Month: January 2017

A Salad Please

Although the temperature is 32° with snow on the ground, I still want a salad for lunch. My husband calls my salads Mount Vesuvius because they are big!! I imagine it’s because I’m still a California girl at heart. I cooked, if you can call it cooking, the salad in the blended photo and the Chinese Chicken salad with the mandarin oranges. The photo on the right is a salad from Tender Greens. Yes, I make salads at home and order them at restaurants too.

To create this page, I began with Artsy Layered Template No. 244. I deleted some layers and moved others to create a grouping for my three salad photos.

Next, I clipped linked copies of the large photo to the fotoblendz mask as well as some stains. I clipped two other photos to the smaller frames.

I then placed transfer 3 and the gold paint from ArtPlay Palette Fare.

Next I recolored the template’s paint layers and two brushes from Fare No. 1. The latter I changed to linear burn blend mode and reduced the opacity.

I finished my page with word art from Food WordART Mix No. 1 and a thread from UrbanThreadz No. 13.


Legos at Lauritzen Gardens

Kate and I went to see the Lego Exhibit at Laurtizen Gardens this morning. This is the only display that she didn’t like.

As Kate walked the Conservatory, she saw a Lego tortoise, hummingbird, birdbath and gardeners.

Kate stopped to see whether orchids had any smell.

Then Kate built a house, a grandma and herself with Legos.

Kate stopped a moment to see whether the koi were swimming.

On our way out, Kate got her pink boots wet in the snow.

Kate said she liked playing with the Legos best. I did practice shooting quickly, setting my shutter speed at 1/500 sec to deal with Kate’s speed and my aperture mostly at f/2.8 to blur out the background. Capturing Kate is not easy!

Photo Art

These are some of the other orchids that I captured with my 60mm f/2.4 macro and 35mm f/2.0 lenses. Both create a nice bokeh background when shot at f/2.8. One idea that I’ve been considering is making a book with the photographs of flowers that I create. If I did, this is a page design that I would use, a full page photo on one side and smaller detail shots on the other.

Anna’s FotoInspired DoubleTemplates are great for emphasizing the details of a photo series, in this case some orchids. For this page, I used FotoInspired DoubleTemplate No. 69. I reduced the size of the template to create a little more white space as a separation from the full page photo side.

To add a bit more color, I placed two transfers from ArtPlay Palette Radiant below the frames and masks. I also blended one transfer with the middle photo. I placed the psd layers from FotoInspired EdgeTemplates No. 2. I recolored the stains or clipped another paper and changed the blend mode to linear burn.

With a few threads, some branches and a title, I finished my page.

To make it easy, I simply created a composite of the template side and dropped it on top of the full page photo on a 24×12 inch file.

This is the kind of page that I would create for a book on Flowers, a future book project idea I’m considering.


Focus on the Photos

In support of my goal this year to focus more on my photography, I attended a class at Lauritzen Gardens on Saturday. The instructor, Will Fields, sent out a reading assignment via email before class. His goal was to help us see how aperture influences depth of field. He spent time with us individually. For me, the technical assignment was to photograph a single subject at three different apertures from three different angles on continuous focus as fast as I could. Here is one of my captures at aperture f/2.8. I love blurred backgrounds that isolate the subject. However, it is not easy to capture moving grandchildren at that aperture because the depth of field limits how much is in focus. There isn’t much room for focus error. I’d love to be able to consistently capture photographs that are in focus using a wide aperture. I am going to continue to practice this little assignment until the next class. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Another goal I have for the new year is to focus on the photographs that I capture as I create scrapbook pages. I’m not giving up artsy designs; I just want the photographs to pop on my pages; I want them to dominate my pages.

I began this page with the psd file 1 of MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 5. I clipped a copy of the above photo to the fotoblendz layers. I then clipped two other photos to png files 3 and 5 before clipping another copy of the first photo to transfer 7 of ArtPlay Palette Anaphora. I reduced the opacity to 40%.

From those layers, I created a composite using the keyboard shortcut keys: command+option+shift+e. By the time I had brought back in what I wanted revealed from my composite using the fotoblendz masks on layer masks and a png file, I had duplicated the composite five times.

Next, I duplicated the photos and extracted four of the orchids using the Quick Selection Tool and layer masks. I gave each extraction a custom shadow.

I then placed transfer 3 and the gold paint from ArtPlay Palette Anaphora. I also placed some of the layers from psd Artsy Transfers Anaphora 3 and 5. Note: those will be available on Wednesday in Anna’s store.

Next, I clipped another copy of the composite to a png copy of Artsy FlutterBy Templates No. 2. I changed the blend mode to linear burn, duplicated the two layers and reduced the opacity of the top copy to 75%. I added two threadz from ButtonThreadz No. 2 as well as one of the Urban LoopedThreadz No. 1.

With a title from Repeat WordART Mix No. 1 and a bit of journaling, I finished my page. What do I like about my finished page: the soft edges and subtle texture, the white space and especially the beauty of these orchids. While my page design and layering of the fotoblendz transfers changed the photograph, the orchids are still just as clear and beautiful as they were in the original photograph. Each of us has different expectations for the art we create from the photographs we capture. I still believe that as my photography improves, so will my artsy scrapbooking. I still believe that photography is my creative priority. I am focusing on the photos this year.

Why is it?

Kate found something new to try at the Children’s Museum yesterday. She decided to paint her own face, insisting that she wanted to do it all by herself.

I wondered why is it that we women look just like my granddaughter when we apply our make-up, mouths open and eyes scrunched. Then we ponder whether we like the look or not? I have the feeling that she’s seen someone else put on make-up, mommy maybe?

Kate decided she wasn’t going to wash it off until she’d shown her face to mommy. I haven’t heard what mommy thought yet.


Basic Design Principles

Not all my layouts are complicated, but I do try to follow some basic design concepts when I create a page, for example this page with ArtPlay MiniPalette Noel. I clipped my photo to the frame’s clipping mask and changed it to black and white with a gradient map adjustment layer. I placed my granddaughter’s eyes on the intersection of the guide lines creating an asymmetrical design.

Second, I clipped solid paper 3 to the fotoblendz mask and layered transfers 1, 2 and 6 along with overlay 2 and the word transfer to build a textured foundation for a grouping of elements and to repeat the colors in the frame.

Third, I added a background paper. I drew lines with the line tool to repeat the lines in the paper.

Finally, I added elements in a group around the title rather than placing them randomly on the page. The button and thread on the right draw the eye out toward the edge for balance.

Are you wondering what design principles I used: asymmetrical alignment to create tension, texture to create dimensional interest, proximity for placement of elements as well as repetition of the Santas and balance with the button on the right. I have shared more information about design principles in a video, Design Principles for Using Artsy Transfers.


Topaz Labs

A reader asked how I used Topaz Labs Plug-ins to give my photos a painted look. Basically, these are external plug-ins that apply filters to photos. Two of my favorite plug-ins are Impression and Simplify. After placing the photo on a new blank 12×12 document, I duplicated the photo twice. Then I opened the filter panel, scrolled down the menu and chose Topaz Impression.

When the plug-in opened, I browsed the effects. I chose to work with Over Painting 1. The panel on the right allowed me to make adjustments to the filter effect. Once I was finished, I clicked the save button and was taken back to Photoshop. Note: These extensions also work in Photoshop Elements.

On the second copy of the photo, I chose a line and ink preset in Simplify. Adjustments were made on the right. I learned to work with this panel from a tutorial on the Topaz blog.

I turned off the original and reduced the opacity of the top (over painting) layer to 40%. I then dragged the layers of Artsy Layered Template No. 242 on to my document. I linked the photo layers and duplicated them so that I could clip them to some template masks and stains. I also clipped linked photo copies to the masks for the small frames. I moved those frames lightly to the left.

I began turning off the template layers that didn’t work. To finish my background, I placed solid paper 5 from ArtPlay Palette Jollification as well as transfer 3 and 5. I attached masks to both transfers to blend out parts. I added a recolored button (from the palette) and tacked it down with a thread.

I hope this gives you an idea of what’s possible with some of the Topaz Labs plug-ins.


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