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The Neighborhood Puppy

Image of the Neighborhood Puppy
This is one of the cutest puppies I think I have ever seen. Her name is Kaila and I get to play with her every now and then when she is on one of her neighborhood walks. This time she let me take a few images of her, so I thought I would take advantage of this photo and try out a recent Topaz blog called Cartoon Your Critter – Make Your Pet a Work of Art by Taylor Seaton. I did not follow the steps exactly since my image is not really a cartoon effect, but I liked the final results. So how did I get to this point? Well I used Topaz (see sidebar for website link) ReMask, but I also tried Photoshop’s Mask and Select, which gave a great result too, just to see which is is better. (I think the results depend totally on the image IMHO, so if you do not like the results of one, try the other.) I did not like the results Topaz Simplify gave to this image, so Lucis Pro 6.0.9 (unfortunately no longer available) was applied on a duplicate layer of just the selected dog. Again the layer was duplicated and following the Topaz blog, the image was taken into Topaz Impression 2 where the Cartoon Your Critter preset was downloaded from the Community. No changes were made to it. Next Artiste Old Master texture from French Kiss (see sidebar for website link) was placed underneath the dog layer. Topaz has several nice textures in their blog that can be downloaded if a nice one is needed. Then created a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top so it can be taken back into Topaz Impression 2. On separate layers above lots of painting with PS was done to add my own painting flair. On another stamped layer Nik Viveza 2 was applied and just a little bit of vignetting was added along with a little work on the nose and mouth. I really like the results. And as always, it was a lot of fun to do!…..Digital Lady Syd

Bird of Paradise

Image of a painted Bird of Paradise flower in my yard
I currently have a couple Bird of Paradise blooms on my plant so had to get a few images. This one was extracted in Photoshop and then painted in Corel Painter before bringing back into Photoshop and finishing up the detailing of the flower and adding texture. One of my Pastel textures created in Painter was placed under the flower. Then several layers were placed above using several of my SJ-3 Pastel brush variations (see my How to Create My Favorite Brush blog) and Grut I Qwillo brush (or see sidebar for link to all his brushes) to create the outline. 2 Lil’ Owls (see sidebar for website link) Color Bokeh Grunge Set-3 was added and the flower painted out on a layer mask. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Nik Viveza 2 was used to emphasize the focal point. Did not like the painted strokes completely, so added a few more layers and used Grut NM Tick Tumble to smooth out color in several places. A Sebastian Michaels edge was added. It is fun to paint these beautiful blooms!…..Digital Lady Syd

Hospital Militar

Image of the Spanish Military Hospital Museum in St. Augustine, Florida
Just had some fun adding an interesting effect to this front door image of the Spanish Military Hospital Museum in St. Augustine, Florida. In PS a free action by Chris Spooner called Engraved Effect Medium was used on the whole image. If you use this action be careful-it makes your image huge. What you need to do is look in the group and decide which layers you want to apply and remove the others to control the final size of the image. I really like the engraved look and the action contains three different levels to experiment using. Then the image was taken into Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Impression 2 and applied the Abstract I preset with changes to fine tune to this image. Next a stamped layer was created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was placed on top. Lucis Pro 6.0.9 (no longer available was applied and just the Smooth Detail slider was used. One of my PNG textures was added to the image and set to Overlay blend mode and then set to a bright blue color by clipping a Color Fill Adjustment Layer. The Foggy Night Color Lookup was added and set to 34% layer opacity. Next 2 Lil’ Owls (see sidebar for website link) Starry Night 6 was applied and set to Saturation blend mode at 46% layer opacity. The last step was to use one of Sebastian Michaels edges. It like the sort of vintage feel in the image…..Digital Lady Syd

The Golden Dragon

Image of Nano Lopez's Little Devian Sculpture
I had never seen a Nano Lopez sculpture until my recent visit to St. Augustine where the James Coleman Gallery had it displayed- this piece is called Little Davian. I shot this beauty through the front window in bright daylight so it took a lot of cleaning up to get rid of the reflections . I thought that the dragon was singing into a microphone but he is actually eating a “Dragon Berry” ice cream cone! Need to check out all Nano’s work – it is amazing! I will give you a quick run down of what was done to the image, but many steps were involved to get an effect I liked. First the dragon was run through Lucis Pro (no longer available) to get the edges defined better – it does not really sharpen but gives a similar look. Then PS Select and Mask command was used to extract the dragon from the background. To get the interesting cyan texture on the right side, a grunge type object created in Corel Painter was placed behind the extracted dragon, set to Soft Light and 52% layer opacity.  A Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer was clipped to the layer and set to a Cyan color. A Darken/Lighten 50% gray layer was added. Nik Viveza 2 was used to adjust the color and tone throughout the image – this helped fix the glass reflection problem. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Clarity was used on just the dragon. A Spotlight Layer set to Overlay blend mode was used on the dragon head. 4 Light Leaks were used on the edges – top and bottom set to a little dark red color, right side cyan and left side a warmish orange. 2 Lil’ Owls (see sidebar for website link) Color Bokeh Grunge Set – overlay 6 was set to Divide blend mode at 40% layer opacity to darken the edge of image. The font is called Chiller. Last step involved adding Topaz Detail 3 – just gave the overall image some sharpening and emphasized the background texture. Obviously my image does not do justice to the actual beautiful piece created by the artist, but it was a joy to work on the image!…..Digital Lady Syd

Light Dawning in the Forest

Image of a bird in a painted background
Just created this little image for fun. I started image by opening up the Tree Generator in Photoshop (Filter -> Render -> Tree – not available in CS6 unfortunately) and created a 16 Young Robina tree and just playing with all the fun sliders. If you have not tried out this fun little sub-program inside PS, you should give it a spin – lots of fun! Behind the tree one of my Corel Painter textures was placed and the Hue adjusted with a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. The bird is from some clip art that I had and it was painted and liquified. The flying birds in the background are a free download from Jai Johnson. Not much to this image. I liked the colors that resulted…..Digital Lady Syd

The Red Lion in the Tower

Image of Alcazar Hotel Tower's clay red lion face
Took this image recently in St. Augustine of the back of the Alcazar Hotel (Lightner Museum) showing one of the beautiful red clay lions. Henry Flagler had these lions placed over both this hotel and the Ponce de Leon Hotel (now Flagler College) exteriors. To begin in PS, a free action by Chris Spooner called Engraved Effect Medium was used on the whole image. Lots of clean up with a mask. Then Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Impressions2 using a Van Gogh preset was applied and the effect was painted off back in PS on the lions face. Melissa Gallo’s Painted Textures Mist on the Lake (no longer available)) was applied twice – one set to Normal and one to Linear Burn at 55% layer opacity. A Hue Saturation Adjustment Layer was used to adjust the color. Then a stamped layer was created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was placed on top and taken into Topaz ReStyle using the Cream and Plum preset (one of my favorites) was applied to the image and set to Hue blend mode at 76% layer opacity. On another stamped layer Nik Viveza2 was applied to adjust the contrast just right. Last step added just a simple line border.  That was it. I love these beautiful clay lions – they are so striking!…..Digital Lady Syd

Hitching a Ride

Image of a small gorilla hitching a ride on the back of a larger one
This image was taken at the Jacksonville Zoo – this little guy was hitching a ride across the large field for the Lowland Gorillas. The image was first processed in Lightroom using Seim’s Magic – Harsh Sun Fixer preset and then adding Dave Delnea’s Backlight 002 Horiz preset to it to give the interesting lighting effect. Dave’s preset was adjusted before sending the image to Photoshop. Adding this kind of lighting can really pop a boring image. In Photoshop Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail 3 was applied using my Little Med Large Detail preset – added a black layer mask and painted back the detail just on the back of the gorilla and the little gorilla. On a stamped (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) layer, Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was added using these filters:  Darken/Lighten Center, Color Effex: Vintage set to Film Type 2 and 82% overall opacity, Brilliance/Warmth set only to Warmth at 32%, and Glamour Glow to soften the image a little. Nik Viveza 2 was used to adjust the lighting on the gorillas. I love post processing and painting images from the zoo!…..Digital Lady Syd

Smiling Wolf

Image of a Smiling Wolf
This is my attempt at drawing a wolf. It actually looks a lot like a dog so I am not sure what I was really drawing here. Used a tutorial in the Digital Painting Techniques book on Painting Fur by Richard Tilbury. First a thin black brush was used to the original sketch of the wolf on it own layer to begin the drawing. On layers underneath, the wolf was painted using the Pastel Scratchy Photoshop brush from Corel Painter Master Melissa Gallo’s Painting with Photoshop class to paint the hair. (Her class and PS brushes are terrific even though it is a few years old.) A couple of Fay Sirkis’s (another great painter and Corel Painter Master) Pet PS brushes were also used but they are hard to run down now – these are still some of the best around. (KelbyOne has her very good Four Seasons PS Painting tutorials with brushes to download if you are a member.) Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Impressions was opened and a preset created using the steps in a great video by Topaz Labs called RAW to Envisioned with Bobbie Goodrich (third example). The main text is Catalina Anacapa Sans from Creative Market and by Kimmy Design – a really nice clean font. The small text is in called Chiller. The last step was creating a border using a my Pencil Thin Vertical Lines brush (pencil lines were scanned and a brush was created – then in Brush Panel set the Angle to 90 degrees and Roundness to 12%) by changing the Angle and adding around the edges in a brown color. I will be practicing more animal drawings so look out!…..Digital Lady Syd

Who’s Watching Who?

Image of a Gorilla from the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida
This gorilla I have used in several blogs – he was very much aware of everything going on around him and all who were watching him. I believe he was concerned for the little gorillas that were playing near him. There was a lot of clean up done to get him ready for the texture and Topaz Impression filter used in the image. The Gorilla was separated from his background using the Select and Mask Tool. It was okay that the selection was not perfect since just this layer was going to be taken into Impression. But first one of Jai Johnson’s fabulous natural textures was placed behind him – one called Daily Textures Captured Light Sea 4 (free download if you sign up for her newsletter). A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was used to desaturate the texture a little and remove the warm gold color, and a Levels Adjustment Layer were used to make the yellow color even more white. Then a Color Balance Adjustment Layer was set to Highlights and Just the Yellow-Blue slider was set to +35 to add a little blue tone into the whites. After reading Jai Johnson’s Being Expressive blog, I decided to try the effect she described. On a Stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), the layer with both gorilla and texture was taken into Topaz Impression 2 where the Quick Sketch I preset was applied with these changes: Color Overall Sat -1.00 and Overall Lightness -0.52; Set to Hard Light bm at 54% layer opacity. The just some clean was done in PS and the texture was reapplied on top, set to Overlay blend mode and 52% layer opacity to add some warmth back into the fur of the gorilla. A Black and White Adjustment Layer was added and set to Luminosity to get the colors just right. Just took a lot of clean up but eventually it came out like I wanted it! I really liked the effect that Jai came up with – give it a try!…..Digital Lady Syd

Danger – Gang of Ferocious Fish

Fish Poster showing a Dangerous Group!
Just had some fun making this poster from fish that were in one of the old volumes from 1754 volume Poissons Ecrevisses et Crabes by Louis Renard. These fish apparently are all examples of fish in the Indian Ocean. I personally thought they looked a little ferocious. Not sure what came over me to create this but once again it was fun. It was all part of the experimenting I was doing for my How to Create Vintage Text for Images Fun Photoshop Blog. These fish were copied from a page in the old volume and converted to a black and white image. An abstract pattern from Deal Jumbo was used in a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer to add the different colors. Just dragged around on the image and adjusted the Scale to make it look interesting. On a separate layer bubbles were painted on the image by using Grut’s (see sidebar for website link) FX IL Flick Tub brush (in the Inky Leaks Splatter Brush set) and turning on a Bevel & Emboss Layer Style. All fish eyes were turned to blue on another layer. Some text was added. A frame by Rotfuschs was added. It really was just a fun image to play with…..Digital Lady Syd