Since I am doing a post on rainbows, I thought I would first pass on a little trivia about them. Did you know that there are usually seven colors in a rainbow, but most people do not see the indigo layer between the lighter blue and purple arcs? The stronger the sunlight and rain, the more intense the rainbow. This is actually a pretty complicated weather effect. The image of my miniature mums was just plain fun to do and is not exactly a very realistic rainbow representation. I started by adding French Kiss Artiste Promenade texture and painting out the mums in a layer mask. Next a rainbow was created following Deke McClelland‘s Creating a Synthetic Rainbow Effect from his Photoshop Masking and Compositing Fundamentals DVDs. (He is coming out with his new Photoshop book shortly that should be great!). The Gradient Tool was selected to create a rainbow. Below are the basic steps for creating a rainbow effect:
1. Add a New Layer. An optional step is to restrain the actual size of the rainbow – select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and in the Options Bar set t0 Style -> Fixed Size and enter Width the settings I used above were 1000 and Height 337 pixels while Deke used 1840 width by 187 height.
2. If using a selection, keep it active and set up a gradient using settings as shown in the screenshot or download my gradient below. The Rainbow gradient provided by Photoshop has some issues – mainly rainbows do not contain any orange colors, the reds are too squished, and a cyan color is included which is not in a rainbow. Deke suggested these basic gradient settings to make a more realistic rainbow gradient.
The lower color tab locations could be adjusted to get more or less of a specific color in the rainbow. Save your new Gradient as a preset so it can be used again or click to download my SJ Rainbow Gradient and resulting rainbow PNG files that contain these settings.
3.Using the Gradient Tool with the Options Bar set with the new rainbow gradient and Linear, drag out to create a horizontal line rainbow. If using an active selection from Step 1, drag exactly between the top Rectangular Marquee line and bottom while holding the SHIFT key to get a straight across effect. Be sure you drag top to bottom or your rainbow will be backwards. (I know because I did this.) Deselect (CTRL+D) the selection.
4. Now go to Edit -> Transform -> Warp and in the Options Bar select Warp Arc and Bend 90% to get a large semi-circle rainbow. To switch back to the other Free Transform settings, just click the Warp icon in Options Bar. To make size of rainbow smaller to fit in your image, set bend and click on the little chain icon (Maintain Aspect Ratio icon) in the Options Bar between W: and H: and change 100% to 70% (or whatever size works on your image). If scaling manually, be sure to hold the SHIFT button while dragging on the corners or the perspective of the rainbow will change. To get a more stylized rainbow look or one that fits around an object, the corners can actually be pulled to adjust the transform lines to make the rainbow line up any way you want by right clicking in the rainbow and selecting Distort or Skew. Then click on the check mark to set the total transformation.
5. Add a layer mask and with a soft low opacity black brush, adjust the rainbow into your image.
6. Set rainbow layer blend mode to Linear Light and change the Fill value to 15%
7. To reduce the edges of the colors in your rainbow, go to Filters -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur and set a Radius to 8 (or whatever setting you think looks good).
You now have a beautiful rainbow in your image! I actually added a sketch on top of my flower and a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer using the rainbow gradient again and set the layer to 31% opacity to get the rainbow effect on the petals.
Here is another image that uses the same rainbow created for the first image. The PNG rainbow blurred from my rainbow download was brought into the image. The image was first processed in Lightroom starting with David duChemin’s Iceland Split Greens preset (from his newest book The Print and the Process: Taking Compelling Photographs from Vision to Expression) and using an Adjustment Brush to add sharpening and clarity to the houses. In Photoshop Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was opened and the Detail Extractor and Graduated Neutral Density filters were added to enhance the clouds and give them a brighter look on the right side of the image. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added to darken down the area behind the houses to give more of a stormy effect, which is needed to get a realistic looking rainbow. Next the rainbow was placed in the image and Free Transform (CTRL+T) to get the right size and location. The rainbow layer was set to 51% opacity and a layer mask was added – the upper right corner of the rainbow was gently painted out. My SJ Painter Oil Frame was applied and a Color Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT+click between the layers so change only effect the layer below) to the frame – the color was changed to a matching light color in the image. To get the painted edges, a layer mask was added and using a 12% soft brush, the edges were painted out lightly to get more of a painted canvas look. French Kiss Artiste Breeze texture was added on top. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to it and the Saturation set to -100. The texture layer was set to Vivid Light blend mode at 22% opacity. This is an image I probably would not have processed if a texture had not been applied to it and the rainbow really opened up the sky. Now I really like it – it looks like the English countryside that I saw while traveling to Bath.
Just having fun here. Was not sure where this was going and this is what I ended up with. This is actually made up of three groups – Rainbow, Shamrock Pot and Flower Pot. French Kiss Artiste Flower Garden texture was used as a backdrop. It took a lot of manipulation to get the main components set up correctly. The Rainbow was warped to fit into the pots. The flowers were created from an image of a pin I had taken and turned into a brush. All the clip-art is from the wonderful Obsidian Dawn St. Patricks Day brushes. Various layer styles were applied to the different layers and the Cosmi font is called 36 – you might find it on an old CD of fonts.
There are a few other tutorials out there on how to make a rainbow. One in an older book called Photoshop Photo Effects Cookbook has a fairly easy tutorial to follow – I just did not like the gradient effect and final rainbow quite as much. I hope you download my rainbow and give this a try. This was really a fun thing to try….Digital Lady Syd
I had a hard time coming up with something to write about this week – writer’s block or creative block or something! Then I came across JennyW47 Flickr site where she used a pretty basic template to create a very cool look. This sounded like a lot of fun so I created two images using a template I created with some different ways to use it. I thought I would teach you how to create it (or download mine if you like), add photos to it, and then make it your own. So lets get going.
Basic steps to creating a template:
1. Create a New Document that is large enough to hold all the photos you want to add. Mine was set to 8 inches X 12 inches, a fairly standard size that will still print out on my printer. To make the document fit on a 4 X 6 inch card, go to Image -> Image Size and change the Width to 4 inches and Height to 6 inches (or change inches to percent and set 50 for both width and height).
2. Create a New Layer.
3. Go to the Rounded Rectangular Shape Tool (in Tool Group with Rectangular Shape Tool) and in Options Bar, change these settings:
- Pixel to Path
- Click on the Gear icon (just to the left of the word Radius) and select Proportion or Fixed Size if you want the template openings to be an exact size. My top opening is set to 7 by 5 to fit that size image. I also check From Center in this box. There are also two square boxes and set to 3 x 2 proportional.
- Set a Radius – I used 30 px to round the edges.
3. Now click in your document and drag out to set shape on your page.
4. Go back to Options Bar and click on Make: Selection button – it turns it into a selection.
5. Since I had my Foreground and Background colors set to black and white, I just clicked ALT+BACKSPACE to fill with black and CTRL+D to deselect the selection.
6. Create a New Layer and repeat process.
7. When finished save the document as a PSD file – you now have a basic template that can be used over and over. When Move Tool is selected, the alignment icons are available so you can make sure the edges are lined up by selecting the affected layers.
This is what my final template looks like for the top image. It is a pretty simple process and you can make many different types of templates. You can even use the Custom Shape tool to create interesting shaped openings.
You may download this PSD template from my Deviant Art page here. Also included is a basic PNG file where the images can be just dragged and lined up under the openings, but there is no easy way to adjust or remove the openings as I will be discussing for the PSD template below. Enjoy!
Steps for adding images to your Template:
Adding images to your templates is pretty easy.
1. Open up the template in Photoshop and in the Layers Panel, highlight the layer where you want your first image to go.
2. Open up the image you would like to add in another window in Photoshop, and then move the image into your template. If your image is a PSD file, I would recommend flattening a copy and save as a JPEG, the move the file in. To do this, select the Move Tool, grab you image (NOT THE LAYER OR THUMBNAIL which I keep doing!), and drag to the Template Image Tab – it will open up this image and you let go of your mouse and drop it. Use the Move Tool to adjust it over the opening the best you can. If you do have a PSD file and you only want to move a layer over, just make sure you have the layer highlighted in the Layers Panel and do the same steps to move it in.
If you are in Adobe Bridge, right click on the image and select Place -> In Photoshop. It opens up as a Smart Object which I always Rasterize right away since you do not need that capability and it gets in the way. Just right click on the layer and select Rasterize from the menu. Can also just go to the Menu and select Layer -> Rasterize. If you Place a PSD file, if you click on the smart object icon in the Layers Panel thumbnail, it will open up as a separate document with all your image layers showing. If you Rasterize it, you will lose that capability and it will be converted to a single layer.
3. Next I clip the image to the black rectangle layer. The easiest way to do this is to highlight the image, ALT+Click between the layers and now you see only what the black box will let you see. If this makes you nervous, highlight the layer, go to Menu and select Layer -> Create Clipping Mask. Note you can clip more than one layer to a bottom layer – New Layers, several Adjustment Layers, and other image layers can all be clipped at the same time.
4. In most cases what you are bringing in will be too large or small. Just click on the image layer and press CTRL+T to Free Transform (in Menu go to Edit -> Free Transform). If you want the image to stay exactly to scale, hold the SHIFT + ALT keys and pull or push on a corner to adjust it. If it is close or does not matter, just drag the edges in and out.
That’s it! You just keep bringing in images and lining up with which ever rectangle you want to fill.
Steps for making the Template your Own:
This is the fun part. There are not major rules to using this template. The image at the top follows the template openings pretty closely but you can see the bottom image does not look like I used the template at all, but I did – there are ways to make the edges disappear.
Let’s talk about the basics in the first image. I wanted to have a theme with my beautiful tulips I bought at the grocery a few weeks ago. I spent a lot of time photographing them and playing with my camera settings, so I got some really nice shots and thought they would create a nice grouping for the template. I am going to go through each element for you.
- The top image was one I created using a different phrase and in very soft light colors. I changed all that in Photoshop before placing in the template – just to help you out I found the Valentine phrase on a blog called Best Valentine Day Quotes and Phrases to Make Her Melt. I actually used a textured background I created in the image. I saved down a copy as a JPEG to drag into the template. Just followed the steps above to add the image.
- Next a close up of my tulip was added – it was also processed first as an image and then brought in. It used one of my favorite textures by Melissa Gallo’s Painted Textures Taupe Canvas, a Black Friday purchase, which gave the beautiful white painterly streaks.
- The pink and white heart image was created using a texture from French Kiss called Pink Corel (and is a free download – scroll down to the end of the article which is very interesting) and Obsidian Dawn’s Hearts Glitter brush using white and a size of 1200 pixels was painted on top of the texture. That was it and it looks so pretty.
- First Brush Hearts brush 11 was added on its own layer in a light pink corel color and was clipped (see Step 3 above on Adding Images to Template section) to the bottom left rectangular layer. I then pasted my flowers (that I selected in one of my tulip images) and used the Warp Tool to make them fit into the Heart that was painted into the opening. A layer mask was added so the flowers would pop out over parts of the heart.
- The little pink heart in the middle was just a New Layer set on top of the layer panel and the Custom Shape Tool was selected. In the Options Bar set the mode to Path and in the Shape field, click on the down arrow and select the Heart that comes with Photoshop. Just drag out to the size you need. A Stroke Layer Style set to light pink and 16 pixels was added. (See last bullet below on how to do this.)
- The Floral Valentine graphic on the left of the bottom opening is a Flowers Swirls Hearts Brush – Sampled Brush 5 with an angle change and set to 506 pixels. The brush layer was copied and each was set to a different color using a Color Fill Adjustment Layer. Then a black layer mask was applied to the top floral graphic and the hearts and flowers were painted back so they appear in a different color. Pretty easy way to get two different colors to show up.
- I decided the image would look best with a black background so at the bottom of the layers panel above the white background layer, I added a New Layer and filled it with black (from Menu go to Edit -> Fill and in Use: set Black.
- To add just a touch of color and detail to the background, a New Layer was added above the black layer and the same Flowers Swirls Hearts Brush-Sampled Brush 5 that was used the Corel Texture image and on the Teddy Bear image below was added with a soft pink color and painted to peek through the sides. The opacity was set to 68%.
- The font is one I bought from Cosmi in the 1990′s – not available anymore but you should be able to find a nice font, probably on your computer even if you did not download one. I like dafont.com for free ones (for personal use only) when I need a new one but there are lots of nice sites available.
- The last step was adding a Layer Style to each of the openings. To get to the Layer Style menu, double click on the Layer thumbnail in Layers Panel and you will see all the different things you can apply to the edges of the template. I just used a Stroke effect set to 16 pixels and after experimenting with several color, an orange-red color was used.
This may seem like too much work, but you do not have to do all the things I did. I wanted to show how to use different types of items in your openings. You can always increase the size of the openings or make them skinny or fat by applying the Free Transform Tool (CTRL+T) to the black rectangular layers. Using different textures and types of images really adds to the appeal of this type of image. That is what makes it so much fun to do.
I won’t go into so much detail for the image below as you probably get the idea of how to do this. Several of the elements are the same. You can see that I moved the rose box to the right (select the Move Tool, hold down SHIFT to make the move straight and drag the black rectangle over. If you have the image already added, you need to highlight all the clipped layers that are attached to the black rectangle. Notice that almost all the edges are gone – that is because layer masks were added to each of the black rectangle layers, and the edges were painted out with a low opacity black brush to remove the hard edges and make the images fit on the background smoothly. Still using the basic design of the template though.
I will make a quick list of the resources I used since they may help you find some design elements you need for your own valentines. The background is French Kiss Solstice Initiation texture which really adds that sense of nostalgia to the image. On the background is a Flowers Swirls Hearts Brush – Sampled Brush 2 set to 42% opacity to just give a little design in the background. The beautiful red hearts are a PSD file from GraphicsFuel Valentine hearts card template. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped (see Step 3 above on Adding Images to Template section) to the hearts and the hue set to -7, Saturation -38, and Lightness +3 to get the matching red color. The really pretty pink flowers in the corner are from Design Shub Greeting Card Valentine – just the flowers were dragged into the template and the 4 layers moved individually to the corners. The text font was rasterized in this document and brought to this file – then Free Transformed (CTRL+T) to make it fit. The Vintage Valentine Paper is by Aramisdream and the Cupid is glass prism cupid brushes CupidReq14. A Gradient Overlay Layer Style using a cream to orange gradient was used on the cupid.
I hope I have given you some ideas for creating a different type of valentine. They can be so personalized and if you just work your way from top to bottom, it is really not that hard. I had a great time creating this blog and I hope you will find it useful! …..Digital Lady Syd
Unusual vintage hearse at Univeral City’s City Walk Horror Night in Orlando, Florida (for a nice video of this event see Halloween Horror Nights 2012 at Universal Studios Orlando). This image was created by using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, duplicating the layer and painting out the center in a layer mask to retain some of the original color of the image. Brushes used: BB’s Fogs and Mists Brushes; Halloween Spider font with a layer style that includes a Bevel & Emboss, Stroke, Inner Glow, Color Overlay and Outer Glow effects; Obsidian Dawn’s Halloween Vectors and Cobweb Brush Collections; Pureanodyne Halloween Brushes, and Janine Smith’s Vintage Halloween Brushes. Finally OnOne (see sidebar for website link at my Tidbits Blog) PhotoFrame 4.6 was added. I think it is a pretty spooky image!
This is an image I created a year ago on my Tidbits Blog – see Spooky Halloween Fun! for info on how I created it.
Here is another image I created on my Tidbits Blog – see Halloween Resources – Time to Go Batty! for information on how it was created.
Image from my second blog post two years ago. See Around My Neighborhood. Still love it!
…..This may be my favorite bat image – the Haunted House at The Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. This image was included in a previous blog called Digital Landscape Effects with Nik Software.
It is a lot of fun to create your own Halloween images. Give it a try. Have a Happy Halloween!…..Digital Lady Syd
It’s that time of year and everyone is trying to get creative quickly and present just the right valentine. Here are the latest and greatest I have found in my search.
The first valentine is from Graphics Fuel. I added a layer and painted using brushes . Personally I think is a very classy looking valentine and is very easy to use. The font is called Precious and has a very valentine appeal to it. I created a layer above the background and used Brushesstock Flowers Swirls Hearts Brush 1 and 8 set to a layer opacity of 54%. On the top Obsidian Dawn’s Glitter set Hearts-Glitter brush was used to scatter the little hearts around.
Each year Florabella Collections always has a nice set of free Vintage Valentine templates to give away and this year is no exception. Here is an example of several she has to offer. The font in this card is one she used called Batik Regular. Florabella is known for her wonderful photo actions but now has textures available for sale also.
This valentine is being promoted from their Facebook page, MCP Actions, for a site called Photographer Cafe. The image is just a stock photo and a layer was added on top where a valentine brush from DigitalTouch was used. There were several choices and are free for download here.
This example is from Designrs Hub and uses Photoshop Layer Comps for the cover page and the second page. I had to search around to find suitable fonts and ended up using Loci Cola and adjusting the butterflies to look right. I am not sure this is a correct color representation as it is pretty pinkish but you can see what a pretty background this is.
I hope this has helped out a few of you who are the creative type and want to jazz up a nicely created template. It is never too late to download a few brushes and add a couple layers to give them your own look. Hope you have fun creating some Valentines!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Using a Template to Create Your Own Unique Valentine
Free Valentine Templates and a Valentine with Heart
Creating Your Own Art (and Cards) While You Are At It!
My Valentine Images
A Few More Valentine to Make
Create a Valentine
How to Add Images to Text
Since the season is upon us, I have decided to present a few of my favorite holiday creations. For resource and technique details, see information listed at end.
1. Used the tutorial “Christmas Night Magic scene with flying Santa“ for initial direction – very easy to follow and lots of fun to create; Snow images Frozen Landscape and a different Frozen Landscape from Stock.xchng; my own sky Belarusian sky image; Santa sleigh in Christmas Brushes by Fina; Snow Drops brush by Frostbo (my favorite brush for realistic falling snow); BB’s Fogs & Mists brush #3; and the Fonts are Old Script and an old Cosmi Font I bought years ago called 41. The images were transformed and blended using a layer mask to get the look above. OnOne PhotoFrame Acid Brn Controlled 05 was applied – (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link).
2. Some of my favorite pictures have been made of these beautiful pink and white tulips I bought this year at the grocery store. This image uses three free textures all by Shadowhouse Creations – Aged and Distressed Vintage 1, Oil Painting 3, and Attic Treasures Creative Texture 7. All his textures are beautiful and he has great tutorials on how to combine the many textures. The first texture was added into a layer mask by opening up the texture in it own document, CTRL +A and CTRL+C to select and copy the texture; ALT+Click on the layer mask to make the layer white; and CTRL+V to place the image into the layer mask. The other two textures were added above and a layer was added with the Snow Drops brush by Frostbo.
3. I guess I was really into Santa sleighs this year??? Very simple image that started with the Bright Christmas Texture by Graphix1 where the color was changed into a darkish blue to appear like a night image using a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer; BB’s Fogs & Mists brush #12; my SJ-Cloud brushes; my SJ-Mountain brushes; Snow Drops brush by Frostbo; Santa sleigh in Christmas Brushes by Fina; Moon brush by Hawksmont; Font is Fantaisie Artistique (my favorite); the pattern used on Santa and it’s sleigh was added in the Pattern Overlay using Pattern 23 from Obsidian Dawn’s Grunge and Dirty Patterns; and Bevel and Emboss and Drop Shadow layer styles were added to the text layers. OnOne’s PhotoFrame Dave Cross 01 was added as a border (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link).
4. This image first appeared in my “Free Calendar Template for Use with Elements” blog. The image is the top of the Standard Life building in Jackson, Mississippi. The gradient used is from Gorgeous Gradients – PrimaveraII, and the snow is a very useful snow brush called Snow Drop by Frostbo. The lettering on the building is called Kingsthings Christmas font, the Flying Santa Sleigh is by Fina, the fog was created using Sampled Brush #3 and #12 from Brushes Fogs and Mists, the green Christmas Tree and Icicles are in Obsidian Dawn’s Holiday set, and the icy edges are an OnOne PhotoFrame Taufer Texture 08 frame ((see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link). I have to admit this image was a bit of a challenge but I really liked the final effect.
5. A tutorial called “Glossy Snow Globe Text Effect” was the inspiration for this image. I used the layer styles and brushes from the tutorial along with my SJ-Cloud brushes on a light to darker blue gradient for the background. OnOne PhotoFrame grunge 15 was applied. It is not hard to do, but it takes some time to create the brushes and styles.
6. This image was posted in my “Christmas Card from Digital Lady Syd!” blog which contains all the resources and information for this rather complicated card.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and takes time to enjoy the time with friends and family!…..Digital Lady Syd!
I decided to do something different for this week’s post since I love Photoshop and am constantly on the hunt for the best and cheapest items to make it more fun. The following items are some real treasures I have found in the last year that might help you find that perfect little gift for the person who loves to dabble in Photoshop. (For books and prices listed, see Amazon.com.)
DIGITAL LADY SYD’S BEST INEXPENSIVE PHOTOSHOP FINDS FOR 2011
1. TOPAZ ADJUST 5 ($50)
Since I am such a plug-in lover, simply the best value for the price you will find in the plug-in industry is Topaz Adjust 5 (see my Tidbits Blog for a link to the site). I have written several reviews on this plug-in that was recently upgraded and made even better. Plus, once you buy a plug-in from Topaz, you will always receive the updated versions for free – no other plug-in company does that. Check out my blogs for examples of what this wonderful plug-in can do. (See Digital Lady Syd’s Review of Topaz Adjust 5, Why I Love Topaz Adjust, and Topaz Adjust 5 Is Here! First Look.) The image in the above middle filmstrip was enhanced using Topaz Adjust 5 in Photoshop, but it also works with Elements.
2. DAVID DUCHEMIN BOOK VISION & VOICE-REFINING YOUR VISION IN ADOBE PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM ($25)
Any of David duChemin’s books or E-books (priced at $5.00) are excellent. “Vision & Voice – Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom”(see Digital Lady Syd’s Favs – Photoshop Books No. 6) has Lightroom tips that can be used with Adobe Camera Raw also. A very enjoyable read for any Photoshop person. The image on the right uses a preset created after reading the book.
3. GAVTRAIN’S BLAST FROM THE PAST ACTION SET ($8.50)
The Blast from the Past Action Set is by Gavin Hoey, a British Photoshop guru. Listed as a great value, these actions are lots of fun to use, but can only be used with Photoshop CS and on and not Elements. I bought them a while ago and use them quite a bit. Great stocking stuffer for the Photoshop Nut. (See my blog “Same Image-Different Look! 6th image down for an example of the Lomo Effect from the set.) The filmstrip is also one of the actions from this set.
4. JIM ZIMMERMAN’S CREATIVE TECHNIQUES WITH NIK SOFTWARE E-BOOK ($9.50)
Creative Techniques with NIK Software downloads as a 79 page .pdf file on the NIK plug-ins, if you have them. Although the book refers to Color Efex Pro 3, it is still very relevant for the new Color Efex Pro 4. It also covers NIK’s Silver Efex Pro 2, Viveza 2 and HDR EFex Pro. Very good information packed into this file.
5. JOHN DERRY MIXER BRUSHES ($20)
Mixer Brush Set contains six very helpful video tutorials on how to use them. These brushes are Photoshop CS5 specific. From my Adobe Photoshop CS5′s Mixer Brushes blog, “These brushes are by far the easiest way to get comfortable with the Mixer Brushes and I would highly recommend them if you really like the Mixer Brush effects. In his bundle he includes some textures for the brushes to help get a real painterly look on the image. Also, an action to set up for painting on an image is included and I am still trying this out. What may be the best part of this set is a restore brush that can bring part of the unpainted image back into the painted areas and is totally unique as far as my research indicates.” Needless to say, these are great brushes with great instruction! Great for the artistic Photoshop person.
6. COREY BARKER’S PHOTOSHOP DOWN & DIRTY TRICKS FOR DESIGNERS BOOK ($29)
I do not have this book but I am planning on asking for it for Christmas. Corey is one of the best Photoshop creatives I have ever seen and the book will not disappoint. (For an example of one of his tutorials, see my blog “That Flaming Fire Brush!“)
7. DOVER CLIP ART BOOKS ($10 to $25)
I have used these books for several years and always find lots of fun ways to add them into an image. They have many vintage era, butterfly and flower clip art that is equal to none. Makes for a great addition to any Photoshop fans arsenol. The image on the left uses a sketch from Dover’s Floral Embroidery Designs book.
8. PHOTOSHOP IMPRESSIONISM VIDEO TUTORIAL SERIES DOWNLOAD ($25)
This is a little gem I just discovered. If you like to do artistic looks to your images, this is the information you need. Mark S Johnson has been doing some of the best Photoshop video tutorials for several years – I have learned so much from his expertise and this downloaded information is just an extension of all his knowledge. This would be a great gift for the Photoshop fan!
9. PRESET VIEWER BREEZE PROGRAM ($20)
I would be lost without this Preset Viewer Program. When you need that special brush to load into Photoshop and cannot remember which set is it in, this program will open them up to view within seconds to help you find what you need. Definitely a real time-saver. It also reads patterns, fonts, jpgs, shapes, styles, and swatches. A great addition for speeding up your Photoshop workflow.
I hope that this list will give you a few ideas on getting that special Photoshop person a nice little surprise for Christmas. So much that has to do with Photoshop is expensive and unfortunately that keeps people from being able to explore all the many new techniques out there. These items should help give everyone some new ideas for the coming year. Happy Holidays and Enjoy…..Digital Lady Syd
UPDATE: Since posting the information on the cards below, I have created my own card template for free download – see my Tidbits Blog “Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template” – that can be used in Photoshop and Elements for your use and enjoyment! Also, check my newer blog Where to Find Those Cool Free Christmas Card Templates?
This is going to be a short but sweet post since I posted on the updated Topaz Adjust 5 plug-in earlier this week. Last year I attempted to provide some Christmas Card template links and resources as I was able to find them. Many of those templates are no longer available by various websites. But this week the wonderful people from MCP Actions have posted on their Facebook page a free download link for the card below along with a backside template. (You must be on Facebook to be able to get the download – click on link above and look at left column under Free Holiday Card.)
The postcard below is very nice and the clip art and type can be changed easily. This example involved going to Edit -> Place to add the image above the highlighted photo mask layer. Since this causes the new image layer to be a Smart Object, it is very easy to adjust and rotate to fit the opening. Then clip to the layer below (CTRL+ALT+G). A little Noise was added to give a graininess as in the holly clip art.
The red card is showing how you can take this simple template and make a totally different feel to it.
With this card I first created a New Layer and filled it with a bright green above the photo mask layer. Another New Layer was created and the star in the center was made by stacking several Texturemate Stars2 brushes in different colors. Then BittBoxes Grunge Ice Texture 5 was added below the star to create an interesting setting for the star. The texture was taken into Topaz Adjust 5 and the HDR Strong preset was applied to make the texture pop a bit. Back in Photoshop the blend mode was changed to Divide which makes it green and yellow. Next a Hue/Saturation layer was added above the beige background and the sliders adjusted to get a bright red. The lines were removed on the right side so the type did not have to line up. Snow Drops Frosto brush was used for the small white flakes sprinkled around the background. (This was the best snow brush I could find and it turned out nice!) The large white flakes are from Snow Flakes Brush by Ann Stock Brushes. The Merry Christmas and New Year fonts were changed to SecesjaPL. The text over the star was created using the Razzle Dazzle free font and was placed at the top of the pile. Finally the tape was removed from the frame by cloning it out and a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to it to make the frame whiter. It was then transformed to make it larger and straighter on the card.
I am sure there will be more card templates coming out in the next few weeks, but in the meantime enjoy this template and take some time to check out MCP Actions website – not all vendors are willing to share their expertise!
I wanted to show you how you can change things up with a nice basic template to work with. The resources above are a good start to finding more good Christmas oriented items. It is always fun to find new things! Well I guess this officially kicks off the holiday! Hope you have some fun with this template!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd’s Related Blogs:
Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template
Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template Using Photoshop Elements
Free Christmas Card Vectors and Brushes
Free Christmas Card Templates
Some Holiday Cheer
NIK Color Efex Pro 4, Topaz Lens Effects, and OnOne PhotoFrame 4.6
The original image was of a shop on St. George Street in St. Augustine. My Vivid Drawing Look preset (see my Tidbits Blog “Settings for Vivid Drawing Look ACR/Lightroom Preset and NIK Color Efex Pro 4 Pseudo HDR Recipe“) in Lightroom was used with some luminance color adjustment before being brought into Photoshop. In NIK Color Efex Pro 4 (CEP4), the Darken/Lighten Center filter and Film Efex: Vintage set to Film Type 27 was added. The layer was copied and Rasterized to get rid of the Smart Object (right-click on layer and select rasterize) and then the Topaz Lens Effect plug-in was used. The Fisheye Lens Effect was applied using 73% distortion amount and adjusting all the Image Adjustment sliders. A New Layer was added above and the Sharpen Tool was used to locally sharpen parts of the image. Finally the “acid burned controlled 05″ OnOne PhotoFrame was added to finish the look. This is a crazy look but it shows what an interesting result you can get by stacking the plug-in effects on one image.
Photomatix Pro 4, NIK Color Efex Pro 4 and Topaz Adjust 4
This image is of the famous pedestrian St. George Street in St. Augustine, Florida. It was processed as an HDR in Photomatix Pro 4.0 and then brought into two of my favorite Photoshop plug-ins: NIK Color Efex Pro 4 and Topaz Adjust. To get this vintage artsy effect, six CEP4 filters were stacked into a recipe (Darken/Lighten Center, Brilliance/Warmth, Tonal Contrast, Image Borders, Dark Contrasts, and High Key in that order); and in Topaz Adjust 4, a preset was created from a Topaz video on “Rick Sammon’s Top Topaz Tricks, Tips, and Techniques” that used the Spicify preset to create a soft artsy effect.
NIK Color Efex Pro 4.0, Topaz Black and White Effects, and OnOne PhotoFrame 4.6
All my favorite plug-ins were used on this one. The Flagler Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine is one of the beautiful places to see while enjoying the city. NIK CEP4 was first applied using my Pseudo HDR1 preset from my blog “Pseudo HDR Using NIK Color Efex Pro 4” with an additional white Vignette filter. It was then toned down by using the Topaz Black and White Effects plug-in. The Albumen Collection – Aubergine preset was used as starting point and then adjusting the Basic Exposure settings and setting the Transparency setting to 0.58. Back in Photoshop this layer was set to 59%, a New Layer was added and the Sharpening Tool was used to bring out the edges on the tops of the little towers, and finally the “acid burned controlled 15″ preset from OnOne PhotoFrames was added in a matching cream color. These three plug-ins really do go hand-in-hand to create some stunning results!
It is a lot of fun to use these plug-ins! It is even more fun to mix and match! I use the OnOne PhotoFrames a lot because it can enhance an image that lacks some pizzazz. It is very great that the colors can be changed easily and sampled from the image to match the colors in the image. I also like Topaz Black and White Effects and NIK Color Efex Pro 4 as my two favorite creative plug-ins. Topaz Lens Effects does a great job of recreating the fisheye look without having to buy an expensive fisheye lens – there are several other effects in it that can be a lot of fun to try out. See below for my other blog links to these plug-ins for further information on how to use them.
Try stacking some of these effects – you will be surprised what great results you can create! Have fun experimenting!…..Digital Lady Syd
Related Digital Lady Syd Blog Links:
Topaz Lens Effects Plug-In
Why I Love Topaz Adjust!
Topaz B&W Effects Plug-in – A Real Winner!
NIK Color Efex Pro 4.0 – First Try!
The New Film Efex-Vintage Filter from NIK CEP 4
NIK Color Efex Pro 4 – Digital Lady Syd’s Review!
The Art Corner: Painting and Sculpture by Tassaert
Pseudo HDR Using NIK Color Efex Pro 4
Settings for Vivid Drawing Look ACR/Lightroom Preset and NIK Color Efex Pro Pseudo HDR Recipe
This week I am taking a break from my usual blog topics. Instead I am just going to post a few of the images I created while trying out some of my own blog techniques. I hope you get some new ideas from viewing them.
I added a couple of textures to this image to get the soft vintage look – one an Ash Texture (these textures are no longer available but see my more recent blog “Adding a Texture for Flair!” for other texture sites) and one from OnOne Software’s PhotoFrames. This beautiful egret was taken at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery in May, a really good place to visit in Spring if you like to take pictures of birds.
Created this image by using Caleb Kimbrough’s beautiful Summer8 texture (he has a vast assortment of really nice textures and most are free – please check them out), the Tranquility Brushes by wyckedBrush, and my SJ-Cloud Brushes.
I loved this building in Jackson, Mississippi. It was perfect for an HDR effect (used Image ->Adjustments -> HDR Toning in Photoshop CS5 on a single image) A wonderful action called “Vintage Effect – Ps Actions – by photoshop-stock” was applied afterwards to give this nice vintage feel. (This site has a number of nice actions and textures – great resource!)
I wish I had a fisheye lens, but since I do not, I used Topaz Lens Effects selecting the Fisheye Lens effect with the Extreme Fisheye preset on this Palm Tree in Palm Beach Gardens in Florida. See my blog on “Topaz Lens Effects Plug-in” for more information on this fun plug-in.
More fun with text – used gradient, cloud layers using cloud brushes (can download my SJ-Cloud Brushes set here) and my blog on “How to Add Images to Text” to do this.
The image above was taken in Phoenix, Arizona at the Desert Botanical Gardens. I used mixer brushes (see my blog “Adobe Photoshop CS5′s Mixer Brushes” and followed a tutorial on Sandstorms in the book called “Digital Painting Techniques!,” which is loaded with tutorials from various designers making all kinds of special effects.
Here is a composite of images I pulled from a video I took of the fireworks at Flagler Beach for the 4th of July celebration (video below). See my blog, “Faking Fireworks” for tips on how to create this look.
I hope you liked some of my “Playing in Photoshop” creations – it is just so much fun to make these images. Take some time out and just explore something new – may give you a whole new perspective on what you can achieve! Enjoy…..Digital Lady Syd
Since the Fourth of July is just around the corner, I thought I would create a blog for making some of your beautiful night images into spectacular holiday images. Just to get you in the mood, here is a link to Stunning Fireworks Photos from Smashing Magazine. This was helpful to see the colors needed to get a realistic look on some of the fireworks.
As far as I can tell, there are two major ways of making images look like a fireworks celebration: either by adding fireworks images to a nighttime image or painting in the fireworks with brushes. This blog will address both types.
Creating Fireworks with Images
The above image used five different fireworks – old jpg images (from a 2 megapixel camera taken 8 years ago so don’t delete those old images, you may use them years later) brought into the original nighttime photo of the Main Street Bridge in Jacksonville, Florida. The basic steps are as follows:
- Do correction to your original image. A really dark scene is helpful.
- Go into Adobe Bridge and just drag the first image into Photoshop (does the same thing as File -> Place an object).
- The new image comes in as a Smart Object (right click and your will see the Free Transform choices) and can now be moved and sized (adjust by just dragging in the handles). Click Enter. I usually rasterize to get rid of the Smart Object as it makes the file bigger and is not needed for this workflow – just right click on the fireworks layer and select Rasterize layer.
- Double-click on the fireworks layer to open up the Layer Style and go to the “This Layer” slider near the bottom of the dialog box. Since the fireworks images have dark backgrounds, move the black tab right to get the correct effect. Then hold the ALT key to split the tab, click on the left side of the tab and drag it back to get a smooth the transition. If your image has a white background, move the right tab left, hold the ALT key and drag the right portion of tab back for the desired look.
- Add a layer mask to the layer and paint out any areas that are covering up part of the background image to make the fireworks look realistic. May need to lower the opacity of the level to see where to mask and then bring it back up to 100% when finished.
- Keep adding in more fireworks.
- Use a Basic Soft White Cloud Brush (download here) to paint in the soft black smoke coming from the fireworks. Set layer opacity to around 5-10% – do not overwhelm the image with smoke.
This basic workflow is from Scott Kelby’s book, Classic Photoshop Effects, “Adding Fireworks to Nighttime Photos,” one of the few nice fireworks tutorials I could find. Also, the Basic Soft White Cloud Brush was created by following the video “Brush Dynamics and Fluffy Clouds in Photoshop” by Ice Flow at PictureSocial.com.
Several beautiful fireworks images were downloaded for free from Stock.xchng and can be added to your images following the above workflow. They were moved into a black background. Here is a link to the Fireworks images – there are 46 pages of them so have fun finding some nice ones! Once you log in and download an image, you need to right click and select the Save Image As to your computer.
Painting Fireworks into your Images
Here is an example of Fireworks brushes that can be downloaded from the internet. After trying many fireworks brushes, the best are once again from Obsidian Dawn’s Fireworks set. (There are also jpg’s of these same brushes for download – to use follow the steps in the next section.) Obsidian Dawn had some great tips on how to use her great brushes so I thought I would share:
- Can use as just a solid color and they look great but to make them more colorful, apply a Radial Gradient to the layer. This is pretty easy – just follow these steps:
- Create a New Layer above your nighttime image.
- Click to make just one brush stroke – choose a bright color.
- On the brush layer, double click the layer to open the Layer Styles dialog and go to Gradient Overlay. Change Style to Radial and select any Gradient. A new group of gradients may be added by clicking the drop down arrow and clicking on the right pointing arrow in the top right corner. Try clicking Reverse checkbox to change color order. Change the scale to adjust which colors go where and try different blend modes and opacity.
- Remember some fireworks are brighter in the center – some the outer edges. To get this effect for using only one color, use a basic Black and White gradient in the Gradient Overlay Layer Style and set the blending mode to Screen. Set the Gradient opacity to 50% so it is not too bright. Use the Reverse checkbox to toggle where the darker and light colors show up.
- Try an Outer Glow Layer Style to make them more luminescent – try a different color too. Also try Color Overlay in a different color at a very low opacity to add some new color.
The Fountain above was created by using Photoshop Free Brushes Firework’s Brushes no.3 – placed on its own layer, duplicate it, Free Transform (CTRL+T) and flip Horizontal. Add a Linear gradient to get the effect. This set of brushes were created from clip art so most of them are not so realistic looking but nice if you want a more graphic look.
Some great resources for gradients that for fireworks are: Gorgeous Gradients (the one called Preppy give a nice result), Warhol gradients from Graphix1 (check out all their gradients), and Mellow Yellow Gradient from Photoshop Daily.
There is another way to get some interesting fireworks results that was posted as a comment on Photoshop Daily blog by Jo Cole that you might want to try. Once a fireworks brush is selected, here is what Kazzie said in her comment about creating a new brush to get a really nice fireworks:
“Shape Dynamics: size jitter – 75-100%. Color Dynamics: foreground/background 75-100%, Hue – 50-100%, Saturation – 100%, Purity – (+100). Brush Tip Shape: spacing = 1% or OFF. I set the foreground/background colors to bright colors in the main menu. Then I just clicked in the same place to achieve glorious fireworks using basic white color in between clicks.”
I tried this and it creates some very nice results that look similar to the orange and yellow fireworks above, but you must be careful not to click too much or you lose the effect. Go in and try different Hue settings. Once you get some settings you like, be sure to save as a new brush so you do not have to keep resetting it every time you try a different brush. (See my blog on “How to Create Photoshop Brushes from Objects or Text.”)
Combining the two processes
For the above image, both fireworks brushes and several jpg images from Obsidian Dawn were used. Since the fireworks are on a white background, I used the free Adobe Pixel Bender filter and my favorite filter for it, the free Kill White filter (it works better with Pixel Bender than just as a Photoshop plug-in) to delete the white areas – can get some very interesting effects using Kill White so I recommend downloading it. (Note often an error warning comes up when applying Pixel Bender – just say OK.) Below is the workflow used for the jpgs.
- Open up your base nighttime image.
- Drag over one of the jpg from Adobe Bridge – comes in as a Smart Object so adjust the size and position. The right click on the layer and choose Rasterize layer to remove Smart Object.
- Go to Pixel Bender and select MikeYael_Kill White.
- Double click on the fireworks layer and open the Layer Style. Choose the Gradient Overlay and set the Style to Radial. Open up the different Gradients and load any new ones you want to try by clicking the popout at the top right and appending them. Then adjust the Scale, try reversing the colors and changing the blend mode.
To get the reflection on the water, after making all your fireworks, put them in a group named fireworks. Next right click on the Layers Panel popout and select Merge Group to create just one layer of the firework objects. Free Transform (CTRL+T) and select Flip Vertical. Hold SHIFT Key and drag straight down to a point. Enter. Go to Filter -> Blue -> Gaussian Blue and select a Radius between 3 and 10. Add a layer mask to mask out anywhere the reflection should not be or to tone down some of the brighter colors with a 20% opacity soft round Brush. Can add in some smoke with the Basic Soft Cloud Brush and set to a very low opacity – usually between 5 to 10%.
I guess you can tell that an image which may not be that great can take on a really nice look with the fireworks. This has once again been a lot of fun to explore and try. It is really worth your time to play around with some of these effects – you can learn a lot! Hope everyone has a very happy Fourth of July celebration!…..Digital Lady Syd
It is that time of year and Easter is just around the corner. A few great resources are out there that might prove useful if you need to create a quick card or want to create a few pretty Easter eggs for the holiday. It turns out I am showing you three ways to make really colorful eggs using brushes, vectors, and/or custom shapes.
This image uses both free vector and brush downloads to get this effect. The four egg grouping on the right inside of the frame comes from a really nice set of Vector Easter Eggs from Vectorilla Illustrations – use the file named 1.eps (the vector format which puts eggs on a transparent layer). Please review the use rights and other nice items on this site. Just select with the Rectangular Marquee Tool or Lasso Tool the egg or egg grouping and copy it to its own layer. Copy this layer again and run my favorite plug in Kill White that I added to Adobe Pixel Bender – this gets rid of the white shadow look under the egg(s) and leaves nice illustration lines. Highlight the layer underneath and click on the “Lock transparent pixels” icon at top of Layer Panel so you do not have to be as careful with your painting. Paint in colors – I used the Round Blunt Stiff Brush in bright colors. When finished painting, I reduced the top illustration lines down to 62% opacity. Text can be added to the egg(s) – this font is Matisse (it may be on your computer already if you use Microsoft products). Create a layer composite (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and move this layer into a New Document. (I used the standard tutorial card settings of 1280 by 1029 pixels but set the resolution at 240 for printing.) Create a background by adding a New Layer on top of the white background layer. Paint a ground and sky with the Dry Brush Tip Light Flow brush from the default CS5 brush set. The purple egg on the right of the insert image is created using some beautiful Egg Brushes by Melsbrushes. See Step 5 in the tutorial below for more details on how to do this. Do check out his copyright info and look at his other brushes – very nice quality. The Easter Bunny font by Dieter Steffmann can be downloaded here. A soft yellow Outer Glow Layer Style was added to put yellow around the letters. A new layer was added above the eggs to paint in a little green grass over the bottom edges of the eggs so they look like they are in the grass. The final touch was the Easter frame from OnOne PhotoFrames.
For the rabbit card I tried an Adobe Tutorial’s technique called “Easter Cards.” – they spent a long time making the eggs but there are faster ways of accomplishing this as shown in the first example. If you want to learn how to make some very pretty effects on the Easter Eggs, continue with their tutorial. My template card may be downloaded without doing the following steps by clicking here. (This is for your use only – please do not redistribute and please credit the sites below if you use in another publication.) To create my card, here are the steps to use (this example also uses vectors and brushes for the eggs):
1. First decide on an image to add to your card – the rabbits were from three different images that I added together using layer masks and adjusting the colors with a Selective Color Adjustment Layer. A Nik Color Efex Pro filter called User Defined Bi-Color using a dark blue color for the top and gold for the bottom was added to make the image more vibrant. Points were placed on each of the rabbits so their actual fur color was not altered. These rabbits with the huge ears are from the beautiful Old Village of Ayaymku in Belarus.
2. Create a New Document – I used the same settings as stated above as in the first image.
3. Duplicate the background layer and with the Gradient Tool, select a pleasing gradient – this one started with a lighter to darker yellow radial gradient. Next a texture called Watercolor 22 by SadMonkeyDesign (check out his site – he has many free beautiful watercolor textures) was added. Create a New Layer to paint a little more texture on the background using the Grunge Paint Brushes by Melsbrushes – the texture brush and texture2 brush with two colors of green.
4. Copy image into your card. To just create a template, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to create a rectangle the size of your standard image and CTRL+J to place it on its own layer. This layer will serve as a placeholder to indicate where to add in the image. A dotted frame was created easily by duplicating either placeholder layer, or image (CTRL+click on the image thumbnail to select it and filling with with white). Go to the Brush Panel and select the Hard Edge Round Brush at 15 pixels and 118% spacing. Select a bright color and click in one corner of the white rectangular, then go to the corner and SHIFT+Click again – a line of dots will appear. If the spacing is off, adjust in the Brush Panel to fit. Add to all edges to create simple framing. Next go to Adobe Pixel Bender and select Kill White – only the colored dots appear. These can now be transformed to adjust to image.
5. To make the front egg, create a New Layer. Use Sample Brush 3 from Egg Brushes from Melsbrushes, which is your basic egg, and make one brush stroke with a bright color. Next select a new color and a new brush – in this case Sample Brush 4 and Sample Brush 8 were added on top of the original egg stroke. It produced this beautiful yellow, pink and green egg in no time all! Many different eggs can be made and what a time-saver! Next I took the settings from the tutorial for the Inner Shadow Layer Style. Use an angle of -63, Distance of 35 pixels and Size of 55 pixels. This gave a nice shadow and edge to the egg. Free Transform (CTRL+T) to adjust and line up your egg.
6. To create the two eggs in back, the vector technique was used. From the fancy eggs sheet file called 4.eps from Vector Illustrations – the Vector Easter Eggs, just do the same steps as in the first image – use Rectangular Marquee Tool or Lasso Tool to select the egg you want to use, and CTRL+J to put it on its own layer. Select the small white (shadow) area under the eggs using the Quick Selection Tool and Backspace to delete it, or just use the Eraser Tool if you want. Next drag your new egg layer from the vector document underneath the Step 5 egg (by highlighting the layer in the card where the new egg should be placed in the Layers Panel, the dragged layer will go above it). Free Transform (CTRL+T) the egg to make it the same size as the other egg and rotate. Do this step again for the third egg. These eggs look great but may not look so good if blown up to a large size. Copy down the Inner Shadow Layer Style from the Step 5 egg – SHIFT+click the fx icon on the far right of the layer and drag it down to copy. Another really easy way to get a great result quick!
7. Add a little grass with the default Photoshop brush called Grass 134 by painting under the eggs to give them something to rest on.
8. The same technique was used to create the eggs in the background as in Steps 5 and 6. This time use the groupings of eggs on the 4.eps sheet. When placed on their own layer, add a Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer to create a soft solid color for the background images. Merge the two layers to create a one color layer and drag above the painted texture layer. Do this as many times as you want to add eggs – be sure they are on separate layers so you can move them and transform them to fit your image.
9. Add some Easter text. These cute little bunnies are a free font called Bizzy Bunny by Beeline.
10. The last step was to add some kind of frame. This one contains a nice frame from OnOne PhotoFrames. I love this plug in – almost always use them on every image. Easy to use and many, many choices.
Hope I did not lose you here – it really is not that hard to do. I found it totally fascinating making the eggs with the brushes – how easy to do and yet they are so unique with all the color and brush combinations that can be used.
As an aside, there are some pretty basic Easter template cards by Rock the Shot – three can be downloaded for free from their Facebook page if you want to send pictures of the kids to family. I am not going to show them here but check them out.
This last image was just total fun – had to create more eggs! (This one uses all three techniques – brushes, custom shapes and/or vectors for its eggs.) I wanted to get that delicious feel of chocolate eggs in this image too so I resurrected the scanned filmstrip that I posted two blogs ago to make this effect. (For more information on filmstrips, see my blogs on Filmstrip Fun and More Filmstrip Fun – How Can This Be.) I created a New Document and brought in my filmstrip (delete the white areas on the layer by going to the Kill White plug in as referenced above). Now you can start making eggs and bringing them into the document – Free Transform (CTRL+T) to make them fit.
- EGG One – Was created using some Egg Custom Shapes by the psd-Dude . Using these shapes is very easy and they give a beautiful look to the eggs. Create a New Layer above the Background layer and select the Custom Shape Tool. In the Shape pop-out on the Options Bar, load the new egg custom shapes. Find a pleasing color and use the solid colored egg to start. Next a Gradient Overlay Layer Style was added first – I created one that went from pink to bright yellow. Add an Inner Glow set to Opacity 100% and Size 13 pixels, and Inner Shadow set to Angle (-90), Distance 26, and Size 81 pixels. These settings were taken from a very nice tutorial that shows how to actually create the custom egg shape at the psd-Dude site and is called “Drawing an Easter Egg in Photoshop“. Create a New Layer above your basic shape and select a different Foreground color. To add a different shape on top of your first shape – drag a new shape out and to make it fit, hold SHIFT to maintain the aspect ratio and use the SPACEBAR to adjust egg shape on top of the first shape. Turn off the background layer and merge the shape layers. This layer can now be dragged into the filmstrip document.
- EGG Two – This beautiful bunny egg was downloaded from the Dry Icons site – it is in a vector format and can be downloaded here. Please look at their licensing information before using. This is another really nice site to visit. Just used a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to change color to purple, then selected the bunny with the Quick Selection Tool and copied him to his own layer. Added yellow to the bunny and created a composite on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) to put it all on one layer. Now drag into the filmstrip and adjust.
- EGG Three – I call this my Vintage Egg. It was created by selecting a basic egg from Vectorilla file eps.3 and then adding a Watercolor texture to the egg. Just bring in a texture you like and clip it to the egg (Layer – Clipping Layer Mask). it shows up on the egg only. Next I added an Easter Eggs from Pehaa brush using Egg 1 in dark blue. Then I duplicated this layer and erased out the circling lines and left the round lines. Now add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Level and clip it to this layer as shown above. Make the Hue a different color and adjust the Saturation and Lightness to get the color you want. Do a Layer Composite on top. Use the Quick Selection Tool to select the white background and BACKSPACE to delete. Drag this layer into your Filmstrip image.
- EGG Four – This egg was just like Egg One. Just used a solid color instead of an Gradient Overlay Layer Style on original egg shape and used a different decoration shape on top.
- EGG Five – This egg was created just like Egg Three without a texture. A Layer Style was added for a little definition: Dark to Light yellow Gradient Overlay; an Inner Glow set to Opacity 100% and Size 13 pixels; and an Inner Shadow set to Angle (-90), Distance 26, and Size 81 pixels. (Same settings as in Egg One’s Layer Style.)
Some ground and sky texture was added to the eggs in the filmstrip using the Melsbrushes’ Grunge Paint Brushes (as before) – texture and texture2 brushes. Add a layer to put grass for the eggs to sit on. Put all the layers in a group except the background layer and call it Filmstrip. Right click on layer and select Duplicate Group from menu, and name Reflection Group. With a CTRL+E, merge the group into a single layer. Can now Transform (CTRL+T) and Flip Vertical. Add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer clipped to this layer using White as Foreground and Black as Background colors. Create a New Layer set to Multiply blend mode above the Adjustment Layer (and also clipped to the Group Layer) and select a dark red color (7e2805) to get the Chocolate color for the eggs. I used an opacity of 74% for the layer. Create a background sky and brown ground just above the Background Layer using another favorite brush of mine, Cloud Brushes by Rubina119-Brush No. 8. The vintage bunny image at the end of the filmstrip is a brush from Bunny Love Brushes by charmedbyjessica – Hatted Bunny brush – scroll down to bottom of list for this one. There are many wonderful Easter brushes at this site. The first download contains the type brush for the sky from Ruthenia and can be downloaded here. Create a layer composite on top and add a frame – I used another one from OnOne PhotoFrame.
That is finally it! Wow – should have been two posts as I did not realize how many cool resources were out there for Easter. Hope you find some of these sites useful and enjoy creating some fun eggs for the holiday! Until next time, Enjoy!
I found a blog by Heather Angel at Pixiq called “Natures Valentines” that inspired me to think about what images of mine were valentine-like in feeling. Not surprisingly, they are flowers. I love to photograph and paint flowers. So for this blog I am just going to post what I consider “My Valentine Images.”
I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!…..Digital Lady Syd
This is just a quick blog to finish up my series on Valentines. Recently OnOne Software came out with more templates (no longer available) including some more Valentine templates. I used the Valentine Layout 5×7 Vertical Back and added a few embellishments of my own to give you an idea of what you can do with these wonderful templates that OnOne keeps furnishing to us for free.
This image contains similar elements I used in previous Valentines on my blog. Just to save you time, if you want to link to them: McSweetie Hearts from dafont.com, Cupid Brushes by glass-prism at Deviant Arts, and scatter heart brush from digitalTouch at Deviant Arts. The large heart was created using a Custom Shape in Photoshop and creating a large stroke with a pattern in it to give it the white edge. I did try out the Topaz Remask 3 (see sidebar for website link on my Tidbits Blog) to cut my lovely model out of the image I had taken. I was pretty pleased with the result for my first attempt.
The above image I created using a fairly quick tutorial from Gavin Hoey called “Valentines Card from Scratch” that he posted up on YouTube. I basically followed the tutorial except I changed the color of the roses. Have a Happy Valentines Day!
For 2012 Free Templates, see my new blog Where To Get Those Free Valentine Templates. I just can’t seem to quit doing Valentines – I guess because they are a lot of fun to do and the colors are pretty. I am going to start off with some more great templates from Florabella. The more I follow this site, the more impressed I am by her work and all the free offers she has for us “Photoshop fanatics.” These are all Valentine templates from her Facebook page and include card fronts, backs and bookmarks. I picked one to try but there are so many variations you can do with these, it should keep anyone playing for quite a while. So this time, I am going to give a big “Thank You” to Florabella!
I tried to give this image a high contrast look in Lightroom before bringing it into the template in Photoshop. Besides cropping and cleaning up the background, I used CP Dragan 5 in Lightroom to give the final look. This preset can be downloaded at Adobe Labs for free. I used a similar font I already had loaded since I did not have the one referenced on the layer when the template is opened up in Photoshop and it is a pretty common one. Basically all you do is bring your picture in as a layer below the layer labeled “Place Photo Below”, then do a little Free Transforming (CTRL+T) or cropping to fit in the template. She includes instructions with her download for further information on how to make it into an actual card.
This next image came from a set of Valentine cards at MCP Actions that can be downloaded free from their Facebook page. They are offering very simple cards for use as Valentines – especially if you need something easy for your little ones school parties. They are very simple to use and are great for that quick turn around. On the one I used, I did very little to except transform (CTRL+T) the picture to fit the opening. It must then be clipped to the layer below by ALT+clicking on the line between the layers – it will attach the top layer to the layer underneath (or go to Layer – Create Clipping Mask). I used the fonts they provided and added their names on the Child’s Name text layer. Done. There are also instructions downloaded with these templates.
Finally I decided to try a large tutorial on Valentines that used many different Custom Shapes. The tutorial I followed is called “Valentine’s day hearts” at Adobe Tutorials. This was by no means the easiest tutorial I have used but I do believe I have a pretty good understanding of the Custom Shapes Tool now! I liked the tutorial because you can change some of the steps to fit the way you want to put it together while still getting a good idea of how it will look. I feel like it was an accomplishment to finish this one but it really was not that hard in retrospect – just a lot of layers. It helped to name and group similar layers to keep organized.
The main hearts are provided by Photoshop. All the listed brushes, shapes and fonts (except the Cosmi font which might be free if you can find it somewhere – it is a very old font) are free downloads from the internet that I used to create my image. The top purple joined hearts are custom shapes from Graphicxtras (no longer available). Several very nice heart custom shapes are from My Valentine Shapes at Brusheezy. The various little white hearts in the background are from a set called McBad – Valentine. The white floral brushes behind the large valentines are provided by a link on the second page in the tutorial. I really like several of these brushes and plan to use them in other designs. For the lacy Valentine, I used a Valentine brush from Anithene and added a gradient overlay layer style. Finally I used my favorite Valentine font – McSweetie Hearts from dafont.com. My Digital Lady Syd font is No. 31 from Cosmi. Both of these fonts I used in the previous blog. The last item added was the cupid, which I copied the layer twice to make it stand out more, and is from Cupid Brushes and is another beautiful set of Valentine brushes.
If you need any help with making these valentines, leave me a comment. Hope you enjoy making your Valentines – it is a great way to learn how to use Photoshop!…..Digital Lady Syd
Just got my desktop computer back but it is not up and running. Chore for tomorrow. Today I wanted to share with you a really cool Valentine tutorial that showed up this week on the internet. It is called “How to create elegant Valentine’s Day card with ornamental heart in Photoshop CS5” at Adobe Tutorials. Not only do they give a really nice step-by-step process but they also provide the PSD file to help you out. The brush download is a very nice addition to have. Just follow their link. As I got halfway through the tutorial, I found I created a pretty nice card already that an image would look nice in. Attached is the base image and then one with a young couple added. I used the brushes from the tutorial for the background effect.
I then worked some more on the Valentine and came up with the one below. I used several other resources including: Flowers in lower left is a free brush from Chelshire-Angel. Many nice brushes in this grouping. Hearts on the lower right are a free download from GraphicXtras sampler shapes (no longer available). The background is the Worn Love Texture from Coffeeshop Valentines that I used in the previous blog. The beautiful texture in the middle of the heart is a free one from Victorian Dreams Texture Pack.
Make a lacy edge around the Valentine using No. 13 brush at size 201 pixels from the tutorial download (Florar_and_Enchanting_II_by_Coby17.abr). I ran down the left side of the image with just the stem part of the brush. Then I duplicated it and CTRL+T and flipped horizontally to line up on the right side. Do the same for the top and bottom edges, group all four layers, and name the group Edges. Next I created the heart using the Shape Tool from the referenced tutorial. I created a New Layer and added a Layer Mask which will have the heart design in it. I filled the heart is with pink. Next move the Shape Layer above this layer, set Fill to 0% and add a Layer style using a white Drop Shadow, an Inner Glow with a Ring-Double contour, and a Dark Purple 24 pixel Stroke. Then I brought the Victorian texture in over the regular heart layer and clipped it to the heart layer so only the middle was filled up with texture. I used texture 8 which is blue so I changed the Blend Mode of the texture to Pin Light that brought out the pink color instead. The font for “Be” and “My” is free and is called MC Sweetie Heart from dafont. The word “Valentine” uses Cosmi Font 31, a font package I bought many years ago but has some great fonts – the only reference I could find on Cosmi was from Amazon. The cupid was the small b key and is also a font downloaded for free from dafont called Gabriel’s Angels. I put white drop shadows on the text layers for Valentine and the Cupid to lighten and emphasize them a little more.
That pretty much sums up how I put this one together. I really liked the final results. The original tutorial uses shapes very creatively and is also a lot of fun to do if you want to play around some. I hope these Valentines gave your creative side a shove. Have fun and experiment!…..Digital Lady Syd
Since my computer is at the shop this week, I have had to go with something a little simpler on my laptop. I found a really interesting tutorial which is a short, easy, non-talking video. It is called “Placing Images in Text” as posted on 1/12/11 at Picturesocial.com. I will list the simple instructions as follows:
1. Open image to use in text layer.
2. Unlock the Background layer. (Drag lock to trash can.)
3. Create a New Layer underneath Background Layer by ALT clicking the New Layer icon and fill with whatever color you would like to use.
4. Highlight top layer and select Text Tool.
5. Click on image and enter text with the font you want to use – can adjust size of text later. Click Check to finalize text.
6. Select the Move Tool and move the text where you would like it.
7. Can CTRL+T to adjust the text size. Click check to finalize text again.
8. Drag Background layer above Text layer.
9. Go to Layer – Create Clipping Mask or ALT+click between the two layers.
10. On Text layer, create Layer Style – double click on layer to open. Select Drop Shadow and set to 100% Opacity. Play around with the other sliders and contours until you like what you see. I also added a stroke to my images here.
These are the basic steps.
For the above, I used the original image converted to a Smart Object as the background. I used the Topaz Simplify plug-in set to Sketch Hardpencil. I created a new preset to the plug-in to get the look I wanted by adding Contrast, Details Strength, Details Boost, Details Feature Boost, and making the Edge Type Mono Line. I reduced the opacity of the layer to 49%. I used a free font called Freshman from dafont. I also used Textures by Ash No. 26 (these textures are no longer available but see my more recent blog “Adding a Texture for Flair!” for other texture sites) just above the Background layer at 65% opacity to add warmth to the image.
I tried to create something a little different with the image above. In this case I started with a Nebulae Grunge Texture – Nebulae 1. There are some really pretty textures here and they are all free to download. Thank you Caleb. Used a Selective Color Adjustment Layer to get correct color. I also added another texture called CG Splatter Homogenous 3 to add a little red color to the image and set layer to Soft Light Blend Mode. I used the basic Myriad Pro for my font. The layer I clipped to the text is from CoffeeShop Valentine textures. Another wonderful site! Did a Vibrance Adjustment Layer to adjust the color for this texture. Then added a white Stroke to lettering and a Drop Shadow in the Text Layer Style. I did a composite layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top to do final framing with a basic layer style – set vignetting to pink and a gray stroke around the image.
These were totally fun to create and very easy. There is a lot of room to experiment. If you have a chance, try it!…..Digital Lady Syd
As promised, I am presenting a few more ideas on how to make really nice Christmas Cards. I found a box of Heavyweight Textured Half-Fold Cards from Avery (No. 3378) that are perfect for a bit of vintage look and print out very nicely. Amazon carries it here. I make cards all year using this stock of paper and my own pictures. People respond very nicely to the look. Just a couple of card tips that I learned from Lesa Snider: She starts with a 5 x7 inch document at a resolution of 250 ppi to begin her images – this works nicely with the above cards. Also be sure to keep your text and any other important parts of the image at least 1/4″ away from the documents edge so you will not accidentally cut them out when printing. Check out her link for three nice short tutorials on holiday greeting cards.
This year I decided to use the following image as the tree for my cards. I got the idea from a tutorial at Adobe Tutorials, one of the 80 tutorials gathered by Photoshop Roadmap. There were so many ideas to choose from in this group – I could have made many different looks and had a great time creating them all! Photoshop Roadmap always has a really great variety of tutorials they upload all the time so bookmark this one if you can.
For the next image I just wanted to try out some of the great free vector images and holiday brushes that I downloaded. Once again the people from Photoshop Roadmap took the time to pull 30 Delightful Christmas Photoshop Brushes, Patterns and Vectors together for our use. I did not even get through a portion of it but I believe if you have a certain look you want, you should be able to find it here. On the image below, I used the Christmas Vectors Package from Obsidian Dawn for the tree – you can download both brushes and images. Obsidian Dawn is another great resource, especially for any Photoshop presets. In this case I used the image for the base tree and then I used the brushes for the deer, bird and star at the top. Also, for this image I used a gradient from the Wow 7 Gradients set from Jack Davis. They were on the CD of a little gem of a book called “Adobe Photoshop 7 One-Click Wow!‘ that I have used over and over. They may still be available in the How to Wow books currently being sold. I put a final touch on this image using Matt Kloskowski’s Vintage preset in Lightroom. If you have not visited his blog, it is probably the best on Lightroom on the Internet. He has created several hundred presets that are free to download and use. I also used an OnOne (see website link in sidebar of my Tidbits Blog) PhotoFrame for the vintage look border.
I just found a good article on 8 Tips for Printing Inkjet Greeting Cards from Red River Paper that may help with your cards. Well I believe this should be enough resources to make some really pretty Christmas Cards. I hope everyone has a great time with them – I know I did!
Recently two very generous plug in suppliers have released free Holiday templates to download for making cards. I decided to try one template out from each group to see how I liked them and to show what kind of looks you can get with them.
UPDATE: (11/19/11) Currently these two suppliers do not have their templates for download. Please check out my new Free Christmas Card Templates-Part 2 blog for a new template that is now available. Also see my Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template blog to download one to use with Photoshop and Elements. Hopefully the ones below will be available again soon for this new holiday season!…..Digital Lady Syd
Photoshop Templates from OnOne Software
The first groups of free templates come from one of my favorite Photoshop plug-in groups, OnOne Software (click link for template information). There are 12 templates, 9 are holiday templates, and are set up as Photoshop PSD files for anyone using Photoshop or Elements – no plug-in required. They come with several colors, textures, and holiday elements to choose from and openings for square, vertical and horizontal images. This makes it very easy to paste in your image and adjust using a clipping layer. They are constantly adding and changing their templates so check it out often. I also added a free BittBox Texture called BB Grunge Ice Texture in the green card (all the textures in this group are beautiful).
The Florabella Collection provides beautiful actions to give your images different looks. They are providing for a limited time a free download (no longer available) from their Facebook page for the Merry and Bright Holiday Cards templates – 5 psd files in all. You can hook into the Facebook page from the link above and just click on the Free tab. These templates have a totally different look from the onOne templates above.
I hope to bring some regular Photoshop holiday card tutorials next week. In the meantime enjoy these templates. They are a lot of fun to try!…..Digital Lady Syd
Since it is the season to be jolly, I thought I would just post a few things I did last year for the holidays last season.
For this image, I first applied a Photoshop Filter I bought called Topaz Adjust (see sidebar for website in my Tidbits Blog) using the Spicify preset, then added a Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer to take out the gold tones in the background. Painted in the mask to keep the true color of the bulbs gold. Then went back into Topaz Adjust and applied the HDR Pop preset twice with modifications to my taste. Once again I masked out the some of the bulb to give a nice contrasty effect. I added Ash Texture 3 (these textures are no longer available but see my more recent blog “Adding a Texture for Flair!” for other texture sites) for more contrast to the background. Next a Curves Adjustment Layer for more contrast (do you see a theme here?) and finally a top layer set to Overlay where I painted with a soft brush around the edges of the ornaments to help them stand out more. This is a technique that I learned from John Paul Caponigro from training he presented at Kelby Training, but he has some great information on his own website. He teaches some very different techniques that I really like.
I should also add that Topaz Adjust is one of the most popular Photoshop filters and is fairly inexpensive. It gives some great looks, especially if you want a little more edginess to your images. It even gives a very good faux HDR look (which is what I was trying to get here). One thing about using these filters with so many settings is to try applying them more than once with different presets or different layer opacities or blend modes. It can give a totally different look with a just a little effort.
This next image is one I did from a tutorial by Darrell Heath on NAPP’s website called “Season’s Greetings Backdrop.” It was a lot of fun to do and it was all done in Photoshop CS4.
Well, maybe this gave you a few inspirations and some things to try out for the holiday season. I did not want this to sound like an advertisement for the above items and groups, but I really do use these resources a lot in my work. I hope to be back with some new techniques later this month…..Digital Lady Syd