Achieving a dark, matte finish in Photoshop: Bunny Danger Awesome Slash Trouble: “Chicken Sightings”


If you’ve been following my Bunny Danger Awesome Slash Trouble series, you’ll know that each one takes me ages to work on and has tons of compositing involved.  This one however, is probably the only one in the entire series that was “easy”.  There wasn’t any compositing involved and it was just a series of tricks I use to get the consistent coloring and toning that I use in all of the BDAST images.


After Bunny Danger spends time peeking in the windows of houses in Happy, he begins to wander the streets.  That’s when he spots a little splash of color….the first sign of bright energy he’s seen in the desolate town.  Chicken is the only person in the entire town that has grown up wondering why her town is so void of excitement.  She knows there must be more to life but hasn’t been able to figure out what.

chicken solo

The symbolism is pretty obvious in this one for my life and where I was when I wrote that story.  I was lost, nearly hopeless but desperate to believe there was some greater adventure in store for me.

Shooting The Image: 

The hardest part was literally just getting my three year old to keep his dangling legs still.


 The Processing: 

BDAST is a blend of fantasy world with reality and I want to be able to express how those worlds intertwine in each image.  To do this, I use loads of dodging and burning to create a painterly effect and then I add in bits of paint-like texture.  I’ve used two programs to achieve that, Alien Skin snap art and now, a new one that I’m truly in love with, Topaz Labs new Impression software. USE the coupon code SEPIMPRESSION to get 25% off!

I’m a HUGE Topaz Labs fan and have been using them forever.  Their Impression software is in Beta testing right now and I was lucky enough to get to test it out.  Each element of the program is very customizable and I absolutely love the options they have. I’ll have a post soon devoted to just that! But I highly recommend checking them out.  Every image I create uses Topaz Adjust to pop the vibrance and clarity.

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 10.25.47 AM

I add the pastel chalk bits to Bunny to represent how he is human, but not quite part of this world.  I never keep the full mask on though and always use a layer mask to erase it from certain parts and lower the opacity on others.  I don’t think of these plug ins as a quick fix or easy solution.  They’re simply really bad ass tools to paint with.

Getting the tone and consistency to match my images so that whole series comes together as a collection is really important to me.

After I have everything in place, especially when I’m compositing, I begin the coloring process by adding hue/saturation layers and curves adjustments to the entire image.  This lets me tone the whole image the same way, which gives everything a cohesive feel.  Curves are perfect for adding color tones if you separate your curves by the colors and they let you adjust your darks darker and lights lighter.  If you pull the left curve point up and over to the right, you’ll start seeing that matte look come to life.

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 10.24.22 AM


Another way to add to the desaturated matte look is to add a layer of white on top of your image and pull the opacity way down until it gives you the look you’re going for. Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 10.23.50 AM



I hope you’ll keep following my Bunny Danger Awesome Slash Trouble Journey!  Check out the rest of the images so far!

Find us on Facebook to stay updated on the project!



One comment

  1. Pingback: How to get out of your miserable funk in 365 Easy Steps. A blog about how a Book Really Did Change My Life and Hopefully Some Great Conceptual Photography Tips Too. | fromthebirdcage

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: