Anything Photoshop or Photography


Knitting Girl Scuplture from the Lightner Museum image

Aaron Nace had this wonderful little tip to go along with his ad for his Phlearn website (this site has gobs of Photoshop tips) on Creative Live‘s Photography Week in September 2013 . The technique uses a rather obscure command, Image ->Apply Image, to add color to the highlights and shadows of an image quickly, thus creating a very nice cross-processed effect.

The above shows a sculpture of a little girl knitting by a Florence sculptor named Ella Pollock Bidwell – probably my favorite piece at the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, Florida. (See my Tidbits Blog The Art Corner: Little Girl Knitting – A Mystery Sculpture! for more on her story.) This image started with the Apply Image Command workflow as described below, with some texture and other Topaz (see sidebar for website link at my Tidbits Blog) Restyle to finish it off. For setting details, see Image 1 at end of blog.

Since I love St. Augustine, Florida, I am going to make you suffer through some history since this fountain is so different. The following two images of the terracotta Turtle and Frog Fountain in the plaza area of Flagler College has a unique history. The Fountain was created to be a part of Henry Flagler’s Ponce de Leon Hotel back in 1890. According to Summer Bozeman’s St. Augustine Then and Now book, the Fountain “…. was necessary to aerate the sulphur-infused spring water before it could be pumped through the hotel’s pipes into the guest rooms. The Fountain also served as a sundial, with each frog representing each hour.” There are 12 frogs and 4 turtles on this fountain. The book has a charming sepia toned back cover image showing two little girls in white garb sitting by the fountain. The walkway forms a Celtic Cross and the center of the fountain looks like the hilt of a sword – that one took me a long time to see! If you go to St. Augustine, Florida, you have got to take a few minutes and check out this beautiful building and its architecture!
Image of a turtle fountain at Flagler CollegeThe above is an older image of the lovely turtle fountain with frogs in the background that was a hand-held 3 image HDR processed using the free Lightroom Photomatix Pro’s Merge to 32-bit HDR plugin, if you own the HDR program. (This way I can use the Develop module in Lightroom instead of using ACR in Photoshop which I find the interface more difficult to understand.) The resulting TIFF file was adjusted using Basic Panel sliders before taking into Photoshop where the magic happens!

Create a Cross Process Effect Using Apply Image

I am going to list the steps of this very easy workflow:

1. Open image.
2. Go to Layers -> New Fill Color -> Solid Color Layer (or click on the third icon at bottom of Layers Panel and select the top item – Solid Color). Select from the Color Swatch a color for the Shadows (in this case a teal color was used #0a4642). Set this layer to Color Blend Mode.
3. Duplicate the Solid Color Fill Layer and this time set the colors for the Highlights. (This time a light cream color was used #e5d8b3.)
4. Highlight the top Solid Fill’s Layer Mask and go to Image -> Apply Image. This time check the Invert checkbox. Voila! There are your Shadows with the color applied to the shadow areas in the Layer Mask and in your image.
5. Highlight the bottom Solid Fill’s Layer Mask and go to Image -> Apply Image and uncheck the Invert checkbox. Voila! There are your Highlights with the color applied to the highlights in the Layer Mask.
6. Adjust both the Solid Color Fill Layers opacity in the Layers Panel.

This workflow can create some beautiful results. See Image 2 for the specific details for the above image.

Image of turtle and frog fountain at Flagler College in FloridaThis image used the same technique as the one above, just different colors in the Color Fill Layers. I wanted to try and keep this image representing the terracotta color that is so prominent throughout the building. See Image 3 at end of blog for more details on image. I really love the slightly nostalgic look I got from this combination of colors. And you should be able to see what a different look you can get by varying the colors. This is a great technique and so easy!

I did spend quite a bit of time using one of the more traditional ways to use this command. Photoshop User TV – Episode 100 had a tutorial called Experimenting with the Apply Image Command, which goes through some steps for combining two images into an interesting combination or by just applying a certain blend mode to one channel only. Ben Wilmore also did a series on Creative Live and in his Photoshop Mastery: Ultimate Mastery he did a section Apply Image Command. I did not get good results with either, but I think with the correct images, it could create some good results. The way Aaron used this command is very creative and definitely an easy one to put into your Photoshop toolkit!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image 1: This image uses the same steps described below with Color Fill Color of bright yellow for the Highlights and red for the shadows. French Kiss Artiste Summer Garden texture was applied at 59% and then adding a layer Mask to bring back the girl. Nik Viveza 2 was used to sharpen the face area a little. I was having a hard time getting the look I really wanted when I decided to try Topaz ReStyle. I cannot say enough good things about this program if you need some creative spark! This time I used the Pale Beauty preset as a starting point, set the ReStyle tab to 74% opacity and set Texture Strength to 100%. Next in the Basic tab the Black Level was really opened up at 1.00 and Midtones slightly adjusted to -0.17. The whole section was set to Color blend mode inside Topaz. Out came this really soft look effect – just what I would think a little girl knitting would want.

Image 2: To finish up the first image a Levels Adjustment Layer was used to add a little tonal adjustment to just the Midtones (0.89). Next a composite (stamped) version of the image was created on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and it was converted to a Smart Object by right-clicking on the layer and selecting from menu. The Camera Raw Filter was opened and a Radial Filter was added to showcase the turtle in front. Nik Viveza 2 was used to add just a little more detail to the turtle’s face. Some dodging and burning was done to the front turtle using my The Best Dodging and Burning Technique blog.

Image 3: So the Highlights were set to an orange and the shadows to a blue. Alien Skin Snap Art 3 using the Factory Default as a starting point was used on this image next – this time the Photorealism slider was placed all the to the right so it does not look so painterly, just a little. The fountain was painted back lightly in a Layer Mask. A Curves Adjustment Layer was used to create a slightly darkening feel the outside edges by dragging the far right top dot straight down to Output 145. Then I painted back the center to make sure it was not too dark and set the layer opacity to 81%.

2 responses

  1. Pingback: HOW TO USE A SOLID COLOR FILL ADJUSTMENT LAYER | Digital Lady Syd's Fun Photoshop Blog

  2. Pingback: TRYING OUT SOME AARON NACE TECHNIQUES | Digital Lady Syd's Fun Photoshop Blog

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