Gelli Arts Print Rescues a Sketch

August 24, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts, Photoshop Posts by Ursula Smith

For those who know me, you know that I have been trying to learn to draw, especially faces, for the past couple of years. It is my goal to be able to one day draw my Grandchildren, so I have some time to get better :-) . There have been a few times when I have drawn something that actually resembles someone –



That sketch took me probably an hour in total. Lately I have trying to do faster sketches in conjunction with some of the online Art classes I have been taking. I sketched this in about 5 minutes…

Fast sketch

Fast sketch

As you can tell, I am even worse at bodies than I am at faces, ;-) . I decided to try to do something with this girl though, and so I brought her into Photoshop along with this cool Gelli Arts print that I made. If anything can salvage a sketch, it’s a Gelli Arts print, right? :-)

Gelli Arts Leaf Over Print

Gelli Arts Leaf Over Print

I played around with some blend modes and such, and my sketch started looking even freakier still-

Gelli-Arts Photoshop Face

Gelli-Arts Photoshop Face


My husband was walking by the computer at the time, and I asked, “Can you look at this?”. He looked at the image, then he looked at me with this quizzical look. It was akin to when your Mother puts her hand on your forehead when you were a kid to check whether you were feeling ok :-) . So, clearly he was not a fan!  I was just about to give up, close the window and move on to something else for this week’s project when I stopped. The window was zoomed in and just one of the corners caught my eye. A crop and a cut and paste later, and here is the result..

Gelli Arts Leaf  Print

Gelli Arts Leaf Print

This one got a nod from my husband, and an almost audible sigh of relief that I wan’t going mad! So, remember even a crop of a Gelli Arts print can save the day!!


Gelli Arts Hand-y work

May 23, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts, Photoshop Posts by Ursula Smith

I know folks have used their Gelli Arts printing plate to print on a LOT of things, but after my last play session, I happened to glance down at my gloves. They were so cool looking! Here is what it looked like…

Gelli Arts Printed Hand start

Gelli Arts Printed Hand start

I decided to bring it into Photoshop and play around with it, until I arrived at something like this…

Gelli Arts Printed Hand

Gelli Arts Printed Hand

I liked it so much, I decided to add it in as design for a new set of Moo stickers that I use for the backs of my ATCs for a group I belong to…

Gelli Arts Printed Hand Sticker

Gelli Arts Printed Hand Sticker

I know, I know- it is bad enough that we won’t throw away scraps of paper, now we have to save gloves? Or you can just scan in your Hand-y work instead :).

Another Gelli Art Print with Photoshop

April 23, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts, Photoshop Posts by Ursula Smith

Hello friends! I just designed a pile of stencils and stamps, and while I was waiting for the stencils to be made, I decided to cut a couple on my Black Cat Cougar cutting machine and test them out. I pulled out my trusty Gelli Arts Printing plate, and pulled some of the new Golden Inks that I had just ordered. I only had a few colors, and one of them was green which I usually am not a huge fan of. I didn’t even remember ordering that color, but it was only a small bottle so maybe I was trying to get myself to branch out?

Anyhow, I had a pretty successful session, and came away with quite a few prints. I really liked the Golden inks. They are VERY fluid!! The way I liked them best was mixed with some of the normal Golden paints. Maybe 1-2 colors of paint and 1-2 colors of the ink seemed to be about the right mix. The prints with all inks are very juicy as you will see in one of the examples below.

Here was one of the prints with mostly ink. You can see lines where the ink pooled around the stencil…

Gelli Art Photoshop First Print

Gelli Art Photoshop First Print


I then pulled a second print and liked the background a lot better, but the funky circles didn’t come out as detailed…

Gelli Art Photoshop Original

Gelli Art Photoshop Original


I liked the circles in the first but the background in the second. Not to worry- I could combine them in Photoshop, but the selection might be a bit difficult. I tried a trick and it worked to give me some help to isolate the circles for the mask. First of course, I lined the two prints up on different layers in Photoshop. Then I chose the blend mode of exclusion on one of the layers. This made the background more of a consistent color so I could use the quick selection tool to more easily grab the background. Here is what it looked like in Photoshop:

Gelli Art Photoshop Exclusion

Gelli Art Photoshop Exclusion


Once I made my selection, I changed the blend mode to multiply and hit the mask button on the bottom of the layers panel (it looks sort of like a camera- a rectangle with a circle in the middle). The mask was actually backwards from what I wanted, so I clicked on the mask in the layers panel and used Ctrl-I in order to invert the mask.

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final


I played around with opacity and arrived at the final print…

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

The final print has the best of both original prints- the background I liked from the second with the more detailed circles from the first! Give it a shot yourself!

And now I really like that green color, so I am going to need to order a bigger bottle ;)

Sanded Frame in Photoshop

September 6, 2013 in Digital Related Posts, Photoshop Posts, Video Posts by Ursula Smith

Building on a couple of previous posts, today I have a quick video tutorial on how to take a picture that is sanded and use it in Photoshop to create a custom brush. I made it easy on myself by starting out with a print that was a solid color. Then I sanded it and scanned that back into the computer. I brought it into Photoshop and worked with it in a couple of ways and this video shows how…

I have done this same process with other sanded photos- it just takes a bit more work to isolate the sanding. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to use a sanded photo in Photoshop! Enjoy!

Photoshop Color and Pattern to our Glamour Girl

May 24, 2013 in Digital Related Posts, Photoshop Posts by Ursula Smith

Well now that we have the shape of the drawing looking a bit better, it is time to have some fun! The drawing is still in black and white, but I wanted some color. And texture. So I took one of the prints from one of my Gelli Art Printing Plate sessions and brought that into Photoshop as another layer. Since that layer at this point would be sitting on top of the drawing, in the stack of  layers, you can’t see the drawing now. However, we can fix that with something called “Blend Modes”.

If you look to the top right of your layer’s palette, you could change the Opacity of the texture layer and you would then be able to see through the top layer to the image of the drawing below. This can sometimes work depending on the look you are going for. It is the equivalent of using vellum, or tracing paper, or tissue paper on a collaged piece. If that top paper is translucent enough, you can see the layers underneath. However there is a better way.

If you look to the top left of the layer’s palette, you will see a pulldown, that by default is set to “Normal”. This is a list of blending modes, and they determine how that layer, that you have selected at the time, will interact with the layer(s) underneath. There a lots of folks who understand the mathematical calculations of how black, white and colors will interact, but I am not one of them (sorry, Dad!). I usually just scroll through the different choices to see what things look like in the different modes. As I have mentioned in another post, if I know I want to lighten something, I will usually use lighten or screen mode, and I will use darken or multiply for a darkening effect. However, there are lots of other modes including ones that reverse colors, and so you can get some surprising and cool effects as you wander through the list of blend mode choices. It is especially interesting when you have 2 layers that both have colors and patterns.

In this case, I used a blend mode of  Overlay. Actually, I used a my Gelli Art prints a couple of times, and some used other blend modes like lighten and darken, and some of these layers were masked to only interact with certain portions of the drawing. See more about this later.

I then decided that I wanted to black out some of the space behind the girl. A quick way to do this is to use the Ctrl key (command on a Mac), and click on the layer with the subject, in my case the girl. NOTE: I had no background around the girl’s head at this point so this trick will work: when you control click on a layer, it will select the non-transparent areas of your layer. In this case, it selected the girl’s head. Since I really wanted to select the background, I used Select->Inverse (shortcut is Ctrl-I) to change the selection to the opposite, which is the space surrounding the girl’s head.

Then, I used an adjustment layer of Solid Color, and chose black as the color. The Solid Color adjustment layer will create a new layer filled with the color black, but in this case, the girl, which is not selected, will be masked out. So, only the background is covered with black- the girl is left looking like she did before the adjustment. Remember that Adjustment layers are found at the bottom of the layers palette, and the icon looks like a half black/ half white circle.

When you choose an adjustment layer, a layer mask is automatically created for you in that adjustment layer. It will show up as a rectangular thumbnail, next to the thumbnail of the actual layer image, in the layers palette. Usually it is all white, allowing the adjustment to be seen/applied through to the layers below it. However, if you have a selection at the time, when you choose to create an adjustment layer, only the area that is selected at the time will be filled with white. The rest will be filled with black, and just like black paper, you can’t see through it, so the adjustment will not show in the non-selected portion.

Photoshop Glamour Girl Multiply

Photoshop Glamour Girl Fill With Black Multiply Blend Mode


You can also use layer masks directly on a “normal” layer (as opposed to an adjustment layer), in order to hide some of that layer. If you choose a layer in the layer’s palette, and select a portion of that layer, you can then choose the button to create a layer mask. The layer mask will show up as a rectangular thumbnail, next to the thumbnail of the actual layer image, in the layers palette. The “Create Layer Mask” button is down at the bottom of the layers palette, and it looks like a square with circle in the middle of it. Now when you click on the “Create Layer Mask” button, only the area that is selected at the time will be filled with white in the mask. The rest will be filled with black, and just like black paper, you can’t see through it. So the portion of the layer that was not selected, and has the mask filled with black, will not be visible. Unless you delete the layer mask, or paint with white over the black portions of the mask. Then those portions of the layer will be visible again. This is a nice way of “removing” a portion of an image in a layer, without actually deleting the pixels. So if you want some or all of that image back, you can either paint with white on the mask, and that will reveal the hidden portion or remove the mask entirely to show that entire layer again. Just make sure that you have clicked on the layer mask thumbnail in the layers pallete, if you want to paint on the mask.

I played with several copies of the Gelli Art print and sometimes I used layer masks to only show portions of that particular layer. I used different blending modes to lighten the texture over the girl’s face, and overlay or multiply in other areas.

Photoshop Glamour Girl lighten

Photoshop Glamour Girl With Gelli Arts Print as Background Lighten Blend Mode


Then I added color to her lips and eyes, just like I added black to the background, and just masked off everything in the image except for her lips and eyes respectively. I used some cool eyelash paint brushes  to paint on eyelashes.

Photoshop Glamour Girl with eyelash brushes

Photoshop Glamour Girl Eyelash Brushes


Finally I applied some more textures and colors using more of the darkening blending modes to darken the area surrounding the girl. And I added a photo that I had taken of some Holiday lights to give that sort of “Bokeh” effect. In order to get that shot,  I took the picture at night and first focused on a tissue held in front of the camera. Then I took the tissue away and snapped the picture and it blurred what it thought was the background, which was actually the lights.

More blending, and she was finished. For now ;-).

Photoshop Glamour Girl with bokeh lights

Photoshop Glamour Girl With Bokeh


I love playing with Photoshop with my drawings. I can get some cool effects by combining drawings with Gelli Art prints and photos. The sky is the limit!! Enjoy!

Photoshop Glamour Girl Makeover Highlights,Shadows and Color Fill

May 10, 2013 in Digital Related Posts, Photoshop Posts by Ursula Smith

If you have been following along in this series, I now have the Glamour Girl’s face shape changed to be a little more pleasing, and now I am going to work on adding some shadows and highlights in preparation for adding color and texture. This way, the facial features should come through a little bit better.

Photoshop allows you to work on a photo or image in many ways that are non-destructive to the original image. Chief among these methods are the Adjustment Layers that will let you change contrast, make an image black and white, add color,  change color, and more. Even regular layers themselves enable you to change the look of your image, especially when used in conjunction with Blend Modes. In this post we will examine Blend modes, and generally this is one of the features of Photoshop that I almost always use during a session. In the next post we will look more at Adjustment Layers.

The next step in my makeover is to give the face a little bit more contrast and dimension. I sketched her pretty quickly and didn’t go back to flesh out :)) the shading details.

I create a new layer (either using the Create New Layer button on the very bottom of the layers panel, or by Layer->New->Layer). I change the name to Shadows. I then take the paint brush and using a soft round brush with black as my foreground brush, I paint on the underside of her cheeks, and anywhere else I want to put more definitions in the shadow areas.  I can change the opacity of the layer and/or play around with blend modes.  The opacity slider is on the right near the top of the layer’s pallete. It is normally set to 100%, but if you lower that number, ithe layer will become more transparent, including any effects cause by using blend modes, and the layer(s) beneath will show through more. When using blend modes, a lower opacity will lessen the effect of that blend mode.  In order to change a blend mode of the layer in the layer’s pallete (in this case I was on the layer where I painted the shadows), click on the pull down to the left of the opacity slider that by default has “Normal” as the value. You will see a whole list of different methods to try, and each one will have a different effect of how the current layer will interact with the layers below it.

Blend modes are not something that beginning Photoshoppers will venture to use. But, they are fun and often lead to magical effects that you most often can’t get with “real” art supplies! You can try different blend mode values to see which effect you like. Blend modes allow the top layer to interact with the layer underneath in different ways. Some Blend Modes enhance the dark colors in the image underneath, some do the opposite. Some modes will change the appearance of the colors in the layers. I usually just go through each in turn to see what blend mode I like. Multiply will usually darken the images, while Screen will typically be my choice for lightening an image. Again, you can change the opacity of the layer as well, in order to lessen the effect of the blend mode. In this example case, I used Darken for the shadow layer.

Photoshop Glamour Girl added shadows

Photoshop Glamour Girl After Shadows


You can change the blend mode in many different places within Photoshop to alter the way that, for instance paint, or layer effects like strokes or pattern overlays, interact with the layers below. And yes, you can then also change the blend modes and opacity of the finished layer as well, to alter the interaction with the layers below.

Back to my girl, I then wanted to add some highlights to make her cheeks stand out. I painted with white on a new layer and then played around with blend modes until I got the look I wanted. I ended up using the Soft Light blend mode. I also set the opacity down just a bit. I still wanted the shadows and highlights to stand out a little more because I knew I would be doing some other things on top of this image, and so I wanted to give a bit more structure to the drawing. If I were to use this as is, then I would soften the effects by lowering the opacity on these highlight/shadow layers a bit more.

Photoshop Glamour Girl added highlights in Photoshop

Photoshop Glamour Girl After Highlights

You can also try to duplicate the layer that is blending with the layers beneath it, and blend mode effects quite often are enhanced. For instance, try this- open a photo in Photoshop. Duplicate the later of the Photo, and set the blend mode to “Screen”. Your photo just got lighter. Now duplicate that second layer, and the image will be lighter still.

Finally, I decided too add just a tiny bit more ooompth to the mid tones of the image. To do this, I first tried finding the color gray to paint with, but I had trouble finding the correct gray. Rather than wasting a ton of time, I instead painted with a color and then  threw away the color using Hue/Saturation. You can do this by adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. I will cover Adjustments layers in a different port, so for now let’s just do it the brute force way, which works perfectly fine in this case. Paint over the parts that you want to deepen in any color, I chose red. Then use Image-> Adjustments->Hue/Saturation. Move the Saturation slider down until you get the color gray that you want. Then you can adjust the opacity, and play with the blend modes. The nice thing about Adjustment Layers is that you can go back later to re-adjust the Hue/Saturation. But again, we will talk about in a future post. I brought the opacity way down on this layer so I would be left with just a bit more gray in a few areas.

Photoshop Glamour Girl added mid tones in Photoshop

Photoshop Glamour Girl After Midtones

Next week will will start adding some color!

Photoshop Glamour Girl Makeover Puppet Warp

April 27, 2013 in Digital Related Posts, Photoshop Posts by Ursula Smith

This week is another installment in the progress on the Photoshop girl. I am going to intersperse the next few lessons with other stamping posts, since Mom (who is my most faithful reader ;-) ) doesn’t do Photoshop. But for this week, let’s discuss Puppet Warp.

I’ve talked about Puppet Warp in Photoshop before. I love it for tweaking small sections of my work that are off- usually the eyes, or nose, but sometimes I even use it for the shape of the face. Puppet Warp gives you a little bit better control than the Edit->Transform->Warp tool does. So you can warp small sections of the image while keeping the rest of it intact.

Note that this tool is only available in later versions of Photoshop. If you have earlier versions you won’t have this tool, but you could try the Liquify filter instead, as we discussed last week.

Note that with Puppet Warp, I always copy the image onto a new layer and make edits to that copied layer. Use control-J (command-j on a Mac) or right mouse button click on the layer in the layer’s panel and choose Copy Layer.

When you choose Puppet Warp, you will see your image with a “mesh” overlay- a pile of lines that describe the contours of your image. You can change how many lines you see, or how dense your mesh is, by using the control on the top for Density. The default is normal, but you can choose to use fewer or more points. For tweaking small areas like eyes, I generally change the Density setting to more points.

Photoshop Puppet Warp Mesh Large

PhotoShop Glamour Girl Puppet Warp Large Mesh


Photoshop Puppet Warp Mesh Small

Photoshop Glamour Girl Puppet Warp Mesh Small


Then I usually set points around the whole of my image to keep the outline or general shape intact. You will see this in action- if you don’t set points, once you start moving things parts of your image that you don’t want to change might start moving on you. If that happens, just un-do and go around the outline of your image and set points in the corners and in the middle of each edge.

In Puppet Warp, your cursor will look like a little thumbtack.  To set points just click on the image where you want to put it.  I set points around the perimeter of the image as I described earlier, and then I narrow in and set points around the perimeter of the area I want to move. Often I also set a few points  surrounding that perimeter of what I want to move, so the keep the immediate area outside of the move area intact as well.


Photoshop Puppet Warp Mesh Points

Photoshop Glamour Girl Puppet Warp Points

The next step is to click on the points that you set on the area that you wish to warp. When you click on a point you already set, you then can drag that point to start to warp that portion of the image. My suggestion is that you do a little at a time, so that you can see exactly what is moving and warping, and what may be getting out of whack. You can use ctrl-z (command-z on a mac) to undo one move, but if you move things to fast and realize that two steps ago you may have moved a section too much, then you will need to cancel and start over.

I use the Puppet Warp command to edit small areas of my image that need fine tuning, where the regular Warp command doesn’t work, or where I need a bit greater control than I can get with the Liquify brush. Give it a try and see what you can do with the Puppet Warp command!

It appears as if I blew away the sample of the girl after Puppet Warp, but here are two quick examples of before and after Puppet Warp:


Photoshop Before Puppet Warp

Before Puppet Warp


Photoshop After Puppet Warp

After Puppet Warp

PhotoShop Glamour Girl Makeover Liquify

April 12, 2013 in Digital Related Posts, Photoshop Posts by Ursula Smith

My drawings always tend to come out a little skewed. As I am drawing they seem fine, but then when I step back, or look the next day, I notice that they are off. I used to just move on, or sometimes I would erase and try to fix things, if it wasn’t too bad. Then one day I decided to scan the picture and fix it in PhotoShop. It worked great! So, now I do that with more of my drawings.

One of the first tools I used to use was Edit->Transform->Warp or even better (with newer versions of Photoshop), edit->Puppet Warp. I will talk abot that tool next week, but this week let’s talk about a filter called Liquify. You can find it under Filters->Liquify. I had used the Forward Warp tool before, but I always used a smaller brush. Using the small brush left things bumpy, so I stopped using it for a while.

Then I watched a class taught by Lesley Adler over on Creative Live. She uses a really large brush with the forward warp tool, and for straightening out entire sides of faces, it works a lot better with the larger brush.

Also, with Liquify, there is a tool on the left hand side that allows you to create a Freeze mask on your image. It does just what it sounds like it should do. If you paint on an area outside of what you are trying to warp with the forward warp tool, it will leave that area alone. So you can freeze the surrounding part of your image, while you move the nose, for example, using the forward warp tool. Click on the Freeze Mask button (if you hover over any of the buttons on the left side, you will see a hint as to what that button does). Paint on the area that you wish to freeze. Then switch back to the forward warp button and start to paint and move that section. There is another tool within Liquify that lets you brush over something you have warped in order to restore it back somewhat to the state it was before, that is, it softens the Liquify changes a bit.

Note that with Liquify, I always make a copy of my original layer into a new layer. Use control-J (command-j on a Mac) or right mouse button click on the layer in the layer’s panel and choose Copy Layer.

Here are some images showing the original image, then a picture showing the Liquify filter in action, and finally the results. I was trying to straighten out my girl’s nose and face, and then even give her a more defined jaw and face shape, as if I was doing a glamour makeover.


Photoshop Glamour Girl Original

Photoshop Glamour Girl Original


Photoshop Glamour Girl Using Liquify

Photoshop Glamour Girl Using Liquify


Photoshop Glamour Girl Liquify With Freeze Mask

Photoshop Glamour Girl Liquify With Freeze Mask


Photoshop Glamour Girl After Liquify

Photoshop Glamour Girl After Liquify
Liquify helps me straighten crooked noses, make the face a bit more symmetrical, and jawlines can me made stronger or softer depending on the look I am going for. It is a great first step. Give it a try!
Next in the series- tweaking the features with Puppet Warp!
Page 1 of 41234