View Full Version : September Entry: Leonardo's Lawnscaping

09-05-2009, 09:43 PM
My entry is a parody of a before-and-after ad in a magazine, in this case "Rogue Magazine", the fantasy version of "Vogue". The ad is for Leonardo's Lawnscaping. The ad is aiming for a slightly campy style from the 1950's and 1960's, juxtaposed with current cultural references.

Leonardo is a gnome; the owner of the before-and-after home is a female elf and the former tenants were orcs. The moral of this piece, if anything, is "don't rent to orcs".

The before picture is close to complete, but I feel I need to mess it up more. I'd welcome any suggestions for other features to add that would trash up the place.

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09-05-2009, 09:48 PM
looks nice so far, I would just remove some patches of grass

09-06-2009, 12:46 AM
Modern orcs drive VW bugs...interesting. :) I'd like to see the interior layout and how they messed up the joint.

09-06-2009, 01:04 AM
Interior view would really rock.

btw, don't forget the obligatory toilet out on the front lawn being used as a planter :P

09-06-2009, 03:18 AM
A car, lol...
We don't get too many parodies, so this is going to be sweet :)

What I see is really well done so far.

Steel General
09-06-2009, 09:45 AM
Neat idea, and looking good so far.

09-06-2009, 11:19 AM
I would love to do the interior, but it wouldn't make sense as this is an ad for lawn care services.

I've added Mrs. Leafblower and her testimonial, and it looks like the satellites of Google Oerth may have caught the eviction in progress at the rental property.

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09-06-2009, 11:36 AM
Oooh, i love it.

09-06-2009, 12:28 PM
Good stuff, Imm. Any day that you can laugh is a good day.

09-06-2009, 12:32 PM
Indeed... very cool! Everything seems to fit in well.

09-06-2009, 09:09 PM
This project is really moving itself right along. I have added the start of the "after" picture, which involved creating a golf-course grass texture, adding some maples and an apple tree, and designing a deck texture along with steps, rails and posts, then cluttering the hooey out of it while trying to maintain a sense of taste.

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09-06-2009, 10:36 PM
Kid's sandbox, and toys, and playpen! then you can go nuts with the cluttered toys and it would totally fit :)

09-06-2009, 10:40 PM
You need some berms with flowers and bushes...and maybe some mulch around the trees, maybe a gazebo and garden. Oh, and a pool and hot tub. Looks great so far.

Bald Man
09-06-2009, 11:55 PM
I love the unicorn feeding under the apple tree.

Let's see, would an elf have garden gnomes? Perhaps one modeled after Leonardo himself?

09-07-2009, 12:49 AM
Maybe a flamingo.. or a lawn jockey? (never understood those things)

09-07-2009, 01:56 PM
Rather than upload the entire project, I only made changes to the "after" part of the advertisement, so I'm uploading only that.

I added gravel and mulch planting beds around the front of the house, the trees and the front path. I planted bushes along the path and junipers in the house-side beds. These were made from a nice picture of a large blue-star juniper bush which was carefully separated from the background, then duplicated. I removed the darker spots on the duplicate and then beveled the remaining bush. Once that was right, I merged the two layers for a pleasing result. The bush was scaled to about 30% and then stamped all over the planting bed. I did a light ripple filter on the bushes and then a sprayed stroke, which removed the recognizable patterns without losing the effect. Then I put a hue/saturation filter and a contrast filter. The bushes were the original blue-green color that these bushes are supposed to be, but my wife didn't like it and helped me take them back to a more typical green. I finished them off with a one-pixel high-depth bevel, chisel hard with a six-pixel soften.

The bushes on the path came from the Dunjinni forums. The edging was a pattern made for this purpose by doing light-grey/dark-grey clouds with a few difference clouds added, then a patchwork texture with block size two. I added a pattern adjustment layer to the house file, then used ctrl-i to hide it. I then used the line tool at a width of six pixels to "lay" the edging around the beds. Some bevel and a small amount of drop shadow completed the job.

The gazebo came from RPGMAPSHARE.COM. I was surprised to find one there that was pretty enough, but I did, so I threw on a bevel and customized the gloss contour to give the roof a distinctive oriental flare, then left well-enough alone.

Finally came the statue/fountain (actually first, but I'm telling about it last). I'm not content with the water, but the rest looks good. The fountain was simple enough with a few circles of marble and some bevels applied, but the statue was another matter. First, finding a female elf archer from above was difficult. I knew of one, but she wasn't exactly right so I kept looking. After well over an hour of surfing the web, I gave up and decided to use the one I had.

I used a tutorial for "statuizing" a photo. There are actually a number of tutorials but they all do basically the same thing. Desaturate and then multiply various stone layers onto the image. The only problem is that this method is find for a fundamentally two-dimensional image, but a statue from overhead is very much a three-dimensional thing, and the method yielded unsatisfactory results.

So I thought the problem through, then started separating layers of the archer, starting with her head, then shoulderpads and breasts, then arms and hands, then quiver, with the bottom layer being the whole thing. Each layer I "statuized" separately, then applied a customized bevel to it to achieve the exact amount of roundness appropriate for that part. then I recombined the layers to get the result you see.

I have more to do of course, but I felt it necessary to report back on my progress.


09-07-2009, 02:20 PM
Looking great... darn, this could become another tough vote :)

09-07-2009, 06:08 PM
Okey Dokey... here's the full ad, functionally complete. Added Leo and his testimonial. Leo is simply a garden gnome with meerschaum pipe added.

I now have 18 days, give or take, to add things, refine things and polish. Suggestions are most welcome now that everything that has to be in, is in.

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09-07-2009, 06:21 PM
I don't know what happened to my post, I had one in here complementing you on your work so far and saying that your efforts with the statue totally paid off.

Dunno what happened to it, but there you have it. And it's looking very nice! I love the dogs on the porch too :) and the mailbox, nice touch there!

[edit] Oh, spellchecking point - after you comment about the CSI team, there's an "up" that looks like it should be "us", and right before mention of the HAZMAT team, there's "adn" the looks like it should be "and"...
(please don't hit me, i've had enough of that from correcting aslanc lol)

09-07-2009, 07:59 PM
CM: nope nope, I appreciate the point. I'd already seen and corrected the "adn" but didn't see the other error. Thanks!

09-07-2009, 11:03 PM
Entirely way fun. Gnome Depot kills me. Love your style.

09-10-2009, 09:33 PM
Made some minor changes to the wagon, some wear marks around the camp and fixed the splatter color, fixed a typo.

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09-11-2009, 05:56 PM
3rd line from the bottom, right side:
...and lining the plan beds... s/b plant?

09-11-2009, 05:57 PM
Absolutely AMAZING!!! Love the creativity! Gorgeous!

09-11-2009, 06:16 PM
I only just now noticed the two mounds under the tree up north. "Relocation" you call that? :D

09-11-2009, 08:15 PM
Thanks for the corrections!!!

I'm glad you caught that Gandwarf. I'm trying to sneak little details into the maps that are either subtle or intended to be overlooked. It's gratifying when someone sees them.

09-12-2009, 09:26 PM
Well I didn't think I would, but I put significant time into the before house, mostly because I have no concept of knowing when to stop. I hope the additions and tweaks please you.

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09-13-2009, 03:00 PM
Added some flowers and hedges to the after house. Also some minor corrections and tweaks. I would really like to hear opinions on whether the maze is a plus or a minus. I like it, but it does clutter things up.

I also changed out the junk pile on the right side of the house as I figured the inclusion of moder details needed to be more subtle.

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09-13-2009, 03:24 PM
Well, not sure about the maze. Like you said, it looks good enough, but it does clutter the place a bit. Whatever you decide on the maze, I wouldn't add more stuff. You should know when to stop ;)

Steel General
09-13-2009, 04:15 PM
For me the maze, while a neat idea, really doesn't add anything to what was already a cool, fun, great piece of work.

09-13-2009, 07:46 PM
I'd make it smaller and put a pond on the other side to sort of balance it out or something. It does look great, though.

09-13-2009, 08:49 PM

I removed the maze, as SG and GW and my wife were not enthralled by it. I also added a chimney to both houses (of course). The chimney features cowls and flaunching!!! Yeah I didn't know what that was either but I did some research. The flaunching is the beveled concrete form beneath the stack, and the cowl is the cover for the "pot", which is the pipe that channel smoke out. The cowl prevents rain from entering the chimney of course.

I also put more pointless detail behind Leonardo's garish sign.


09-14-2009, 05:14 AM
The chimney is a nice addition. Good call on the maze I think.

09-14-2009, 04:57 PM
Very nice. Thanks for the laugh. :)

09-14-2009, 11:17 PM
I had the girls over this evening so I made some spaghetti and didn't do much to the project, but I did manage to change the water in the fountain and darken the marble up a titch.

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09-15-2009, 09:54 PM
I worked up a gradient for a magazine texture and put it on top with a multiply. Thoughts?

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09-16-2009, 04:53 AM
Works for me.

Steel General
09-16-2009, 06:51 AM
The gradient looks good, though I think it's to dark in the very middle.

I opened several magazines we had laying around the house to compare and even the thickest were never near that dark - a medium gray would probably be enough. :)

09-17-2009, 07:54 PM
Fixed a minor glitch with the before house, aged the chimney a bit, decreased the intensity of the open magazine effect, and managed to increase the JPG quality a notch for some reason.

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09-17-2009, 08:13 PM
Lovin this :D

09-18-2009, 08:19 PM
Gussied the thing up a bit.

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09-24-2009, 07:30 PM
And, added a few more details to the before house before deadline tomorrow.

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09-27-2009, 05:24 PM
I received a private message from Ashenvale that was a regular treasure-trove of suggestions. He pointed out that the shadows on my rooftops were out of synch with my globals, made some suggestions on the trees on the "after" picture, and a few other, less-significant items.

The roofs were more messed up than he noticed, with one section of the roof whose shadows were opposite of the others. Fixing that took some doing, as the house had been "assembled" in another process and brought into the mock-up effectively complete.

I flipped the part and "patched" it into the house on the old house. On the new I had done too many color changes to the roof to match it correctly again, so I had to cut the old roof section out and flip it. It worked out well-enough.

For the trees, I did a lot of work with inner shadows, inner glows and bevels to make them look more three-dimensional. The apple tree got beefed up a bit to keep it from being quite so transparent.

As a bonus, I added a trash bag to the before house. While my wife was sanity-checking my changes, she noticed my two lawn flamingos for the first time and got a laugh out of them. They are images of two actual deceased flamingos that I painstakingly removed from their background so that I could use them in my yard. You see, that's the problem with orcs--they want to be like regular people, but something horrifying always happens when they try.

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09-27-2009, 08:32 PM
That's why I never use Dunjinni objects...the shadows never match what I want and most of them have a black outer glow that is a pain to get rid of. I only saw the one flamingo, looks kinda like Bjork's dress. But, ya gotta love the orcs just tryin to fit in :)

09-27-2009, 09:59 PM
Just fantastic! Look at the volume and dimension to those trees! Glorious!

09-28-2009, 03:37 PM
Let me elaborate . . .

The idea behind this piece impresses me most. I can’t imagine a more charming idea for a “before and after” map! But you also present all of the elements with such care and delight. There isn’t a weak moment in the entire presentation. The magazine pages, the landscaping logos (big and small!), the advertiser’s pitch, the anecdotes, the smart little surprises (The Gnome Depot, Google Oerth!), all come together to look professional while simultaneously carrying the humor. That’s what makes it so charming.

When I zoomed in on the “before” side and saw the orcs’ catapult, I roared! The grunge that the “before” image evokes makes me want to take a shower. I swear I can smell the place through my computer screen.

The after side rocks! Nice lighting, gloriously three-dimensional trees full of color and depth, fabulous gazebo cupola, perfectly manicured details throughout.

Juxtaposing pictures of the hotty elf with the classic garden gnome got me laughing again. You captured both my and my grandmother’s interest in fantasy. Didn’t think that could be done!

Inspired thought beautifully executed.

And funny!