July One Photo Focus Challenge

July One Photo Focus image – click to embiggen

My favourite monthly editing challenge, One Photo Focus for July is here and I got a chance to participate after sitting my last exam YAY!

Details on how the One Photo Focus challenge is, with the original source image and ALL the other exhibits is HERE – Go and see wonderful art, I will wait for you :)

This months source image was supplied by the talented Robin Kent and I was really excited to see it and instantly had a conceptual idea of what I might do with it.  Luckily I found images with Creative Commons licences  that allowed me access to use them.

Post Processing Steps:

1.  Find all the images and see if they worked as part of the whole

2. Blend in the top corner images in separate layers using gradient blend tool via a mask and tidying up the edges with a brush.  Added in a reasonably low opacity.

3.  Add in the Monument valley image to the bottom and spend ages with mask and brush tool, painting around the edges trying to blend it into the grass nicely. Fail!

4.  Try and clone out the people in the grass – PS kept having a hissy fit with this image and stop access to tools and it would not let me do any cloning, patching or healing. Fail Again!

5.  Add in top layer which is the Declaration of Independence original handwritten document.  Turn it on a tilt for added interest, desaturate so we only get the texture and blend in using Vivid Light at 54%

6.  Be slightly unsatisfied with finished colour image and spend ages trying other grunge textures on top.  Fail Again!

7.  Add in a Hue/Saturation Layer, decide that Sepia is the way to go and Success!

New techniques used here (successfully) – using Mask and Gradients to paint in a softened image into the corners

The concept for this image was to take iconic American images easily identifiable and add them in around the White House, and finding the Declaration of Independence document available was the icing on the cake :)

Like it?  Hate it?  Tell Me About it!

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Playing with Brushes in Photoshop

My rooster is feeling very French right now :)

I purchased a textures pack from Design Cuts last week and have been exploring all its delights and seeing what custom brushes came included, now I know how to use these a bit better.

There are maps and lovely handwriting, crests, crowns, labels, musical scores and all manner off fancy elements that will probably never get used :)

Taking this rooster portrait I have post processed it as follows:

1.  Add a layer, fill with black and use a custom water colour brush to add the grunge texture on the walls.  Using a very light brush I painted the texture off the face and feathers of the rooster so he had more prominence and brightness.

Blend mode Darken at 76%

2.  Copy the background layer for added ooomph and stamp in at 100% opacity with a fancy letterhead custom brush at the bottom.  Blend mode Overlay at 100%

3.  Add another layer filled with black set to blend mode darken at 24%.  With brush set to white and lowish opacity stamp PARIS into the background so it looks like its part of the wall texture


In the video I saw they painted the fill layers with white but with my experimenting that didn’t always work depending on the colour of the base image.  So this time I tried black to see if it would work.

Except for making the big shadow behind his head really dark (it didn’t have quite so much visual weight in the original) I am happy with this.  Just a few subtle textural changes and added elements and its a more interesting image than it was.

A lighter hand with the grunge texture has worked well in this instance, focussing the grunge on the background and feathers, making it part of the image but not overwhelming it.  An important lesson to learn!

Like it?  Don’t Like it?

Tell me about it – all feedback welcome :)

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Touring Tasmania – Huon Peninsula

Kettering Marina in the rain, but with swans – Click to embiggen

I couldn’t figure out how to embed a Google map – WP didn’t seem to like it so here is a link to where I drove on this outing

Map of Tasmania and Huon Peninsula

Started in Cambridge on the right side of Hobart, through the city heading west and then south through Kingston, Margate and Kettering and all the way around to Huonville and then back to the city.  Left about 8am, got home about 4pm with many stops for photos, and lunch etc.  Was a good drive even with the rain – was the only day it rained on me all day in the entire 12 days I was there.

By now much research had been done, and circles were drawn on the map for places to stop.  Sometimes I remembered why when I got there.  Kettering was one of those places I had no idea by the time I got there, but there was a pretty marina full of lovely boats so I drove down the hill and ventured out to take photos.  It was a brief pause in the rain but you could see from the clouds, more was not far away.

Kettering Marina – click for the large version in Black and White

While I was taking photos a man approached me, asking why I bothered when the light was dull and flat.  My reply was that the sky was fantastically moody and would look awesome in BW – click on the image above to see the big version in BW.

As he was walking away I asked him if there was a reason why I might have circled Kettering on the map – explaining I was a tourist and forgetful :)  He asked me what things I liked, and my reply was food, crafts, art, gardens etc.  After a thoughtful pause he pointed up the hill and said Chocolate Shop!

These look like our Pukeko but with scary red eyes!

OMG it was a fabulous shop Nutpatch Nougat and Chocolates, of course it was Easter and the tiny shop front was packed with people.  They had made a 1m high egg, still setting in its plastic mould, it was to be broken open and eaten on Easter Sunday by the locals. The chocolates were brightly coloured and many tempting flavours so I got a box of 16 to take away and they were the BEST chocolates I have ever eaten.

Much driving awaited me, so back on the road and the weather closed in.  Rained pretty heavily in stages and was a howling wind when I got out.  The coastline was mostly rocky beaches with a few patches of sand, the rock was orange brown and blocky sharp pointed broken edges, difficult to walk on.

I am not quite sure where I am on the map at this point, so that faint headland in the middle could be Bruny Island or more of Tasmania, I’m not sure.

There were many lovely buildings in the small settlements I passed by, I stopped in Woodbridge as there were these two lovely buildings restored and in use, across the street from each other.

Community Hall so nicely painted, and the public toilets were round to the left through a pretty cottage garden – Click to Embiggen

At Woodbridge I could have gone inland to Cygnet, which is where I planned to stop for lunch, but there was plenty of time, the roads were mostly free of traffic (the odd slow farm truck now and then) and when the sun came out it was quite lovely, plus I wanted to see the coastline for myself.

I think this is down by Verona Sands, I have hit the bottom and starting to come up the other side and there were patches of sun.  Almost got stuck in incredible thick sticky yellow clay and had to scrape about 2 inches of it off the bottom of my shoes before getting back in the car!

Wild Windy unknown bay – click to embiggen

The other side of the bay with iconic eucalyptus right down to sea level – click to embiggen

Saw a sign saying lookout 100m and took the next turn.  There was no lookout but the road took me down to a very pretty Randall’s Bay.  Lots of baches and holiday homes and it looked like a nice place to swim on a hot day.

Cliffs at Randalls Bay in a moment of sunlight – click to embiggen

There was a road around the intriguingly named Eggs and Bacon Bay, but it was shingle, and couldn’t drive the rental car on shingle, so turned around and came back up the hill.

This old farm house that looks like its still lived in is just begging for a grunge treatment – click to embiggen

Saw this old farmhouse on the way down so grabbed a shot in a beam of sunlight on the way back up the hill, this is just begging for a grunge treatment to age and texture it up nicely :)

Finally some mossy branches I saw in Randalls Bay

Still more to come on the Huon Peninsula trip – I stopped in Cygnet for lunch and there were loads of fabulous old buildings.  I wanted to head down to Geeveston but the weather was so variable and I was starting to get a bit tired of driving by then so headed home, where it pretty much rained the entire time back to Hobart!

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Experimenting with Photoshop Fine Art Grunge

Using Custom Brushes and Layers in the PS Fine Art Grunge style – click to embiggen

I know this has been mentioned several times, that I signed up for the PS Fine Art Grunge course a few months ago, and its changed my life in relation to being able to use Photoshop – not just creatively, but AT ALL!

Well over on Lightstalking they are promoting the course with two free videos, one on Grunge Styling and the other on Custom Brushes  (and don’t tell anyone but it looks like the course is on special for $97 again).

These videos are not part of my course, I think they have been developed as a taster for presentations etc.  Of course I lay in bed with my iPad and watched the Custom Brush one this morning and was enraptured with the possibilities!

Of course I had to have a go.  The image above is the my finished experiment, and I’m pretty happy with it as a beginner attempt :)

Post Processing Steps:

1.  Find the right base image, import it and adjust the colour to a teal blue/green colour

2. Copy the later and apply Nik Color Efex Bleach Bypass  – set blend mode to Vivid Light and opacity at 94%

3. Add a layer, fill with white, add a mask and paint in with some grunge brushes I had downloaded from the course – blend mode Hard Light at 58%

4. Add a second layer above the green/blue background, fill with white, add a mask and paint in lightly with a big grunge brush a couple of times to get the colour to come through – blend mode Screen at 34%.

Also paint in with some large tree brushes.

5.  The sky is now bright glaring white, so because I suck at selection tools I added in a grey texture as a new layer at the top and painted in a mask to bring the grey textured background in and give it more of a haunted house look – blend mode Normal at 100%

It probably took me a good couple of hours at least to do this, given I spent an hour on another image just getting my head around the process.  Choosing the right base image is a key part of this exercise, one of the first important things I learnt.

This was a fun exercise, it taught me several new skills:

– how to create custom brushes
– that you can change the ANGLE that your brush is applied at
– using ( and ) keys to adjust the brush size quickly- colourising a layer and painting through at low opacity with a textured brush has a really individual effect

Here is the original photo processed in LR6 for comparison

Its  very different from the one above, personally the first one feels a bit like a insane asylum from a gothic horror movie, expect lightning to crash any moment :)

Like it?  Don’t like it?  Tell Me About It!

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Exam Completed – time for the fun stuff

I got 91% on my assignment which is great and I stayed for the full 3 hours in the exam – I finished in about 2 1/2 hrs but then took time to check and edit stuff.  First time I have ever stayed in an exam the full time!  I wrote HEAPS and my hand and arm are still aching.

Good news is I am now FREE to play and do FUN STUFF again!!!!

To celebrate I bought a huge texture pack for playing with digital art, its still downloading so while my computer was on I decided to play. The image above is a rather interesting chair designed in Italy and was on display and for sale at a large flower show I went to a couple of years ago.

I also took a closeup of the perfect round bottom and legs and feet and this is what it looks like now

Closeup of the bottom of the chair (see what I did there!) – Click to embiggen

Processing Steps:

1. Find the right image – harder than I expected, this was about my third go

2.  Add the writing parchment layer – blended with linear burn at 99%

3.  Add an dark orange grunge layer – blended with colour dodge at 52%

4.  Add a grunge frame – by now around the edges of the chair were completely black and needed a little texturing, so I added in a Grunge Frame from Shadow House Creations – this is now Layer 2

5. Still wasn’t quite right so I bought in the same Grunge Frame, inverted it colourwise, turned it around so the textures were different  – blended with Hard Mix at 27% – this is now Layer 3

(What were Layers 2 and 3 are now Layers 4 and 5)

I learned a new trick with this, you can have your File Directory open in a second window from PS and DRAG the file across!  Not only that, you can tweak the settings to see if it works and then decide if it does or not.  Much quicker way of dabbling with options than the other way I learnt!  So many different ways to do things in PS

I like how its not entirely clear what you are looking at – I would have liked a little more definition down the lines of the calves and ankles.  Possibly could paint a diffuse mask in around that area to soften the effect a bit?


Posted in Image Processing, Waffle and Burbling | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

Christchurch Street Art

The Dancer – Click to embiggen

Some of you may know that 5 years ago we had two major earthquakes here in Christchurch, and the second one was particularly devastating, damaging nearly all the buildings in the CBD area in the city.  As a result there has been significant demolition going on, and in the last couple of years some new buildings have gone up.

It has meant there are a lot of large empty flat walls around the place and someone had the genius idea of bringing in international street artists to take advantage and decorate some of them.

This is my personal fave, The Dancer.  As you can see from the image below, she is only gracing us temporarily, as it looks like another building will be constructed in front of her. So I went out with my step ladder this morning when the sun was at the angle and managed to reach over the security gate to take these images for posterity.

I was at a reasonable angle to the wall when I shot this, but using the perspective adjustment tools, I fiddled until it felt like I had it more square on.

Isn’t she just gorgeous?

The wider view of of the city, the tall pale brown building with lots of windows just to the right of the dancer is where I used to work in the central city. Its 7 floors high and one of the tallest of the few remaining buildings from before the quake – Click to embiggen

There are lots of other artworks decorating the walls, some I have posted before and quite a few new ones but you have to be in the right place at the right time to get the right light, so I will go out again next weekend for some more new ones.

Girl on a Brick Wall – Click to embiggen

I have no idea who the artists are for these works which is sad because they are clearly talented people.  This portrait of a girl on an empty brick wall popped up ages ago and I really like it, her eyes are piercing and from a distance it looks like she is staring right at you.  She feels familiar to me, not sure why.

Its hard to get a shot of this without any cars parked in front of it, as its a carpark.

This is a new piece that went up a few months ago, its also next to a carpark, I haven’t figured out what the message is, but its a striking image against the blue wall and also a clear blue sky in the morning.

Since I did so well with my assignment and presentation, and also finding out the exam is open book, I gave myself a day off study and went out with my camera, read a book for pleasure and did some long overdue housework.  Tonite I am off to the movies!

Hope you enjoy these creative artworks, it certainly livens up our rather broken city and I always enjoy seeing new ones pop up unexpectedly.

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Maniototo Cloudscape

Maniototo Sky on the way to St Bathans – Click to Embiggen

Yes lovely readers I am up before 8am doing a blog post on a Saturday morning?

Why?  or more accurately WTF?

Well today is my last class at CPIT and this is the day we do our presentations, part of our assignment.  I spent ALL NIGHT dreaming about mine so got up extra early to rewrite it and then decided it was actually OK after all.

Our exam is on Wed and then after then I get my life back again (hopefully!) – I still have study to do but have a lot more time and less pressure.

Plus the road workers in the street were up extra early, the whole house is shaking and shuddering with them smashing equipment into the ground, its very loud and the cats are a bit freaked out.

So here is a lovely cloudscape I took on my way to St Bathans, driving down a long shingle road with this fabulous sky.  When I saw this farm equipment parked on the side of the road, I stopped and got out of course, it was the perfect foreground to the farmland  and the wonderful sky.

Wish me luck for my presentation, and hopefully after Wednesday, normal blog transmission will resume, I have HEAPS of photos from Tasmania to work on still!

Posted in Photowalk or Fieldtrip, Posts with my photos | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments