Flypaper Textures


Make-over winner!

This week a texture contest came to an end over at our friends site; Elizabeth We’d like to thank all who entered and add that picking a winner was very difficult.
I think, finally it was the mist we liked in this winning farm scene by Christopher Miller featuring his own farmhouse/barn in the US.
Simply mouse-over to view his raw entry.

Processing blown-out skies is always a problem, what do you do?
This image is also very bottom heavy, so we tried to bring some balance, pulling it together with heavy texturing.

Normally texturing isn’t as complicated as we’re showing here, and also, we don’t usually use as many textures, perhaps up to three is normal?
But I wasn’t happy with my first attempt (see below) So I tried again, the result is the second yellow image below.
Finally, we decided we liked the atmosphere of the first, but loved the yellow glow of the second, so I simply merged to two images together!
The final result is the mouse-over image at the header.

I always process using Photoshop CS4, though any previous Photoshop would work just as well as the Elements edition.

First stage
Here is the recipe for the first base image:
Background copy 2 – Luminosity @ 28%
Background copy 3 (grass brushed away) – Color @ 100%
Apple Blush (center only) – Darker Color @ 30%
Dangerous Liaisons – Overlay @ 66%
Orient Express (blurred) – Soft Light @ 100%
Ming (desaturated) – Overlay @ 100%
Background copy 5 (grass brushed away) – Hue @ 100%
Background copy 4 (grass brushed away) – Color @ 45%
Labyrinth (hedge brushed away) Linear Burn @ 82%
Labyrinth (Desaturated, blurred, all darker base part of picture brushed away) Color @ 81%

first layers

The result, a washed out dark version

It needed more light so I did another version…

Here is the recipe for the second lighter version.
Background copy – Normal @ 100%
Background copy 2 – Luminosity @ 28%
Apple Blush (desaturated) – Multiply @ 33%
Dangerous Liaisons (full blur) – Hard Light @ 58%
Muscatel – Soft Light @ 31%
Labyrinth (Blurred, edges pulled away from the picture, using the pale inside part only) – Vivid Light @ 40%

2nd set

This is the result, a pale yellow version.

In this third, final stage I simply merged to two previous versions together as shown..
First base image – Normal @ 100%
2nd lighter version – Overlay @ 31 %

3rd set

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The Sheep and the Rock

This was taken when I was away on holiday almost a month ago. We decided to explore some of the countryside around the little town of Cheviot where we were staying for a day or so and we ended up on a road leading high into the hills. It started as an ordinary country (gravel) road but soon turned into a grassy farm track and at times we wondered if we were lost, but after an hour or so of back road driving and many gates we came out where we were supposed to, at a valley on the other side of the hills.
Canterbury sheep seem to be much better trained than Otago ones, they stand still beautifully for photos and are very cooperative when it comes to composition too 🙂

Now the processing….to start with I used Paul’s painterly effect (the before version has already had the effect applied. Then it was texture time
Chlorophyll @ multiply 61% desaturated and the texture removed from the lower portion
Apple Blush @ Soft Light 51%
Necropolis @ Overlay 85% with much of the texture removed from the sky
Necropolis @ Soft Light 34% with the some of the texture removed from the land
Then after a final tweak of tone and contrast using levels and curves adjustments I called it done.
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les visiteurs

Captured from the hip on my way up to the spectacular bell-view, previously photographed many times, next door to the cathedral,
which can just be glimpsed at the top, behind the end house.
I spent hours removing the electrical clutter, mostly from the right hand side of the lane and the horrible council bins behind the people.
This lane is normally littered with restaurant tables, I even once saw a rather ‘merry’ Mayor of London eating at this very same lane, I’m not saying which though!

I decided to paint over the couple and turn them into snappy silhouettes! I did this before adding these textures;

Raw Linen, (blurred) Vivid Light @ 34%
Caramel soft (blurred) Overlay @ 100%
Labyrinth (blurred) Soft Light @ 18%
Base Image copy – Luminosity @ 10%
Merge all.
To get the Blue/Green tones, I made a green version and a blue version, I merged together and thought, this needs more texture!
So, I added a final extra copy of:
Labyrinth – Overlay @ 87%
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New Dawn

One from a while back when my roses were in full bloom, there are still some late season flowers but summer is gone for another year.
The soft pink of the New Dawn rose and a blue sponge-ware jug are a great combination in my eyes!
I decided to process this softly…I couldn’t really do anything else.
Archival Canvas @ Soft light 68%
Peach Blush@ Hard Light 73 % desaturated slightly
Peach blush @ Colour Burn 40% with some of the texture removed from the focus flowers
Dark Blue colour layer @ Exclusion 70%
Curves layer to tweak tone etc.
See it on Flickr
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Plums on white

A slightly different starting photo and slightly different processing.
I’m enjoying playing with photos in this soft desaturated style and have discovered after many failures that choice of subject and background are very important and likewise light, soft indirect light seems to give the best results.
After much playing with textures, I think I’ve come up with a winning combination:-)

I duplicated the background to start with.
Using a Hue Saturation layer I reduced the saturation a touch.
Burnished Clay @ Hardlight 68%
Sail cloth @ Overlay 55%
Sail cloth @ screen 7% (this layer probably could have been omitted)
Gosgrain @ screen 54 % desaturated to taste. I started off having this layer toned blue to give the finished image a slight blue hue but changed my mind at the last moment and opted for just slightly desaturating the green of the texture. A touch of texture was removed from the focus fruit.

….and yes, that’s a cup ring you see on the original background (a piece of cardboard), textures are so good at covering up such things 🙂

The above processing is very similar to what I used on my recent stone and bowl image on flickr.
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the scary bit

On rediscovering my Thailand vacation pictures from last year,
I still find the odd thing to process.
This was shot in Portrait format, on a fast speedboat launch in poor early morning light, thus unfortunately most shots from this batch suffer from a little camera shake and were abandoned.
The rocks were very yellow, so to get around this, I simply added a final B/W base image layer to finish off the image.
It gives a cool modern look to the finished imagery.
I’m sure that if the James Bond franchise were to re-visit their famous nearby Kho Phi Phi islands used in ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’,
would they be using this kind of desaturated filming, perhaps with a green filter?

Apple Blush – Soft Light @ 100%
Dangerous Liaisons – Multiply @ 30%
Base Image – Soft Light @ 31%
Base Image (totally desaturated) – Normal @ 45%

If you look closely at the flickr version you’ll see I removed a boat!
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We have a self sown plum tree in our garden it produces fairly tangy, yellow fleshed plums with dark purple skins, in fact they look a bit like the Grand Duke plums that grew in the orchard on the farm where I grew up. Unfortunately our tree doesn’t crop very well so I try not to let the plums go to waste, after I’d taken these photos I turned the fruit into plum sauce. The recipe I use is one my grandmother used to make; don’t you love old family recipes like this?.With these plums it makes a wonderful dark red, tangy sauce.

Grandma’s Plum Sauce

6 lb plums (I remove the stones to make the sieving easier at the end)
2 lb onions
3 lb sugar
3 pints vinegar (I use malt vinegar)
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cloves
pinch of cayenne

Boil all together till soft, then put through a sieve or mouli/food mill. Bottle in clean hot jars.
Use as a condiment and also in cooking, it’s great in marinades, casseroles etc.

Now the texture recipe!

Peach blush @ screen 35%
Backdrop @ multiply 72% desaturated to taste
Hue saturation layer remove most of the colour.
Dark blue colour layer @ screen 26%
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hydrangea resting on a stool

Continuing in a pale Dutch mood, this image was post processed in almost the same simple way as the last pears image, but omitting the muscatel texture.
The stripped Stool is originally antique English country furniture.

Lime Plaster (flipped vertically) Hard Light @ 50%
Lime Plaster (flipped vertically and brushed from flowers) Hard Light @ 12%
Ming (slightly desaturated) Soft Light @ 100%
Base image copy – Soft Light 52%
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The Road

This was taken while I was on holiday just last week on a very hot and dry North Canterbury day as we ventured high into the hills looking for a river. It’s beautiful countryside with rolling brown hills, the occasional tree and white roads thanks to the local limestone. The river, when we found it was a wonderful blue but it was so hot down there in the sheltered and almost treeless valley that we didn’t linger.

I had a lovely and relaxing holiday, the weather was perfect and I saw lots of new places, it’s good to be back though 🙂

After doing some rough cloning in of the sky to make my photo square, I processed this as follows using textures from both packs.
Peach Blush @ Colour Burn 23%
Leaden Hall @ Saturation 51% and removed a little from the sky (a strange choice of blending mode for this texture but it muted the colours subtly)
Necropolis @ Overlay 53% (desaturated a little)
Copy of background @ Overlay 20%
Pompeii Stucco @ Overlay 75% (this gave the vignette)
Muscatel @ Multiply 72 % desaturated and with the texture removed from the upper portions of the image using a graduated layer mask
Peach Blush @ Overlay 44% desaturated a little

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nature morte

Firstly, I must fess-up, I’m not too used to still-life set-ups,
as they’re a bit of a new thing for me.
But knowing those few basics about three being better than two
and five being better than four objects, gets you into the right arrondissement of Nature Morte! Don’t ask me why, I suppose seeing odd numbers disturbs the eye a little more than seeing evenly grouped numbers of objects?
More disturbance is obtained by placing the whole set-up, off-center.
Shot in my little French house’s top north facing room with reflected sunlight in raw.

Again, very simply processed. I used the most basic of painterly effects first, being just a slight noise reduction in the filters.
And then the following textures;

Ming – Hard Light @ 61%
Base image – desaturated – Soft Light @ 32%
Muscatel – Soft Light @ 61%
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