Editing photos for use in visual novels

Using filtered photos for backgrounds is a common technique used in amateur/freeware visual novels to keep the required art assets down. In this post I’ll try to explain some of the techniques that can be used for photo editing. I’m using Photoshop filters and terminology, but the methods should be applicable to any image editing program.

Step 1: Get the picture

The first thing you need is a good base photo for editing. Sometimes you’re able to take the photo yourself, but most of the time that’s impossible or unpractical. If you need photos of exotic locales or ancient architecture, vacation pictures can be a good source. In most cases, public domain or other royalty free photos will be your primary source. Here are some sites to help you on your way:

Since we’re going to apply some heavy filters later on, it’s okay to upscale a low-resolution picture. Sloppy/bad photo editing is masked by the filters in the same way, so don’t be afraid to paste objects from one photo into another even if your photo editing skills aren’t exactly up to professional standards.

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