I did this picture way back then, before we had a black president and when SGA was still on the air. I can’t remember when exactly, all I can say its really old, probably from 2007 I think. What is the former president doing in front of a stargate? I’ll explain.
I’m not a photoshop pro, I just casually use it every now and then for my amusement and other stuff, but I learnt things through trial and error. I consider the picture above to be the best photoshop work I’ve ever done, not to mention the hardest. seriously hard. Looking back at it though I probably couldve done better. Heres what I did:
1. My initial idea was to somehow involve president george w. bush in the stargate world. Why you ask? well, I liked Bush and I liked stargate so why not?
2. I needed a good Bush picture, one that I can easily manipulate. I found one, although I didnt look too hard for it, just got it from wiki. This is the one:
Now this picture we can all remember, it was when Bush announced the surge in Iraq in 2007. Iraq desperately needed it at the time because there was a violent civil war. Hard to imagine now, seeing how things calmed over there but back in 2006, it was insurgents gone wild. So you can see Bush standing calmly in the white house library in front of the press. What I did was separate Bush himself with the podium from the background and I wanted him in another location entirely, Cheyenne Mountain perhaps?
3. I later headed over to gateworld to look for a hi-res stargate picture, something that can fit with the Bush picture. I picked this one.
Cameron Mitchell looking all cool. The gate behind him as all lit up so that caught my attention. Since I knew my photo-manipulation will never be real anyway, might as well go with an attractive background.
So I used a left section of the image and used it as the basis for the Bush background.
4. In SG-1 season 2, there was a senator or politician making a speech and the left side of the stargate, he was standing in front of a podium and congratulated SG-1 for defeating Apophis. They got medals and stuff, I wouldve given them the Medal of Luck, for being too darn lucky! So I wanted to do the same thing with Bush now considering I have the material for that and that it was do-able in my mind.
First thing I ever did was add an SGC (stargate Command) symbol onto the podium to replace “seal of the president of the united states”. That was easy. Then I took Bush with the modified podium and stuck it ontop of the stargate background picture. Of course I smoothed out Bush’s edges and all that before hand. I did the usual photoshop stuff as well, played with colors and all, was pain in the ass all the way through. Had to all match the lighting between two pictures. Again, pain in the ass. I off course can’t recall what I did but I’m sure you don’t wanna know anyway. Here was my first draft of the picture:
Now I don’t know if the first draft shows it or not, but I made a big change to Bush’s face as well as the gate. The original Bush picture showed Bush’s face pale and well-lit with all those flashy lights around him. His pale skin would have never worked in that dark basement called the gateroom. The atmosphere and environment is vastly different. So I of course as with any photoshop work, had to play with the color balance, levels and especially the curves. This one was exceptionally hard for me.
However, after alot of tweaking, there was one feature control in photoshop that saved the day, can’t remember its name exactly but I think it was “molecular compositing”? I think it was part of the curves or something. Anyway what it did was add textures to the image, giving the image a 3D feel. Its the same as “Ambient Occlusion”, in fact it might’ve been called that. People who are familiar with PC gaming might understand how powerful that feature is. After implementing it, it changed Bush’s pale look from the original photo into something more real and not something scanned from a photo. I liked it so much I also applied it to the gate background so they can match.
The other thing I did, either by applying “molecular compositing” or “Ambient Occlusion”, was to have Bush’s reflecting the gate’s light. As you can see Bush’s hair is now a little orange on the edge. That was important as it tells people that Bush is indeed standing in front of the gate and not slapped on a stargate background.
5. Later, I played with the lighting to make the gate lights be the only dominant source of light around and gave the image a bit of a desert atmosphere filter instead of that metallic gray. It wasn’t necessary but I thought it would help make the image believable combined with artificial lighting and since the gate lights felt like yellow incandescent lightbulbs, I thought what the hell. Lastly, I took the original Bush speech photo as reference and de-focused the background by blurring it and blurred the podium as well. The original photo had Bush focused nicely with everything else blurred to a degree. So I tried to mimic that. And at some point I used the dodge/burn tools to highlight areas like Bush’s reflected head to intensify the light reflection– man he should be sweating after that! As a consequence, his hair turned into gold. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a completely finished work, you only stop finishing it when you finally give up and say “thats the best it can ever get”. Such was the case here, and the result was this (same as the first featured picture above):
Thats the best it can ever get. NOT! I could’ve totally done better in retrospect. If only I was a pro.
This post was inspired by the Twilight/SGU post I done before this one, which featured a rather disturbing image but in my opinion very funny and amusing at least to me. I’m a stargate obsessed fan and I think SGU is the best thing on TV today but I kept thinking “why all these people are crazy about Twilight and not something truly worthy being crazy about like SGU?” So I made this “what if” poster:
anyway, until next time…nah wait, I don’t say that.