Anything Photoshop or Photography



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



2017 January Calendar example This week I thought I would give you a quick tutorial on how to create basic calendars using your own photos. A calendar can be so personal and might be the perfect last-minute gift. Recently I blogged about how to use templates in both Lightroom and Photoshop, and these techniques use very similar steps to create calendars. (See my How to Use Lightroom’s Print Templates to Display Your Images blog and How to Use a Photoshop Template blog.)

The first thing that needs to be done is to download the free calendars. First Ed Weaver at Red Photographic site distributes the calendars every year along with the wonderful Lightroom Print templates. Also Calendar has different formats that can be downloaded as Word documents – see the Photoshop Calendars section below on how to convert these to JPEG files. Either site’s calendars can be used in both programs.


Matt Kloskowski (a former Photoshop Guy) created a recent blog that basically covers how to get the templates into your program  – check out his Free Lightroom Calendar Preset and Templates blog. It is important to understand that the JPG calendars are just that – JPGs and need to be Imported into Lightroom just like any other image. Therefore, they need to be placed in a folder probably with your images so you know where to find them. The templates also need to be imported into Lightroom – the files have an extension of .Irtemplate. In the Lightroom Print module’s Template Browser, create a new category called 2017 Calendar Templates – then right click on the folder and import these templates. There are 11 being imported.

The image above used the Calendar 8 1:2 X 11 1 month template. Matt suggests creating a New Collection called 2017 Calendar Templates. From the Develop module, select all the 2017 Calendar JPGs and drag them into this collection. Now go through your images and choose ones you would like to include in your calendar. The collection makes is very easy to add the images and the calendars into the templates once back in the Print module. Highlight the new Calendar collection  and the Film Strip at the bottom will show all the items in the collection. Click on a template in the Template Browser to chose one. Just drag images into the openings of the template you have selected. To adjust the images inside the openings, must CTRL+drag image to fit – this is because the template is a Custom Package. My 12-month calendar did not look right when selected. If this happens, click on the Page Setup button and go into your printer’s Properties. You probably need to set the paper size to the size in shown in the template description – my printer does not have all the sizes shown so the standard 8 1/2 inches X 11 inches was used for the these examples and set to Borderless Printing to get the template openings to look correct. A background color or Inner Stroke can be added. Instead of printing right from Lightroom, I like to go to the Print Job section and choose Print to: JPEG file. Press the Print to File and save the file as a JPEG. Now more adjustments can be made in Photoshop if needed.
Image of a 12-month 2017 CalendarBelow is a different example of how to use the templates in Lightroom. This calendar used the Custom Center template in Lightroom Templates folder. Note that the heading colors are different from the gray tones in the original calendar JPEGs – this can be done by first selecting the calendar needed, then enter the Develop module, create a Virtual Copy (by right clicking on the image) and changing the color – this time the Split Toning panel was used to do this. The Virtual Copy can be dragged onto the template just like the original image. I just kept going back to the Print module and seeing if the resulting color matched nicely. Also, on the Calendars, I removed the bottom lines by just adjusting the cells – then used the CTRL+drag inside to further adjust calendar in the cell.
Image of a January/February 2017 Calendar


It is actually easier and there is more creative license to do calendars in Photoshop. First create a document that is the size you want the calendar to be – I used 8.5 inches X 11 inches again. Now bring in the calendar. The calendars from Ed Weaver are fine or download from Calendar for some different formats. If using the Word document calendar, just open it up in Word, right click on the calendar itself, and choose Copy. Go into the Photoshop file and right click or CTRL+V to Paste the calendar into the document. Now Free Transform (CTRL+T) to adjust size and to position. If Copy is not one of the options in Word (as in the 12-month calendar which is in a table format), need to right click and choose Select -> Table – then right click once calendar is highlighted and click on Copy. It will now Paste into Photoshop. Next place an image for the top of the calendar – or just paint in a New Layer above the calendar. New Layers can be placed above the Background layer and fancy brushes can be used to paint behind it. There are now all kinds of possibilities for creating beautiful calendars for each month or for yearly ones.

Image of a January 2017 Calendar with Lions showcasedAbove the background was painted behind and above the image to give the whole month a snowy feeling – this might be a little hard to read, but it was fun to create. These are just my lion buddies that look so good wherever I put them. Used the Pretty Action”s Magic Dust brush again, some of Aaron Blaise Canvas Texture brushes, and a couple of Grut’s FX Cloud brushes (they don’t have to be used for clouds!). The image below is another example of creating the Calendar in PS and just dragging in the calendars and images. A layer mask was placed on the calendar and using one of the canvas texture brushes again, parts were lightly painted out in the calendar. Then the calendar was duplicated and taken into Color Range where the white was removed – press CTRL+J and just the numbers were shown on the layer – a Layer Styles stroke was placed around it. Then the layer was set to Color Burn at 64% so it shows up, but is slightly transparent. The flower image was taken in the Bahamas – Corel Particleshop was applied using the Cluster Brush to add some bright lights. Also the Magic Dust brush was used to add more of a magical feel. Really fun!January 2017 Calendar Hope this was easy to understand. It is a lot of fun to create your own calendars – I like to do this every year. Just experiment around and you should be able to get the hang of it. Enjoy the holidays!…..Digital Lady Syd


Template showing various imagesLast week I covered using templates in Lightroom to display your images. (See my How To Use Lightroom’s Print Templates to Display Your Images blog.) This week I am using Photoshop and a template I created a while back that shows another way to display your images and objects. Any template that can be opened in Photoshop can be used, I just like this particular the photo arrangement in this template. Here is the link on my Deviant Art page where my SJ 5 Opening Template can be downloaded if you would like to use it. This blog is just discussing how to use a template in Photoshop. (See my Using a Template to Create Your Own Unique Valentine Blog for steps on how to create this template.)

In each of the two images I selected a color scheme and added texture and natural objects to the mix. When you open the template in Photoshop, you will find a white Background layer and 4 black blocks where images and/or objects can be placed. In most templates, this is what you will find – black or colored boxes where the images are to be placed. For each layer with a black block, an image or object was placed above it. The crucial step is this next step – the image was clipped, which means the image was  linked to the black block and showing up just in the black box area, not outside that area. There are several ways to clip the image or object layer – can go to Layer -> Create Clipping Mask, or use the shortcut keys ALT+CTRL+G on layer, or right click on layer and select Create Clipping Mask from list, or my favorite, just ALT+click between the two layers to be clipped. Very easy! Next using the Move Tool (V),  the image was dragged to fit in the location just right. If it does not fit correctly, go to Edit -> Free Transform or CTRL+T to adjust the size. The top version contains little images I painted or just some of my favorite clip art. For the starfish, a vintage texture was added behind it (all clipped to the black block as more than one layer can be clipped at a time). The background texture was added just above the white Background Layer and only a portion of it was used. It can be transformed and different Adjustment Layers can be added to the texture to match the template pictures. To get the line around the openings, be sure to add a Stroke Layer Style on the black block layers to get the same treatment for each, not the pictures. To copy the Layer Style to another layer, just ALT+drag the fx letters to the new layer.


Template showing several images and objectsThis image uses the same template and same workflow as used above. Just found some interesting objects and one of my painted trees. Again, just clipped them to the black block layers, added one of my painted textures underneath (texture was created in PS using Grut’s Inky Leaks Brushes which are wonderful). No strokes were added to the black boxes in this image. This time Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Texture Effects’ Dingy Cream preset was used with a few changes to give the interesting border. On a New Layer, some texture was painted on the image (see Just Jaimee Summer 2012 Brush Sampler 4) to finish up. Sometimes painting on a little extra texture adds a nice touch.

That was it. The trick to using Photoshop templates is to clip the images to the openings. If you just want the layout without using the block, just add your objects on top, then once placed, just remove the black box layer. Just remember that and it will be very easy – maybe easier than Lightroom. And there is more leeway for creativity with all the cool templates out there that can be downloaded many times for free. That’s it for this week – have a great week and chat at ya soon!…..Digital Lady Syd

A Little Kaleidoscope Fun!

This week I thought I would just do a quick little blog on the Kaleidoscope effect. Corey Barker, a great creative guru with Photoshop, did a tutorial called the Ultimate Kaleidoscope on the NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) website where he taught you how to make this effect. Mark S. Johnson did a very similar video this topic – see Workbench 272 Simulating a Kaleidoscope if you would like to see how to do it. Mark later did a Workbench 288 The Lloyd Williams Kaleidoscope video using some templates to help you get this effect from Lloyd Williams Photography website. I used Lloyd’s templates and technique to create the kaleidoscope effect in the two images shown here. His website link has a very good step-by-step workflow on how to do this so I will not repeat the process. The template basically sets up what the two original videos teach you how to do, and has 7 different templates to use. Create one smart object layer using the part or all of your image, and then each Smart Object layer in the templates updates using the added image – no Photoshop action is used. Very ingenious! The background in the image above uses his 16_LoRez template. I added the Topaz (for website link see sidebar in my Tidbits Blog) Adjust 5 Comic Book preset on the resulting kaleidoscope look to get a more drawn line effect. The pattern had some little white lines created by the template that needed to be removed before the final kaleidoscope image could be moved it into my yellow daffodil image and used as a background. See the tych below of my original African Lilly image used to create the kaleidoscope look, top right the result after adding the image to the template, and the bottom right the final result after adding Adjust. See end of blog for details on how the daffodils were processed and the image finished.…..The above is just another example of the kaleidoscope effect using Lloyd’s 8_LoRes template. These are really fun to do and very easy. This is one of my miniature mums in this image. All I did with this image was add a Curves Adjustment Layer to bring out a little contrast and a Selective Color Adjustment Layer and set the Blue Color to Cyan +34/Magenta 0/Yellow +41/Black -48; Neutrals Cyan and Magenta 0/Yellow +2/Black -13; and Blacks Cyan +3/Magenta 0/Yellow -5/Black 0. I just thought it turned out to be an interesting design.

There are other ways to create the kaleidoscope effect. The Plugin Galaxy has a kaleidoscope effect that I wrote about some in my Instant Mirror and Quick Mirror for Photoshop blog for a little different look. It is easy to get some interesting effect with images that are not that great. Give it a try and see if you like the results!…..Digital Lady Syd

Daffodil image post-processing:

The yellow daffodils were shot at my local grocery store using my Kodak point-and-shoot. It was not the best picture, in fact it was awful, but I love daffodils and wanted to try and salvage the picture. I did everything I could in Lightroom but it still needed a lot of work in Photoshop. Whenever I have a bad image but great colors, I like to think photo art since it is never going to be a really sharp clean image. So in this case, I actually cut the daffodils out of their background as it was so cluttered. I used the Refine Edge to smooth edges in a layer mask before applying it. Next Topaz DeNoise 5 with the Overall Strength slider set to .19 was used. On a duplicate layer of the daffodils, Topaz Detail 3 was applied using the Feature Enhancement II preset. Duplicated the result again and this time applied Topaz Simplify 4 Impressions Natural without the Edges turned on. This created the beautiful painterly look that I wanted. Now the kaleidoscope texture could be put underneath this layer. Adjusted the color and contrast with Levels Adjustment Layer setting the Output Levels to 65 and 255, and a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer with the Yellows turned into a Reds 2 by dragging in image to get effect I wanted (ended up Hue -90/Saturation +80) and Master set to Hue +29/Saturation -3/ Lightness -3. That is how I got the final effect to be more blue and yellow instead of the original green and blue. This was really just completely playing with it until I got something I liked. I decided I did not like the color of the flowers so I clipped (ALT+click between layers) a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and changed to color to more brown tones (Master Hue -10/Saturation -20/Lightness 0). I decided I did not like the sharp edges around the flower so I added a New Layer and with Fay Sirkis’s Signature Watercolor Smooth Blend Mixer Brush, I painted out the edges and anywhere I wanted to emphasize the painted area. This took a long time to get just right, but you can use the Eraser Tool and remove areas that did not turn out so good very quickly. French Kiss Studio 3 Wave texture was applied using Color Burn at 48% to get more blue tones into the petals and leaves. Next another Levels Adjustment Layer was added and the Midtones tab was set to 1.60, and the Output Levels were set to 0 and 200. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added next to lighten up the whole image by just dragging up the middle of the diagonal line. And I was done! I really liked the result but it took a lot of effort to get the image – the kaleidoscope effect was the easy part!

Using a Tych Panel to Show Off Your Images

Last week I gave away a template to organize your images for use on a Valentine or for just putting related ideas together. (See Using a Template to Create Your Own Unique Valentine.) This week I found this incredible  little free program that can be loaded into Photoshop CS5 or CS6 as a panel that does a very similar thing. This is totally ingenious and very simple. All you need is to have your images or objects already post-processed and a bit of an idea on how you want to put them together. For the Tych above, the images are all from the 24th Annual Native American Festival in Ormond Beach, Florida – I had a great time photographing. Above are a few of the images I have completed the post-processing on and put together to form what I consider a pretty nice grouping of the event. I plan on blogging on how I created some of the effects in the individual images at a later time.

So let’s talk about Tych Panel 2 by Reimund Trost. The best way to learn about it is to view the short video for instructions on how to use it. Basically you can add rows, columns, additional rows after you have created it, background color, borders and/or rounded corners around each image and/or the whole image, and even use it from Adobe Bridge if you want. Totally cool and very fast. It is action based and the order of the images can be set for each row or column you create or add. Really gives a nice quick result for posting to blogs. All I can say is that it was a lot of fun to do. The grouping of flowers below was my first effort and took just a couple minutes – I really liked the results!
There are only a couple of little issues I noticed when using the program.

  • First, you need to make sure your images are all in the same folder for each row or column you are adding as there is no way to add additional images from another folder to form each individual row or column. Unfortunately the panel does not interface with Lightroom where you could use a collection for image selection.
  • The second issue is that the program will adjust the image to fit in an opening – if the aspect ratios of the images you are selecting to create a row or column are different, part of the image will be compressed so they fit uniformly. If you are adding a landscape sized image with a portrait sized image, it apparently makes the portrait sized image the same height as the landscape – it appears much smaller in your image. If you add three different sized images into a row, it takes the largest sized image and adjust the other images to that size by compressing them. So far, none of the image sizes I have added are too changed so they still look pretty nice. The easiest way around this is to make sure your images are the same size before adding them to the Tych.

If you want to exchange an image, I usually turn off all the layers except for the one I want to replace. If you used rounded corners on your images, right click on the black layer mask thumbnail and select Disable Layer Mask (a big red X appears in it). Now File ->Place your new image above the one to be replaced, and Free Transform it so the old and new images are the same size. Double click on the black layer mask to enable it and drag it up to the new image. Then delete the old layer.
This is another example showing the rounded edges on just the flower images. I added a French Kiss Solstice Zest textured background on this image and a couple curves to create the background effect I wanted.
The panel below was created using four images, one column on the left and three on the right; then turning off Column 1 Group which contains the three layers on the right side. The background treatment was a bit complicated. If you have the border turned on in the Tych Panel options, I usually drag that top Border layer down to just above the background layer so my background appears complete on the image.  2 Lil’ Owls Mosaic Set crescent grunge (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) was added at 55% opacity above the background layer. Next 2 Lil’ Owls French Brocante Set 10-1 texture with the beautiful Eiffel Tower image was added and set to Linear Burn at 85% opacity. Above that a New Layer was added and French Kiss Spattered4-06 brush at 511 pixels was applied in black over the whole layer – loved the drippy watercolor feel although it just adds a cloudy looking effect once combined with the other textures. 2 Lil’ Owls Enchanted2-4 png overlay was put on the next layer at 45% opacity. Note that the small flower image can be adjusted within the larger background image by just using the Move Tool and dragging – the layer mask will adjust as you move the image. An Inner Shadow and Stroke layer style was added to the flower image to make it stand out more. Another New Layer was placed above the pink flower image and one stroke using Flowers Swirls and Hearts Sampled Brush 8 was added next. Last a slight contrast adjustment was made on a Curves Adjustment Layer. This image really does not have a very organized look to it, but the image guide did really help me to figure out how to lay out this image.
This panel is really fun to use and shows off your images so quickly. Very handy to have when wanting to put a quick collage together for a friend or for a blog post. Just watch the aspect ratios on your images and it will all work fine. If you own Photoshop CS5 or CS6, give this a try. It is extremely easy to use and the results can be quite stunning…..Digital Lady Syd

Using a Template to Create Your Own Unique Valentine

I had a hard time coming up with something to write about this week – writer’s block or creative block or something! Then I came across JennyW47 Flickr site where she used a pretty basic template to create a very cool look. This sounded like a lot of fun so I created two images using a template I created with some different ways to use it. I thought I would teach you how to create it (or download mine if you like), add photos to it, and then make it your own. So lets get going.

Basic steps to creating a template:

1.  Create a New Document that is large enough to hold all the photos you want to add. Mine was set to 8 inches X 12 inches, a fairly standard size that will still print out on my printer. To make the document fit on a 4  X 6 inch card, go to Image -> Image Size and change the Width to 4 inches and Height to 6 inches (or change inches to percent and set 50 for both width and height).

2. Create a New Layer.

3.  Go to the Rounded Rectangular Shape Tool (in Tool Group with Rectangular Shape Tool) and in Options Bar, change these settings:

– Pixel to Path

– Click on the Gear icon (just to the left of the word Radius) and select Proportion or Fixed Size if you want the template openings to be an exact size. My top opening is set to 7 by 5 to fit that size image. I also check From Center in this box. There are also two square boxes and set to 3 x 2 proportional.

– Set a Radius – I used 30 px to round the edges.

3. Now click in your document and drag out to set shape on your page.

4.  Go back to Options Bar and click on Make: Selection button – it turns it into a selection.

5.  Since I had my Foreground and Background colors set to black and white, I just clicked ALT+BACKSPACE to fill with black and CTRL+D to deselect the selection.

6. Create a New Layer and repeat process.

7. When finished save the document as a PSD file – you now have a basic template that can be used over and over. When Move Tool is selected, the alignment icons are available so you can make sure the edges are lined up by selecting the affected layers.

This is what my final template looks like for the top image. It is a pretty simple process and you can make many different types of templates. You can even use the Custom Shape tool to create interesting shaped openings.

You may download this PSD template from my Deviant Art page here. Also included is a basic PNG file where the images can be just dragged and lined up under the openings, but there is no easy way to adjust or remove the openings as I will be discussing for the PSD template below. Enjoy!

Steps for adding images to your Template:

Adding images to your templates is pretty easy.

1.  Open up the template in Photoshop and in the Layers Panel, highlight the layer where you want your first image to go.

2.  Open up the image you would like to add in another window in Photoshop, and then move the image into your template. If your image is a PSD file, I would recommend flattening a copy and save as a JPEG, the move the file in. To do this, select the Move Tool, grab you image (NOT THE LAYER OR THUMBNAIL which I keep doing!), and drag to the Template Image Tab – it will open up this image and you let go of your mouse and drop it. Use the Move Tool to adjust it over the opening the best you can. If you do have a PSD file and you only want to move a layer over, just make sure you have the layer highlighted in the Layers Panel and do the same steps to move it in.

If you are in Adobe Bridge, right click on the image and select Place -> In Photoshop. It opens up as a Smart Object which I always Rasterize right away since you do not need that capability and it gets in the way. Just right click on the layer and select Rasterize from the menu. Can also just go to the Menu and select Layer -> Rasterize. If you Place a PSD file, if you click on the smart object icon in the Layers Panel thumbnail, it will open up as a separate document with all your image layers showing. If you Rasterize it, you will lose that capability and it will be converted to a single layer.

3.  Next I clip the image to the black rectangle layer. The easiest way to do this is to highlight the image, ALT+Click between the layers and now you see only what the black box will let you see. If this makes you nervous, highlight the layer, go to Menu and select Layer -> Create Clipping Mask. Note you can clip more than one layer to a bottom layer – New Layers, several Adjustment Layers, and other image layers can all be clipped at the same time.

4. In most cases what you are bringing in will be too large or small. Just click on the image layer and press CTRL+T to Free Transform (in Menu go to Edit -> Free Transform). If you want the image to stay exactly to scale, hold the SHIFT + ALT keys and pull or push on a corner to adjust it. If it is close or does not matter, just drag the edges in and out.

That’s it! You just keep bringing in images and lining up with which ever rectangle you want to fill.

Steps for making the Template your Own:

This is the fun part. There are not major rules to using this template. The image at the top follows the template openings pretty closely but you can see the bottom image does not look like I used the template at all, but I did – there are ways to make the edges disappear.

Let’s talk about the basics in the first image. I wanted to have a theme with my beautiful tulips I bought at the grocery a few weeks ago. I spent a lot of time photographing them and playing with my camera settings, so I got some really nice shots and thought they would create a nice grouping for the template. I am going to go through each element for you.

  • The top image was one I created using a different phrase and in very soft light colors. I changed all that in Photoshop before placing in the template – just to help you out I found the Valentine phrase on a blog called Best Valentine Day Quotes and Phrases to Make Her Melt. I actually used a textured background I created in the image. I saved down a copy as a JPEG to drag into the template. Just followed the steps above to add the image.
  • Next a close up of my tulip was added – it was also processed first as an image and then brought in. It used one of my favorite textures by Melissa Gallo’s Painted Textures Taupe Canvas, a Black Friday purchase, which gave the beautiful white painterly streaks.
  • The pink and white heart image was created using a texture from French Kiss called Pink Corel (and is a free download – scroll down to the end of the article which is very interesting) and Obsidian Dawn’s Hearts Glitter brush using white and a size of 1200 pixels was painted on top of the texture. That was it and it looks so pretty.
  • First Brush Hearts brush 11 was added on its own layer in a light pink corel color and was clipped (see Step 3 above on Adding Images to Template section) to the bottom left rectangular layer. I then pasted my flowers (that I selected in one of my tulip images) and used the Warp Tool to make them fit into the Heart that was painted into the opening. A layer mask was added so the flowers would pop out over parts of the heart.
  • The little pink heart in the middle was just a New Layer set on top of the layer panel and the Custom Shape Tool was selected. In the Options Bar set the mode to Path and in the Shape field, click on the down arrow and select the Heart that comes with Photoshop. Just drag out to the size you need. A Stroke Layer Style set to light pink and 16 pixels was added. (See last bullet below on how to do this.)
  • The Floral Valentine graphic on the left of the bottom opening is a Flowers Swirls Hearts Brush – Sampled Brush 5 with an angle change and set to 506 pixels. The brush layer was copied and each was set to a different color using a Color Fill Adjustment Layer. Then a black layer mask was applied to the top floral graphic and the hearts and flowers were painted back so they appear in a different color. Pretty easy way to get two different colors to show up.
  • I decided the image would look best with a black background so at the bottom of the layers panel above the white background layer, I added a New Layer and filled it with black (from Menu go to Edit -> Fill and in Use: set Black.
  • To add just a touch of color and detail to the background, a New Layer was added above the black layer and the same Flowers Swirls Hearts Brush-Sampled Brush 5 that was used the Corel Texture image and on the Teddy Bear image below was added with a soft pink color and painted to peek through the sides. The opacity was set to 68%.
  • The font is one I bought from Cosmi in the 1990’s – not available anymore but you should be able to find a nice font, probably on your computer even if you did not download one. I like for free ones (for personal use only) when I need a new one but there are lots of nice sites available.
  • The last step was adding a Layer Style to each of the openings. To get to the Layer Style menu, double click on the Layer thumbnail in Layers Panel and you will see all the different things you can apply to the edges of the template. I just used a Stroke effect set to 16 pixels and after experimenting with several color, an orange-red color was used.

This may seem like too much work, but you do not have to do all the things I did. I wanted to show how to use different types of items in your openings. You can always increase the size of the openings or make them skinny or fat by applying the Free Transform Tool (CTRL+T) to the black rectangular layers. Using different textures and types of images really adds to the appeal of this type of image. That is what makes it so much fun to do.

I won’t go into so much detail for the image below as you probably get the idea of how to do this. Several of the elements are the same. You can see that I moved the rose box to the right (select the Move Tool, hold down SHIFT to make the move straight and drag the black rectangle over. If you have the image already added, you need to highlight all the clipped layers that are attached to the black rectangle. Notice that almost all the edges are gone – that is because layer masks were added to each of the black rectangle layers, and the edges were painted out with a low opacity black brush to remove the hard edges and make the images fit on the background smoothly. Still using the basic design of the template though.

I will make a quick list of the resources I used since they may help you find some design elements you need for your own valentines. The background is French Kiss Solstice Initiation texture which really adds that sense of nostalgia to the image. On the background is a Flowers Swirls Hearts Brush – Sampled Brush 2 set to 42% opacity to just give a little design in the background. The beautiful red hearts are a PSD file from GraphicsFuel Valentine hearts card template. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped (see Step 3 above on Adding Images to Template section) to the hearts and the hue set to -7, Saturation -38, and Lightness +3 to get the matching red color. The really pretty pink flowers in the corner are from Design Shub Greeting Card Valentine – just the flowers were dragged into the template and the 4 layers moved individually to the corners. The text font was rasterized in this document and brought to this file – then Free Transformed (CTRL+T) to make it fit. The Vintage Valentine Paper is by Aramisdream and the Cupid is  glass prism cupid brushes CupidReq14. A Gradient Overlay Layer Style using a cream to orange gradient was used on the cupid.

I hope I have given you some ideas for creating a different type of valentine. They can be so personalized and if you just work your way from top to bottom, it is really not that hard. I had a great time creating this blog and I hope you will find it useful! …..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Where To Get Those Free Valentine Templates
A Few More Valentines to Make
Create a Valentine

Showing Off Your Images with Lightroom

Thought I would keep it simple this week so here are some nice templates that can be created in Adobe Lightroom 3 and 4. This image is basically a 4-image triptych. It was a lot of fun playing with the different flower effects but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the images after I finished them –  as it turned out, this Lightroom template created a nice way to show them off! If you have ever played around in the Print Module of Lightroom, then you can see it is not too hard to create this type of template and then save the resulting image in the Print Job section as a “Print to JPEG File.” And this is one of the reasons I like processing my images in Lightroom over just using Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) in Photoshop.

For processing of the yellow dahlias in Photoshop:
1st image: Just lightened up the image and applied two Flypaper Textures – Chatsworth Taster and Apple Blush Taster using Russel Brown Texture Panel. (See my blog Russell Brown’s Paper Texture Panel Updated!)
2nd image: Topaz Black and White Effects. See side panel of my Tidbits Blog for website link.
3rd image: Used Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 and stacked these filters – Film Efex Vintage using Film Type 8, Colorize using Method 6 and a light blue color, and Vignette Blur using Type 3. I loved the dreamy look these filters created.
4th image: Used two different Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers and two Curves Adjustments Layers and with their layer masks, selectively painted out areas to get the effect I wanted.


This group of images was put together in Lightroom 3 a couple years ago – these signs are from the Jacksonville Landing along the St. Johns River in Florida during one of Scott Kelby’s PhotoWalks (if you get a chance, go do one – they are free and a great way to meet local photo types like yourself). Photoshop Guy Matt Kloskowski, who runs the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips website and blog (it is the best one on Lightroom you will find), offered a free Lightroom Print Preset – Multi-Photo Portrait Grid. I used it here although I had some trouble lining up all the photos the way he did since I use a Canon printer and not an Epson (it uses a page set up which makes it line up different). Still I was able to get this result which I think turned out rather nice.

Here is another example of using the above preset from Matt to create a little different appearance. A trick to adjusting your image inside the cell once placed is to remember to hold down the CTRL key so the cursor turns into the Hand Tool. You can send unused cells to the back by right clicking in the cell. Also, it is best to create a Quick Collection of the images you think you might want to use (click the little circle in the upper right corner in the Library module) so that they are all in one place for adding to the template. All these images are from previous posts – all but the boat image were done using just Photoshop brushes creatively. (See my blogs Brushing up on Circles!, Create a Winter Scene with Photoshop Brushes and Textures and Tree Brushes and a Little Grunge.

The instructions on how to do the above template are in Scott Kelby’s The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers where he takes you through the process step by step. He also shows you how to make the top template along with several others. His Lightroom books are the best!

I did a Tidbits Blog a while back called Five Image Template Creates Beautiful Collection!  that shows another way to do this with templates in Photoshop.

Also I did a free download timeline template for Facebook a couple weeks ago that uses Photoshop to add seven photos as your header – see
Free Timeline Cover Template for Seven of Your Images. An example of how this turns out is shown below.


Lightroom and even Photoshop makes it really fun to show off your images and both use very similar techniques. Sometimes just printing the one image does not look quite right, but putting several in a template as shown in these examples can get some really nice results…..Digital Lady Syd