Loche Ness Monster

The final images

RiverMonster2 RiverMonster1

For this project, the prompt was to take two landscape/natural photos from around the Rochester area and add or remove elements to it using photoshop.

For my photos, I chose to take pictures of the Rochester skyline behind the Genesee River. The pictures show the intertwined nature of the city and the river. I often run along the river and I’ve noticed that the water is extremely murky. With this in mind, I wondered: what if there was something in the water? This was my inspiration for the photoshop project and I decided I would photoshop a Loche Ness monster into the Genesee river.

My first step was to compile a group of reference pictures and textures that I would merge together to form the monster. The Loche Ness monster looks like a combination of a giant sea turtle and a dinosaur, so I got reference pictures of both with the intention of combining them:

papo2012_brachiosaurus reef_0037OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAloch-ness-monster-2d68395f86b0341dA view of the Loch Ness Monster, near Inverness, Scotland, April 19, 1934. The photograph, one of two pictures known as the ‘surgeon’s photographs,’ was allegedly taken by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson, though it was later exposed as a hoax by one of the participants, Chris Spurling, who, on his deathbed, revealed that the pictures were staged by himself, Marmaduke and Ian Wetherell, and Wilson. References to a monster in Loch Ness date back to St. Columba’s biography in 565 AD. More than 1,000 people claim to have seen ‘Nessie’ and the area is, consequently, a popular tourist attraction. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

I also collected a group of wake and splash textures to overlay onto the river:

3b7a86cd4c9c545ae70d1a45398b9595 WAKE HEIGHT MAP 01 water_ripple bowwave2

I then went out into Rochester and took many pictures of the Genesee river. I decided on the following two pictures as my two base images. I chose these pictures because they show a good view of the river and surrounding scenery and don’t have too much perspective distortion which would make it hard to photoshop something realistic.

DSC_0027 DSC_0042

The next step was to merge together my reference pictures of the turtle, which would form the bottom of the monster, and the dinosaur, which would form the top of the monster. I blurred the back of the turtle texture so it would seem like it was under the water. I also added the splash textures and distorted them to appear as if they were on the surface of the water. I used additive mode on those layers so they would only add the highlights to the water. A closeup of these results is shown below.


The process was the same in the second image as the first image. In the second image, however, I distorted the neck image to look like it was bending, as well as tilting the other textures so it appeared that the monster was being viewed from the side. The only other modification in the second picture was altering the angle of the splash. For this image I had to use Photoshop’s 3d feature to place the round splash image onto a 3d plain which I then rotated so it would have proper perspective distortion.

The final images appear at the beginning of this page. They can be viewed in high resolution by clicking on them.