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Tag: Topaz

Topaz Labs

A reader asked how I used Topaz Labs Plug-ins to give my photos a painted look. Basically, these are external plug-ins that apply filters to photos. Two of my favorite plug-ins are Impression and Simplify. After placing the photo on a new blank 12×12 document, I duplicated the photo twice. Then I opened the filter panel, scrolled down the menu and chose Topaz Impression.

When the plug-in opened, I browsed the effects. I chose to work with Over Painting 1. The panel on the right allowed me to make adjustments to the filter effect. Once I was finished, I clicked the save button and was taken back to Photoshop. Note: These extensions also work in Photoshop Elements.

On the second copy of the photo, I chose a line and ink preset in Simplify. Adjustments were made on the right. I learned to work with this panel from a tutorial on the Topaz blog.

I turned off the original and reduced the opacity of the top (over painting) layer to 40%. I then dragged the layers of Artsy Layered Template No. 242 on to my document. I linked the photo layers and duplicated them so that I could clip them to some template masks and stains. I also clipped linked photo copies to the masks for the small frames. I moved those frames lightly to the left.

I began turning off the template layers that didn’t work. To finish my background, I placed solid paper 5 from ArtPlay Palette Jollification as well as transfer 3 and 5. I attached masks to both transfers to blend out parts. I added a recolored button (from the palette) and tacked it down with a thread.

I hope this gives you an idea of what’s possible with some of the Topaz Labs plug-ins.


Whirligig and Practice

As a retired classroom teacher, I know how important it is to practice new learning. If you read my last post, you’ll remember my aha moment learning about combining an artsy paper with a solid to create a two page spread in Anna’s Project 2016 class. For this layout using photos taken with an Instamatic nearly 40 years ago along with more recent photos, I again combined an artsy paper with a solid from Anna’s new ArtPlay Palette Garland. However, I needed to adjust the position of the main transfer on artsy paper 2 because I needed a little more space to add two small frames.

Notice at the bottom of the layer’s panel, I placed two copies of solid paper 2. Above, I blended in the edge of artsy paper 2 using a layer mask and brush from AnnaBlendz Artsy No. 4. I moved another copy of the paper to the right and blended in the main transfer. Next, I placed a copy of transfer 5 and blended in my photo with a layer mask. Note: I created a filter using Topaz Simplify for this old photo. I hope to explain what I did in another post.

Next, I placed two small frames that I dragged over from a template in Project Album Templates No. 2 and clipped two other old photos. I applied a similar filter using Topaz Simplify.

I began building a foundation for an element cluster using two small branches from MultiMedia Branches No. 6, a button and stain from MultiMedia Holiday No. 2, dots from ArtPlay Palette Yule and two brushes from Evergreens No. 2.

I finished the left side by adding the other layers from file 2 of MultiMedia Holiday No. 2 on the right side of the focal photo and adding two button threadz.

For the right side of my two page spread, I dragged over the layers of MonthReview Template 30B. I switched out the fotoblendz mask, substituting one from template 3 of Project Template Album No. 2. I placed transfer 3 and the gold paint along with two brushes from ArtPlay Palette Garland and another brush from Evergreens No. 2 on the right in order to balance the texture and green on the left. I placed file 4 from MultiMedia Holiday No. 2 along with a button from file 2 to finish my visual triangle of greenery. The word joy is from Holiday WordART Mix No. 5.

It might have been “correct” to change one of the photos on the left to black and white, but I didn’t want to lose the joy in the color of these photos. The red and green are repeated across both pages in the elements as well as the photos.

For nearly 40 years, I’ve always called this little wooden toy a whirligig. The heat rising from the burning candles makes the blades turn the manger scene. Of all the things I have for Christmas, this has been the most precious to me over the years, bringing me great joy!

Grain or Noise in a Photo?

My photographs often look grainy/noisy whenever I increase my camera’s ISO while maintaining an aperture of f/5.6 and a shutter speed fast enough to capture an active preschooler in a low light situation. As I was placing these two photos on a new blank 24×12 inch document in Photoshop, I thought about that grainy quality. Since my granddaughter was playing with some superhero comic figures in one of the photos, I decided to use a plug-in for Photoshop, Topaz Clean, to give the photos a cartoon or comic effect before I blended them together to create the background for my page.

I liked the effect on the large photos so much that I gave the smaller photos the same effect with the plug-in before clipping them to the small frames included with the template.


To finish this page, I recolored some of the stains that were also included with the template, added some artsy transfers and elements from ArtPlay Palette Euphoria and created a title with Photoshop’s custom shape tool to mimic the word pieces with which my granddaughter played.


My page is finished, but I’m still thinking about what more I can do with the settings on my camera to improve the quality of my low light photos. I know my granddaughter is going to want to go back to the museum when she sees the photos on this page.

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