BLEND MODES

I am one of the photoshop users that has learned what they know by playing around with the program. That being said, I have been learning that the look of an item can be dramatically altered. The image below is one I recently did where I received multiple comments asking how the look was achieved. I will briefly touch on a few areas to give you a starting point in which you can try this on your own.

Old Poway Park

I began with the photo. I also had some new supplies that I figured I would probably use by Anna Aspnes of oscraps. Her new kit ArtPlay Palette Autumn Haze gave me the inspiration as it had some great earthy tones, along with graphics of leaves that I thought would work well. I knew I wanted to place this photo on a clipping mask, but knew little more than that. I began my page with a simple background paper, place the clipping mask, and then the photo. I began with a neutral color, just knowing I wanted the linen texture and the slight wrinkles to show, but I usually start neutral, and then either change this neutral paper to work well with a color in the photo, or pull in another paper I find as I am working that I think works well.
Fig. 1I played around with colors for a bit to try to zero in on what background color I should use, and ended up with an olive greenish color. This was obtained by adding a dark olive-green on top of the beige, and changing the opacity of that until I was pleased. I then pulled some elements from Anna’s Autumn Haze kit, and her Sampler No. 1 kit and tucked them under the clipping mask. Thinking that I would like to somehow frame the photo I decided I would take one of Anna’s edge overlays, and scale it such that they framed the photo. I added another edge overlay to the outer most edge of the page. I knew I wanted the inner frame to be dark, but I decided to make the outer overlay a lighter color to start.
Fig. 2Things were coming along, but I felt it needed more grunge throughout the entire page as well as more along the edge. I next added another paper on top of everything. The paper was from Anna’s Sampler No 2. I could see in this paper that it had some slight grunge properties to it, but I make this grunge more extreme by using curves in Photoshop. At this point I started playing around with blend modes. Although my intent was not to have this paper affect the photo itself, I mistakenly placed it above the photo, and after I decided the blend mode “multiply” gave it a very grungy look. I put this sheet at 56% opacity as well. Under this layer I added a few more overlays to both the outer edge and 2 more to the photo itself, as I felt the single frame was not enough. I added quite a few little brushes around the outside as well as some text brushes. Some of these brushes were changed by using blend modes, others by just changing the opacity, and still others were modified by using the hue/saturation of the element. The images below show the page with the paper blended above all the page elements, and the second image is what it looks like with the blended paper hidden. You can see how it dramatically changes the feel of the page. I actually like both versions, but I liked the feel of the page with the added grunge, as it just seemed to give the page a magical feel to it.


I played around with all the brushes I added to the corners and edges, and found that some looked better above or below others. The colors of these brushes were modified so that the final color of the brush was one pulled from the photo.

I decided I would add a line of brown stitching to reinforce the frames made by the overlays. I like to title and date all pages, so after playing around with different font possibilities, I ended up using VNI-Thufap1 for both the title and date in the lower left. I am a big lover of the look of repeated elements, and chose pearls from Anna’s ArtPlay Palette Barren Sunrise, added a custom shadow, and made sure they were placed above the grunged blended paper overlay. I also pulled a butterfly epoxy element from Anna’s Find My Way Brads, and placed that with the cluster of leaves in the lower right of the photo. This element I chose to be under the grunged paper, causing the element to look more aged than it was. I also added one of Anna’s dotted loopdaloop, as I love to sneak them into my pages. I tweaked all elements if necessary by either decreasing saturation, or opacity, or blend mode until I felt everything worked together. Prior to publishing, I duplicated the grunged paper overlay, changed it’s opacity to about 20%, thus adding a bit extra grunge to the entire page, but decided to eliminate that grunge from the sky in the photo. I did this by added a layer mask, and painting out the grunge from the sky area. I did not include in my description all items used, so if you need to, the top image is linked to my gallery.

If you have never worked with blend modes, changing the opacity of an element, or changing hues and saturation of elements, you might want to play around with them are they are very versatile and can dramatically change the look of a layout.

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