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Image of a Thanksgiving store displaySince I am a big fan of Topaz products and Impression 2 is one of my favorite plug-ins, I had to share this effect I learned from a Topaz Labs webinar this week. An artist named Bobbie Goodrich presented a webinar called RAW to Envisioned (will add link once it is posted). She used a leopard in a tree image to create a similar effect to the one above. My image was taken of a Hobby Lobby’s Thanksgiving display showing some of their wonderful objects for sale. I might add Bobbie had several other great tips, this one just stood out to me as so creative!

Here is how Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Impression was used to create this image. The other post-processing steps are listed at the end of the blog under Image 1 Info. On a  Stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), Topaz Impression 2 was opened. The preset named Le Modern was downloaded from the Community and Bobbie’s settings were then applied as listed: Stroke Section – No. of Brush Strokes Low, Paint Volume 1.00, Stroke Rotation 1.00, Rotation Variation 1.00, Stroke Color Variation 1.00, Stroke Width 0.80, Stroke Length 1.00, Spill 0.03, and Smudge 0.12. What really helps create the effect is the Coverage slider – set to a low amount like 0.01, it will show the smallest amount of image; set to a large amount, the whole image will appear. The Coverage Transition slider adjusts the way the edges blend out. Bobbie used a Coverage of 0.01 and a Transition Amount of 0.08. The Coverage can be repositioned to adjust exactly where the effect shows up by either using the little center icon to the left of the Coverage Center or dragging the white dot in the box. She did not include any changes to the Lighting, Color and Texture sections. I used these settings to make a preset named SJ Leopard Preset by Bobbie Goodrich so I could remember how I use it. She apparently is going to upload her actual preset to the Topaz Impression2 Community, but it was not available when I last checked – will add link if I find it. Otherwise the settings above are from the webinar and are a good starting point.

Now these are the changes I made to the created preset above on the holiday image: Stroke Coverage 0.00, Coverage Transition 0.14, Coverage Center X 0.09/Y 0.03; Lighting Brightness -0.55, Contrast 0.00, Highlight -0.56, Shadow 0.80 and Light Position X -0.90/Y 0.77, Vignette 0.53, Vignette Strength 0.76, Vignette Transition 0.52, Vignette Roundness 0, and Vignette Center x 0.00/y 0.00. The Masking was set to Spot Transition 1.00 and Color Aware 0.71. At the bottom of the panel the Opacity was set to 1.00 Opacity and Lighter Color Blend Mode. The Masking section can be crucial as to how the effect fits into the image. Also the Vignette color can be adjusted to get some nice additional effect on the image.

Image of Holyrood Abbey in Edburgh, ScotlandThis image of Holyrood Abbey illustrates more of the artistic feel I think Bobbie was going after. This time the Color section was also used with the above preset and the reds and yellows were adjusted. Also the Lighting section was used to add Brightness, Contrast and a white Vignette. Definitely need to play around with these settings as they can make a big difference in how the final effect looks. The vignette adds to the white space around the image (these settings were used: Vignette 0.71, Vignette Strength 1.00, Vignette Transition 0.72, Vignette Roundness 0.66 and white color). For more image info, check Image 2 Info below. Once you get to this point, it is time to go into the Mask section – and once again I used the Spot Tool. Bobbie used the Luminosity and Brush tabs in her examples, but for this technique, I prefer the Spot Tool (which I could never find a good use for before, so this is nice). The screen capture below shows what the mask looks like – by moving the Edge Aware slider to the right, a more precise selection appears. Adjust the circle into an oval to make the selection fit the image properly.

Screen Capture of Spot Effect in Topaz Impression 2

Image of a male and female tiger in the sunAnother example of using the same Topaz Impression2 preset, this time turning the result into a black and white. This image was taken at the Jacksonville Zoo where these beautiful lions were resting in the sun on a Spring day. This time Topaz Glow2 was used to get a nice lighting effect-used Blake Rudis’s Animal preset. On a stamped layer, Topaz Impression 2 was opened and the same SJ Leopard Preset by Bobbie Goodrich was used with these setting changes: Spill -0.61, Smudge 0.12, Coverage 0, Coverage Transition 0.03, Coverage Center X-0.25/Y0.26; Color Red Hue 0.03 and Sat -1.00; Lighting Brightness -0.21, Contrast 0.12, Highlight 0.52, and Shadow 0.67; and Masking Spot Transition 0.87 and Color Aware 0.65 – centered just on the faces. For more info on image, check out Image 3 Info below.

This effect was a lot of fun to do – give it a try if you want a pretty card or gift label. You definitely have to experiment with the Coverage sliders, Vignette sliders and the Masking tabs to get different looks. Changing the Stroke number from Low to Med or High gives very different looks. Even if the colors do not look just right, they can be adjusted back in PS with the Color Balance or Selective Color Adjustments Layers. I want to try some further experimentation with it, but this is definitely an effect I like. Until next week, have a good one!…..Digital Lady Syd

IMAGE 1 INFO: This image was actually taken with my Android – just did the normal Basic Panel adjustments in Lightroom. In Photoshop it took a lot of clone stamping to get rid of the price tags. Luckily they were all pretty small. On a stamped layer on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Lucis Pro (no longer available) was used to sharpen the overall image (any sharpening filter could be used, it just needed some sharpening at this point). On a duplicate layer, Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits blog for website link) ReStyle was used to get a nice color palette – used Ash Gray and Eggshell preset with minor changes. On another duplicate layer, Topaz Glow was opened and My Bliss preset was downloaded from the Community – while in the plug-in, the preset was set to Multiply blend mode at 50% opacity. On another stamped layer, the Topaz Impression 2 preset from above was applied. Last step was to add a little Nik Viveza 2 to the image to really sharpen up the focal point.

IMAGE 2 INFO: Topaz Adjust was used to add contrast to the overall image using the Adaptive Exposure and Adaptive Regions sliders. On a stamped layer Topaz Clarity was used to add contrast (check out Topaz Labs webinar  Creative Essentials with Topaz Plug-ins Plus the Official Introduction to Glow 2 by Joel Wolfson for more info on this.) Then Topaz Impression 2 was applied with the above info on a stamped layer. Back in PS, the image was cropped to balance the image. Nik Viveza 2 was used to adjust the focal point. Since I was not quite happy with the color effect, a Color Balance Adjustment Layer was used to add a little blue to the shadows and yellow to the highlights.

IMAGE 3 INFO: After adding Topaz Glow 2 and Impression 2, a stamped layer was created and Nik Silver Efex Pro2 was opened and the Fine Art (High Key) preset was applied. On another stamped layer, believe it or not, Topaz Black & White Effects’s Tone II was applied with the Red filter chosen and Transparency set to 0.28. It was set to 52% layer opacity. Two Exposure Adjustment Layers were added for the female eyes and nose. Topaz Texture Effects 2 was opened and the Soft Grunge Mauve Fog – Basic Adjustment Brightness 0.29, Shadow 0.18, Highlight -0.22, Clarity 0, Sat -0.20, Temp 0.08, Tint -0.02 and Enable Masking-Mask Luminosity 0.45 and Range 0.75; Texture Brightness -0.12, Contrast 0.26, Detail 0.45, Sat 0.37, Color Strength 0.36, and Color 0.28; Color Overlay #71595c (R113/G89/B92), 0.39 Opacity, and Soft Light blend mode; and Masking section painted just a little back to the face using a Strength of 0.34.


Image of John Raimondi's Dance of the Cranes SculptureJust getting back into the swing of Photoshop. Decided to try and get a fine art feel from my images taken at the Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden – a monotone feel was needed since the greenery around the sculpture was overwhelming the beauty of the actual sculptures.

For the above image, first on a duplicate layer the Refine and Place panel was used to select the sculpture and remove it from the background. It was added as a layer mask to the layer. Then two texture were stacked underneath the texture.

Texture:  The first one was one of my textures and was actually made in Photoshop using Just Jaimee 2012 Summer Brush Sampler Freebie – painted with her Texture Brush using a light gold color, on New Layer another Texture Brush layer used a light grayish blue around the sides a little, and on a third layer the Misty Brush created an upper right lighter goldish area. Then on another New Layer, blended around the edges with a mixer. Once saved as a JPG, it was brought into the image set to Normal blend mode at 100% layer opacity. Very simple to create.   The second texture was by Kim Klassen called Pinit 11, which was a white and slightly gray cement texture – very easy to do photograph a similar texture yourself. It was set to Pin Light blend mode at 55% layer opacity.

Google (Nik) Silver Efex Pro 2:  On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top, applied the now free Silver Efex Pro 2 to the image using the High Structure (harsh) preset which really emphasized the texture in the background.  Global Adjustment Structure section was changed to 33% and the Midtones to 27%. The only other change from the original preset was to change to Toning to No. 13, which give the beautiful color in the image.

Did a little Dodging and Burning using Curves Adjustment Layers to emphasize the sculpture properly. (See my How To Use Curves Adjustment Layers to Dodge and Burn and Image blog.) Last step involved creating a Red Channel Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer to just blend the whole image together by pulling slightly down. (See my How To Use a Red Channel to Create a Nice Blended Image Effect blog.) Used Photoshop’s Lighting Effect Filter with a Spot light to slightly lighten up behind the sculpture – set to 63% layer opacity. The font is called Gadugi from Microsoft. That is all that was done other than cleaning a few areas that did not blend correctly including the sculpture stand. I really enjoyed working on this image!

Image of Philip Hulitar Sculpture Gardens in Palm Beach, FloridaThe palm trees above reminded me of nature’s sculptures versus the beautiful Gardens sculptures. I wanted a dreamy effect and it turned out to look a little like an infrared shot. The sculpture is called Forgotten World III by Norman Sunshine. Lucis Pro 6.0.9 (no long available) was used to sharpen up the image first. Silver Efex Pro2 was used again but this time the Fine Art High Key preset was applied without the frame and some contrast adjustments to start getting that dreamy feel – played with the Soft Contrast to get that feel. On a stamped layer Topaz (for website, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Lens Effects and applied the Moderate Diffusion filter as is. Topaz Impression 2’s Cave Dweller I was applied as is on another stamped layer. Used On1 Effects 10’s (for website, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Strong Vignette as is and set it to 62% layer opacity in PS. Did a little dodging and burning around the palm trees to differentiate them from the background. (See my The Best Dodging and Burning Technique! blog.) Some clean up was done and that was it!

If you have an image that is just overwhelming your subject, try going to a monochromatic effect to help isolate your subject better. It works really well with the green and yellow images. Hope you have a wonderful week!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of swimming duck
Will be out of commission for a few weeks – sitting near the Eye of Hurricane Matthew and the chances of having electricity soon does not look good. Will be up and blogging as soon as possible. Until then, think of this poor little duck that is at the West Palm Beach Zoo – probably as safe a place as he can be!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of a gray succulent with some color popThis week just doing a quick blog. The image is of a painted Graptopetalum Point Dexter succulent plant. Sometimes it is just fun to do a little “outside-the-box” painting to turn a rather dull photo into something interesting. That is why I thought I would remind everyone of this rather basic tip – invert your image. I have found that when I am stuck with the color in the image, this helps to try a different look. By inverting the image, the complementary colors replace the original colors in the whole image. This technique seems to work best on flowers and objects – I have been having trouble getting a landscape to look correct with a total inversion. There are several ways to get an image inversion – this image was inverted by duplicating the image and just clicking CTRL+I on the layer thumbnail, just like when inverting a layer mask. Also a Curves Adjustment Layer can be used – drag the black tab point all the way to the top and the white tab all the way to the bottom. This option gives a lot of flexibility by dragging the Curve line up or down to get different effects, and doing the same in the individual red, green and blue channels. Also try different blend modes to get different effects for all methods. The effect can be totally localized with a black layer mask and just adding in bits of color where needed. This works great when painting images to just introduce a small amount of new color – it still fits in with the chosen the color scheme.

For this image, in Lightroom the Basic panel was used along with the HSL panel to improve the colors – the blue stems were actually dark purple and the flower petals more of a turquoise-gray in the RAW file. Here is the background layer as brought into Photoshop.
Background layer of image
In Photoshop Lucis Pro plugin (no longer available) was applied to add a little sharpness and detail to the image and then the layer was duplicated (CTRL+J). By clicking in the image thumbnail and pressing CTRL+I, the image was inverted into the complimentary color scheme from the original – this gives the really dramatic color effect in the image. On New Layers above, the mixers and regular brushes were used to smooth and paint the image. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) ReStyle’s Cream and Plum preset (my favorite) where various sliders were used to get the final color components. One of Kyle T. Webster’s Whisper Impasto Layer Style was used to get the painterly effect along with a couple Pattern Fill Adjustment Layers to add more of a painterly effect.

Give this a try next time you get stuck – it could really help and it is a quick thing to try. Have a good one!….Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
What Does the Difference Blend Mode Do?
Just What Does a Lab Inversion Do?



Image of a Palm Beach Florida HomeI have always enjoyed a nice soft glow effect in my images. This week I have been experimenting with the On1 (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Photo 10 (which is now version 10.5) and am finding this is a much improved plug-in from a few years ago. The image above of a beautiful Palm Beach home is an example of one of their filters I like most – On1 Effects Glow Filter. This effect is very similar to the Diffusion effects in Topaz (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Glow 2 (which has many presets but not all create the above effect – still a fabulous plug-in); and Lens Effects, Topaz Black and White Effects and Topaz Adjust and even Texture Effects plug-ins (where the Softness, Diffusion and Diffusion or Edge Transition sliders can be adjusted), or in the now free Nik Color Efex Pro 4’s Glamour Glow Filter with a Glow slider, Midnight Filter’s Blur slider effect, or Monday Morning’s Smear slider result. So everyone should be able to create a similar effect. All give very interesting soft effects to your images and can be localized with masks or control points.

On1 Effects offers the a lot of flexibility for this effect by providing 24 presets to select or using the individual sliders that can be adjusted manually. This also includes the ability to protect the Shadows or Highlights from this effect. For this image, Lightroom Basic Panel tweaks were done.  Then On1 Photo was opened as a stand-alone and the Perfect Layers module was selected to swap out the original colorless sky with a new one. (Go to File -> Add Layers to Files and found a sky to use.) The sky layer was placed under Palm Beach layer. Then the Masking Brush’s Perfect Brush was used to paint out old sky so the new one underneath shows through – used CTRL + drag in trees to get rid of some of the areas. Would normally use the PS Refine Brush to remove edging.  Next the sky layers was opened in the On1 Enhance module and lightened up a lot to match the top image tones. Then back into the Layers module and the Move Tool was used to adjust sky around trees. Highlighted the Palm Beach layer and went back into On1 Enhance to make a few exposure changes on the Palm Beach image layer. Last step was to use On1 Photo 10 Effects and apply the Glow Dynamic Contrast Filter – Amount 58, Halo 22, Warm 20 and Sat -24; Detail Small -34, Medium -25, Large 58. Saved image as a PSD file. This may sound like it was hard to do since three different modules were opened, but On1 had made this switch very quick and easy now. I still wish all the different panels were in just one interface as in Photoshop or Lightroom’s Develop Panel, and I wish the Layers module was available as a plug-in in PS or LR. Effects, Enhance and Portrait are available for PS and LR (if saved as a Smart Object, when image opened in PS, layers and masks will be available to edit). Still, this plug-in has come a long way and is much improved. For more information on how the sky was replaced, check out On1 Short Clip – Replacing a Dull Sky by Bob Campbell. For info on how to adjust the Glow Filter, check On1 Short Clip – The Preset Workflow Trick by Blake Rudis.


Sign Painter at Jacksonville Zoo in FloridaSince many of you may not have the filters listed above, this image of the sign painter at the Jacksonville Zoo (this has got to be a dream job – love the paint on his pants!) used the free Nik Color Efex Pro 4 filters listed above to get a very similar feel. After doing some basic panel adjustments in Lightroom and sharpening up the image a little, it was brought into Photoshop. On a duplicate layer that was converted to a Smart Object (so I could go back and adjust the settings if needed – right click on layer and select Convert to Smart Object), Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was opened. These filters were selected and stacked: Glamour Glow (Glamour Glow 76%, Saturation -39%, Glow Warmth 20%, and Highlights 44% to protect them from being too soft); Midnight Color Set Neutral, Blur 37%, Contrast 50%, Brightness 67%, Color 81% and Highlights 100%. A Control Point was placed on the painter and cat’s faces to remove the softening from this area – then the filter opacity was set to 67%); and Vignette Filter (place center on the painter and cat and set Adapt Edges 0%, Transition 59%, Size 19%, and Opacity 75% – a Control Point was placed on the white Jaguars sign and set to 54% opacity). Using Control Points in this plug-in can really help shape the effect you want. Last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer to add a little contrast. Very easy and it created a beautiful soft glow effect.

Hope you have a chance to try out a Glow Effect. Hope everyone has a nice beginning to the Fall Season!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How To Get the Soft Glow in Topaz Glow
Yellow Dogface Butterfly in her Glory!


Image of apartment buildings in Minsk, BelarusThis week I have been working on my Photoshop painting skills. This painted image is of a group of apartment homes on a highway just outside Minsk, Belarus. I love all the classic geometric shapes in this image to give it a very interesting feel. I have not painted recently so this image was used to go try out the techniques of one of my favorite Photoshop gurus, Jack Davis, and his wonderful free Davis-Mixer Painting Setup-Beta action (located in Jack’s Freebies section of FB). This action is a lot of fun to use and is somewhat similar to the Mixer Brush Cloning Paint Setup action that comes with Photoshop. His various techniques are presented in his wonder Creative Live videos called Painting with Adobe Photoshop, but watch his Adobe MAX: Expressive Painting in Photoshop for a quick overview (need to zoom through to get to this Mixer Brush action technique). Basically just followed his steps and finished up with a few adjustment layers to adjust color and contrast. And yes, the Grut FX Cloud Brushes were used in this image! That was it. It takes quite a while to paint an image of this size, but it is also very creative and relaxing to do. And do not get upset if it looks awful for quite a while – it all pulls together at the end. Sort of an amazing process!

Image of Farm in BelarusThis painted image was taken in Belarus at a Farm near a Local Art and Zoo facility in the countryside. This image also used the same action as above. Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) ReStyle was used to set the color palette just right. There are so many steps in this action do not many steps was done afterwards. Jack’s provided brushes were also used in both images although one from Melissa Gallo was used for to get the nice foliage effect. There are a few tips and tricks that Jack has in his Creative Live videos that really help with the overall effect. Once again, it took quite a while to get the final result.

For more examples of Jack’s technique, check out my Can You Get a Painting Look With a Photoshop Action? Jack Davis Can! blog. Also another example of the above action using a flower image can be see at my Tidbits Blog called Jack Davis Painting Action Really Works!  He has 12 different actions in the download to get different effects in his Action so check it out. And he supplies you with all the brushes needed to use these actions.

That’s it for this week. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd


Composite image of an elephant, palm trees, and some fancy brushesThis week I just felt like pulling together a little image so here is a little montage that uses several different media. I wanted a natural feeling to the image so I tried to use natural looking colors, textures and brushes to get the total effect. (For explanation of the difference between montage, composite, and collage, see my How to Create a Quick Montage blog.) Think I have a few new tips for this tutorial.

To do this type of image you need to create a selection. Selections were needed to create both the brushes used in this image and for adding the elephant and palm trees removed from other images.

Creating Brushes using Vectors or Objects

First a plant layer was created just because they looked pretty. These brushes were created from various vector flowers and plants collected from free sources on the internet. Try checking out Creative Markets and Design Cuts for some wonderful weekly free vectors. They also both have inexpensive sets that can be bought. Many scrapbook websites also have some great vector art that can be converted into brushes but be sure to check out the usage license. If you want a nice set to try the technique below on, download  Frostbo’s 16 Aquatic Plants PNG Brush Set at DeviantArt to turn into nice brushes.

So how do you do this?

  • First the object needs to be placed on its own layer. If the object is one layer with a solid color background, it can be selected by going to Select -> Color Range. Then select the background color and click the Invert box to select the object. Then press CTRL+J to put object on its own layer.
  • All brushes are created using shades of black and white. Therefore set foreground/background to default colors – Black/White by pressing the D key.
  • CTRL+Click on the thumbnails of the object layer to select it, then ALT+Backspace to fill the selection with a solid black color. Or to add a little variety to the image, on a New Layer paint over the selected areas with shades of gray to add some interest in the object. Or after selecting and placing on its own layer (CTRL+J), the Object can be converted to a black and white object by going to Image -> Adjustments -> Black & White Adjustment Layer – adjust sliders to get some interesting texture effects for the brush and say OK. Need to create a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top to create brush if using the B&W Adjustment Layer technique.
  • Now select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and place around the Object.
  • The last step is to go to Edit -> Define Brush Preset. It will now appear at the bottom of the Brush Preset Panel.

Use this brush on a New Layers so the strokes can be adjusted, transformed, change blend modes, or whatever you want to do with the layer. I used Frostbo Aqua 12 to create a brush by selecting as above using a Black & White Adjustment Layer to leave in detail, and then changed the settings in the Brush Panel to the following: Brush Tip Shape – Size 400 px and Spacing 108%; Shape Dynamics – Size Jitter 9% and Angle Jitter 3% with Flip X Jitter and Brush Projection checked; Brush Texture using a Cold Press Pattern chosen in the drop-down panel with the little arrow (this is a small black and white patterned texture – try different ones to get a look you like), Scale 150%, Brightness 28, Contrast -10, check Texture Each Tip, Mode Multiply, and Depth 100% (if no effect is seen from the texture, try changing the Mode like to Height, and the sliders – watch the Preview Panel for changes); Color Dynamics – Check apply per Tip, Foreground/Background Jitter 100%, Saturation Jitter 20%, and Purity -37; and Smoothing on. Use a couple of nice plant colors and give it a try. It gives a nice light and breezy floral effect. This brush was used to fill the middle area of the plants in the image above. Below is an example of what the brush looks like with a dark red and greenish tone and with black and white. If the stroke appears too light, change the blend mode of the brush to Multiply or Linear Burn in the Options Bar to darken it. These brushes may take a while to create one you like, but once you find one, it is so nice to have these to give your own unique feel to an image!

Image of tree brush used in image

Using Quick Mask to Create Image Object Selections

Several different ways of selecting can be used , but I really like using the Quick Mask mode (the little icon located right under the foreground/background color icon on the Tool Bar or just press the Q key) when the object is not that large and not too complicated. When painting with a Regular brush, a selection will be created showing the red overlay which represents the selection. Just press Q again or the icon to exit and the selection will be seen as dotted ants. If your selection comes out wrong, double click on the icon and make sure it is set to Color Indicates Selected Areas. Of course there are many different ways to do selections, but this is my favorite for adding small objects. The elephant image was selected this way from an image taken at the Jacksonville Zoo and actually looks much happier placed in my image. Also the Palm Trees are a favorite object taken from one of my older Florida images.

Using Pattern Fill Adjustment Layers to Add Texture to Objects

The interesting birds are a free PNG file from Jai Johnson’s The Daily Textures (scroll to the bottom of blog to find download). A Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT+Click between layers to clip adjustment layer so it only affects the birds in image) to get the soft effect. To find the Pattern Adjustment Layer, go to the bottom of the Layers Panel and click on the half black and half white circle – then choose Pattern Fill. In this case a turquoise/blue watercolor pattern was chosen as a pattern and set to a Scale of 120%. The pattern can be moved by dragging in the image so the pattern is lined up just right. If you do not have a pattern you like, open up a JPG texture file in PS, then select the whole texture (CTRL+A) and go to Edit -> Define Pattern. Now the  texture appears at bottom of the pattern list to add as an effect with the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer (or it can also be used for the Brush Texture in the Brush Panel or the Pattern Overlay Layer Style effect). Using Pattern Fill Adjustment Layers creates some very nice effects when clipped to a black and white brush layer or vector layer. In this case, the bird file was a solid black PNG layer so adding the variegated watercolor effect created some very nice subtle detail in the flying birds.

Creating a Reflection

A reflection of the elephant and palm trees was created by duplicating their object layers, then choosing Free Transform (CTRL+T). By holding down the SHIFT key and dragging from the top straight down, the image can be pulled upside down to any length needed. If the water is shallow, the reflection will have more color in it. Above the water is shallow so the layer opacity was set to 49% to keep it soft but with some color from the original object. A round brush with grain it was used to paint in some water in a bluish color.

One of my orange and yellow colored Corel Painter textures was added underneath in Overlay blend mode to warm up the image a little. The texture border is from Kim Klassen‘s Nested Frame set to 80% layer opacity. This was after the texture was taken into Select -> Color Range and the center color removed – this created a border effect instead of placing the whole texture on the image. I am not sure this texture is still available – it is a shame since she creates very subtle soft textures that give images a slightly different feel. The now free Nik Viveza 2 was used to set the elephant as the focal point. Some clouds were added on a New Layer using Grut’s FX Cloud Brushes (these are fabulous!) – using a soft a beige color and not blue or white to match the image. The last step was to open Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Lens Effects’ Grain filter (set to Amount of 0.48 and Size 0.47). Adding just a little grain to everything can really soften the object edges and blend the objects to make the image look like it was all in the original setting.

It really is a bit of a process to pull all this together, but it is fun to do. It took me several hours to actually create the above image. I made several wrong-turns before I got the effect I liked. The experimentation can give some really surprising results. Check out some of my older blogs below if you want some more ideas. Hope this helped you out a little – have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Springtime Wishes from Betsy
How to Easily Create a Photoshop Brush for Painting
How to Create an Image From Nothing!