I have been experimenting with putting textured overlays on some of my photos. These are my very first attempts: wild fennel sky01-Jills moon fabric texture overlay copy

This one of a fennel plant silhouetted against the sky uses one of Jill’s photos of a piece of her fabric weaving. I love this photo and have a feeling it’s going to be used lots more times! Two versions of the same gardenia photo

gardenia-cambodian stone texture overlay copy

This one has been overlaid with a photo of a Cambodian stone frieze

201103120207_gardenia-wooden door texture overlay copy T

his one has been overlaid with a wooden door texture

201103120197-yellow hibiscus-sanskrit texture overlay copy

yellow hibiscus with a sanskrit text overlay

201103020087_white-frangipani-nylon fishing line overlay copy

white frangipani with a white nylon fishing line overlay

201103020090_white-frangipani-ceramic jar overlay copy

and last but not least the ceramic jar was very colourful but I was interested to see what effect the overlay would have At this stage I haven’t tried to do anything more complicated than overlay a single texture over the top of a photograph. Experiments with changing opacity, etc. may come later but it has taken me ages to do this successfully. I found a very good tutorial at the studioCalico. I would point out that rather than “open” both photos I used the “file>place” function for the photo of the texture. I used PSE8 for this.

I recently had some fun playing with a website where you can upload your own photos and create some cool digital effects. I experimented by uploading a photo of myself, one of a lotus flower and one of a cat. Here are some of the results:

This last one is my favourite.

I am using my old Photoshop 7.0 to convert a photograph into a Japanese-style woodblock print.

1.  Open the image.  Go to Image on the toolbar and click “Image Size”.  Set the image to the size you want it to be when it is finished. 

2.  Open the layers palette.

3. Double click on the background image in the layer palette to “unlock” it. Click OK in the “Layer 0” dialogue box.

4. Using the Lasso tool, select the part of the image you want to turn into a woodblock image. For example here, I selected the structure. Copy the selection (file/copy) and then paste it (file/paste). The selection will now appear as Layer 1.

 
5. Click Layer 0 on the palette. Go to Filter on the toolbar, click Artistic, and click Poster Edges. Click OK in the Poster Edges Dialogue Box.
 

6. Click Layer 1 in the Palette. Either double click this layer to open the Layers Style dialogue box OR go to the toolbar on top and click Layer and then Layer Style. In the Layer Style dialogue box, double click Stroke. Change the color of the Stroke to a dark blue, Set the Size to 2 pixels. Change the position to Center. Then click OK. This will add a blue outline to the image, a common feature in woodblock prints.

 

7. With Layer 1 highlighted, go to the toolbar and click Layers, then select New Adjustment Layer, and then select and click Color Balance. In the New Layer dialogue box click OK. A Color Balance box will now open. Click Shadows and move the bottom slider a bit towards Blue and the top slider a bit toward Cyan. This adds a blue cast to the shadows of the image.

 

8. In the Layers Palette make sure this new layer is highlighted. Again, go to the toolbar and click Layers, then select New Adjustment Layer, and then select and click Color Balance. In the New Layer dialogue box click OK. The Color Balance box will open again. This time click the Highlight. Move the top slider a little towards Red, the middle slider a little towards Magenta, and the bottom slider a little towards Yellow. Click Ok. This will create a sepia cast to the highlights.

 

9. In the Layers Palette, double click this second new adjustment layer to open up the Layer Style dialogue box. Change the Blend Mode to Multiply. Then new the bottom of the box where it says “Blend If” move the “This Layer” slider to the right. You will see that the image begins to lighten. Click OK.

 

10. Once more, in the Layers Palette make sure the newest layer is highlighted. Again, go to the toolbar and click Layers, then select New Adjustment Layer, This time select Threshold. A new layer will appear that shows the image in Black and White. Move the slider towards the left. You want to make a simple black outline of the image. When you are satisfied with the outline, click OK.

 

11. In the Layers Palette, slide the Opacity down to 10%.

 

12. In the Layers Palette, click the small triangle in the top right corner to open a drop-down menu. Click “Flatten Image”.

 

13. Again, double click on the background image in the layer palette to “unlock” it. Click OK in the “Layer 0” dialogue box.

 14. Select Image from the toolbar, then Adjustments, and then select and click Brightness/Contrast. Slide the Brightness towards the right to lighten the image and Contrast also to the right but not as much.

 

15. Finally, go to File, click Save AS, change the Format from Photoshop to JPEG. Give it a new name (don’t forget to do this or you will save over your original image). Click Save.  You’re done!

 

Lori (c) 2008

1. Open two browsers. One will be for Flickr and one will be for WordPress.

2. In one of the browsers, go to http://www.flickr.com. If you already have a Yahoo ID, you would sign in using the Yahoo ID and password. If you are not a Yahoo member, then you need to sign up for an account (it’s free). When you have signed in, minimize the browser.

3. In the other browser, go to http://wordpress.com and sign in to the blog where you want to post your image.

4. Click Write. When the empty Write screen opens, then minimize WordPress but don’t close it.

5. Go back to the other browser with Flickr and maximize the screen.

6. Click “Upload photos.”

7. Click the Browse button next to the first box. Go to the directory on your hard drive where you have your image and select the image. Click open. You will see the name of the directory and image in the box. You can do this for six images. Make sure your images are JPG files with a low (72 dpi) resolution. Files that are too big may not upload.

8. Select a privacy setting. I usually choose “Private”.

9. Click upload. The uploading process may take a minute or two.

10. When the pictures have been uploaded, you will be asked to give new titles or descriptions to each. You can edit the names of images or you can ignore this if you wish. Just click Save at the bottom of the screen when finished.

11. Your newly uploaded picture will appear on the screen. Now, click the image you want to insert onto WordPress. It will open up on a screen of its own.

12 Just above the picture are several small icons. Find the one that says “All Sizes” and click that.

13.You’ll see the picture again with several size choices listed above it: thumbnail, square, small, medium, large. You don’t want your picture any wider than 400 or so or it will cut off on the blog. For most of my images, I pick Medium. Click the size you want. (Do not click the “Download” link.)

14. Now, scroll to the bottom of the page to item # 1

15. Highlight all of the coding in the #1 box.

16. Right click on the highlighted code and select copy.

17. Now minimize Flickr and maximize the other browser with your WordPress Write screen.

18. On the top of the Write box, you will see a bunch of icons. If you want to center your image, click the “centered” bars.

19. Now, click the Code tab. Hold down the Control and press V. This will paste the coding.

20. Click the “Visual”.

21. Finish your post by typing in your text, etc. Then click Publish and you’re done.

I thought you might want to see how I composed a recent photomontage.

First, I had no plan to make this composition. I didn’t think “Gee, I’m have this composition in mind with a woman in a gown standing in the desert with a coyote.” No, with this, as with most of my compositions, I saw an image that grabbed me and it grew from there.

I was browsing an online fashion and home decor catalog (Stylehive, if you really want to know), and I came across this image that really caught my attention.

I usually try to use my own photographs whenever possible, but since I have no plans on selling this piece and I composed it as a mere amusement for myself and a few others, I grabbed the image. As you will see in the finished piece, I heavily manipulated the image using Photoshop.

Next, I needed a visual context for the woman. I reviewed all my personal photographs and found nothing suitable, so I opened up Terragen, a landscape generating program, and crafted this background. This was perhaps the hardest part of the composition.

Next I pulled up two of my own photographs that I took at a local nature reserve that seemed to be an appropriate fit for the desert background. I extracted the foreground shrubbery in one and the background trees in the other.

I started putting these images together in Photoshop, moving around the layers until I was satisfied with the balance. However, it seemed a little unexciting. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I realized that the woman needed a mascot and that the desert scene suggested some sort of desert animal. The coyote popped immediately into mind. So I started googling coyote images until I found one that would fit the composition.

After putting together the elements, making sure that shadows were all falling in the same direction, I began applying Photoshop filters to give the feel of a painting. There came a moment when I thought, “that’s it; it’s finished”, and I was left with this final composition that I entitled “Desert Muse.”

I hope this little demonstration has been helpful to you as you construct your own compositions.

L.Gloyd (c) 2008

From a photograph taken to send to her six sons, all of whom were far away

in Canada, the Pacific, when she was in her fifties I have tried to imagine how this lively woman must have looked when she first left London to live in a rural village. My WACOM is still not behaving quite as I would like but I did find the practice worth doing.

L.Gloyd 2008

By several requests, here is the digital painting tutorial for “Pushing Color” using a digital painting software program of your choice for painting brush strokes and then using Adobe Photoshop or Element to push the colors with the “Liquify Filter”. It gives more dimension, texture and depth to your digital painting.

Download the following sketch to work with in this tutorial — right click your mouse and save to your computer

pansy1.jpg

(Image above) To create your own “pushing color” technique, start with a sketch or drawing of an image. For the tutorial, we’ll use the image above that you can right click your mouse to save on your computer. Once you save it, open it in the software program you prefer best for digital painting. I like to use Corel Painter X because this program has the widest variety of brushes.

pansy2.jpg

In Step Two (image above), select the brush and colors you want to use for your painting. I used Corel Painter X Oil Pastel, Variable Oil 30. For colors, I chose a soft pink hue for the background, deep violet purple, lavender, and bright purple for the center of the flower that I simply stroked without worrying too much about where the color was bleeding. Then, I used three shades of yellow from soft to bright for the outer edge. I added a white and pink edged tip for the petal on the left. I also feathered the edges of the purple center of the petals for a natural appearance.

 pansy3a.jpg 

In Step Three (image above), I added a few muted shades of plum in with the soft pink at the bottom right corner. I also added soft yellow tip to the largest petal.

pansy4a.jpg 

Step Four (image above), I saved the file and re-opened in Adobe Photoshop CS2 in order to use the first ”Liquify” filter in Adobe Photoshop, which you find by selecting “Filter” and scrolling then selecting “Liquify”. If you use Adobe Elements, I believe you have to select “Filter” then “Distort” and then “Liquify”.  

For the first filter, I use the warp tool and push the color from the outside into the center to create distinct movement and lines.

Here’s a quick look at the other tools available in Liquify:

  • Warp  Pushes pixels forward as you drag.
  • Reconstruct  Fully or partially reverses the changes you’ve made.
  • Twirl Clockwise  Rotates pixels clockwise as you hold down the mouse button or drag.
  • Pucker Tool  Moves pixels toward the center of the brush area as you hold down the mouse button or drag.
  • Bloat  Moves pixels away from the center of the brush area as you hold down the mouse button or drag.
  • Push Tool  Moves pixels perpendicularly to the stroke direction. Drag to move pixels to the left, and Alt-drag to move pixels to the right.
  • Mirror Tool  Copies pixels to the brush area. Drag to reflect the area perpendicular to the direction of the stroke (to the left of or below the stroke). Alt-drag to reflect the area in the direction opposite to that of the stroke (for example, the area above a downward stroke). Use overlapping strokes to create an effect similar to a reflection in water.
  • Turbulence  Smoothly scrambles pixels and creates fire, clouds, waves, and similar effects. To adjust the smoothness, drag the Turbulent Jitter pop-up slider in the Tool Options section, or enter a value between 1 and 100 in the text box. Higher values increase smoothness.

     

pansy5a.jpg

In Step Five (image above), while still in Adobe Photoshop, I select “Filter” and then choose “Artistic” and “Watercolor” to add depth. (You may not see the difference until you do it in your own painting or download this image and enlarge it to see the texture added.  pansy6a1.jpg 

Step Six (image above), I added various shades of green brush strokes around the upper right corner. I added deeper orange color near the tip of a couple of the petals. Next, I selected “Filter” and “Liquify” again using the clockwise tool to create an interesting center, pushed more color in different directions within the flower.

 pansy7b.jpg

(image above) To complete this simple painting for the tutorial, I saved the file and re-opened in Corel PhotoPaint in order to add my infamous dots, a raindrop element in the far left and the smudge tool to soften some of the edges.

pansy7a.jpg

(image above) Same final painting — however, changed the “Hue” to darken the color to show more blue purple instead of violet. I show this so you can see that you can alter an image just by working with “Adjustments”.

This painting is done first with a pencil sketch.  I found the colouring in an interesting practice.  Fran

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The Soul Food Cafe is an international group of writers and artists whose global mission is to promote writing and art-making as a daily practice through the use of interactive web-based technologies such as blogging and e-mail groups. Lemuria is the fantasy construct where the participants of the Soul Food Cafe post their work, and The Digital Atelier is just one niche within Lemuria. If you are an intrigued visitor now wanting to join the Soul Food Experience, visit the Soul Food Cafe for instructions. Or you may write the SFC owner and manager heatherblakey @ dailywriting.net .

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