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SOME FLOWER POWER

Digitally painted image of flower on a purple backgroundJust doing a quick post this week. Thought I would pass on just a couple thoughts on doing a digital painting. I find that when I am painting that either the Color Panel (set to Hue Cube – click the pop out in upper right corner to see other options) or Coolorus is open on the left side of my screen so colors in the same color palette can be selected very quickly by just clicking in the color areas. Coolorus is an inexpensive add-on for Photoshop CS6 and up. The Color Wheel  and the Mixer section Swatches, Color History, and Shades & Tones strips are all kept open so all you do is choose a color you want by clicking in it with your brush. For painting with the mixer brushes, the Current Brush Load needs to be set to Load Solid Color Only in the drop-down toggle menu. Then colors can be sampled using the ALT+click in the Mixer brushes also.

These are some of my favorite painting brushes I am using right now for most of my Photoshop painting. For this image the purple color was used as the major color and the rest of colors were mainly complementary greens. First started out with a purple background color – used a new Paint Bucket Tool preset by Grut (for website see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) called FI Paper Deeds. On a layer above just drew a rough sketch of the leaves using Grut’s I Qwillo brush (one of my favorite drawing brushes!). Then painted in the leaves underneath using Gruts NM Pans Attic and OI Shiff Din brushes – made the brushes much smaller and just kept blending the colors using both brushes. The white flowers were painted in using my SJ 3 Pastel Van Gogh TI1 brush (see below for settings) and turned off the Color Dynamics sections to paint in centers. My sharp line texture png was added underneath and some green grass with flower were added that I had painted previously. Then a stamped layer was created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and Topaz (for website see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Impression 2 where Rembrandt Portrait II preset was applied a little. Then on a New Layer the fence was drawn, Jai Johnson’s flying birds png was added and set to 23% layer opacity. Two text layers were created – one used Castile Inline Grunge font and the other a font called Chiller. Used one of my painted borders created a long time ago. Some little spatter marks were created using Grut’s FX Flick Tub brush. A purple light leak I created a while back was added to the right side of the image and one of Sebastian Michaels borders was added on top. Finished up the photo with Nik Viveza 2, and a Red Channel Luminosity Adjustment Curve. See my Related Blogs for more info on some of the techniques used above.

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Digitally painted Purple-Pink FlowersThis digitally painted image above is using the same basic workflow as above. I used a couple different brushes on the flowers and leaves, but overall pretty much the same results. The major trick is to find a brush to remove some of the sketch work without losing the definition of the petal. I used a mixer on this one to soften those lines. The mixer brush layer was lowered to add back in some of the texture in the leaves and blossoms. And definitely a lot of brush size variations to add detail versus smoothing. Underneath all the painting and sketch layers, Kim Klassen’s Dream texture (not sure it is still available) was added and set to 46% layer opacity (on top of a white background layer). The frame is from one of my Double Edged Frames layer styles that can be downloaded on DeviantArt.  Lots of fun but it does take some time to get a nice overall effect. My sketches were so rough looking it is amazing to me that it all pulls together.

Have a nice week and try a little illustration even if you are not that great at it. It is a lot of fun to try different Photoshop brushes and see what turns out……Digital Lady Syd

Brush Settings for SJ 3 Pastel Van Gogh TI1 brush: To make your own, follow my How to Create my Favorite Brush blog but with a couple important changes. First a small square was selected using the Marquee Tool showing a part of the plant Impression layer that showed some nice contrast and brush strokes in it. It was turned into a Pattern by going to Edit -> Define Pattern and name it. (I named mine TI Van Gogh). Next the Brush Panel Texture section was opened. Select the Pattern drop-down (little arrow on right side of pattern swatch) and go to the very bottom where the new Pattern is located. The setting for the pattern I created are: Scale 46%, Brightness -46, Contrast 34, check Texture Each Tip, Mode Color Dodge, Depth 38% and Depth Jitter 12%. Try adjusting all these settings to fit your particular pattern. This brush gives a nice stroke effect at both larger and smaller sizes. Then open the Color Dynamics section and check Apply per Tip, set the Hue Jitter to 2%, and Brightness Jitter to 11%.

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Create My Favorite Brush
How to Create Scanned Photoshop Brushes
How to Create Light Leaks to use Over Again
How To Make Frames or Borders
How to Use a Red Channel to Create a Nice Blended Image Effect

MORE SUMMER FUN

Image of a Gondola at the Alcazar Hotel in St. AugustineThis week just continuing with my playing in Photoshop – great time to enjoy it when it is so hot outside. Not sure how I came up with the Gondola at the Alcazar Hotel (Lightner Museum) in St. Augustine, Florida, but it happened. What actually happened is that I really liked the wrought-iron lights in the image – taken in noon sunlight on the hottest day – so that is how this all started.

Content-Aware Crop Tool – The image needed to be expanded to the right to make it look balanced in my eyes so the Crop Tool was selected. By stretching the outline outside the boundaries of the image and checking Content Aware, PS attempts to fill out the blank area. This turned out to look a lot like the building set to a smaller size and reversed, so that is what is shown here. Some clean up had to be done, but it is definitely something to explore if a creative element is needed for filling in your image size. And remember that if you do not like the results, just rerun the Crop Tool and a different result should happen.

The result made me think about adding Flaming Pear’s Flood filter, which is one of my favorite plug-ins of all time. And regarding the fact that these old filters will not work in your current PS – my version of this filter has been around forever and works just fine, although the link is to a newer version now available. So do not get rid of your Nik filters just yet – they may last a long time. Back to the Flood filter – I have yet to run into a filter that gives this perfect water look yet – in this case it was set to for smooth water with quite a bit of reflection. A beautiful texture by French Kiss (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) called Atelier Anemone was placed on top and set to Multiply blend mode at 47% layer opacity. A gondola seemed to be needed to create the story for the image so I just found an old gondola image and sketched out the boat and a person. Then painted in the drawing created from the image using a brush called Scraggly Brush (Charcoal Large Smear) by Kristen Palana from a fun short class at Udemy called Quick and Easy Digital Painting. The gondola and man were not supposed to look too realistic but more painterly. The little stars were from Media Militia Particle 018 brush. On a New Layer filled with 50% gray and set to overlay, black and white brushes were painted on the layer to dodge and burn the image. Next Kim Klassen’s Pumpkin Grunge texture (you can actually still download a low res version if you click the “HERE” in the text) was applied, set to Hard Light blend mode at 18% layer opacity. This is a really nice texture to add – for some reason the bright red-orange gives an interesting result. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Nik Viveza 2 was used to adjust the lighting just right in the image. A border was added and color adjusted using a Curves Adjustment Layer. Lots of other adjustments layers were added to adjust several of the layers throughout the image. Just clip (ALT+clip between the layers) them to the different layers if you want only one layer adjusted.

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Image of a butterfly on a flowerThis image is of a Monarch Butterfly that was extracted from my front yard image and placed in this fantasy garden.  GrutBrushes has a wonderful background paper called Dee Print that was placed as the background for this image. Then two beautiful brushes by ninelvlsup at DeviantArt called windflower and dandelion whisps were used for the background elements. The Warp Filter (CTLR+T, then Warp in Options Bar) and layer masks were used to get the effects needed on these elements. Aaron Blaise’s Canvas Texture Brush 46 32 was used to get the flower center texture. One of Sebastian Michael’s edges was used for the frame. 2 Lil Owl’s Workshop Texture 1 which has the star pattern in it was placed on top and only inside the frame, then set to Linear Burn blend mode at 66% layer opacity. On a stamped layer Nik Viveza 2 was used to even out the distribution of color and tones. Topaz (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) ReStyle set to the Zinneas preset was applied and set to 35% layer opacity. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was used to get this final color palette. Lots of adjustments layers again throughout the image to get the final effect. Lots of fun here!

Not sure there is a lot new here other than the Crop Tool which turned out to give an interest effect. I actually tried it on another image and got another interesting result so give it a try. And do not forget Topaz ReStyle if you own it, it can really give an image a whole different feel – another of my favorite plug-ins! Hope everyone is having a great end of summer – I know I am, although a little cooler weather would be nice……Digital Lady Syd

HOW TO CREATE SCANNED PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES

Image of a young lady daydreamingAs you know, I am a major Photoshop brush fanatic. This week I am doing a quick blog on creating brushes from scanned marks  and then turning them into brushes. I am finding it so handy to have these brushes for detail or grunge effects for areas that need just a little more subtle texture. So here are the steps I am finding useful for creating this type of brush.

Creating the Brushes

  1. Need to create some square marks on paper – in my case an inexpensive Sketch Pad from WalMart that is good for Pen, Pencil, Pastel and Oil Pastel was used. 10 different marks were created on the page as shown below. All but the Pencil Brush mark were created using an inexpensive set of Faber Castell Black India Ink artists pens sized to S (0.3 mm), F (o.5 mm), M (0.7 mm), and B (1.8 mm) – any of their sets look pretty nice. Any type of media could be used here.
  2. Scan the whole document as a JPG at 600 dpi. Below is the scanned document with some explanatory text added for blog.
  3. Bring scanned document into PS and increase the brightness with Levels Adjustment (CTRL+L) or Curves Adjustment (CTRL+M) to make sure the background is white – the scanner tends to darken the whites as seen below.
  4. Select each mark with the Marquee Tool and put on its own layer (CTRL+J). More contrast can be added here if the mark is still not as dark as needed by using the same Levels or Curves Adjustments.
  5. One by one, toggle each layer on with the others off and create brush by going to Edit -> Define Brush Preset and name it.
  6. Once created, add different settings in the Brush Panel to make different effects. I experimented with all the marks, but only kept the labeled brushes shown below. Some just do not work out well.

Scanned Ink and Pencil marks for PS BrushesMy favorite brush in this group turned out to be the Pencil Brush which was just a basic pencil scribble. In Image 1 above the green soft vertical lines that seem to stretch the columns out is from this brush effect. Image 2 below is another example of using this brush. (For both image details see end of blog.) By making a few changes in the Brush Panel, a new brush called Pencil Thin Vert Lines brush was created. Using this I was able to create a very nice vertical effect for use below extracted objects. (Here are the settings used if you would like to create a similar brush: Brush Tip – used Pencil Brush mark, Size was huge – usually have to reduce it as it came in as 2955 px, Angle set to 90 degrees (makes strong vertical lines), Roundness 12%, and Spacing 10%; Shape Dynamics Size Jitter Control set to Pen Pressure and both the Flip X Jitter and Flip Y Jitter boxes are checked; and Smoothing section checked.) 

Here are steps to create a handy PNG file from a layer in a document that would be nice to use in other images.

Turn a Layer with a Brush Effect into a PNG File

  1. Highlight the layer in the Layer Panel.
  2. Right click and choose Duplicate the Layer.
  3. In dialog in Destination Document drop-down, select New to create a new document.
  4. Just this layer appears in the New Document that can be saved as a PNG file. For the Vertical Pencil effect, I saved it in my Library Panel for quick use.

Sketch of a New Zealand Flower The Duplicate Layer command also my favorite way to move layers between files with lots of layers – none of this dragging with the Move Tool. In the Destination Document drop-down, select the document to move layer(s) into instead of New and of course do not save as a PNG. Hope this will give you some ideas on creating your own unique brushes – I am going to try scanning in some crayon marks and also some watercolor marks. By making changes in the Brush Panel, lots of subtle texture effects can be created. Have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Enjoy the Doodle!

Image Info:

Image 1: This image turned out to be very complicated and several iterations were created before I settled on this look. I first began with the beautiful model image called peach2 by faestock and extracted her from her background using the Select and Refine command. She was duplicated and put in the background at 35 % layer opacity and at a smaller size to get the two face look. The hair was thickened by using my basic SJ Pastel 3 brush (see How to Create My Favorite Brush blog.) The floral headband is from Carousellerie Creative Pinkish Blooms Arrangement Wreath 04 – Free Transform (CTRL+T) was used to adjust it to her head. The background was added – starting with 2 Lil’ Owls (for website link see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Making Waves 2 texture. Then the column was extracted from the Ancient Ruins IV by Pelleron at DeviantArt and taken into Topaz Impression2 using my Colored Pencil preset. (Started with Colored Pencil II preset and ended up with these settings:  Stroke Brush Type 07, Brush Size 0.90, Paint Volume 0.77, Paint Opacity 0.20, Stroke Width -0.82, Stroke Length -0.25, Spill 0.26, Smudge 0.16, and Coverage 1.00; Color Overall Sat 0.37, and Red Hue 0.78, Red Sat 0.32 and Red Lightness 0.28; Lighting Brightness 0.21 and Contrast -0.40, Light Direction X: 1.00 and y: 1.00; and Texture Strength 0.33, Size 0, Paper I texture and white background.). Next the Pencil Brush was turned into a PNG object to add the effect on a layer underneath to add a very vertical grunge look. On top of the model an Orange vertical light leak was added on the right side and some Gold Dust Glitter by Alaina Jensen added on top of her head. A Watercolor Wedding Collection flower bunch by Lisa Glanz was added down the right side of the image. French Kiss (see my Tidbits Blog for website link) Tableaux Fresco texture was applied and set t0 54% layer opacity – a layer mask was added and the model and some more center areas were painted out. Kim Klassen’s Downtown II Collection Isobel (could not find link) was added at 48% layer opacity and set to Soft Light Blend Mode. On top 2 Lil’ Owls Comos 11 texture was desaturated and set to Overlay blend mode for the star effect. The Bumble Bee brush his from fartoolate at DeviantArt. The text is from Robert Louis Stevenson. There were lots of adjustment layers in this file also.

Image 2: I actually had posted this image a few weeks ago using a different color palette. Here is some of the blog post from my Tidbits Blog. This pretty flower is from an old album called Illustrations of the New Zealand Flora (Plate 139) published in 1914. It was just a black and white line drawing and I added the color and texture. The image was removed from a page in the downloaded PDF file using the steps in my How to Create Vintage Text for Images Fun Photoshop Blog -just go towards the end for steps to pull images. I am afraid I took a little color liberty here as the volume says the flowers are actually white, but I liked the pink color. The flowers pink color was created by using a Curves Adjustment Layer’s individual Red channel with the layer mask filled with black (CTRL+I in the mask) – just painted in the pink on the petals – layer was set to Color blend mode. On a separate blank layer under the outline, painted in the green textures using Grut’s I Qwillo (I love this brush for drawing and painting!) and a Mixer blender to paint in the leaves and stem. Below that but above a white background layer a texture layer was painted – just experimented with a couple of my brushes (the Pencil Brush from above for the vertical lines and the squares are a brush that was created from Subtle Grunge Texture 10 – Cement texture 10 by Spoongraphics).  Took just the texture layer into Topaz Studio (see my Introducing the Free Topaz Studio blog) and sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for free download. The Radiance filter was applied so the fine lines showed up – I thought it matched the line drawing effect of the flower. The font is Viner Hand ITC and an Outer Glow layer style with a Contour change was used to make the text stand out. Used a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to set the background texture color. The original flower outline was set to 15% layer opacity at the top of the layer stack. That was it.

PSEUDO SCRAPBOOKING

An image called RivetingThis week I think I am still on a Summer Brain Vacation! Decided to just play in Photoshop and figure out what to do with some of the wonderful add-ins that are available. Not sure what to call this kind of graphic art so I am making up the name “pseudo scrapbooking” – I do not consider myself a scrapbooker (many scrapbook artists do some incredible work that I have never attempted) and there are no personal images applied. I just tried to emulate a touch of this venue by applying some of these products which improved my skill set and was a lot of fun. It also gave me a chance to work on extracting objects, creating brushes for backgrounds, adding text, and creating some interesting composites. So that’s what I did this week!

The above image just started as a small 7″ X 5″ document at 300 ppi. To begin, a texture brush was used to add some wirey looking lines in a turquoise color on a layer. Then a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer using a free Square Geometric Patterns from Deeezy (these are really interesting patterns) called Square Geo 06 was selected and the layer was set to Subtract blend mode at 80% layer opacity. I also follow Design Cuts and Creative Market – see links below in paragraph. They often contain some wonderful objects that can be used in all kinds of projects and several of these items were added into this image. Creative Market offer for free a small set called Watercolor Clipart Unicorns from Corner Croft – one of the unicorns was selected and his horn removed so he looks like a regular horse. He was set on the slope of the geometric pattern. Also from Creative Market, a shell from Aloha was used and set to 89% layer opacity. The paw print was from Design Cuts Pet Shop Flyer freebies. The bird is from Nicky Laatz at Design Cuts and the pink flower clover is from Peolia at Creative Market. Many of the Creative Market sets are offered free for only for a week and then are added to larger sets. If you sign up for their newsletters, every Monday they send out these free downloads – really a good deal. Same with Deal Jumbo and Deeezy – they offer free fonts and small sets every day in their newsletters. Design Cuts usually offers their freebies on Fridays or when they do a tutorial using some of the items in the bi-weekly items sets they offer for sale (these are usually incredible deals for what they are worth). Two of Grut’s Inky Leaks brushes (these are fabulous spatter brushes) called Split Stain  for the rough edging and Flick Tub around the bird. And don’t forget, each Monday Grut offers a new brush to try out for free so check it out! A Color Lookup Adjustment Layer was added using the Futuristic Bleak preset. Then a Creative Market action called Goicha from Cinematics 21 was used on the image. This contains five Adjustment Layers to adjust the color of the overall image. The font is called Angelic War. The last step was to create a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top and apply Topaz (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) ReStyle’s Wedgewood Blue and Tan preset as is at 70% layer opacity. Hopefully you will get a chance to check into some of these resources and get some nice items for your PS practice.
Image of My Magical OceanHere is another example of just having a great amount of fun in Photoshop! This actually started with a beautiful flower image from the Harry P Leu Botanical Gardens in Orlando, Florida. The flower was extracted using the Select and Refine command. Then I just started playing. I had no idea it would turn out being an underwater fantasy world! I like the story that the Tang and the Water Monster Flower create – and I think the shark is watching out for his Tang buddy. The background was created from five 2 Lil’ Owls (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Textures all placed in a group. Some solid color blue and yellow color were painted on separate layers behind the swimming fish (brushes from a small but really nice set by Richard Tilbury) and bubbles created using just a small spatter brush. The Clown Tang, Shark, and Seahorse are all from PixelSquid, one of the best sites for very realistic looking and fun objects. (See my How to Use the PixelSquid Add-on in Photoshop blog.) So this really creepy looking plant turned Water Flower Monster was created by taking my beautiful extracted flower image into the Liquify Filter and just pulling and pushing it all around. I was surprised how it turned out! I think I used every tool and it was fun to try them at different sizes on the edges. On a layer above, a sketch brush was used to enhance the lines in the flower for for a more fish-like effect. The same thing was done with the turquoise seaweed on the bottom – it was painted using Prism Light Studios Spiral Brushes-Tie Dye Brushes – Full Spider brush (was a free brush from Creative Market). Then this layer was also taken into Liquify and stretched and twisted to get this rather unique look. Several adjustment layers were added on top for contrast and color. It was just totally fun to create!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer – it is so hot here in Florida that it is more fun to stay inside and play in Photoshop. Have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd

NOW AVAILABLE – FREE BETA VERSION OF MACPHUN’S LUMINAR FOR WINDOWS

Painted image of a sailboat on a rough seaThis week I discovered that Macphun’s Luminar software has a free Beta release for us PC Windows 10 users to try out. (Click here to get the Beta download – they will quickly send you an E-mail to unlock the program once you submit a request.) You Mac people have been enjoying this stand-alone and plug-in for PS and LR for a while now, but this is great news for us PC folks. I just put it on my computer a couple days ago and am really enjoying it. Lots of new things to explore! It is only available for Windows as a stand-alone version right now, but a lot of the Mac functionality has been added to get some interesting results. I am finding this program very useful for getting a “pop” out of an image, and the canned presets are a great place to start.

My ocean image above was my first attempt at using this plug-in – and yes, the original painting was done in PS and Corel Painter and it was also finished up in PS. But the really beautiful overall effect (that pop I was looking for) was created in Luminar. It is fun to just try out the over 50 custom presets on an image, and there are also 30 individual filter effects with all kinds of sliders. This gives you quite a few options for getting some very different effects and pretty quickly. A lot of the filters were designed to emulate several of the now old Nik Color Efex Pro4 filters. Google is no longer updating their Nik plug-ins which means as operating systems and software get upgraded, they may no longer work – currently I am not having any problems with them. Many of the past Nik software engineers now work at Macphun. In fact if you are a member of KelbyOne, Scott Kelby’s training videos called How to Use Macphun’s Luminar Plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop help you set up some of the favorite Nik filters in Luminar. 
Screenshot of Luminar Interface
As you can see in the screenshot (click to see larger in Flickr), the filters applied for this image are in the right panel and the presets are in the film strip below –  the preset highlighted is one I created containing the right side filter settings. And notice the Dramatic filter (the cut-off last two settings were Brightness 3 and Saturation -25) which is very similar to the Bleach Bypass filter in Color Efex Pro4 for example.

The biggest drawback is that it is only a stand-alone program for Windows. Here is the work-around to use the Luminar image as a layer in Photoshop. For a full workflow on how the top image was created, see section below.

  1. Create a stamped layer on top in PS (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E).
  2. Duplicate this layer by doing this: Layers -> Duplicate and in the drop-down, select New and create a New Document.
  3. Save this file as either a PSD or a JPG – both will open as an image in Luminar.
  4. Open Luminar and do your changes – then Export as a JPG by clicking on the little box with the arrow going up (2nd icon over on top).
  5. Now add this JPG file into the original Photoshop file. I like to use the Bridge (File -> Open -> Place -> In Photoshop or right click and choose Place) to do this and it adds it right into the original file. From Photoshop go to File -> Place Embedded or can just open the Luminar JPG file in PS and drag over as a layer or go to Layers -> Duplicate and in the drop-down select the original file. Once combined, a Layer Mask, Blend Modes and Opacity can be added or changed on the layer.

I know this is a bit of a bother, but until the Windows version is released, which is scheduled for the end of November, this is what needs to be done. There are also several items missing in this version that can be frustrating – but remember this is just a Beta version. One of the big issues for me is that the individual filters cannot be turned on and off  to see the resulting effect – must go into the history icon (8th icon on top) and click back and forth to see the change it created – or each filter can be put on different Luminar layers so the whole layer can be turned on and off.  For each Luminar layer several filters can be added to it without creating a new  layer. Also, blend modes are missing for use with their filters and layers, which makes the Texture Overlay filter very hard to use right now. The image can only be exported as a JPG which is okay if you are just going to take it into PS to do more adjusting. The Mac version allows importing and exporting from Lightroom as a PSD file and as a layer in PS. There are several tools that will be added with the release including the Eraser, Denoise, Transform, Clone and Stamp, and Radial Gradient. Also Mask Feather, Mask Density, and Luminosity Masks will be added. Masks can be applied to both the individual filters and each layer if the Brush Tool is selected – I found this was a little tricky to do.

Ocean Image Example Workflow

The above image was created using one of my Corel Painter backgrounds (that did not look near this dramatic), Graphic Fairy’s Vintage Blue Boats Picture, and a brush called Tsaoshin Full Brushes Set – lightning brush 200. One of my vertical light leaks was added on the right side of the image and set to 52% opacity. (I created 5 different sizes and colors that I use all the time – can use a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer clipped to the leak layer to change the color and Free Transform (CTLR+T) to line up in image. See my How to Create Light Leaks to Use Over Again blog.) At this point a composite layer was created on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and taken into Luminar where the Sharp and Crisp Luminar preset was initially selected – it contained the Dramatic, Details Enhancer, Advanced Contrast and Sharpening filters all on Layer 0 and can be individually adjusted to your image. On a second layer the Accent AI Enhancer filter was added which contains a Boost slider – this is one of the newest and possibly best filters added in both Mac and Windows versions of the software. The Boost slider is their “Artificial Intelligence” slider and works wonders on almost any image! If it is too much in certain areas, the Gradient Tool or a Brush can be used on a mask to remove the effect. Now saved the image as a JPG. Back in the original PS, this JPG was placed back into the original using Adobe Bridge. In PS just a little clean up and masking was done where the sails looked a little too crisp. Last step, Matt K’s vignette was created and set to Multiply at 15% layer opacity. (See my How to Create a Subtle Vignette blog for how to do this.)Image of an Edinburgh StreetFor the Edinburgh Street image above, no preset was selected, but just started adding effects until I found some I liked – the Dramatic and Adjustable Gradient filters were selected. Bottom line is that the program is a little quirky still – I got it to crash once and when using the brush in the layer  masks, got some really weird artifacts so expect this. But overall it is a lot of fun to try out and see what Macphun has created. Hope you get a change to load the software and see what you think.  Have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd

PAINTING FUN IN PHOTOSHOP

Painted lady's image from Unsplash by Roksolana ZasiadkoThis week still having some summer fun. Have not been painting that much recently, so I decided to share a couple little things I am learning. Since I have been playing around with faces and portraits a little (Lisa Carney reruns have been on Creative Live recently and she is the best retoucher), I thought I would attempt a little painting in Photoshop. The above image was taken from a beautiful photo at Unsplash by Roksolana Zasiadko. First the image has to be cleaned up and the subject put on its own layer using some sort of selection process. I could not get her hair extracted properly in PS, even with a little “channel pulling” (using the channel with the best contrast to make a selection) to make the selection, so I improvised by doing using the Select and Mask command before painting in the missing hair. Then lots of layers of painting and retouching on the face . I cannot tell how important it is to develop a set of brushes for this type of work. So for example, I used the brush that was in my How to Create my Favorite Brush blog using a very small size to paint in the eyelashes. David Belliveau’s mixer brush was used to smooth skin. (A link to his free brushes are with his How to Blend Colors in Photoshop: 4 Essential Technique blog.) To add the hair, one of Aaron Blaise’s Lion Leopard Fur Brush was used at a large size. It worked amazingly well by just sampling lighter and darker colors. Added one of my orange light leaks (one I created using my How to Create Light Leaks to use Over Again blog) to the right side to lighten it up and give a sunny feel. One of my Corel Painter textures was used as a background. On the top a layer used one of 2 Lil’ Owls (for website, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Creative Masks set to Screen blend mode at 31% layer opacity for a little detail effect on the side. Just a lot of experimenting with brushes and effects. If you have a great photo to start with, it is not that hard. Still, it takes a lots of practicing to get the digital look  just right – hope to spend some more time on this this summer!

Image of painted coleus plants in my yardI discovered that using Topaz Impression2 to help your digital art is just fine, and then take art to the next level with your painting. This shot of a coleus plant was taken in my front yard – they grow almost like weeds once planted, but they are so pretty, and there are lots of pattern varieties. It took quite a bit of clean up to get to a point where the painting could begin. The plants were selected and placed on their own layer – much easier than the portrait with the hair above. Then the selected object was taken into Topaz (see sidebar for website link at my Tidbits Blog) Impression 2 was opened and my SJ Van Gogh Painting Start preset was applied – can be downloaded in the Topaz Community by searching for sj space. (These are the settings if choose to use: Started with Van Gogh II preset and made these changes: Stroke Type 01, Number of Strokes High, Brush Size 0.13, Paint Volume 0.20, Large Brush Volume 0, Paint Opacity 0.81, Stroke Rotation 0, Rotation Variation, Stroke Color Variation 0, Stroke Width 0.68, Stroke Length 0.58, Spill 0, smudge 0, and Coverage 1.00; Color Overall Saturation 0.17; Lighting Brightness 0.09 and Contrast -0.04; and no Texture.) For this image, the Orange, Aqua, and Green Colors were also adjusted. Next Jai Johnson’s Daily Textures Explorations 10 was added underneath and a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was set above to get the background colors.

Several new layers were painted using my SJ 3-Pastel-Van Gogh TI1 brush – this is a brush I created just for painting this type of image. To make your own, follow my How to Create my Favorite Brush blog but with a couple important changes. First a small square was selected using the Marquee Tool showing a part of the plant Impression layer that showed some nice contrast and brush strokes in it. It was turned into a Pattern by going to Edit -> Define Pattern and name it. (I named mine TI Van Gogh). Next the Brush Panel Texture section was opened. Select the Pattern drop-down (little arrow on right side of pattern swatch) and go to the very bottom where the new Pattern is located. The setting for the pattern I created are: Scale 46%, Brightness -46, Contrast 34, check Texture Each Tip, Mode Color Dodge, Depth 38% and Depth Jitter 12%. Try adjusting all these settings to fit your particular pattern. This brush gives a nice stroke effect at both larger and smaller sizes. Then open the Color Dynamics section and check Apply per Tip, set the Hue Jitter to 2%, and Brightness Jitter to 11%. (It was used on the hair in a few places on the top image.) This is the only brush used in the Coleus picture and basically I dabbed around on each leaf to get the look I wanted. And since the image is a composite, the plant edges were painted over slightly using the brush at a little larger size and sampling the background color all around – this blends the edges much better so it does not look like you just popped the plant on the background. To finish off, another texture from Jai called Be My Valentine was added on top – it was set to Overlay blend mode at 80% layer opacity.  Another Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to the texture (ALT+click between layers) to set the color correctly. Finally finished off with a Black and White Adjustment Layer set to Luminosity blend mode and a Levels Adjustment Layer to get the final tone and color correction.

Well it may sound like a lot of work, but I am finding using the new brush is very nice for painting, with no change of pattern. I did notice after several attempts to get the correct feel to this image that using a texture that matches the painting style being used is very helpful. And I was surprised how easy it was to get nice hair effects by creating your own hair. Until next week, have a good one – I hope to try a little more experimenting with these techniques……Digital Lady Syd

HAVING SOME SUMMER FUN!

Creative Text imageThis week I am just taking it easy and playing around with some text and images. Sometimes you just have to let the creative side play and see what happens! Anyway, this is how Digital Lady Syd takes a break! I just can’t get away from Photoshop! I do not usually use other individuals’ images, but for practice it is great – I do not see me getting to these beautiful mountains soon! There are many resources today if you would like to try a few new things.

In the image above a text layer was placed in a new document – the font used was from a CD bought years ago by Cosmi called 04, a fabulously fat font. The Create Warped Text icon on the Options Bar was double-clicked and in the Warp Text dialog, a Style called Arc Upper was selected with a Bend of +50%. A Stroke Layer Style was set to a Size 7 px, inside set to Color white. The Default Drop Shadow was added. Some splatter brushes from French Kiss (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) were used above and underneath the text to add the crazy effect. A Pattern Adjustment Layer using a lace pattern was clipped (ALT+Click between the layers) to add a lacy effect in some of the strokes. (The Pattern used was a black and white lace texture from a set redheadstock at DeviantArt called Lace Photoshop Patterns.) The SS-Groping 1 Flying birds are also from redheadstock and set to 73% layer opacity. One of my painted textures was placed on the bottom and a Black and White Adjustment Layer was used to desaturate it. On a composite layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) ReStyle was applied using the Snow Cover II preset with a few adjustments to the Color and Tone sections. The lower text font was called Berlin Sans FB Demi. On a layer above the text, Grut’s FX IL Bottle Topple brush from his terrific Inky Leaks Splatter brushes was applied to slightly cover the text – set to 64% layer opacity (and do not forget to look for his free brush of the week – it is a great way to get introduced to his big selection of brushes).

Digital art image a pretty modelThe original of the woman shows her standing in the middle of some orange colored leaves – I think she looks like a princess! (See Kuoma Stock Haunted 13 for original image at DeviantArt.) The woman was extracted from the background using the Select and Mask Command. Another one of my painted backgrounds was added and a couple layers of splatters were added behind the girl. Color was added to her face and nails and hair added into the image. On a New Blank Layer heart brush was created from the Custom Shape Tool (in Options Bar select the Heart Shape and set the 2nd button to Shape; go to the Paths Panel and click the Create a Selection icon at bottom; go back to Layers Panel and fill selection with black by ALT+Backspace to fill; with Marquee Tool, select the black Heart and go to Edit -> Define Brush Preset and name Heart). Settings for the brush are: Brush Panel’s Brush Tip Shape Spacing 25%; Shape Dynamics Size Jitter 93%, Control Pen Pressure, Angle Jitter 12; Scattering Both Axes, Scatter 1000%, Count 1, Count Jitter 0; Color Dynamics Apply Per Tip, Foreground to Background 8%, Hue 7%, Sat Jitter 2%, Brightness Jitter 7%, and Purity -36%; Transfer Opacity Jitter 20% and Flow Jitter 32% and Smoothing on. Two New Blank Layers were used to add in different colors (white and light pink) hearts – one layer’s Layer Style ws opened and set to Bevel and Emboss to add a little texture to some of the hearts. Topaz Texture Effects 2 was opened and the Breaking Down preset was applied with the Spot Mask used to remove effect from her face. Duplicated the layer and opened up the Corel Painter plug-in (I am still using the old version) – the Flame brush was selected and pink and light color flames were painted just for fun. The old frame is from the Scrapbooker itKuPilli and is in a set called Amazing Grapes (could not locate). The font with the hearts is called Fiolex Girls. On top 2 Lil’ Owls Color Bokeh Grunge Set texture 4 (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar – this is one of my favorite sets) was applied and set to 38% layer opacity.

Wintry image of Fur TreesThis is also a wonderful Unsplash photo by Johannes Plenio called Winter. I got a little carried away post-processing this image until it was brought to my attention that it looked like a raging forest fire – I thought it was an incredible sunset! (See below.) Just an example of good intentions that turned into not so good post processing. Anyway, just a little tweak from Topaz ReStyle and now it is a beautiful wintry image. So most of the dramatic changes were done in the new Topaz Studio using Sharpen, Radiance, Color Theme, Texture and HSL Color Tuning sections (I created a preset called SJ Forest Landscape in the Community if you have downloaded the plugin and would like to try it out). For more info, see my Introducing the Free Topaz Studio blog. This created the sunset look, but also created the nice sharp tree trunks and edges. Back in PS, two Curves Adjustment Layers were used to adjust the RGB curve for contrast, and then the Color using the individual Channel Curves. Next a Levels Adjustment was applied as it just looked good. Then a Black and White Adjustment Layer adjusting the color contrast sliders just a little and then set to Luminosity blend mode. And finally a Selective Color Adjustment Layer adjusted the Yellow color so the little tree on the left showed up better – set the layer mask to black (CTRL+I inside the mask) and painted back just the tree. 5 New Blank Layers were added and set to Overlay blend mode and with a soft round brush, various areas were highlighted with white, yellow, and sky colors. The layer opacities were reduced to taste. It was now a raging fire image! Oh my gosh! Okay, here is a small image so you get the idea and see how powerful ReStyle can be.

Fiery Image of Fur TreesQuickly Topaz ReStyle was opened and the Snow Cover II preset (once again) was applied with very few changes – just a few Tone and Detail changes. It was amazing how this preset was able to transform the image. In PS a New Blank Layer was added and Grut’s FX IL Dry Grit brush was used from his set above and snow was painted lightly on the trees. My free SJ Snow2 Overlay slight Blur was added at 75% layer opacity to give some nice snow effect. The Shadowhouse Creations Snow Overlay 11 (his resources are the best!) was added to give a little more snow dimension – it was set to Screen blend mode at 70% layer opacity. The last step added Matt Kloskowski’s vignette (see my Fun Photoshop How to Create a Subtle Vignette Blog.)

Hope you got a few ideas with this sort of lazy Summer Day Blog – have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

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