Anything Photoshop or Photography



Image of a digitally painted Tri-colored HeronThis week Adobe Photoshop released CC2018, a long awaited update, which finally addresses some of the issue we painterly people have wanted for a long, long time. Adobe claims to have increased the speed of brushes for just painting. Since a lot of us have used Corel Painter for years and it has one of the easiest systems to set up brush palettes, it was always a wonder why Photoshop did not do a similar thing. Well they finally have. It may not be quite as easy to use as Painter’s, but it goes a long way towards correcting some of the digital artist problems with organizing their brushes. Above is a tri-colored heron taken at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm that was painted using the new Brushes Panel set-up. It took a while to get my brushes converted over, but it is overall a much faster workflow.

Photoshop Brushes Panel

To clean up some initial confusion, the old Brush Panel is now called the Brush Settings Panel and is where the settings for each brush are located. The old Brush Presets Panel is not called the Brushes Panel and is where all the brushes are listed.

  • Photoshop now allows New Groups (or folders) for saved brushes and sub-groups can be added into the new group. So for example, if you want to put all your Texture brushes into one group, the group can be added and sub-groups created for brushes used for backgrounds and those used in drawing. Also Mixers or Erasers or any different types of brushes can be grouped with Regular brushes so you can easily switch between the different types without having to select the new Tool.
  • Within the Brushes Panel, the brushes can be moved between the groups by just clicking and dragging. No need to go to the Preset Manager to organize the brush order. Some people like to keep brushes together for a current project so the top Group might be named Flower, and the sub-groups Background and Retouching. If you want the same brush in two places, a new copy of the brush needs to be made by highlighting the group to add it to and clicking on the New Brush icon at the bottom of the Brushes Panel – name it the same and the new preset brush will pop into the highlighted group.
  • The brush presets now store all the Options Bar information with them as if it was a Brush Tool Preset. So if you wanted to have one brush set to 100% opacity and the same brush set to 50% opacity, they could be created and saved in the same group for quick switching. This means no more Brush Tool Presets, but will still need to create Tool Presets for the Gradient Tool and Paint Bucket since they are not brushes.
  • Both the Brush Tip and the Brush Strokes can be seen in the display. To load the Brush Tip, click on the upper right pop-out in Brushes Panel, and check Brush Tip along with the Brush Stroke and Brush Name. The brush view can be made bigger or smaller by moving the slider at the bottom of the Brushes Panel. And the panel can be dragged out horizontally to display several columns of brushes if several are listed in a group. If a color is saved with the brush, a little square shows up in the list showing the color.
  • Brush Tool Presets can be easily converted to regular Brush presets. If just converting one or two Tool Preset brushes, just select the brush in your Tool Preset and click the Create New Brush icon at the bottom of the Brushes Panel. A New Brush dialog box appears with check boxes for Capture Brush Size in Preset, Include Tool Settings, and Include Color. A note of caution here – PS might name the brush some really weird title if that the brush creator used so make sure the brush has the desired name. The brush will be placed either at the bottom of the Brushes list or in a Group that was highlighted before saving the preset. If you accidentally try to save the brush as a Tool Preset, a long dialog appears asking if you want to actually change it to a Brush Preset instead. By saying yes, the brush will then be placed into a new Converted Tool Presets group. For converting all the Brush Tool Presets, go to the pop-out in the upper right corner of the Tool Preset panel and select Convert All to Brush Presets – they will all be placed in a new group called the Converted Tool Presets group. In this case, all the brushes will retain the same names from the Tool preset. Really weird. By converting the Tool Preset brushes to regular brushes, the brush file extensions in PS will change from a .tpl to .abr files.

Here is a link to a short video by of my favorite Adobe people, Julieanne Kost, called New Brush Preset Management in Photoshop CC for more information on the Brushes Panel.

Smoothing Slider

This new little feature has been added to the Options Bar in Photoshop whenever the Regular Brush Tool, the Pencil Tool, the Mixer Tool or the Eraser Tool is selected. This Smoothing Slider filters out jittering in your paint strokes. The default setting is 10% and it goes from 0 to 100. There are a couple drawbacks to setting this slider too high. 1) It can really slow your computer down depending on the brush selected. 2) And there can be a big lag – by clicking on the little gear next to the Slider field, there are some options that can be chosen which controls this.

By default, the Stroke Catch Up (Enables paint to catch up when brush cursor movement is paused) and Adjust for Zoom (Automatically adjust smoothing amount to avoid jitter in low zoom percentages) are checked. Disable Stroke Catch Up and the paint application stops as soon as the cursor movement stops. In Adjustment for Zoom, if the Smoothing amount will be decreased if zoomed in, and increased if zoomed out. The Pulled String Mode (Enable paint application beyond the radius set by smoothing values. Use when sharp corners are desired.) creates a really large lag if Smoothing is set high. It paints only when the string is taut and outside the radius. Definitely experiment with this slider and drop-down settings to see what works best for you. To change the setting on the fly, press ALT and numerical number like 3 for 30%. To completely turn off Smoothing in the selected brush, go into the Brush Settings Panel and uncheck the Smoothing box. For you Painter folks, it is still not near as sophisticated as the Smoothing Panel in Painter (the slider appears to be very similar to the Damping slider), but it is definitely a step in the right direction. I personally think the default settings are fine for most brushes as it seems there is not much of a lag in most brushes. But when using your favorite painting brushes where a lag can occur as you stroke, definitely adjust the Smoothing setting and try the different Smoothing options. In the above image a Smoothing setting of 35 was used and the default options.

Once again here is a short video by Julieanne Kost called Brush Stroke Smoothing and Paint Symmetry in Photoshop CC that goes into a really good explanation on these settings and shows some great examples.

Adding the new Kyle T Webster Default Brushes

Also, there is another little thing Photoshop added to the Brushes Panel – Kyle T Websters brushes are now most of the Default Brushes except for the round brushes. Many new brushes that can be explored here. To get to them, need to go to the pop-out in the Brushes panel and select Restore Default Brushes – they will not override the ones already in the list, but will add 4 new groups of brushes (General Brushes, Dry Media Brushes, Wet Media Brushes and Special Effects Brushes) – only the General Brushes are ones from before. If you want all brushes from CC2017, in the pop-out select Legacy Brushes – all of them will be appended and put in original category types groups. There is also a set called Convert Legacy Tool Preset brushes (some of you may not have known the Tool Preset Brushes were there – many of them are very nice brushes so check them out.) that can be appended to your brushes.

It appears to me that Adobe is beginning to phase out the Tool Presets and the Preset Manager. If you are interested to learn more on Photoshop CC2018, check out Adobes Information Page or a longer video by Jesus Ramirez at the Adobe Training Channel called Photoshop CC 2018 Tutorials – What’s NEW in Adobe Photoshop CC 2018. Well I think I am about talked out here. Lots of other new things to explore in Photoshop. Have a nice busy weekend catching up!…..Digital Lady Syd



The Royal Horseguards Hotel in LondonThis week just another simple technique learned mainly from Blake Rudis on how to create a pretty nice quick black and white image. The rather low key above image is of the Royal Horseguards Hotel, also known as Whitehall, in London taken from the London Eye. I think it has a bit of a Halloween feel to it. It is a good example of using the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer to convert to a black and white photo.

I am sure most of you have heard that a black and white Gradient Map will create a pretty nice black and white image without doing much else. This effect can be improved by using a couple little tricks. Blake Rudis presented the following technique in a recent Creative Live presentation called Post-Processing Workflow for Portraits and Landscapes. To get a good black and white conversion, a good color image is first needed so this is the first step for getting a good result. To create a black and white image, first set set swatches to the default settings of black for foreground and white for background  – then clicking on the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. Often a very nice black and white image usually occurs and many people just use this. For this image, a really almost black blue tone was used instead of the black color by editing the Gradient in the Gradient Editor (click on strip to get editor). Blake’s tip is to add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer underneath the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. By adjusting the Hue, Saturation and Lightness sliders, a better range of tones can be achieved. By clicking in the image using the Targeted Adjustment Tool in the upper left of panel,  individual colors can be adjusted without changing the sliders manually. The bottom strips under the sliders are color range limiting bars (drag the outer triangles together or stretch them apart) and can be adjusted to get some more variation in tonal range. He also suggested trying a Selective Color Adjustment Layer or Black and White Adjustment Layer instead of the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. I found this whole concept to be very flexible and it makes the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer a much better tool for converting to black and white. The image above got the amazing detail by using Topaz (for website see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Studio with the Detail plug-in. Then the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer was used for the black and white conversion, and finally a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added underneath to get the great contrast. If the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer is turned off, a really weird colorized image appears. It is amazing that this works! The last step was adding a slight color effect using the Camera Raw filter’s Split Toning settings of Highlights 194, Saturation 15, Balance -10, Shadows Hue 234, and Saturation 17 – the layer opacity was changed to 62% for the cooler tint.


Image of a Malayan Tiger at the Jacksonville ZooThe above is one of my tiger images taken at the Jacksonville Zoo a while back. First added one of my colorful painted textures placed above the tiger layer and in a mask, the tiger was painted back. After a little clean up, a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer was added on top and a Black and White Adjustment layer was placed underneath it. The Blue Filter was selected in the Preset drop-down to bring out more detail in the tiger. The sliders were adjusted to get just the right contrast. Then several Curves Adjustment Layers were used to target different parts of the image to get the correct effect. Most of the time the last step in black and white images should be adding the tint. The tiger image used a nice subtle warm tint provided by Glyn Dewis for his lion image from a really good video called Take a Picture from Good to Great in 5 Steps. It was set up in Camera Raw as a Split Toning preset: Highlights Hue 23/Saturation 6 and Shadow Hue 41 and Saturation 6. In this case the last step involved adding a slight vignette to the image. (See my Yet Another Great Way to Create a Vignette! blog.)

Well that is it for this week. Enjoy this beautiful fall weather we are having!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of a bunch of small pink flowersThis week I am just presenting a simple vignette technique – I have to admit I am always looking for the best and easiest way to create one. Blake Rudis, one of the best Photoshop gurus around, used this technique recently in a video – he always comes up with really original ways to use Photoshop and this simple vignette technique is one of them. Here is the video link called How to Make a Gradient Vignette in Photoshop.

To sum up the steps to what is happening, set the Foreground/Background swatches to black and white, then add a Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer, set the Style to Radial and check the Reverse box. A gradient must be created once to do this technique quickly so double click on the gradient strip in the dialog box. In the Gradient Editor dialog, on the top edge of the strip, drag the left tab right to Location 68. On the lower edge, move the left black tab all the way over next to the black right tab. Click the New button and name the gradient (mine is named BRudis Vignette) and it saves at the bottom of the Presets list. Click OK to return to the Gradient Fill dialog, adjust the opening size by setting the Scale to 700 to over 800%. By dragging the cursor in the image (it turns into the Move Tool), the vignette can be moved around. Just for your information, before adding the vignette the image was duplicated and taken into Topaz (see website on sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Studio – used my uploaded to the Community SJ Small Flower preset which contains the Impression Adjustment for the painterly effect. In Photoshop the layer was set to just 42%. A layer above was set to Overlay and with  a large soft brush set to a really light yellow, the flowers in the center were painted in to lighten up the focal point – then the layer was set to 77% layer opacity. As a last step the Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer vignette was placed on top at 72% layer opacity.

Image taken at Hilton Waikoloa VillageThis Hilton Waikoloa Village image used the same type of vignette – I created a little action to add it onto the image. (Basically two steps: first add a Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer to image, and second go into the Gradient Fill dialog and check Reverse, Radial and a large scale like 750%, then go into the Gradient Editor by clicking on the gradient strip and choose the new gradient preset, and OK twice.) This vignette creates a very simple and subtle effect. Also try changing the blend modes, using Blend If tabs in the Layer Style Dialog Box, or painting out other areas in the layer mask. For the above the adjustment layer was set to Soft Light blend mode at 53% layer opacity. The image was also first post-processed in Topaz Studio using Precision Contrast, Blurs, Focal Blur, and Color Theme Adjustments.

Image taken from the London Eye
A colored vignette can get a different look to the image. The London Eye image used a soft brown-colored vignette effect. To change the vignette color, apply the BRudis Vignette gradient.  In the gradient strip click on the bottom left tab and in the color field, change the color – it changes on the fly as you sample in the image or try a different color. The landscape was set to a Scale of 1000% do to the large width of the image, Soft Light blend mode, and layer opacity of 85%. Topaz Studio was used with my posted preset called SJ Building Sharp applied.

I am finding this is a very fast and natural way to add a vignette. A while back Matt Kloskowski had a great way of creating a vignette that I presented in my How to Create a Subtle Vignette blog. I find I use them both – sometimes one looks better than the other. Most of the plug-ins have very nice vignette presets. Another quick vignette can be made from a Curves Adjustment Layer (by dropping the right top point down the side and then painting in the layer mask with a soft black brush). Overall this technique by Blake is probably the fastest and easiest to use quickly, especially if the action is created . Well that’s it for this week – have a good one!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of Saturn's Rings from Cassini Mission
This beautiful image was originally a black and white taken on one of the last days of the NASA Cassini-Huygens Mission using its Wide Angle Lens. The Moon Tethys is in the upper left background. My original thought was to just try painting different colors into the rings to get an unnatural but pretty color effect. To my surprise, Topaz Studio using both Clarity and the new Detail adjustments were a quick answer to get the beautiful result.

Here is the workflow followed to get the above results:

  1. First downloaded the image from the NASA Cassini-Huygens Mission site – scroll halfway down to find image pia21342-1041 where both tiff and jpeg files can be downloaded. The image above used the tiff file, but the jpeg file worked out pretty good even though it had such a small resolution. (The bottom image of Mimas was two jpeg files that were 59 and 67 KB.)
  2. Open in Photoshop and go to Image -> Mode -> Grayscale and change image to RGB.
  3. Go to the Image -> Image Size – set resolution to 300 by unchecking the Resample box, enter 300, and recheck (the jpeg file is at 72 ppi but the tiff file is 300). Can now go in and change size in inches and set to Preserve Details (enlargement) in drop-down menu if needed. Can also Reduce Noise if noticeable at this point.
  4. Duplicate image and open Topaz Studio – apply my SJ Saturn Rings. The preset has been uploaded to the Topaz Community. The colors were set in the Color Theme Adjustment so the colors in the rings can be changed to any colors wanted by just clicking on each square in the New Color Theme settings swatches and selecting new colors.
  5. Added a Green Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer to increase the contrast just in the green channel. (Same technique as using a Red Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer – see my How to Use a Red Channel to Crete a Nice Blended Image Effect blog.)
  6. Since Detail was just added to Studio, a composite image (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created above and went back to Topaz Studio -> Detail. Since I am having trouble with my presets and am working with the Tech Team, the settings are just listed here (Detail in TSO – Overall-Overall Small Detail 0.34, Small Detail Boost 0.67, Medium Detail 0.51, Medium Detail Boost 0.31, Large Detail 0.53, and Large Detail Boost 0.31, Lighting Midtones 0.29 and Highlights 0.63. In layer mask painted out the rings and left the background dark to keep noise under control – used brush set to Mask Transparency 0.80. Channel Mixer Adjustment – Adjusted Lightness Channel-Red 1.73, Green -0.23, and Blue 0.34, then painted out background so only just the rings received the effect). Back in PS the layer was set back to 80%.

That is all that was done to this image. It was a lot of fun and I love the results, even though the rings are not quite those colors. The point is that it took only a few minutes to do this image – no hand painting – it just picked up the colors. The Color Theme Adjustment did most of the color work and then Detail’s new Color Mixer Adjustment tweaked it a bit.

NASA image of Saturn's Moon MimasThis updated Detail is much like the updated Clarity as it is also divided into two adjustments: Precision Detail and Color Mixer. Since it just came out, I do not have much experience working with all the sliders – the Channel Mixer Adjustment appears quite different from the original Topaz Detail 3 interface. But I am enjoying having the sliders available for quick use when needed. Here is a quick reminder of what some of the sliders do in the new Precision Detail Adjustment:

Small Details – Affects visibility of fine details in image

Small Boost – Weakens or strengthens the smaller details

Medium Details and Medium Boost – Affects visibility of the medium details with Boost weakening or strengthening the effect

Large Details and Large Boost – Adjusts visibility of the large details with Boost weakening or strengthening the effect

Sharpen – a new slider added – it does seem to add in more detail.

There is a new section called Lighting which contains sliders for Midtones, Shadows, Highlights, Black Point and White Point – same sliders from Detail 3 except the Midtones slider has been added and the Exposure and Contrast sliders are now removed.

The Channel Mixer Adjustment was also added to complete the update of the old Detail 3. It contains a totally new interface from the original Tone section that contained Cyan-Red, Magenta-Green, and Yellow-Blue sliders – these correspond to the Red, Green and Blue channels in this adjustment. There is also a Gray swatch which represents the Lightness of the image. I need to find out more on these sliders, but each have Red, Green, Blue, and Constant sliders. In the Adjustment Preset drop-down, there are several presets (Cloudy Evening, Faux Infrared Landscape, Red Contrast, and Red Green Switch) that can be tried out to see what happens with these sliders. A Maintain Brightness and Monochrome toggle switches were also added. Lot to explore here.

The image above is a composite of an upper and lower level NASA images taken in March 2017 from the same site. Topaz ReStyle was used to introduce the color palette. Topaz Studio’s Precision Detail Adjustment, Color Theme Adjustment, and Impression Adjustment were all used to get this almost poster like effect. For the Precision Detail Adjustment, a layer mask was opened and Luma was selected so just the moon was selected and the background was black – Luminosity slider 0.11 and Range 0.01. In PS Saturn was added in on separate layers with some brushes I had created a long time ago. On a final stamped layer on top, Nik Viveza 2 was used to soften the rough edges between the sharp shadow lines of the moon.

A couple of things I noticed – it appears that they are removing the older versions of the plug-ins in the Plug-ins drop-down and just adding them into the Studio Adjustment lists. Am checking on this as I would like to have the old ones still available. Also, there appears to be the original category preset choices on the left side that correspond to the plug-in being used by clicking on the drop-down menu under the Search field.

Try downloading some of the wonderful imagery from NASA and see if you can create a magical feel. Just remember all the beautiful Hubble images were originally black and white images and the colorization used is similar to what was created in this blog. Hope you have a wonderful weekend…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:

Updated Impression Now in Topaz Studio
Updated Clarity Now in Topaz Studio
Introducing the Free Topaz Studio
Flowers Enjoying a Planetary Twilight Sky


Image of a little pink Vinca flowerHere is a quick blog on another big update to Topaz Studio. This time the program now includes an Adjustment Panel for Impression. The interface is very similar to what is in the older Topaz Labs Impression2. It actually is easier to understand compared to the Clarity update (see my Updated Clarity Now in Topaz Studio blog for more on this) which included two adjustment panels working together. And the same great Topaz policy stands so if you already own Impression, it will be updated for free. As I said in the Clarity blog, before going any further, please be aware that Topaz is not going to update the actual Topaz Labs version if you own it. Instead it will be updated in Studio (to download go to my Tidbits Blog sidebar and for more info check out my see my Introducing the Free Topaz Studio blog) before adding the Impression update. If you have Studio already running, just go to the website to find the Impression update by clicking this link.

The new Impression update will now be linked as Impression in Topaz Studio (Filters -> Topaz Studio -> Impression) instead of in the regular Topaz Labs individual plug-ins in Photoshop. By selecting Impression, an interface very similar to Topaz Studio will appear but only the Impression presets will be shown on the left side. By using the Studio interface, each adjustment (including the Impression Adjustment) can be masked, different blend modes applied, and opacity adjusted. So there really is a major benefit to using the upgraded version in Impression for Studio. Below are the major changes that have been implemented to the plug-in:

  • The addition of a Painting Progress Timeline slider which “…allows you to move forward and backwards through the development of the Impression effect added to your image.” Using it will give some very different effects from what the full application of the paint strokes creates.
  • Increased the resolution of any image larger than 2k.
  • Increased detail in every brush stroke. Must compare with the Topaz Labs version to actually see this difference.

Just like with Clarity for Topaz Studio, Impression can be opened from the the blue Adjustments button, the Adjustments menu in the top bar, or from the Specialty section in the pop-out on the left side of the interface  – down at the bottom Impression will be listed along with the new updated Clarity if you own it also. I know some people are enjoying have the presets all in one place, but I am still having problems with organizing My Effects presets so I can tell which ones go with which adjustment. By clicking on the three bars at the bottom of the preset and selecting Edit, the name can be changed so I am now adding a TI to all my Impression presets and TC for my Clarity presets.

For those who have forgotten what all the Impression Stroke sliders do, or if you are new to the plug-in, here is a quick reminder:

Brush Size – Very small size protects the detail in image; large size blends detail so less noticeable and more painterly.

Paint Volume – Individual strokes show highlights and shadows; increase size for an Impasto look.

Paint Opacity – Transparency of the strokes (more background comes through).

Stroke Rotation – This slider adds variation to each stroke and when combined with Stroke Color Variation some very interesting texture results can occur.

Stroke Color Variation – This introduces different shades of color in image – the color changes drastically when set really high.

Stroke Width – Set to 1.00 the stroke is scribbly and -1.00 very realistic.

Stroke Length – The large the amount, the longer the stroke.

Spill – Use to make edges of edges more painterly – set to 1.00 and the paint spills over edges as an outline.

Smudge – Burs and smooth edges of strokes – set to 1.00 and it looks like PS Oil Paint Filter.

Coverage – How far the medium is spread across the surface – when set low the background shows through.

Coverage Transition – Only appears if Coverage is used – set to a lower amount and it becomes a white vignette.

Painting Progress – The new slider that can be reduced to take the actual stroke layout to an earlier stage. Really fun slider to use.

Remember that to add a Vignette to an image, in the Lighting section move the Vignette slider and more slider appear to further add alter the effect. Since Topaz Studio does not support Photoshop Smart Objects, there is now a .tsp file format that will save the settings used in the layer so you can go back and see what was done to the layer – just go to File -> Save and in the drop-down name and save as a .tsp. This will save the layer even when opened as a plug-in in Photoshop – just click OK as before to apply the layer.

The image above is a pink Vinca flower where Impression for Topaz Studio was used on two different layers. Each time the default settings were used and the mask was opened and different areas were painted out. It can be added into the same image as many times as you want with different preset effects or settings – or the same! Then individual adjustment masks can be opened and the actual effect can be localized to a certain part of the image just like individual layer masks work work in Photoshop. This image used the Painting Progress slider set to 0.71 for the first use of the adjustment. After the Impression Adjustments, a Texture Adjustment not in the Impression panel was added where one of my textures was used to give the more Impasto effect – just painted out the flower and foreground leaves to soften this effect. Last step was to add a Dual Tone Adjustment to really bring out the highlights on the flower.
Image of a Zebra Longwing Butterfly in a Bottle Brush PlantIn this image of the Zebra Longwing Butterfly, Topaz Studio’s Impression Adjustment was applied twice on two different PS layers. One used my charcoal presets with the Paint Progress set to 0.43, and the second started with the default settings where a little more color was added using the Impression Adjustment.

I am really enjoying the flexibility the plug-ins now have. It is much easier to apply the different plug-ins in one place and use the effects together. Topaz is still hard at work adding more of their plug-ins into the interface, so be on the look out for another one to be added soon. In the meantime, try adding in Impression into Topaz Studio and try it out if you do not already own it. I think it is one of their best plug-ins!…..Digital Lady Syd


Postcard about Hurricane Watching in FloridaBeen a busy couple of weeks – one preparing for a hurricane and one cleaning up after one. Very lucky here – only lost power for a few days so I can continue on with my blogs. Thanks for all the good wishes I received – they were really appreciated!

Before the storm Adobe sent out a newsletter with a link to a free Postcard with Instructions template that has turned out to be quite easy and fun to do. They used a .psdt file format (it will open in PS like a .psd file in layers) which listed some very good instructions on the top layer – this made the document much larger than the actual postcard size. Therefore the Crop Tool must be used eventually to remove the excess size. Just about every layer was substituted with my own objects and text. (The bird is called White Heron from the Design Fairy, two textures from 2 Lil’ Owls (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) called After the Rain 10 used at 57% layer opacity and Starry Night 6 used inside the letters, large font is called Consequences, and small font is called A Charming Font Superexpanded.) The palm trees are from another of my images. To get the rather textured result inside the large font, a Gradient Map was clipped to the text (ALT+click between the layer to clip) and in the Gradient Editor the Gradient Type was set to Noise and the Randomize button was clicked a few times until I found one I liked. (See my short I Didn’t Know That! Randomizing Gradients blog.) It does take a little experimentation to figure out where to set the different objects or add extras in, but it is pretty simple to adjust.

Image of a Zebra Longwing Butterfly postcardHere is another example of using the Adobe template and a Zebra Longwing Butterfly who was flying around in my Bottlebrush Bush. This is so much fun, especially if you like to work with text. The large font is called Castile Inline Grunge.


The text and image below are from an old blog created back in 2011 that created a similar effect as the template above. Had to edit out some old links, but the workflow is the same and very easy to do. Just follow along to give text some interesting effects.

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.
For the above, the original image was converted to a Smart Object as the background. Topaz (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Simplify plug-in was set to Sketch Hardpencil (check out the Topaz Simplify 3 presets in updated version) and adjustments were made by adding Contrast, Details Strength, Details Boost, Details Feature Boost, and making the Edge Type Mono Line. The opacity of the layer was set to 49%. A free font called Freshman from dafont was selected. A Textures by Ash No. 26 (no longer available but was mainly a very yellow texture with grungy orange edges) was placed above the Background layer at 65% opacity to add warmth to the image.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and are starting to enjoy what I consider the best month of the year!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of a bird walking in waterNo post for a while as unfortunately I live in Florida with Hurricane Irma on the way. This bird was taken after Hurricane Matthew last October. Figure the birds will be the only ones not concerned about what is coming. Will be back as soon as possible on the other side!…..Digital Lady Syd

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