Since this picture has generated a lot of interest, I would like to share a few steps of how it was created from three different pictures, and to give you a better idea of which tools in Photoshop I used. From the beginning it was clear to me that I wanted to use a picture featuring my eyes for the Halloween Selfie. I was wondering if having snakes swimming around in my iris was maybe a cool idea, but after seeing how difficult it was to get a really sharp picture of your eye when you have to take it yourself without proper equipment, I had to change plan. I remembered seeing a movie poster a while ago, with a hand creeping out of an eye, and I thought I'd give it a try. I have eyes, and I have hands, right?
First off, the picture of the eye. I don't have a ring flash or a macro flash, and I really didn't think it would be too cool to fire a flash onto my eye at short distance, so I decided to use the brightest light in the house, and crawled up onto the bathroom counter, facing the vanity lights, holding the camera with both hands – one hand on the macro lens lens 60mm f2.8) and the other one on the shutter release. It proved to be fairly difficult to take a picture under these circumstances. A few times I almost fell off the counter, too. Most pictures were blurry, and all of them were noisy at 3200 ISO, but a couple of them ended put being somewhat usable.
However, since I needed a bit more space under the eye for the fingers, I realized that if I wanted the whole eye to fill the frame, my eye lashes above the eye would be cut off. That was no good. Luckily, since I took so many pictures, with a trembling hand after holding the camera for so long in this awkward position, I also had some pictures where the lower lashes were cropped off and more of the top was visible. In Photoshop, I managed to merge two photos together, meaning, I pasted one picture on top of the other, and adjusted them so that they were perfectly overlapping. Then with the eraser set at 30% I could soften the seams to they would disappear. I also needed to fill quite a bit white in each corner with the cloning stamp since I had to rotate the pictures a bit to fit them better. I also had to clone in some skin to the left of the eye because as you can see, both eye pictures are cut too close to the edge.
Next, my fingers. Again, using the same bathroom light, I took a picture of my hand and tried to squeeze my fingers so they looked like they were holding onto something. It was fairly easy to cut them out and glue them over top of the eyeball. But of course, at this point of the game, the picture looked really fake. What I had to do to give it a more realistic feel was a drop shadow, some automatic, some painted, softening around the edges of the hands, and most importantly painting some light over the knuckles. I added quite a bit of shadow with a soft brush afterwards, trying to make it appear as realistic as possible. I also warped the whole picture a bit downwards to give the eye a more open, surprised look. Under the fingers, on my cheek bone, I brushed in a bit of white to make the fingers appear like they were pressing onto the skin of my face, and a bit of shadow underneath the light.
Finally I had to clean up mascara flakes all over the picture with the spot healing brush (yes, it was that bad) and I brightened the eye ball and iris to give it more pop. Much more pop. I also reduce some redness on the inside of the eye because it was too distracting.
It's really hard to explain all of this, but I hope I gave you at least a bit of an idea of what was involved in getting the picture to look as realistic as possible. I am learning by doing, and the Sunday Selfie was an amazing challenge to learn even more!