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The three C's

This page has been made at the request of friends who like my style of imagery I do not refer to them as photographs any more since with the additions I often add in my opinion they cease to be only photographs more like hybrids, so I refer to them as images.    This is an introductionary page and I suggest you read it as it will give an insight into how I work.

Most of my photographer friends use Photoshop to alter their images I do not nor do most of my "Photographic Manipulator" friends

I tried Photoshop some time back and realised that I could do the same thing in PaintShop Pro far quicker and easier, well at least 90% of the things

PaintShop Pro is not a subscription based programme (or as programmes are being referred to now not a subscription App )

Now to many photographers the subscription is nothing but when you are on a budget paying half or one third the amount of anything possibly even less if you do not upgrade every year, is worth considering  and if you never upgrade the savings are immense

Since this first page is not being technical it does not matter what graphics programme you are using the rules I use to create "Digital Images"  still apply.

I call them the 3 C's    Namely


So here is a brief description of the 3C's  and I will post some examples of what I mean.

So to start with all the CONTENTS of your image must match or blend in to what you are trying to convey
too often i see images which contain conflicting items please if it does not fit do not use it or cut it out.


I try to use the rule of thirds when ever possible and also to give the utmost force and solidity to your work, some part of the picture should be as light, and some as dark as possible:
These two extremes should then to be harmonized and compliment each other    NOTICE the words "as possible"  this does not mean that there must always be a full shade range but as much as required 
What I am saying is that I try in my work to incorporate everything through white to black but there are times when I o not.


I partly covered this in composition  all colours must blend or contrast depending on the artwork being prepared and where possible a full shade range from light to dark should be incorporated.  The shade range applies to B&W too.


So sticking to the Golden rule, ensuring that  the image contents fit and the colours are appropriate you could say are my guide to  making "Digital Composites"                 Like everything else these are broken from time to time!


Hovering over the images will display the title of the image and clicking on will display a larger image


Algoa bay boats

Above  I have used the banner image again just so that I can explain the 3C's

AS far as CONTENT is concerned they all blend in they are all of a nautical nature, notice no Lions, Tigers, girls flying on brooms  or Agricultural equipment images.   Most importantly the image is NOT too busy  Adding too much content is a mistake made by a lot of newcomers to the art of digital creative  imaging

Now if we look at the COLOUR all the blues match and a touch of red helps and colour range goes from white to black, perhaps if you look closely you will see that each of the ships also has a red item, little things like this are not immediately noticeable to the conscious mind but subconsciously it makes them fit in.

COMPOSITION I have used an odd of number of boats (3)  odd numbers work better than even in many cases  (not all)  also positioned them so that the eye follows them, I sized them in relation as to were they are in the image.
Imagination helps but a knowledge of real life is more important since unless you are going to crate nothing but abstract work you need to know what fits where

I use a system which is common to most Graphic manipulation programmes know as Layers or Layering.  It is very easy to use in PaintShop Pro  and not counting the signature there are 10 layers used in this image, later in the course I will explain how to use them and let you create your own hybrid images.

Imagination helps but a knowledge of real life is more important since unless you are going to crate nothing but abstract work you need to know what fits where


 American footballers

Above This image proves that you do not need an odd number of prime objects in your image but everything else is according to the rules I stick to the colours, tones, ,hues and punchiness created by proper composition makes a good image


Please click on the image below for a larger version

camera back composite

Above is an image made up with a couple demonstration images which came with a program I used to use years ago and a couple of mine.  I took them, modified them slightly  and combined them together to create this composite, the drops I did make, On their own they are good images but combined they make a very striking image..  I often do this with what we call Creative Commons Zero Licence or CC0 clip art.


monochrome image

A monochrome image but note there are sill a full range of shall I call them "GREYS" from white to black and the composition is strong once again proving it pays to have a number of cloud images to fall back on.




remember larger versions can be seen by clicking on the image


Above perhaps the most layers I have ever used and worked for me really well this depicted stalls in the Uitenhage Market which I fortunately got to before the crowds arrived. I changed this composition several times before arriving at this, that is the beauty of using layers. The use of the large rocking horses at the front dives it depth of field without having to blur anything   This image took a lot of work but was not well received on the various pages I posted it on at the time, the amount of feathering I had to do was more than usual, perhaps it is just too busy and needs a stronger main image



remember larger versions can be seen by clicking on the image


Above  believe it or not there are people who have not heard of THIRDS or who misunderstand  the concept, so let me explain.  The idea is to get the main parts of you image on the lines which divide your picture into thirds  Look at the image above the horizon is nearly on the bottom third line.

The wind surfer is on the first vertical line from the left  and the sail is bisected by the 1st left and top third lines  all in all a good composition, good range of shades from white to black, not cluttered with unwanted items, like drowning bathers!   

I watched a video on YouTube the other day and the commentator seemed to think that the three columns  were the thirds and it was fine  if you placed your main object in the centre column like this no,no,no
This is Wong! Wrong! Wrong!


It does prove that even a mediocre seascape can be saved if you have a good selection of cloud images to help it out.  Later in the Tutorial I well mention how to create these Seas.


Hi Alex Cummings here this is the end of the introduction of how I make my composite images the future pages will contain more technical information.  Note there are many ways to do what I do and if you disagree with how I do it that is up to you carry on and do it your way but this series is about how I do it

It is MY opinion that to succeed an image must fit in to the 3C's  all too often authors get carried away and add TOO much CONTENT to their images forgetting about COMPOSITION and their COLOURS do not blend, match or contrast

 composite and surreal wooden post

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