One Four Challenge – October Week 2…


This week’s image came about after a whole lot of experimentation.  I had no idea where I was going and didn’t expect to end up with what I did, but I like it, so that’s all that really matters.  I’ll attempt to write up a tutorial a little later in the post.  But first, an announcement…


As many of you who have been participating in the One Four Challenge know, Robyn, our illustrious host, is needing to take a break from hosting to take some down time for herself.  She has asked me to host the One Four Challenge for the month of November, and I happily accepted! 😀

Everything will stay the same, except instead of linking to her post you will link to mine for the month of November.  I will publish my weekly post at her usual time (6:30 am Aussie time on Mondays [UTC+11 AEDT]), so that everyone can start linking as usual.  Then throughout the week I will visit everyone’s posts and leave a comment (like Robyn does now).  It will be fun and a bit challenging, but I’m totally up for it.

In December, the challenge will be passed back to Robyn and I believe we will have our Review month.

It is an incredible honor to be chosen to help Robyn out, and I hope that you will all still participate in the challenge in November.

Ok, now back to this week’s image…


Oh my, where to start?  Let’s see… usually looking at the layers helps me determine what I did… layers

  1. First I was trying to make the spider itself more visible by playing around with blending modes and curves.  I got the idea from a book I’ve used in this challenge before called, The Hidden Power of Blend Modes.  The book was written for Photoshop, so I kinda translated it into GIMP*.  In GIMP you cannot go back to a curves layer and adjust it once it is made (hopefully one day that will be changed), so to try to emulate what the book was explaining I created two duplicate copies of my original image.  The lower copy I changed the blend mode to Value (similar to PS Luminosity), and the top copy to blend mode Saturation.  Then I went to Colors->Curves and started adjusting the values.  Once I was happy I made a new layer from visible of the three layers [Layer->New from Visible]  Like I said, my original idea was to try to bring out the colors in the spider…


    click to enlarge

  2. I’ve been trying to figure out how to make the spider web more visible.  Last week I played around with Threshold [Colors->Threshold], where I pulled the black slider towards the right and got a great creepy image.  This week I decided to see what would happen if I pulled the white slider towards the left… it had an interesting result.  I noticed that at a certain point the image shifted from white/black to black/white.  (Your results may vary, my histogram shows that I only have a small amount of data which is very close to the right side… which is probably why I’m getting these results.)  Then I inverted the layer [Colors->Invert].


    click to enlarge

  3. So far all my attempts to make that web more visible have ended in a result that looks more drawn than a photograph.  I decided to go with it and used the G’MIC GIMP Plug-in Engrave Filter [Filters->GMIC->Black & White->Engrave].  I’ve used it several times before to give me a drawn effect, you can click on the Add Color Background box to get two layers, one is the black and white outline (set to Darken Only Blend Mode) and then a color layer that is kind of a blob-y version of your image.  The color layer ‘shows through’ to the drawn layer.  I ran this filter on my New from Visible layer from step 1.


    click to enlarge

  4. You may have noticed that the web is simply not visible, which is a problem… it really helps with the not-floating spider, and the creep factor.  So I pulled up last week’s threshold image and played around with that.  First I made a copy of that layer, then I stared to erase the big black patches in the corners.  It proved to be a nightmare to try to carve out the web by hand, even on my wacom… so I decided to just focus on the big lines of web and this is what I ended up with (the checkered background denotes that it is transparent)…


    click to enlarge

  5. Once I stacked all these layers together (the two engrave layers and the two threshold layers), I had this image…

    click to enlarge

    But it didn’t feel finished.  So I copied the colored engrave layer, then turned on the visibility to the layer created in step 1 (and turned off the original color engrave layer), and stepped through all the blend modes to see what caught my fancy.  I liked the Grain Merge blend mode because it was a neat purple and the colors on the spider looked pretty cool (I also liked Difference blend mode it was a neat green background).


    click to enlarge

  6. I then zoomed in on the color engrave layer and cleaned up the colors with the airbrush tool.  I showed it to my husband, who thought it was pretty neat… then I zoomed into the spider more and he was like, WOW, and said I should crop it because he hadn’t noticed all the detail in the spider.    So the final image was cropped… 151006_NAT_013--gimp2-c_LR1000-wm

My husband commented on how the final image was more hairy than the actual spider photo… to which I said, it emphasizes the creepy parts of the spider.  He totally agreed. 😀

Kind thoughts and comments are welcome!

Until next time…

I have joined a month-long photo post-processing challenge called One Four Challenge, hosted by Robyn at Captivate Me. “This challenge is about processing 1 image in 4 different ways over 4 weeks.” Every Monday Robyn posts a new version of her photo and challenges us to do the same each week.

* GIMP is Open Source software that is available for all platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows), it is a photo editor that does many (if not all) of the things you can do in Photoshop. You can download it for free here. The GIMP online manual can be found here.

10 thoughts on “One Four Challenge – October Week 2…

  1. This totally enhances the ‘ewww-ness’ of the spider. Ewww 😉
    All your trials and experiments are so good to read about.

    Thank you so much for hosting our challenge for Nov – youre awesome Nic!!

  2. Wow..such a contrast to last week’s easy-peasy edit! But very effective..the detail in the near silhouette edges are great..and I like the green detail in the body of the spider.
    And yeah that you are taking over One Four Challenge for November!!

  3. YAY! More One Four Challenge in November – thankyou for stepping up, I considered offering but really have too much on my plate right now.

    Your effort this week really does look very hairy and with added creepiness – Im not bothered by spiders but then I have never met a huntsman face to face either LOL

    • Thanks, Stacey! I had to look up the Huntsman Spider, seems pretty creepy and big! Eek. 🙂 This spider was probably about the size of a quarter, which I realize now that I’ve written that – you are in NZ and have different money… ummm… perhaps 3-4 cm diameter.

      I hope this means that you will still participate in November, I’m looking forward to substitute-hosting the challenge. 😀

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