This past week was a fun one. I received ATCs in the mail from our April swap and Mother's day cards too! I love getting real cards, especially hand made ones, in the mail. Nothing will make you feel more special than receiving something that was hand made by another.
Here is the beautiful Mother's Day card, I received from my Mom:
And she used EasyScraps stamps . Thanks Mom!!
April's theme was Springtime in Paris. I chose to use an old photo and add some parisien images, and then I colored it with Pan Pastels. I love using Pan Pastels for their soft look, but they have great coverage!
Here is my ATC:
And here are the ATCs I received in the swap! Such different interpretations of the theme!
Many thanks to:
Kim- was our lovely Hostess this month!
and of course our special girls: Isabella, Bea, and Hannah!! Thanks ladies!!!
If you have been following along in this series, I now have the Glamour Girl's face shape changed to be a little more pleasing, and now I am going to work on adding some shadows and highlights in preparation for adding color and texture. This way, the facial features should come through a little bit better.
Photoshop allows you to work on a photo or image in many ways that are non-destructive to the original image. Chief among these methods are the Adjustment Layers that will let you change contrast, make an image black and white, add color, change color, and more. Even regular layers themselves enable you to change the look of your image, especially when used in conjunction with Blend Modes. In this post we will examine Blend modes, and generally this is one of the features of Photoshop that I almost always use during a session. In the next post we will look more at Adjustment Layers.
The next step in my makeover is to give the face a little bit more contrast and dimension. I sketched her pretty quickly and didn't go back to flesh out the shading details.
I create a new layer (either using the Create New Layer button on the very bottom of the layers panel, or by Layer->New->Layer). I change the name to Shadows. I then take the paint brush and using a soft round brush with black as my foreground brush, I paint on the underside of her cheeks, and anywhere else I want to put more definitions in the shadow areas. I can change the opacity of the layer and/or play around with blend modes. The opacity slider is on the right near the top of the layer's pallete. It is normally set to 100%, but if you lower that number, ithe layer will become more transparent, including any effects cause by using blend modes, and the layer(s) beneath will show through more. When using blend modes, a lower opacity will lessen the effect of that blend mode. In order to change a blend mode of the layer in the layer's pallete (in this case I was on the layer where I painted the shadows), click on the pull down to the left of the opacity slider that by default has "Normal" as the value. You will see a whole list of different methods to try, and each one will have a different effect of how the current layer will interact with the layers below it.
Blend modes are not something that beginning Photoshoppers will venture to use. But, they are fun and often lead to magical effects that you most often can't get with "real" art supplies! You can try different blend mode values to see which effect you like. Blend modes allow the top layer to interact with the layer underneath in different ways. Some Blend Modes enhance the dark colors in the image underneath, some do the opposite. Some modes will change the appearance of the colors in the layers. I usually just go through each in turn to see what blend mode I like. Multiply will usually darken the images, while Screen will typically be my choice for lightening an image. Again, you can change the opacity of the layer as well, in order to lessen the effect of the blend mode. In this example case, I used Darken for the shadow layer.
You can change the blend mode in many different places within Photoshop to alter the way that, for instance paint, or layer effects like strokes or pattern overlays, interact with the layers below. And yes, you can then also change the blend modes and opacity of the finished layer as well, to alter the interaction with the layers below.
Back to my girl, I then wanted to add some highlights to make her cheeks stand out. I painted with white on a new layer and then played around with blend modes until I got the look I wanted. I ended up using the Soft Light blend mode. I also set the opacity down just a bit. I still wanted the shadows and highlights to stand out a little more because I knew I would be doing some other things on top of this image, and so I wanted to give a bit more structure to the drawing. If I were to use this as is, then I would soften the effects by lowering the opacity on these highlight/shadow layers a bit more.
You can also try to duplicate the layer that is blending with the layers beneath it, and blend mode effects quite often are enhanced. For instance, try this- open a photo in Photoshop. Duplicate the later of the Photo, and set the blend mode to "Screen". Your photo just got lighter. Now duplicate that second layer, and the image will be lighter still.
Finally, I decided too add just a tiny bit more ooompth to the mid tones of the image. To do this, I first tried finding the color gray to paint with, but I had trouble finding the correct gray. Rather than wasting a ton of time, I instead painted with a color and then threw away the color using Hue/Saturation. You can do this by adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. I will cover Adjustments layers in a different port, so for now let's just do it the brute force way, which works perfectly fine in this case. Paint over the parts that you want to deepen in any color, I chose red. Then use Image-> Adjustments->Hue/Saturation. Move the Saturation slider down until you get the color gray that you want. Then you can adjust the opacity, and play with the blend modes. The nice thing about Adjustment Layers is that you can go back later to re-adjust the Hue/Saturation. But again, we will talk about in a future post. I brought the opacity way down on this layer so I would be left with just a bit more gray in a few areas.
Next week will will start adding some color!
Sorry folks, this post if for me. My daughter is growing up, and it is bittersweet to watch. So I am working out my feelings with a post using pictures of her when she was just a sweet little toddler. I'll give some Photoshop tips along the way, so maybe you can use those to work on your own precious memories!
Upon looking at this photo, I decided that I wanted to blur and de-saturate the background. The first thing I did was click on the photo layer and choose (right mouse button click) "Convert to Smart Object". This will allow filters to be applied in such a way that they are able to be modified at a future date. So I can always go backkepp and tweak the blur if I want to.
I used the quick selection tool to select the greens in the background and then used the quick mask tool to refine the selection around the hair. Then I chose the filter Gaussian Blur, which will be applied as a smart filter (because we did the step above), and it is also smart enough to create a mask to only blur the portion that I have selected.
Let's take a side trip here. Adjustment layers let you do things to layers in Photoshop without directly applying the adjustment ot the photo itself. So you can get rid of the adjustment, without disturbing your photo if you decide you don;t like it. Every time you create an adjustment layer, it creates a mask. Masks are black and white. If the mask is all white, any adjustment you have made using adjustment layers will be visible and will apply to all the layers beneath it. If you have trouble with masks, and can't remember how they work, the standard "White reveals, black conceals" rhyme that all the Photoshop folks use, might help you. For me I could never remember the correct way, until I started thinking as if the mask were made out of paper. black paper will cover up anything beneath it. So in this case, black will hide the effect of the adjustment. So then I could remember that black conceals. The other way I thought about it was white knights are the good guys, so the white mask will help or allow the adjustment to do it's magic. The black knight will try to thwart the good magic of the adjustment, and so will hide it. Use whatever means makes sense to you to remember how layer masks work, because once you figure it out, you will see how powerful they are.
So now I have a blur filter with a mask for my selection. I clicked on the masks and then used right mouse button-> "Load selection from mask" to select the background again. Then I chose to create an adjustment layer of "Hue-Saturation" and moved the Saturation setting down to get rid of some of the color in the background. Once again, my selection was used to create the proper mask, so that the adjustment was only applied to the background.
You can see the adjustment layer to de-saturate, with the mask circled in red in the picture below...
The final thing i did was add a soft white border around the edge of the photo. To do that I used a color fill adjustment layer, and chose the color white. Then I clicked on the mask, which was all white, and which will reveal the adjustment to all the layers below. So everything is now white. But I used the lasso tool to create an organic rectangular selection around the mask and then used the paint bucket to fill with black. That black hides the adjustment so that everything beneath that part will not be filled with white. So, you can now see the image below in that portion. The white border had a really sharp edge, so I chose Window->Properties to see the properties of the mask itself. Here I could feather the mask so that the edges of the white border were much softer. And viola!
In the picture below you can see the color fill adjustment layer on the left, circled in red. Then on the right, you can see the properties panel for feathering the mask so that the white border has a softer edge...
Here was a different look, where I used the white color fill adjustment layer, and then used a grunge brush as my eraser and erased on the mask. I used the eraser, but it wasn't at full strength so that I could go keep erasing, and build up the look gradually. It wasn't what I wanted for this photo, but it might be cool for an antique look.
Here is the final result...
Another photo in the series...
My final thoughts...
This week is another installment in the progress on the Photoshop girl. I am going to intersperse the next few lessons with other stamping posts, since Mom (who is my most faithful reader ) doesn't do Photoshop. But for this week, let's discuss Puppet Warp.
I've talked about Puppet Warp in Photoshop before. I love it for tweaking small sections of my work that are off- usually the eyes, or nose, but sometimes I even use it for the shape of the face. Puppet Warp gives you a little bit better control than the Edit->Transform->Warp tool does. So you can warp small sections of the image while keeping the rest of it intact.
Note that this tool is only available in later versions of Photoshop. If you have earlier versions you won't have this tool, but you could try the Liquify filter instead, as we discussed last week.
Note that with Puppet Warp, I always copy the image onto a new layer and make edits to that copied layer. Use control-J (command-j on a Mac) or right mouse button click on the layer in the layer's panel and choose Copy Layer.
When you choose Puppet Warp, you will see your image with a "mesh" overlay- a pile of lines that describe the contours of your image. You can change how many lines you see, or how dense your mesh is, by using the control on the top for Density. The default is normal, but you can choose to use fewer or more points. For tweaking small areas like eyes, I generally change the Density setting to more points.
Then I usually set points around the whole of my image to keep the outline or general shape intact. You will see this in action- if you don't set points, once you start moving things parts of your image that you don't want to change might start moving on you. If that happens, just un-do and go around the outline of your image and set points in the corners and in the middle of each edge.
In Puppet Warp, your cursor will look like a little thumbtack. To set points just click on the image where you want to put it. I set points around the perimeter of the image as I described earlier, and then I narrow in and set points around the perimeter of the area I want to move. Often I also set a few points surrounding that perimeter of what I want to move, so the keep the immediate area outside of the move area intact as well.
The next step is to click on the points that you set on the area that you wish to warp. When you click on a point you already set, you then can drag that point to start to warp that portion of the image. My suggestion is that you do a little at a time, so that you can see exactly what is moving and warping, and what may be getting out of whack. You can use ctrl-z (command-z on a mac) to undo one move, but if you move things to fast and realize that two steps ago you may have moved a section too much, then you will need to cancel and start over.
I use the Puppet Warp command to edit small areas of my image that need fine tuning, where the regular Warp command doesn't work, or where I need a bit greater control than I can get with the Liquify brush. Give it a try and see what you can do with the Puppet Warp command!
It appears as if I blew away the sample of the girl after Puppet Warp, but here are two quick examples of before and after Puppet Warp:
Monday's Boston Marathon tragedy hit too close to home. I can not imagine what would make someone want to hurt the Boston Marathon supporters. They are what make the Boston Marathon great. If you have never run a marathon, than you will just need to imagine how helpful it is to have folks lining the roadways and cheering you on, and volunteers helping you if you need it. If you have run before, then you do know what it means to see friends, and family, and even people that you don't know yelling and clapping and lending their support. This is what the Boston Marathon fans do, all along the way, and in my opinion it it what makes the Boston Marathon great. They are generous, happy, supportive folks that spend their day off cheering on the people that run. The runners are winners for accomplishing an amazing feat of running 26.2 miles, but the fans and volunteers are winners too. Because without them, many of the runners would have a hard time finishing.
When you start out it is all happy fanfare, music blaring, crowds making noise, and you are pumped to get going. As you are running (and running and running) you understandably start thinking "Ok, why did I do this?" when you hear someone yell your name, or the saying on your T Shirt. It energizes you and you keep going, determined to reach your friends and family waiting at the finish line, to accomplish your goal of running 26.2 miles, and, much of the time, to raise money for a cause.
The fans get you through. The crazy, fun crowds at Wellesley, the group at Heartbreak hill, and of course the throngs at the finish line. For me, I will never forget two people that helped me the year I ran Boston. I didn't even know them. One was a small boy- who yelled for my T Shirt- "Go Diet Pepsi! I like Coke better, but Go anyway!" That made me laugh for miles!
I ran fine until 22 miles. Heartbreak Hill- no problem. But when someone in the crowd yelled "Go Diet Pepsi- only 4 more miles!", you would think I would have been re-energized and ready to complete my run in fine style. Instead, I hit the wall. I stopped. I remember saying out loud to some guy I didn't know- "4 more miles? What the heck, that is an entire run! I can't do 4 more miles!" He looked at me as if I was crazy and said "You just ran 22 miles- of course you can run 4 more!". My brain was able to grasp what he said, and I started to nod. He yelled "C'mon Diet Pepsi- go! Finish!" So I did! It was an amazing sight coming into the finish chute with everyone cheering and friends screaming, helpful volunteers there to hand you medals, and foil blankets, and water and whatever else you needed. Lots of hugs, lots of laughs, and lots of celebrating a job well done. That is how the finish should be.
It shouldn't end like it did Monday. And those happy, cheering, generous fans and volunteers should not have been hurt. It breaks my heart to think of the young boy that was killed, a young boy just like the one that cheered for me during my run. It is painful to even think of the agony his Dad and family are dealing with right now. I wish I could do something to help. I will plan on going to cheer next year. And I hope that the rest of the Boston Marathon fans will return, so that we show whoever did this that they didn't win on Monday. They won't win. Ever.
There is a photo circulating now of Martin Richard, the young child that was killed on Monday, holding a sign that states "No More Hurting People. Peace". Please, yes. I pray your wish comes true.
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