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Hi, I'm Cyndi, and I've been writing and updating  Mixed Media Artist since 2005.  If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come tr...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Black and white conversion methods with Photoshop

Most photo-editing probably has a desaturate button, or maybe even a grayscale mode. These remove the color and also the life from a photo. Photoshop had a wonderful conversion method in the Channel Mixer: you’d add an adjustment layer, tick the monochrome box, and slide your green and blue sliders up to total about 100. Red would stay down around 0 so that you wouldn’t be adding unwanted noise to your print. Here’s what you’d get:

would become…


Not too bad, but still kind of dull.

The new Black and White dialog box is used in an adjustment layer. Here’s how it works:

1. Open your image and duplicate it.

2. Click the Adjustment Layer icon and select Black & White. Click on the auto settings. It’s already better than what I did using the Channel Mixer!! But it can be tweaked quite a bit more.

3. You can play with the sliders by color if you want, but here’s the really fun part: click and hold right on the image itself in any area you want to adjust and you’ll get a scrubby slider. You can make your adjustments much more intuitively this way. If you don’t like what you’ve done, the alt key will turn the Cancel button into “Reset”.

4. There is also a tint checkbox which will allow you to add sepia or other toning right in the same step. There’s a time-saver!

5. Click the Adjustment Layer icon again and select Curves. Place a point to preserve your shadows, lower the highlight point if needed, and tweak the curves until you’re happy.

I lost the mid-ground trees using this method. I’m sure I could recover them if I cared, but the contrast and life in the print is so much better than any other method that I’ve tried…I just need to play with it some more. What a pleasure that will be!

Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Making textured collage papers (part 2)


1. This time use a sheet of foil for your background! Wrinkle it and spread it back out without pressing out the wrinkles.
2. Use Golden’s GAC 100 as the acrylic medium that you mix with your paints. Do not use any water! This will eventually cause the paint to peel away from the foil. Use only heavy-bodied tube acrylics, mixed with the GAC 100.
3. Paint with Quinacridone Gold and Lumiere’s Bright Gold.




1. The piece on the left uses a strip of watercolor paper and two smaller strips of corrugated paper. Use polymer medium to attach the corrugated pieces.
2. Brush more polymer medium over top. Sponge with Quinacridone Crimson and Quinacridone Violet. Use stencils or stamps with Dioxazine Purple.
3. Apply Metallic Bronze with a small dry brush.
4. For the piece on the right, apply strips of masking tape unevenly to the surface of a piece of watercolor paper.
5. Paint with Dioxazine Purple and Permanent Violet Dark. Dry thoroughly.
6. Stamp Quinacridone Red dots through scrim, or apply dots with a paintbrush.
7. Apply Hansa Yellow Opaque on the raised portions of some corrugated paper and stamp the piece.


Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Making textured collage papers (part 1)

Here are three background paper techniques for you to try out next time you've got an hour or so free. You’ll notice that I was using and reusing the same colors over and over, and sticking largely within the same color family. The reason for this is that I wanted to have a slew of papers that would all work together for some upcoming projects I have planned.



1. Use a sheet of 140 lb watercolor paper. Apply extra heavy gel medium unevenly with your hands.
2. Stamp in texture with a large stamp and let dry (or use a heat gun).
3. Give it a light glaze of Quinacridone Gold acrylic.
4. Sponge lightly with Permanent Violet Dark, Quinacridone Violet, and Citrine. Repeat with colors as many times as desired.



1. Use a sheet of canvas paper and cover it unevenly with cheesecloth.
2. Press polymer medium through the cheesecloth to adhere it to the canvas. Dry thoroughly.
3. Paint it with Quinacridone Red and Metallic Bronze.
4. Sponge with Quinacridone Violet, very dilue Dioxazine Purple, and Metallic Bronze.
5. Before the paints dry, work gold mica flakes into the surface.




1. The paper on the left is watercolor paper topped with a dryer sheet. Allow it to wrinkle and adhere it with polymer medium.
2. Paint with Hansa Yellow Opaque, Quinacridone Gold, Dioxazine Purple, Magenta, and Interference Violet.
3. The paper on the right is also watercolor paper that has extra heavy gel medium applied by hand. Press into the medium with bubble wrap before it dries. Dry thoroughly.
4. Paint with Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Dark Violet, and Metallic Bronze.


Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Pop art with Photoshop



One of the nice things about this technique is that you don’t have to have a really high-resolution image to start with. Since most of the detail is purposely lost, you can start with something less than ideal for a print. You can play around with color too: although Nate’s eyes look blue in the original photo, they are really turquoise green-blue, so I picked a closer color match and changed his shirt to play up that color.

1. Duplicate the image, desaturate, and duplicate again.

2. Invert the duplicated black and white image, and apply the Color Dodge blending mode.

3. Add a small Gaussian blur, and touch up the background or any other part of the image that needs it.

4. Add a new layer for each new color and use the Multiply blending mode.

5. Select the face in the first color layer to add red. As you progress through the next steps, do not lose this selection in the history path!

6. Choose red as your foreground and white as the background, and paint the face selection.

7. Adjust the Threshold by dragging the slider to the right just until the red part turns all white.

8. Choose the Halftone filter in a dot pattern and adjust the size until it suits the image. Erase dots from features or any other areas that don’t need them.

9. Select the inverse selection, and paint the hair and clothes and eyes on a separate layer for each color. Use the Multiply blending mode.

10. Adjust the dots if needed by selecting them and filling their borders with white. Vary the opacity until you get the look you want.


Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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