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Here’s Looking at You!

Image of a Malayan Tiger at the Jacksonville Zoo
This beautiful tiger decided to saunter towards a window I was standing behind, so I had to take a few shots at the Jacksonville Zoo. This time I did not hand paint him, although it would have been fun to paint, but instead added several Topaz (see sidebar for website link) filters to get this effect. First used Detail 3 to sharpen image all over. Then on a stamped layer used Topaz Impression and applied and my SJ WC like effect on bkgds preset with just some color adjustments (see settings below). Used a 50% Gray Fill Layer set to Overlay blend mode to dodge and burn in some details to separate his ears and eyes from the colors behind. On another stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), Lens Effects’ Neutral Density filter was used to darken foreground slightly, Reflector filter Gold Left preset to lighten his side a little, and a light orange Vignette. Did a couple clean up layers and a Camera Raw filter in PS to soften the background. I really like the way he looks!…..Digital Lady Syd

Preset settings for Topaz Impression:  Stroke: Brush Type 04, Brush Size 0.91, Paint Volume 0.42, Paint Opacity 0.87, Stroke Rotation 0, Stroke Color Variation 0, Stroke Width 0.33, Stroke Length 0.89, Spill 0.23, Smudge 0.26, and Coverage 1.00; Color: Overall Hue 0.15, St -0.20, and Lightness 0.06; Red Sat 0.47 and Lightness 0.14; Orange Sat 0.60 and Lightness -0.42; Yellow Sat -0.33 and Lightness 0.13; Green Sat 0.20 and Lightness -0.32; and Blue Sat 0.36; Lighting: Brightness -0.04, Contrast 0.39, and Light Direction x0.33 and y0.06; and Texture: Strength 0.78, Size 0.30, Canvas IV, Background Type Solid, and Background #d38967 (soft melon color).

The Mighty Jaguar

Image of a Jaguar from the Jacksonville Zoo
Took this image at the Jacksonville Zoo a couple days ago – the original is totally unremarkable and I did not think it would turn out nice at all. Just thought it would be a good challenge to see what I could do with it. I will actually post some much better pictures of these beautiful cats later. Normally I would give you step-by-step, but this was a pretty heavy workflow so I will just tell you what all it took. The biggest problem was the chain-length fence that went through his body. Since I could not get close enough to the fence to get rid of the distortion, I had to paint it away. The fence was selected and a Curves Adjustment Layer was used to reduce the effect. Then three more Curves Adjustment Layers before I was ready to paint him. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Adjust using French Countryside (my favorite) preset and several slider adjustments to get the color in the cat that I liked. Then I went into Corel Painter and painted a background that matched his colors. Put the background on top of the cat and painted the cat in with a layer mask. Next painted using 7 layers and both mixers and regular brushes (my SJ Pastel 3 painting brush mainly – do a search at my Fun Photoshop Blog for settings). Used Nik Viveza 2 to emphasize his face. Used Blur Gallery to soften the foreground, Liquify Filter to make his eye a little larger, Topaz Lens Effects for some special reflector and graduated filter effects, and Camera Raw Filter to bring out the orange effect just a bit more. Last step, Topaz Restyle using the Tawny Tint. That about did it but it was a pretty big process. I just love painting the big cats!…..Digital Lady Syd

An Old Victorian House

Image of a Victorian House
I recently bought a set of videos from Udemy called “Turn Photographs Into Digital Paintings Using Photoshop” by Lori Jill. If you watch their sales, you can get all kinds of videos on photography for a very reasonable amount. The above is my first image created following her instructions – she instructs on how to create Mixer (cloner) brushes to get effects you like. She also uses the Photoshop action called Mixer Brush Cloning Paint Setup. This appears to be very similar to the original Dr. Brown’s Painting Assistant Extension for CS5 and CS6. Anyway, I was very pleased with my first attempt. I also used one of Melissa Gallo’s beautiful textures, Pilgrims Journey, twice to get the vintage feel to the strokes. I still have a few lessons to go, so hopefully I will post a new image soon using this technique……Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd’s Related Blogs:
Dr. Brown’s Painting Assistant Panel for CS6 and CS5!
Jack Davis Painting Action Really Works!

Desolate Roller Coaster

Image of the loading area of the Daytona Beach roller coaster
I really enjoyed doing this image – lots of structure and texture in this coaster image. Just Basic slider adjustments in Lightroom before opening up in Photoshop and duplicating the layer. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Simplify was opened and the BuzSim preset was applied with a couple of changes (Simplify Size 0.76, Feature Boost 1, and Structure 2.38). This caused lots of webbing up in the track that really looked good – usually don’t but it made this picture more interesting. This layer was duplicated and Topaz Impression was added. I created a new preset to get this effect called SJ Illustrative Painting Effect (SJ Illustrative Painting Effect preset – Settings: Brush Type 01, Brush Size 0.70, Paint Volume 0.42, Paint Opacity 0.72, Stroke Rotation 0, Stroke Color Variation 0, Stroke Width -0.65, Stroke Length 0.20, Spill 0.48, Smudge 0 and Coverate 1.00; Color only – Red Sat 0.38 and Lightness 0.10; Orange Sat 0.75, Yellow Sat 0.68, Aqua Hue -0.15, Sat -0.47, and Litness -0.60; and Blue Hue 0.10, Sat -0.34, and Lightness 0.41; Lighting 0.25, Contrast 0.04, Vignette 0.18, Vignette Transition 0.34, Vignette Center x: 0.32 and y: -0.03; and Light Direction x: 0.59 and y: -0.01; and Texture Metal Sheet Strength 0.60, Size 0, Background Type solid white, and Background white.) A layer mask was added to remove some of the paint in areas that did not look quite right using a low opacity and flow black brush. The last step was to use Nik Viveza 2 to emphasize the focal point where the loading area is. That was it – just liked the sort of grungy painterly look that resulted. Lots of fun here!…..Digital Lady Syd

A Wintry Scene

Image of a wintry scene
Just having some more fun here using a free wintry tree scene from stokpic and adding some of my own elements. In Lightroom Trey’s Free Packs A Marshmellow Happysmell preset was used. Then in Photoshop Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Impression was applied using an abstract effect. Added the deer, a bird and some snow. 2 Lil’ Owls (see sidebar for website link) Freebie Set 3 texture was added for the beautiful lettering in the background. Her Starry Night 5 was added on top and set to Overlay blend mode at 50% layer opacity. Next Nik Analog Efex Pro 2 was opened and the Multilens was used to get the three frames – really a fun effect! And there you have it, my wintry scene!…..Digital Lady Syd

A Windy Beach!

Image of Flags and Umbrellas at Flagler Beach, Florida
One of my favorite local place, beautiful Flagler Beach on the Atlantic Ocean in Florida, shows a pretty windy day. This image was one I was experimenting on and came up with this effect. The Oil Paint Filter was used on the image and on a layer mask the sky was painted out so the filters only affected the foreground, flags and umbrellas. The original image had red umbrellas and a much brighter blue sky. I wanted to use softer colors so the color palette was changed in Topaz (see sidebar for website link) ReStyle that used the tones from another image. (See How To Use a Topaz ReStyle Trick for Improving Your Image showing which image colors were used here.) On a stamped layer Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was used to further soften and tweak the colors. On several New Layers the mixers were used to create the edges and Nik Viveza 2 was used to add a little focal point emphasis. I really love the final colors!…..Digital Lady Syd

Little White Convertible

Image of a Little White Car
This is just a pretty little white car next to an old British Phone Booth in downtown Savannah, Georgia. Don’t know why I took the picture, but the car was so cool looking. This image really need to have a lot of background clutter removed, so one of my favorite texture people, 2 Lil’ Owls (see sidebar for website link) had a texture from their Mosiac Set called darcy. I also created an Oak Tree in Photoshop using the Filter -> Render -> Trees command. The Dream lettering is from Kim Klassen’s Dreamy Brush set. On layers above some paint splatters were added. The last step was to open a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and applied Topaz (see sidebar for website link) ReStyle, one of my favorite Photoshop plug-ins! Wish I owned that car!…..Digital Lady Syd

Putting Your Best Side Forward

Image of a painted Roseate Spoonbill
This lovely Roseate Spoonbill is totally enjoying a beautiful morning. This type of bird always seems to have a happy expression on their face – totally a joy to watch them. This image was taken at my favorite bird place, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Not much new with the painting workflow – just a painted background I did in Corel Painter and some Mixer brushes and Regular brushes in Photoshop. As you know I am a big fan of Fay Sirkis’s Photoshop Mixer brushes and this image used her Palette Knife Tap n Blend brush to get the fluffy effect on the body. The only place I know where her brushes are available is over at KelbyOne, and sometimes at Photoshop World when she is presenting. The light effect was created using Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Lens Effects’ Reflector filter set to Gold Right preset – gives a soft subtle light effect. Used Nik Viveza 2 to bring the face in focus. Totally enjoyed painting this beautiful bird!…..Digital Lady Syd

A Little Birdie Told Me So!


Image of a little bird

Just having some fun with this image – wanted to try out the technique I am seeing everywhere of taking an object and putting some kind of image inside it. This little bird I got from a Design Cuts deal with a shape from Nicky Laatz. These people have such good deals for creatives and graphics folks – I could spend all my time just doing this type of thing! What I did was use a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer using a pretty watercolor pattern and just clipped it to the bird form (ALT+click between the layers to clip). Then you can drag around the pattern in your image to get the effect just the way you want it. Otherwise just using my Frostbo Grass Set 2 brush 009 to put in some grass and Aaron Blaise Water brushes to create the water. The background are some clouds I painted a long time ago in Painter. Through in some spatter brushes on a different layer. On top of the image 2 Lil’ Owls Workshop 5 – tex 2 (see sidebar for website link) overlay on top. Last step was a Canvas Vignette from John Derry. Just lots of fun!…..Digital Lady Syd

All Aboard the Bumble Bee Express!

Image of the Bumble Bee Express!
Had to post this wonderful Bumble Bee Express pix (the link is a pretty lame short clip of a zombie riding the train) before the holidays are too far gone! This wonderful train runs every day at the Volusia Mall in Daytona Beach, FL, for all the kids to ride. When I was 5, I wanted one of these as they had one at the local park where I grew up – I got a Lionel Train set instead and was extremely disappointed.

This image used Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Clarity to sharpen it up first, then the train was removed from the background using Topaz ReMask. One of my Corel Painter backgrounds was added – it was stretched out and turned to fit the train, and a couple Hue/Saturation Adjustments Layers were linked to it to get the colors I wanted in the image. Next on a stamped layers (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz Glow was opened and my Mysterious II preset was applied with just a change to Red, Orange and Yellow Lightness sliders to adjust the color and set to Normal at 80% layer opacity. (The settings are listed in my Happy New Year With Some Topaz Tricks blog.) Two more stamped layers were created,  and Topaz Impression’s Ethereal Background by Blake Rudis preset was applied and set to Normal at 100% layer opacity on the first layer. Then on the top layer Topaz Impression’s same preset was applied except the Blue Lightness slider was set to 0.45 to calm the blue in the sky down some. The layer mask created using ReMask was copied (ALT+drag up to this layer) and inverted (CTRL+I in the layer mask). This layer was then set to Normal with the layer opacity adjusted to 41%. A text layer was applied using the free Playbill Regular font,and the letters were stretched up some (vertical scale set to 152%) and spread out (tracking set to 80). A yellow watercolor Pattern Overlay was added in the Layer Style for the text to make the colors pop. A Black and White Adjustment Layer set to Luminosity blend mode was added on top to get the color tones just right. Totally fun and brought back a lot of memories!…..Digital Lady Syd