Tail Time (Image Manipulation)

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This is one of my first experiments in image manipulation using some beginners and intermediate techniques. In the next few sections I’ll explain the process of my work and how I came with the final result. There are still some minor changes and additions before I achieve the finished piece.


Create two pieces of artwork using the stock resources provided. The images have been selected for their diversity and to encourage the use of professional background removal and compositing techniques.

Other details: we can use our own resources to compose the image.

So this is where I started – visualising the composition of the image, the setting and how I can incorporate the micro pieces.


Shinobi J 14
By mjranum-stock, DeviantArt

Retro Alarm
By o0-Pyromancer-0o, DeviantArt

These were some of the images provided for the brief. Apart from them I chose to use:

Abandoned Table
By osmar01, http://www.sxc.hu

Crocodile Tail
By Musee D’Orsay, DeviantArt

Defining the Setting and the Composition

After choosing the stock images I start thinking of the setting. As my main figure is a ninja or shinobi an easy decision was made to go for the Asian/Japanese setting in the image. I wanted to create a more live and interesting composition in which the figure interacts with the environment. Incorporating another live element as the crocodile tail (which presents a dragon in the picture) was a natural decision after I was done with the scene.

Isolating the Objects

Isolating the objects from their backgrounds was the first technical step towards the new composition. Here’s the ninja isolated on white background and also another experiment with the ninja in different colour on dark background:

Isolated Ninja on White Background

Isolated Ninja on Dark Background

As you can notice I’ve also added grungy textures to the clothes of the ninja to make it more realistic. Also more suitable with my scene image.

The Scene

I took the photo with the abandoned table which is a striking piece of photography and changed its colour to make it warm. Added the isolated image of the clock in the middle of the table and created a render of lens flares which illuminates this part of the scene. Also embedded few Asian patterns on the walls to emphasize the atmosphere. The left one being a Ninja killing a dragon. (Both taken from Wikipedia)

The Scene

Final Piece

After I had all of the objects isolated from their background (including the crocodile tail from the source above) and the scene finished I had to place the figures and compose the image to make it look more dynamic and less still. This is how I positioned them and my final work:

Final Piece

I still have some improvements to make. I’ll incorporated one smaller object, refine the forms/isolation of the figures because its not greatly precise right now and also add a shadow to the ninja figure to make it more realistic, similar to the one I’ve added on the crocodile tail.

Any suggestions and feedback would be greatly appreciated.


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