector-based software, instead of traditional methods like the Mask tool in Photoshop or Corel PhotoPaint. This choice is motivated by our need for the highest resolution and sharpest results, especially when dealing with large images.
In CorelDraw, we import the image and use the Shape tool, a powerful resource for designing and creating precise shapes. We trace the silhouette, adding and deleting nodes along the image’s outline to achieve the desired level of detail and sharpness. Nodes provide control points that allow us to manipulate the object’s shape by dragging them anywhere on the page. The “Add nodes” tool increases the number of editable line segments, while “Delete nodes” allows us to reshape the curve object by removing nodes.
To further refine the silhouette, we use the “Convert to line” and “Convert to curve” tools. These tools transform lines into curves or curves into lines, granting us greater flexibility in shaping the image. The “Smooth” tool helps in refining the curve’s roundness, converting nodes to smooth nodes. The “Symmetrical” tool applies the same curve shape to both sides of a node, while the “Cusp” tool creates sharp angles by converting nodes to cusp nodes.
Admittedly, this process is intricate and demands patience and precision, especially when moving nodes around the intricate details of the two hands in the image. However, the end result is a clean image with sharp corners and lines that can be easily resized and converted into vector format with just a single click.
This meticulous approach ensures that our images consistently meet the highest standards of quality and detail.
Step 2: In this step, I will utilize Corel PhotoPaint, which I prefer over Photoshop for its ease of use and efficiency, especially when handling large images. It’s important to note that both software options have their specific advantages, but I find Corel PhotoPaint particularly well-suited for creating paintings and art. Here’s why:
- Ease and Speed: I find Corel PhotoPaint easier and faster to use. It allows me to complete significant projects quickly and efficiently, resulting in greater profitability.
- Fine Control: When working with brushes in Corel PhotoPaint, I have finer control, which is crucial for achieving the level of detail I desire in my images.
- Object Feathering: I appreciate the object feathering feature in Corel PhotoPaint, as it allows for smoother transitions and blending between objects.
- Better Object Blending: In my experience, Corel PhotoPaint excels in blending objects seamlessly, surpassing what I can achieve with layers in Photoshop.
Moreover, Corel PhotoPaint’s customizable interface enables me to set up my workspace with all the artistic tools within easy reach, enhancing my workflow and creative process.
Now, let’s get back to our project, Once the image is clean, Let’s start with Corel PhotoPaint, I have created a new image blank file, the size is 8000 x 5333 pixels (300 DPI), now before turning the image to just a black silhouette, let’s create some new pictures from it, for this we will need Sunset backgrounds.
My goal is to create a stunning sky sunset background with vivid colors. To achieve this, I’ll blend multiple sky and sunset images, adjusting colors to create a soft, warm backdrop that complements our main image. This process involves a few adjustments and effects.
I’ve chosen the image “Dark Red and Yellow Sunset Sky” as our starting point. While it’s beautiful, I have different ideas in mind. I’ll begin by duplicating the image, horizontally flipping it, and then vertically mirroring it. By blending these four modified images together, we’ll create a mirrored and flipped composite of a captivating red and yellow sunset with dark clouds.
The result is striking, but the image still lacks the desired impact. To enhance it, I’ll make layers of purple to blend with the existing yellow, red, and dark clouds. This infusion of color will add the drama and uniqueness we seek.
It’s important to note that the background isn’t the main subject; it’s designed to be colorful, vivid, and distinctive, even though not all the cloud details will be visible. This approach aligns with my preferred creative process.
Step 3: Now, I need to blur the sunset image significantly to achieve a very smooth and dreamy effect. What’s particularly important to me are the warm, soft colors. Once I’ve achieved the desired blurriness and color palette, I’ll proceed to add some clouds. My intention is to seamlessly integrate them into the colorful sunset background.
For this purpose, I have a specific image in mind, “Swirly Clouds at Sunset” This image showing a beautiful, swirling clouds against a sunset backdrop, and I’d like to incorporate these clouds into my composition. Let’s go ahead and import this image as a new layer over our vibrant sunset background. To blend it in seamlessly, I’ll add some red hues to harmonize it with the rest of the scene.
Step 4: Now, it’s time to import the image we’ve been working on from CorelDraw. A straightforward cut and paste action will suffice for this task. Once the image is successfully pasted into Corel PhotoPaint, our next objective is to enhance its brightness. We aim to maintain the dark silhouette while ensuring that some details of the hands and fingers remain visible.
Step 5: After positioning the two hands to form the shape of a heart in the desired location within the sunset background image, our next step is to infuse some vitality and light into the composition. We can achieve this by applying a Lens Flare effect right in the middle of the two hands, precisely at the center of the heart shape.
To do this, navigate to the Effects menu, then select Camera Effects, and finally choose Lens Flare. For this task, we will opt for the 35mm prime lens effect with some minor adjustments to ensure it fits seamlessly.
With these final touches, our image is now ready, and the result is truly breathtaking. The image boasts exceptional clarity and quality, featuring a high-resolution file. It’s prepared for display and licensing to our clients through our photography store.
Step 6: Now, our aim is to create a pristine silhouette of the image, focusing solely on the contours. Some customers specifically desire a high-resolution, minimalist silhouette of two hands forming a heart shape. To achieve this, we follow these steps:
We begin by generating a new blank image file within Corel PhotoPaint, specifying the desired dimensions. My usual choice is an image size of up to 8000 x 5333 pixels, which typically suffices for most large-scale printing projects. However, I can accommodate larger sizes upon request from clients.
To create the silhouette, we simply copy the vectorized image from CorelDraw and paste it onto a clean white background image file in Corel PhotoPaint.
Now, the crucial step is to eliminate all internal details and render the image in black and white. Achieve this by adjusting the “Brightness / Contrast / Intensity” settings, reducing all values to zero. This process results in a clean black silhouette image.
By following these steps, we’ll obtain a high-resolution, minimalist black silhouette of the two hands forming a heart shape, meeting the requirements of clients seeking a simplified and minimalist design.
These images are available for purchase and licensing, suitable for personal, educational, non-profit, business, or commercial use. You can find them in Our Stock Photography Store under our comprehensive licensing options.
Conclusion: Our image creation process is a testament to the painstaking effort and dedication that goes into our work. Each image featured in this project is not just a random image; it’s a product of our exclusive ownership, creativity, and hard work. These images are not only protected by copyright but have also been officially registered to ensure their legal safeguarding.
While some nay argue that these images as mere silhouettes lacking creativity or originality, a closer look at the steps outlined above reveals the intricate nature of our work. It might seem like a simple silhouette against any background, but in reality, it represents a significant amount of time and meticulous attention to detail.
From the initial vision of combining elements like a colorful sunset, swirling clouds, and hands forming a heart shape, to the technical processes involving image manipulation, blurring, layering, and adjustments, each step requires careful consideration. Achieving the desired warmth, smoothness, and high-resolution quality demands skill and expertise.
Ultimately, what might appear as a simple image is, in fact, a labor-intensive journey that showcases our commitment to delivering not just visual content but also quality and artistry to our clients. Our images are more than just silhouettes; they are a reflection of the dedication that goes into our creative process.
© Legal / Copyright Information: All images contained on this page are copyrighted by and the property of Boxist.com Stock Photography (Sam Mugraby). They cannot be used without a proper license under any circumstances. The use of these images is not free, and they are protected by domestic and international copyright law. Our stock photos can be licensed for personal, educational, and commercial use and subject to our usage terms and conditions. Any unauthorized usage of these images will be subject to legal action to the full extent of the law. We reserve the right to pursue unauthorized users of our images and seek damages for copyright violations.