The Red-Nosed Reindog

A dog that looks like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer with pretty elf

Behold the Red-Nosed Reindog, a rare creature from a remote mountain region near the North Pole! Okay, what you are actually looking at is a surreal photorealistic composite, which I created for the amusement of friends and family as this years Christmas card. I thought it would be fun to portray my daughter as an elf, and her dog as the iconic Rudolph. Being fairly adept at Photoshop magic, I combined a number of photographs to illustrate this imaginary scene.

I started the process by photographing the dog, as she was the focal point and novelty of the image. In reality she stands barely 18 inches high, therefore to simulate her appearance as a big animal I used a wide angle lens and positioned the camera height just above her eye level. I intentionally chose backlit lighting for the artistic effect, using fill flash to control the shadows. After choosing the best shot of the dog, all other photos used for the composite needed to match it's lighting direction, contrast quality, perspective, and lens angle as much as possible for the most convincing results. With that in mind, I proceeded with the photo session of my daughter in an elf costume. Once I had photos of the main subjects, my next concern was an appropriate winter backdrop.

Cute Bichon Frise

Girl dressed like an elf

Finding a snowy background where I live in sunny Los Angeles was a problem, so I decided to license some stock images from bigstockphoto.com to help complete the project. With careful searching for photos that fit my vision and had the right lighting, I chose a spectacular mountain background, another mountain scene for the foreground, and one with trampled snow. I also found an elk photo with appropriate horns, although the lighting was completely wrong; but I knew this could be fixed by painting in the backlit lighting.

Once I had all the elements that I needed, I laboriously pieced the various parts of the puzzle together in Photoshop. I cut out all the parts "by hand" since this gave me better results than the automated solutions. Using numerous layers, I adjusted the white balance and contrast, tweaked and refined edges, and painted additional details. It was a lot of work, but a really fun and challenging project. Hopefully it will bring a smile to anyone who gazes upon the sight of the Red-Nosed Reindog!

©2011
------------------------

Addendum: More examples of my composite Christmas photos!

Christmas tree ornaments with portrait pictures
ORNAMENTS, 2007.

Winter scene with girl and dog in front of a gingerbread house
CANDY LAND, 2010

Pretty angel woman and dog fly over a village
ANGELS, 2012.

Beautiful woman and dog made of snow in the mountains
SNOWDOG, 2013.

Pretty girl rides a sleigh pulled by flying bichon frise dogs
MAGIC SLEIGH RIDE, 2014.

Back

A look behind the scenes of art-making and other musings by .

fractal picture

See More Articles:

Howie and pumpkin from The Nightmare Before Christmas
Skellington Incident

Pillsbury doughboy baking a pie
Stop-Motion Doughboy

Aliens from Encounter movie
Making ENCOUNTER

mouse riding motorcycle
Stop-Motion Field Trip

nimslo camera
Anaglyph Technique

Frog as a knight
St. Frog and the Dragon

Mother and father Umblebum
Meet the Umblebums

Carrot puppets from Red Riding Hood and the Well Fed Wolf
Fairy Tale Surrealism

3 cavemen
Sculpting Cavemen

A reindog and elf
The Red-Nosed Reindog

Disney popsicles
Making Mickey's Parade

Freddy nightmare
Nightmares Made Real

tattooed lady
Tattoo Parlor Diorama

face of fire dancer
Painting RING OF FIRE

face of Night Scorp
Gigantic Scorpions

face of Night Scorp
Chroma Key Animation

bodybuilder Frank Zane posing
The Living Body as Sculpture

Man runs in a sewer movie set
Starting at the Bottom

Animated bottle cap character
Zippy the Cap

Stone Giant stop-motion puppet
The End of Dynamation

Candy on a boys face
Eye Candy

Dancing figures
Lucid Dream

Talking deer and moose hunting trophies
Wacky Trophy Heads

Handstanding figure over river valley
Making THE WANDERER

Portrait of man made of fruit
Creating a Fruit Man

Colorful mandala design
Mysterium Mandala

Portrait of Jack Skellington
Nightmare Still Photos

Spacecraft Wreckage
Spaceship Junkyard

Closeup of a robot
Making Models and Props pt. 1

Watch shaped like a mouse
Making Models and Props pt. 2

“Train
Making Models and Props pt. 3

“Face
Young Iguanodon

“ice
Lively Kisses

“shopping
Making Mall Mania

“powerful
Extreme Heroic Poses

“face
Earth Mother

“dog
Digital Dog Fight

© 2006-2018 Joel Fletcher
contact | privacy statement