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.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen July 24, 2012

Here is one of my favorite things for Tuesdays....Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen. 

For this eDition, Kim gave the following guideline....

here is Tuesday July 24th's theme.
Let's take TT outdoors... Your image must be shot outdoors....and textured with at least one layer of any of my textures.... that's it..that's all....easy peasy...

It has been just too hot for me to be outside much lately. We have been at about 100°F plus for several days now and at my age, that is just too hot to be outside. So I looked through some of my Spring photos and came up with this one of the new growth candles on the pine tree in my front yard. I also noticed this fine image of something nice and cool. I thought it was a little too hokey to use, but I will put it here at the top so I can look at it and keep cool.


Now back to reality. 

Here is my pine candle image after I was done doing my thing to it.

Mouse over to see the original image.

And this is what I did.....

Step 1.  I opened my photo into Photoshop CS5....this is the version I am using....and, remember I am on a Mac. This is my Background layer.

Step 2.  I like to keep my background original photo in case I make a goof along the way I can always go back to it. So, this step is to duplicate the background layer....I use the keyboard shortcut Command / Control - J. So this layer looks just like the background layer and I won't show it here.

Step 3.  I duplicated the image again since I want to sharpen the image by using the blur method. And, I invert this layer, Image / Adjustments / Invert, or, Command / Control - I. I love the inverted colors.

Then I changed the layer blend mode to Vivid Light at 100% Opacity.

Still on this same layer, I used Filter / Blur / Surface Blur. This opened the Surface Blur dialog.

It frequently is difficult to see what part of the photo is in the image of the dialog. So, I moved my cursor over the photo....the cursor changes into a little square....and clicked. This puts the area where you clicked in the image in the image area of the dialog.

And, if you put your cursor in the dialog image and click and hold, you see the image without the blur. When you let up on the mouse, the blur is there. I set the Radius 40 pixels and Threshold 90 levels.

And, now this layer looks like this.

Step 4.  Now I need to make a composite layer of all the layers that are visible below it. While still on Layer 3, use Command / Control - Option / Alt - Shift - E, to create the composite layer above layer 3. Now layer 4 is the composite. We do not need layer 3 anymore. We could actually delete the layer. However, I like to just turn the layer 3 visibility off by clicking on the layer eyeball. Layer 4 looks just like we had before since it is just a composite of what's visible below it. Then I set Layer 4 to layer blend mode Soft Light and Opacity 50%. Then I increased the screen image from 25% to 100% so I could see at full resolution what the sharpening had done for me.

Then I went back to screen image at 25% to see the entire image.

Step 5.  For this layer, I brought in Kim's kk_sunkissed texture. Here it is at normal mode and Opacity 100%.

I changed the layer blend mode to Linear Burn with Opacity 90%.

Step 6.  For Layer 6, I brought in Kim's kk_lola texture. Here it is at Normal Mode and Opacity 100%.

Then changed its layer blend mode to Linear Burn at 50% Opacity.

Step 7.  kk_lola texture made the image a little too dark overall. So a put another kk_sunkissed texture for this layer and set the layer blend mode to soft light at 50% Opacity.

I like this very much. But then I thought....What if?

Step 8.  At this point, I decided to turn on the visibility of Layer 3 again by clicking where the eyeball should be. And I left the layer blend mode at Vivid Light and reduced the Opacity to 50%.

Now, I like this better, but the candles are too dark. I liked the candles in the previous one better. So I put a white layer mask on Layer 3, by clicking on the Add layer mask button at the bottom of the layers panel, selected a soft round Brush and painted the mask area over the candles with with black to hide what this layer does to the image over the candles. And this is what I end up with as my final Texture Tuesday image.

Mouse over to see the image we began with.

Here is what my layers panel looks like at the end.

I hope you enjoyed, and maybe even found some things that might help you in your photoshopping and scrapbooking.

Live life fully and enjoy what you do.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen July 17, 2012

Here is another Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen.

Here are the guidelines that Kim gave us.

Tuesday, July 17th Texture Tuesday Guidelines are:
Your image must contain any 2 of my textures....  Have fun...get creative...think outside the box a little...maybe play a little with blend modes and adjustments. I can't wait to see what you create.

My granddaughter does a lot of riding. On the morning of 13 July 2012, when she went into the stables to take care of her horse, she noticed that a mare in a neighboring stall had a new foal. She was the first one to see the new foal. She emailed me a photo. I used that photo for todays Texture Tuesday.

Here is what the original email looked like.

And this is my final version of the image.

Here is my Layers Panel at the end of the process.

I did so many things along the way that I cannot reproduce what I did. So I can't tell you exactly how I did this. The order of these layers is not the order in which I did them. Some were moved as I went along. But, this is how it ended. I did use two of Kim's textures, kk_elevate and kk_stainedLinen. I used a couple of my own textures. One, the photoBackTexture, is from a scan I took of the back of an old photograph. The back was rather stained and gave me a nice texture. The other one, EKD_Watercolor-12x12x300-04, is number 4 from my watercolor collection. You can download all 24 of my watercolors by clicking HERE. They are a freebie!

I also used black sumi ink on watercolor paper to create a nice blob. I scanned it in and used the blob as layers by itself and in layer masks. In what is now layer 4, I unlinked the mask from the photo thumbnail by clicking on the link symbol between them. Then, making sure the mask thumbnail is active, I use the transform and clicked the button in the Options Bar to allow me to Warp the mask so that it was affecting exactly the areas I wanted it to.

Those are the most unusual things, I think, that I did. So this is all for this eDition of Texture Tuesday.

Live life fully and enjoy.


Thursday, July 12, 2012


I am taking Kim Klassen's online course Beyond Layers. Today, on Day 51, Kim showed us a video on creating a dream-like feeling to our image. A challenge for us today was to use the recipe that she showed us in the video on one of our own images. 

My son-in-law emailed me several photos that he took with his iPhone while at the beach. I especially like this photo which I will use for this challenge. 

Here is the actual email photo.

In Photoshop I opened the image in ACR. I adjusted the image to what I thought was more like the true scene coloring. Then I straightened and cropped the image. And, then I flipped it in the horizontal to give me this image. This image is my starting point for my challenge in using Kim's recipe. 

Step 1.  I opened the image in a new Photoshop document.

Step 2.  Next, I clicked on the button at the bottom of the Layers Panel to open the Brightness / Contrast adjustment layer. I adjusted the contrast slider all the way to the left to -50.

And, the image now looks like this.

Step 3.  Next I opened up the Color Balance adjustment layer. I selected Midtones and increased the Cyan-Red slider to +30 to increase the amount of red in the image. Then decreased the Yellow-Blue slider to -30 to increase the amount of yellow in the image. Then I set the Shadows to the same values....+30 Red and -30 Yellow. Now this is how the image looks.

Step 4.  Next I used a Black to White Gradient Map adjustment layer.

Then I changed the layer blend mode to Screen and reduced the Opacity to 30%, for this.

Step 5.  Next I added a Solid Color adjustment layer and selected a nice bright blue in the color picker. And then set the layer blend to Exclusion.

But then I reduced the layer Opacity to 24% for this.

Step 6.  Next I added a Hue / Saturation adjustment layer. In Kim's video she reduced the saturation of the yellows to -35. But, instead of yellow, i reduced the saturation of Red to -35. And have this result.

Step 7.  Now I brought in for the next layer Kim's texture kk_thursday. Here is what it looks like at Normal mode and 100% Opacity.

Then I changed the blend mode to Soft Light and Opacity 40%.

Step 8.  Next I brought in Kim's texture kk_yesteryear for my next layer. Here it is at Normal mode and Opacity 100%.

Then  I changed the layer blend mode to Soft Light and Opacity 60%.

Step 9 and 10.  For the next layer, I created a text layer that had my quotation on it. I used the font Chalkduster. I selected a color from the sand area and made it darker for the text color. Then I create a new text layer for the quotation attribution. I used the font Chaparral Pro. I used the same brown color. I opened the Character Panel and clicked at the bottom to made the text all Caps. However, now I have to remember when I am done to come back and unclick All Caps otherwise the next time I use the Text Tool it will be in all caps. These buttons are "sticky." they stay the way they are until you change them. I placed these two layers as I wanted them. And I set the layer blend mode of the attribution layer to Soft Light. And this is my final image. It does have a nice Dream-Like quality to it now.

Here is what my Layers Panel looks like at the end.

I hope you enjoyed seeing how I went about using Kim's recipe for Dream-Like.

Live life fully and enjoy what you are doing.