The Nutcracker Sweets

    This card was collaged in record time--one day, because all the parts were on hand.  The fireplace mantle was captured with our new Nikon D70 at the Ventura Life & Style December release party.  Portraits of my wife and myself came from the files.  (After two years, Daly Road Graphics was much more organized.)  I picked shots that had us looking in the right direction.  Then I compressed them vertically with disproportionate resizing.  Each was color-rebalanced to match the nutcracker heads, which were shot under reddish incandescent lights.  Sampling and airbrushing from the original heads guaranteed a more exact match.   

     The process was repeated with our two new cats, Lilo and Stitch.  After they were added, the bunting was re-applied from a duplicate, to make it appear as though they were sitting behind, and not on top of it.  Shadows and bleaching completed the illusion.  The smudge tool smoothed their outlines.

     Stitch is mostly black, so making her visible was a fiddly-challenge.  The image in the mirror was in perfect focus and a distraction.  It was darkened, then fuzzed over with the "gaussian blur" tool.

     The level tool forced the lights into brilliance.  They were gently sprayed bluish to appear even brighter. 

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