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Tag: blending modes (Page 1 of 4)

A Colorful Sketch

This evening, I played with a mini palette, ArtPlay MiniPalette Jocund, that Anna will release free with a $20 purchase on Black Friday as part of Oscraps’ sales. I thought the gold and white would create a beautiful contrast for a colorful photo.

In Lightroom, I chose the sketch version of a Christmas tree photo. I altered the original photo on the right using a technique that Ulla-May shared. On my layout below, I had simplified the technique.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write down my exact steps at that time, so I hope viewing the video helps you create the effect on a photo of your own. Remember, you don’t have to use smart objects to get this effect so this technique works in Photoshop and Elements.

This was a quick layout because I had already given my photo an artsy sketch effect based on the video. I placed the layers of my altered photo below the frame on solid paper 2. I changed the blend mode of the grouped layers to multiply at 100%.

I placed lace 1 and 2, gold paint 2 and two copies of transfer 3 below the photo and frame.

I created a cluster with elements from the artplay palette and a piece of pine from ArtPlay Palette Pinery. However, my layout appeared unfinished to me.

So I placed a copy of tree sketch composite between the gold paint and two copies of transfer 3. I changed the blend mode to linear burn at 50% and used a brush on a mask to conceal parts.

I hope you will play with Ulla-May’s technique to create a colorful sketch of your own. It really is easy.

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Embrace the Change

The Red Sunset Maple we planted in our yard in 2012 isn’t quite so little anymore. I’ve been taking photos of it every year when the leaves change. This year, it’s just now in full color. I keep trying different angles. I’m waiting for some sunshine before capturing some photos this year.

Anna Aspnes has a knack for creating shadowed overlays and transfers in her artplay palettes, but overlay 2 has got to be one of my all time favorites. I dragged just the overlay from ArtPlay Palette Rudeneja onto a new blank document with solid paper 1 below and started thinking.

Although I don’t have the skills to create the kind of shadows that Anna creates, I decided to import a photo of just a branch from my Red Sunset Maple tree and try creating something similar. I extracted the branch and created custom shadow by duplicating the extraction, filling it with a dark brown, tweaking the shape with the warp transform tool and changing the blend mode to linear burn. I added a layer mask to the shadow, reduced the opacity in order to try to get it to look more realistic.

To fill the background, I placed artsy paper 2 below my extraction. That helped give my branch more dimension.

I then placed transfer 3, transfer 5 and art stroke 1 from ArtPlay Palette Rudeneja. I adjusted the position of overlay 2 so that it was directly above the overlay on solid paper 2 and changed the blend mode of overlay 2 to multiply to add depth to the paper. Note: That overlay is part of solid paper 2.

With a title from Change WordART Mix No. 1, a mix of two psd files from MultiMedia Branches No. 9 and a sentence of journaling, I decided my page was finished.

Now, what I really want to learn is how to shadow the way Anna does!

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Choosing Background Paper

I arrived at Lauritzen Gardens about 5pm for an evening photography class that began at 7pm. I used the time before class to capture mums in the Victorian Garden and garden art in the Japanese Garden during the magic light just before sunset. What I couldn’t figure out was what I could capture after dark in an unlit outdoor garden without a flash, let alone the tripod that I forgot. Think about it, photography is all about light. Without it there are no photographs. Yet in the dark of night, I found a bit of light in the conservatory.

Inside the conservatory the white flowers under a light above stood out against the the darkness of the room and the black night outside the windows. If you look carefully at the small photo on the left, you can see the grid of the windows. With camera settings, 1/80 sec at f/2.4, ISO 6400, I was able to hand hold my camera securely enough to capture these white flowers. My instructor recommended I use auto white balance. This is one of the angles I tried as I walked around the large potted plant. If it hadn’t been for the light above I would not have been able to capture a photo.

Initially I tried masking the photo on the darkest black paper I could find, solid paper 2 from ArtPlay Palette City Limits, before I decided that I would finish this page quicker to use Artsy Layered Template No. 257. I clipped copies of one photo to several of the template layers. I masked additional copies that I had placed above other layers.

Once I knew that the template layers would work with my photos, I placed the black paper and made additional adjustments with levels adjustment layers. I recolored a few of the stains a lighter color to blend with the flowers. I deleted a couple of the template layers. I also added transfer 3, art stroke 2 and splatters from ArtPlay Palette Evanescent. I adjusted opacity and blended into the edges.

Next, I clipped my photos to the small frames. extending one photo into the frame below it. I lightened the white in the flowers with a levels adjustment layer on screen blend mode and used a brush on the adjustment layer mask to keep that part dark.

To finish off my layout, I added a button from ArtPlay Palette Evanescent, two threads from ButtonThreadz No. 2 and ButtonThreadz No. 3.

I generally use light backgrounds for my layouts, but occasionally a black background provides a better contrast for some photos. Using black paper with photos having a black background also made it easier to blend these night photos. In fact, blending is generally easier with paper that blends with the background color of photos.

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Simple Techniques and Basic Skills

When the kids spent the night recently, we walked up to our newly renovated neighborhood park. Kate’s been anxious to play there again now that the fencing has been taken down. It was a riot watching Corbin convince his sister that sand on a saucer swing made swinging even better. All I had with me was my iPhone, but I took some shots as they played, never thinking that I would use them to create a page. Yes, there are only photos about just a few moments at the park on this page, but for me they tell an important story about play between a big brother and a little sister.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with these photos. Initially, I dragged three of them on to my page. I knew I wanted one spanning the gutter of the page, so I would need to make some adjustments to a template. I added a layer mask to the photo and used brushes at various opacities to bring back the part of the photo I wanted to reveal. I changed the blend mode to multiply. I used another copy to extract my two grandchildren and the swing on normal blend mode and 100% opacity in order to make them stand out more from the background.

I followed the same process with the other two photos, using the lines of the sidewalk in the background and the mat in the front to line up the photos. It seemed more important that the scene flowed across the page rather than that the figures were exactly the same size. Remember, I was just playing around with my iPhone when I captured these photos. The color in my photos in the late evening light appeared too strong for me, so I attached a hue and saturation layer to each photo and reduced the saturation to blend them together better.

Next, I placed frames from two templates from Hipster Plume Template Album No. 2. I made some adjustments in placement and size to fit my page design. I clipped my photos to the small frames and again added hue and saturation adjustment layers to reduce the saturation of each. I added the buttons for interest and depth.

I didn’t want more frames in the empty space below the center blended photo. So I imported another photo that showed more of the mat under the equipment. I used a paint brush on an inverted layer mask I attached to the photo to reveal enough to fill the space.

To recreate the sky in the photos, I added transfers from ArtPlay Palette Mountain High and ArtPlay Palette Summer Days. I attached inverted masks and blended away parts that interfered with the photos. I reduced the opacity, used hue and saturation adjustment layers to adjust the saturation and changed the blend modes to multiply.

I sampled the color of the mat under the equipment and stamped paint brushes from ArtsyPaint No. 7 and ArtsyPaint No. 10 on new blank layers to extend the look of the playground mat. I used an opacity of 60% as I stamped on new blank layers under the framed photos. I stamped two splatters to finish my page.

A reader recently wrote a comment thanking me for sharing easy to use ideas. I am very grateful that she took the time to let me know that the ideas were helpful. I really don’t use complex techniques for my book pages. I blend and extract with my photos. I use templates (or parts of templates) and transfers. I stamp with brushes using the brush panel on new blank layers. I experiment with blend modes and adjustment layers on my photos. Having developed some basic skills with Photoshop makes my creative process much easier. I can’t say that I’m fast at creating my pages. I enjoy experimenting as part of my creative process so I’m not in a hurry. However, simple techniques and basic skills are the key to creating my pages.

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Artsy Paper Play

I missed getting out in the yard to capture some photos of my hydrangeas along the northeast wall. There was way too much happening this past summer. However, in some ways, I prefer the intensity of color that comes with the seasonal change. The greens turn rosy pink and the pinks darken to burgundy. I hate to cut them back for fall before they’ve dried out entirely. As soon as all the rain is over, I will go out to capture some more photos so that I can create a page for my flower book.

I often play with Anna’s papers by mimicking and rearranging her designs using the transfers included in each ArtPlay Palette. It’s simple way to learn about design from an expert. I started this page by placing artsy paper 2 from ArtPlay Palette Cider on a new blank document.

Note: ArtPlay Palette Cider is available for free with a $20 purchase during the sale.

Just above the artsy paper, I placed solid paper 2.

Above the solid paper, I placed two copies of transfer 1 on normal blend mode.

Then I turned off the solid paper and lined up the transfers with their placement on the artsy paper.

After turning back on the solid paper layer, I placed overlay 3, two copies of the gold paint (the top one on color burn to intensify the color), and two copies of art stroke 1. In essence, I used the basic design of Anna’s paper to create something different. I might add something more once the artsy transfers are available, but for the moment, this is enough.

Then I extracted a hydrangea, changed the blend mode to multiply and applied a filter. Next, I another copy of the photo on normal blend mode at 50%. I linked the two together and adjusted their position above transfer 1.

Above the extraction, I placed stains, the frames, text boxes, and thread from template 4 of Hipster Plume Template Album No. 2.

I clipped additional photo to the small frames.

To create more dimension, I duplicated the two copies and moved them above the frames. I extracted just enough of the flower and leaf to overlap on the frames. With a title from the artplay palette, I was finished with my quick and easy page.

I encourage you to experiment with Anna’s transfers to create your own version of artsy papers.

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Summer’s End

No one stood behind the counter as I signed my name on a paper for an evening photography class at Lauritzen Gardens early in September. What a wonderful experience to search for light in a late summer garden, especially on the warm yellows. Pretty, isn’t it. I’m going back in October for another evening class to see what’s blooming.

For me, Anna’s FotoInspired templates are perfect for my photos. All I need to do is clip my photos to the masks, adjust the exposure by adding level’s adjustment layers and then add a bit of paint and/or a multimedia flower to finish a page. I used template is from FotoInspired Template Pack No. 2G for this page.

I’ve explained before how I clip my photos to the masks. I thought that for this post, I would share how I add adjustment layers to my photos. Rather than duplicate the photo, I clip a level’s adjustment layer to the photo. I do make basic adjustments for  color balance, whites, blacks, exposure, clarity and vibrance in Lightroom before exporting my photos to a layout. However, once I have all the photos together I often find that I need to refine the adjustments more so that all the photos work together on a page.

First, I press option (alt on PC) plus the icon for adding a new fill or adjustment layer at the bottom of the layer’s panel. I select levels and then a pop up window appears. In the space for name, I type the blend mode I want to use, in this case overlay. I check the box to clip it to the photo and choose the blend mode from the drop down menu at the bottom of the window. I adjust the opacity of the layer after pressing ok.

Note: I often add an overlay or soft light blend mode with a levels adjustment to increase the contrast on my photos.

For this photo I left the opacity at 100%.

Because the photo still looked a little dark, I again pressed option and the adjustment icon and chose levels again. This time, I chose screen blend mode in order to lighten the exposure. Yes, I could have done the same with the camera raw filter, but this is quick and adjustable.

For this photo, I reduced the opacity on the screen adjustment layer to 40%. In combination with the overlay adjustment layer, that seemed to be enough. I use the number keys to quickly adjust the opacity. This is the only photo on this page that needed an exposure adjustment.

To most of the other photos, I added an overlay adjustment layer. The opacity for these was set anywhere from 40 to 70% depending on how it looked. I pressed a number key to adjust.

To finish my page, I stamped splatters from Splatters No. 1 and paint from ArtsyPaint No. 9 on new blank layers. I placed the psd layers of file 5 from MultiMedia Spring No. 3, recoloring two layers of the petals and adjusting the opacity. I placed a transfer from ArtPlay Palette Sol behind my journaling and added a title.

FotoInspired templates are so easy to use and perfect for focusing on the photographs in a simple artsy way. I prefer adjustment layers because they use less memory than duplicating a photo layer. That keeps my file size smaller. I’ve just finished one more page for my flower book.

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Variety of Greens

There is usually a story behind every photo made. In this case after walking in the warm sunshine my sister, Glenda, and I enjoyed a salmon salad at the Farmhouse, a lovely open air bistro on the grounds of Roger’s Gardens. I suppose a photo of the salad might have marked our day better than these fake succulents, but this trip was filled with work days helping my daughter move. Once we found a little shade, I helped my sister photograph these with her new camera. Sometimes, I simply take what I get and fill in the details of the story in order to document an event. Sometimes, I just want to remember a time together.

This was a very simple layout to put together using Anna’s new release. I actually chose this photo to document our lunch based on the color scheme of the new ArtPlay Palette Notabilia. I placed transfer 1 from the new artplay palette on a new blank document and blended my photo into the transfer using an inverted layer mask.

Note: I adjusted the color in my photo with a hue and saturation adjustment layer, but I learned a valuable lesson on color as I worked with this page.

Next, I placed the layers of psd file 2 from MultiMedia Documents No. 2 to create a frame effect around my photo. I switched out the flower with one from the artplay palette and added word art from Notabilia WordART Mix No. 1. I clipped an extracted copy of the same photo I had clipped to the transfer to the paper layer for the document multimedia file.

While I liked the photo on the multimedia document, I did not think there was enough interest on my page. I then opened Artsy Layered Template No. 255 and dragged the layers below my multimedia layers and turned them off. First, I moved the frames, text boxes, splatter and art stroke above the document layers but below the succulent element, thread and word art. I reduced the size of the frames slightly and recolored them an off white. The white frames appeared too stark with the color scheme. I wrote my journaling and added a subtitle from Notabilia WordART Mix No. 1. I could have left my page as below, but it appeared incomplete to me.

I began turning on the template layers that I had grouped below the multimedia layers. I recolored some stains, adjusted the blend mode and deleted some layers until I though I had created a soft background for the document file. I especially liked the look of the textured paper on the left with the paper in the document file.

I though I was finished with this page, until I looked again at the lack of variation in color on my page. So I reopened the file, adjusted my framed photos a little more, recolored some of the template stains and reduced the opacity.

I like the more natural variety in greens on this page much better now. Too much matching of color is not always a good thing.

Perspective

What I see as I look through my camera lens isn’t always what my artist side puts on a layout. Often, I don’t even know what a piece of art will look like until I begin experimenting. However, that’s the joy I find in creating, finding a different perspective than what I initially saw in my camera.

For this page, I began with a photo that I captured last week and file 4 of MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 7. After working with my photo, I clipped copies to the different layers.

Next, I extracted the gates to the Victorian Garden from another photo and placed that over the first photo. While I liked the look, I didn’t think it looked as artsy as I wanted.

So I created a composite by pressing the keys command + option + shift + 6.

I turned off my composite temporarily and placed brush 1 from Cameras No. 4 on my page and changed the blend mode to linear burn.

I used the Elliptical Marquee tool to cut a copy of the center of the lens on the brush. I placed the copy just above the original and filled it in more with brushes.

I reduced the size of a copy of my composite and clipped it to the copy of the brush lens that I had created.

Next I clipped a larger copy of my composite to the original camera brush.

I placed brush 7 from Camera No. 4 below and clipped another linked copy of the photo to it. I placed one more copy of brush 1 on normal at 40% normal blend mode.

To emphasize the lens of the camera brush, I placed two threads from UrbanThreadz No. 14 and one from UrbanThreadz No. 3. I stamped some splatters from Splatters No. 1 on new blank layers and positioned them on a diagonal.

To finish my layout, I added a title and journaling explaining why I created this piece of art. I think it important for my family to know why I create from a different perspective at times.

Experimenting with Daylilies

I used to have a picture book about daylilies; I can’t find it now. But I remember that’s where I found a Hemerocallis variety that would grow in Southern California. After moving to Nebraska, I found another variety, Happy Day, this one with sunny yellow blooms. They only last a day, but they contrast beautifully with the blue Balloon Flowers and Rozanne Geraniums that I planted next to them in my garden.

I would like to add a second side to this page for my flower book. Unfortunately, July is past the peak bloom for my daylilies to look their best. So I am going to save this layout so that I can add to it later.

I often use templates to create my pages. This page is based on Artsy Layered Template No. 253. I may change or delete layers, even move parts, but for me they provide an good starting point for an artsy page. After dragging over all the layers of template 253, I turned off all but the small frames and text box. In place of the mask included in the template, I placed png mask 4 from Hipster Plume FotoBlendz No. 8. I chose this mask because the shape was similar to transfer 8 from ArtPlay Palette Abrazo that I wanted to use for this layout.

Next, I layered additional photo copies as well as copies transfer 8 from ArtPlay Palette Abrazo. First I blended in a layer with just one flower from my photo on darken blend mode at 70%. Second, a copy of transfer 8 on pin light blend mode at 100%. Third, I blended in part of the photo to show through part of the transfer.

Above that I placed another copy of the transfer on normal blend mode at 100% and added a layer mask to hide parts of the transfer so that the photo showed through. Finally, I added one more copy of the photo, attached an inverted mask and blended back enough to fill the suggested frame in the transfer.

At this point I turned back on several template layers, recolored some, adjusted positions in the layers panel and changed the blend mode of others. My goal was to ensure that the texture showed through the photo layers. I also placed solid paper 2 from ArtPlay Palette Abrazo.

Once I finished working with the photo and template layers, I wrote my journaling, added a mini cluster with a button and thread from UrbanThreadz No. 14 to anchor the small frames, placed a title and two more buttons to create a visual triangle.

Yes, I think starting with a template makes creating an artsy page much easier. Once you place the layers of a template, then it’s a matter of playing with placement of layers, blending and blend modes to create the look you want. Try experimenting with multiple copies of a photo and transfer by changing blend modes and revealing parts with layer masks.

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Feed the Goats If You Dare

You wouldn’t think that goats would be more agressive than deer to feed. However, they were. It looked so easy when Corbin held the seeds in his hand for the goats. They tried to eat Logan’s cup and seeds. Both Logan and Corbin just laughed at their antics.

Unfortunately, when Kate held up her cup of seeds, the goats knocked it to the ground. Poor Kate cried while mommy picked up the cup and gathered a few seeds to put back in Kate’s cup. Then Owen lectured the goats on their behavior.

After Corbin showed Kate how to line up some seeds on the railing, she started placing some on the wooden railing while the rest of the family kept the goats busy. Once she had placed some seeds, she waited for the goats to come over to eat them. Kate laughed when three goats battled for the seeds she had left on the railing.

Below are some of the pages that I’ve already finished. The book I am working on this year may not have as many pages as previous years. I’m not worried about the number of pages that I complete; I just want to document some of our stories.

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I am using a similar format for each page: a template, a light background, blending in the background, hand written font for the title. Today’s page is no different.

I placed template 2 from Hipster Plume Template Album No. 1 on the left with out making any changes other than stamping directly on the fotoblendz mask to darken areas to accommodate my photo. On the right, I placed template 8 but substituted the frames from template 4 to better fit my photos. On this side, I enlarged the fotoblendz mask and layers below about 15% so that it extended across the page gutter. I clipped my focal photos to the masks and stains below.

Next, I clipped additional photos to the small frames and attached a levels adjustment layer to each on soft light at 50%. I adjusted the exposure of some of the photos with the camera raw filter.

I created the sky by blending together two transfers from ArtPlay Palette Mountain High and pieces from Artsy Transfers Coastline. I used the same background paper, solid paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Paraiso that I used for the photos that I captured the same day at Deer Park.

I switched out two urban threads for two included with the template, wrote my journaling and added a title. Finally, I added an arrow from eA Arrows No. 1 to connect the the title with photos and the story.

Combining photos and stories with a template make my process for creating the pages for my book simple and fast, just the way I like it.

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