Creating entertainer art with Photoshop

Creating entertainer art with Photoshop

I’ve been creating art entertainment images for Sound Bites Grill in Sedona for over 10 years. The Wall of Fame is now around 130 images. Here’s a review of how I create the entertainer art images and add the signature of the musicians.

Initial capture

Every image I’ve created of entertainers and musicians has been captured during live performance. I extract all performers from the scene and then work them into the final art piece. It can be a challenge to get expression and emotion when you don’t have the ability to ask for a look or body position. I usually make a lot of captures while observing the musicians performing. After a while I begin to see the kind of pose which tells the story for which I’m looking. I’ll check through all the captures and pick my favorite photo and begin the process.

The emotion and movement of this image tells the story of this energetic entertainer.

The process

In this case, it was going to feature a single artist. Saxophonist Michael Paulo is an incredible energy on stage bringing up all the artists around him! I wanted to show him with that kind of energy in his Wall of Fame art piece. In my mind with his arched back and intense expression hitting those notes this was the pose.

entertainer art with photoshop
Final image with signature and Photoshop effects applied.

From this point I extract the musician and add elements such as changing the background to reflected Sound Bites Grill. Textures and color enhancement add to the “art look.”

Photoshop selections

Photoshop extraction image
Selections help with Photoshop creations.

Layers, blend modes and masks are king in Photoshop. I use them in many different combinations. First up is the extraction of the subject from the original capture. Photoshop has many different ways of making selections. Sometimes you can use Select Subject and it looks good. Other ways include using the Lasso Tool or Pen Tool and selecting by hand. In this case I used the Quick Selection Tool. Changing the size of the Quick Selection Tool and adding to the selection or holding down the Option/Alt key to subtract. Many times I will mix and match techniques making a larger selection then modifying it with the Lasso Tool.

adobe Photoshop layers palette
Layers palette.
adobe photoshop layers palette callout
Layers palette call out showing the resulting layers made from the FX with the Drop Shadow and inner Glow. Masks allow for modification of the result.

Adding background and separation

Once the subject is isolated and placed on its own layer, it’s time to place the background. Adding Layer Styles, AKA FX, enable adding depth and dimension to the image. I often implement Drop Shadow and Inner Glow on my subjects. Often, especially with the Inner Glow, the effect is too intense or in places not wanted. There is a trick to separate the individual effects onto their own layer where you can add a mask to finesse the look. In the menu click Layer > Layer Effects > Create Layer. All effects are then placed upon their own layers. Very cool!

texture added for depth
Flower petals worked as one of the textures. This layer was in Soft Light Mode at 71 percent opacity.

Texture layers

Next, you can make textures from any photograph. In this image, I used some flower petals that were laying in a pile on the ground and motion texture. I placed them, changed the blend modes and lowered the opacity. I also added masks to control the effect of the textures.

texture added for depth and color
This movement texture was placed in Vivid Mode around 50 percent opacity. Masks were used on both texture layers to control what was being affected below.

Adding signatures

entertainer autograph
This is the signature scan. Added to the final Photoshop entertainer art photo, inverted and changed to Screen mode to read as white in the final image. Otherwise there would hardly any autographs on the images on the Wall of Fame.

There is no way to get autographs and messages to the house after artists have left town for their next gig. I ask the musicians to use a black Sharpie to add their autograph to a white piece of paper. Paper is scanned and the file is brought into Photoshop. The image is inverted and the Blend Mode changed to Screen. The end result is the black disappears leaving the white handwriting behind.

Let me know if you have any questions about this process in the comments section below.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob