Focussing on Cat Faces

Cognac Horizontal Version – Click to Embiggen

Something Different!  Something not a building!

A lady in my Awake course posted this excellent portrait of a cat done using in part some watercolour brushes and I thought it was EXCELLENT.  Of course I wanted to try it and once I had the right brushes I had a go yesterday.

The top image is my first go, it got lots of excellent feedback, mainly that people wanted to see more of his face and ears.  Problem was I cropped the ears in shot as I was just focussing on his face and eyes.

Therefore Take #2 was required.  I also wasn’t as happy with the indirect gaze so wanted to change that too.

Cognac aged 4 months approx – Click to Embiggen

This was my second go – still not happy with the colour balance on his right side, his white body causes a big bright patch and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to fix it despite a range of creative experiments.

So I added the vertical text (another first) toning the colour in to match with the background shades of the image, hopefully to give a bit more visual weight there.

Just the usual layers, masks and lots of brush painting going on.  Using different sizes and shapes of brush with different opacities really builds up a sense of depth and layering of the paint, which I enjoy.

I like the first one for the negative space and the second one for the chaotic background – Which Do You Like and Why?

All Feedback, Comments and Helpful Tips Welcome!

Posted in AWAKE, Cats, LR & Photoshop | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

One Four Challenge – July wk 4

Watercolour effect on canvas – Click to Embiggen It shows up all the fine paint details on the big view

So here we are for the final big reveal of July with Wk 4 of the One Four Challenge!

I appear to be coming down with a cold today (my first one this winter tho) and am somewhat lacking in artistic brainpower.  Therefore my last image for this month is similar to last weeks, however this time it actually uses proper water colour brushes like it was supposed to all along :)  Please view in big size to see the wonderful detail.

Post Processing Steps:

1.  Make a white background bigger than the original image and apply a canvas filter effect.

2.  Bring in the cityscape image and duplicate – on Layer 2 run Find edges filter, and desaturate

Add a mask, fill with black and paint with white with soft brush to remove the black outline on the Find Edges layer.

3.  On Layer 3 also add a mask, fill with black and using large water colour brushes – several different ones, rotating them around and using different opacities, paint in the coloured image til happy with end result.

4.  Find a paint splatter brush and tap in a couple of splatters for added effect.

There you go, I hope you enjoyed my learning experience with this technique.

This month I used the image from a coworker T to encourage her to venture into the fun world of post processing, T thanks for your lovely image and I hope you liked my efforts.

Here is a Slideshow of all my Images for this months Challenges – All Comments and Feedback Welcome!

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Posted in For Beginners, LR & Photoshop, Photo Challenges | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

AWAKE Session 1 Experiment 3 – Swans v2

I wasn’t hugely happy with my first attempt at this image with the Urban Rain style.  After I did the Fantail version, which I like much more, it made me realise that the colours and tones were too similar and flat.

Did a bit of reading on colour theory which was interesting and decided to have another go at this image before I move on to Session 2.

Therefore I matched the swan image against several different backgrounds and opted to go with this more blue toned to provide some contrast against the more brown tone of the swans and the water – it was a murky day when I shot this and I may have overdone the WB a bit on reflection LOL

Post Processing Steps:

1.  Find a suitable background to match the swans image.

2.  Mask over the swan layer and paint over and around with with several water colour brushes, making the outside edge quite opaque.

3.  Realise the background was a little uninteresting so added in a grunge layer that has some musical notes and writing across it – from the ever talented Katie Periet

4. Be not entirely happy with how the swan part looks and play with blend modes and settle on Hard Light and lowered opacity

5.  Duplicated the swan layer, dragged it below the Hard Light layer and set to Normal blend with a lower opacity

6. Now to fluff around with flourishes – add a new transparent layer and fluff around with brush flourishes, find this corner one and establish it will be big enough.  Muck around with colours for ages before settling on a dark teal to pick up similar tones in the background.

Stamp one brush, and then switch the angle around and stamp another in the opposite corner to frame.  Blend mode Multiply at 60%

7.  Add a new layer and another flourish in a tan colour picked up from the swan image and put at bottom of imate

8.  Feel like it needs some vignette or darker framing – bring in a grunge edge from coursework which was two layers grouped together.  Fluff around figuring that out and then inverted both layers so the edge was darkened and blend in with Multiply and Soft Light.

Decide enough is enough and stopped there!

All comments and feedback and suggestions for improvement welcome!

Posted in AWAKE, LR & Photoshop | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Is this your next Camera Bag?

From the people at Peak Design comes the next great camera bag now available to back on Kickstarter.

The Everyday Messenger: A Bag For Cameras & Essential Carry

Head on over and have a look and see if its your cup of tea, it looks like a nicely designed bag and ideal for the urban wanderer.

I am anxiously awaiting for my Kashmir backpack from F-stop that I also backed on Kickstarter a year ago to arrive, any day now hopefully!

Posted in For Beginners | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

AWAKE Session 1 Experiment 2 – Fantail

Fantail – Click to Embiggen

After my first experiment with the Swan I wanted to have another go, and found this fantail image I shot a few years ago in our Botanic Gardens and thought it had potential.

Spent some time searching in my textures and backgrounds and found this one that already had some faint flourishes and text and grunge applied so started with that.

Put the fantail image in, masked and painted it in with some rough spongy brushes which gave a nice textural effect.

In the class example the image was framed and part of the frame was removed so that it spilled out of the frame.  Because of the shape of this image I was going to struggle with that concept so decided to leave it unframed, instead I planned to add a fancy brush flourish at the top.

However when I went into my brushes and started clicking on them to see what they look like – its hard to see what they really look like from the brush palette tiny images.  Then a big swirly flourish popped up, and they do it at their full size and I went OOOH!  I can work with that :)

Fluffed around with the colours, ended up sampling different colours from within the fantail image and went with this green.

Added in a Typography layer and fluffed around with finding a font that fitted, again sampled colours out of the fantails chest feathers to get this colour that was harmonious with the background.

Finally added some butterfly brushes in the corners for some added interest and balance, using the same colour as the text, and then blended in that layer at a lower opacity.

I had more fun with this image, constantly aware of the “Less is More” concept and trying to keep it subtle.

All comments and feedback welcome – I can’t improve otherwise!

Posted in AWAKE, LR & Photoshop | Tagged , , , , | 39 Comments

One Four Challenge – Wk 3 July

Here we are at the usually difficult Week 3 of the One Four Challenge, where you have used up all your usual tricks and wanting to save the best stuff for the last week :)

On my Awake course I am lucky to get to see amazing art from many talented people, and even better, when you ask how they did X, they tell you!

This is my variation on the Painting In Progress technique, helpfully explained by the talented Katie Pertiet, artist and contributor of wonderful goodies to both the PA and Awake course.

First, before I tell you how I did it, I want to show you this version, which I bodged together out of what I could make PS do – its a bit different because it has coloured lines (I liked the effect) and I didn’t know how to do the painted look so well so I used a filter effect instead.  It also has a reversed grunge effect that unintentionally gave the colour swirls in the corners which I also liked.


Post Processing Steps for Top Image:

1.  Import image into PS and duplicate layer, and hide base layer

2.  Run Filter > Stylise > Find edges

3.  Run Image > Adjustments > Desaturate and then Levels and adj the white/grey/black tones.  I went for a slightly more textured look that was a bit greyer as it lost the details in the steps and stuff if I didn’t.

4. Copy Background to layer and move to top – create a black mask and paint with a large white textured grungy brush, mucking about til I had the look I wanted.

5. Create a blank layer and fill with white and drag in as Layer 2 to give the clean white background.

Its not true to the technique but a much better attempt than my first one I think.

All Feedback and Comments and Offers of Advice Welcome!

Posted in AWAKE, LR & Photoshop, Photo Challenges | Tagged , , , , , | 50 Comments

AWAKE Session 1 Experiment 1 – Swans

Black Swan and Cygnets – click to embiggen

It is the coldest day of the year so far I think, snow is in fact forecast to sea level tonight.  Despite that I have the fire on, and the curtains shut most of the day so I could heat through to the bedroom where I have my big computer that gets used for Photoshop.

Been two weeks since I joined Awake Photoshop Artistry course, and I am champing at the bit to get started on the lessons!

So here is my Session 1 experiment – using the Urban Rain techniques

Post Processing Steps:

1.  Find the black swan family image and output at large size

2.  Trawl through course content to find two background images that I blended, and added a faint text layer over using a text brush on the right hand side

3.  Add in a darker grunge edge – I think Katie Pertiet

4.  Add in the swan layer and mask with black and paint in the swan with a grunge brush – have to be careful not to leave the hard edges of the image in the frame – blended with hardlight around 90%

5.  Spend AGES trying to find some framing options, and eventually while looking in Awake course content I found this, again Katie Pertiet I think

6.  Fluff around with layers and mask out the one of the background ones to get the true colour of the swan image coming through into the framing

7.  Again fluff around for ages trying to find another accent to fill the top space of the image – find a brush that kinda fitted so I mirror imaged it coming in from both edges.

8.  I didn’t feel the need for a colour pop as the very dark swan with the red beak and eye already provides that IMHO

9.  Decide after an hour and a half working that its as done as its likely to be!

This creative stuff is hard work!  Like it?  Don’t Like it?

All feedback and suggestions for improvement welcome!

Posted in AWAKE, LR & Photoshop | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments