Skip to content

Fun Friday–Dr. Kaye, the Character Cosmetic Surgeon

Friday, July 9, 2010

Y’all know how much I love character casting (I know, I know, roll your eyes, I’ll wait . . . back with me? okay, let’s continue). Sometimes, when we have the image of the character in our heads before finding a template, we can find one that’s “close” but not an exact match for eye color or hair color or some other minor cosmetic feature.

As someone who’s been using computers since I was nine or ten years old—meaning I’ve been using graphic programs since they were at their most basic—there isn’t much that cows me when it comes to using the computer. So when I have a situation in which an image doesn’t quite show me what I want to see, I perform “cosmetic surgery” on it. Here’s just a little sampling (as always, click on the image to view full-size in a new tab/window):

First, there’s the simple matter of eye color (original on left, adjusted on right):

Then there’s putting someone in period clothing:

I can take extraneous background/people out of pictures when they’re not wanted:

And then there’s bringing two templates together into one image. I started with a screen capture from the movie St. Ives starring Anna Friel (the template for Julia):

Next, I found a screen capture of Paul McGann (as William Bush in Hornblower) in the right position:

And then I spent several hours combining the two images:

I’ve recently had to change graphics programs, as the one I used on all of my systems up until Windows 98 wasn’t compatible with Vista or Win7. So after trying several of the free downloads, I ended up going with Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3. I’m still figuring out a lot of its functions—but the greatest thing about it I’ve discovered is that changing eye colors in this program is so much easier than it was in my old program!

So, now the secret’s out—I’m the “cosmetic surgeon” for character templates. And I’ve been known to do it for others from time to time.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

  1. Friday, July 9, 2010 6:06 am

    Yay!!!!!!!!! You did it for me and I love it!!!! The blue eyes instead of brown made all the difference in the world! Okay, I am shocked that you didn’t do it in photoshop. I guess I just assumed. You have to be one of the most interesting writers out there, with all your cool tools and toys of the trade. I love hearing your process in writing and all the fun things you do to enhance it. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Jennifer Elerick permalink
    Friday, July 9, 2010 6:26 am

    Ok So can you tell us about the cover of Love Remains. I am sure it has been in a blog before but I swear those eyes remind me of you. And is there a reason any connection to Robert Patterson(name) and Robert Pattinson? At first I thought you had named him after vampire boy because I thought his name was Patterson however I looked it up and found Pattinson. I was convinced at first you named the male lead after Pattinson. I am enjoying the book by the way. Alittle too much. I have a case study and portfolio that must get done..(=


    • Friday, July 9, 2010 11:24 am

      I’m going to post about the girl on the front cover of Love Remains next Tuesday. I meant to do it this week, but with having to write proposals for two new series (one historical and one contemporary), what little brain power I’ve had has had to be focused on Ransome’s Quest, which is getting further and further behind.


      • Jennifer Elerick permalink
        Friday, July 9, 2010 11:38 am

        sounds good..will look forward to that.


  3. Friday, July 9, 2010 7:52 am

    Hee hee. Love seeing my guy here. 🙂 Kaye, you are the master. I think, though, if I had the right software I would spend WAY too much time playing around with it.

    But my burning question is this… who IS that dark haired woman in the first group of photos, the one in the center with the long curly hair, because she is the spitting image, the very closest I’ve ever seen, to my MC in the novel that I’ve been editing all week. I’ve never seen her before but I’ve got to know her name!


  4. Friday, July 9, 2010 8:29 am

    Seeing Zach Levi pics just makes me happy. 🙂


    • Friday, July 9, 2010 12:12 pm

      Me too. Me too. And what’s so cool is that my character, Neil, is pretty much the 18th equivalent of Chuck.


    • Friday, July 9, 2010 12:14 pm

      Oh, and Kaye gave him blue eyes for me. I had to put the pictures in a drawer though after I printed them. They were too distracting. LOL!


      • Friday, July 9, 2010 12:25 pm

        I can understand that, LOL! And I can’t wait to “meet” Neil knowing his similarities to my beloved Chuck. 🙂


  5. Sylvia M. permalink
    Friday, July 9, 2010 9:37 am

    These are great! It’s always fun manipulating images. 🙂 Are either of these two guys going to be characters in upcoming books or are you working on the pictures for someone else?

    By the way, Love Remains came in the mail from Amazon yesterday! Yay! I’ve started reading it and it is good!:) Do you have a template for Patrick? What does he look like?


    • Friday, July 9, 2010 11:31 am

      I’ll be putting the Character Casting post up next Tuesday . . .


      • Sylvia M. permalink
        Friday, July 9, 2010 1:25 pm

        Great! I’ll be looking forward to it.


    • Friday, July 9, 2010 1:37 pm

      Also, I forgot to answer your other question. The young guy who’s in the first and third examples (the one I changed the eyes from brown to blue for and took the background out) was for Lori Benton. The other actor featured is Paul McGann, who’s the template for William Ransome. (And the youngest guy up there is William Moseley—Peter from Narnia—whom I cast as the younger version of William when I thought, for a month or so, that I was going to start the Ransome series when William was 15 and Julia was 10 when her father was taking her, her mother, and brother to Jamaica for the first time.)


  6. Friday, July 9, 2010 9:54 am

    Ok, that is just too fun. 🙂 I’d never get anything done if I started messing around with pictures…not that I get anything really done NOW!


    • Friday, July 9, 2010 11:32 am

      It’s one of those good non-writing creative activities I can turn to when I’ve got writer’s block. I don’t do it as much now as when I had all the time in the world to write books (obviously, my characters represented are from Ransome’s Honor which took three years to write/revise).


  7. Friday, July 9, 2010 10:13 am

    Oh, my. This brings a whole new dimension to Character casting! 😉 I’m always wanting to stick my hero and heroine together and I just use paint. 😉 It looks terrible buuuut it does the idea. You are pretty incredible. 😉


    • Friday, July 9, 2010 11:37 am

      I used to do really rough cut-togethers, print them, and then use carbon paper to trace them so that I could “draw” the characters together.


  8. Friday, July 9, 2010 11:50 am

    You’re a whiz at this! I wish I was so savvy! But just seeing what you’ve done provides endless inspiration. Gotta love that man in uniform and that reflective pose is perfect. Even if he is British:) Back to my American officer…


  9. Friday, July 9, 2010 12:07 pm

    Now the theme song to Chuck is stuck in my head.

    Thanks Kaye.




    • Friday, July 9, 2010 12:15 pm

      Hey, it’s a great song. 🙂


    • Friday, July 9, 2010 12:43 pm

      Blame Lori for the Chuck theme song . . . even with as much as I adore Adam Baldwin, I have never watched a single episode of Chuck. But if it’s available on Watch Instantly on Netflix, as soon as I finish catching up with Bones, I may catch up with Chuck. Though, that’ll have to be put on hold until later this fall.


      • Friday, July 9, 2010 7:09 pm

        What?! No Chuck? Well, I hadn’t watched it either until a couple weeks ago, but both me and my hubby have fallen hard for this show. I now own S1 and 2, have 3 on order and am eagerly anticipating 4 this fall. Can’t believe how I overlooked this wonderful show/character/cast for so many seasons! And did I mention Zac Levi looks like my MC, Neil (I did? Oh… well, he SO does) and that Chuck as a character is so much like Neil, a seriously nice and caring guy whose a nerd at heart with a nerd’s quirky but intense passions, yet this latent leading man/action hero side of his nature that circumstances beyond his control force him to get in touch with. (I already said that too? I’ll probably say it again).

        “Save me, Chuck Bartowski. You’re my only hope!”


    • Friday, July 9, 2010 1:11 pm

      Great song, great show…I’m with Lori. 🙂


  10. Friday, July 9, 2010 1:29 pm

    I didn’t even mention the fact that I used this graphics program to change the background color of my headshot photo.




    • Friday, July 9, 2010 3:13 pm

      Oh cool. I’m going to have to check out that program!


  11. The Damsels permalink
    Sunday, July 11, 2010 6:09 pm

    I love photo editing programs. Photoshop is my program of choice…used it in college, use it at work now…Still learning about the program (years and years after first using the program…that’s one thing I think with image editing programs…there’s always something new to learn, even when you know the program very well.)

    I’ve used Paintshop Pro. It’s a cool program to for photo editing! Fun post Kaye!


    PS: Did you get my email with the interview questions? Just wondering as I haven’t heard back from you yet, I know you’re busy! So if you did and you just haven’t gotten to them yet no worries 😀 Don’t need them till Tuesday evening. Thanks.


    • Sunday, July 11, 2010 9:27 pm

      Photoshop was one of the programs I tested—but it was SO much more expensive than Corel PaintShop Pro (like, $400-$500 more!). I don’t need anything quite that sophisticated, since this is only for hobby work, not professional work.

      I’ll try to get those answers back to you ASAP!


  12. Jennifer Elerick permalink
    Sunday, July 11, 2010 8:46 pm

    If you are talking to me about interview questions, I must not have gotten the email. I can’t find it in my trash either. I am sorry. Can you send it again. I feel bad but I really don’t know what you are referring to.
    Jennifer Elerick


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: