Welcome to EarlK Design!

The EarlK Design blog consists mainly of entries that show how to do things using Adobe Photoshop that I hope you will find helpful and give your creative mind more tools to work with.

I use Adobe Photoshop CS6, and sometimes Adobe Illustrator CS5, Lightroom 5, and Corel Painter X. However, I believe that much of what I show can be done using Photoshop Elements.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Other Days with Earl Episode 11: Stroke Layer Style Magic

Most of us, me included, probably don't use the very much of the capability of the Stroke Layer Style. It really can do some interesting things. Generally, I use it just to put a stroke around an object just to give it a frame, such as this.

Or, to put a stroke around letters, like this.

This is only a small part of what you can do with the Stroke Layer Style. Look what else you can do.


How about I show you how you can do this. The technique is shown in Other Days with Earl Episode 11: Stroke Layer Style Magic. You can download a .pdf file of Other Days with Earl Episode 11 from box dot com by clicking HERE. 

I hope that you find this Episode of Other Days with Earl useful to you in your scrapbooking.

Have fun and enjoy life!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Other Days with Earl Episode 10: Pen and Ink Sketch

I have noticed recently that some people have been interested in modifying their photos so that they look like a pen and ink sketch. I have used a method that I like and maybe you might be interested in seeing how I do it. I do not know where I first saw it done this way; but, it is one of the ways that I like to use. I  used a photo of mine that I took of Chimney Rock at Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico. I took the photo in the Summer 2006. Here is the photo.

I show you how to convert this to a black ink on white paper sketch.

Then, I show you how to add some color back into the image so that it looks like a watercolor wash over the pen and ink sketch.

Using another image, I show you how you can get a variety of different looks by using blending modes.  Here is the original image.

And, here are some of the variations.

As part of this process, you actually get a very nice white on black scratchboard effect. Here is what I did with that idea on another image.
If you are interested in seeing how to do these things, you can download a .pdf file from box dot com by clicking here.

I hope that you do download the file and see what you can do with your images. It really is a lot of fun to see what you can do with just one image. You might even want to try this on a photo that you took but it turned out really quite out of focus and is very blurry. Try it, you might like it!

If you have any ideas of what you might like me to show you, leave  a comment and I will see what I can do.

That's all for now.

Enjoy life and have fun.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quick Tips with Earl Number 2

Here is another Quick Tip with Earl. You will not have to download this one, as I have it all here for you.

You have just taken your prize winning photograph of the winning yacht of the Universe Yacht Race from There to Here. It was your only shot of the yacht crossing the finish line. And, unfortunately, your camera was tilted and the horizon was crooked in the image.
You want to straighten the horizon in your image. You open it in Photoshop CS4 (that is what I am using). Before doing anything to my original image, I usually make a copy of the image and work on the copy.This is my copy. It looks just the same, fortunately, except for the name.
Now here comes the tip. The tip is to use the Ruler Tool. The Ruler Tool is in the same place as the Eyedropper Tool. Click and hold down on the Eyedropper Tool until it shows the other tools in the box. Select the Ruler Tool. It's cursor looks like a little ruler.
Now, with the Ruler Tool, click its cursor at one point on the horizon line and hold the cursor down so you can drag it next. In this example, so you can see how this is done, I have a very obvious horizon. In your image it may be any line that should be horizontally or vertically straight. For instance it may be the edge of a door or a building or the roof of a building.
Then drag to the other end of the item you want to be straight in the photo. In this photo it is the horizon at the other side of the photo. As you move your cursor along you will see a black line between the two ends of the cursor. This line helps you place it exactly where you want it.
When you get the line along the horizon, just where you want it, then let up on the mouse and you will have the line along the horizon.
Then in the menu go to Image/Image Rotation and select Arbitrary.

This will open up a new dialog box.
 This shows you the number of degrees the canvas will be rotated and in what direction. This is for your information, all you need to do is click OK and your image will be rotated that amount and your photo will now have a horizontal horizon.
 Your image is straight now, but you have white areas that need to be eliminated. Use the Crop Tool and select the area you want from the image.
Accept your crop and you now have a nice straight image of the yacht crossing the finish line and winning the race.
And, that could be the end of this tip. But, knowing me, I want to add in a little extra thought. Insterad of cropping the rotated image to get rid of the white areas, what about framing the image? Let's start with our rotated image.
What we have done so far has all been on the Background Layer which is locked so we can't do certain things to it. It may be hard to see, but if you look closely at the bottom buttons on the Layers Panel that the Effects and Add Layer Mask are grayed out (you can't use them). So we need to make the Background layer editable. You can do this by double clicking on the Layer Name which will open up a dialog that will allow you to name the new layer. Or, you can just click on the little locked padlock in the layer and drag it to the trash can at the bottom of the layer panel.
And, the layer is no longer locked and the Effects and Add Layer Mask icons are no longer grayed out and can be used. I add a layer mask to Layer 0 by clicking on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the layers panel.
I make sure that my Foreground/Background colors are Black/White by hitting the letter D, setting them to the default. I click on my layer mask to make sure it is selected because I want to paint with black on it with a brush. I select the brush I want to use and make any adjustments to it that I want in the Brushes Panel, and then start painting with black around the edges of the mask to hide the edges of the image. In this case it will show transparency where the image is no longer visible. Remember, this is a non-destructive method and we can go back and make changes by painting with white or black.
I continue around the layer mask with my brush until I have the frame around the image the way I want it.
I want to add a color background to the image. I hold down the Command/Control key and click the Create a New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers Panel. This will add a new layer below the existing layer. Then I click on the button to Create new fill or adjustment layer and select Solid Color. Since black was our foreground color black will be what opens in the color picker that opens.
Click OK and we now have a black background behind our image.
At this point if I see that I want to change the frame a little, all I have to do is go to the layer with the layer mask and paint with black or white on the mask to make it the way I want it. And, if I don't like the frame at all, I just fill in the mask with white and start over with maybe another brush or whatever you want. It is also very easy to change the color of the background. Just double click on the color fill thumbnail to open up the color picker and select your new color.
Click OK and you now have the new color as your background. And if you didn't like that one, just double click on the color fill icon to open the color picker again and select a new color.

And that's all for this Quick Tip with Earl Number 2.

I understand that this has been made even easier in CS5. I don't have CS5 on my iMac so I don't know for sure. I believe it is after you have rotated the image using the Ruler Tool, in the Options Bar at the top there is a box you can click that will automatically crop the image to the right size to eliminate the white areas. I am not sure about this, but those of you who have CS5 may want to see what is in the Options Bar when you have done this.

I hope you have enjoyed this Quick Tip with Earl, even though it wasn't too quick.

If you prefer to have the Quick Tips as a PDF file to download so you can have a copy of it leave me a comment telling me that you would rather have them that way instead of directly in the blog.

Enjoy life! Have fun!