This Dressage image caught my eye. I was reviewing and organizing image files and this one stood out. The lovely arch of the horse’s neck and the clarity of the eye made the image interesting.
This is the original unedited image.
First I cropped the Dressage image to 16″ x 20″ size.
I cropped out the white shirt of the rider. I also cropped off the right side of the background. In this crop the eye is in the top rule of thirds position. This draws the viewer’s attention to the horse’s eye .
Next in Photoshop I added 12 different layers of colors and textures. I changed the blend modes and opacity to see if they gave the Dressage image effect I wanted.
The process to create a digital art piece takes many hours of patient trial and error. My process is to use colors and texture that complement or contrast with the subject.
In this example the horse’s coat has a lot of red tones. I picked background and overlays in blue, green, yellow, brown and reds. Once I had the colors right I masked out the horse so the colors were on the background only. I also partially masked out the poles on the original background.
The Dressage image was down to 7 layers of color backgrounds. But it still didn’t seem finished to me. I went to my stash of texture photos.
I picked several textures and tried them. After applying different textures and combinations of textures. I settled on these two. The 1st image is off on old storage shed wall. The 2nd images is of a large rock.
I set these layers over the whole Dressage image and used different blend modes and opacity. I applied the rock texture is over the whole horse. Then I removed some of texture from around the horse’s eye. I also removed the rock texture from the white saddle pad. I liked the image but something still didn’t look quite right.
Final Dressage Image
Then I added some shading to darken the background and the horse’s body. The horse’s head was lightened a little to get the final Dressage image. I added some color to the saddle pad and adjusted some of the layers again. The images was re-cropped and named “Show Ready.” This digital art piece is available on my Etsy shop here.
To create this digital art piece took approximately 20+ hours. No horses, humans or technology was harmed in the process.