An Ode to Influences

Mosaic Door

This image is the result of numerous creative influences – influences that had me exploring and experimenting.

Our work is certainly the result of our own inner creative urges – the forces that drive us to create in the first place. But we are also deeply influenced by the work of others. And those influences can take us in new and exciting directions, if we are willing to listen and absorb their lessons.

First off, I am challenged by the recent work of Kat Sloma. Her smartphone digital paintings are stunning, most notably her combining of geometric shapes with organic tree silhouettes. I don’t have a smartphone so I am unable to play in the same way, via apps. But her work intrigued me and I set out to incorporate some of her ideas in my own work. I remembered reading about a mosaic mask technique in Photoshop User Magazine that I thought might be a good place to begin.

Then I discovered the amazing free textures offered by Pixel Dust Photo Art . And a recent article on the DIY Photography blog reminded me of a new feature in Photoshop CS6 that was waiting for experimentation.

All these bits and pieces combined together, in a creative mish-mash, to produce the image above.

I am so very grateful to all the artistic and imaginative minds willing to share their work and their processes. Your inventive sparks of genius and giving spirits inspire me on a daily basis.

So, in that spirit of sharing, I have provided the technical details below of how this image was constructed.

Passing on the spark – what will you do with it?

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Photoshop Processing Steps (CS6)

Of course, the steps below do not reveal the experimentation that took place as I worked on this image. How I tried different blend modes and opacities. Different color fills and options within the Color Lookup adjustment.  Just trying numerous options until I got the effect I wanted. Most of the time the result is an unexpected and delightful surprise, that moment when everything comes together.

  • Copy the Background to a new layerMosaic-Door-Layers-Palette 1
  • Add a layer between the door copy and the Background. Fill with desired color.
  • Add the light image to the door image as a new layer at the top of the layer stack. Using transform (CTRL-T), size and position as desired.
  • While the light layer is active, go to the Channels Panel. Holding CTRL, click on the Blue Channel thumbnail to the load the white and gray area of the channel as an active selection.
  • Return to the Layers Panel and hide the Light layer by clicking on its Eye icon.
  • Select the layer with the copy of the door. Click the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and a mask will be created based on the active selection. You will now only see the door through the abstract light shape, which is now a layer mask.
  • Click on the layer mask thumbnail to make it active. Go to Filer>Pixelate>Mosaic. Set the cell size based on what effect works best for your image. In this case, I set the size to 140. You can now see the mosaic effect revealing the image. The varied transparency is based on the gray squares that were generated by the filter. You can modify this slightly by applying a Levels adjustment to the layer mask itself, if desired. (Go to Image>Adjustments>Levels and drag the sliders to achieve the desired effect)
  • Set the blend mode of the Color Overlay layer to Linear Dodge
  • Add a Color Lookup adjustment (available in CS6 only), using the LateSunset.3DL color profile. Set opacity to 64%
  • Add the Pixel Dust Nitty Gritty texture, setting the blend mode to overlay

Adapted from Photoshop User Magazine, April/May 2011, “Mosaic Layer Mask Effect” by Corey Barker (page 60-61)

Below are the original images used to create this effect. The door photograph is mine and the light image is from the Media Militia Lighting Effects Pack.

Mosaic Mask Source




Posted on February 14, 2013, in Photoshop and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Great post. Thank you for passing on your influences and process. Love the image you’ve come up with and how you’ve taken these influences and made them your own in this very ‘Brenda’ image. I’m off to have a play and see what sort of ‘Becs’ image I can come up with! Happy Valentine’s day to you. 🙂

    • Becs – I so look forward to seeing what you come up with, as a result of your own play and experimentation. That is one of the wonderful things about the interweb – the opportunity to take in so many different artistic styles and use that as fuel for our own work.

  2. Awesome, awesome, awesome! I knew that you had all of the tools to do this sort of creating, with your Photoshop knowledge. I love the end result. I agree with Becs: It’s a very “Brenda” image in the end but with a new look! I also like that you are sharing how you got there. You know I’m a big fan of that! It’s fun to see how the different creative influences we all have come together, to create something new, something wholly our own. I love that about art!

    • Kat – thanks so much for providing the creative spark to send me off in this direction. I’m still experimenting, still playing. How grateful I am for this wide web of artistic inspiration – inspiration that allows me to explore new paths based on what others have done before me. And then, to pass it along.

  3. I love Kat’s blog and her love of sharing so much with so many. I’m constantly amazed by how the blogging community continues to inspire me to try new things and grow.

    • Kathryn – yes, I’m a big fan of Kat’s work and teaching. And I am constantly grateful for the opportunities to be inspired and challenged by my online community. Isn’t this technology a wonder?

  4. This is a stunning image, Brenda! I love how you took inspiration from Kat and came up with your “creative mish-mash”, although that term doesn’t do this artistic work justice. Thank you for sharing your techniques, it does give me inspiration — I just haven’t had time recently to play around with Photoshop.

    • Gina – I’m glad you liked my creative experimentation. It is still a work in progress but I certainly had fun combining all my latest influences into one package. Be sure to let me know if play with any of these techniques – or if you have any questions – I’d be happy to help out.

  5. Love when you share your steps. It’s great what we can take, borrow, be inspired from in others work. I think our own work is consistenly bending and varying based on what we see. Remembering a feathered friend who only shot in the middle of the day. : )
    Cool door. I’m having trouble making out the mosaic pattern on the door,but I love the swirly lights. Have a great day Brenda.

    • Susan – yes, I’m still experimenting with the mosaic technique, trying to make it more visible. I’m glad my technique steps are helpful – I hope they can actually be followed by someone else. Of course, the real steps of the process aren’t anything like what I wrote – the real process is much more of a stop/change/go back/try that/delete/add circular journey, with many detours along the way. But at least I can share the final result, which may help someone else try something new.

      And yes, I have been greatly influenced along the way by the work of my wonderful online community. The next thing I’m going to try is that down low “Susan” perspective.

  6. Beautiful post! Love your message and the image is gorgeous. Such rich tones. Wow!

    • Juli – for me, this image is an advertisement for the wonders of post-processing. The original door image is rather “blah” and almost went in the trash. But as raw material, it became the base for something else. It is the excitement of possibility that attracts me so strongly – I never know where I will end up. Often, it is a complete dead-end but sometimes, like here, it is a revelation.

  7. This is a wonderful image and great post. I’ve been out of the loop for about six months, I’m back now. I realize how I’ve missed looking at your images, I love your style and subjects
    Happy Valentines Day to you too.

  8. Brenda,
    Wonderful image. I love how you share your steps and sources. You are always so generous with information.

    • Shelley – I have been positively influenced by and learned from so many, as this image proves. I’m just passing it on. 🙂

  9. So very inspiring…intriguing..interesting. Love how you continue to push your creative edge thru digital experimentation. The end result is simply wonderful!!!

    • Marcie – I have learned so much from my online community – they inspire and challenge and push me to grow. I am so grateful and I hope my own sharing will pass on that creative spark to someone else.

  10. Yes, that’s what I love about blogging- looking at what other people do! Love what you’ve done here!

    • Leanne – yes, I have learned so much from my blogging community. There is so much inspiration out there – new ways of looking at things and new ways of processing. My own creativity is expanded ten-fold by the artistic influences that surround me. I am so grateful.

  11. Oh yes…I can see Kat Sloma’s influence…just a bit as the image is truly yours. One of these days I’ll move up to true Photoshop and I’ll check back for your recipe…beautiful work!

    Are you participating in Kat’s postcard exchange? If so, I hope to get one from you!

    • Suzette – yes, Kat’s work (and her classes) have had a big influence on me and my work. The artistic inputs that we take in come back out and we pass them on in our own work. And hopefully, our work influences someone else. Whenever you upgrade to PS – don’t hesitate to let me know – I’ll be happy to help out in whatever way I can. (And no, I’m sitting out the postcard exchange this time but I know you will receive amazing and inspiring work.)

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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