Wednesday, February 29, 2012

... grandmother love ...

Meet one of the smartest, funniest, sweetest, most energetic and vivacious people I know.  Best of all .... she loves me too.  (The photograph was taken by Marilyn Gherashe, Photographer and edited in Photoshop par moi.)

Monday, February 27, 2012

... photo play ...

Two versions of one collage.

(Don't forget to left click on the image to enlarge!)

Forgive me, no recipe for you this time.  I could take a stab at recalling what was done - but I was in the zone, trying this and that - not stopping to take note of my moves. etc.  I've always found stopping to note and name what I'm doing a disruption of the creative flow.  Compare it, for example, to taking notes about what works and what doesn't in the middle of lovemaking - it really spoils the moment, process and product!

For those of you into textures, new sets of sheer textures are being posted here today!  Here is one example:

Sharing this post with The Creative Exchange

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Photo Art Friday, Feb. 24th - 26th

Welcome to this week's Photo Art Friday!

First, let me thank all of you who participated in last week's edition.  
All of your submissions were a joy to behold! 

This week we have three suggestions to choose from for our submissions:

1.  Any piece of photo art you choose.
2.  A piece of photo art which you created using a layer mask.
3.  A piece of photo art that is not pretty.

I have selected #3. 

These three photographs were taken while DH and I were searching for parking in "The Plateau" area of Montreal one Friday evening.   We were meeting my daughter and her husband at a restuarant (among the thousands in Montreal) that comes highly recommended called, "L'un des sens".  I had a little Canon point and shoot with me.  (The images in this post were processed in PSE 8 and RadLab.)

As we sat at a red light my eyes settled upon a lone figure sitting by an open window.  In spite of the hustle and bustle at street level, I was captivated by this man in the window.   He seemed to be sitting at a table eating.  Was he was trying to make the best of his situation, choosing to dine 'al fresco' with the window wide open to catch the rays?  As we tend to do, I constructed (completely fantasized) a story to go with what I saw.

In the above photo, you see what I was able to see from my vantage point in the car.  The photo was taken through the windshield glass.  Intrigued by the figure in the window surrounded by cement, city grime, and noise ... curiosity aroused ... I moved in for a closer shot.

Though concerned it was somewhat invasive taking his photo without his permission ... I persisted past any qualms and took the shot anyway.  To ask his permission would ruin the moment and it wasn't really possible.

Even closer now, I can see his beard, dishevelled hair, caved-in chest, hunched shoulders and green drinking goblet.  Imagine the story this man would tell.  That ... the story ... intrigues me more than the image.  These photographs have not captured beauty, but they have captured a moment in time that is ripe and heavy with story ... the true details of which shall forever remain unknown to me.

A collage of photos of the "Man in the Window".


For next week's Photo Art Friday let's continue with having a choice of what to do, one of which will hopefully fit your inclinations and circumstances.

1.  Link up any piece of photo ART you choose


2.  Submit a piece of photo-art that is abstract

Here are couple of textures that might prove useful for next week (and beyond):

For your free download of pdpa Blue Moon texture, click HERE.


For your free download of pdpa Dreams of Spring texture, click HERE.

As always, our virtual gallery opens its doors early - Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Fun Way To Use Textures

Hi there!  Just dropping in to show you another way to use your textures.

First think of words you would like to put into an image (you can view examples there) and go to:

How To Apply A Wordle To A Texture

* go to Wordle and create your 'word cloud'  -  don't forget to click on "Randomize" to see different ways Wordle can configure your words

* when you see a configuration (word cloud) you like, take a screen shot using the button PrtScn on the top righthand corner of your keyboard

* open (or drag) your screen shot of your Wordle into your photo editing program (here I use PSE 8)

* crop the screen shot to eliminate's text around edges

* open a texture in your editing program that you would like to use as a background

* apply your cropped Wordle to the texture

* use your move tool to position it and to adjust the size to what you want

* try different blending modes until you see an effect you like

* once the word cloud is positionned, I like to try Filter>Poster Edges (reducing opacity) to see if it produces a pleasing effect - if it doesn't add to the image, simply click "Undo"

* use your own ingenuity and knowledge of PS to personalize your creation

* have fun!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lisa's Creative Exchange

This image started as a photograph of a restaurant in Old Montreal.  I enhanced in with RadLab and then gave it a painterly effect using PSE Filter>Artistic>Paint Daubs at 100%, and then Filter>Artistic> Poster Edges at 80% opacity. 

Am sharing this image with Lisa Gordon's "The Creative Exchange".  Do join us there!  The Creative Exchange takes place every Monday.


Were you perhaps hoping you would find a new texture waiting here for you?  Well, who am I to disappoint you.  Hope you like it! 

To download the free, high-resolution pdpa texture, entitled "Hope", click HERE.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Photo Art Friday, Feb. 17th - 19th

Here it is!  Time again for Photo Art Friday! 

For this week's submissions you are encouraged to post any piece of photo art you choose OR share a piece of art where you use one of my textures AND THEN use a Layer Mask to finesse the texture application.  It's always nice to have a choice, don't you think?  Have you made your choice?

I chose the second option and am using my old, favorite test photo for textures, my reliable pear. 

Here are the pear photo and the new texture I chose to apply to it:


open photograph in PSE
duplicate your layer (you can see I skipped this step)
apply texture
blend those two layers in Hard Light at 100% Opacity
*  apply Layer Mask to texture layer
*  select soft, round Brush at 45% opacity
*  select black as foreground color for brush tool
*  use your mouse as your 'brush'; paint texture off off where you do not want it
look at resulting image and decide if you are done or want to make more edits
*  I want to apply the Filter, Poster Edges so I select ...
Layer>Merge Visible>  Layer>Duplicate Layer, then select
Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges
*  reduce opacity of Poster Edges to 55%
*  add signature

If you would like to add this new texture, "Splash of Gold" to your archives, click HERE.

The 'gallery' doors always open early (7:00 p.m. EST, every Thursday) so you have more than three days to share your artwork here.  Hope you can make time to revisit the gallery after you have posted, to see what other delights arrive over the weekend ...  and then share a little comment love.

If you still have questions about layer masks, you could include your concerns in your post and hopefully other participants will share their tips with you.  My goal has always been that PDPA become a venue for learning and sharing as well as showcasing.  This could be a great opportunity for just that.

For next week's Photo Art Friday you have three choices:

1.  Submit any piece of your photo art.

2.  Continue your work with layer masks and
      share a piece on which you have used one.

3.  Share a piece of photo art that isn't 'pretty'.
     Yes, art isn't always made from what's
      beautiful.  How about sharing a piece of
      photo art that is:

* ordinary
* everyday
* gritty
* grungey
* that captures the underbelly of life
* that highlights the flaw
   * that is an artistic statement without having to portray beauty

This doesn't mean that your piece won't be appealing, stunning, arresting or captivating ... it just won't (this time) be based on presenting something generally considered beautiful ...

LOL ... it will probably be important to identify in your post which option you have chosen, so that commenters don't mistake choices #1 or #2 for number #3!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

... a thousand words ...


On another note, there are a few new (varied and different) texture sets that have been added to the PDPA Texture Sets Shoppe.  If you are a texture aficionado, take a look and see if they might be what you have been waiting for.  Here are two of them:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tips For Layer Masks & A Free Texture

Hello my lovelies.  Hope you are having a great weekend.  I want to thank those of you who linked up to Photo Art Friday this week.  What wonderful work you are creating and sharing here!  Thank you.

Have a sweet texture for you this week called "DreamWonder".  The image of the peony below has been treated with this texture. 

Since one of the options for next week's PAF is to showcase a piece of photo art on which you have applied one of my textures and used a Layer Mask to remove parts of the texture where you do not want it on your photograph, thought I would use my application of this new texture on my peony to illustrate how I employed a Layer Mask in this piece of work.

Here is the final image after the application of DreamWonder and other edits.

pdpa DreamWonder texture

Here is the texture applied to the photo and blended in Hard Light at 100% Opacity.  I actually quite like it just as it is, but let's see what it looks like if I use a Layer Mask to remove most of the texture from the petals. 

Since textures do not come with a layer mask as other adjustment layers do, you have to add one.  There are many ways to do this which I won't describe here.  (you can do a google search for the info, or if you are lucky, one comes with your editing program! :-)

On the right in the Layers Panel, you can see the white rectangle beside the thumbnail of the texture.  This indicates that I have added a Layer Mask.  I use The Coffee Shop Blog's Layer Mask Action.  The white thumbnail will show the adjustments I make to the texture now on my photograph. 

To remove (conceal) texture from the peony:

* add a Layer Mask to the texture layer and make sure it is activated by clicking on it

* click on the brush tool in the tools panel on the left of the screen

* make sure that black is the foreground color in the color swatch, at the bottom of the tools bar 

* in the top selection bar choose a soft, medium brush and lower the opacity of the brush, in this case I choose 45% opacity

* using the mouse to move the brush, make strokes on the peony petals only.  each stroke removes bits of the texture already applied.  you can see in the right layers panel the strokes made appear in black on the white Layer Mask thumbnail.  since I have gone over areas of the peony more than once with my brush, some of the areas appear more black than others

Looking at what I have done, it seems to me that too much texture has been removed (concealed).   I will add  some of the texture back (reveal), again using the Layer Mask.

To bring back (reveal) parts of layer removed:

* if I leave black as the foreground color and start to stroke on the peony again, more texture will be removed (concealed).  that is not what I want.

* to add back (reveal) texture that I just removed (concealed), the foreground color must be changed to white

* since I don't want to add back all of the texture I just removed, I go up to the top panel and lower the opacity of the soft, white brush down to 15%.  this way a small degree of the texture will be added back (revealed) with each stroke.

* brush size is enlarged so that I can just use a few quick strokes to bring back some texture

* on the Layer Mask thumbnail in the right Layers panel, you can see the dark strokes from the use of the black brush are being lightened by the use of the white brush.  this means some of the texture removed (concealed) with the black brush has now been added back (revealed) by the white brush.

I like the small amount of texture brought back to the peony, but the whole image a bit too intense.  Intensity of color can be changed by lowering the saturation and the lightness

To lower the saturation, in the right panel, I click on the round Adjustment icon and select Hue/Saturation.  I lower both the Saturation slider and the Lightness slider to get the soft, desaturated look desired.  Eh voila, done!

For your free download of pdpa DreamWonder texture, click HERE.

General Tips Re Layer Masks

*  layer masks help you change the effects of one layer on the layer below

* click on the layer mask thumbnail itself to activate, not just the layer.  when it is activated you will see an outline appears around it

* a white brush shows (reveals) the layer you are working on (in this case a texture layer)

* a black brush hides (conceals) the layer (in this case a texture layer) and shows you whatever is in the layer below (in this case the peony)

* the magic is that while it looks like you have erased parts of the texture when you use a black brush, it has not been erased (it has only been concealed) and you can bring back (reveal) what you concealed by switching to the white brush.  you can alternate back and forth between white and black brushes as many times as you want

* areas of the layer you remove with a black brush will show up on the layer mask thumbnail as black (you are not actually painting black on your image - it is just how the tool shows you it is working).  so in this case on the layer mask thumbnail you see the black image of the peony shape because I stroked over only the peony to remove texture

* reset your color selection swatch in your tools bar to default (black foreground/white background) by hitting the "D" key

* switch between foreground and background colors by hitting the "X" key

So good luck my lovelies!  There is so much more to know and do with a Layer Mask, but hopefully the above information, along with previous tutorials you have read or watched, will help you. 

If you still feel you need more practice with Layer Masks before you showcase a piece of photo art where you have used one, feel free to post any piece of photo art you choose next week.  It would be nice, however, if you would tell us a bit about how your effort at using them went - perhaps articulating any questions you may have.  Some of those with more experience may be able to provide the answer you need.

Sharing with Lisa Gordon's The Creative Exchange.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Photo Art Friday, Feb. 10th - 12th

Welcome friends - to this open (no challenge or theme) version of Photo Art Friday!  Here are a couple of images I have worked on this week.  The word 'images' is a bit of a stretch, for these are simply textures of mine with text applied.   The text is from posters recently created.  On these pieces it was my intention for the words to be bunched up and difficult to decipher.

For next week:   You are invited to link up whatever you wish to showcase, OR if you are up for a learning or practice challenge, I'd like to suggest the following:

Use a photograph to which you have applied at least one of my textures AND use a LAYER MASK to remove some of the texture where it does not enhance the image.

For those of you who use Layer Masks all the time this will not be difficult.  For those of you who do not use layer masks yet, this will be incentive to learn how and to give it a try.  Be patient with yourself, it does take a while to understand and execute - BUT at some point it will just CLICK! and you will wonder why you ever thought it was challenging.

Have you ever applied a texture to your photograph and while you get a fairly nice effect it just seems to leave the photograph looking a bit dark, heavy or 'muddy'?  Sometimes adjusting the opacity is just not enough to remove the muddiness, and sometimes there are portions of a photograph that you do not want the texture to 'mask'.  Layer masks are perfect for removing some of the texture from specific places on your work in progress. 

For example, few of you/us share images with people as the subject, but if you did (and you've used a texture) you would usually want to remove the texture from the person's face.  Sometimes you may want the texture to frame your subject, say a flower, but you want to remove the texture from, and display the purity of, the flower's petals.  Layer Masks are a great PS tool to accomplish this.

Photoshop CS includes a layer mask.  Some of you may, however be working with versions of PSE that do not furnish a layer mask.  If that is the case you can get a layer mask in the form of an action (for free!) from Rita at The Coffeeshop Blog.  Rita also supplies the method for installing the action in PSE and some tips on using layer masks. 

Here is the link to get the layer mask action from The Coffeeshop Blog:


Here are another couple of links to tutorials on the topic of how to use layer masks:

If you want more info, just google "layer mask tutorials".

To recap re next Photo Art Friday's challenge:   If you want you can take the challenge to link up an image on which you have added at least one of my textures and then used a layer mask to adjust the texture's appearance over your photo.  If you just want to link up your latest piece of photo art and not take up the challenge, that is fine too.

I am publishing this post a bit early.  Even tho' the last paragraph says the gallery doors are open, the Inlinkz tool only becomes available at 7:00 p.m. EST today (Thursday).

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ephemeral - a free texture

Hi Friends  -  I've been unable to visit your blogs, comment, or post because of on-going Internet connection problems.  Five times we have been told the problem is fixed, only to have it return.  The technicians sent by the company seem to be bending over backwards to help, but we seem to have some little gremlin in the system that is having a lot of fun at every one's expense.  Oh well, in the scheme of things this does not qualify as a big problem, does it?  I'm trying to make the most of this window of functionality before we lose the connection again!

In the interim I've been preparing some textures for you.  The first, here in this post, is a little different and I hope you will like it as much as I do.  It's called "Ephemeral".  I'd love to see how you use it!

To download your free high res copy of pdpa "Ephemeral", click HERE.

A reminder:  This week's Photo Art Friday is OPEN to whatever you choose to feature.  I'm expecting great things!  (No pressure!  :-)

My Contribution to The Creative Exchange

An image of a twelve foot fountain that stands in front of a senator's estate on the bank of the Richelieu River near my home.  This Canadian senator and his wife are not shy about ostentatious displays of their means and acquisitions.  The backyard has two guest houses with giant Roman columns around an infinity pool.  The fabulous gardens and meandering brook in both the front and back of the home attract many photographers (myself included) who want to capture the beauty, architecture and statuary. 

Sharing this photograph with Lisa Gordon's "The Creative Exchange".  Join us there for a feast of photographs!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Photo Art Friday, Feb. 3rd - Feb. 5th

SURPRISE!   That's the suggested theme for this week's Photo Art Friday - in whatever way you choose to interpret "surprise!".

I didn't encounter many editing surprises this week, so decided to 'craft' an image which illustrated something about surprise.  I had women with shocked looks on their faces, staring down at bugs around their feet, a picture of half of my face with my one eye wide in surprise.  But nothing really 'rang dem bells' for me.

Discouraged and in some sort of editing stupor or fugue, I chose a collage from my archives and manipulated it with a filter in Photoshop and suddenly saw this on my Photoshop screen:

Kind of liked this graphic looking effect and wanted to explore it a bit more, but literally could not remember which filter I had used to produce it!  Had to go back and re-test and re-try until I discovered the right Photoshop Filter.

Chose another collage - one of the collages in my shoppes - wanting one that had a black background as I like the black bits in the first editing surprise.  Finally settled on the collage made to feature my new Artsy Apparitions Texture Set.

First tried ZigZag but that was not the one.  Next I tried Filter>Distort>WaveWave's the one!

When you click on "Wave" a box comes up that has sliders so that you can adjust the size and intensity of the effect.  There is a little image in the box that allows you to see the changing effects as you move the sliders.  This will be a matter of taste, so adjust the sliders to what pleases you and click on OK to commit your selections on the sliders.  You also have the option to click on "Randomize" and the filter will automatically bring up different (slider) options.

Here is the effect WAVE produced on the collage.  Kind of looks like radio-waves ...

Repeated the process with another collage (sitting on the image) with 12 images surrounded by black.   Of course, you can choose whatever color you want for your grid lines.  The grid lines between the photos in your collage are key for achieving something like the above effect.

Recipe Review

Create a collage with some of your existing photographs.
Choose a grid spacing line, width and color to separate the images.
Open the finished collage in your editing program.
Duplicate your image of the collage.
Filter>Distort>Wave (adjust sliders to your liking). 
Click OK when you see the effect you want.

Here are a few other examples using the above recipe.  The collage used in each example is placed on the Wave-edited image.

More textures in a collage with white grid spacing, manipulated with Photoshop filter Wave.

Love this one!  Looks a bit like the material in the dresses on women painted by Klimt.   The collage is of funky photos an old point-and-shoot would produce as I was shooting flower macros, when the battery was low.  Click on the image for a larger view. 

As you can see, the more you experiment with the Wave Filter the more interesting and complex the results become.  Do click on the image to enjoy the little designs within the bigger design. 

Here are a few more done today.  Use all the sliders available in the Wave selection window as there are so many different variations possible!

So much effect from such minimal effort!  Hope you will give it a try.

For next week's Photo Art Friday let's keep it totally open to whatever you would like to feature.  If you want to share something related to Valentine's Day - feel free.  Otherwise, the sky is the limit.