I’m thrilled to release the next image in my Bunny Danger Awesome Slash Trouble series. This one took several agonizing months of taking a concept I had shot and deciding exactly how I wanted to piece it together. Knowing what I want it to look like in my head and making that appear on the screen are two very different things for me and isn’t something that just comes to me without a few tantrums and an aching back from sitting at the computer too long. Thank you Spoonk for saving my back multiple times. (Seriously, if you edit and hurt, go get you a Spoonk. You’ll hate it and love it all in the same breath. It will save your life.)
After spotting the girl in the yellow dress, Bunny Danger Awesome Slash Trouble realizes her splash of color may be the only hope Happy has of finding its joy again. In this image, Bunny and Chicken are introducing themselves to each other and explaining the origin of their not so average names.
In the real world, Bunny and Chicken are real people and those are the names they are known by…and they are real life best friends. The difference is, they’re in their 30’s and Chicken is more likely to be seen in her Houston Roller Derby shirts than a yellow dress and Bunny is a tad taller, but just as “foxy” as the hero of my story. Bunny just came out with his new video game, Boo Bunny Plague. You. Must. Play.
At this point in the story, Chicken has no idea the magnitude of how Bunny is about to change her life. (Just like the real Bun did for me when my own Happy had been stolen.)
Chicken photo by the incredible Danny Nguyen
There’s nothing that stresses me out more when I’m editing an image than the point where I’m piecing it all together and things just aren’t looking cohesive. If you’re a conceptual photographer, I’m sure you can relate. If you can’t relate, I hate you for not having that problem. During that time I’m usually trying out different backgrounds and pulling inspiration from my stockpile of images that I’ve taken over the years, searching for that thing that is going to make it come to life and bring the whimsical element that isn’t there yet.
I wanted the scene to be in Happy, but I really regret not taking more stock images of the town itself while I was there. I started off looking at CGTextures, my favorite site for free textures and backgrounds. You can see some of the agonizing I went through in this part of the process in my animated Gif below. (Which I EASILY made for free on the site: Make A Gif. )
In the end, it was more important to me to keep it in actual Happy, so I went with a shot of a building I took in downtown Happy.
For a long time I thought I wanted to be able to pay homage to the real Chicken and Bunny by incorporating paintings of them into the picture but the more I looked at it, the more it just wasn’t working for me. I lucked into a gaggle of chickens at the airport in Hawaii and a bunny that I photograph with one of my favorite families yearly on Easter.
The paintings really came to life for me when I brought Topaz Impression and Alien Skin Eye Candy into the mix. Alien Skin let me add the drips to the paint and the fur to Bunny’s ears. If you haven’t checked out Eye Candy, RUN to try it out. Especially if you’ve ever wanted to make plain words look bad ass. The following examples do no justice to what this software can do with the click of a button.
Topaz Impression was the real kicker for me. It turned my photos into oil paintings instantly. I ABSOLUTELY love the Impression software. It’s easy to use and completely customizable. It helped to not only make my oil paintings but I also added a slight overall layer to the final image. When I do add something like that to the end, I keep the layer opacity way down. I don’t want my images to be as easy as clicking a button and they never are. I dive into every little detail, from the blur on the birds to the bend in the chains and spend hours working on each part until I finally love the results. But when I can put a final layer of a cohesive texture over the entire image, it really helps to pull it all together and to make it look like it was all taken at the same moment.
I hope you’ll keep following the journey of Bunny as it unfolds! Stay tuned for the next image where we find out what the hell happened to Happy in the first place. It’s one of my favorite images in the series!
Follow Bonnie and Gabe Two Creative Birds on Facebook….because, well, because it would be really Awesome and not at all Slash Trouble.