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Family

“Strive to capture the heartbeat of love in this family: preserve and transplant it into the hearts of its members both present and future,” my grandfather said. His children, including my father, reflected that love of family and it’s history. That is what I wanted to capture with these two pages.

First, I extracted my parents from a photo with the Quick Selection tool using a layer mask and gave the masked result a shadow.

Note: I used the Clone Stamp tool on solid paper 4 from ArtPlay Palette Bravura so that I could erase the transfer on the paper to create a background for both pages.

Next, I placed the overlay from ArtPlay Palette Bravura and blended into the background another photo of my father. I changed the blend mode to Overlay blend mode at 60%.

I then placed a small frame from a template from WaterColor Template Album No. 7 to the left of my dad and clipped a photo of my dad with his siblings to the mask. Below the frame I placed a splatter and stain from the template.

I then positioned the layers of file 3 from MultiMedia Flowers No. 5 below my mother. To ground my parents, I also added file 6 from UrbanStitchez No. 1.

To finish the right side, I wrote my journaling in the textbox included in the template and added a title.

After placing the same solid paper on the left side, I dragged the layers of template 4 from WaterColor Template Album No. 7 onto the page. I clipped a photo to the templates’s fotoblendz mask and adjusted the focal photo by clipping duplicated copies to the original: black and white at 90%, Screen blend mode at 30% and Soft Light at 100%. I switched out one frame by duplicating the top one to accommodate my photos.

Note: I adjusted the size and position of the lower two text boxes.

I clipped my photos to the small frame masks. I added a button from the artplay palette.

Note: I initially adjusted these photos in Lightroom but added a duplicate copy of each and changed the blend mode to Soft Light.

Below the frames, I placed most of the layers of the layers of transfer 5 from Artsy Transfers Bravura.

Note: The splatter is part of the template.

Finally, I added the quote from my grandfather. I thought the word family summarizes what was most important in my dad’s family.

Let’s Not Forget

At the moment, we are dealing with a sewer backup that flooded our daughter’s basement and the reconstruction entailed. So I am very grateful that I already have a plan for this project. As I explained last week, I am using a template provided in Anna’s Heritage Live class. In addition, I am using fotoblendz overlays and masks, artsy transfers and frames from templates.

I had already clipped the solid paper 3 from ArtPlay Palette Elysium to both masks. I placed overlay 3 from FotoBlendz Overlays No. 12 on the right side and clipped my focal photo to it. I reduced the size of both the photo and mask.

Note: I darkened parts with a brush directly on the mask and lightened other parts on a layer mask once I knew where I was going to place the text.

I then placed the frames from template 16 of Hipster Plume Template Album No. 1.

Note: I am selecting the frames based on the design I want with the mask I use. That way I don’t have to make adjustments, although I did reduce the size of the frames just a little.

I clipped my photos to the masks.

Note: Because I am clipping everything to the page mask, I cannot use adjustment layers on my photos as I normally do because those layers affect the entire page. So I am duplicating some photos to apply a blend mode like soft light for example.

I created the title and list subtitle.

Below the fotoblendz overlay, I placed the layers of file 4 from Artsy Transfers Elysium. I added a layer mask to one layer and reduced the opacity of a couple of others so that my text was more readable.

Finally, I finished writing the story in two text boxes that I created. I also added a button from ArtPlay Palette Routine and thread 5 from ButtonThreadz No. 3.

I’m enjoying remembering our stories.

Tulips and a Simple Template

 

Photography is important to me, especially capturing family and flowers. I enjoy working on improving my camera skills. In fact, my photographs are the reason I create scrapbook pages. Without them, I don’t think I would create any pages. There are lots of other reasons for creating scrapbook pages, but for me, I primarily create pages so that I can share my photos whether just as they come out of the camera or altered as a piece of art.

I know that I prefer simple designs that showcase most of my photos. So if this page looks similar to others I have completed, it is because I am collating them to create a book that I hope to eventually publish.

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Although this post is a review of my process using Anna’s FotoInspired Templates, I would like to share a few things that I am experimenting with as I work with the templates.

For this two page spread I began with template 9 from Anna’s new release FotoInspired Template Pack No. 2F. After dragging the template’s layers to a new 24×12 inch document, I reduced the size of all the layers to about 85%.

Next, I placed solid paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Autumn Soul. Below the paper, I tucked a photo on the left and adjusted it’s position to fill a 12×12 space. Note: I have selected 3-4 solid whites that I am alternating in this book.

Then I clipped photos to the smaller masks, trying to balance the different photo perspectives. Note: I photograph in both jpeg and raw. For this book, I am processing the raw files. However, even after clipping them to the masks, I often add a levels adjustment layer on blending mode soft light and adjust the opacity.

To create a background for the textbox, I clipped solid paper 3 and two transfers from ArtPlay Palette Spring Due to the mask. Above that, I placed file 3 from MultiMedia Spring No. 1 and file 4 from MultiMedia Spring No. 4. I used the psd files so that I could recolor the flowers. I adjusted the text box and wrote a little journaling. Note: I created a video using this process which you can view here.

I have been experimenting with different products for the background behind the template’s small frames. On this page, I placed the same psd layers of file 4 from MultiMedia Spring No. 4 on the right edge. I recolored the flower, the leaves and an artstroke.

Previously, I’ve used lace, fotoinspired edge templates and stains below the template. For this page, I stamped on new layers with brushes from ArtsyPaint No. 10 in a green to match the tulip leaves.

I finished my page with a button from ArtPlay Palette Whimsy, thread 11 from ButtonThreadz No. 2, a title and the date. Note: So far I have used the same font, Molly Script for the page titles.

I’m enjoying creating these pages, the consistency of template format and the experimentation they allow. Now I need to get out again with my camera to see if I can find some more flowers to capture.

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ArtPlay Homework

I have gotten a little behind with the lessons from A Year of ArtPlay 2017, but I found some time over the holiday weekend to tackle the June class that Anna released a week ago. I like to call my pages following classes my homework assignments, as I have found that when I apply the concepts soon after watching the class videos, I am much more likely to consistently incorporate Anna’s techniques into my own artily.

As a retired teacher, I also know the value of applying new information in my own unique way. I literally practice applying what is presented in a class, but I try to change or adapt the lesson content to my own prior learning. Simply put, practice the skills taught and then try to use them in a different way.

After viewing June’s lesson, which entails three videos each just over 20 minutes long, I went in search of a photo that I could use. Although Anna provided her layout and photo, I chose not to use those tools because I prefer to practice with my own photos. So my layout does not look like Anna’s. Using a different photo pushes me to adapt and apply what I viewed in class videos.

I’m not going to explain in depth specifically what I did on this page as Anna does a far better job in the three videos. Rather I hope these screen shots will encourage you to take a look at A Year of ArtPlay 2017.

First I blended a photo and sketch together.

Second, I worked with an artsy paper and transfers. I tried at least a half dozen papers before making my decision to blend an artsy paper with a solid from ArtPlay Palette Parasio and transfers from Artsy Transfers Parasio. Note: the idea for the glow in the background was taken from a completely different ArtPlay artsy paper.

The last steps involved something Anna calls “puzzle blending”, working with several brush techniques, embellishing and creating a title.

I am always pleased after finishing one of Anna’s lessons from A Year of ArtPlay 2017, pleased with my art homework and pleased with the new ideas I learn from class.

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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.

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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.

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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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List of Brush Strategies

If you’re taking Anna’s Advanced Brushes class, then you know that the assignment this week is to try one or more of the techniques that Anna demonstrated in a layout. Next week, we’re going to be looking at more brush techniques in a new DigitalART project. Incorporating some of the techniques that Anna shared has been quite a challenge for me. I tried to choose those strategies that I am more likely to use on a regular basis as part of my process.

First, I loaded WallTextures No. 2 into Photoshop and selected brush 2 to stamp on a new blank layer. I changed the blend mode to linear burn and masked out part of the brush with a layer mask. For this page, I used only .abr brush files rather than png brushes.

I clipped a copy of a photo to the brush.

Next, I selected a few brushes from the AnnaBlendz Artsy brush series to begin compiling an .abr file of my favorite brushes. I also added some stains I’d incorporated into another .abr file to my brush panel. I used those brushes to reveal parts of two copies of the photo of the cyclamen lining the path by stamping on inverted masks. The first copy is on normal blend mode at 100% and the one above on overlay at 100%.

Before beginning this page, I experimented making my own brush from the cyclamen petals in a photo. I distressed my new brush. I used my new brush by rotating the brush tip as I stamped on an inverted mask as well as two AnnaBlendz Artsy brushes that I changed in the shape dynamics part of the brush panel.

I dragged those layers to my new layout and placed them below the wall texture brush in order to fill in the flower bed. Two lower layers are on normal blend mode, another layer is on overlay and the top layer is on soft light. I duplicated one more copy of the photo that I had clipped to the wall texture brush and used brushes to contain my blending. That’s a concept that Anna explained last month in aAYear of ArtPlay.

To create a background, I created another brush from a photo of a door and brick wall using the strategies Anna demonstrated in class. I chose a color from the color picker and stamped my new brush on a new blank layer. Then I erased parts using a brush with the eraser tool. I’m divided on whether I prefer a layer mask or simply using the eraser tool to delete parts of brush layers. A layer mask makes it easy to make changes. However, the eraser tool is quick, especially for distressing. I can see benefits to using both strategies. Above my door and new brush, I stamped brush 4 from WallTextures No. 2. I used the eraser tool to modify the brush layers.

Below my door, I stamped brush 7 from WallTextures No. 1. I erased parts with the eraser tool. I added gold paint 2 from ArtPlay Palette For the Record to the edge of the door. Between my door layers, I added glow 2 from ButterflyGlows No. 1. I changed the blend mode to color burn at 45%. I think using the glows for adding color is easiest for me at the moment.

To finish my page, I placed a butterfly from ArtPlay Palette Studious and adjusted the levels of the butterfly to increase the contrast. Then I clipped two copies of a photo and adjusted it’s position. I tacked the butterfly down with a thread from UrbanThreadz No. 4. Next, I added a title to my page and splatters from Artsy Transfers For the Record to create a visual triangle of black.

Finally, I added solid paper 4 from ArtPlay Palette Sugar and lightened it with a levels layer on screen blend mode at 45%.

What strategies did I use on this page?

  • used .abr files rather than png brush files
  • clipped a photo to a brush
  • stamped brushes on inverted masks
  • made adjustments to brush tips in the brush panel, i.e. shape dynamics, scattering
  • blended photos with brushes on layer masks, i.e. contain image to improve the blending
  • created my own brush presets from photos
  • distressed a brush layer with the eraser tool

These are all techniques with which I want to develop more expertise. I’ll watch the upcoming lesson next week and decide what else I want to add to my list of strategies.

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More Brush Practice

While I was walking around the lake a couple of weeks ago, I came upon a man tossing sticks into the water for his dogs to retrieve. I wouldn’t want to be those dogs. The water was cold, but the dogs seemed to love the play. He was so pleased when I emailed him some prints of the photos I captured, telling me he didn’t have photos of his dogs.

To create this page, I began playing with the transfers and overlays from MiniArtPlay Palette Gelid, stacking several along the right edge above a solid paper.

Then I continued to practice with brushes in Photoshop. As part of my participation in Anna’s class, I have decided that I will upload the brushes included with each artplay palette rather than use the png files. The more I practice with the brush panel, the easier it will be to use brushes as part of my process. (Note: this isn’t a complicated page, I’m more interested in developing new habits at the moment.)

I placed my photo above a solid paper, overlays and transfers. Then I clipped an inverted mask to the photo by pressing the option (alt) key and clicking on the add layer mask icon at the bottom of the layers panel. My photo disappeared. Next, I stamped brush 6 from Countryside Brushes No. 2 with white as my foreground color twice at 100%. Yes, I love this brush set! I changed the blend mode of the brush layer to multiply. Where needed, I stamped brush 2 from AnnaBlendz Artsy No. 4.

In aA Year of ArtPlay’s February class, Anna talked about the idea of containing an image. With a brush from MiniPalette Gelid, I stamped below the dogs with a blue sampled from the water. I don’t think I would have done this using just png files. This is another reason for having the brushes preloaded in the brush panel. I also added a fotoglow from WarmGlows No. 3 below the photo to simulate the sun’s direction.

Finally, I placed a wood word art from Scenic WordART No. 1, tacked it down with a stitch from MiniArtPlay Palette Gelid and added a few sentences for context about this photo. Yes, I could have done more with elements, but I’m more interested in learning to work with brushes, i.e. what’s going to be most convenient. So I’m happy with the simple look of this page.

MiniArtPlay Palette Gelid will be available beginning Friday with a $20 purchase for the birthday sale at Oscraps.

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Photo Art

These are some of the other orchids that I captured with my 60mm f/2.4 macro and 35mm f/2.0 lenses. Both create a nice bokeh background when shot at f/2.8. One idea that I’ve been considering is making a book with the photographs of flowers that I create. If I did, this is a page design that I would use, a full page photo on one side and smaller detail shots on the other.

Anna’s FotoInspired DoubleTemplates are great for emphasizing the details of a photo series, in this case some orchids. For this page, I used FotoInspired DoubleTemplate No. 69. I reduced the size of the template to create a little more white space as a separation from the full page photo side.

To add a bit more color, I placed two transfers from ArtPlay Palette Radiant below the frames and masks. I also blended one transfer with the middle photo. I placed the psd layers from FotoInspired EdgeTemplates No. 2. I recolored the stains or clipped another paper and changed the blend mode to linear burn.

With a few threads, some branches and a title, I finished my page.

To make it easy, I simply created a composite of the template side and dropped it on top of the full page photo on a 24×12 inch file.

This is the kind of page that I would create for a book on Flowers, a future book project idea I’m considering.

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