Anything Photoshop or Photography

Text Effects

HOW TO SAVE YOUR FONTS AS TOOL PRESETS

Painted image of a Rainbow Lorikeet birdThese are the happiest birds I have ever seen! There were several flying around a small aviary at the Jacksonville Zoo and seemed most so pleased to have their pictures taken. Lots of fun to visit with them! They also make wonderful paintings! (See end of blog for more photo info.)

This is a rather short post, but it addresses a little problem I discovered when trying to use my favorite fonts saved as Tool Presets. Since I covered the Tool Presets in a recent blog (see Why Use the Tool Preset Panel? Photoshop Painters Listen Up!), and I consider them so extremely useful, this week I will show you how to save your favorite fonts and settings. For some reason it is a little tricky to add them to your documents, so the following screenshots have been created to give you a little heads up on how to do it.

For starters, what the Text Tool Preset will do is allow you to use the exact settings used in a previous Text layer or document – all the Options Bar settings will be retained including color. This is the same concept that works with almost all tools used in Photoshop.

      1. First need to save your Font as a Tool Preset by selecting it in the Options Bar and all the other favorite settings.  It is located using the 1st icon on the Options Bar and then click on little down arrow for saved preset choices. See screenshot below. Note that this font can be saved several times using different Font sizes or colors for example. Anything that can be adjusted in the Options Bar will be saved in the Text Tool Preset. There are no Text Presets fonts saved. The Current Tool Only check box is checked. Only Text Tool Presets will be listed in this panel when the Text Tool is chosen.

Screenshot of Type Font being saved

      2. By clicking on the lower icon that looks like a paper with the corner folded up, a new Text Tool Preset can be created. The Screenshot below shows the dialog that opens with a default name. If you like it, say OK – if not, name it the way that you want and say OK. Often I will use a name to indicate where I use this font, like for a logo.

Screenshot image of New Tool Preset dialog

      3. In the Screenshot below, the Text Font has now been added to the Panel so it can be used again.

Screenshot image of Text Preset Panel with new font added

      4. To apply the Text Tool Preset, use this order. First select the Text Tool in the Tool Panel (formerly Toolbox) – do not click in the image. Instead open the Tool Preset Panel and choose the recently added font. A new Text Layer with the same settings will be created as seen below in the bottom text. If you select the Text Tool and click in the document, the Text Tool preset cannot be opened and all the settings will have to be reselected in the Options Bar.

Image wtih font applied using the Text Preset Tool If a Layer Style is used on the font, it will not be saved down with the Tool Preset – must create or use a saved Style Preset on layer after adding text. The original image shows two different fonts and two different layer styles applied to each. A lot of really cool effects can be created by mixing up the layer styles that can be added to the text layers just like regular layers. To open up the Layer Styles Panel, just double click on the layer. There is also a Styles section that has many effects already set up and can be loaded from this panel. (I will try to blog on this soon.)

Note that if you do not have many presets loaded in the Tool Preset Panel, many people will leave it open on their desktop. It is a quick way to switch between tools without having to select them in the Tool Panel or using a keyboard shortcut.

Hope this has been helpful to you – just short and sweet this week. See ya next time!…..Digital Lady Syd

Image Info:  There was a lot that went into the creating of this image. Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog for website link in sidebar) ReMask 5 was used to remove the bird from the image. He was standing on a branch, so all that had to painted over in additional New Layers. that Two of my Corel Painter backgrounds were placed underneath the ReStyle Layer – one set to Normal at 100% layer opacity and one set to Color Burn blend mode at 62% layer opacity. A stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created and now the total painting and blending of the image could be done. Another one of my textures was added and set to Overlay blend mode at 33% layer opacity. On another stamped layer, Topaz Lens Effects was opened and a Golden Reflector was applied to warm up the right side of the image. Several layers were added and different Mixer brushes used to fill in the background and foreground areas. Exposure Adjustment Layers were used for eye, upper beak, and lower beak. A Nik Viveza 2 filter was used to drive the focal point home and Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was opened and three filters were applied (Ink, Film Efex Vintage, and Darken/Lighten Center). A Levels Adjustment Layer was used as a last step to add back a little contrast.


WHERE TO FIND ADOBE PHOTOSHOP MANUALS ON LINE & WHAT WAS IN THAT UPDATE?

Image of Photoshop CC floating in the waterSince I have been under the weather this week, I decided to do a short post on where the Adobe Photoshop CC Manual – a whole 1061 PDF pages – can be downloaded. Here is the link to the file called the Adobe Photoshop Help and Tutorials. The PDF link for Photoshop CS6 is Adobe Photoshop Help and Tutorials. There is even information on the latest update and how to use the new tools. I have used this reference quite often when I cannot figure something out. I have also included the website link for Help documents for Creative Suite including Photoshop CS5, CS5.1, CS5.5, and CS6 applications (PDF and HTML) for all their associated programs. There is also a link to a PDF reference file on Photoshop CC and CS6 Adobe Bridge, Mini Bridge and Camera Raw specifically. And for Lightroom users, here is the download link to their Adobe Lightroom 5 Help and Tutorials. Here is a link for the Adobe Help Page which includes the update links and videos – nice easy way to find it if you need it quick!

CC UPDATE:
I also just noticed a couple of little things the January 14, 2014 update did that will be really helpful (not to mention the big things like the new Perspective Warp, 3D enhancements, or the scripted Pattern Fills item that I discussed last week – see How to Create a Scripted Pattern Fill Border.) They are:

1. A single click on the lock icon (at far right on Background Layer) unlocks the layer. How handy!
2. You can now see recent swatches in the Swatches Panel. Yeah! This is too cool – open up your Swatch Panel and across the top the last 20 colors you used are shown – just click on the color and you can get the same one you were using before.
3. Layer names can now be as long as 255 characters. Another great thing since I personally love to put notes on the layer name to let me know what I did on that layer – it can get rather long if I list filter settings.
4. Improved selection of shapes using the Direct Selection Tool. Don’t use this much, but it is nice to know they have improved it.
5. Color Replacement Tool now has a Clear All button in Options Bar – not one I use a lot, but could be handy.

Hope you will find a use for these PDF’s.  Check out some reading and also my related blog link below for a short tutorial on text!…..Digital Lady Syd

Here is a quick explanation of how I created this image: Created New Document and then added a Color Fill Adjustment Layer and used the a sampled light blue color from the Photoshop logo. Created the Photoshop text using Cosmi Script 40 that I have had for ages and added a layer style I created following a tutorial called Elegant Glass-Gorgeous Text Effect. Next I used a different font called Freshman – added my Thin Double Edge Frame Layer Style and used dark blue and light blue for colors. Caleb Kimbrough from Lost & Taken’s Summer 4 texture was applied placing it above the Color Fill Adjustment Layer and setting the layer to Overlay at 100% opacity. On a New Layer above it, using my SJ Cloud 5 brush enlarged to fit, a darkish blue color was brushed once to look nice – the layer was then set to 39% opacity. The CC text layer was rasterized (right click and choose Rasterize) and then Free Transformed (CTRL+T) to make larger – a layer mask was applied and the center of the letters was lightly painted out to show the water inside. A New Layer was created and some white water looking waves were painted in along the bottom edge of the type to make it look like it was floating. This layer was set to 56% opacity. My free SJ Soft Sparkle Two Tone Overlay Frame was placed on top and a white Solid Color Fill Layer was clipped to it to get the pretty edge effect.

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Add Images to Text


Some Free Christmas Overlays to Spice Up Your Christmas Cards

It is that time of year again and everybody is busy trying to get their cards ready to send out. Last year I gave out a pretty nice PSD template that is very flexible for creating any kind of card you want with an appropriate opening for those kid shots that are so popular. (See Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template.) Recently I have been working with overlays and I have created a few for you (see download link below) that can be used both on your images and/or as an inside card message. (Note: these could have been made as JPG files but I like to create PNG files where their is transparency involved – you do not have to remove any white or black backgrounds since it is just the object itself in the file.)

These beautiful Alstroemeria flowers were taken at the local grocery store using my point-and-shoot Kodak camera. They were processed first with OnOne (see sidebar for website link on my Tidbits Blog) Perfect Effects using two filters stacked: Rice Paper Light Texture topped by Hollywood Glow at 50% opacity. French Kiss’s Artiste Joyeuse Texture (this is not a free texture but they are so nice that I bought this collection) was placed on top and set to 94% opacity.  The flowers were painted back in on a white layer mask using a 30% opacity black brush – just gradually built up the effect so the edges are not as visible as the center area. To create the red and green effect from a very beige and pink texture, a Selective Color Adjustment Layer was placed on top and clipped to the texture layer (CTRL+click between the two layers in the Layers Panel). The Colors Neutrals, Reds and Yellows were adjusted to get the Christmas colors. My Merry Christmas Overlay was placed in the right upper corner and can be downloaded for free below. To change the color of the overlay to green, a Color Fill Adjustment Layer (Layers -> New Fill Layer -> Solid Color and check the Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask box to clip the layer to the overlay layer) was added. A Drop Shadow Layer Style (click 2nd icon at bottom of Layer Panel and set color to White, Opacity to 63%, turn off Global Light, Distance of 6, Spread 36,and a Size of 7) was created to make the letters stand out better. To get the red text, the Overlay layer was duplicated and a layer mask was added – just remove anything you want left in the original color by painting it out with a black brush in the mask. Then add a new Color Fill Adjustment Layer with the new color clipped to the duplicate layer and you get a second color in the overlay! The Drop Shadow Layer Style color was changed to a light pink at 27% opacity, distance of 0, spread of 32 and Size of 141. A brown 3 pixel Stroke was also added. The last step was to add a layer with snow – my very favorite snow brush is Snow Drops by Frostbow painted at 500 pixels in white. That is all that was done. Not a real difficult process and the textures, overlay and brush combine really nicely to give a great holiday look!
…..Here is another holiday overlay that you can add to your cards. This time these miniature white mums were first processed in Lightroom, before cleaning up the background and flowers in Photoshop. Then French Kiss Expressions Watercolor Texture Verve (very inexpensive but lovely  watercolor set – perfect for trying out textures without too much cost) was added and set to 77% opacity. By filling a layer mask with black and painting back the background using a 30% opacity white brush, you can a create soft edge look to your flowers. To get the pretty soft green coloration in the texture (this was originally a yellow and light brown texture), two adjustments layers were clipped on top: a Selective Color Adjustment Layer was added and changes made to the Colors Reds, Yellows, Whites and Grays; and a Color Balance Adjustment Layer to add a touch more color. Next my Holiday Greeting PNG Overlay was added (see download link below) and a Color Fill in Green was clipped to add the color to the overlay. My vertical text was the Orial font with a Stroke Layer Style using a green stroke color and an Inner Shadow using a dark brown color at size 7 px. That’s it!
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The bottom texture overlay is one of my favorites from Shadowhouse Creations called MO8-2012-5 and the beautiful Rockinghorse Santa png overlay is also from him. The Merry Christmas brush is from Obsidian Dawn’s Christmas Vectors Brush Set with a red Inner Glow layer style. Next my Snow 2 Overlay (download below) was added at 68% opacity. I love the vintage feel of this image.
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I want to recognize the wonderful sites used to create these overlays and give you their resource links so you can make some of your own. See my blog How to Create Personal Overlays for Your Images for steps on how to create your own overlays and for steps on how to add these already created overlays to your images.

  • Snow1 and Snow2 Overlays: The Snow Overlay was created using the instructions from the December 2012 Photoshop User Magazine article by Bert Monroy (this guy is incredible!) called Let It Snow. Pretty simple to follow except I had to add more Gaussian Blur to get the effect I wanted.

****DOWNLOAD LINK FOR MY HOLIDAY OVERLAYS USED IN THIS BLOG****

I hope you enjoy the overlays. These are really fun to do. If you like the way an overlay looks in certain colors, follow Steps 5 and 6 in the Basic Section in my Overlay blog and save it down as a color version – creating an overlay in black and white just makes it easier to change the colors each time you use it. In the meantime you are welcome to use the ones I posted on my Deviant Art site – this is a good starting point. Now get busy and make some beautiful cards!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template
Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template Using Photoshop Elements
Free Christmas Card Vectors and Brushes
Some Holiday Cheer
How to Create Personal Overlays for Your Images


Happy Holidays from Digital Lady Syd!

Since the season is upon us, I have decided to present a few of my favorite holiday creations. For resource and technique details, see information listed at end.

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Image Details:
1. Used the tutorial “Christmas Night Magic scene with flying Santa”  for initial direction – very easy to follow and lots of fun to create; Snow images Frozen Landscape and a different Frozen Landscape from Stock.xchng; my own sky Belarusian sky image; Santa sleigh in Christmas Brushes by Fina; Snow Drops brush by Frostbo (my favorite brush for realistic falling snow); BB’s Fogs & Mists brush #3; and the Fonts are  Old Script and an old Cosmi Font I bought years ago called 41. The images were transformed and blended using a layer mask to get the look above. OnOne PhotoFrame Acid Brn Controlled 05 was applied – (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link).
2. Some of my favorite pictures have been made of these beautiful pink and white tulips I bought this year at the grocery store. This image uses three free textures all by Shadowhouse Creations – Aged and Distressed Vintage 1, Oil Painting 3, and Attic Treasures Creative Texture 7. All his textures are beautiful and he has great tutorials on how to combine the many textures. The first texture was added into a layer mask by opening up the texture in it own document, CTRL +A and CTRL+C to select and copy the texture; ALT+Click on the layer mask to make the layer white; and CTRL+V to place the image into the layer mask. The other two textures were added above and a layer was added with the Snow Drops brush by Frostbo.
3. I guess I was really into Santa sleighs this year??? Very simple image that started with the Bright Christmas Texture by Graphix1 where the color was changed into a darkish blue to appear like a night image using a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer; BB’s Fogs & Mists brush #12; my SJ-Cloud brushes; my SJ-Mountain brushes; Snow Drops brush by Frostbo; Santa sleigh in Christmas Brushes by Fina; Moon brush by Hawksmont; Font is Fantaisie Artistique (my favorite); the pattern used on Santa and it’s sleigh was added in the Pattern Overlay using Pattern 23 from Obsidian Dawn’s Grunge and Dirty Patterns; and Bevel and Emboss and Drop Shadow layer styles were added to the text layers. OnOne’s PhotoFrame Dave Cross 01 was added as a border (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link).
4. This image first appeared in my “Free Calendar Template for Use with Elements” blog. The image is the top of the Standard Life building in Jackson, Mississippi. The gradient used is from Gorgeous Gradients – PrimaveraII, and the snow is a very useful snow brush called Snow Drop by Frostbo. The lettering on the building is called Kingsthings Christmas font, the Flying Santa Sleigh is by Fina, the fog was created using Sampled Brush #3 and #12 from Brushes Fogs and Mists, the green Christmas Tree and Icicles are in Obsidian Dawn’s Holiday set, and the icy edges are an OnOne PhotoFrame Taufer Texture 08 frame ((see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link). I have to admit this image was a bit of a challenge but I really liked the final effect.

5. A tutorial called “Glossy Snow Globe Text Effect” was the inspiration for this image. I used the layer styles and brushes from the tutorial along with my SJ-Cloud brushes on a light to darker blue gradient for the background. OnOne PhotoFrame grunge 15 was applied. It is not hard to do, but it takes some time to create the brushes and styles.
6. This image was posted in my “Christmas Card from Digital Lady Syd!” blog which contains all the resources and information for this rather complicated card.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and takes time to enjoy the time with friends and family!…..Digital Lady Syd!


Playing in Photoshop!

This week I am taking a break from my usual blog topics. Instead I am just going to post a few of the images I created while trying out some of my own blog techniques. I hope you get some new ideas from viewing them.


I added a couple of textures to this image to get the soft vintage look – one an Ash Texture (these textures are no longer available but see my more recent blog “Adding a Texture for Flair!” for other texture sites) and one from OnOne Software’s PhotoFrames. This beautiful egret was taken at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery in May, a really good place to visit in Spring if you like to take pictures of birds.

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Created this image by using Caleb Kimbrough’s beautiful Summer8 texture (he has a vast assortment of really nice textures and most are free – please check them out), the Tranquility Brushes by wyckedBrush, and my SJ-Cloud Brushes.
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I loved this building in Jackson, Mississippi. It was perfect for an HDR effect (used Image ->Adjustments -> HDR Toning in Photoshop CS5 on a single image) A wonderful action called “Vintage Effect – Ps Actions – by photoshop-stock” was applied afterwards to give this nice vintage feel. (This site has a number of nice actions and textures – great resource!)
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I wish I had a fisheye lens, but since I do not, I used Topaz Lens Effects selecting the Fisheye Lens effect with the Extreme Fisheye preset on this Palm Tree in Palm Beach Gardens in Florida. See my blog on “Topaz Lens Effects Plug-in” for more information on this fun plug-in.
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More fun with text – used gradient, cloud layers using cloud brushes (can download my SJ-Cloud Brushes set here) and my blog on “How to Add Images to Text” to do this.
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The image above was taken in Phoenix, Arizona at the Desert Botanical Gardens. I used mixer brushes (see my blog “Adobe Photoshop CS5’s Mixer Brushes” and followed a tutorial on Sandstorms in the book called “Digital Painting Techniques!,” which is loaded with tutorials from various designers making all kinds of special effects.
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Here is a composite of images I pulled from a video I took of the fireworks at Flagler Beach for the 4th of July celebration (video below). See my blog, “Faking Fireworks” for tips on how to create this look.
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I hope you liked some of my “Playing in Photoshop” creations – it is just so much fun to make these images. Take some time out and just explore something new – may give you a whole new perspective on what you can achieve! Enjoy…..Digital Lady Syd


How to Create Photoshop Brushes from Objects or Text

I keep finding cool brushes and started wondering how to make them.  Lots of times they are not of the quality or the look I want. In this post I want to go over what can be done with your own images to create really nice paintbrushes and how to save them so you can find them easily. This all began last week when I was catching up on my Photoshop User TV videos – Corey Barker, one of the Photoshop Guys, came up with this really simple way to make a Lens Flare Brush in Episode 259. It was a short tutorial – the blooming oleander tree image below is how it turned out.  The text tutorial was by Dave Cross in Photoshop User TV video Episode 258.

The most important thing to know about Photoshop brushes is that they are all created in black and white – anything that is white in the image will not show up in your final brush (it is transparent), all that is black shows up clearly, and anything in gray tones shows up partially.

Creating a Brush Document:  Before starting to make a brush, first create a New Document in Photoshop – the all important size issue needs to be addressed here. BittBox, in a great little article called “How to Make a Photoshop Brush” stated that it is best to make your brushes as large as you can and reduce the size later when using the brush.  Since CS2, you can make the size as large as 2500 pixels each direction.  Therefore, in the New Document dialog, set up the width and height to 2500 pixels at a resolution of 300 (this creates a high resolution brush), Color Mode Grayscale, 8 bit mode, and White background. Save and name this document (Brush) so you can use it again anytime you want to create a new brush. Grayscale is used for a color mode since defining a brush automatically creates it as a grayscale brush.

Here’s how to create a good brush.

  1. In Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw, open an image that has an object you want to make into a brush.  For my example, I will use a cloud from one of my images. Crop to create a rough selection around your object, it does not have to be a square. In my case it will be one of the clouds used in the image below.
  2. There are many ways to adjust the contrast to create a good brush. I found that by first putting my image into black and white in Lightroom and then adjusting the sliders mainly in the Basic Panel, a lot of definition in the object could be obtained. For the clouds below, the following sliders were used:  Blacks at 95, Contrast at +100, and Clarity set to +47. Experiment with all the sliders to get a major contrasty look – you want a really extreme black and white with lots of detail in the object.  It does not have to be perfect at this point. (Alternate method:  If you want to experiment, do not convert you object to Black and White in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw, but do this in Photoshop using any method you would like – Black and White Adjustment Layer, Image or or Image -> Adjustments -> Desaturate (as used in Corey’s tutorial above) or maybe a plug in like Nik Silver Efex Pro, for example. Just be sure that you either merge any adjustment layers down into just one black and white layer, or do a composite layer (turn off all the layers but the ones you want to composite and highlight the top layer – then CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E to create).
  3. Open your object in Photoshop to begin the final adjustments.
  4. Look at your image to see if it needs to be inverted so the details you want to appear in the brush are showing up in black. For my clouds, the image needed to be inverted so the clouds looked black and the background was white – otherwise the clouds would not show up in the brush, only the dark background since only black and gray tones create the brush. To invert the image, just CTRL+I or Image -> Adjustments -> Invert.  A Curves or Levels Adjustment Layer may need to be applied if the contrast and detail is somewhat lost with the inversion. Be sure to merge adjustment layer(s) down so there is only one black and white layer, or do a composite layer (turn off all the layers but the ones to be combined, then create composite by highlighting the top layer and CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E). (For my Mountain set, this step did not need to be done – see below to download.)
  5. Next clean up any extraneous edges you do not want in the brush. I used a soft edged brush and painted white at a fairly low opacity to reduce hard edges around my clouds to get rid of the the distinct sharp lines around the outside of the document.  This can be tricky, but if the final brush turns out a little off, just come back to this document and try again.  Save your document now so all your work does not accidentally disappear if further adjustments need to be made.
  6. If a brush document is not already created, make one now (as described in “Creating a Brush Document” section above).  Drag your black and white object layer into into your new brush document. Use the Free Transform (CTRL+T) to adjust to fit the document if it is comes in too large. With the Crop Tool cut any extraneous areas not needed in the brush.
  7. Now in the Brush Document, go to Image -> Define Brush Preset.  If the Define Brush Preset is ever grayed out, the brush is larger than the 2500 pixel maximum Photoshop allows.  This is why you move it to a new document. I had this happen with Corey’s Photoshop User tutorial referenced above. It has you create the brush in the original document (which I do not recommend doing because of this issue) – it took a while to figure this out.
  8. It is important to save your new brushes in a set so click on the Open Preset Manager icon (2nd icon from the left) at the bottom of the Brush Presets Panel. In the Preset Type field, be sure Brushes is showing.  Now select your new brushes in the table by ALT+clicking on each one to highlight, and click the Save Set button. In Explorer, make sure you are in your Brushes folder in Photoshop to make it easy to keep track of where they are on your computer. (On a PC, it is located at User Name -> AppData -> Roaming -> Adobe -> Adobe Photoshop CS5 ->Presets -> Brushes.)  Name the .abr file, in my case SJ-Clouds.abr. I use my initials first so I can find them quickly in the fly out list when I want to choose them later. The brushes can now be loaded anytime by going to the Brushes Preset Panel and clicking on the fly out menu (the little arrow to the left of the Done button) and clicking on the brush set name. If brushes are present that you do not want in your set, you can Alt+Click them to delete the brushes and resave the set. This trick also works in the Brush Presets Panel – just highlight the brush name and ALT+click to delete. I found I had way too many brushes – some I use all the time and some I do not. I created a Favorite Cloud set, for example, by adding all my cloud sets into the Brush Presets Panel, appending each so I had a full list of the cloud brushes.  Next eliminate the brushes you do not use much (CTRL+click) and go to the Preset Manager to save as “My Favorite Clouds” set. (Be sure to CTRL+A to select all the brushes so they all appear in the set). Keep the original cloud brush sets in a folder called Extra Brushes so they can still be used by clicking Load Brushes in the Brush Preset Panel’s fly out and navigate to the folder if you need them. This has reduced the size of my brush list considerably.

For the image below, the sky was just a flat clear blue. To get the pretty cloud effect, I used three of the brushes I created using three different images. Two new layers were added and just one dab of each brush was used over the sky area. Then I erased out what I did not want to use and set the layers to Screen blend mode at different opacities to get this effect. I think it is a realistic look. The clouds can be set where you want them for effect. If you would like to see an example of some nice cloud brushes, here is a link to some very beautiful clouds that I also use often called by Clouds by Rubina119 (see my “Adobe Photoshop CS5’s Mixer Brush” blog’s last image). Click link to download my 12 cloud brushes called SJ-Cloud Brush Set.

Text can also used to make a brush and used as a repeated pattern in an image. Using the steps above, but creating a much smaller sized brush, the image below uses text layers repeating the word “daisies.” Each layer used a different size and color to create the receding type effect.

I feel the hard-working people who create so many of the wonderful resources should be given credit for their work. The brushes I did not create but used on this photo include:  the bright purple daisy is a beautiful brush from Texturemate and can be downloaded here and one of their grunge brushes was used on a layer to add texture. This site has a lot of very nice resources for your images; and a texture from Caleb Kimbrough‘s set called Color Grunge Texture, texture no. 295, and BittBox‘s Ice and Snow Textures – Ice Texture bluer (I could not find these two textures still available on the internet). BittBox has several other beautiful textures available on their Flickr account. Also, the font is my favorite Fantaisie Artistique that can be downloaded for free from daFont.com.



One of the really cool free programs I came across is called abrMate that allows you to view all the brushes inside a set before adding them to your Photoshop brushes. I use this little program all the time since I like to download interesting brushes.  Here is the link under the abrMate download section.  If the program comes up with a Brush Reading Issue dialog that says “Issue Reading brush file, file may be protected.”, it is because the brush was saved as a 16 bit file – when the brush is selected in Photoshop’s Brush Presets Panel, it can be used but it shows a 16 in the top right of the brush icon. The size of the thumbnail can be adjusted and the name of the brush can be displayed by clicking on the top menu Settings. Below is an example of what the program looks like when open.


These beautiful free brushes are from Mel’s Easter Eggs set. The reason I am showing these is that this is another great example of how you can create nice brushes by making different parts to fit together. The decoration for the eggs fit exactly over the basic egg brush so different brushes can be stacked to create a very colorful design. See my blog on “The Incredible Editable Easter Egg” from a few weeks ago.


If you are interested, the following all totally free brushes were used in this image:  Two of the clouds from my cloud set you can download above, a mountain image brush set contains this mountain in Nevada from a trip last year, the flying bird brush and grasses and plants  are great sets from Obsidian Dawn (this site has some beautiful brushes and other resources), 20 people brushes by digitally present, trees from Larrydnjr, waterfall brushes from Midnightstouch and Redheadstock water brushes.  To finish off the image, in Nik Color Efex Pro a Custom Bi-Color preset was created using a blue tone on top and brown tone on the bottom to give a late in the day feel, and an OnOne PhotoFrame was added. I was surprised how realistic this image came out! There are some really nice brushes out there.

Well that should wrap it up for this blog this time. It was fun to learn so much about the basic object brush and I feel I can now make better brushes when I need them. I hope you learned some new tips too! See ya next time!….Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Just Plain Fun Brush Effects!
Create a Winter Scene with Photoshop Brushes and Textures
That Flaming Fire Brush!
Brushing up on Circles!


The Incredible Editable Easter Egg!

It is that time of year and Easter is just around the corner.  A few great resources are out there that might prove useful if you need to create a quick card or want to create a few pretty Easter eggs for the holiday. It turns out I am showing you three ways to make really colorful eggs using brushes, vectors, and/or custom shapes.

This image uses both free vector and brush downloads to get this effect. The four egg grouping on the right inside of the frame comes from a really nice set of Vector Easter Eggs from Vectorilla Illustrations – use the file named 1.eps (the vector format which puts eggs on a transparent layer). Please review the use rights and other nice items on this site. Just select with the Rectangular Marquee Tool or Lasso Tool the egg or egg grouping and copy it to its own layer. Copy this layer again and run my favorite plug in Kill White that I added to Adobe Pixel Bender – this gets rid of the white shadow look under the egg(s) and leaves nice illustration lines. Highlight the layer underneath and click on the “Lock transparent pixels” icon at top of Layer Panel so you do not have to be as careful with your painting. Paint in colors – I used the Round Blunt Stiff Brush in bright colors. When finished painting, I reduced the top illustration lines down to 62% opacity. Text can be added to the egg(s) – this font is Matisse (it may be on your computer already if you use Microsoft products). Create a layer composite (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and move this layer into a New Document. (I used the standard tutorial card settings of 1280 by 1029 pixels but set the resolution at 240 for printing.) Create a background by adding a New Layer on top of the white background layer. Paint a ground and sky with the Dry Brush Tip Light Flow brush from the default CS5 brush set. The purple egg on the right of the insert image is created using some beautiful Egg Brushes by Melsbrushes. See Step 5 in the tutorial below for more details on how to do this. Do check out his copyright info and look at his other brushes – very nice quality.  The Easter Bunny font by Dieter Steffmann can be downloaded here. A soft yellow Outer Glow Layer Style was added to put yellow around the letters. A new layer was added above the eggs to paint in a little green grass over the bottom edges of the eggs so they look like they are in the grass. The final touch was the Easter frame from OnOne PhotoFrames.

For the rabbit card I tried an Adobe Tutorial’s technique called “Easter Cards.” – they spent a long time making the eggs but there are faster ways of accomplishing this as shown in the first example. If you want to learn how to make some very pretty effects on the Easter Eggs, continue with their tutorial. My template card may be downloaded without doing the following steps by clicking here.  (This is for your use only – please do not redistribute and please credit the sites below if you use in another publication.) To create my card, here are the steps to use (this example also uses vectors and brushes for the eggs):

1.  First decide on an image to add to your card – the rabbits were from three different images that I added together using layer masks and adjusting the colors with a Selective Color Adjustment Layer. A Nik Color Efex Pro filter called User Defined Bi-Color using a dark blue color for the top and gold for the bottom was added to make the image more vibrant.  Points were placed on each of the rabbits so their actual fur color was not altered.  These rabbits with the huge ears are from the beautiful Old Village of Ayaymku in Belarus.

2.  Create a New Document – I used the same settings as stated above as in the first image.

3.  Duplicate the background layer and with the Gradient Tool, select a pleasing gradient – this one started with a lighter to darker yellow radial gradient. Next a texture called Watercolor 22 by SadMonkeyDesign (check out his site – he has many free beautiful watercolor textures) was added. Create a New Layer to paint a little more texture on the background using  the Grunge Paint Brushes by Melsbrushes – the texture brush and texture2 brush with two colors of green.

4.  Copy image into your card.  To just create a template, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to create  a rectangle the size of your standard image and CTRL+J to place it on its own layer. This layer will serve as a placeholder to indicate where to add in the image. A dotted frame was created easily by duplicating either placeholder layer, or image (CTRL+click on the image thumbnail to select it and filling with with white).  Go to the Brush Panel and select the Hard Edge Round Brush at 15 pixels and 118% spacing.  Select a bright color and click in one corner of the white rectangular, then go to the corner and SHIFT+Click again – a line of dots will appear.  If the spacing is off, adjust in the Brush Panel to fit. Add to all edges to create simple framing. Next go to Adobe Pixel Bender and select Kill White – only the colored dots appear. These can now be transformed to adjust to image.

5.  To make the front egg, create a New Layer. Use Sample Brush 3 from Egg Brushes from Melsbrushes, which is your basic egg, and make one brush stroke with a bright color. Next select a new color and a new brush – in this case Sample Brush 4 and Sample Brush 8 were added on top of the original egg stroke. It produced this beautiful yellow, pink and green egg in no time all! Many different eggs can be made and what a time-saver! Next I took the settings from the tutorial for the Inner Shadow Layer Style. Use an angle of -63, Distance of 35 pixels and Size of 55 pixels. This gave a nice shadow and edge to the egg. Free Transform (CTRL+T) to adjust and line up your egg.

6.  To create the two eggs in back, the vector technique was used. From the fancy eggs sheet file called 4.eps from Vector Illustrations – the Vector Easter Eggs,  just do the same steps as in the first image – use Rectangular Marquee Tool or Lasso Tool to select the egg you want to use, and CTRL+J to put it on its own layer.  Select the small white (shadow) area under the eggs using the Quick Selection Tool and Backspace to delete it, or just use the Eraser Tool if you want.  Next drag your new egg layer from the vector document underneath the Step 5 egg (by highlighting the layer in the card where the new egg should be placed in the Layers Panel, the dragged layer will go above it).  Free Transform (CTRL+T) the egg to make it the same size as the other egg and rotate.  Do this step again for the third egg. These eggs look great but may not look so good if blown up to a large size. Copy down the Inner Shadow Layer Style from the Step 5 egg – SHIFT+click the fx icon on the far right of the layer and drag it down to copy.  Another really easy way to get a great result quick!

7.  Add a little grass with the default Photoshop brush called Grass 134 by painting under the eggs to give them something to rest on.

8.  The same technique was used to create the eggs in the background as in Steps 5 and 6.  This time use the groupings of eggs on the 4.eps sheet.  When placed on their own layer, add a Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer to create a soft solid color for the background images. Merge the two layers to create a one color layer and drag above the painted texture layer.  Do this as many times as you want to add eggs – be sure they are on separate layers so you can move them and transform them to fit your image.

9.  Add some Easter text.  These cute little bunnies are a free font called Bizzy Bunny by Beeline.

10.  The last step was to add some kind of frame.  This one contains a nice frame from OnOne PhotoFrames.  I love this plug in – almost always use them on every image.  Easy to use and many, many choices.

Hope I did not lose you here – it really is not that hard to do. I found it totally fascinating making the eggs with the brushes – how easy to do and yet they are so unique with all the color and brush combinations that can be used.

As an aside, there are some pretty basic Easter template cards by Rock the Shot – three can be downloaded for free from their Facebook page if you want to send pictures of the kids to family. I am not going to show them here but check them out.

This last image was just total fun – had to create more eggs!  (This one uses all three techniques – brushes, custom shapes and/or vectors for its eggs.) I wanted to get that delicious feel of chocolate eggs in this image too so I resurrected the scanned filmstrip that I posted two blogs ago to make this effect. (For more information on filmstrips, see my blogs on Filmstrip Fun and More Filmstrip Fun – How Can This Be.)  I created a New Document and brought in my filmstrip (delete the white areas on the layer by going to the Kill White plug in as referenced above).  Now you can start making eggs and bringing them into the document – Free Transform (CTRL+T) to make them fit.

  • EGG One – Was created using some Egg Custom Shapes by the psd-Dude . Using these shapes is very easy and they give a beautiful look to the eggs. Create a New Layer above the Background layer and select the Custom Shape Tool. In the Shape pop-out on the Options Bar, load the new egg custom shapes. Find a pleasing color and use the solid colored egg to start. Next a Gradient Overlay Layer Style was added first – I created one that went from pink to bright yellow. Add an Inner Glow set to Opacity 100% and Size 13 pixels, and Inner Shadow set to Angle (-90), Distance 26, and Size 81 pixels. These settings were taken from a very nice tutorial that shows how to actually create the custom egg shape at the  psd-Dude site and is called “Drawing an Easter Egg in Photoshop“.  Create a New Layer above your basic shape and select a different Foreground color.  To add a different shape on top of your first shape – drag a new shape out and to make it fit, hold SHIFT to maintain the aspect ratio and use the SPACEBAR to adjust egg shape on top of the first shape. Turn off the background layer and merge the shape layers. This layer can now be dragged into the filmstrip document.
  • EGG Two – This beautiful bunny egg was downloaded from the Dry Icons site – it is in a vector format and can be downloaded here.  Please look at their licensing information before using.  This is another really nice site to visit.  Just used a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to change color to purple, then selected the bunny with the Quick Selection Tool and copied him to his own layer.  Added yellow to the bunny and created a composite on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) to put it all on one layer.  Now drag into the filmstrip and adjust.
  • EGG Three – I call this my Vintage Egg.  It was created by selecting a basic egg from Vectorilla file eps.3 and then adding a Watercolor texture to the egg. Just bring in a texture you like and clip it to the egg (Layer – Clipping Layer Mask).  it shows up on the egg only. Next I added an Easter Eggs from Pehaa brush using Egg 1 in dark blue. Then I duplicated this layer and erased out the circling lines and left the round lines. Now add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Level and clip it to this layer as shown above.  Make the Hue a different color and adjust the Saturation and Lightness to get the color you want. Do a Layer Composite on top. Use the Quick Selection Tool to select the white background and BACKSPACE to delete. Drag this layer into your Filmstrip image.
  • EGG Four – This egg was just like Egg One.  Just used a solid color instead of an Gradient Overlay Layer Style on original egg shape and used a different decoration shape on top.
  • EGG Five – This egg was created just like Egg Three without a texture. A Layer Style was added for a little definition:  Dark to Light yellow Gradient Overlay; an Inner Glow set to Opacity 100% and Size 13 pixels; and an Inner Shadow set to Angle (-90), Distance 26, and Size 81 pixels. (Same settings as in Egg One’s Layer Style.)

Some ground and sky texture was added to the eggs in the filmstrip using the Melsbrushes’ Grunge Paint Brushes (as before) – texture and texture2 brushes. Add a layer to put grass for the eggs to sit on. Put all the layers in a group except the background layer and call it Filmstrip. Right click on layer and select Duplicate Group from menu, and name Reflection Group.  With a CTRL+E, merge the group into a single layer.  Can now Transform (CTRL+T) and Flip Vertical. Add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer clipped to this layer using White as Foreground and Black as Background colors.  Create a New Layer set to Multiply blend mode above the Adjustment Layer (and also clipped to the Group Layer) and select a dark red color (7e2805) to get the Chocolate color for the eggs. I used an opacity of 74% for the layer. Create a background sky and brown ground just above the Background Layer using another favorite brush of mine, Cloud Brushes by Rubina119-Brush No. 8. The vintage bunny image at the end of the filmstrip is a brush from Bunny Love Brushes by charmedbyjessica – Hatted Bunny brush – scroll down to bottom of list for this one.  There are many wonderful Easter brushes at this site. The first download contains the type brush for the sky from Ruthenia and can be downloaded here.  Create a layer composite on top and add a frame – I used another one from OnOne PhotoFrame.

That is finally it!  Wow – should have been two posts as I did not realize how many cool resources were out there for Easter.  Hope you find some of these sites useful and enjoy creating some fun eggs for the holiday!  Until next time, Enjoy!