Tag Archives: Photoshop

Save-It Saturday: Huge, Annoying Tentacles.

Here at Full Body Transplant we have been getting some sightseers surfing for squid. Watchmen squid, to be precise, but squid nonetheless. So, Save-It Saturday is serving historical calamari this morning as the next recipe in our archival soup.

The photograph at the top of this post is one of the crowning achievements of our time at Metagame. My magnificent Met-loving managing editor actually allowed me to photoshop myself and Matt Hyra into the halls of hysterical fake history. And we lived happily ever after.

So yeah. It’s not the Watchmen squid, it’s the huge, annoying tentacles from Hellboy. It’s copying over to the blog with bad spacing, and eventually the source links from the original will shut down and the images won’t load. It is delicious while it lasts, and there is nothing like squid for breakfast – or Save-It Saturday on a Sunday morning.

Bon appetit!


Hellboy Preview: Huge, Annoying Tentacles and Karl Ruprecht Kroenen

Rian Fike
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What are you afraid of?

If you are Selma Blair, the answer is simple: Huge, Annoying Tentacles. When she was creating Liz Sherman on film for Guillermo del Toro’s version of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Selma had to face her deepest, darkest phobia. This is what the brilliant actress had to say about her experience with Vs. System’s latest Army characters:

They actually scared me. Tentacles are the one thing I have problems with. In person, those tentacles were so terrifying, moving on their own and going everywhere. They really made me sick. I was repulsed, and you didn’t see them as much in the final cut because of it. Yeah, I don’t like them. I don’t like slugs or tentacles or calamari or anything. Tentacles made me turn into a vegetarian in high school. I’m not any more, but in high school, we were dissecting squid.

Huge, Annoying Tentacles scared the pants off the former winner of MTV’s Best Movie Kiss of the Year. Now they are going to be mad fun to play with on the kitchen table and in the tournament hall. They are non-unique Army characters and they are a near-perfect representation of the timeless fear that is unleashed and celebrated in the Hellboy Essential Collection. Let’s find out where these creepy crawlers came from.

When Mike Mignola first penned the legend of Hellboy, he drew upon the most hideous and horrible source material that humanity has ever known. Some of his inspiration was non-fiction, but that will need to wait until the second half of the article. Right now, we need to look toward H.P. Lovecraft.

Widely acknowledged as a master of modern horror, H.P. Lovecraft gave us Cthulhu. No single being carries as much weight when it comes to terrifying its audience. Cthulhu is one of the Old Ones, sometimes described as of the sum total of all human fear. Huge, Annoying Tentacles are its signature move. If you are having trouble pronouncing the name, don’t worry. Cthulhu cannot be spoken. Lovecraft himself explained it like this:

The actual sound—as nearly as human organs could imitate it or human letters record it—may be taken as something like Khlul’-hloo, with the first syllable pronounced gutturally and very thickly. The best approximation one can make is to grunt, bark, or cough the imperfectly formed syllables Cluh-Luh with the tip of the tongue firmly affixed to the roof of the mouth. That is, if one is a human being. Directions for other entities are naturally different.

Mike Mignola created the Ogdru Jahad as homage to Cthulhu and the Old Ones. Like its predecessor, this indescribable evil is an ageless being from the beginning of time. It continuously strives to destroy the world completely and throw us all into a state of utter chaos and madness. When Guillermo del Toro interpreted the Ogdru Jahad for his feature film, it had one resounding characteristic: it had Huge, Annoying Tentacles.

Luckily for us, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D eventually thwarted the Thule Society and their attempt to awaken the Ogdru Jahad. The world did not end, and we get to live on for many more games of Vs. System. For better or worse, there will now be Huge, Annoying Tentacles involved, and they will take some getting used to. Playing against these suckers can be exhausting.

The fear caused by this card turns any lower-cost Thule Society character into Rogue, Anna Raven. Aside from the upgrade in looks, why is that good? What is the benefit in attacking an exhausted character unless it is She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters? I hope you are ready, because there are some amazing powers that can answer those questions.

  1. Exhausted defenders are not able to attack back on your initiative turns. Huge, Annoying Tentacles will form the basis for some suicidal stall strategies. Since it gives its power to any smallish characters that it can team-up with, it has me dusting off the Armies of Qward and preparing a new world order for Army swarms.
  2. Whether or not you stun the defender that you turned sideways, you can stick it to the board for the next turn with Adhesive X or Nahrees.
  3. There are some amazing pumps that key off exhausted defenders. The Arkham Inmates are singing “Let’s Go Crazy” as we speak. Every character in the game is practicing their Sucker Punch for a Crushing Blow thanks to Huge, Annoying Tentacles.
  4. Two words: Golden Death.
  5. Some of the darkest, scariest characters that I know just got a whole lot better. Check out Charaxes, Drury Walker; Yelena Belova ◊ Black Widow; and Mystique, Villainous Shapeshifter. Huge, Annoying Tentacles will bring them out of the binder and turn them into the KO machines they were born to be.

As frightening as Huge, Annoying Tentacles are, there is another card in the Hellboy Essential Collection that takes even more of my breath away. Karl Ruprecht Kroenen will chill you to the bone. He is a character that Mike Mignola invented to personify the coldness and cruelty into which the human mind can condense when its sights are set on true evil. This is what happens when the warmth of the human heart is completely extinguished. The pulp version of Kroenen actually froze himself for years, waiting until the proper time for his apocalyptic agenda to be completed.

Over the course of their translation from comic book to feature film, both Liz Sherman and Karl Ruprecht Kroenen received a major upgrade and an expanded presence in the Hellboy mythos. Guillermo del Toro fleshed them out thoroughly, allowing Liz to love and Kroenen to kill. In the director’s hands, they became a yin/yang supernova of opposite power and symbolism. Their migration to Vs. System in the Hellboy Essential Collection captures these content extensions intact, and our cardboard contests are going to get wicked because of it.

Karl Ruprecht Kroenen is one of the most disturbing villains ever created. The skin-crawling evil that his character distills is nearly non-fiction. The Thule Society team affiliation that he represents is based on tragic historical fact. The bizarre and unsettling psychosis of surgical addiction that he unveils in the cinema is an all-too-real example of abnormal human behavior. This character is a true horror.

He is also nearly impossible to kill. This is neatly represented by his evasion ability. You can be assured of his presence for multiple turns, and at the beginning of each combat phase, he will be prepared to employ one of his twisted toys. If the top card of your deck is an Army character that has been brainwashed to follow the orders of the Thule Society as they continue their mission to ritualistically destroy the entire world, then Karl Ruprecht Kroenen will add it to your arsenal. He may find a natural minion with Huge, Annoying Tentacles, or he may expand his troops with a Team-Up. Either way, he brings a terrible beauty to the tortured eyes of Vs. System Army lovers everywhere.

What are you afraid of?

Rian Fike is also known as stubarnes and he is not afraid of anything that he can eat with hot sauce. He wishes that he really could meet Selma Blair, with or without Matt Hyra. If you wish to speak with him about some fears of your own, make an appointment at fullbodytransplant@dadeschools.net.


Filed under Comic Books, Save It Saturday, The Interwebs Rock!, Vs. System

Squirrelly Squeals of Joy.


Pardon me while I zizzer with anticipation.  My eyes are all orange with the scent of a certain bushy tail on the horizon. 

The Deranged Hermit is from the other game, by Kev  Walker.  The banner is from my old column, by Geordie Tait.  The squirrel image is from cittycat, in Germany.  I photoshopped the tree rat with the Extrude filter, after duplicating the layer, with size 9 blocks at the maximum 255 depth, then erased back to the squirrel underneath.  I also added some serious Saturation.  Now, back to my zizzering.  Be well.

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Mad Talent!

zyheart  fairytail

We are toying around with the photographs from the talent show in class today, and I thought I would drop a couple of them here for your amusement.  They are Photoshopped with the Plastic Wrap filter, after increasing Contrast and Saturation.  Enjoy!

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Yesterday’s Shoes VI


Yesterday’s Shoes.

I went back to the beginning, opened the original header, duplicated the background as a new layer, changed the Hue toward yellow, used the Cutout filter, and erased with a large airbrush tip to get some of the original color on the toe and the corners of the frame.  Then I opened a pic of Chief Wahoo the Cleveland Indians’ logo and copy/pasted it into the middle of the shoes.  I erased away everything but the face, and grinned.

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Yesterday’s Shoes V


Yesterday’s Shoes.

The brown creatures and halo are imported from ebay.  That is two views of a hand-carved netsuke that I bought and had sent to Miami from China.

In Photoshop, I started by using a filter called Cutout to make the background look paint-by-numberish.  It is in the Artistic tab, and it is one of my favorites.  Then I opened the wooden rats sitting on a mushroom, selected all, copied, and pasted into the header.  I lowered the opacity on the new layer and erased all the excess background from the photographs of the netsuke.  I returned the layer to 100% opacity and moved it to the appropriate place on the image.  I added some contrast and some saturation for pop, then I right clicked on the layer with the mice and duplicated it.  I moved the new layer with the cursor to the right side and flipped it with the Transform function.  Then I moved it some more.

The halo is the underside of the carving.  I copy/pasted, erased excess, and placed it properly.

One note about sharpness.  If you want to increase detail and make the image more well defined, use UNsharp Mask.  That’s right, the “Sharpen” functions don’t work the way they sound.  Use “Unsharp Mask”, usually 60/2 or 100/1 for settings.  I use it almost every time.

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Yesterday’s Shoes IV


Yesterday’s Shoes.

There have been a few hits directed here by search engines from people wanting to use Photoshop to put different heads on certain bodies.  Today we will start to understand that process.

Before we get to that, I used a filter called Poster Edges on the shoes.  I am a contrast fanatic, and I like that one a whole lot.  It puts the black shadows into details of the image.  With all Photoshop filters, you can toy with the settings.  I usually max things out… or use magick numbers.

Then I transplanted the Ghost Rider into the body of the banner.

The drawing of Johhny Blaze is by Randy Kintz.  Nina painted it by hand in the colours of a Wild Sentinel.  More about that here: http://entertainment.upperdeck.com/vs/en/news/article.aspx?aid=2911

When you want to add one image to another, like transplanting a face onto a chosen body, you open both files in Photoshop.  Select the face, either by Select All or by using one of the lasso tools or the magic wand.  Edit: Copy.  Edit: Paste.  Choose the arrow/cursor tool and drag the face from it’s window into the body picture.  You can drop it anywhere on the body and move it after you see where it lands.  The face will need to be sized, if it is way too big you will need to make the original smaller.  Usually you can just use the Transform: Scale function to drag it down to size by the corners. 

When you drag one image into another, it pastes as a new layer.  You can lower the opacity of that layer to see through to the image underneath.  Use the Eraser tool to clean up the edges, then return the opacity to 100%.  That’s the basics.

One time I transplanted my face, along with the visage of Matt Hyra The Designer Who Gave Us The Toys For War Paint, into a photograph of two dudes with Liz Sherman.  You can see that here: http://metagame.com/vs.aspx?tabid=46&ArticleId=7893

I hope you enjoyed today’s lesson and yesterday’s shoes.  If you have any questions about the process, feel free to ask in the Comment section of this post.  This image may be a bit too loud, I tend to overdo things in my quest for visual assault.  I should be able to calm it down a bit in the coming days.


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Yesterday’s Shoes III


Yesterday’s shoes.

The exploding blocks are a Photoshop filter called Extrude.  You can find it in the Filter menu, inside the Stylize menu.  Personally, I like to make the blocks small and long like that, those are 6 size, 60 deep, level-based.  I duplicated the layer and erased back down to the Plastic Wrap effect on the left shoe and in the middle.

Starting today, I will add a bit of critique to the process.  There is a dark line that runs straight across the image horizontally.  It should have been taken out somehow.  If I were to fix it, I would zoom in and paint the pixels to match the colors beside them.  There is an eyedropper tool in Photoshop that allows you to pick any color in the image by clicking on an area.  I would pick the color above or below the dark line and then fill the line areas with the paint bucket tool, or tap a few colors into the dark line with the paintbrush tool.  Alternatively, for a quicker easier fix, the smudge tool could be used close up to smear the line into the areas above and below it.

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Yesterday’s Shoes: The Project.


Yesterday’s Shoes. 

I will be changing the header on this blog quite often, using Photoshop to alter the image slightly.  Then I will tell you how I did it.  First days first.

I painted the shoes with Liquitex soft-body acrylics.  They are sitting on a maroon pillow on the gold couch.  They are Reebok Classics.  I used the “Liquify” function to swell the toes slightly in the first image, since it distorted a bit when I stretched it to 770 by 200 pixels to fit.  Next time I will explain the smoky swirls that are in today’s header.  After a year of this, with at least 300 incarnations, I will print out each header and glue them all together into a giant strip of trippy eye candy.  Like taffy.


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