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, November 29, 2011

Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen November 29, 2011

This Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen has a theme for its guideline. Here is what Kim wanted us to do:

Tuesday, November 29ths TT Theme is:
Gratitude...In honor of the upcoming American thankgiving....
Your image must contain at least one layer of any of my textures and be centered around the word gratitude.

For this, I thought and thought about how I wanted to approach this TT. I decided that I needed to have the definition of "gratitude." I went to my online dictionary and used the following definition which I made into a brush. So my explanation of what I did for this TT takes two parts–the making of the brush and the making of the layout.


Background Layer.  A brush can be no larger than 2500 x 2500 pixels. So I started with a new document that was 2500 x 2500 pixels, 300 ppi, RGB, with white background. My document opened with a white layer was was called "Background." I won't show this blank white layer.

Layer 1.  I used my definition of gratitude and typed it into a text box that just about filled the document. I opened the Paragraph Panel and set the text to be Justify with last left. Then I went to the Character Panel and set the Font Size to 18 pt, Leading to 30 pt, and Tracking to 100. This adjusted the text so that it almost filled the text box.

Layer 2.  I wanted to distress the text a little, so I Placed (File / Place) Kim's texture kk_grannyscupboard for this layer. I used the Free Transform to adjust all the edges of the texture to the sides of my document.  I clipped the layer (Right Click on the layer in the Layers Panel and select Create Clipping Mask) to Layer 1 so that the texture would only affect the text on Layer 1. And I set the Blending Mode to Hard Light and Opacity 100%.

Layer 3.  This gave me the distressing I wanted, but, for making a brush I want the color to be black and white. I clicked on the Create new Adjustment button at the bottom of the Layers Panel and selected Gradient Map. With a Black to White gradient, I converted the text into a black and whit4 image.

Layer 4.  I still wanted a little more contrast between the white and black. I clicked on the Create new Adjustment button and selected Levels. This opened up the Levels Adjustment dialog and I moved the white slider to the left a little and the black slider to the right.

And this gave me a blacker black and a whiter white.

Now, to make the brush. I used the Rectangular Marquee Tool to draw selection around the text. I turned off the visibility of the Background layer by clicking on the eyeball at the front of that layer.

Then I went to Edit / Define Brush Preset and in the dialog I just accepted the default name that came up. However, you may want to give it a better name. Then I clicked OK.

And, the text is now a brush and will show in my Brushes Presets. The number 2304 in the Brush Name dialog is the size of the brush in pixels. So this brush is 2304 pixels in size. We have now made the text into a brush and we no longer need to keep these files. So you can trash them or keep them, whichever you want. However, if you think you may want to use this brush at some later date, you may want to use the Preset Manager and save your brush.


I now had a fairly good idea of what I wanted for my layout. I gathered some files and I started my layout.

Background Layer (becomes Layer 0 later).  I opened a new document that is 11 x 8.5-inches, landscape, 300 ppi, RGB, and white background. Of course, you could make yours the size you want. I won't show this blank white layer at this time.

Layer 1.  I created a new blank layer over the Background Layer. I wanted to use the Gratitude text brush that I had just made. I wasn't quite sure how I wanted it on this layer. In the Tool Bar I selected the Brush Tool. In the Brush Presets I selected the brush I had just made. It was the last brush in the Presets since I had just made it. I tried stamping several different sizes and in different configurations. However, I ended up with it large and more or less centered in the middle of the layout. The Foreground / Background color was set at Black / White so the brush stamped in black.

Layer 0.  I wanted to make the background layer a brown gradient color. But, the Background Layer is a locked layer. I double clicked on the layer in the Layers Panel and selected the default Layer 0 for its name and clicked OK. This is now a regular, unlocked layer and I can do things to it. I clicked on the Add Layer Style button (ƒx) at the bottom of the Layers Panel and selected Gradient Overlay. In the Gradient Overlay dialog, I clicked on the little gradient to open the Gradient Picker. I chose a medium brown for the foreground color and a slightly lighter brown for the background color. I set the Angle to 155 degrees.

I clicked OK and then OK again. And I now have a slight dark to lighter gradient. You can just barely see the text at this point. 

Back to Layer 1.  I now want to make the text darker. I clicked on the Add Layer Style button (ƒx) at the bottom of the Layers Panel and selected Color Overlay. This opened the Color Overlay dialog. I clicked on the little color sample to open the Select overlay color dialog. I chose a darker tone of the same brown I had used before in the Gradient Overlay.

Then I clicked OK and OK again. And, I now have the text from the brush a darker brown. The layer blend modes is Normal and Opacity is 100%.

Layer 2.  For this layer, I Placed (Edit / Place) Kim's kk_grannyscupboard texture. I used the Free Transform to resize the texture so that the edges fit to my layout size. Here is how the kk_grannyscupboard texture looks at Normal blend mode and 100% Opacity.

I changed the Blend Mode to Multiply and Opacity to 50% to get this look.

Layer 3.  I have always been grateful for the people who developed the Apple Computer. I have been a Mac user since they first became available. I used to work for NASA and needed both a PC and a Mac to perform my work as a research meteorologist. Most business software required the PC and most of our research was done using a Mac. My first home computer was a Kaypro II. It was portable, weighed about 30 pounds, and cost about $1,800. It ran on the CP/M operating system. I got it in the early 1980's. The keyboard folded up onto the body and a carrying handle was on the back end. It was a great machine for its day. Arthur C. Clarke lived in Sri Lanka while working on the movie version of his science-fiction novel "2010". He used his Kaypro II and a modem to keep in touch with Peter Hyams (the director) in Los Angeles.

The next home computer that I got was a Mac Plus. This was my first home Apple computer. It was really great.

But enough history of my computers. That is just the beginning of why I am grateful. The last in line of my Apple computers is my iMac 27-inch and all its bells and whistles. I am really grateful for it. This is what becomes my layer 3. I brought in my image of my iMac. I set the blend mode to Linear Light and Opacity 70%.

Layer 4.  The Andromeda is the nearest major galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy. I believe that is what Apple uses for this screen. Whenever I see something like this, I usually think about Albert Einstein. I am grateful for all the insights he had into our physical world. So, I used a pencil sketch of him for this layer. I brought the image in and with the Free Transform ( Command / Control -  T ) I resized the image and moved it to where I wanted it. I set the Blend Mode to Multiply and Opacity 60%.

Layer 5.  I used one of my favorite quotations by Albert Einstein for this layer. I used the same font I used for the gratitude brush, but made it white in color. I made the text right aligned.

Layer 6.  I do not have a violin, but I do have an iMac. So I crossed out the word violin using the Line Tool. I changed the color of the line to the same dark brown I had used before in the color overlay for the brush. I held down the Option / Alt key and clicked on the ƒx symbol at the right side of Layer 2 and dragged a copy of the effect up into Layer 6. The Line now has the same brown color.

Layer 7.  Using the same white font as the quotation, I typed in what I have for which I am grateful, and moved it into place above the crossed out words.

Layer 8. I now added in the attribution for the quotation.

Layer 9.  I wanted a little more detail around the edge of the layout. I brought in Kim's kk_waterstainedframe texture. I resized it to fit my layout size so its edges showed at my edges. Here is what it looks like at Normal blend mode and Opacity 100%.

Then I changed the Blend Mode to Linear Burn and Opacity 40%.

Layer 10.  I was reasonably satisfied with this, but I wanted the edges to be a little darker so that the eye is brought into the layout. There are many ways to make the edges darker. I chose to use the Burn Tool. I wanted the darker edge to be on its own layer. The Burn Tool needs to have pixels to work on. It can't work on a blank layer. I created a new blank layer. Then I filled the layer with 50% gray color. This gave the Burn Tool some pixels to work on.

 I set the blend mode of the layer to Hard Light at 100% Opacity.

I selected the Burn Tool. For Range, I selected Midtones, Exposure 50%, and checked Protect Tones.

With the tool set to a fairly large soft brush, I clicked on one corner, held the Shift key down, clicked on another corner, kept the shift key down, clicked on the third corner, kept the shift key down, and clicked on the beginning corner. This drew straight lines from corner to corner as the tool burned in the color.

Layer 11 and Layer 12.  All I needed to do now was add in my signature brush and type in the date, each on their own layer. I used the font Papyrus for the signature when I made the brush. So, I used Papyrus font for the date. I used Soft Light blend mode and 100% Opacity for both. I now had my final layout.

I hope that you found this excursion through my creative process interesting and maybe helpful in your work.

That's all for now.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen November 22, 2011

Happy Texture Tuesday!  For this week's Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen we have a very free guideline:

Tuesday, November 22nd TT Theme is:
Let's keep it simple. Next week, let's just make it a free & easy eDition.....
Any image with at least one layer of any of my textures. That's it...that's all.
My oldest granddaughter is a very good photographer and really has an instinctive eye for taking a great photo without thinking much about composition and everything else that I might think about before clicking on the shutter button. I was looking through some of her photos of leaves and decided that I would use one of her photographs for this Texture Tuesday. 

This is her Straight Out of Camera image, resized to fit in my layout, using cropping and the Free Transform.

And, this is what I ended up with for my layout.

This is how I did it. 

Layer 0.  As usual for me I started with a new document, 11 x 8.5-inch, landscape, 300 ppi, RGB, white background. This opens with a new Background layer called "Background" and is a locked layer. I frequently will double click on the layer in the Layers Panel to open up the new layer dialog to rename the layer and convert the layer to a normal, unlocked layer so I can do things to the layer. I did this and accepted the default name of Layer 0. I won't show this layer now since it is just a blank white layer.

Layer 1.  I now brought in the photo that I wanted to use. I actually used File / Place and selected the image from my files. This brought the image in as a Smart Object. You can tell it is a Smart Object by seeing the little image in the lower right-hand corner of the layer thumbnail. Using the Free Transform handles, I resized the image to the size I wanted it for the layout.

Layer 0, again.  I really did not want a white border around the image. So I went back to Layer 0, clicked on the Add Layer Style, Fx, button at the bottom of the Layers Panel and selected Color Overlay. In the dialog, I selected a medium neutral gray. Then clicked OK and OK again.

This gave me a medium gray border around the image. If at a later time I want to change the color of the border, I can just double click on the the words Color Overlay and open up the dialog to make any change.

While this layer was active, I used the Eyedropper Tool to select a medium orange color from the leaves of the tree. That color became my Foreground Color. Then I selected a light orange color for the Background Color.

Layer 2.  With the Foreground and Background colors chosen as medium orange and light orange, I clicked on the Create new Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers Panel and selected Gradient Map. This opened the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer dialog. And, if I click on the image of the gradient, the Gradient Editor will open. Since I had selected my Foreground and Background colors in advance, and since I am using a Foreground to Background gradient I have the orange gradient from medium orange to light orange. If you want to change the colors, you can do so in the Gradient Editor. Then click OK. You now have the orange gradient over the whole layout.

Now change the layer blend mode to Soft Light and leave Opacity 100%.

Layer 3.  Layer 3 will be added in later. So right now we will go to what will be Layer 4 when we are done.

Layer 4.  I now bring in the texture layer. I will use kk_shadesofnovember. I will use File / Place and that will bring in the layer as a Smart Object and give the name of the file as the layer name. Using the Transform Handles, I resized the texture to be only over the image area, not the border. And here it is at Normal Blend Mode and 100% Opacity.

Then I changed the blend mode to Soft Light with Opacity 100%.

Layer 5.  I duplicated Layer 1 (Command / Control - J), the photo layer, and moved the copy to the top of the layer stack making it Layer 5. And I set the Blend Mode to Soft Light and Opacity 100%. I want to blur the image just a little. I used Filter / Blur / Gaussian Blur. In the dialog I set the blur to 40%.

Since the image is a Smart Object, this filter becomes a smart filter and goes below the image in the layer. Don't worry  if you do not have Smart Images. Just use the blur filter on the layer. However, you will not be able to change the blur later. In this screen resolution, you may not see any difference. It is very subtle. 

Layer 3.  Now I wondered what would happen if I put a Black to White Gradient Map Adjustment Layer above the Orange Gradient Map. I changed the Foreground/Background colors to the default Black/White. Clicked on the Create new Adjustment Layer button at then bottom of the Layers Panel and selected Gradient Map. This opened the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer dialog. Since I had changed the Foreground / Background colors to Black / White, the gradient is already a black to white gradient. I closed the adjustment dialog and set the blend mode of the layer to Soft Light with Opacity 100%.

So the layout now looks like this.

Layer 6.  I duplicated (Command / Control - J) Layer 4, the texture layer, and moved the duplicate to the top of the layer stack to become Layer 6. I set the blend mode to Multiply and the Opacity 60%.

Layer 7.  I clicked on the Create new Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers Panel and selected Selective Color. I want to lighten some of the reds and yellows in the image. The Selective Color dialog opens. I chose Reds for Colors. I changed Black to -100%. this lightens the reds in the image.

The I chose Yellows for Colors nd changed Black to -23%, and this lightened the yellows in the image.

I now have the image like this with Normal Blend Mode and 100% Opacity.

Layers 8 and 9. These two layers are my signature brush. On Layer 8 I stamped my brush with black and set the layer to Soft Light and 100% Opacity. This was a little light for me, so I duplicated  (Command / Control - J) the layer and the duplicate layer is Layer 9, with Soft Light and  40% Opacity.

Layers 10 and 11.  These two layers are the date.  I used Papyrus font to match the signature. Layer 10 is Soft Light at 100% Opacity. And Layer 11 is a duplicate of Layer 10 with Soft Light and 30% Opacity.

Layer 12. I thought the layout needed a little more contrast. So, I clicked on the Create new Adjustment Layer and selected Levels. In the Levels dialog, I moved the white slider to the left a little to overall lighten the image, and I moved the middle slider to the right a little to darken the midtones.

This gave the layout a little more contrast and suited me for the final image. Shown here.

I hope that you enjoyed see the steps that I took to get to my final image. What I did was use a technique, with some modifications, that Kim Klassen showed in the first week of her class, Art of Texture-The Secrets Revealed. If you like textures, you really should take this class. It is amazing!

That is all for this Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen.