Planet of Evil

15 October 2007

I've been looking forward to 'Planet of Evil' coming out so I could have a go at treating the photo of the silvery anti-matter creature costume to make it look like it appeared in the programme. In the end it only took a few simple Photoshop filters, but I think it's an effective representation nevertheless. Given the show's called 'Planet of Evil', featuring the planet itself on the cover seemed a must too, and having the creature rise from the black pit at its centre gave me the arrangement of central planet, creature above and the Doctor and Sorenson either side. I had wanted to include some of the wonderfully bizarre foliage created for this story, but it the end the only space for it was as a faint overlay on the starry background.

By far the most time-consuming element was, unusually, the Doctor himself. Finding a usable body shot not taken during rehearsals (and thus not in full costume) took a while, and then all I had were shots taken on the jungle set with strongly coloured lighting, whereas I wanted the Doc in natural colours. To see the extent of the colouring alterations, click here for a before-and-after comparison. I isolated areas of the image - hair, face, shirt, tie, hands, scarf, coat and trousers - using channels as masks so that I could adjust the colour of each independently, as well as the usual level and contrast adjustments, descreening (the original was scanned from an issue of DWM) and sharpening of edges. As you can see, there were also a couple of bits of 'foliage' in front of the Doctor that needed painting out. All that was quite a long job, but I'm very pleased with the result.

Initially the only picture of Sorenson I could find had a hand-to-face pose that I wasn't keen on. I did look at painting out his hand, but I couldn't achieve a convincing reconstruction of his chin and bottom lip, so I used it as was. All that left was to wait for the disc to be released to hopefully get some pictures from its photo gallery for the back cover, which I did, but also there were two new (to me) shots of Sorenson, one of which was a much better pose than the first I'd had to use! So a quick switch (adding in his right shoulder, which was obscured in the original, by flipping and tweaking his left) and I'm personally much happier with the result.

Download the final PLANET OF EVIL cover here

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