Anything Photoshop or Photography


Springtime Wishes from Betsy

Image of Betsy McCall in a painted tree image.

Was organizing the wonderful Photoshop Foliage Brushes from Aaron Blaise I recently purchased. I came up with this tree while checking out the different brushes and looked who popped up in the image! Why that is Betsy McCall of paper doll fame from 1958. She just looked like she belonged in this image. Basically just followed Aaron’s workflow and used his brushes to created the tree, reeds and flowers. Also added Frostbo Set 2 Grass (brush 010) for the front smaller grass. Used Kim Klassen’s December Collection Unexpected texture set to Multiply blend mode and 51% layer opacity. Used Bird Brushes II bylpdragonfly-brush bb114s2220.jpg and the was expression was included in a Design Cuts package (ldavi-sendingalittlehappinessyourway-wordarttitle1). Downloaded Betsy from the Betsy McCall website called Download and Print Vintage Betsy McCall Paper Dolls. Selected one of her dresses to pretty up the image. I am enjoying using these brushes so much!…..Digital Lady Syd

Very Busy Snowy Egrets

Image of Snowy Egrets at St. Augustine Alligator Farm rookery
This is one of the shots I got at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm rookery. This is such a fun place to visit this time of year – the birds are totally distracted and let you take really great photos. The above is of the beautiful Snowy Egrets – at this time only a few baby birds were seen, most were nest building and mating.

Here is a quick run-down of what was done to this image: In Lightroom Seim’s (see sidebar for website link) Super HDR X preset and Dave Delnea’s Develop Preset Forestwalks Look 03 were used before bringing photo into Photoshop. A little clean up and then a stamped layer was created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Clarity was used to do an overall sharpening – this time I wanted a little more of an artsy look so my SJ Artsy with Highlights preset was used. (Settings: Clarity Dynamics Micro Contrast -0.86, Low Contrast -0.86, Medium Contrast 0.63, and High Contrast 0.94; Tone Level Black Level -0.19, Midtones -0.36, and White Level 0.19; HSL Filter Hue – no changes; Sat Orange 0.06, Yellow 0.63, Green 0.13, Blue 0.25 0.25, and Overall -0.45; and Lum Orange 0.36, Yellow -0.34, Green -0.42, Blue 0.61, Purple 0.11, Magenta 0.75, and Overall -0.27 – all other colors were 0.00.)  A layer mask was added and the birds were faces and beaks were painted out to maintain the sharpness since this preset smooths out colors. Nik Viveza 2 was used to draw focus to the babies and help remove a bit of yellow in the bird feathers. A Levels Adjustment layer was added to add back some contrast into the image. On another stamped layer, John Derry’s Varnish-Matte-Light layer style was used to apply a little painterly feel to the whole image. That was it. I love working on these bird images!…..Digital Lady Syd

Looking Through You!

Image of a pink hibiscus bloom from the back

Took this image recently when the sun was shining so beautifully through the peach Hibiscus bloom. These are the most beautiful flowers but they only last a day. What a shame! This image was put together very simply. In Lightroom Trey Radcliff’s Sunday Alone preset was applied. Then in Photoshop, the Shake Reduction filter was applied – did not make much of a difference in this case. On a duplicate layer, Flaming Pear’s Flood preset was next used so that it covered up about 3/4 of the bloom. (Here are the settings used: Horizon 45, Offset 0, Perspective 57, Altitude 50, Waviness 78, Color dark blue #0b1b4e, Complexity 47, Brilliance 65, Blur 54, Size 0, Height 31, Undulation 40, and Glue Normal.) A layer mask was added and the bloom and leaves were painted back. On a New Layer above, Kyle’s Real Watercolor Big Rough Small Grain was painted onto the image to get a pretty soft sun glow. Used the same layer mask but this time painted back around the top of the blossom. On another New Layer, used a Pastel Brush set to 35 pixels, Multiply brush mode, 53% brush opacity, Pressure Sensitivity for Opacity icon on, and 100% Flow. By sampling in the blossom, I tried to smooth some of the shadow transition lines. Next 2 Lil” Owls (see sidebar for website link) Color Bokeh-Grunge Set 5 was placed on top in a layer mask, the center was cleared of the hazy feel to focus on the flower. The last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer. I really like the colors in this one…..Digital Lady Syd

A Wintry Scene

Wintry Scene Image I painted
This is just a another image I created using mainly Aaron Blaise’s Foliage and Water brushes in Photoshop. In Painter some of the snow effects were created using Gel’s 2009 Holiday brushes and Fay Sirkis’ blender brushes. The Impasto sky was created using on one of Melissa Gallo’s brushes. In Photoshop three snow layers were added and Shadowhouse Creations Assorted Brush set tree brush 4 for background effect. As you can see, this is made up of a lot of different brushes and a little of my own painting. Not sure why I went wintry today, but it was a lot of fun to do…..Digital Lady Syd.

A Little Watercolor Fun

Image of water painted in Photoshop
Just totally having some fun with this one. Used the brushes from my How to Create A Magical Feel in Photoshop blog – really enjoying both Aaron Blaise‘s brushes and Frostbo’s Brush Grass Set 2 brushes. The birds brush was from Obsidian Dawn and the background water is Sad Monkey Designs Watercolor 22. Just played around and ended up with a pretty little watercolor……Digital Lady Syd

Trying out Very Wet Watercolor Brushes in Painter

Corel Painter image using Wet Watercolor Brushes
This is just a short quick blog to explain the above image. I did a Bob Ross type image using Skip Allen‘s wonderful Working with Very Wet Watercolor Variant Videos as a guide. I had never used watercolor brushes that run like traditional paints – they actually make your computer really “chug-a-long,” but Skip explains how to get around those hurdles. The above pretty much followed his videos, except I switched over to Photoshop to add the textures. I am much more comfortable using PS for this part of the process. The textures used were Frenchkiss Collections (see sidebar for website link) Artiste Autumn Fauve set to Hard Light at 65% layer opacity for the adding in the nice yellow and brown tones, and Painted Textures Olive Canvas (from one of Melissa’s workshops) set to Hard Light at 100% layer opacity which is basically a pretty soft plain greenish texture. A Curves Adjustment Layer was used to add some contrast back into the image. On a New Layer, Kyle’s Real Watercolor Big Rough Textured mod brush was used to darken down the left side of the mountain a little more. It was set to Soft Light blend mode. Just wanted you to see that you can add in a few more strokes in Photoshop to fill out areas that did not stroke correctly in Painter. That was it. Apparently people add chops to this, but I do not know how to do this yet. I would recommend you check out Skip’s tutorials and free brushes if you get a chance…..Digital Lady Syd

Beautiful Maize

Image of Drying Corn from the Native American Festival
Loved this hanging batch of colorful corn or maize taken at the recent Native American Festival in Ormond Beach, Florida. In Lightroom Seim’s (see sidebar for website link) Workflow DreamScape preset was applied. Next Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail 3 was applied using just my basic Little Medium Large Detail preset (Medium Details 0.38, Large Details 0.16, and Contrast 0.30) where a black layer mask was added and just the corn was painted back. The background needed to remain soft. On several layers above a lot of clean up was done as the background was full of distractions. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), my Topaz Impression Abstraction preset was applied (Stroke Type 12, Brush Size 1.00, Paint Opacity 0.38, Stroke Rotation 0, Stroke Color Variation 0, Stroke Width 0.85, Stroke Length -0.50, Spill 0.72, Smudge 0, and Coverage 1.00; Color Overall Hue 0.14, Sat 0.23, and Lightness 0.06; Red Lightness 0.14, Yellow Sat -0.11, and Green Lightness -0.36; Lighting Brightness 0.13, Contrast -0.23, and Vignette 0, Light direction X 0.34 and Y 0.05; and Texture Strength 0.19, Size -0.43, and Canvas I, Background type white solid and Background White). This layer was duplicated and taken back into Impression where the Ethereal Background by Blake Rudis preset was applied. A white layer mask was added and just the corn was painted out where I did not want the blurred effect to occur. This layer was set to Linear Burn at 53% layer opacity. On a new Stamped Layer, Nik Viveza 2 was applied to further enhance the focal point. It is so much fun to use the different filters to get different effects…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Get the Most Out of Your “Not-So-Great” Images – contains link for Topaz Impression’s Ethereal Background by Blake Rudis


Painted image of saiboat on ocean
Totally love these new inexpensive Photoshop brushes I purchased from Aaron Blaise’s (a former Disney artist) website. This image used both his Water Brush Set and his Cloud Brush Set. (Check out his videos as he gives lots of just great digital painting tips throughout his demos.) This image was composed of one Cloud layer using his SB 46-12 brush (a major cool cloud brush) and three Water layers using three brushes: his SB 44-13, a really nice larger waves brush, SB 45-13, smaller sized waves for more distant effects, and SB 50-40, a very flat thin wave effect that could be used for horizons or fill in color waves. The sailboat is from Vector Art Box – set to a 40% layer opacity to give a slightly dimmed look. The layer was set to Multiply at 100% layer opacity, then duplicated and set to 21% layer opacity just to make the boat show just right. Last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer to add a little contrast to the image. Done! This was so easy to create and it is so much fun to use these brushes……Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Just Some Photoshop Fun This Week!
How to Create a Watercolor/Ink Image in Photoshop

What the Worm Saw

Image of a hibiscus from below
This was a macro image I took for a Photo Club Theme called What the Worm Saw. I did not submit it (got a little over creative actually and tried something not so great). This is the underside of a Red Hibiscus bloom and I just liked the result. Used Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Clarity to sharpen it overall. Used Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to turn it to black and white. Next a Color Balance Adjustment Layer was used to add a little green in the Midtones. Painted Textures Trees in May texture was added next with a layer mask and the bloom and leaf were painted back in the mask. A Nik Viveza 2 filter was added to emphasize the focal point of the image. To get the pinkish tone on the flower, a light pink gradient layer was placed on top. The last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer to get back a little contrast. Something a little different for me…..Digital Lady Syd

A Little Cherry Tree

Image of a Cherry Tree painted in Corel Painter and Photoshop
Have not painted in a while so decided to give it a go. I wanted to paint a Cherry Tree since I lived in the Washington, DC area for many years and miss seeing them this time of year. The original image was created in Corel Painter 2015 on just the Canvas and using 9 different brushes on a Plaster Paper. This image was brought into Photoshop where a Clean Up layer was created. Three other layers using some of Aaron Blaise Foliage Brushes were added to soften some of the sharp edges mainly around the water and on the plants. A Motion Blur set to 4 was used to soften the graphic look os his brushes. Nik Viveza 2 was used to reinforce the focal area in the tree and a Level Adjustment Layer was added to make sure the contrast was correct. That was it! It was a lot of fun to get back to painting, but I still like to go between the programs……Digital Lady Syd