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, June 25, 2013

Collage Obsession Challenge . . . 25 June 2013


“YOU” are the challenge this week. Create something that shares something personal about YOU!

Here is my layout for this week's challenge.

Please go to Collage Obsession and see all the other entries for this challenge.

Life life fully.


Texture Tuesday with Kim Klasen . . . 25 June 2013

This Texture Tuesday is again a Free & Easy. This means any photo as long as you use at least one of Kim's textures. Be sure to go to Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen and see all the other Texture Tuesday entries.

For Father's Day this year, my daughter sent sent a bouquet of flowers. I took some photos of the flowers, and I used one of them for this Texture Tuesday. Here is the photo I started with.

And this is what I ended with.

To see what I did, follow along.

I opened a new 12 x 12-inch, 300 ppi, RGB document. Above the background layer I brought in my photo and cropped it so that the image covered the whole document  Notice which layers have their visibility on to see where I am in the Layers Panel.

The next thing I did was to duplicate the layer ( Command / Control - J ).

There used to be an optional plug-in called Pixel Bender that you could download from Adobe that had a great oil painting filter in it. Well, Adobe no longer supports Pixel Bender in CS6. It is available for CS4 and CS5. However, in CS6, there is the oil paint filter under the Filter Menu. If you would like to see a great tutorial on using this oil paint filter, go to Julieanne Kost's site and see her Quick Tip — The Oil Paint Filter in Photoshop CS6.

On this duplicate layer, I used the oil paint filter to give me a slight oil painted look to my image. It is a little hard to see in  this image, but it is there.

Next I duplicated the painted layer and then applied the same oil paint filter with the same settings to the duplicated layer. This gave me a nice strong oil painted look.

For the next layer, I brought in a wood Stamp that I created using Photoshop. I gave it a blue color, Dissolve Blend Mode and 60% Opacity.

Next I created the title and the date layers. I rasterized the text layers so that I could use the oil paint filter on them. Then I gave them a Bevel & Emboss and a Stroke. I set the title to Linear Dodge mode at 100% Opacity, and the date to Linear Light at 100% Opacity.

Then I duplicated the original flower layer and brought it up to the top. I left it at Normal mode but Opacity 20%. This cut down the strength of the oil painting look a little.

Then, I brought in Kim's texture kk_abstract. I set its blend mode to Hue and 100% Opacity. That gave a wonderful overall color to the layout.

But it still needed a little something on the right side of the layout. I brought in another of my wood stamps that I made. I set it to Screen at 100% Opacity.

And that is how my layout was made.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this. If you haven't been to Julieanne Kost's site before, you may want to see all the wonderful tutorials she has for both Photoshop and Lightroom.

Live life fully.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen - 18 June 2013

Wonderful Tuesday. And, another Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen. For the Summer, the theme is Free & Easy.

I am feeling in the need for the ocean. So I looked through some of my photos and found this one with the single seagull flying  just over the surface near the water line. It has the soothing feeling that I get from the ocean. Here is the original photo. My son-in-law took the photo a couple of years ago.

And, this is what I did with it.

Let me briefly show you what I did. See which layers have their visibility on to see where I am in the Layers Panel.

I first brought in photo into a 12 x 12-inch, 300 ppi, RGB new document. Using the free transform, I slightly enlarged the image to fill the page size.

I noticed that the horizon was not horizontal, it was tilted at an angle. In order to straighten the horizon and not have to do any cropping of the rotated image, I used a neat little trick of using the Content-aware Fill that is available. And, my horizon is now horizontal. I did this on a duplicate image layer.

Here is a short video showing you how to rotate the image and then get rid of the empty areas around the image without having to crop the image.

EKD-20130617-ContentAwareFillRotate from Earl Kreins on Vimeo.

Next I did several things using adjustment layers. First I added a Channel Mixer adjustment and set it to Monochrome to give me a B&W image. Then I used the Posterize adjustment and posterized it at four levels. Then I used a Gradient Map adjustment and colored it with the four shades of blue.

Next, I added Kim's texture kk-violet. I set the Blend Mode to Luminosity at 20% Opacity. This lightened up the image a little.

But now my lone little seagull sort of disappears. I needed to highlight the seagull. I duplicated the straightened image and the Channel Mixer adjustmernt layer and brought them to the top of the layer stack. I turned off the visibility of the photo; filled the layer mask with black to hide the layer; in the Channel Mixer dialog, I set the Output Channel to red; then painted on the mask with white to color in the area around the bird. This is what I ened up with.

Amd, that is how I got my final layout.

I hope you liked what I did here.

And, I hope that you liked the Content-aware Fill technique of straightening the horizon.

Live life fully.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Collage Obsession - Carousel - EKD - 20130617

This week's Collage Obsession theme is Carousel.

This theme opened up a lot of wonderful memories of my youth for me. When I was growing up, in Los Angeles, my mother would frequently take me to Lincoln Park. They had a wonderful carousel. I really enjoyed riding it. It had a band organ that loudly played Sousa marches. It was rather large . . . it was 50-feet in diameter. There were lots of animals. And, it had an arm that stuck out near the riders so that the rider could snatch a ring from the holder. One ring was gold in color. If you got the gold ring, you got a free ride. Wow! What fun!

I still like Merry-Go-Rounds. Just a few years ago, when I was working at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, several of us, on our lunch break, rode the carousel that is in the Mall near the Smithsonian Castle Building. And all of us were in our 50s and 60s. What fun! And we were all in our coats and ties.

Here is my Carousel theme layout.

The yellows and reds in the layout come from a photo of a bouquet of flowers that my daughter sent me for Father's Day, last Sunday. It is blended into the overall layout.

That's all for now.

Live life fully.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Collage Obsession Challenge . . . 13 June 2013

There is another weekly Collage Obsession Challenge for this week. Here is what they said:

Monday, June 10, 2013

My theme for this week's challenge is

Sisters and Brothers

For this challenge I used a couple of photos of my nephew and niece that were taken in the 1950s.

Here is my final collage layout for this week.

I used a special technique to add in the photo frames. It is a neat little trick that you might find interesting. You can see how I do it in the following video. The video is a little over 13 minutes.

20130612-EKD-tossPhotos from Earl Kreins on Vimeo.

That's all for now.

Live life fully.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen . . . 11 June 2013

Yeah . . . .  it's another Tuesday and time for Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen. For our guideline for this and for the next few Texture Tuesdays, Kim gave us 

....from here forward....over the next few months.... the Texture Tuesday Theme will always be 

Free & Easy......

What does this mean?

Your photos must contain at least one of my textures.... 

That's it....that's all....

Well, I am back to using my old photos from my mother's old photo album. My only wish is that she would have written some comments about the photos. Nothing written at all. And going back in time almost 100 years is hard to come up with much information. Fortunately, between my sister and me, we can come up with a lot of it.  So, all you photographers out there, please annotate your photos so that years later people will know who, what, where, when,why of the photos they are looking at.

Here is my finished layout.

If you would like to see a brief rundown of how I did this, follow along. Notice what layers have their visibility on or off to see where I am in the Layers Panel.

I created a new 12 x 12-inch, 300 ppi, RGB, white background document in Photoshop. I am using Photoshop CS6. I used a Color Fill adjustment layer to add a light brown color to the background. Then I brought in Kim's kk_cosmo and kk_0802 textures. These added in a nice gentle texturing over the background. On kk_cosmo I used blend Mode Hue at 100% Opacity. And then on kk_0802 I used Multiply at 70% Opacity. I have the layer masks off at this point because I haven't used them yet. The red X in the mask shows it is off. You can turn the mask off and on by holding down the Shift Key and click on the mask thumbnail.

Next, I brought in my four stripes with the wave in it. All four stripes are in shades of brown.

Then, under the stripes layer, I brought in the photo of my mother. I placed it so that her head was lined up with the wave in the stripes. Then I added a black layer mask to the photo layer. I used a scruffy brush to add white to the mask to let the image show and have a rough border around her. I also added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to the photo and colorized the image with a 10% Opacity sepia.

Then I went online to Google Maps and got a copy of the current day map of the area around MacArthur (Westlake) Park. I converted the map to black and white and set the Blend Mode to Luminosity at 15% Opacity to have just a hint of the map in the background. I put the park to the right of my mother's image. I still needed the map to show a little more, so I duplicated the layer with the map and set it to Luminosity at 10% Opacity. Then, I put a layer mask on each of the texture layers and using a soft black brush, I removed some of the texture so that the area over the park was a little more visible.

While I am thinking about it, here is a video showing how I went about making the four stripes with a wave in them. The video is 16 minutes long. You don't need to watch the video to see how I made my layout. It is just some additional info that you may like to see how it is done.

Stripes with a wave from Earl Kreins on Vimeo.

After the video intrusion . . . . .

Next, I brought in a grouping of flowers that I had made. I put it under the layers with the photo. I made it in shades of blue. I thought the blue would go nicely with the browns.

But . . . . . the blue overpowered the photo on the layout. So, I added a Hue / Saturation adjustment layer to the grouping of flowers and colorized it to a sepia color at Normal Mode and 100% Opacity. Much better . . . . . at least I think so.

I thought that the layout needed a little pop of color. I made sure that the layer with the four stripes was the active layer. Then, using the Magic Wand Tool . . . make sure Contiguous is checked and Sample all Layers is NOT checked . . . I clicked on the next to the bottom layer to select it.

Keeping the selection, I added a new layer above the stripes layer. On this new layer I filled in the stripe selection and then added a Color Overlay layer style and changed the color to a soft red to blend in with the browns. Now I have my pop of color.

Next, I wanted a border around the layout. I brought in Kim's kk_annie texture. I used it at Multiply and 70% Opacity.

Next, I brought in my journaling layer and the title layer. I used Palatino font with a dark brown color for both.

And, that is how it was done to get to this finished layout.

I hope you enjoyed seeing how I did this. Maybe you may have enjoyed the video, too.

Live life fully.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Digital Art Journal Challenge - Colorful . . . 6 June 2013

For the month of June 2013, Nancie gave us the following for the guideline for this month's challenge.

Okay, are you ready for this month's challenge? I wanted to do something a bit different than what we usually do. Our prompt this month is not just a thought starter but also is a jumping off point for you to explore on your own. Our prompt is "COLORFUL". What does this word mean to you? In what ways is your life "colorful"? Is it in the people you know? Your daily activities? Or is it something that is visually stunning and full of color that excites you? Artwork? Photography? Landscapes? 

Here is my finished layout for the challenge.

If you would like to see how I did this, follow along.

Nancie also gave us this beautiful painted background for a starting point. I opened up a new 12 x 12-inch, 300 ppi, RGB, with Nancie's painted background for my background layer. In the layers panel, please note which layers have their visibility on or off to see where I am in the layers panel.

Earlier today, I had received my weekly freebie images from Dover. There was one page of images that I thought would do very well for creating this challenge. This is the image from Dover.

Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, I selected each item onto its own layer and used the items for the corners and the center. For the center, I duplicated and flipped both in horizontal and vertical to make the center go all across the image. Here they are in place with layer mode Normal and Opacity 100%.

Then I changed the layer mode of the two corners to Hard Light with 50% Opacity. And changed the center to Soft Light with 100% Opacity.

Next, in another document, I created this Retro, Pop Art, Funky background with transparency between the ripples. You can see how to create such backgrounds by going to my blog at


Then I brought this into my challenge layout. I kept layer blend mode at Normal and Opacity 100%.

Then, in a separate document, I made one of my ish flowers. I colored it in with colors that I had sampled from the challenge document.

You can see how to make the ish flowers by going to my blog at


I had offset the black lines of the flower.

I moved the flower into the bottom left of the challenge layout and changed the blend mode to Vivid Light at 50% Opacity.

Next I put in the title of the layout. I used the Oriya MN font. In the Character Panel, I set the Horizontal Scale of the letters to 175% to make them wider letters. I sampled a pink color from the layout for the text color. Then I set the blend mode to Overlay with 100% Opacity.

And that is how I created my challenge layout for this Digital Art Journal challenge.

And, here again is my final layout.

I hope you enjoyed seeing how I did this.

Live life fully.