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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Limbo Challenge! at Jessica Sprague

I thought that some of you might like to see how I made my layout for the Limbo Challenge!, July 27, 2012, at Jessica Sprague.com.

Step 1.  Since we are supposed to use the lowest part of our layout for the image, I thought I would use a horizontal layout to give the feeling of horizontal distance. I opened a new document that is 11 x 8.5-inch, landscape, 300 ppi, RGB, and white background. This became my background layer.

Step 2.  I brought in my photo that I took in 2006 at Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico. It shows a view looking toward the South from the entry to Ghost Ranch. There are wide sweeping vistas to be seen. I only wanted to use a narrow strip of the image, so I cropped the image and placed it at the bottom of the layout. I covers only 1.5-inch at the bottom. I was trying to get a low as possible for the Limbo.

Step 3.  Next I knew that I wanted a strip of color on which to place a title and to separate the image area from the rest of the layout. I clicked on the foreground color box in the Tools Bar to open the Foreground Color Picker. I sampled the color of the sky in the image and then made it darker. This gave me the color for my foreground color. I then used the Rectangle Marquee Tool to draw a narrow rectangle just above the image area. Then I filled it with the Foreground Color.

Step 4.  I had in mind for the texture to use for the upper part of the image a close-up image of the texture on a Jun Kaneko large ceramic that I took during his exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, Nebraska, September 2011. This is how the texture looks at Normal mode and 100% Opacity.

It is in the wrong orientation for what I want so I rotated the image 90° CCW so that the glaze is horizontal. And, I rotated the texture just  little more to make the lines more horizontal. And, in the Free Transform, Command / Control - T, I made it all fit into my horizontal layout. I put this texture layer under my image layer in the Layers Panel.

Step 5.  I wanted to try something a little different in blending this texture.  So, I put another layer below my texture layer. You can open a new layer below the active layer by holding the Command / Control key down and clicking on the Create a new layer button at the bottom of the Layers Panel. I clicked on the Foreground Color to open the Color Picker. I selected a blue-gray color from the sky area of the photo. And filled this layer with this color. I have turned off the visibility of the texture layer so you can see what is below it.

Step 6.  I turned on the visibility of the texture layer and made that layer the active layer. Then I double clicked in the layer to the right of its name (not on its name). This opens up the Layer Style dialog. You could also open the dialog by going to Layer / Layer Style / Blending Options. When it opens you should have this dialog.

I left the upper part of the dialog as is, with Blend Mode Normal, Opacity 100%, and Fill Opacity 100%. I'm interested in the bottom section, Blend if. I played around moving the sliders both for This Layer and Underlying Layer. You can get a gentler transition if you split the slider in half and move one-half of it. You can do this by holding down the Option / Alt key and clicking on the slider and moving one-half of it. I ended up with leaving the This Layer at 0 and 255, and changing the Underlying Layer to 0  77/255. 

My texture is now blended into the sky colored layer below it and now looks like part of the sky as it would be above the photo. I am very pleased how this has turned out. 

Step 7.  I opened the flower image. It is of the Cane Cholla (Cylindropuntia imbricata) that grows around Ghost Ranch. 

Using the Lasso Tool, I made a selection around the flowers.

Then, with the Lasso Tool still selected, up in the Lasso Tool Option Bar, I clicked on Refine Edge. This opens the Refine Edge dialog. In the dialog, all I did was change the Feather to 45 pixels and had it Output To Selection.

Then I clicked OK. And my feathered selection shows up on the image.

This selection is on the flower image layer. I want the feathered image on its own layer, so I used Command / Control - J, to put the selection on its own layer. Then I clicked on that layer with the feathered flower image, and dragged that layer over onto my layout. Using the Free Transform, I resized the image and placed it where I wanted it. You can see that with the feathering it blends into the background fairly well.

But, if I use the Blend If technique....I double clicked on the flower layer next to its name to open the Blending Options dialog....I left the upper part alone....and in the Blend If area, I split the slider for the white end by holding down the Option / Alt key and clicking on the left half of the white slider and separating it into two parts....I left the right half of the white slider at 255 and moved the left half to 70.  

And now the layout is this.

Now you can see that the underlying image is partially showing through the flower. I think this makes it a little better.

Step 8.  All that is left to do is add the title in the horizontal strip. For the title, I used the font Papyrus at 24 pt. I sampled the color of the sky in the photo and then made it a lighter color. And this is my final layout.

This is what the Layer Panel looks like at the end.

I would like to try something new on my blog. I would like to have a Linky Party. If you would like to show us some of your work, please join the party. Have you tried something new that you want to show us? A new technique for your layouts....a photo that you took that you would like to share....come join us.

It's time to link up.

Have fun.