detail insert

Since Christie University doesn’t exist, it’s not possible to get real photographs of the campus. Enter the miracle of digital imaging… what is routinely called “photoshopping.”  I learned to use Photoshop 6 to restore family photographs, but subsequent versions use too much DRM for my taste.  Although I’ve lately been trying to learn the free software digital image manipulation software called GIMP, the reality is that when I need to doctor images quickly, I still use Photoshop.

As film makers have long known, one of the easiest ways of creating fictional environments is through signage.

This is the original photograph of the University of Toronto’s John Kelly Library:

original photoAnd this is the altered illustration. Agatha Christie has been a favourite author for a long time, so naming my fictional university for her was my private homage in the novel. When I decided to replace the name over the door with “Agatha Christie Library” for the Chapter 132 illustration the cat was out of the bag. And, in case you’ve not guessed, Fyfield House is named for contemporary crime fiction author Frances Fyfield.

sign above the doors reads: Agatha Christie LibraryThe illustration for Chapter 61 originated in this photo of a Campus Security vehicle at the University of Waterloo campus.
original photographAltering the wording on the vehicle, as well as the flag flying above, helped transport the image into my fictional universe.

Now reads "Christie" instead of Waterloo on the flag, University of Waterloo text removed from the vehicleThe lecture hall image I used for was also taken at University of Waterloo when I attended a Cory Doctorow lecture.  To create the photo I used, I merged these two photographs.

the two images I started with, both containing Cory Doctorow

I thought stretching believability a bit to include Cory Doctorow on both sides of the image, so I removed his entrance from the image on the right, to create the final version below.

The finished photo, with the two images merged, but only one Doctorow remaining