So I started teaching yoga classes to friends around me and some of them jokingly started calling me Guru-ji. Well, I am no Guru, but the idea stuck in my mind. Taking it light-heartedly I wanted to create an avatar for myself apt for the title. I looked around the internet and found a photo of Swami Ramdev. Now, I don’t follow this swami or that swami. In today’s world it is hard to believe who is a god-person. I stick to the traditionally known gurus like Raghavendra Swami or Vivekananda. These are people who didn’t care about their own self in serving others. Today’s swamis all are suspect in this regard. Just listen to the recent post on Facebook about Ramdev discussion money and power during his yoga session with a politician. And do you know this swami has so many bodyguards – why? Anyway, I am digressing.
Here is the the photo of Swami-ji. This was perfect as I wanted the same look – saffron robes, thick hair – I preferred white, but couldn’t find one to my liking.
The first thing I did was to open the swamiji’s photo in Photoshop Element. PSE is a entry level photo editing tool from Adobe. There are many other free tools such as GIMP, but they make the process and learning curve even more steep due to complex documentation and support. PSE/Photoshop uses a technique called as layers. The photo that you want as the background should be opened first.
After opening the swami’s photo, I then opened my own photo in PSE as a second one. You will have these two photos side-by-side you in the second image. I selected my photo as I had a smile and wanted to convey a sort of lightness after the merge. The goal was to superimpose my face onto the swami-ji’s.
I then had to cut out my face from the second. PSE provides the lasso tool. With the lasso tool, you can use sort of free-hand to mark the area you want to cut out. Once I marked the face out, I copied and pasted the part onto the first photo. Use the menu Edit-Copy and Edit-Paste for this step. After pasting the face onto the first, given the second photo was larger in size, I had to re-size the cut out part – it is easy enough to grab the corner handles that appear and size it to what you want.
Once I re-sized, it was easy to overlay my face onto the swami-ji’s. Photoshop retains all the rest of the swami’s photo. If you noticed, my face didn’t have a beard. After the overlay, I saved the photo, so that I had a composite now.
The rest was easy. I opened this photo in Microsoft Paint, used a simple brush to paint a mush and a beard!! MS Paint is available on all Windows computers. When you paint onto a photo, here is a tip – zoom into the photo quite a bit so you can see the grainy pixels that make it up. This way, you have a larger area to paint over and you get better control. Instead of the brush tool, you can use the fill tool which is faster, but this needs well defined areas to fill onto. The end result is what you see as the first photo in the post. I could have done a better job with more precision, but for a Facebook profile with a hint of jest, this was alright. It was a lot of fun!!