Gelli Arts Print Photoshop Composite Frame

June 27, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

Hi Everyone! Today I wanted to walk you through a long-ish session for manipulating a couple of prints made with the Gelli Arts Printing plate, and compositing them in Photoshop. I started with a print made from one of my stencils. I was just printing with earth colors in this session, so I ended up with a gray-toned print. I really liked this one, which was a second print- that is, I printed once, and then used another piece of paper to pull another print without refreshing the paint in between. I had enough paint to get a decent second print, so I was very happy with this result.

However, I wanted the frame to be a little more defined. And because I don’t have the larger Gelli Arts Printing Plate (yet ;-) ), I wanted to expand the print to fill a bit more of an 8.5×11 inch piece of paper for printing.

Here is the Original…

Grunge Circle Frame Original

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Original

Because this image is not super detailed, and because it was pretty close in size to begin with, I could scan the image in at a larger resolution than my printer. Then I could scale the image to 8.5×11 inches without losing much detail. So that was step number one.

The next thing I wanted to address was the fact that there was not a lot of background on the top of the frame. I wanted the frame to sit in a bit more. So I needed to basically add more of the background to the top.

As usual there are multiple ways to do such a thing in Photoshop, but I decided to use the patch tool. I could select the top of the image and then use the patch tool to pick an area from the bottom to fill that section. With the top selected, I created a new layer, then I switched to the patch tool on the left hand side. I made sure that Content Aware was set under the patch type up at the top tool properties bar. I also checked off the “Sample All Layers” checkbox.

Then I dragged the selection down to the bottom of the image. Because Content Aware was chosen,  the selection was filled in with what can be thought of as a merge of the surrounding areas. When using  Content Aware fill, Photoshop chooses the areas close to the selected area. But, the patch tool allows you to determine what the selected are should be filled with, based on where you drag the selected area. Then Content Aware tries to merge and blend the areas to look seamless. Sometimes it works, as in this case. Sometimes it doesn’t, but I always try it because it is a lot quicker and easier than cloning in (or out) big sections of an image.

Also, even though the layer I was on was empty, it took the patch from the entire image because of the  “Sample All Layers” checkbox. This lets you have an empty layer to clone and patch, which will not add as much to your file size as duplicating a layer and then  doing cloning and patching. Be aware though- if you change too much of the original layer, your clone/patch layer may not match any more.

Grunge Circle Frame Selection tool

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Frame Top Selected


After I patched the top to add a bit more, I decided I really wanted to get rid of the discolored area surrounding the frame. Again there are several ways to do this. This time I decided to use Content Aware Fill.

I selected the general area of the frame making sure to include most of the edge of the frame that I didn’t like. Because I wanted to use the frame and not just get rid of the entire thing,  I copied the frame from the layer (Edit->Copy or CTRL-C) and pasted it so it became a new layer. Then I turned off the visibility of that new layer with the frame on it (click on the eyeball to the left of the layer).

To reselect the frame, I used the Photoshop trick of holding down the CTRL key (command on a MAC) and clicked on the frame layer. That will select the non-transparent pixels on that layer, so I ended up with the same selection of the frame that I had made before. Note that I also could have saved the selection and re-loaded it if I wanted to make sure I could get the same selection, but this shortcut works fine in this particular case.

Then I clicked on the original layer and chose Edit->Fill as shown below…

Grunge Circle Frame Content Aware

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Content Aware Fill


I made sure the popup used Content Aware as the type of fill, and clicked OK. The selected area of the frame was now filled with other areas surrounding the background. It wasn’t a perfect fill, especially if I planned on using it as is, because of the repeating patterns. However, since I was going to cover most of it back up anyway, it was good enough. Sometimes if you do Content Aware Fill a couple of times (each time tends to be a bit different) you can get a better result. Here is what I ended up with…

Content Aware Fill Results

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Content Aware Fill Results


The next step was to turn the layer with the frame back on. I still needed to get rid of the darkish outline, so I used a combination of selection tools (mostly the quick selection tool) in order to select that border, as shown below…

Grunge Circle Frame

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Frame Outline Selected


I decided to use a mask to hide that edge. With the border of the frame selected, I clicked on the mask button at the bottom of the layers panel (it looks like a square with a hole in it). A mask is created  in the shape of the selection, and this mask will show that selected area, and hide everything else.

This is actually the opposite of what I wanted. If you remember one of my other posts where we talked about masks, then hopefully your remember that white will allow you to see those portions of the layer, as if it were vellum or even better-acetate. Black on a mask will hide those parts of the layer, as if it is a black piece of paper. So, I really needed to have the white of the mask be on the rest of the image, and I needed black  on the frame border so I could hide it.

There are 2 ways to accomplish this. Back when I made my initial selection, when I knew that I wanted to hide that selected area, I could have chosen Select->Inverse and then clicked on the mask button. Or if I forgot, and created the mask, and then I realized that I have the opposite portion of my image masked, I could click on the mask (the thumbnail to the right of the image thumbnail for that layer), and then click CTRL-I (Command-I on a MAC) to invert. In this case the mask the mask will be inverted. So the white parts become black and the black parts become white. Voila!

Note that if you have never played with Invert (CTRL-I) you should. You can use Invert (CTRL-I) on layer images, masks, after you apply blend modes, etc to get lots of different looks to your images.

Now, because I had filled in the background in the previous step, the fact that I am hiding the border in this step works, so that I don’t have a hole in my overall image where the border used to be.  Here is what the image looked like with the mask applied…

Photoshop Mask

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Frame Outline Mask

At this point, you could choose to merge this layer back down to the layer below, so it becomes a single layer again (and saves a little bit in terms of size of the Photoshop file), which is what I did.

I still had some areas that I wanted to clean up around the frame. For this step I used the Clone Stamp tool.

I created a new, empty layer above and clicked on the Clone Stamp tool. If you remember from a previous post, I click on the “Sample All Layers” checkbox at the top and now I can paint with the Clone Stamp brush on the empty layer using  portions of the entire image.

To get the selection to paint with, hold down the Alt key and click on an area that you would like to choose to paint with. The larger the brush size the more of that area you clicked on will be used. You can also play with the brush opacity and edge softness to blur the effects of the cloning, and make it blend in a bit better.

The images below show the edges where I used the Clone Stamp tool to do a bit of clean up. I worked my way around the image doing spot cleaning hear and there.


Clone Tool In Photoshop Before

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Before Content Aware Clone


Clone Tool In Photoshop After

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- After Content Aware Clone


As the final step I wanted to punch up the image just a touch. I loved the background, but the frame was a little obliterated during the print. So I also pulled in the image of the stencil and used a blend mode of  difference to pull out a smidge of color, and sharpen up the line. I use this trick a lot to sharpen up details lost when using stencils with my prints. I also scan in the used, stencils ( not cleaned) after the paint dries, to have that image to play with in Photohop, with all its fun multicolored paint remnants.

I also used the effect Bevel and Emboss on the stencil image to give it a bit more “pop”. I discuss a lot of these tips in other posts- just use the search tool on the blog and search for “Photoshop” to see more posts where I discuss different tools in more detail.

My final step was to rotate the whole image counter clockwise. Here is the final (for now) image…


Grunge Circle Gelli Arts Print Final

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Finished
I plan on tweaking this a bit more, so stay tuned ;-).

Gelli Arts Print on Black

June 20, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

Have you tried pulling a Gelli Arts print on black paper yet? I played around with it a bit, and really liked the effects I got. In this case, I used gesso (because I was too lazy to go find my white paint), and a squirt of Adirondack Dye re-inker, along with some smidges of Golden colors- Paynes Gray, Titan Buff, Burnt Umber and a tad of metallic copper.  I found that adding a bit of Matte Medium to make the paint flow a bit, worked great!

Here is one of the prints I made. I laid the stencil on the Gelli Arts plate and, using a brayer, rolled the paint over the top trying to make sure to get paint into the small areas left open by the stencil. Then I lifted the stencil and placed plain black cardstock onto the plate in order to pull the print:

Gelli Arts print on black paper


I took the stencil that was now covered in paint, and flipped it onto another sheet of plain black cardstock. I grabbed the brayer that was used to roll the paint onto the Gelli Arts plate, and used that to brayer over the back of the stencil. The leftover paint on the brayer was rolled onto the cardstock around the stencil.

The medium kept the paint a bit wetter, so this print came out great!

Gelli Arts print on black paper

Unfortunately, this is so much fun, now my stash of black paper is dwindling as fast as my white cardstock!

Gelli Arts Print Composite

June 13, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

I love taking my Gelli Arts prints and manipulating them In Photoshop.  In this lesson I am going to walk you through a very simple Photoshop composite. I will take  a print that I made with a stencil, and then a print that I made with basically the inverse, and merge them together in Photoshop. The two prints came out pretty well, with colors and saturations, and a full print that I liked, so there was not a lot of photo manipulation that I needed to do. I am working on another image that required a lot more work, and I will post that at some point when I get the writeup finished.

Here was the original image of the Gelli Arts print using my Mask stencil.

Gelli Arts Print from Mask Stencil


I took the stencil with all the paint from printing on the Gelli Arts plate and printed on another piece of paper- so it was basically the inverse of the background print. It came out pretty well defined, but I wanted a bit more. So I waited until the stencil dried, and then scanned that in, so I could use it within Photoshop. Here is that image…

Gelli Arts  Stencil

Within Photoshop, I used the select tool to delete the white background around the image of the scanned stencil. I brought that image into the same Photoshop image window as a layer above the background image. Then I used the Free Transform tool to turn and re-size the mask until it fit over the mask in the background.

At the bottom of the layers palette, there is a pulldown (Fx) that allows you to apply speciall effects to the layer. I used Bevel and Emboss on the layer with the scanned mask. So it makes the mask pop a bit. And here is the result of that composite…

Gelli Arts Print Mask

And that was it! Not too hard! If you have any questions on the Photoshop tools I used, you can read through my other Photoshop posts (use the search tool to find them). There are other posts that go into further details.

Then I decided to play around with coloring. I used an Adjustment Layer called Gradient Map, and chose one of the Gradients that had blue tones in it. I used a blend mode of color, and lowered the opacity. I liked the way this looked as well…


 Gelli Arts Print from Mask Stencil in Photoshop


Finally, I chose one of the Black and White Gradient masks (and I chose reverse the gradient for this one), and I liked the way this looked as well…

Gelli Arts Mask composite


I could go on and on, but you get the idea ;-). Enjoy!

Gelli Arts Print- I See Birds

June 6, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

This was a Gelli Arts print that I had done a few weeks ago, when I was experimenting with paint and water. This print didn’t end up with a lot of water interaction, but I loved the aged brown color. When I scanned it in and looked at it on the computer, my mind’s eye started filling in the shapes, and I saw birds in the image. So I decided to go for it, and help them along. Photoshop can sometimes be like a magic hat- you can pull things out of it that may start out hidden, but end up magical just the same ;-).


Here is what the original looked like…

Gelli Arts Print Birds Nest Before

I brought the print into Photoshop and used the Clone Stamp tool, in order to flesh out the shapes a little bit more. I chose the Clone tool from the left hand side. I clicked on the checkbox at the top that says “Sample All Layers”. Then I created a new layer above the print layer. Now I can clone on the new empty layer, and it will look the same as cloning on the original layer, but it doesn’t actually change the original print layer. If I turn off the new layer, the cloning will disappear and the original will look untouched.

In order to clone, hold down the Alt key (option on Mac), and click on the area where you would like to grab a piece of the image. I clicked on the blobs that looked like birds to me. I started to paint on the new layer in the shape of a bird. Sometimes, you may need to re-sample the image again, by holding down Alt and clicking on an area of the image that you would like to clone from.If you are using “Sample All Layers”, you can do all of this on the new empty layer and it will show up as if you were painting on the original layer. Most of the time I lower the opacity of the Clone Stamp tool, and I use a soft edge brush. Find the brush shapes, sizes and hardness up at the top. Also the opacity slide for the Clone Stamp tool itself is at the top near the brush selection pull down.


Gelli Arts Print Birds Nest Clone tool


I used the Clone Stamp again to add a bit more to the “nest”. Then I added just a hint of a branch, and  I also framed the picture.  Here is the image after working on it in Photoshop…

Gelli Arts Print Birds Nest After

So look a bit more closely at your Gelli Arts prints and see if you can pull something out of it!


When It’s Your Day to Shine

June 2, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

I don’t usually post twice in one week. Mostly, because I usually don’t have the time. But this post is for me. I an getting to the stage where the kids are starting to grow up and  they are getting ready to fly the nest. And so I guess I am paying closer attention to the things that happen, and the moments I am experiencing with them still around.

This weekend I had  a memorable moment kind of day. It happened at my son’s soccer game. This team has been together in some form or another for several years. I even coached some of the guys for a few seasons.  When I coached them, I remember one of the guys, ran kind of weird, and we had to work on his running to get his speed up. We also had to work with quite a few of them on footwork and strategy, and passing- you know, the normal soccer stuff. One of the things we generally didn’t have to work on was heart. These guys always tried hard. They didn’t always remember their foot work, or strategy, or where to pass, but they always gave 110 percent. We even had a special award each week for the team players that played outside of themselves during the game. They were the guys that went above and beyond, the ones that pushed harder, fought through fatigue, played a position they weren’t used to or didn’t like, and played it well for the good of the team. There was not a single guy on the team that didn’t win that award. On any given day, they all had a chance to take themself to a higher plane, and shine. All of them took that opportunity at some point, and most of the boys acheived star status several times over the course of the season.

Flash forward a couple of years. Those young boys are now growing up. They are strong, and fast, and really good soccer players. They also lose just about every game.

Nobody can quite figure it out. They have flashes of absolute brilliance. And then they all fall apart, always at the same time, and their defenses go down, they let a couple of goals through, and that is all she wrote. Another loss.

This weekend, we arrived to play another game. Against the best team in the league. In 94 degree heat. On a completely sunlit turf field. Smack in the middle of the day. I, for one, just assumed the guys would get crushed. I didn’t have even a single glimmer of hope for this game. Oh, ye of little faith! This team played their hearts out, as they always do, but they didn’t falter this time. And that kid that couldn’t run? He is now almost a man, a blazingly fast guy, with a singular thought of scoring for his team. Which he did- 3 times!! The whole team made great decisions, they remembered their strategy, they made good passes, and of course they never lost their heart. They ended up coming back to tie 3-3. I won’t go into the details of the goal that was called back on a bogus referee call. It didn’t matter. These guys showed their true spirit and a tie against the best team in the league was as good as a win, in my mind.

So while I was fully expecting a crushing defeat, I was treated to watching a fabulous soccer game. And my respect for these guys, which had always been great, grew even higher. Not because of their mad soccer skills, or because they are freaking, fast runners.  But during that game, I was reminded that on any given day, despite all odds, it can be your day to shine, if you don’t give up!

Are you ready to go for it?

Soccer picture


Soccer picture