As I have been distracted by being quite literally chained to my desk, I decided to return to outer space for a tutorial as I didn’t have an image in mind to start out with.  It’s a variation on a theme I’ve already explored, only this time using a photograph of clouds rather than generating clouds using Photoshop filters.

My results?


I wanted a green nebula, but as you can see it doesn’t work quite as well as the blue.  The advantage of this, however, is that I can there are plenty of stock photos of clouds or similar patterns that can be used to give the nebula a specific desired effect.  Or, in a pinch, I can always go out and take my own cloud photos.  Those taken during a lightning storm could yield interesting results.


Album Cover – Splatter

A friend fancies himself a musician, and asked me to consider making an album cover for him.  With that in mind, I decided to try this tutorial.

Since I don’t actually have a decent picture yet of his band performing, I used this stock from BeckyStock on DA.

My results?


In retrospect, I should have gone with picture that showed more animation and brighter colors.  It’s a good image, just not right for this particular project.


Today I’m going back to just playing with special effects.  In my undersea work, and for that matter some of my space work, there is the need for bubbles / gobs of molten stuff.  Thus, I went with this tutorial.

My results?


Nice, crisp, clean, and exactly as advertised.

Vintage Photo

After a break from Photoshop, it’s time to play again.  In the story I’m working on, a couple of old photographs play an important role in the plot, and my cover design will eventually involve said photographs.  Thus, I decided to use this tutorial.

My stock came from the wonderful Malleni-Stock on DA.  My results?


Nice effect, good patina.  I think if I redo the project, I may add some coffee stain like marks or other ‘damage’.


I have a composition in mind, but I want the finished results to have a watercolor feel to them.  Thus, I decided to try this tutorial.

My stock image came from Deviant Art, courtesy of GraySho.   Go check out his gallery, he has a lot of nice work.

My results?  11.10---Watercolor

Nicely surreal, but I think I should have used the clone tool or some adjustments to fix the bits of lens flare.  The purple bits kind of stand out on the rock.   Still, a much, much better result than simply using Photoshop’s ‘watercolor’ filter.

Fiery Planet with Explosive Nebula

Back into space once more.  At some point, the heroes are going to need to walk…  okay, fly… casually away from an explosion without looking.  For that, we will need an explosion.  I went with this tutorial.

My results?


I did play with the hue/saturation and other effects, but since I wanted an actual planetary explosion, I stuck with the above.  However, it is easy to modify the effects, as you can see.


Photoshop: Eclipse

We’ve doomed everyone with asteroids and comets, but I don’t feel we’ve provided enough foreboding omens, do you?  Let’s go ahead and blot out the sun.  This tutorial is in two parts.  Part one:

My results?


I think the lens flare is still a little much and would dial it back a bit, or use a lens flare brush instead of the render option.  I also don’t care for the hot spots, but I think that’s just me rather than a problem with the concept.  I tried to do a small one and a big one to see the distinction, and I think the small one looks fine but the big one is kind of messy.

On to part two:

My results?


Now, I started this for an eclipse, but as I got to this point I couldn’t help but think that this would be an absolutely awesome effect to use for someone’s eyes.  Especially my characters of Khait and Laura/Erilon.  I will definitely be playing with this some more.

Photoshop – Glossy Text

I didn’t have a lot of time today for Photoshop, so I went with a relatively simple tutorial.   I will say that I have been consistently impressed with the quality of tutorials from Blue Lightning TV and if you are trying to learn Photoshop I recommend their channel.

That said, I did just update to Adobe Photoshop 2018 and that came complete with a fun little bug.  Namely – I couldn’t render a frame.  There do appear to be some work-arounds and bug fixes for that, but as I said, it was a busy day so I just went with an alternative.

My results?


I’ve added this to my growing collection of blog headers.

Photoshop: Geometric Designs

Normally, for work like this, I would go into Illustrator or some other vector based program and work from there.  However, for some things, like a quick logo on a ship’s fin in a space dog-fighting scene, that might be more work than is necessary.  Small, simple designs like that are within Photoshop’s ability to handle.  Thus, I’m using this tutorial.

Rather than post a lot of images, I used layer masks to show some effects side by side.  I’ve used zig-zag, wave, and ripple filters after using the extrude filter.  The extrude filter has two options.  Blocks:


And pyramids:


You can play with gradients to get different ‘layering’ effects, and use masks and overlap filters to get even more effects.  Have fun.

Photoshop: Camouflage or Ghost effect

Sticking with modifying human figures for the time being.  This effect is intended to create a predator like camouflage effect, though after seeing the results, I think it might work just as well for creating ghosts.  I used this tutorial.

For my stock, I used Tecumseh Stock 12 by mountainsidestock for the background.  And when it comes to the image, I feel I would be doing all of my fellow writers a disservice if I did not show them the cover art perfection that is Jason Aaron Baca.

My results?


Makes a nice haunting effect that could be easily composited into another image.

Photoshop: Halftone portrait

After creating the double exposure portrait, I decided to explore a few more things you can do with portraits in Photoshop.  That led me to this tutorial.  This tutorial involves copy-pasting things into layer masks to get the textures you want, though I’ll note that similar effects can be created with brushes.  The effect also used multiple filters and layers.

I used this image from BirdsistersStock on DA, and the patterns and textures recommended by the tutorial.

My results?


Note: I didn’t mess with the vibrancy anywhere near as much as the tutorial recommended.  I set mine at 25, and as you can see that was fairly sufficient.  More looked rather cartoonish with this image.

Learning Photoshop: Day 24 – Smoke

I’m starting to play with dispersion effects.  Today, I went with smoke, using this tutorial.  The dispersion effect is basically created via making a layer black and white, using a mask, and then using interesting brushes to create the dispersion effect.  The guy on the tutorial doesn’t have a great microphone and is hard to understand in places.

My stock again came from Deviant Art, this time from KeysInMind.   My results?