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Textures

HOW TO USE A SPATTER BRUSH FOR A BACKGROUND EFFECT


Image of a Lily

The image above is an example of what I like to do with a spatter (or splatter) brush in Photoshop. It can really pull an image together when it is lacking some interest. Thought I would show you a couple ways to get this nice effect and where to find the brushes to do it. I got this idea from watching an “oldie-but-goodie” video by Mark J. Johnson, one of my favorite Photoshop people from years ago – I have not been able to find any of his more recent material. The video is called Photoshop Workbench 418: Paint Splatter Border Effect from 2014. He is using a brush from Lisa Carney, another one of my favorites – he does not give you the brush, which has more of a splatter look to it, but you can see what it looks like and the settings he used. These are the settings I used on some of my brushes from various resources.. 
Image of a Sand Cat at the Smithsonian Washington DC Zoo

So lets start with this tiny adorable Sand (Desert) Cat image taken at the Smithsonian Washington DC Zoo. It was not a great shot as it was he was inside a building with poor light and was moving a lot, but his face was well focused. By adding some interest to the background, the overall moving effect could be blended in with a spatter brush. So after doing some initial clean up, it was time to add some spatter marks.

Finding the Brushes

This image used the Splashy brush in Kyle Webster’s Spatter Brush set. To find the spatter brushes, open the Brush Panel (I usually just press F5 and it opens up along with the Brush Settings Panel) – just click on the little “hamburger” icon in the top right corner of the panel. In the pop-out menu, there is a choice called “Get More Brushes” – that is where Kyle has all his brushes for you to download. Once the website is opened, you will see a New Release Summer 2020 Brushes at the top – the Lily image uses the Spladoosh Variant brush from this set. Scroll down and find a group called Spatter brushes – download them – to add them to PS, can just double click on the spatter.abr file – they will load in as a group at the bottom of your brush panel. (Even if PS is closed, it will open up PS and add them in.) Scroll down the group list until you see the Splashy brush.

Adding a Spatter Layer

For the cat image, a New Layer was added and the Splashy was selected. Just dabbed around until an effect was created. In this case, no texture was added first. No changes were made to the Splashy brush but it should be noted that it is set to “Multiply” blend mode in the Options bar which appears to give the brush a much softer lighter stroke effect in this case. If it is switched to Normal, marks have more emphasis on the dark and light aspects of the brush tip itself. Also for this image the actual spatter brush layer was set to Linear Burn at 72% Layer Fill. A Color Lookup Table using a Cerulean Blue preset from PhotoFocus was used to get the overall image color effect.

The Tilde (~) Keyboard Shortcut

New with the November 2019 update of PS 2020, the tilde key (~) key acts as an eraser – so when you paint with a brush, pressing the Tilde key will erase using the exact same brush with the same settings, not the brush selected in the Eraser Tool. This can be quite useful for blending when the brush is set to a lower flow or opacity – it will remove just a reduced amount of the stroke. You can use this in a layer mask to create soft blended edges.

Also, press the Tilde key (~) and the right arrow (->) key to rotate the brush tip clockwise. Use the left arrow key (<-) to rotate counterclockwise. Add the SHIFT key and it will change the Angle in 15 degree amounts. I really love this key – it has made it a lot easier to paint in PS.
Image of a group of Flamingos called Flamboyance

Using Spatter Brushes in a Layer Mask on a Texture Layer

In the Flamingo image, Spatter Brush 139 in a free set called Abstract Paint Brushes by Darrian Lynx was used – the settings in the Brush Panel were: Shape Dynamics Size Jitter 31%, Control Pen Pressure, and Angle Jitter 100%; Transfer Opacity Jitter 29%, Control Pen Pressure and Minimum 48%; and increase size to 1158 pixels. On one of my painted textures a layer mask was added and the above brush was used to paint out the center with black for a border effect. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), Luminar 4 (for website link, see sidebar of my Tidbits Blog)was opened and several “looks” were applied to soften up the edges of the painted spatter border to give a sort of dreamy feel to the image.

The top image of the Lily used a brush from Kyle’s new Summer 2020 Brushes set called Sladoosh Variant. This brush is set to Normal blend mode at 30% opacity for this image and no changes were made to the brush settings. The Tilde keyboard shortcut was used a lot to get the effect around the blossoms that I wanted.

Brush marks can be combined on different layers and set to different opacities to make new spatter brushes. Also several different layers set to different layer opacities or blend modes using different brushes can be stacked above the image to create some great effects. And don’t forget to try different textures with different blend modes to get some interesting results. It is really a lot of fun to do this. Have a great week and start looking at those spatter brushes!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO GET A SOFT TEXTURED FLOWER EFFECT


Image of an orange Bird of Paradise plant

In the process of reorganizing my office so have not done a lot of Photoshop. But I did recently enjoy one of my favorite texture people, Kim Klassen, blogs and some of her really nice give-aways. She also is a Lightroom expert but her textures have always been great for that soft subtle look. Most of her looks are with florals and of very peaceful surroundings. Sign up for her newsletter and she will give you some great textures. Also a Jai Johnson texture was  used (see more on this below) and her textures are a favorite for me, especially with my animal images.

For the above image, Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Sharpen AI was applied on a duplicate layer. The spotlight effect was added to bloom and leaves (see my How to Add a Spot of Light blog to do this) to draw the eye to the focal point. To further sharpen the bloom only, a High Pass filter was added with a black mask – painted back only what needed a little more sharpening. Chris Spooner’s Wood Grain Texture 01 png was added next and the plant was painted out in a layer mask so the grain only affected the background. (These are really nice textures and are a free download – check out Chris’s site for lots of free goodies.) A Selective Color Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT+click between the layers to clip) to add the blue color to the wood grain.  A texture by Jai Johnson at Daily Textures called Watercolor Experiment was set to Vivid Light at 20% layer opacity. This was a free give-away from Jai – if you sign up for her newsletter she will give you several great textures. Her specialty is creating natural textures that look great with animal images. Jai also has some great tutorials at her site for adding animals into her textures which is a lot of fun.

Now Kim Klassen’s Mocha stamp brush was used to soften the whole image down – this was a free give-away this month and is in her Dry Brush Stamps set. Set it to 43% and did just one stamp down. Kim’s Minimay grunge frame was added with a layer mask and everything but the frame was painted out. The texture was set to Pin Light at 83% layer opacity. Another Selective Color Adjustment Layer was clipped to the frame to adjust the color for a very rusty effect. The last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer to add back some contrast.

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Image of Pink Pentas in my Yard
This is more of a real Kim Klassen “look” compared to the top image. This also was a much simpler workflow. On a duplicate layer converted to a Smart Object, the Camera Raw filter was opened and the Calibration Panel was opened to add a little more pink back into the flowers – it really improved the color. This is one of Kim’s tricks when she is processing her images – a great way to remove some greens if they are overdone or not quit the right color. I brought a butterfly image taken at the Butterfly Rain Forest to just add a little interest – this orange beauty was turned into purple to fit in subtlety. Wish there really was a purple butterfly like this – to soften those edges a little, put an Inner Glow on it (compositing trick learned from Matt Kloskowski) – set your blend mode to Normal and sample color from image for swatch. Clip a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to butterfly layer to change its color. On a new layer another free brush set from Kim called Edged Stamp (used 2) was selected – just clicked once – it gave a beautiful textured look. On top another Kim Klassen texture called Paper and Grit 2 was added (this is from a set I got several years ago but I believe she still sells it – these are really beautiful textures). This one was sort of a concrete look but in a light beige color and was set to Soft Light blend mode at 100% layer opacity.

The last step is pretty nifty – very similar to my Spotlight Effect, but this time Unmesh Dinka did a One Trick to Add Light or Shine to Anything in Photoshop video that shows how to add some shine to any object. That is what was done on this image to just slightly pop the flowers. I actually created a simple action to do this as I found this technique really helpful – just need to create the brush first so it can selected in the action.

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Digital Art of some flowers
Just another example of a Kim Klassen’s effect. This time the steps in her A Start to Finish Quote Art Photoshop Video Tutorial were followed using her mostly-subtle stamp brushes that are available on the site. It was a lot of fun to do. The flowers are from Vector Huts Globe Flowers – 40 Plant III No. 4 which were free a while back.The outside frame is from Jai Johnson and is called Chaos Frame Border. The dark lines were selected using Color Range and a layer mask added – you want the dark areas to appear as white in the mask. It was one of her give-aways from December. That was all that was done.

If you want to get some nice textures to tryout, get on both Kim’s and Jai’s mailing lists – they are super about giving you samples to try out and their textures are absolutely fabulous! Have a good week…..Digital Lady Syd


ENJOYING A LITTLE RELAXATION WITH SOME TEXTURE FUN

Image of a Bonobo Monkey from the Jacksonville Zoo
Taking it a little easy time this week and decided to show this Bonobo Monkey (link describes difference between the Bonobo Monkeys and Chimpanzees) from the Jacksonville Zoo totally enjoying himself in the warmth of the day on his blanket and having a good chuckle. The technique used was partially from a webinar that Matt Kloskowski gave last week called Texture Photo Challenge – Hands On. Since Matt has a Wildlife Tutorial Blending course for sale on this, the Webinar does not seem to available anymore. Matt used some different techniques and brushes – I like mine so that is okay since I have a little different way of doing this. I will say that he starts with very basic Photoshop steps so even a beginner can follow. And Matt’s videos are always a lot of fun to watch. Here is the one tip I will give: download from DeviantArt this free set of brushes by Coyotemange called Wildlife Texture Brushes – they are great for painting in missing areas of fur on all kinds of animals, and by making them smaller, nice sharp edges can be made. I have used these brushes for all kinds of animal images – by adjusting the color dynamics, size, angle, etc., almost every kind of fur issue can be fixed.

Below is a Ring-Tailed Lemur that had posed nicely at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Rookery and was featured in my Tidbits Blog last year. Used the same brushes and similar technique.

Image of a Ring-tailed Lemur at the St. Augustine Animal Farm in Florida

Hope everyone is getting a good opportunity to watch some new techniques to use in Photoshop. I have been learning about Luminosity Masks from Jimmy McIntyre and Luminosity Selections from Steve Arnold, some macro techniques from Mike Moats and shooting some new ways from Denise Ippolito, creating clouds from Glyn Dewis (this was fun to do), and adding ethereal glows to landscapes by Mark Denny – all these people have fabulous YouTube sites or blogs and their photography is excellent. I’ve definitely got a lot of new things to try out. Have a great week…….Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Getting the Joe Sartore Look on Your Zoo Images


HOW TO CREATE A TEXTURE BRUSH TO MATCH A TEXTURE

Image of a Blue Morpho Butterfly
Creating a brush to match a texture might not need to be used on every image, but there are times is can be really handy to have, especially if the texture has a very obvious texture. In the Blue Morpho Butterfly image above, it created a very nice painterly effect to place on top of the subject. Thought I would write a very short blog on how to do this as it took me a few minutes to figure it out. Maybe I can save you a bit of time when you need one.

The beautiful texture I was using is one by Melissa Gallo called Bowl of Roses Canvas and it comes with her older Painting with Photoshop Workshop (this is still an excellent class if you are serious about learning to paint in PS and she provides lots of extras). The butterfly looked really strange lying on top of the texture I liked so by creating the brush with a similar texture, the edges and new color could be added to the butterfly to blend it in nicely.

So this is how the brush was created:

1. While still in my document with the texture added, the Circular Marque Tool was used to make a small selection on a part of the texture that looked particularly nice.

2. Press CTRL+J to place it on its own layer above the texture.

3. Turn off all the other layers so only the circular texture can be seen.

4. Select the Gradient Tool set to Black/White in the swatches and drag out from middle to lightly fade the edges of the brush.

5. Go to Edit -> Define Brush. My brush was named SJ Round Texture Bowl of Roses.

6. As the brush looks right now, it is not very good. Need to open the Brush Settings Panel so that a few variables can be added. In the brush above, only two sections were changed. In the Brush Tip Shape section, the Spacing was set to 70% so you can see the texture. Then the Textures section was adjusted as shown on the left below. Pretty Actions Antique is the pattern used – this will blend with the texture in the brush. Try different patterns that will give different results. A variation of the brush which enhanced the spatter that was in the pattern more is shown in the brush settings on the right side. Same brush but slightly different settings tipping the texturing in the brush more towards the pattern and less the original texture. Note that the pattern’s Invert box is checked for this brush.

7. Once you are happy with your settings, be sure to resave the brush by clicking on the plus icon at the bottom of the Brush Settings and the Brushes Panels.

Screenshot for Texture Brush used in blog
Screenshot of the variable brush for blog

That is all there is to it. Of course the different sections can be added to the brush to a really special look you want, but it is a really easy and fun way to create these brushes. The strokes were applied on their own layer above the butterfly so that the opacity and blend mode could be adjusted. In this case, the blend mode was left set to Normal and at 100% opacity.

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Two birds at the Jacksonville Zoo
These two birds (not sure what kind they are but appear to be a type of duck) were not fighting, but seemed to be buddies (or mating possibly). Anyway I thought the connected beaks was sort of interesting as far as birds go. The image was also post processed the same as the butterfly image above. First selected the birds from their background, found a texture to put behind them (in this case it was a free Shadowhouse Creations Nov 2014-7 texture) and then a brush was created from the texture using the above steps. Changes were made to the brush settings with the spacing to 139% (to avoid patterning), Angle Jitter 50% (to avoid pattern repetition), and Orchid Pattern (4) from Jessica Johnson set to Scale 249% (again to avoid patterning – this was a freebie from one of her newsletters), Brightness -1, Contrast 7, Mode Multiply, Depth 84 and Depth Jitter 16. In the Options Bar the Smoothing was set 12% – this seems to make the brush move smoother. Two brushes were made – one at 234 pixels and one at 900 pixels, which was used with a rust color on the background to add in some color over the texture. Then on a New Layer above the birds, the smaller brush was used at a 30% opacity to paint a soft beige over some of the edges of the birds. One of Jessica Johnson’s Pattern Stamps (see my blog link on this below) was used to paint in the blue-green clumps of grass between the birds (using her The Masters 52 pattern). Two Color Lookup Adjustments Layers were added (Foggy Night preset at 64% and a free Sparklestock Bleak Spire 02 preset at 28%) – Color Lookup Adjustments can really pull the color of an image together.

I had written on this subject 6 years ago but it is still a fun technique to use and it really helps keep the texture flowing on the edges of a subject. It is also a nice way to add other colors and texture to a background for a more unique effect. Hope you give it a try – it is so much fun to make brushes! And hope everyone stays healthy this Spring. It is is a great time to enjoy Photoshop and learn a few new things – I know that is my plan!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:

How to Paint with a Texture Brush from Your Image
What About the Pattern Stamp Tool? Not So Bad!


USING A COLOR FILL ADJUSTMENT LAYER AS A SUBTLE SPOTLIGHT EFFECT

Image of Philippine Ground Orchids from the Big Island in Hawaii
This week I am combining a couple older blog tips written a while back but are still very useful. This technique I frequently use in my everyday post-processing and it is especially useful for directing a viewer’s eye subtlety.

I am using this orchid image as an example of how you can use a Color Fill Adjustment Layer as a subtle spotlight to direct the eye in the image but with a color vignette feel. I processed this image using the free Adobe Texture Pro Panel (it was called Russell Brown’s Paper Texture Panel – check out my blog Russell Brown’s Paper Texture Panel – A Real Winner!). Flypaper’s Apple Blush Texture (included with the panel) was set to Hard Light Blend Mode at 71% Opacity and gave the image a very greenish look but with that great canvas texture.  The Muscatel Texture (also included) was added next and set to Overlay Blend Mode at 29% Opacity to slightly darken the image and add some orange tones. Since I felt like the green was still a little overwhelming, a Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer was added – a royal blue color was selected and set to 54% Opacity. In the Adjustment Layer’s white Layer Mask, a very soft large brush was set to 15% opacity and with black set as the color, the blue color was gently painted off some of the orchids to give the subtle spotlight effect, from the light green image tones underneath, that will direct the eye. Try setting the Adjustment Layer to different blend modes – I tried Saturation set to a low opacity and it looked great on this image also. This is a cool little trick if you need to draw the eye into a certain part of an image and works very well with flower images. I also like adding my own colors into an image.

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This next example came from one of my longer posts called How to Use a Solid Color Adjustment Layer which contains steps on actually applying some beautiful color to an image. One of the sections is called “Use Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer to Add Some Localized Ambient Light to an Image” and does basically the same thing as the flower example.
Image of Porch in Savannah, Georgia, with Ambient Light from Solid Color Fill Adjustment LayerHere is a great example how using a Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer direct your eye in an image. This image of a porch in Savannah, Georgia, was taken in bright sunlight but it did not have that real translucent golden-hour feel to it. To get the warm fall look, a Selective Color Adjustment Layer was applied changing the Reds, Yellows, Greens, Neutrals and Blacks. In Viveza 2 the flowers were sharpened and saturation by adding control points. Next the Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer was added using the bright golden color #e7e148 and a black mask – just the leaves, flowers and gold fence tips were painted and set to Soft Light at 57% layer opacity. The layer mask was filled with black and only the leaves and flowers were painted back, thus directing the lighting effect to those areas. The final steps added a Levels Adjustment Layer for contrast and another Selective Color Adjustment Layer for a little more Yellow tone. The Solid Color Adjustment Layer added a very subtle effect to draw the eye towards the hanging flowers.

I hope this blog gave you something new to try by adding a spotlight or ambient effect to your images. I think I will use the Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layers more – the steps from my older blog (linked above) are still quite useful for adding great color into an image. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd


CREATING COMPOSITE IMAGES USING THE JULIEANNE KOST WORKFLOW

An image of a composite containing the ocean and a small island
I would imagine everyone who has Photoshop has run across the name Julieanne Kost – she is an Adobe Evangelist and attends most major events that showcase Photoshop. She really loves to use texture and recently created a short video on her blog called Happy Birthday Photoshop! to let you see how she puts here fine art composites together. I found this short video really interesting and thought I would give her style a try and share it with you. The above image was my first attempt.

I have always felt that composites are really fun to do, but it does require a bit of creativity to pull together several different elements into a meaningful result. The above image I named “Hope on the Horizon” as I wanted to depict a rather lonely feeling but with the moving clouds and birds, there is always activity and hope.

WORKFLOW:

Here is how I perceived her workflow – my own steps for the image above is in italics.

    1. First select an image that would work as a nice background for the image. This usually means there is a really nice ocean scene, or flat foreground grassy area and it may or may not have a horizon line. Just need something of interest to build your composite on.
      In the above, an image taken while sailing showing the clouds out over the ocean was used as a basis for the image.
    2. She will add a texture on top of the background layer sometimes. It is often necessary to desaturate the texture so it does not change the tone in the image so SHIFT+CTRL+U is used to desaturate it.
      On the image above, a Color Lookup Adjustment Layer using the Candlelight preset was added instead to reduce the color but not change the texture of the water at this time.
    3. Add in some elements – these can be brought in from anywhere. It can be helpful to select the items out of the image before copying them into your composite, but you do not have to – just add a layer mask to clean up what is being added.
      In the image above two images from PixelSquid (one of my favorite element places, but it is a membership site) using a sand and dunes element and a palm tree element. The dune contained the nice grass and weeds. The wood structure behind the tree was taken from another one of my images and just added in – used a layer mask to remove its background. Selective Color Adjustment Layers were used to adjust the color of the elements. Also added a New Layer and painted some small white and black flowers (scatter brush dots) in the weeds. And you may want to paint over the edges with a low opacity Regular brush or Smudge or Mixer brush to blend in elements.
    4. Used a fog brush to soften the horizon on a New Layer if you do not want it to be too noticable. Julieanne appears to soften the horizon a lot in her image.
      The brush used above was a cloud brush called Adonish CLOD3 from a free set by DanLuVisiArt on DeviantArt and does a great job with this – need to set the size of course.
    5. Next texture(s) need to be added – any number and try out different blend modes and and adjust layer opacity for each. Some may need to be desaturated and some may not – that is what makes it fun.
      Above two textures were applied: one from Melissa Gallo’s canvas collection called Dark Naples Yellow Canvas set to Overlay blend mode at 74% layer opacity and contains the strong yellow and green components, and one from the Adobe Texture Pro Panel called Villa Adriana – it was desaturated and set to Hard Light at 45% layer opacity.
    6. More elements can be added on top too.
      See the birds flying – they are also from PixelSquid but bird elements can be found all over the internet.
    7. Now the final steps need to be done. Usually a Curves or Levels Adjustment Layer need to be added to retain the  contrast lost by adding all the textures. Also any other masking or tweaking needs to be done to get your image just right.
      In the image above, Viveza was opened on a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and set to a Smart Object so it could be readjusted. The Camera Raw filter could have been used to do the same. The sliders were set to brighten up the whole image a little and add a little structure which was lost by adding all the texture. The last step involved adding a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer on top and reducing the saturation (-25) just a little as it was supposed to be a little darker than the happy yellow it currently was.

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    Image of a Sumatran Tiger
    This Sumatran Tiger from the Jacksonville Zoo is really not as mean as he looks (although I am not sure of this) – I wanted him to look like he was walking straight at you. Since there was a fence behind him, an element was created using some horizontal lines with a brush and adding some texture to the layer. So, yes, the original image and background of the tiger are the same, but many things were done that are similar to Julieanne’s type of image. A brush was created to paint in a warm orange texture around the lion but under the horizontal line layer. For instructions on how to do this, check out Envato’s tutorial called How to Create Photoshop Brushes from an Old Newspaper by Ivan Gromov. It was a lot of fun to do and the created brushes make nice texture layers. Two other texture layers were applied – Melissa Gallo’s Green Lake set to Overlay blend mode at 60% layer opacity and Trees in May set to 75% layer opacity. A High Pass layer was used to sharpen just his face (used a black layer mask and painted in just the face area). On top one of my own white textures was set at 75% Layer Opacity to give him a less sharp and bright overall appearance. A Levels Adjustment Layer was used to add back some contrast and that was about it.

    Julieanne has a class on compositing at Lynda.com for a fee. Her technique is pretty consistent if you watch her short video and she does create some really nice textured images. I hope you will give it a try since it is pretty fun to do and it is not a real hard workflow to master. Have a good week…..Digital Lady Syd

    DIGITAL LADY SYD RELATED BLOGS:
    How to Make a Basic Composite Image
    ReBlog – Get Inspired using Your Favorite Textures
    A Few Compositing Tips and Tricks! – Recycled
    A Flamingo’s Private Park


REBLOG – GET INSPIRED USING YOUR FAVORITE TEXTURES

Comic Image of me watching TV

This week I am doing a reblog from a few years ago – thought you would enjoy it since it is on one of my favorite subjects and lots of fun to use with images. In the meantime I am taking a week off from blogging to get some new pic and ideas (and taking a little down time – HaHa)! Have a great week!

Digital painted image of a farm sceneLots of times I have found or created a texture I really like that I would like to use in an image but not sure where. So this is a blog on how to create images for that texture, and possibly get your creative mind going. Not particularly a new concept, but a little different approach for using texture. It also gives you a chance to brush up on your compositing skills and try out some nature brushes. The image above is an example of my using a texture that I created in Corel Painter and used in this image originally.

There are not a lot of steps to this process. Just open the texture above a white Background layer in case the texture needs to be set to a different blend mode or opacity amount. Next add elements and/or text, and finally do the finishing steps as if post-processing an image.

That is exactly what was done above – here is the workflow for this image to demonstrate the steps. The texture was added and left as it is. Next Photoshop’s tree filter was used to create this pretty foreground tree. If you have not experimented with this filter, give it a try. (For more on this see my How to Create a Photoshop Artistic Tree.) It is so much fun! These are my tree settings – most of the settings were changed to get the tree effect shown above. (Base Tree Type: 19: Fraxinus Griffithi which is an Evergreen Ash, Light Direction 85, Leaves Amount 22, Leaves Size 130, Branches Height 94, Branches Thickness 77, Uncheck Default Leaves and select 8: Leaves 8, Uncheck Randomize Shapes Arrangement 21.3.) A layer mask can always be added if you do not quite like the way the branches look – in this case some of the leaves were too dark so a 30% brush was painted over them in the mask to lighten them up. The Liquify Tool can also be used to get the branches sitting just right. A Hue Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to the tree to make it more golden in color to match the texture. The texture looked like a golden wheat field to me so a little red barn from PixelSquid was added – a mask was added so the bottom of the barn could be removed and hide it from view. The layer was set to 55% layer opacity so it is looks a little less sharp and more distance. I love the brushes by DeviantArt’s ninelvlsup and her Dandelion Whisps brush was used in the foreground. Some of the edges were removed with a layer mask. The birds are from a Flypaper Bird Set that I use all the time. To soften the effect of the birds, a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT+click between the layers to clip) to the birds and a yellow and red pattern was used. The bird layer was set to Multiply blend mode at 77% layer opacity. The last element is the single bird from the same brush set called Big Crow Fly Birds brush – it was duplicated and the top layer was set to Multiply blend mode at 65% layer opacity to emphasize the bird a little more. The elements are now in place. A stamped layer was created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and Topaz (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) ReStyle was opened. There a different color palette was applied – one that was less bright and yellow and created a cooler color tone – the preset was created from another image. (See my Flagler Beach Pier image for color palette used.) This layer was set to Color blend mode. The final steps are what I generally do when finishing up a regular photo image. Not all my steps were used here but a lot of them. A Levels Adjustment Layer was added to add some contrast back. On another stamped layer Nik Viveza 2 was used to shift the focus back over to the bird from the barn. On a New Layer a little spatter brush was used to give the grass a little life – I wanted it to look like little bugs flying around. A soft orange Light Leak was added to the top left for a bit of color in the sky. A Red Channel Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer was added to pull the whole image together. The last step was to add a layer style to the edge for a soft brown border – just an Inner Shadow set to Normal blend mode, brown color, Distance 0, Choke 53, and Size 29; and Inner Glow set to Saturation blend mode, Opacity 100%, white color, Softer Technique, Edge, Choke 0, and Size 250 pixels. Know this got a little long, but it is a pretty good example of how to pull a composite effect together once the texture is chosen.

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Below are two examples of using basically the same elements in the same place but used with different textures that give a totally different look. Digital Art image of fur trees and a deerThis image used a really colorful background texture that I created using a whole bunch of the brushes in Grut’s Inky Leaks Splatter Brushes, which are fabulous brushes. Here is a link to how this texture was used before. It gives a subtle effect especially in the sky in the above. Here is a quick run-through of the steps using a very similar workflow. The tree was created using the PS Tree filter again (the Pine Tree 2 was used) and duplicating and flipping it to make a second one. The deer element is from Tara Lesher (could not get weblink to work). Frostbo Grass Set 2 brushes were used. The flower under the large tree is actually from a recent Checking Out the Buds Tidbits Blog. I try to save out anything that could be used again for other images. The flying ducks are also from the Flypaper Bird set above. A light leak was added on right side. A Van Gogh preset was applied in Topaz Impression 2 – a layer mask was used to paint back the deer, birds and tree trunks. Three more textures were used get even more of a painterly look: one of mine which had yellow and a slight bluish vignette around it and set to Darken blend mode at 57% layer opacity (used Topaz Texture Effects in PS to create it), 2 Lil’ Owls (for website link, see sidebar on my Tidbits Blog). The Grey Collection 3 was set to Overlay blend mode, and her Ancient 1 set texture 2 was set to Linear Light at 28% layer opacity. Nik Viveza 2 was applied to adjust focus. Last step added a Color Lookup Adjustment Layer using a Candlelight preset – it was set to Linear Burn at 10% layer opacity. Pretty much the same as above but very different result.

In the image below I wanted to show how a different texture gives a very different result. It contains the same basic elements except that the grass was created using Aaron Blaise‘s Foliage brush set and Directional Fur and Hair brush set. I was really surprised what nice flowers and grass can be created with these brushes. The texture is another one I painted in Corel Painter. The font is called Winter Holidays. I am not sure I have ever used this texture before but I like it. The reason this image looks so different is that the PS Lighting Effects filter was used to set the lighting on the right side. Otherwise the image was post-processed as the first one.

Digital image of fur trees and a deerThis is something to try when you do not feel so inspired. There always seems to be some texture that will get you interested in creating. Until later…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blog:
How to Make a Basic Composite Image
Creating Winter Wonderland Effect!
How to Create an Image From Nothing!


HOW TO USE THE PUPPET WARP TOOL CREATIVELY – RECYCLED

Image of a white rose from Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida
This week I am recycling another one of my “oldies but goodies” where the Puppet Warp is used in a pretty cool way. I added the White Rose image above from the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida, to show that the petals can be easily adjusted using the Puppet Warp Tool. The rose was much flatter and vertical, but by pinning and dragging around the points, the petals were pulled out to create a much more flattering arrangement. Also applied Topaz (for website, see my Tidbits Blog‘s sidebar) new Adjust AI filter to get the luminous petal effect. To learn the basics on how to use the Puppet Warp Tool (as in straightening buildings or objects), see my older short Tidbits Straightening with Puppet Warp! Tidbits Blog which is still good. And also check out my more recent Puppet Warp Replay Fun Photoshop Blog. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend – I am – nice to take a summer break! Enjoy!…..Digital Lady Syd

Image of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville sign at City Walk in Orlando, FloridaJust having some fun with this week and trying some new things out. This is the sign on the restaurant for Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at City Walk in Orlando, Florida. So the reason this is rather “wonky” is because I decided it looked kind of good “wonky!” This sign was at the top of the building and was not shot straight on, so the sign on the right side was further away than the side on the left. There was lots of reflection in the restaurant windows in the original since it was taken during the brightest part of the day – totally awful! And the blue lettering and the parrot were almost indistinguishable in the sign. I thought this would make a good image to experiment with the brushes created in my How to Easily Create a Photoshop Brush for Painting blog. First the image was cropped in Lightroom and then opened Photoshop where it was taken into the Edit -> Perspective Warp command to see if it could be salvaged. It actually did a pretty good job on it but there were a few disturbing areas. It was tweaked using the Edit -> Puppet Warp command and that is when it went “wonky” – I just started pulling and pushing the pins all over and got this really whimsical look that I liked – it looks like the sign is on the top of a sombrero. (For info on how to really use this tool effectively, see my short Tidbits Straightening with Puppet Warp! blog.)

It occurred to me that Puppet Warp is actually very similar to the Warp Tool in Free Transform (CTRL+T). On a New Layer on top the sky was blended using the Creative Toons Mixer brush from my linked blog. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) above, Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Detail 3 was opened and an underpainting look was created. (Here are my settings: Topaz Detail 3 – used Abstraction II preset. Made changes to Tone Cyan-Red -0.69, Magenta-Green -0.12, and Yellow-Blue 0.09; Color Temperature 0.30, Tint 0.02, Saturation 0.05, and Saturation Boost 0.02; and Effect Mask – Painted out the effect off the bird’s face, trees, and Jimmy Buffett’s lettering using a Brush Strength of 0.45, Brush Size 0.11, Hardness 0.66, and Flow and Edge Aware at 1.00; and Overall Opacity set to 1.00.) This layer was set to Subtract blend mode at 89% layer opacity and on a layer mask the lettering was painted out to make the Jimmy Buffett’s lettering show up better. In the Layer Style dialog, the Blend If This Layer black tab was split (ALT+click on the tab and pull apart) and set to 56/77 to really darken down the sky. (See my How to Use Those Handy Blend-If Sliders! blog) How I came up with this I do not know, but on another stamped layer above, the image was inverted by clicking on the layer and pressing CTRL+I – now it was all white looking. A black layer mask was added and just the same lettering was painted back. Looked terrible so a Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer was added to turn the lettering from the ugly yellow to bright red – now you can see it. On another New Layer I used the SJ-Kahara Regular brush from my linked painting blog to paint on the sky around the the bird and trees to make them stand out a little more and add some interest to the night sky. On yet another stamped layer a Camera Raw Radial Filter was added to just the parrot’s head (hum) to bring the focus to him. A Selective Color Adjustment Layer was added to adjust the green color in the image and that was about it. Oh yes, lastly added Jack Davis’s Wow Texture 02 (got this style along with many others from the CD in a little gem of a book called Adobe Photoshop 7 One Click Wow)– this to give a more painterly look. Whew!

Image inside the Trolley Train Ride at Universal Studios Orlando This image was shot looking up at the center from the stairs going up to get on the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride at Seuss Landing in Universal Studios Orlando. I really loved the bright colors but was not quite sure what to do with the image. It seemed like a good candidate to try a little Puppet Warping on, so that is what you see. In Lightroom the image was cropped and Seim’s Power Workflow 4 Magic Ugly Shade Fixer preset was used to help with this issue. In Photoshop on a duplicate layer, the Puppet Warp Tool was used. Once again, the mesh was turned off first. Then pins were stuck in each corner to hold the image still. The various pins were placed and dragged to get this crazy result. Back in Photoshop Topaz Adjust was opened and a preset I created called Negative Preset was applied with no changes. (Here are the settings: Global Adjustments Adaptive Exposure 0.07, Regions 50, Contrast -0.02, Brightness 0.00, Protect Highlights 0.02, and Protect Shadow; and Finishing Touches Warmth 0.18, Border Size 0.26; and Vignette Strength -1.00, Vignette Size 0.01, Vignette Transition 1.00, and Vignette Curvature 0.87.) It gave it a bit of the surreal look. 2 Lil’ Owls Studio’s (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Member Freebie of July 2012-57 was applied and set to Hard Light blend mode at 61% layer opacity. The Blend If This Layer black tab was split (ALT+drag tab) and set to 125/191 and the white tab was also split and set to 215/255. This pulled back some of the texture from the image to get this kind of nice effect. Her Ultimate Texture Collection Chalkboard Burgundy was applied at Soft Light and 100% layer opacity. Three New Layers were added with painting on each to smooth out the white highlights in areas that were distracting. A stamped layer was created on top and set to Multiply blend mode and a white layer mask was used to bring back the texture details in the darker areas. Another stamped layer was created and my free SJ Thin Double Edge Frame layer style was applied with the default colors. I think it turned out to look a little scary!

Image of the Giraffes in a Store Sign at Seuss Landing in Universal Studios OrlandoThis was just too much fun to stop at one image. The puppet warp was used to warp another store sign in Seuss Landing at Universal Studios. These funny giraffes are from the first Dr. Seuss book called And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street. I wanted to show a painterly image that had very little brush painting done in it – all done with filters and textures. Ran the same Shake Reduction Filter in Photoshop, selected the plain blue sky using the Select -> Color Range Tool, and added Melissa Gallo’s Painted Texture called June Seashore (I do not think it is available anymore) for a bluish sky that looked like painted clouds. Next a new texture by French Kiss called Color Wash Sage was added. What really made this image get this rather grainy illustrative look was in the layer style of the layer (double click on the layer to open). The Blend Mode was set to Color Dodge at 94% opacity and 95% Fill Opacity, and the Blend If This Layer White Tab was split (ALT+drag to get a smooth transition) and set to 224/255; the Underlying Layer Black tab was split and set to 29/47 and White tab split and set to 145/177. A stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was placed on top but a huge color shift occurred. This is because the blend mode of the texture below was set to Color Dodge and this happens – to get rid of this just set the stamped layer blend mode to Color. Decided to try the whole image in Topaz ReStyle and voila, instead of a blue image, I had pinks and warm tones which I really liked. (Here are the ReStyle Settings: colors based on Orange Peel preset – ReStyle Color Style Hue Fifth 0.53; Sat Fifth 0.41; and Lum Primary -0.48; Texture Strength 0.00; Basic Color Temperature -0.31, Tint 0.61, and Saturation 0.11; Tone Black Level -0.31, Midtones -0.02, and White Level 0.02; and Detail Structure 0.38 and Sharpness 0.16.) The last step added my SJ Thin Double Edge Frame on a top stamped layer – sampled colors in the image to get the frame colors.

Sometimes it is just fun to play with the different tools and see what results you get. I think I would get bored if I did the same workflow on every piece I did. Sometimes you have to when working on a special occasion or group of images, but it is kind of nice to take a break and try something different. Until next time – Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Get Blend If Slider Settings to Apply to a Layer


WHAT TO DO WITH A PLAIN WHITE CUP? RECYCLED!

Image of a cat coffee cup in front of lace curtains
This week I am presenting an “oldie but a goodie” from my archives of several years ago. Keeping with the vein of the original post, the above image was created today using the same cup and the same wood floor from the image below. The lace curtain background texture was from Shadowhouse Creations and Luminar’s (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Flex plugin applying the Enhance Detail and Structure filters to get the beautiful sharpness in the texture – used a mask in the program to paint out the cup. The Egyptian cat is from Skybox Creative. The font is A Charming Font Expanded. And yes, I drink my coffee out of the mug all the time! Hope you enjoy it!

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I am a huge fan of Kim Klassen textures and her type of photography. I joined her test kitchen a few months ago (no longer active) and have learned much from her site. All the images in this blog use the same beginning shot. This plain white cup was bought from Tuesday Morning for just a couple dollars. The picture was taken by placing the cup on a white piece of cardboard for the bottom and a 22″ X 14″ Elmer’s Tri-Fold Display Board (found in WalMart). It was shot using a 60-mm macro lens at F/3.2 for 1/60 sec and was taken on a table near a window where there was natural lighting. In Lightroom only the basic sliders were adjusted and some chromatic aberration was removed.

Since I wanted a bit of a vintage feel for the top image, Caleb Kimbrough’s free Old Wood 4 texture was used for the floor. All but the bottom area was painted out and the opacity was set to 25%. The canvas was expanded on the left side of the image by using the Content Aware Move Tool. Next Kim Klassen’s iAm texture was applied using Soft Light blend mode at 100% layer opacity. Her marchtrio totally texture was added using Soft Light at 79% layer opacity. By signing up for Kim’s newsletter, she will send you lots of textures throughout the year – these both were links from her newsletters. A light blue Color Adjustment Layer (#b8bfe0) was clipped (ALT+click between layers) to the marchtrio texture texture to give it more of a soft blue tone – it was set to a 49% layer opacity to lighten up the photo just a little. A New Layer was created and placed between the two texture layers – Kim Klassen’s Cloth & Paper Extras Brush 1084 was selected to paint in light gray on the left side of image at 2285 pixels to add a little more texture to the image and set to 59% layer opacity. Here was the tricky part – a New Layer was created and with Brush Lovers 1941 brush (these used to be posted at BrushLovers.com but they do not appear to be available anymore – but there are many other choices at this site), one click was painted on the front of the cup. The layer was duplicated and set to Multiply blend mode to darken. Then with a layer mask, the highlights and shadows were carefully painted out so it looks like the flower design was already on the mug. I put this in a group (CTRL+G on the two selected layers). Added a Levels Adjustment Layer and moved Output Levels a little left to lighten the whole image and painting back the mug so it shows up a little better. Added text using Batik Regular font and it’s done!
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Got into some Hawaiian dreaming on this one. I used an image I had taken while in Hawaii and placed the cup on a sand-like texture. The cataramaran in the water is the whale-watching boat where a whale actually hung around our boat for 5 minutes while we were on it – biggest thrill I had while in Hawaii! (See Topaz Simplify and Lens Effects Saves an Image! blog for image processing.) First the water image was stacked on top of the cup image. Next the cup layer was duplicated and the sky and background were cut out using a layer mask and applying it. It was moved on top of the water layer. My wonderful palm tree clip art objects (created from an image I took of the palm trees that were extracted from the background and filled in with a solid color), and a Bevel and Emboss layer style was added using a Size of 7 px, Soften of 10 px, and Depth of 50%. A dark blue Color Fill Layer was clipped to the tree layer (ALT+click between the layers to clip). Next Kim Klassen’s Cloth & Paper Touch texture (my favorite) was added using Soft Light blend mode at 95% opacity. Shadowhouse Creations Photo Tint Peach was set to Soft Light at 100% layer opacity, and then a Levels and a Curves Adjustment Layer were added to get the right tonal effect. A second Curves Adjustment Layer was used to make the bottom color look like sand and the rest of the image was painted out in the layer mask. A Text Layer was added using FFF Tusj font at 65% layer opacity. An Outer Glow Layer Style was added to the text using a sampled light tan color set to 62%, a Spread of 8, and Size of 193 – this was done to make the lettering stand out just a little from the sand background. The whale is from a Dingbat Font called Flood Font Dingbat m and was set to 47% layer opacity. Painted Textures (Melissa Gallo’s texture that I do not believe is available anymore) Winter Wheat texture from her Cyber Monday Set 1 was applied using the Subtract blend mode at 45% opacity to add a painterly look to the overall image. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to the texture and Saturation set to -67 to remove most of the color from the texture. Another Hue/Saturation Adjustment was clipped to the texture – the layer mask was filled with black and just the cup was painted back so no color showed up in the white cup.
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Just another example of how to fix up the same image. This time Kim Klassen’s Cloth & Paper touch texture was added behind the cup. A shadow was added to the cup. Fay Sirkis’s Texture Pink Rose (from her Fay’s Master Background Collection at Kelby Training) was used for the beautiful flowers on the cup – just cut out the flower and added as a layer. As you can see a lot of clean up was done to get the cup looking right – just created New Layers and painted by sampling the image to even out the colors. 2 Lil’ Owls The Artisan Coll-Big Set 2-2 texture (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) was used – it was turned into an overlay using my How to Create an Overlay Out of a Texture blog. Kim Klassen’s Dream Definition was added as text. Two layers using my free Cloud Brushes – Cloud 1 set to 43% layer opacity and Clouds 3 at layer opacity 23%. The last step was a Level Adjustment Layer to add some overall contrast.

This was a lot of fun trying different effects on a very basic image. Not sure which one I like best but it is interesting to see how you can change up an image by using different textures. And thanks to Kim Klassen for her great textures and techniques in creating this type of effect. Until later…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO CREATE AN IMPASTO TEXTURE LAYER STYLE

Statue of Boadicea in London, EnglandThis week I am just going to show you how easy it is to add an Impasto Layer to your image to get that added painterly effect. In the past many people were selling these layer styles but it seems to be out of vogue now and they are really easy to create once you understand the steps required. The above image of the Statue of Boadicea in London used three different layers and layer styles to create the unique texturing that appears on the horses and on the people riding in the chariot. First some major clean up was done and a visit to Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Studio to get the wonderful AI Clear applied. I wanted to add an interesting story to the shot so one of my textures that had a lot of color and action in it was added on top and set to Linear Burn at 59% layer opacity . Next the Layer Style textures were added. I decided to create a video describing the steps so you can see how the layer style effect develops.

The basic workflow on creating an Impasto Effect Layer Style is as follows:

  1. Add a New Layer on top.
  2. Select a brush you think would work in your image. To start I used the Aploosa 2 brush from a Horse Pattern Pack by horsecrazy at 20 pixels for painting over the horses – you do not have to use this brush. With any brush set to 100% opacity, just dabbed over part of the image that would look good with some impasto effect applied.
  3. Double click on the layer in the Layers Panel to open up the Layer Style dialog and set the Fill Opacity to 0. Next click on the words Bevel & Emboss. Set the Reset to Default button at bottom and change these settings in the Bevel & Emboss Style: Depth 115, Size 4, Highlight Mode Linear Dodge (Add) and Opacity 20%, and Shadow Mode Linear Burn and Opacity 28%. Now check the Contour box and use the default. Now check the Texture box and open up the dialog – set the Pattern – a Washed Watercolor Paper texture (to load go to the drop-down by the pattern swatch, click on the wheel on the upper right for drop-down, and select Artist Surfaces set) was used for mine, but one you like is fine. Set the Scale to 100 and Depth to +100%.
  4. Click the New Style button on the right and name your style – mine was named SJ Basic Impasto Layer Style. Now if you click in the Style section at the top of the Layer Style dialog, the new layer style will be at the bottom of the list. I also saved mine to the my library.
  5. Your dabs on the layer should show some Impasto.

The Texture in the Bevel & Emboss style can be changed to get all kinds of patterns and lines – that is how the background got created in the flowers below. All the sliders in the Bevel & Emboss dialog can be changed to get very different results. Once you start playing with this, it is an amazing way to add texture to a whole image or just a little part of it. And like what was done in the image above, different layers can be used to add different textures in the image. The texture in the brush is usually different from the one in the layer style that creates an even more interesting result. I tried stacking two different impasto layers with different textures and got some very nice effects. And don’t forget that the Pattern can be scaled and dragged around on the image, and the Depth sliders can make a big difference. The actual layer opacity can be changed if the overall effect is too strong. Oh yes – try different kinds of brushes to paint the impasto onto the layer – those with lots of texture can look really great. Lots of fun here!

A couple things to Note:

  • If your brush has a different texture that is not in the pattern list, open up your Brush Panel and in the Texture section there is a little square icon with the corner creased – hover over it and it says “Create a new preset from the Current Pattern” – just click it and the texture will be added to the Pattern list at the bottom. Now you can set the Bevel & Emboss texture to the same pattern if you want.
  • Also, if you have textures that are not .pat files, just open them in PS and go to Edit -> Define Pattern, name it, and it is placed in your Pattern list with the .pat extension. Anything can become a pattern very easily.

Image of a plant with embossing treatmentHere is the finished version of the plant shown in the video. As promised the background pattern was created with Texture.com bronze copper texture (no longer free I think) it was converted to a pattern using the Edit -> Create Pattern command (see Note above). If you have a similar type texture, try converting it. The leaves used a PS patterned texture called Ant Farm that created this rather incredible pattern on the flowers when painted with Kyle’s Spatter Brush Supreme Spatter & Texture, a PS brush. The Ant Farm pattern is found in PS’s Patterns set (right click on the upper right cog to add). Just some spotlighting and vignette were added to this image.

Hope everyone sets up one of these layer styles and tries painting on the layer. Check out my Tidbits Blog for another example I will upload on Tuesday. It is quit an interesting look and can really perk up an image. In the meantime, get through these wintertime blues. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd


AND THE AWARD GOES TO…..

Image header for blogSince it is that time of year when everyone is evaluating their images from the past year, I have decided that instead of doing my top pix, I am going to create some special award categories for my photography. I am finding this is really tough to look at your images and think about them objectively.

Best Humorous Image of the Year

Image of a Tri-Colored Heron using a Scribble EffectMany choices for this category but they all either were bird images or Christmas images. Still love the effect the Scribble Action created on this guy so he won the Category – for original blog see my Updates, Updates, Updates! What to Do???? blog.

Best Creative Use of a Plugin

Digital Art Image of a Horse and Rider with Fiery BackgroundThis year in my opinion, the best new Plug-In was Topaz Studio’s AI ReMix – something totally different to use to bring a whole different look to your images. This image is my favorite example of the ReMix look so it was chosen as my favorite for this category. For the matching blog on this image, check out my Dodging the Fire blog.

Best Digital Painting of the Year

Digitally Painted image of DandelionsDid not do as much painting this year – this is on my resolution list for next year to do more painting. I did like how these unusual dandelions turned out. Here is blog which contains a little more info: Blowing in the Wind.

Best Animal Picture of the Year

Painted image of a foxI had several animal images and it was hard to figure out which I liked best, but this painted fox was one of my favorites. He appeared in my Introducing the Beautiful Fox blog that contains a little more info.

Best Drawing Image of the Year

Drawn image of a Young LadyThis was my first attempt at drawing a face and I totally enjoyed doing it. I learned the technique from David Belliveau at Paintable.com – for more info on this fun workflow, check out my short blog at Where to Find a Good Photoshop Painter.

Best Landscape of the Year

Image of hotels in OahuSort of a strange landscapes where special effects were applied, but it looks pretty cool I think. For more info on this image, check out my blog at Oahu Landscape.

Best Macro of the Year

Image of painted Pink CarnationsThis year I did not shoot as many macros as I usually do, but this one turned out very nice. It was painted using Corel Painter. A short blog called Pink Carnation was created showing more info.

Best Black and White Image

Image of a girl playing an ErhuThis image had been post processed in color previously, so it really surprised me how nice it looked as a black and white image. For more info, check out my Girl Playing Erhu blog.

Best Floral Image

Image of some colorful Queen Emma bloomsOne of my favorite flower images this year just because I loved the way the color came out. For more info on how this was done, check out my Colorful Queen Emma Lily blog.

Best in Creative Category

Image of my Fantasy MapThis may not have been the most striking image, but I like that a lot of my favorite people are on this map and sort of represents me and my taste as an artist and Photoshop nut. It was a lot of fun to do and definitely was creative. For more on how to create a fantasy map of your own, check the original blog called My Personal Fantasy Map.

Best Image Created using a New Technique

Image of Parliament in LondonThis image represents a pretty cool technique used to get rid of camera shake (not the PS filter) and create a really sharp image from Deke McClelland. For links to the video on this, check out my Parliament blog.

Best Use of Texture

Image of a Rainbow LorikeetThis image I was particularly proud of since I created several textures to use in it. For more info on this, check out my Adding Textures to Wildlife Photos blog.

Best Use of Color

Image at The Land, Epcot, Disney WorldThis image is one of my favorites since it is so bright and cheery with a very strong color palette. For more info on how this image was post processed, check out my blog called Three Views of Air Balloons at Epcot’s The Land Pavilion.

Most Dramatic Image

Image of a Church in BelarusThis beautiful Church in Belarus has a nice dramatic night effect applied to it. Check out my First Snow of the Season blog for more info.

GRAND AWARD WINNER FOR 2018

Drawn image of a wolfI decided this was my Grand Award Winner because it represents the various things I have been working on in many of my  images. Mainly, I have been trying to learn to draw (and Aaron Blaise is the master that taught me how to do this), textures, and lighting effects. Check out my Learning to Draw a Wolf! blog for more info. Hopefully during the next few years I will be able to draw more animals and apply more of what I have learned to date.

Hope you enjoyed my photos and my theme for this blog. It is very hard to decide what is your best work, but it does make you really think about what you have done and where you are going with your art. Happy New Year to everyone!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO ADD TEXTURE TO AN IMAGE WITHOUT ADDING ITS COLOR

Image of the Fountain at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida Today I am just going to go over a really short but handy workflow I use all the time to add texture subtly and give a somewhat painterly effect to an image. This technique is from one of my older Tidbits Blogs and I literally go back to it all time to remember how I did it. Figure it might be as handy for you as it is to me. The image above is of the Frog Fountain at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. (Actually the fountain is a working sundial and each Frog represents an hour on the clock. The Turtles represent the four seasons. I find it quite humorous as they seem to be having a grand ole time spitting at each other.) This image was used in the demo video linked below. It used a French Kiss texture (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) called Tableaux Secret Garden – I find her textures work well with this technique since they are all very painterly.

Image of some Hawaiian Orchids
The Hawaiian Orchids above were treated with a different type of texture from French Kiss called Solstice SeaSprite. The image below was taken at the entrance to SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, and is a great place to take photos – very Disneyland-like colors! It used her Artiste Fauve Rainbow texture.


This look was created by following this workflow:

1. After all corrections are made to the image, select a texture and place it on top – depending on the type of texture (large sweeping strokes like in the Sea World image versus more of a grainy look as in the Orchid image) different effects can be created, some looking quite painterly.
2.  A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Level is clipped to the texture layer (by ALT+clicking between the layers or click the bottom left icon in the adjustment layer panel) and Saturation is set to -100 to desaturate the texture. Clipping the adjustment layer to the texture allows no color from the actual texture – only color changes will be from changes to the image itself.
3.  The texture blend mode is then set (for the Fountain, Vivid Light blend mode at 45% layer opacity, the Orchids used Linear Dodge at 53%, and for the Sea World image, Hard Light at 34%). Try different blend modes, even Normal is fine in lots of cases, to see which looks best with your image.
4. A Levels Adjustment Layer or Curves Adjustment Layer can be added to brighten the image as the texture tends to darken the midtones down.

That was it and you get a nice painterly effect! Pretty easy and adds a nice touch to your images. Hope everyone has a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd


RELAXING AND HAVING FUN IN PHOTOSHOP!

Image of a painted bird on a branchSometimes when you get so busy blogging about cool things you can do in Photoshop, you forget about just having fun with what you already know how to do. I have not blogged a lot recently as I am trying to catch up on my creative side and just have some fun. This week I am showing a few things I have been doing to just enjoy myself.

The above is an image trying to emulate a piece of art called Bird on a Flowering Branch by Watanabe Seitei, a famous Japanese painter, created in 1887. My image does not look a whole lot like his, but it gave me a good place to begin a composition. I don’t see anything wrong with trying to emulate a piece of really good art as long as it is not a direct copy. I think it is a great way to learn so that is what I did. A Kim Klassen Cloth & Paper texture called huges was placed on the bottom to give a nice layer effect to build on. The paint spatter underneath the piece is in a free set called Oh La La Llama by principesca. Then the branches were painted in and the painted bird is from one of my bird images. The flowers are from another free set called All Ginko Textured Watercolor Graphics by Paperly Studio – these are beautiful floral elements. All the layers had to be juggled around a little and opacities adjusted. On a stamped layer, Topaz (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) ReStyle was used to further blend in the correct colors and soften them a little. That was about it. I need to take some more pix of little birds to create some more of this type of image – it was very relaxing and fun to do.

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Image about creating a Ham Salad SandwichCreated this image using several items from one of my favorite places to get reference objects – PixelSquid. They had the meat grinder, the basil, the scale, the sandwich, the plate, everything but the wonderful recipe by Kelly at Wildfleur’s Cottage Kitchen. It appeared to be pretty close to the one my mom made since I do not have her recipe. Every now and then the meat grinder would appear on the counter and low and behold, there was a ham salad sandwich! To learn how to add PixelSquid objects, check out my How to Use the PixelSquid Add-on in Photoshop blog. Several textures were then applied to really soften the image and get a vintage feel. These are all ones I made and just removed the color from them. Pretty simple. The font is called Mr. Grieves.

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Image of a vintage waffle iron and kitchen cannistersThe Hogan House and Museum has recently been designated as an historical home in Bunnell, Florida (Flagler County). It has some really nice period pieces including the old waffle iron on the counter. First Luminar 2018 (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) was applied using Joel Grime’s Dramatic Detail preset (his presets are all pretty good so if you own the program, try to download them). The same textures applied at different opacities as the ham sandwich image were also used on this one. A couple Gradient Map Adjustment Layers and a Curves Adjustment Layer were used for the final result.

I guess I have been in a vintage mood recently. It is nice to take a break and just work with your images to give them a look you like – not just what you see. I could almost imagine being back in time. Well hope everyone is not too hot – this summer has been a really warm one! Stay cool and create something fun!…..Digital Lady Syd


ADDING TEXTURES TO WILDLIFE PHOTOS

Image of a Rainbow Lorikeet at the Jackonsville Zoo in FloridaThis has been a busy summer for me so my posts are a little sporadic. I have not used textures a lot recently but I did get a chance to look at Jai Johnson, a wonderful wildlife photographer, and her Artistry Beyond texture videos. (Of course all her textures are to die for, especially if you do any wildlife shooting.) This got me interested in trying it out again so I followed several of her tips to create both images in this blog. She does use an older Topaz interface – photoFXlab plugin (I agree with Jai – I still love this little program) – but her steps can easily be adapted to Photoshop and Topaz’s new program, Studio (for website link, check out the sidebar on my Tidbits Blog). I just finished watching her Episode 4 on Working with Harsh Light and found her tips very helpful since I photograph a lot in bright light. This beautiful little Rainbow Lorikeet (a type of Parakeet) lives at the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida. Since you are inside the actual bird exhibit, images can be taken quite easily although these birds do not stay still for long.

This image followed Jai’s Farmhouse Art concept (see her Episode 7 for more on this) which basically is a desaturated, simple, subdued and fresh appearance. I have not seen this look very often although I think it is very popular for home decorating. Usually the background is white-washed looking with neutral tones so that is what was done in this image. This image used 9 different textures (only 2 were from Jai) at different blend modes and opacities. It was surprising how nice the effect built up but it did take a lot of trial and error to get the effect. The created texture can be saved down using the combined textures as a jpg to use again on other images. Many of these textures had lots of color in them so they were desaturated using a clipped (ALT+click between layers) Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. Some textures were blurred to soften a little and layer masks were used on some to apply just in certain parts of the image. Also the bird had to be lightly desaturated by selecting it and using the Photoshop Camera Raw filter to soften it down. Using different blend modes at low opacities can really change how a texture applies itself. And do not forget those Blend If sliders in the Layer Style. Used all these tricks on the images. Also Nik Viveza 2 was used to help direct focus – still the best Photoshop plug-in out there!

I really like the font Blossom that was used in the word Rainbow and the Lorikeet font is Marcelle Script. A Dodge Brush set to Highlights at 30% Strength was used on a rasterized Rainbow text layer to add a tarnished effect to it. Still learning how to do this effectively, but it was fun to try.

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Image of an elephant at the Jacksonville Zoo in Jacksonville, FloridaThis elephant image was also taken at the Jacksonville Zoo. Similar steps as above were taken to get this effect. This time 5 different textures (these were all different kinds of textures, several I created using Painted and Photoshop) were used. One thing I learned from Jai is that if an area needs a certain color, light or texture, just load a texture that might work and hide the texture with an black layer mask. Then paint back the areas that will add the effect you want using a very low brush opacity. This was done several times on this image to get the darker and softer effect in the corners. The little bird is from a beautiful free set of watercolor birds by Anna Faun – he really looked good with the elephant. The font is called Candy Texture and I added a little smoke effect over it to soften the text.

If you are interested in learning more about how to get some great texture effects, I would recommend Jai’s videos. She has some really good techniques I have not seen anywhere else. I will probably be another week or so before updating again……Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Digital Lady Syd’s Review of Topaz photoFXlab v1.1
Taking Off From the Rookery Runway
InstaTone in photoFXlabs – Great Fun and Great Results!


ENJOYING SOME SPRING BUTTERFLIES

Graphic image butterflies and flowersThought about taking a few weeks break so I can try out some things I am learning, but I am still here – I keep wanting to pass on info. I created this image just for fun and trying to reinforce a few work habits when creating this type of composite. Also thought I would add  on a few more tips I promised when creating my Giraffe composite a few weeks ago. (See my Taking a Break to Learn Some New Things blog.)

FONT TIP: This image started when I downloaded a couple new free fonts from Design Cuts called Style-Casual and Style Endings by TypeSETit. At first I was not too taken by either one of the fonts, and then I realized that by using the Style Endings font for the first and last letters of the text, and then using Style Casual font to connect the rest of the text, it looked really good – along with the pretty nice fancy small “o.” A Simply Wonderful text line was created and then turned into a brush by going to Edit -> Define Brush Preset. This is really fun to do if you have some nice fonts on your computer – they can easily be turned into text brushes and .PNG files. Very could be very useful for graphic projects.

ADDING A SUBSTRATE LAYER TIP: My substrate layer was non-existent almost until the end of working on this project when I finally put the white one created in the Azaleus image (see my How to Create a Pretty Simple Background and Text Effect blog) the text added. It definitely filled in some texture that was missing especially in the lighter areas of the image. So that is one thing I learned while creating this image – be sure to add some kind of bottom level texture just to fill in the holes. It can always be swapped out later after adding your elements.

PAINT ON THE ADDED ELEMENTS TIP: Another thing I did was to actually paint on some of the elements that were put in the image. The two butterflies on the left side were from a really nice brush set by Marrielle P Kokosidou – by painting in the elements after stamping down the original element, some additional interest could be achieved. The same was true with the branch of leaves at the top (from a painted set from Design Cuts in their Nature Plant Graphics Watercolour Grit Textures set with Octopus Artis elements), additional painting was done using some other colors on it. Design Cuts is a great place to get free samples of very good elements from great artists for these type of photos. The brush I used was mainly the SJ Pastel 3-painting brush (see my How to Create my Favorite Brush blog) – use it every day along with my SJ 3 Pastel-Van Gogh TI brush. (It can be created by following my Painting Fun in Photoshop blog’s third paragraph – gives an explanation on how to make the base brush more painterly.) The other butterfly was also one from Design Cuts called Watercolour Butterfly by Octopus Artis – not much was done to the butterfly itself, but a watercolor paint stroke (stroke by Vintage Design Co. but could not find the download link) and a moon brush stroked (from 20 moon brushes by Liza Giannouri-moon 3) was placed behind it. Wanted to give credit to the people who did the flowers in this image – the pink center flower is from a frame in a set by from Creative Market (another site to follow – they  have some great free sets like this one and good deals like the Hydrangea set)  Ginko Textured Watercolor Graphic by Paperly Studio; and the Hydrangea flower is from Beautiful Watercolor Butterflies Knopazyzy Handrangea Flower set.

CREATE MORE PAINTBRUSHES TIP: Created a paintbrush (named it SJ Butterfly Brush 5 Row-Marrielle P Kokosidou) at a very small size and setting it to a small size with Spacing at 180%, Shape Dynamics Size Jitter 24% and Angle Jitter 21%, and a Color Dynamics set to 100% Foreground/Background Jitter and Purity -24%. It was used at the top of the image using a slight color variation and at the bottom of the image in just one color. I have brushes using hearts and bubbles using similar settings. So the  tip is: make a small object type of brush to add some interest around major elements instead of just using round splotches (which does work in some cases).

BRUSH IN SOME COLOR BEHIND YOUR ELEMENTS TIP: This is something I have been doing for a while, especially using the spotlight effect with white and black color at a low opacity and the layer set to Overlay blend mode. (See my How to Add a Spot of Light blog.) It also works for any color using any type of brush – it will add some soft color into your image. The layer does not have to be set to Overlay blend mode – some very interesting effects can be achieved using other blend modes like Linear Burn – and be sure to adjust the Fill (not Layer) opacity to get some really nice effects. NOTE ON FILL SLIDER IN LAYER PANEL: The Layer Opacity will affect certain blend modes differently than the Fill slider – Color Burn, Linear Burn, Color Dodge, Linear Dodge (Add), Vivid Light, Linear Light, Hard Mix, and Difference. Check out which effect you want. Also the Fill opacity does not affect the opacity of layer effects such as drop shadows – this can be important if you have added a layer style like a stroke or bevel effect on a element. A reddish effect was added to the upper left corner. And obviously green in the upper right. The corners were subtlety darkened down using this technique to draw the eye in. Some texture was actually painted on the font lettering to add some interest by using a texture brush and setting the layer to Overlay blend mode – it really brightens up parts of the font.

A couple last things were done in this image. Topaz (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Studio was opened and a black and white sketch effect was applied. It is called SJ Graphic Sketch 1 preset (contains these adjustments: Basic, Precision Contrast, Tone Curves, Smudge and Abstraction) and is up in the community if you would like to try it out. And for me the best way to pull this whole image together is to use the (Google) Nik Viveza 2 – I could not have done this without using this filter. It adjusted out the focus since so much is going on in the image and the colors by adjusting the brightness of each element and sharpness. Need to try it out and since it is still free right now and still works just fine, definitely worth using.

The final image had 43 layers and lots of tweaking but I like the final result. It is important to find a subject you want to work on – this suited me just fine since Spring is almost here! Hope this answered everyone’s scrapbook effect questions – I have learned a lot and it just takes practice to get some nice designed. Also be sure to check out my Tidbits Blog – I added a nice sharpening tip last week. Have a wonderful week!…..Digital Lady Syd


TAKING A BREAK TO LEARN SOME NEW THINGS

A composite image using giraffesI am taking some time to learn a few new techniques-hence the expression in the image. I have never really explored the large digital scrapbooking community-they often use some very different ways of approaching an artistic expression. This image represents several of their techniques learned from partially from Tiffany Tilmman-Emanuel in her Mixed Media for Digital Scrapbookers videos from Creative Live. She is an excellent presenter and there are many more new things to try. I hope to be blogging on some of these soon. This was my first attempt at trying out some new techniques and it ended up being 42 layers long.

Resources used in this image are: the giraffe face is my own image, the silhouette giraffes are brushes from TutsPS, left giraffe is from Mr. Vintage Wild Animals set, white bird by Flower & Bird Watercolor by Gringoanne, and green leaves are from Lisa Glantz’s Magical Watercolor Graphics Vol1 Sample; background composed of Free Spirit su Gesso Texture (check out this free download of gesso textures – they are really nice), French Kiss Glorious Grunge Index (not sure it is still available), and Kim Klassen 2170 with Script (not sure it is still available); and the text layer is from Chris Spooner’s Watercolour Text Effect.

Have a great week!……Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO CREATE A SUBTLE DODGE AND BURN EFFECT

Image of little yellow blooms on a Ti PlantThis week I am doing a little video on how I brought these tiny yellow flowers into sharper focus using one of my favorite dodging and burning techniques and show what a few of my other workflow techniques look like once applied. This image could have been used with several other textures or have been cropped differently for a totally look. I really liked the negative space and dreamy feel of the image, so I left it the way it was done for the video. Links to more information are provided below. Here is the video:

Here is a list of places that will give you more info or where you can get more information on some of the techniques or resources presented in the video:

  • Lightroom Preset called Hazy Days 17 by 2 Lil’ Owls – See sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link, she has a lot of great Lightroom presets besides her gorgeous textures.
  • My Fun Photoshop The Best Dodging and Burning Technique blog – basically same technique as presented in the video except that a black brush color is used to burn instead of sampling a dark color from the image.
  • I Qwillo Brush from GrutBrushes.com – keep checking back on Monday’s on Nicolai’s site for a free brush each week – love his brushes!
  • Adobe’s Paper Texture Pro – free panel that can be added into Photoshop to quickly add and change textures layers to your images – very useful.
  • My Fun Photoshop How to Add a Spot of Light blog – the blog used a technique by Corey Barker, but Pratik Naik uses the same technique with the soft round low flow brush – try this brush in different colors to get some interesting effects.
  • My Fun Photoshop How to Use a Black & White Adjustment Layer to See Contrast in an Image blog – should use this technique on every image to make sure your focal point is standing out.
  • My Fun Photoshop Yet Another Great Way to Create a Vignette! blog – same technique used in the blog except the Gradient Editor was opened and the gradient color changed from black to a soft purplish color in the bottom left tab. Blake Rudis came up with a brilliant idea here!

If anyone has questions on some of the procedures performed on this image, just drop me a question in the comments below and I will go over it more clearly. This was a pretty fast pace for describing all the steps followed in this image. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and Happy Halloween!…..Digital Lady Syd


HAVING SOME SUMMER FUN!

Creative Text imageThis week I am just taking it easy and playing around with some text and images. Sometimes you just have to let the creative side play and see what happens! Anyway, this is how Digital Lady Syd takes a break! I just can’t get away from Photoshop! I do not usually use other individuals’ images, but for practice it is great – I do not see me getting to these beautiful mountains soon! There are many resources today if you would like to try a few new things.

In the image above a text layer was placed in a new document – the font used was from a CD bought years ago by Cosmi called 04, a fabulously fat font. The Create Warped Text icon on the Options Bar was double-clicked and in the Warp Text dialog, a Style called Arc Upper was selected with a Bend of +50%. A Stroke Layer Style was set to a Size 7 px, inside set to Color white. The Default Drop Shadow was added. Some splatter brushes from French Kiss (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) were used above and underneath the text to add the crazy effect. A Pattern Adjustment Layer using a lace pattern was clipped (ALT+Click between the layers) to add a lacy effect in some of the strokes. (The Pattern used was a black and white lace texture from a set redheadstock at DeviantArt called Lace Photoshop Patterns.) The SS-Groping 1 Flying birds are also from redheadstock and set to 73% layer opacity. One of my painted textures was placed on the bottom and a Black and White Adjustment Layer was used to desaturate it. On a composite layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) ReStyle was applied using the Snow Cover II preset with a few adjustments to the Color and Tone sections. The lower text font was called Berlin Sans FB Demi. On a layer above the text, Grut’s FX IL Bottle Topple brush from his terrific Inky Leaks Splatter brushes was applied to slightly cover the text – set to 64% layer opacity (and do not forget to look for his free brush of the week – it is a great way to get introduced to his big selection of brushes).

Digital art image a pretty modelThe original of the woman shows her standing in the middle of some orange colored leaves – I think she looks like a princess! (See Kuoma Stock Haunted 13 for original image at DeviantArt.) The woman was extracted from the background using the Select and Mask Command. Another one of my painted backgrounds was added and a couple layers of splatters were added behind the girl. Color was added to her face and nails and hair added into the image. On a New Blank Layer heart brush was created from the Custom Shape Tool (in Options Bar select the Heart Shape and set the 2nd button to Shape; go to the Paths Panel and click the Create a Selection icon at bottom; go back to Layers Panel and fill selection with black by ALT+Backspace to fill; with Marquee Tool, select the black Heart and go to Edit -> Define Brush Preset and name Heart). Settings for the brush are: Brush Panel’s Brush Tip Shape Spacing 25%; Shape Dynamics Size Jitter 93%, Control Pen Pressure, Angle Jitter 12; Scattering Both Axes, Scatter 1000%, Count 1, Count Jitter 0; Color Dynamics Apply Per Tip, Foreground to Background 8%, Hue 7%, Sat Jitter 2%, Brightness Jitter 7%, and Purity -36%; Transfer Opacity Jitter 20% and Flow Jitter 32% and Smoothing on. Two New Blank Layers were used to add in different colors (white and light pink) hearts – one layer’s Layer Style ws opened and set to Bevel and Emboss to add a little texture to some of the hearts. Topaz Texture Effects 2 was opened and the Breaking Down preset was applied with the Spot Mask used to remove effect from her face. Duplicated the layer and opened up the Corel Painter plug-in (I am still using the old version) – the Flame brush was selected and pink and light color flames were painted just for fun. The old frame is from the Scrapbooker itKuPilli and is in a set called Amazing Grapes (could not locate). The font with the hearts is called Fiolex Girls. On top 2 Lil’ Owls Color Bokeh Grunge Set texture 4 (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar – this is one of my favorite sets) was applied and set to 38% layer opacity.

Wintry image of Fur TreesThis is also a wonderful Unsplash photo by Johannes Plenio called Winter. I got a little carried away post-processing this image until it was brought to my attention that it looked like a raging forest fire – I thought it was an incredible sunset! (See below.) Just an example of good intentions that turned into not so good post processing. Anyway, just a little tweak from Topaz ReStyle and now it is a beautiful wintry image. So most of the dramatic changes were done in the new Topaz Studio using Sharpen, Radiance, Color Theme, Texture and HSL Color Tuning sections (I created a preset called SJ Forest Landscape in the Community if you have downloaded the plugin and would like to try it out). For more info, see my Introducing the Free Topaz Studio blog. This created the sunset look, but also created the nice sharp tree trunks and edges. Back in PS, two Curves Adjustment Layers were used to adjust the RGB curve for contrast, and then the Color using the individual Channel Curves. Next a Levels Adjustment was applied as it just looked good. Then a Black and White Adjustment Layer adjusting the color contrast sliders just a little and then set to Luminosity blend mode. And finally a Selective Color Adjustment Layer adjusted the Yellow color so the little tree on the left showed up better – set the layer mask to black (CTRL+I inside the mask) and painted back just the tree. 5 New Blank Layers were added and set to Overlay blend mode and with a soft round brush, various areas were highlighted with white, yellow, and sky colors. The layer opacities were reduced to taste. It was now a raging fire image! Oh my gosh! Okay, here is a small image so you get the idea and see how powerful ReStyle can be.

Fiery Image of Fur TreesQuickly Topaz ReStyle was opened and the Snow Cover II preset (once again) was applied with very few changes – just a few Tone and Detail changes. It was amazing how this preset was able to transform the image. In PS a New Blank Layer was added and Grut’s FX IL Dry Grit brush was used from his set above and snow was painted lightly on the trees. My free SJ Snow2 Overlay slight Blur was added at 75% layer opacity to give some nice snow effect. The Shadowhouse Creations Snow Overlay 11 (his resources are the best!) was added to give a little more snow dimension – it was set to Screen blend mode at 70% layer opacity. The last step added Matt Kloskowski’s vignette (see my Fun Photoshop How to Create a Subtle Vignette Blog.)

Hope you got a few ideas with this sort of lazy Summer Day Blog – have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd


ENJOYING THE VIEW (At the Rookery)

Image of a Wood Stork at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm RookeryThis large Wood Stork was definitely enjoying himself as he posed for the bird paparazzi at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery, and the other Wood Storks from his perch. This big bird actually held his balance very well up on that little branch – pretty amazing! Well I know I am taking a couple weeks off from blogging but thought I would add this short blog to let you know I am still around. Most of this image was actually post-processed in my old Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 without any problems. Just duplicated the background layer and opened Topaz (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Detail 3 to add some sharpness to the whole bird. Added on top 2 Little Owls (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Workbook Texture 4 which gave the plain blue sky a beautiful effect. Jay Johnson’s free Flying Bird png2 file was added in the top and set to 44% with a Pattern Fill Layer added to add some softness to the bird color. An Exposure Adjustment Layer was used to sharpen the eye. Then added a grunge brush png layer i created and applied just around the stork. This layer was set to Overlay blend mode at 25% layer opacity. Then popped into regular Photoshop CC2017 to add a Red Channel Luminosity Curve Layer and Nik Viveza 2. Very easy and enjoyed trying out my old program for a change. See ya in a couple more…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Just a Day at the Rookery!
Building a Nest for the Future


ADDING A CREATIVE PAINT EFFECT

Image of King James V at Stirling Castle, ScotlandThis week I am presenting a little tutorial on how to add an interesting an painterly or artistic effect to your images. This technique goes hand-in-hand with the use of other creative filters, but is a great way to add a personal touch to those canned filters results. The image above is from Stirling Castle (completion date cc 1542) where the face of the palace is lined with statues. This statue is thought to be King James V of Scotland in yeoman attire as he wandered incognito among his subjects and calling himself the Gudeman of Ballengeich (tenant farmer of Ballengeich, a place near Stirling).

This technique comes from a really nice tutorial by Sebastian Michaels who is a total genius when it comes to using Photoshop. Several years ago he created a video called Custom Brush Technique at Light Stalking where he discussed several different ways of creating brushes. He made a grunge brush that he used to paint in an effect similar to the above. I took a little liberty here and downloaded similar brushes to create some of my effects.

What is shown here is how to add a white layer with a layer mask – by painting with black in the layer mask with unique and textured brushes, a very artistic result can be achieved. The steps are as follows:

  1. Adjust photo and on a duplicate layer (CTRL+J), add in any special effects such as filters.
  2. To add even more variety to the image, copy the duplicated layer from Step 1 and add adjustments layers, filters such as Topaz (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Impression or ReStyle, or go to Image ->Adjustment->Hue/Saturation (not an Adjustment Layer) set to colorize to change the overall color of the image. My image was turned into a bluish colorized look on the original filter layer, but could have been done on another duplicated copy.
  3. Add a New Layer on top and fill it with white (can go into Edit->Fill and Content: White (SHIFT+F5), or just change the color swatches to default Black/White (D) and press CTRL+BACKSPACE to fill with white (FYI: ALT+BACKSPACE fills with black).
  4. Add a Layer Mask to this layer (2nd icon from left at bottom of Layers Panel).
  5. Using several different brushes in the layer mask, build up the effect. Set the brushes to 20-30% only and change the rotation of the brush with each tap down. It is easiest to do if the Brush Panel is opened and set to the Brush Tip Shape section. Flip the little circle around to set the stroke so edges appear different when painted in the mask. Also, can right click in the Options Bar the Brush Preset Picker (2nd icon) to change the rotation and size quickly. Start by adding a bit of vignette feel on the edges. If you want the brush to rotate randomly with each stroke, can ago into the Shape Dynamics section and set the Angle Jitter to some amount – I use 19% on many of my brushes. Look at the Preview field to see what the effect will be when changes are made in the Brush Panel.
  6. If the layer was duplicated and more than one filter or effect was created (as in Step 2), also add a layer mask to all these layers and paint out parts so the original color of the image shows through. This gives a nice split tone look.

To get an interesting effect, try grunge brushes, splatter brushes for the edges, and soft round or smaller sized textured brushes to paint back any important details. Different sizes, rotations and opacities of brushes really vary the effect. And remember the Properties Panel can be used to adjust the layer mask opacity if the final result is too strong. The actual layer blend mode and opacity can be adjusted also. Lots of flexibility can be found here.

The above followed Sebastion’s steps from his video pretty closely including using Photoshop’s Filter Gallery to create a watercolor effect (Watercolor filter – Brush Detail 9, Shadow Intensity 1, Texure 2; and  Crosshatch filter – Stroke Length 9, Sharpness 6, Strength 1). This was added to the layer first before the Hue/Saturation Colorize effect was applied. Then the White Layer was placed on top. Three different types of brushes were used on both layer masks: a grunge brush (Shadowhouse Creations’ Grunge Brush Set 2-G4 brush), a grunge brush made using a texture somewhat like Sebastian’s, and Grut FX IL Ratatatsplat brush (from his wonderful Inky Leaks Splatter set) was used for the edge effect. Finished up with Nik Viveza 2 to just pull the eye into the statue area and lightly lighten the face.

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Image of BlueberriesThis blueberry image used the same workflow. It does not seem as if adding a white layer on top would make much of a difference here, but it actually did. It lightened the image overall before bringing in the color from the layers below and can add some beautiful texture with the right brushes. For this image, Topaz Impression was opened and one of my presets was applied called SJ WC like effect on bldgs (see end of blog for settings). On a duplicate layer, an Image->Adjustments>Hue/Sat-Colorize was set to Hue 46/Sat 27/Lightness +2 – a gold sepia tone. The color did not look right so a Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer was clipped to the layer (ALT+click between the layers) and changed to a more pink color. This layer was set to 33% layer opacity. Brushes used in white top layer mask and the Impression and Colorized layer masks were:  SJ 1 Color-Paint Fur-AD Sketch Splatter (see end of blog on how to create this brush-one of my favorites as it adds just a touch of texture to the stroke at a small size and nice splatter brush at larger size) at 25% br opa and 502 px and rotated around edges; Shadowhouse Grunge GB-4 again at 1200 px and rotated around center; and ABlaise-Canvas Texture Br 46 32-350px (this brush added some nice texture into the image). The brush sizes and rotation were varied in each mask. Topaz ReStyle’s Zambezi Zest preset was used to get the French vineyard colors in the image. (Settings: ReStyle Opacity 62% and Soft Light blend mode; Color Style Primary 0.58; and Lum Primary 0.47; Texture Strength 1.00; Basic Temp 0.22, Tint 0.34, and Sat 0.08; Tone Black Level -0.14, Midtones 0.03, and White Level -0.39; and Detail Structure -1.00 and Sharpness 0.63; and Masking – with Strength set to 0.36, painted out the green leaf at bottom and the berries to give more detail in just those areas.) Finished up with the standard Red Channel Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer, Black and White Adjustment Layer set to Luminosity blend mode, and Nik Viveza 2 to bring out the focal points.

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Image of Urquhart Castle in ScotlandHere is another example of how this technique could be used. This is an image of Urquhart Castle in Scotland on a very rainy day. Topaz ReStyle was applied using the exact same preset and settings from the blueberry image. Then a white layer was added on top with a mask. The Castle image was painted back in using the same brushes as above or the newly created Grunge Brush, the SJ 1 Color-Paint fur-AD Sketch Splatter brush (settings below) and once again Aaron Blaise’s Texture brush – his textured brushes really help with this effect when used in a layer mask. The layer was set to 35% layer opacity. On the ReStyle layer, a layer mask was added and parts of the trees and castle were painted out so the original image color showed through. At the top a New Layer was added and filled with a light gold-yellow color. A layer mask was added and once again the image was painted back using the same Grut-FX IL Ratatatsplat for the edges and my SJ 1 Color-Paint Fur brush at a small size for the detail areas. This layer was set to Linear Dodge (Add). To get the final effect, the Layer Style was opened by double clicking on the layer. In the Blend If sliders, the Underlying Layer black tab was split (by holding ALT and pulling the tab apart) and setting it to 10/70. This does not always work, but it definitely worth trying out to see what happens. In this case it brought out the structure more clearly. Nik Viveza 2 was used to pinpoint the focal point which is where the red umbrella is located. Anyway, just note that you are not limited to a white color top layer or using just one color layer. With a little experimenting, a very nice image can be produced. I believe I will use the above image on note cards.

Hope this gives you another little trick to try in your artistic endeavors and maybe it will give your images that extra level of interest it needs. And try out my brush – I am finding it is very useful in lot of different types of images. Have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Topaz Impression’s SJ WC like effect on bldgs Settings: Thought I would share the preset settings as it really does give some interesting results sometimes with a little masking when looking for creative effects. The preset was made in Topaz Impression 1:  Started with Watercolor II preset and these were the final settings: Stroke Type 04, Brush Size 0.91, Paint Volume 0.42, Paint Opacity 0.87, Stroke Width 0.33, Stroke Length 0.89, Spill 0.23, Smudge 26, Coverage 1.00, Color Overall Hue 0.15, Saturation -0.20 and Lightness 0.06; Red Sat 0.47 and 0.14; Orange Sat 0.60 and Lightness -0.42; Yellow Sat -0.33 and Lightness 0.13; Green Sat 0.20 and Lightness -0.32; and Blue Sat 0.36; Lighting Brightness -0.04, Contrast 0.39, Vignette 0, and Light Direction X0.33 and Y0.06; and Texture Strength 0.78, Size 0.30, Canvas IV, Background Type solid white, and Background color used #d38967 – all other settings not listed at 0. Adjust your color swatches to get other color tones. These changes  were made to the preset in Topaz Impression 2 for the blueberry image: Number of Strokes High; Color Aqua Sat 0.25 and Lightness 0.51; Lighting Highlight 0.40, Shadow -0.39; and Texture Strength 0.

SJ 1 Color-Paint Fur-AD Sketch Splatter brush has become a favorite brush for all kinds of things. With these brush settings, it is great to paint animal skin but it works great wherever a little soft edge with subtle texture is needed. It is my go-to clean up brush when color needs to be added to fill in some rough spots. Here are the settings: First download these free brushes from Alex Dukal – Adobe Sketch Brushes and select AD Sketch Splatter – 143 px brush. This brush had the brush tip I liked but most of the brush settings were changed. Here are the Brush Panel settings as I use the brush: Brush Tip Shape – Size 9 px, Angle 13 degrees, Roundness 100% and spacing 120%; Shape Dynamics – only the Control field was set to Pen Pressure (for tablet use); Scattering – check Both Axes, Scatter 149%, Count 9, and Count Jitter 54%; Transfer – only the Opacity Control field was set to Pen Pressure, and Smoothing checked. Be sure to create a Brush Preset and a Brush Tool Preset (1st icon on the Options Bar – open the drop down and click the Create New Preset icon – this saves the Options Bar settings). Adjust and paint with different sizes. Can add Texture and Color Dynamics for different look. Also Dual Brush can be interesting. I use this brush sometimes as small as 4 px to clean parts of an image by sampling adjacent colors. Try out the original brush provided as it is a really nice splatter brush.


HOW TO CREATE AN ILLUSTRATIVE TEXTURED IMAGE FROM A PHOTO

Image of a Palm TreeThis week I am going to just show a couple tricks about how to get this more illustrative look and how to use an overlay from a texture to get a nice effect. This is a beautiful Palm Tree that was growing in West Palm Beach at the hotel. It had a really green background and detail that was making it hard to separate the tree out. So this is how I got what I consider a rather nice effect.

So I am going over the basic workflow which was used on both this image and the foxes image below. Most of these steps I have covered in recent blogs on how to do them so I will direct you to them if you need to refer back.

    1. This image was adjusted using Adobe Camera Raw – just changed several Basic sliders. Lightroom was used in the second image changing only the DeHaze, Highlight and Shadow sliders and removing a little Noise.
    2. In Photoshop the bottom layer was duplicated by clicking CTRL+J (if opened as a Smart Object, which preserves your ACR settings as with the image above, need to  right click on the top layer and select Rasterize Layer to remove the Smart Object).
    3. This time Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Detail was used on the top image and Topaz Clarity on the bottom layer to just sharpen up the details. Any sharpening method works fine but start with a sharp image and remove the detail later if needed. (See my Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz Detail 3 blog and my More Clarity on Topaz Clarity blog.)
    4. The Foxes can easily be removed from their distracting background, so at this point Topaz ReMask 5 was used, but any selection tool would have worked fine. (Try using the Quick Selection Tool, Magic Wand, or  Quick Mask with the Refine Edge Command.) This  would have been an impossible task with the Palm Tree image at this point. (See my And the Best Complicated Selection Tool Is? blog.)
    5. Next the free JixiPix Spectrel Art was used on both images. The Palm Tree used the Dark Edges preset and the background was painted out using the Erase Brush in the plug-in. For the Foxes, the Topaz ReMask layer is opened in Spectrel Art and Dark Lines preset was used. Those two presets seem to be my favorites. Both image were set to Screen blend mode on this layer in Photoshop. (See my How To Use the Free Spectrel Art Plug-In.)
    6. Now the newly free Nik Color Efex Pro 4 is used on both images. The Palm Tree used these 4 stacked filters: Film Efex: Vintage using Film Type 6, Glamour Glow, Lighten/Darken Center, and Color Set Monday Morning using Neutral. This gave the image a bit of nice glow in the image. The Fox image used the same first three filters (Film Efex: Vintage used Color Set 14) but the last one used Detail Extractor set to 20%. ( See my Digital Lady Syd’s Review of Nik Color Efex Pro 4!)
    7. Now clean up layers were used on both images. For the Palm Tree, a New Layer was created and just sampled the background area and painted around where the distractions were. Brush used was a free brush from Ditlev Fine Art Br Vol1-SB 6 13 – nice texture at a lower flow and just built up the effect so it looks somewhat painterly around the tree fronds. For the Foxes, used a chalk brush at very low opacity to reduce lines that were distracting and emphasized the head of the foxes which is the focal point.
    8. Now the overlays are used. For the Palm Trees, the French Kiss (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Artiste Bold Brush 2 texture was opened in another document. By going to Select Color and choosing Highlights and the check the Invert checkbox, a selection of only the color was created. Close the dialog and add a layer mask to the layer and the whites will be deleted from the image. I recommend using a texture with lots of grain and color to get an interesting overlay look. Now this layer can be saved as a PNG file to be used again. It was placed into the Palm Tree file and a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to the layer (ALT+click between layers) to get the light turquoise color on the overlay. The layer opacity was set to 74%. This is one of my favorite overlays – I like for my image to show through better and it does not require a blend mode which can change the colors or the light values in the image. A layer mask was used to lightly remove some of the texture off the Palm Trees. The Foxes used the exact same process – this time two different textures were used from 2 Little Owl’s Studios (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link): Stained Glass 14 with the Highlights removed in Select Color at 32% layer opacity; and Starry Night 5 which used only the darker areas and was set to 84% layer opacity. (See my How to Create an Overlay Out of a Texture blog.)
    9. Now an extra step occurred in the Foxes image, mainly some lightening and darkening Curves Adjustment layers to differentiate the right fox head from the back of the left fox. (See my How To Use Curves Adjustment Layers to Dodge and Burn an Image blog.)
    10. Next Topaz Lens Effects was applied to both images where the Reflector filter using a Gold preset – this directed the lighted the light from a certain direction to give both images a warmer feeling. Just fiddle with the sliders until it looks good. If you do not have the plug-in, use Camera Raw Filter’s Radial Filter and add a touch of yellow Temperature and a little Exposure and make a big circle half off the image to warm up a side a little bit. (See my Topaz Lens Effects for Some Image Fun! blog.)
    11. New Layers were created in both images and just a little speckle brush was used to paint in around the trees and foxes to give a more painterly effect. The layer opacity was set to 60% so as not to look too fake.
    12. For the Fox image, a final step of adding French Kiss’s Sponged Edge border overlay to further give a little painter effect to the border. A Gradient Adjustment Layer was clipped to it that contained a warm orange to a gold gradient. The Gradient Adjustment Layer opacity was set to 36% and the Border was set to 35% layer opacity. Very subtle.

Image of sleeping Fennoc FoxesThese little Fennec Foxes were taking a snooze at the West Palm Beach Zoo on a sunny day. I was trying to give the impression that they were having wonderful dreams. I know the workflow above is a little extensive, and there are several different ways you can improve upon the effect. Still, I personally like that part photo – part illustrative look you can achieve with the various filters. And most can be reproduced with Photoshop and free plug-ins. Of course I am still a big Topaz fan, but there are always other ways to get a similar look.

One of the things I hope you try is Step 8 above. If you have some favorite textures, try removing a color out of them or highlights or shadows – this can really give a unique feel to an image and I do prefer a good PNG file over a JPG texture many times. Hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of summer!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO CREATE A BLOWN OUT EFFECT PRESET IN LIGHTROOM OR CAMERA RAW

Image of a deserted Roller Coaster at Daytona BeachJust doing a fun quick blog this week on a Lightroom (Camera Raw) preset I created several years ago and rediscovered. This is an image of how I envisioned this roller coaster looking at Daytona Beach as we move toward the cooler months.

This image was first processed from Adobe Bridge in Adobe Camera Raw using an old preset of mine that uses the Camera Calibration Process 2010, so the new sliders were not present. It was one of my favorites and it was called Colorful Blown Out. (For an example of original use, see my blog Colorful Blown Out Look Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw Preset. The download links do not work anymore, so see Bird image below for the original preset settings.) I like this preset as it makes it easy to separate your subject from the background so the Color Range Command can be used. By adding a texture underneath, some really interesting and nice effects can be achieved. The Roller Coaster image uses the preset with the old 2010 Process and sliders. See end of blog for more post-processing info and how the Color Range selection was created.

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Image of Daytona Beach Another image from Daytona Beach near the end of summer. Mainly locals enjoying a few final days. Well, the same blown out preset for Lightroom 3 was used on the first image, but this time I updated it to Camera Calibration Process 2012. Click on the image below to see the settings used for the Basic and Luminance sections which make up most of the preset. The other Sections were Sharpening set to Lightroom default of Amount 25, Radius 1.0, Detail 25 and Mask 0. The Effects Post-Crop Vignetting was set to Style Color Priority, Amount +22, Midpoint 28, Roundness -14, and Feather 4. At this point the settings were saved as a preset. The Exposure and Vignette settings definitely need to be changed to suit the image, and possibly all of them – it is just a starting point. All these same settings are the same in Camera Raw as well. I do find I prefer the original preset more than the 2012 version created with the new sliders. My advice is to try both preset versions.

Screenshot of settings for Lightroom presetIt is a pretty high key look. In case you cannot see these settings, here they are: Exposure +2.39, Contrast +96, Highlights -28, Shadows +28, Whites 0, Blacks +10, Clarity +34, Vibrance +70, and Saturation 0. For more post-processing info, see end of blog.

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Image of a Roseate Spoonbill This rather comical image of a Roseate Spoonbill from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery used the original 2010 process. If you want to try it out, here are the Basic Section settings: Exposure +1.61, Recovery 0, Fill Light +56, Blacks 3, Brightness +50, Contrast +97, Clarity +68, Vibrance +70, and Saturation 0; Post Crop Vignetting set to Highlight Priority, Amount +36, Midpoint +54, Roundness -15, and Feather +76; Luminance set to Reds -39, Yellows -36 and Greens -25; and default Sharpening settings. These also need to be adjusted some to get the correct effect, but it is a good start. And lots of people prefer the Recovery and Fill sliders and use the older 2010 process with their old favorite presets often. See this short video by Matt Kloskowski, one of the best Lightroom gurus, called Lightroom’s Secret Shadow Slider Trick. The Fill In slider is quite high in the 2010 process versus the lower amount of Shadow in 2012. It is really great that Adobe lets you use the older sliders so you can still use some of your favorite presets.

Hope you try this effect, it is actually pretty nice on some images. Look forward to the coming months with everyone! Have another good week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Image Info:

Image 1: Info on finishing this photo is as follows. The Roller Coaster image was opened as a Smart Object in Photoshop where it was duplicated. This layer was rasterized to form one regular layer (right click on words in layer and choose Rasterize). This regular layer was taken into Select -> Color Range, choose Highlights, and clicked the Invert check box to select the roller coaster and not the sky. Next press CTRL+J to put selection on a layer of its own. Next several texture were tried out underneath to see what would give an interesting back effect. This time I used two of my painted textures and the Blend If sliders to get the colorful result. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz (for website link, see link at my Tidbits Blog) Lens Effects Dual Tone Red to Yellow preset was used as a starting point, then sliders tweaked to get the effect I liked. A Black and White Adjustment Layer was added on top to see where my focus was going. By adjusting these sliders and setting the Adjustment Layer to Luminosity blend mode, the bright detail in the center were emphasized and where the image focal point is. The layer mask was inverted to black (CTRL+I in mask) and just the focal area was painted back in. On another stamped layer, Nik Viveza 2 was used to darken the edges a little. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added as a last step on top.

Image 2: Therefore, it was taken into Photoshop to add a few more tweaks. The Liquify Filter was used to slim down several of the beach-goers. On a stamped layer Topaz Adjust was applied using Topaz Adjust’s Painting Venice preset (one of my favorite Adjust presets) with changes to Transparency (0.57) and Warmth (0.17). On top one of my Corel Painter beach textures was added to soften and give the foreground a little more color, and was set to Normal blend mode at 53% layer opacity. A layer mask was added and the people were painted back a little to make them show up better. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added as a last step. Pretty easy and lots of fun to do! I just love all the activity at the beach!

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
I Didn’t Know That! Converting Lightroom Preset to Adobe Camera Raw Preset


HOW TO GIVE THAT OVER-USED TEXTURE A NEW LOOK

Image of a Snowy Egret and a Chick at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm RookeryThis week I am just presenting a couple of simple suggestions on how to change up your older, and maybe slightly over-used favorite textures, to add a fresh backgrounds to your images. I have started painting my own textures usually in Corel Painter, but sometimes Photoshop, to cover up my busy bird backgrounds. For me it is easier to actually create basic textures to work with these images, and then keep reusing the ones I like. I also have favorites by several different texture folks that I tend to over-use. The above image of the beautiful Snowy Egret mother and her baby at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery is a great example of what can be done with a basic texture to get a totally different look.

First tip is to try out your different plug-ins

In this case, Topaz Lens Effects’ Toy Camera filter (Bright Color preset) was used to create this colorful background that fits in beautifully with the birds. See original texture below with birds that were extracted from image using Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) ReMask 5, but before clean up and painting touch ups.

Original image of Egret and Chick before adding Topaz Lens EffectsEven Photoshop’s Liquify, Filter Gallery, and don’t forget the older Oil Painter Filter in CS6 or the original CC can be used to get an fresh interesting background. An you can always apply the effects just to the subject layer also. I actually used the Oil Painter filter on the birds first before painting them to use as a starting point. And with all the fairly inexpensive plug-ins around, try stacking some of the effects. Several Lens Effects  presets were tried before deciding on a colorful background. (Here were my settings so you can see how it was adjusted:  Toy Camera Aberrations all set to 0 as I did not want this effect; Placement Adjustments Region Size 0.06, Transition 0.48, and Angle 130.3; Region A Color Casts Cyan Cast A – 0.09, Red Cast A, Magenta Cast A and Green Cast A all 0, Yellow Cast A 0.13 and Blue Cast A 0.09; Region B Color Casts – All 0 except Yellow Cast B 0.17 and Blue Cast B 0.04; and Image Adjustments Brightness -0.38, Contrast -0.14, Saturation 0.03, Saturation Boost 0.13, Shadows -0.20, and Highlight 0.15.)

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Image of Gray Heron flying with a twigOne of the most important things to remember about adding texture to birds and flowers is to make sure the background colors somewhat match the colors of the area you removed from around your subject. The subject’s edges blend so much better and gives a more natural look. This may be the happiest Gray Heron I have seen flying around at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery. He seemed so excited that he found this wonderful twig to add to his nest. The bird background was very simple, just a flat blue sky, so the extraction using Topaz ReMask 5 left just a little bit of blue color fringing on the edges. By placing a bluish texture behind the bird, he blends in beautifully with the texture. This texture that I painted in Painter is not blue at all – see original texture below.

Original SJ Windy Fall texture in image
Tip Two is to use those Adjustment Layers to get different overall looks

To change this texture a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was used and set to Hue +155, Saturation +7, and Lightness +22, which moved all the colors towards the sky blue tones. You can even go into the individual colors in the Master drop down to change it up in just one particular color area. The Selective Color or Color Balance Adjustment Layers also do great color changes. Both the Curves and Levels Adjustments Layers have drop downs behind the RGB that go into the individual color channels where very specific color changes can be made. The Color Fill Adjustment Layer set to Color blend mode at different layer opacities can change up the overall color.  And the Replace Color command can add some really nice color changes (Image -> Adjustments -> Replace Color). The bird was painted using one of Fay Sirkis’ Portrait Pet Mixer Brushes I believe they are still available at KelbyOne if you are a member (in their older webinar section) and they are the best for bird images that I have found.

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Tip Three is just Transform and Warp to your hearts content!

You can always Free Transform your textures when adding to the image, and stretch, bend and/or distort them anyway you want. Sometimes just a part of the texture looks good in the image – you do not have to use it all. Sometimes flipping it vertically or horizontally will make the subject fit in with the texture better. And don’t forget that Warp button – can get some really interesting results by pulling and stretching.

Image of white and pink parrot tulips paintedThis image is of some beautiful parrot tulips I had a few years ago.  It used a texture I created in Painter while I was just trying out different brushes. Below a screenshot of how the original texture was placed to get this effect on this image.

Screenshot of texture placement

This image used a lot of different painting techniques on the flowers. They were selected in Topaz ReMask 5. Mixer Brushes and Art History Brushes using 4 different History snapshots  (Light, Dark, Medium, and Color snapshots were created with Curves Adjustment Layers and Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to create snapshots – they can then be deleted) were used to paint the flowers. On top a New Layer was created and the Smudge Brush was used to add even more of a painterly look. It is important to remember that you do not have to stick to just one type of painting technique – change them up and adjust layer opacities or use layer masks to get the look you want.

Try out different effects on your textures either before or after applying them to your image. You might really get a very unique and special look by taking a few extra steps. Also check out my Texture category for more blogs on textures. Have a Fun Holiday!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO GET A PAINTERLY EFFECT FOR WILDLIFE AND BIRDS

Image of an egret on a painted textureFor a few weeks I have been experimenting with some of the wonderful painterly techniques of Jai Johnson, a wildlife enthusiast who creates absolutely beautiful images. I am finally getting some results that are appealing to my personal taste as I love photographing wildlife in the natural habitat. I thought I would pass on what works for me. On her website she has several really nice videos. She uses Topaz (see website link in sidebar of my Tidbits Blog) photoFXlab as a stand-alone, but it is pretty easy to follow along and do the same steps in most versions of Photoshop. Lately I have been doing my painting in CS6 to increase the stroking speed especially with the Mixer Brushes, although all the CC versions will work fine.

Love the beautiful egrets that can be found in the rookery at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm in the Spring. This bird just seemed happy to me and was a lot of fun to paint. The background is one created in Painter for him. I believe you could create some nice watercolor backgrounds in Photoshop that would give a similar result. I needed a yellow warm light in the background to match the sunlight on his body. Used Jai’s basic workflow that puts him on top and then in a black mask, the original background is removed. She also uses Topaz Lens Effects Graduated Neutral Density filter – in this case used to lighten the bird up. The texture was duplicated two more times and placed on top – one used Multiply blend mode at 16% layer opacity and the other Color Dodge blend mode at 15% layer opacity. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer was opened and the Colorize button was checked with the Hue set to 48 and Saturation 25 – filled the mask with black (CTRL+I in mask) and painted back just lightly areas I wanted the warmer color to appear. Nik Viveza 2 was used to add emphasis to the head area. The Eyes and Beak were sharpened using two Exposure Adjustment Layers. (See my How To Do a Quick Eye Sharpening in Photoshop blog,) Then a stamped layers (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created on top and opened in Topaz ReStyle using the Peppermint Gray preset (one of my favorites) to get a little different color balance. Back in PS the layer was set to 45% layer opacity and the bottom foreground was painted out in a layer mask to keep it slightly darker so the bird looks grounded. Last steps involved used New Layers to clean up distracting colors or areas.

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Image of Wood Stork on painted background
I totally love Wood Storks, the gentle looking birds that are everywhere down here in Florida. This one happened to be standing in the top of a tree at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery, but they are everywhere in my neighborhood. There were actually two other birds next to him doing some crazy things so I removed them. They seem to tolerate people very well also.

In this image he was placed on a new texture created just for him in Painter. I tried to use complementary colors to the bird. If you like this type of texture, check out Jai Johnson‘s inexpensive (and some really nice free ones) and beautiful textures that give similar effects. The usual steps were taken of putting the bird layer on top of the texture, adding a black layer mask, and painting just the bird back with a white brush in the mask so the texture shows through from below. One of Jai’s great tips is to try to match up the texture with the original background colors of your subject. Used the Properties Panel Density slider to reduce the mask opacity to be able to see where the subject is for the initial painting in the layer mask, then put the slider back up to 100% when blocked in a little. Duplicated the texture and placed it on top of the bird layer, set it to Soft Light Blend Mode at 62% layer opacity. Did some clean up layers to even out some of the edges.

I am finding Topaz Lens Effect’s Toy Camera filter is working well with my bird images. A stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created on top to apply this filter. Looked at the different presets and choose one,  in this case the Yellow Green Low Contrast preset. The Vignette was set 0 and all the sliders in the Toy Camera Aberrations section far left to 0 since I really do not want the Toy Camera effect. The next Toy Camera sections should be adjusted for the individual image. (For the above the Region Size was set to 0.17, Transition 0.42 and Angle 55.25 – especially watch the Angle as it affects how the colors lay out on the image. Next adjusted the Region A Color Cast and Region B Color Cast to fit this image – mainly adding a little bit of Reds, Yellows and Blues to get the colors I liked.) I like how you can really adjust the colors around to get some nice blended effects. Finally adjusted the standard Image Adjustment sliders to add saturation and contrast. These presets, with some tweaking, can really give an image a beautiful soft and blended result.

The Eyes were again sharpened using the Exposure Adjustment Layer, and then  another for just the beak. These two areas have to be sharp since the eye will look first at them with birds, but be careful not to over-sharpen so they do not blend into the image – reduce the opacity of the adjustment layer a little if this happens. Next I wanted to add just a little contrast around his head so a Curves Adjustment Layer was used to add some burning by pulling down on the curve to get the correct tone behind his head, filling the mask with black (CTRL+I), and painting back where I want the effect. (See my How to Use Curves Adjustment Layer to Dodge and Burn an Image blog). The last step added Nik Viveza 2 to really make the focal point, the head area, pop out. Since the background is competing with his white feathers, the feathers needed some punch and a little softening in this area.

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Image of a beautiful tigerThis beautiful photo was from FreeImages – wish I could take credit for taking this image. The photo was used to follow the steps in Jai’s last video called Working With Bold Colors and Abstract Textures. This image had a really bright colored texture like Jai was using as a background. In her video she suggested trying out Topaz ReStyle, and that is where this color effect was applied. Also Topaz Adjust’s Boost preset was used instead of the Bold preset she prefers on the tiger layer. Topaz Simplify’s BuzzSim preset was used on just the subject layer. On a stamped layer Topaz Lens Effects Graduated Neutral Density filter was applied, and then ReStyle’s Dusty Desert preset which gives the almost colorless result. To finish an Exposure Adjustment Layer for the eyes and then Nik Viveza 2 to even out the background just a little were applied. Wish I had taken this image. Sigh!

Well hope you get a chance to check out Jai Johnson’s techniques on your wildlife images. Like I said, all her techniques can be used in Photoshop without too many changes – just experiment with the brush opacity and Flow settings is about all I see that is a little different. And I really like the Topaz Lens Effects Toy Camera effects – something I had not even looked at before! Hope you are all having a great summer – I am!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Topaz Lens Effects For Some Image Fun
How To See If You Captured the Focal Point
A Little Birdie Told Me So!
Jumping Whales
Horses Checking Me Out