Ignis Umbra

Cosplay to Art - Mister Sinister

by Richard Mathis on Dec 18, 2022

Cosplay to Art - Mister Sinister
Welcome to my blog post! Here, I will share with you the process of transforming a photo into a more film-like, dramatic image. For example, take a look at this stunning image of Mister Sinister gazing at Juggernaut. Have you ever wondered how I go about creating such captivating edits? Well, now is your chance to find out!

I am excited to announce that I will be starting to record videos of my editing process, so you can see firsthand how I transform a simple photo into a work of art. But in the meantime, I am providing the source file for this particular image so you can download it and try your hand at editing it yourself.

When it comes to editing a photo, my first step is always to get the exposure just right. This includes often adjusting the background to be darker or softer, while the foreground is often a bit warmer and brighter. While this used to be something I would do in Photoshop, I now use the Mask technology in Lightroom Classic to achieve this effect.

If you are interested in my full workflow, let me know in the comments and I will be happy to share the steps I take from taking the photo all the way to editing. But for now, let's focus on the editing process.

While this is not a "technique" post, I will not be explaining every single step I took in detail. Instead, I want to focus on explaining "why" I made certain choices. Once you understand the reasoning behind my actions, you can then look up specific techniques from great teachers like PixImperfect or, if you have any specific questions, feel free to comment and I will make a personalized video teaching you that technique.
Mister Sinister
So, looking at the original photo, I think it is a strong image. It is well-exposed and has an interesting composition. However, I wanted to take it a step further and create a more "film quality" look. To do this, I identified a few key areas that I wanted to adjust:
  • The makeup on Mister Sinister's face was cracking due to the heat, so I wanted to minimize the appearance of this cracking and make it look more like natural skin texture.
  • The eyebrows had a clear seam that I wanted to hide and blend the color difference.
  • Mister Sinister has glowing, solid red eyes that I wanted to enhance.
  • His skin is alabaster white, and I wanted to make this even more striking.
  • The gem on his forehead glows, and I wanted to create a glowing effect for this as well.
  • I wanted the shadows on his face to be more dramatic and comic-like.
  • The lighting was too bright and clear, and I wanted to add more drama and haze to the image.
To achieve these changes, I employed a variety of techniques, including:
  • Using the healing brush and clone tool to correct any major flaws on a new layer.
  • Using Frequency Separation to give me control over the shadows.
  • Adding a curves adjustment layer and using the masking tool to paint in more dramatic face shadows.
  • Using the Piximperfect technique of using layer blending options for easy dodging and burning, and then adding another layer to enhance the highlights and make the white alabaster skin even more striking.
  • Creating a glow effect for the gem and the eyes.
  • Painting in the eyelashes on a new layer to rough up the edges of the eyes and make the eyeline glow less perfect.
  • Adding Nucly Atmospherics files and setting them to Soft Light, and then masking them out to separate Mister Sinister from the background and create three effective layers: the foreground,
  • Using a gradient Fill and set it to color to add a blue orange color tint to the image
  • Finally, adding some more contrast using a curve adjustment layer to bind it all together
Mister Sinister - Final Edits
I am so grateful for all of my amazing readers and their support. Thank you for joining me on this creative journey, and I can't wait to share more editing techniques with you in the future.

If you are a Patreon backer, be sure to check Patreon for access to even more exclusive content, including the full Photoshop source files for my edits.
Remember, the only way to succeed is to keep trying and never give up on your dreams. Keep on creating, and I'll see you in the next blog post!

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