Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Photoshop Blending Modes

A simple technique that can produce some interesting results. I'm demonstrating this to my Level 2 group this afternoon.

Blend Modes

Open an image, here I’m using a high contrast back and white portrait of British recording artist Sophie Ellis Bextor 

(image c/o Galleryhip)
Place a new image on another layer. Copy and paste or File>Place…

I am using a textured Union Jack flag 

(image c/o

Resize the image, if you want to constraint the proportions hold the shift key. Hit return or the tick button to commit to the changes.

Ensure you have selected the top layer.

Just above the layers is the Blending Mode options drop down list, it is default set to normal. 

This set of blend modes adjust the selected layer to allow parts of the image to become transparent or to allow certain areas to be blended with the layer below.

Texture scaled to fit

There are a number of different blend options. This is Darken.

Blend Mode: Darken
This is Screen

Blend Mode: Screen
This is Divide

Blend Mode: Divide

Lets see what happens when we switch the layers and apply this divide blend mode to the portraits. So firstly, move the portrait to become the top layer.

Move: Portrait to Top

Delete our blank background layer.

Delete: Background Layer
Apply the Divide blend to the portrait (top) layer. Notice the different effect it produces.

Blend Mode: Divide, Portrait on top layer

Now, play with the blend modes. Save four different versions and compare. Ensure you note down what layers were used and what blend modes were applied!

Fab explanation of what/how the blend modes do:

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Creating a repeated pattern

So we do this in Photoshop, tiling (tutorial coming soon) but here is a great #skillshare video showing how to do it by hand. A great share, thank you Skillshare

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Papercuts - Framing tips - Superglue

Did you know that superglue is used in forensic investigations? It's true. Husband watches far to many programs on the Crime and Investigation channel, this is how i know this. The fumes of superglue fog up and adhere to blemishes and grease spots on an object and can help lift fingerprints. See here if you want to give it a go.

I also know this from personal experience. I glue most of my pieces with thick superglue and on occasions I have hastily framed a newly finished piece. The result, foggy glass.

Not a disaster as the powder can simply be wiped off with a rag and polished away.

But I would recommend, to save you the bother, leave for at least an hour, overnight if possible before framing your cut.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Meet Sakura - revisiting an old friend and tackling infills

Meet Sakura
A business assosiate of Rob's (husband), a lovely lady who helped me with some HR advice last year, commissioned me to produce a papercut version of a digital illustration that I made for Heidi's nursery in 2013.

The design never considered the closed paths that papercutting requires so there was a wee bit of adjustment but overall I am very happy with the cut. In fact it's my new favourite. I was always fond of the illustration but it was a little crude, I am not master of Illustrator and my formal graphic design training was minimal.

I cut the design from a piece of 160gsm smooth white card, as a negative cut, removing all sections of detail rather than cutting away the negative space. The blossoms were infilled with pink 120gsm paper and rather than struggling with my cocktail stick and wanderlustful superglue, I secured the infills with slivers of masking tape. (thank you to Paper Panda and By Charlie's Hand for that revelation! and seriously join the Papercutting groups on facebook, an education and social life rolled into one!)

I then superglued my firm favourite, kraft card, to the back of the piece, dotting superglue over the masking tape slivers too for extra security.

Client wants to piece mounted so her friend can chose her own frame.

Here are the pictures of the original print, through to completed conversion into cut. Links to papercutting groups at the bottom.

Sakura Digital Illustration available as print only £4

Negative cut Sakura - cherry blossom
Infills, secured with masking tape 
Detail of negative cuts
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