PI5 Calculation Animorph

Calculation image, Mask appliedThe PI 5.0 Format, Calculation command is a terrific way to create a striking composite image from two separate pictures --  like the popular cartoon character Animorphs! 

A calculation can be performed on two True Color images, or on one True Color and one Grayscale image. The primary criteria for success, however, is that both images must be exactly the same size. 

In this tutorial I'm using a photo of Sebastian the Cat (thanks Fr. Michael!), from the PI Photo Gallery, and a photo of my daughter, who had an impish, cat-like look on her face. I resized her photo so that her eyes and mouth lined up with the cat's eyes and mouth. When the images are combined via Calculation, there was a surreal blending of features that was quite striking. A bristly Edge Frame helps to enhance a "furry" look. You can use your own images, or right click to get the cat and child images.

Open up both images in the work space. Choose Format, Calculation to open the Calculation dialog box. 

Calculation dialog box

For the Foreground image (which kind of floats over the Background image), choose calculation1.jpg (cat). For the Background image, choose calculation2.jpg (girl) from the dropdown list, as shown above. Select (check) Mask to apply a Grayscale mask to the Foreground image, which, depending on the images used, can help to enhance the blending effect. As soon as you check Mask, you'll see the images blend in the right Preview window. Leave the Channel for both images set to Master.

The Operation dropdown list offers Merge methods which affect how the color characteristics of the Foreground image are blended with the Background image. The similarity or dissimilarity of the colors in the two images you're blending will influence which Operation you select. Certainly some experimentation is called for here. For the image in this tutorial, choose Lighting from the Operation dropdown list. 

Click OK to complete the Calculation command. As you can see below, the images have combined in a unique way!

Combined images

I wasn't crazy about the cat ears sticking up at the top of the image, so I selected the Clone Paintbrush tool. 

To get rid of the cat's ears, Shift-click in the pale yellow background, then carefully paint out the tips of the cat's ears sticking out of the girl's head.

Clone out ears in background

To add a fancy mask around the edges of the face, choose Edit, Expand and Expand the entire image 20 pixels on all sides.

Choose the standard selection tool and in the Attributes toolbar, select Ellipse from the Shape dropdown list. Make a selection as shown. There was some blank space above her head, so I used the Clone Paintbrush tool to paint up to the selection line.

Expand, then make elliptical selection

Hit Ctrl+C to copy the selection into the Clipboard, then choose Edit, Paste, As A New Image.  The selection will open as an object in its own window in the work space. Don't Merge the newly pasted object with the base image.

Choose Web, Frame Designer. From the Style dropdown list, choose Edge Frame. Select one of the 20 or so mask-type Edge frames. I used one that looked kind of like a bristly fur to me. Click OK to apply.

Edge Frame applied

Now that you know how to make a combined Calculation image, you'll probably find lots of ways to use this handy little command. Try using the same images with different Operations options, switch the Foreground and Background images, and select/deselect Mask to get dramatically different effects. You could also apply some Style filters or Lighting effects.

Here are a few examples. In this first example, I switched the Foreground and Background images, deselected Mask, and chose the Addition Operation option. A different Edge Frame was applied too.


Also with the Foreground and Background images switched and Mask deselected, but with the Inverse of Multiply Operation selected.  Then I chose Effect, Creative, Lighting and added a fairly strong Light bulb effect from one eye.

Inverse of Multiple, Creative Lighting applied

A completely different one made from two of Hemera's PhotoObjects. After I combined these I added Creative Lighting, a Style filter, and smooshed the edges around a bit with the Bristle Smear Retouch tool.

Lion Lady

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