Photography Blog from ON.ca.

Tutorial – Plastic Bottle flower Print

Please keep in mind, I do not consider myself an expert. Most of this is self-taught, or I asked questions of the computer teachers on staff, or I asked my students. My main original intent was to acquire as much knowledge and skills required to assist my students with projects in English, Media Studies, and ASP.  My methods may not be the slickest.

I am working from the assumption that those looking at this page do not know too much about basic layers. You can do some interesting and effective things with layers and a texture or image.

Step One is selecting your base image. In this case a shot of flowers in a vase.

This was an experiment. I decided to take some close-ups & macro shots of a plastic pop bottle. I used on of these shots to create a layer.

Step Two was modifying the shot using VirtualPhotographer (it is Free) to create a linen monochrome version.

Step Three – Copy the modified image. You can then paste it as a layer on top of the base image of the flowers.

Step Three – Copy the modified image. You can then paste it as a layer on top of the base image of the flowers.

Now comes the fun as you experiment. For example, change the top layer to “lighten”. The image above shows the blended layers using this setting. The image below, shows blended layers using screen. You can change the opacity of the top layer to increase or decrease the intensity of the blending..

Now consider these two settings, Overlay and Hard Light.

We have a problem, “uglies” have invaded. I am not sure what the technical term is for this type of uglies, anyone with more expertise is welcome to add to their knowledge. I came up with a solution for this problem. Depending on what you are working with, modifying the opacity of the layer can make uglies fade away. This may also make the good stuff fade away.

Well you can hide the uglies with a mat layer. No one need ever know.

Below is an example of darkening the screen layer to intensify the effect without switching layers or opacity.

To see finished versions with mats see the post Plastic Bottle Flower Prints 2.  I hope this gives you some of the basics for using layers with a modified image. If there are any questions or suggestions  please feel free to comment.

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4 responses

  1. You have explained really well, thanks! As for the “uglies” — good term, but I suppose that might depend on the “eye of the beholder,” too. Layers in editing are fun — a lot of potential.

    April 3, 2012 at 8:45 am

    • elmediat

      Thanks ! Glad that the plastic bottle technique is clear. 😀 I keep trying to learn more as I share the small amount I know.

      April 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm

  2. As you know e. I use layers and their effects a lot. I usually do a trial run through all the layer effects with the 2 layers to see how they mix. At this point, I may not be sure of where I want the piece to go. When I hit upon a combination that “looks right” or “works” it usual becomes the genesis for where the piece will go. And yes this is the exciting part. Because like a box of chocolates, you never know what you may get.

    April 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    • elmediat

      Thanks Walter. I find the process is a part technique & part improvisation, I may have an idea in mind, but the result may be a bit of a surprise.. I will also have variation layers that I will mix and match , and then tweak. Have you any expertise in explaining the “uglies”. I know it relates to contrast and that softening/blurring can make it better or worse.

      April 4, 2012 at 10:30 pm

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