Ursula's Digital Mixed-Media
Gelli Arts Print Photoshop Composite Frame

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 ūüėČ ), 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 ;-).

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