The Wacky Blackbirds 3

blackbird 1       blackbird 2

blackbird 2 alt wings       blackbird 3

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Wacky Blackbird 3 Tutorial

    I did the work for this tutorial in PSP version 9, but I am sure the technique would work in other versions as well. These birds are an Alpha Channel Selections tutorial, and I hope it is clear enough for anyone trying it. Remember to save often.

    If you have already downloaded the supplies from one of the other Blackbird tutorials, you don't need them from here, for they are the same. Supplies: Wacky Blackbirds Canvases etc.

    Download the Wacky Blackbirds Alpha Selection Canvas etc. and when unzipped, open the the canvas you want to work on in PSP. Click on Shift and D to duplicate the canvas and close the original. The canvas image will look blank, but if you look at your layer palette, you will see several layers labeled. For the birds 1 and 2, you will need the "eyes_nose_ssg.pspimage" and for bird 3, you will need the "eyes_ssg.pspimage". Open the one you will need in PSP and minimize it to bottom of your workspace for use later.

    For ease in directions, this page will give the instructions for the blackbird 3 with links to the pages for the other two birds near the bottom of this page.

    1. In the Layers Palette, activate the bottom layer that is named body. Go to Selections/Load_Save Selections/Load Selection from Alpha Channel. Click on the body selection and click OK.

    In the Materials Palette, have the Foreground black (#000000) and the Background gray - #808080.

    Activate the Flood Fill tool and fill the body selection with black. Selections/Float. Effects/3D Effects/Cutout. Use the settings in the following screen shot for the cutout.

cutout body

    Deselect by clicking on the Ctrl and the D keys.

    We will follow the same process for each of the layers, but I am not going to show screen shots for each cutout. I will just give the changes.


    2. Activate the next layer - body shading, load the body shading selection from the Alpha Channel. Fill with the gray.

    NOTE: There is no need to deselect when nothing was done to the previous layer selection but fill with color. If there is a need to deselect, I will put it in the directions.


    3. Activate the next layer - L foot, load the L foot selection from the Alpha Channel. Change your Background color to #F66110 and using the right mouse key fill the foot with the reddish orange, or whatever color you want the feet to be. Float.

    Using the same cutout as before, but change the blur to 25 and the color to #AA3D02. Since the cutout hasn't been used since the body cutout was used, it should still be the same settings. But just in case, here are the settings again with the new changes: V&H 0; Opacity 100; Blur 25; Color #AA3D02.


    4. Activate the R foot layer and load the R foot selection. Fill with the orange. Float. Apply the same cutout as for the L foot. Deselect.

    5. Activate the L wing layer and load the L wing selection. Fill with black. Float. Apply the cutout with these settings - note the change in color and blur. V&H 0; Opacity 100; Blur 10; Color #808080.


    6. Activate the L wing lines layer and load the L wing lines selection. Fill with #808080.

    7. Activate the R wing layer and load the R wing selection. Fill with black. Float. Apply the same cutout that was just applied to the L wing.


    8. Activate the R wing lines layer and load the R wing lines selection. Fill with #808080.

    9. Activate the head_neck layer and load the head_neck selection. Fill with black. Float and apply the same cutout with these settings: V&H 0; Opacity 100; Blur 15; Color #808080. Deselect.


    10. Activate the lower beak layer and load the lower beak selection. Fill with #F66110(reddish orange). Float. Apply the cutout with these settings: V&H 0; Opacity 100; Blur 25; Color #AA3D02. Deselect.


    11. Activate the upper beak layer and load the upper beak selection. Fill with the reddish orange. Float and apply the same cutout you just applied to the lower beak.

    12. Activate the nose layer and load the nose selection. Fill with black.

    13. Activate the top knot layer and load the top knot selection. Fill with black and deselect.


    14. Activate the head_neck layer. Open the "eyes_ssg.pspimage". Edit/Copy. Activate the bird image. Edit/Paste as New Layer. Use the Mover Tool to move the eyes into place.


    CONGRATULATIONS! You now have completed the third of the Wacky Blackbirds.

finished bird 3

      Now this little bird looks cute, but to add a bit more to him, I used the Lighten/Darken brush to add a bit more dimension to his beaks and to his feet. This could also be done to the other birds in this series, if you want.

      Activate the upper beak layer and the Lighten/Darken Brush. Use the following settings to start with as a guide line and follow the screen shot of the beak, too. When the "Swap mouse button" is checked, the left mouse button will do the darken brush, when it is not checked, it will do the lighten brush.

lite dark brush settings       lite dark brush beaks

      What I did - went around the upper part of the upper beak, following the curves and darkened it more, using the curve on the right and bringing it down more towards the bottom of the upper beak. Went around the bottom curve of the upper beak to darken it more. Then I clicked on the Swap mouse buttons unchecking the box so that my left mouse key would lighten, and I changed the size to 8. I then followed my darkened curves to make the very center of each side of the upper beak look higher. I also went just inside the lower curve of the upper beak with the lighten brush setting.

      Then I changed to the lower beak layer and lightened the very bottom tip of the lower beak. Next changed back the Swap mouse button so it would darken, and keeping the size at 8, I went over the rest of the lower beak, following the lines of the curves to darken it all.

      Next I worked on the feet - starting with the L foot, and the darken part, I went around the curves of the foot in short strokes and darkened the outer curves with going over the "joints" a bit more to make them a bit darker. Did the same on the R foot. Then changed the Swap mouse button back to the lighten, by unchecking it - and lightened some of the inner areas of each foot. Remember to watch which layer you are trying to lighten. I often forget and try to lighten the L foot while the R foot layer is activated and then can't figure out why I am not seeing any changes! Here is a screen shot of the feet to help as a guide line.

lite dark brush on feet

      While you still have the Lighten/Darken brush activated, let's do a few little touch ups. When the cutouts were applied to the wings and the head_neck, it left a light line across the top of the wings and around the bottom curve of the neck. Activate each of those layers in turn - L wing, R wing and head_neck, and use the darken brush on the light lines to black them out. This way works better than trying to erase them.

      The screen shot shows the L wing top darkened, but you can still see the R wing and the base of the neck need to be darkened.

dk brush left wing

      Here is the final finished bird with all the Lighten/Darken Brush works.

bird 3 completely finished

      Thank you for trying this tutorial! If you would like to try the other two Wacky Bird tutorials in this series of three, just click on the name of the tutorial.

      Blackbird 1 Tutorial

      Blackbird 2 Tutorial

    Thank you for trying my Wacky Blackbirds tutorials. I hope you enjoyed them.

      This tutorial was written September 28, 2008.

      Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions. Send email to susie