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Tag: Topaz Simplify

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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Oh the Places She’ll Go

Yesterday, I went to the zoo with my grandchildren. Sometimes they will stop and pose for me, generally they don’t. While there I captured a series of shots of Kate dramatically posing and twirling as she danced on the wooden planks in a pavilion for viewing the new elephants. I didn’t have a specific idea for a page as I played with my camera; I simply wanted to capture her fun movements as I quickly angled my camera in different directions following the lines in the wooden planks. I don’t think this was the best shot, but the perspective worked well for the page I created. It’s always a good idea to capture at least one shot from behind someone. You never know when it might be needed in a scene.

Generally, I begin my scrapbook pages with a photo. In this case I began this page by placing transfer 6 from ArtPlay Palette Meadow on a new 12×12 inch document. There is a meadow near our home that looks very much like this transfer and I simply wanted to play with it to create a scene.

I decided to place that photo from the back of Kate in my scene. I extracted her with the Quick Selection tool and applied a layer mask. I rotated the photo to get a better angle and reduced the photo size just a little so that her head appeared to be just above the horizon line on the transfer in order to create perspective. The transfer has a watercolor look so I duplicated the photo and applied a filter using Topaz Simplify. I added a drop shadow style, created a layer from the style, warped it and masked out a part that was too dark. I then added another drop shadow. In other words, there are two shadows giving my granddaughter dimension on this page.

To ground my granddaughter, I placed transfer 3 from APP Meadow below her and above transfer 6. I added an inverted mask and brought back in just enough to fill in the ground.

I added two copies of png file 2, each sized differently and rotated, from MultiMedia Flowers No. 4 for color and to create an unmatched visual triangle with Kate’s pink shoes. I could have recolored the blooms a pink, but I thought that was too soft for the vibrant blues and greens in the scene. I placed word art 5 from Summer WordArt Mix No. 1 and thread 12 from ButtonThreadz No. 2.

Finally, I added a title and another copy of the multimedia flower higher on the left side to create a diagonal visual line of flowers across my page.

I’m not usually so quick with my creative process, but once I saw that transfer, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

White on White Plus Pink

With the warm weather and longer days now, when Kate spends the night we enjoy being outside together. Last Saturday, I suggested that she help me pick enough peonies to fill a watering can. Just so you’ll know, a grandmother who also likes to play with her camera, someone like me for example, sometimes plans for these photographic adventures. This time I suggested to Kate that she might like to wear the dress that I’d given her for Christmas to pick the pretty flowers. With her hair in a loose bun and no shoes on her feet, she danced out to the peonies with that watering can in hand. And if you are wondering how I got her to sit still for a moment, Kate climbed up on the table when I asked, “Can you see the robins nesting in the deck eves?” This photo isn’t perfectly cropped in camera; I often have no more than a moment to capture Kate before she’s on the move again

To create this page, I first duplicated the photo and applied a filter using Topaz Simplify. I reduced the opacity of the Simplify layer and masked it as well to reveal more of Kate’s face in the original photo. With the strong backlighting in the photo, I added an adjustment layer on screen blend mode to get a more high key look.

Then I clipped all the photo layers to the fotoblendz layer of file 4 from MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 6.

To hide more of the houses in the background behind Kate, I used the quick selection tool to create a mask and then filled back in the area I wanted to reveal with a soft round brush. The texture of the fotoblendz mask is still there despite the layer mask that I added. This layer is on normal blend mode at 100%.

To each of the other layers in the psd fotoblendz file, I clipped a Simplify copy for a painterly look and adjusted how much was revealed with a layer mask or by changing the opacity. I also stamped a brush from ArtsyPaint No. 11 on a new blank layer and clipped another Simplify copy to the brush. Just above Kate, I placed a glow from FotoGlow Mix No. 1 on blend mode lighter color and WarmGlows No. 8 on hard light in order to add a soft simulation of the direction of the sun.

To add texture without bringing in additional color, I pulled spackle transfers from Artsy Transfers Sage and positioned them along the lines of the table

Next, I added a transfer and two copies of artsy paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Hope. I masked a portion of the transfer and set the opacity to 40%. I reversed the two copies of paper 1 and added inverted masks to reveal just the edges with the spackle and touch of pink.

I placed 5 layers of file 3 from Artsy Transfers Anything. Using the psd file allowed me to delete any color layers that didn’t work with the other textures on this page.

Finally, I placed the little bird from a friend, added a title and journaling, splatters and a flower from UrbanThreadz Flowers No. 1.

Keeping the both background and textures white on white with a touch of pink gives me a delicate high key look and keeps the focus on the soft photo. I have some other photos of Kate playing with the peonies that I will include on an opposing page of a two page spread.

Sunflowers

Every fall, sunflowers bloom on a little prairie near us. The sunny yellow is stunning against a blue sky. Bees flit from one bloom to the next. I took my granddaughter Kate to play among the blooms a couple of years ago; she was delighted of course! I’m looking forward to walking this prairie again this fall. I chose this photo to create this page because I loved the focal cluster of sunflowers.

After placing solid paper 4 from ArtPlay Palette Sol, for a little more depth, I placed artsy paper 1 above on normal blend mode at 40%. I placed my photo, duplicated it and applied a painterly effect with Topaz Simplify.

With fotoblendz overlay 4 from FotoBlendz Overlays No. 10 highlighted, I pressed option and clicked so that I got the marching ants. Then I went back up to highlight the photo Simplify layer and clicked the icon at the bottom of the layers panel to mask my photo layer. On my mask, I also stamped brushes from ArtsyStains No. 3 and AnnaBlendz Artsy No 7 to reveal more of my photo. Adjustments to the photo and changing the blend mode to multiply made the blue in the sky disappear.

Next, I used a combination of the Quick Selection Tool and the delete key to extract the sunflowers most clearly in focus on a duplicate of the original photo on normal blend mode at 100%. I gave that layer a drop shadow. Above that layer I placed another copy of the Simplify layer, attached the same mask and reduced the opacity to 30% on normal blend mode.

For additional texture, I placed transfers from ArtPlay Palette Sol and ArtPlay Palette Shine as well as transfer 5 from Artsy Transfers Shine above and below my photo layers.

Next, I placed the layers of psd file 3 from MultiMedia Suns No. 3 below my extraction layers.

I added urban threadz from UrbanThreadz No. 3.

Finally, I added a title using a font called Garden Pro. To that I added a wood layer style as close to that on the wooden sun as I had. I used an ornament included with this font that looked like the sunflower leaves and gave that the same style. I placed a copy of an extraction above the leaf and tacked both the flower and ornament down with a button thread. On the right, I placed a yellow button and gave it the same layer style before tacking it down with another thread from ButtonThreadz No. 2.

I love the sunny, cheerful look of my artsy sunflower page!

 

Inspiration: a Brush and a Memory

I’ve photographed this door at Lauritzen Gardens both open and closed and from both the back and front. I once photographed my oldest grandson, Owen, looking through that door in just about the same position as that large ceramic pot. Owen, about 5 at the time, had his hands on the door frame as he looked through the open door at the flowers beyond. This door from Anna’s new brush set, Doors No. 2, is the impetus for this page about a memory. While much of my inspiration is based on photographs, sometimes, all it takes is a sketch like brush to inspire me to create a page.

I placed this brush on my new blank document first, changed the blend mode to multiply and recolored it to match the bricks in my photograph.

I then placed my photograph above brush 2. I used Topaz Simplify to give the photograph a more painterly look. After resizing the photo to roughly match the brush, I added an inverted mask and used several AnnaBlendz Artsy brushes to bring back in just the part of the door that I wanted to overlay on the brush. I added another copy of my original photo layer above and applied the find edges filter.

Below the door brush layer, I placed another photograph that I’d taken with my cell phone the same day. I gave it a painterly look with Topaz Simplify. Using an inverted mask, I brought back in just enough to created a garden beyond the door. The first layer is on linear burn and the second on overlay. I applied the find edges filter to a copy of the original iPhone photo and changed the blend mode to darken at 50%. From all the layers in my photo group I created a composite.

Next, I placed file 1 and file 4 from FotoBlendz Overlays No. 10. To each, I clipped not only a copy of the composite but also solid paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Autumn Soul in order to fill in the transparency in my composite so that I could cover any black in the overlays. I added two textures from TapedTextures No. 7 for a little more dimension on the door frame. Both copies are on normal at 100%.

Finally, I added a title, journaling and a dangling thread from ButtonThreadz No. 1 to connect the title and photo.

Every time I capture this door with my camera, in my mind I see my grandson with his arms spread wide touching the door molding, a memory which always makes me smile.

Serious About Play

Kate is very serious about her play. When she says “talk about it” or directs saying “play with me”, that means let’s pretend play now! Every time we repeat the lines of a story we’ve read together or stop to examine something interesting, she is learning as she plays. It has been quite a while since we’ve walked out to the little bridge on the creek among the trees beyond the pond. The area was covered with dandelion seed heads on Thursday.

Every time we go out on an adventure together, I’m playing and learning too. I play with Kate and learn a little more about how to work more quickly with my camera to capture our moments together. I’m very grateful for the time with Kate and for a process that allows me to bring together some photos to create another story page. We are both very serious about our play. Today, I share part of my Photoshop play with some photos that I captured on an adventure Thursday afternoon.

I began this page with a composite of a photo and the psd layers of file 3 from MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 7 and AnnaBlendz Artsy Brushes No. 8. I made adjustments to the large mask and clipped the composite to that layer. I duplicated the composite and clipped it to the other fotoblendz layers.

Note: Near the bottom of the layer’s panel is the folder that contains the original layers I used to create this composite. They are all linked. I sent a copy of the original photo to Topaz Simplify to get the painterly look for the background and attached a layer mask to that copy and masked out my granddaughter to allow the original photo of just her to show through. There is also another layer on soft light above the Simplify and original layers.

I used the same process using file 4 from Multilayered FotoBlendz No. 7 for the second photo. This time, I turned off two of the layers that didn’t work with my photo’s placement. I again made some adjustments directly on the mask as well as an attached layer mask with AnnaBlendz Artsy No. 8.

Next, I placed the layers of templates 4 and 5 from WaterColor Template Album No 4. While I used primarily the frames, I also used a texture and recolored the stains on template 4. I used the same photo treatment on all the framed photos. To create the out of bounds effect, I duplicated the photo layer and moved it above the frame. I stamped with brushes from ArtsyStains No. 3 to fill in the area.

For more depth I added png files from Spackle Textured No. 6. I stamped a paper texture from Paper Textures No. 3 on a new blank layer. I used brush files from MiniDots No. 1 to create the look of dandelion seeds blowing in the wind.

Finally, I incorporated my title with the layers of MultiMedia Suns No. 1, added another dandelion and wrote my journaling.

I think one could say that I have definitely been seriously playing this weekend.

A Little More Practice

After I have attended a class or video event, like Sunday’s NSD ArtPlay Un3dited, I like to practice with the concepts shared so that they become part of my repertoire for creating art within Photoshop. It’s especially fun to experiment with the ideas in a different way, to see what variations are possible. I began this page with a photo I captured early in April and the layers of transfer 5 from Artsy Transfers Pierian.

After placing my photo on a new blank 12×12 inch document, I exported it from Photoshop into Topaz Simplify and worked with the plug-in’s adjustments to add a more painted look to my photo. I duplicated the original twice and used the Find Edges filter on each copy with a one on color burn at 20% and another on multiply at 60%.

Next, I created a composite. I added a layer mask and applied a layer from artsy transfer 5 to the mask. For a painted texture, I added solid paper 5 from ArtPlay Palette Moorlands on multiply at 50%.

After creating another composite, I reduced the size 50% and placed it to the left using the texture in the solid paper to guide me. Then I attached a layer mask and used brushes from ArtPlay Palette Moorlands, Clouds No. 1, an edge from Easy Torn Edges Layered Templates No. 2, applying two different techniques that Adryane shared on Sunday during NSD ArtPlay Un3dited Event.

After finishing my composite, I added bird layers from MultiMedia Birds No. 1 and brushes from Take Flight No. 2 behind the cutout openings. I also created a cluster with elements from ArtPlay Palette Pierian and ArtPlay Palette Moorlands for interest and to create a spot for a title.

What I enjoy about my experimenting is learning some new techniques for working with layer masks. This new learning fits so well with Anna’s Advanced Brushes Class. I think that I’m ready to use this information in a new way now.

Painterly Tulips

I returned to Lauritzen Gardens on Monday just to photograph the tulips. It was a beautiful morning, the weather was perfect: a cool 68°, blue skies and a light breeze.  Yes, it was a perfect day to enjoy myself with my camera. I don’t want to forget these beautiful tulips or a perfect morning.

However, as the number of photos for which I need to create pages increases, I know that I have to simplify my process if I am going to finish any pages. That’s why I chose this template from Artsy Template MultiPack No. 10. The template set is free with a $15 dollar purchase this weekend. I deleted a few layers, changed the opacity and blend modes of a few layers, otherwise this is the template as designed.

For my focal photo in the background, I created a composite using Topaz Labs plug-in Simplify. I duplicated my original photo twice and used a process that I described in an earlier post, More on a Painterly Look. I reduced the opacity of both layers adjusted in the plug-in, one at 50% and the other at 30%. I duplicated the three layers and then merged those together to create one new layer.

Next, I duplicated my new merged layer, linked it with the originals and clipped them to the different template layers, making adjustments as needed for my photo.

I clipped other photos to the small frames and made adjustments with a curves adjustment layer for each.

To balance the frames, I placed the psd layers of file 3 from MultiMedia Spring No. 1. I recolored the petals, reduced the opacity of some layers and changed the blend mode of others.

To finish my page, I added a button, splatters and threads. I placed my title and journaling as designed in Anna’s template.

I like it when a page comes together in a couple of hours, which is fairly fast for me. The hardest part was deciding which template worked best with my tulip photos. However, now I will remember these beautiful tulips.

More On a Painterly Look

While I haven’t finished viewing all the videos from class, Creating Painterly Images, I thought I would share what I did with these white orchids using Topaz Lab’s plug-in Simplify as well another technique the instructor demonstrated in class. I have another six videos to view, all of which demonstrate how to add a painterly look within Photoshop or with a plug-in like Simplify from Topaz Labs. I haven’t viewed the class video on Topaz Labs yet, so what I share today is based on my current understanding of how the plug-in works.

Aside from the original extracted copy and custom drop shadow at the bottom of the orchid group, I created a sketch within Topaz Labs’ Simplify with one copy and a digital painting with another copy. On both of those copies I applied the inverted masks before taking them into Simplify. To the painterly copy, I clipped a lightened copy of solid paper 2 from ArtPlay Palette Tres Bon. There are two more orchid copies: one for which I used the find edges filter and another copy of the painted version on color burn at 30%.

Note: I have been experimenting with Topaz Labs’ Simplify plug-in for more than two years. This link, Create a Digital Painting, is my favorite tutorial for using Topaz’s Simplify. It’s from 2014, but I still think this tutorial explains best how the Simplify plug-in works so that I can make my own adjustments on the presets provided in the software. Once you’ve done this a few times, you will not need to have the instructions on your computer screen while you work in the plug-in. This plug-in works in both Photoshop and PSE.

To soften the look of the orchids, I next created a composite of just the orchid group. I duplicated it three times. Then I rotated each copy maybe 4 or 5° both clockwise and counter clockwise and changed the blend mode of each to color burn at 25%.

Below the orchids, I placed two copies of transfer 5, copies of transfers 3 and 6 as well as the gold paint from ArtPlay Palette Tres Bon. I stamped brush 2 and brush 6 from Tres Bon No. 1 with a dark brown on new layers and changed the blend mode to linear burn. I changed the blend mode of transfer 3 to color burn and transfer 6 to linear burn.

For dimension, I placed file 6 from UrbanStitched Leaves No. 3 along with threads from UrbanThreadz No. 9 and UrbanThreadz No. 11. I should try to use the .abr files for stamping the threads, but I have an old habit involving searching and then dragging over the file that I need to break. I recolored the button and added a thread from ButtonThreadz No. 2. I stamped my title on a new blank layer just under the orchids in the same dark brown I used for the brushes.

I will let you know soon what I learn in the last six class videos.

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