Alan Kaplan  

Homage to Georgio de Chirico by Alan Kaplan

June 2021 - Homage to Georgio de Chirico

June 2021 - Alan Kaplan


June 2021 - Alan Kaplan

Original 2

June 2021 - Alan Kaplan

Original 3

About the Image(s)

This composite is an homage to the 20th Century Italian surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico whose shadows in his art often dominate the scene. I have included an example of de Chirico’s work in Original 3.
The figures in this composite were cut and pasted, and the lines were drawn to add perspective. To draw a line in Photoshop, use the pen tool to make a dot. Place the cursor wherever you want the end of the line to be, and shift-click. A line magically appears.
To create the shadow:
• Duplicate the layer of the image that is getting the shadow (Ctrl-J)
• Double click the label in new layer and delete the word “copy”
• Double click the label in original layer and change label to “shadow”
• Highlight the “shadow” layer
• Press Ctrl-U to get Hue/Saturation Properties Box
• Drag Lightness slider all the way to the left to turn the Shadow layer image black
• Select the Move Tool and drag the shadow away from the duplicated image in the new layer
• You may need to flip the shadow to match the figure; if so, go to Image > Image Rotation > Flip Horizontal/Vertical
• Use the Move Tool to align the shadow to its image or . . .
• Use select the shadow and use Edit > Transform to shape the shadow by right clicking on the shadow and selecting one of the transform tools that appear; experiment with the pop-up tools to shape your shadow
• If you want to make the shadow lighter and have blurry edges, first reduce the opacity to taste
• Next use the Gaussian Blur filter to add blur; again, to taste; these last 2 steps are trial-and-error
However, the shadow around the window is a Drop Shadow made using Layer Style. Click the Layer Style icon below the list of Layers, and one of the resulting choices will be Drop Shadow. This is a trial-and-error tool. Experiment with it.

10 comments posted

Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
(Group 32)
I am excited by your composition. I like the way you established a perspective context with a few converging lines, and implied an invisible horizon line at the apex--reinforced by the gradient color change. Well done.
I like that the mysterious window violates all the perspective rules just established--shamelessly, if I may say so.
I think the shadows are very well done, and true tributes to de Chirico, but I want to make a shadow note. Your shadows are sharp throughout, hence otherworldly, and that supports the surrealism of your composition--for real world shadows are not sharp throughout. See this link for a good explanation: Basically, the disk of the sun casts ragged-edged shadows. Sharp shadows are unnatural and perfect for surrealism--the brain senses this and reacts with unease--and could only be cast by a distant point-light-source, not a sun-like disk.   Posted: 06/04/2021 22:34:11
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
Stephen, Thank you for dropping in again. I appreciate your feedback. I looked at the shadow link you included and found it a bit too technical for my purposes. As you state, here, in tribute to de Chirico, the shadows are totally dark as part of the tribute. I usually use shadows to give weight to imported images so I use my method described above in the "About the Image(s)" section. I've cherry picked the steps from different online sources. As an example of using shadows to add weight, in December 2020's image, I drew shadows to give the doppelgangers weight.   Posted: 06/05/2021 12:46:33

Steve Estill   Steve Estill
Another excellent composition. I like the perspective lines which pull it all together.
The shadows work well to keep evrything in their place.
Thanks for the instruction regarding the shadows etc. Another useful trick for creating shadows is to paint them onto a new layer using black with a soft brush, then reduce the opacity to suit.
It's worth remembering that the click > shift > click works on many of the Photoshop tools: paintbrush, pencil, eraser, clone, blur etc - almost anything where you're drawing or painting.   Posted: 06/07/2021 15:48:50
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
Thank you for your feedback. The method I describe above for creating shadows is specific to a shadow that matches the shape of the object or person casting the shadow. I could never paint a shadow to match the statue in this composite. I frequently use the technique you describe when I simply want to add weight to a figure as I did in December 2020's shadows for the doppelganger. As you mention, Photoshop has thought of everything with the click > shift > click technique.   Posted: 06/07/2021 19:51:50

Candy Childrey   Candy Childrey
Alan, good work with the shadows and perspective in your image. The objects appear to be placed perfectly. The larger columns frame the image well and give a place to enter. The shadows work and the ball appears to be floating as it should. Good work, as always.   Posted: 06/07/2021 15:52:31
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
Your "as always" is certainly encouraging. Thank you.   Posted: 06/07/2021 19:52:36

Gwen Neff   Gwen Neff
A very creative piece indeed! I especially like the blue lines giving the image grounding and perspective. The harsh shadows work well with the piece as well. Good job.   Posted: 06/08/2021 11:39:52

Jan Handman   Jan Handman
You are a master of surrealism Alan. I love the color gradation of your background and the perspective lines. It's refreshing to see you move away from your frequent grey background. The elements are all interesting and the crisp shadows add nice weight to the scene. I probably would have placed the cloud a bit closer to the columns and made either the statue or the chess piece noticeably larger or smaller, just so everything didn't look so evenly spaced and predicable, but that's just personal preference. You've created a nice homage to Georgio de Chirico.   Posted: 06/08/2021 18:07:12
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
"Master" is too strong, but I appreciate the sentiment. I also find it refreshing to be less gray. July's entry leaves the gray background as well. It may be a trend. Thanks for all of your kind words.   Posted: 06/09/2021 11:13:02

Fran McFadzen   Fran McFadzen
Surrealism is a wonderful art movement, and one that lends itself to photography post production. What you have done in emulating de Chirico is great fun, and well done.
Thanks for the detail on adding shadows. I had to learn that for one of my images, and I used this link to show how to make the shadows transparent (not what you wanted, as you said).

Only thing I might have done differently to you was to add perspective to the shadows by having them converge together slightly at their right end tips.   Posted: 06/19/2021 21:23:34


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