How to make a Pseudo Planet – Tutorial

As I mentioned the other day, I have been struggling to work out the screen capture that I am using to make video tutorials.  I finally managed to get the software all sorted out, except that I made one mistake so when I say flip horizontal, please note that I meant flip vertical.  All in all, it’s taken me a lot longer than I expected it to but better late than never. Hopefully in future, it will be a much quicker and smoother process.

While I was running through the process with a friend yesterday, we took one of her photos of two surfers at sunrise and made it into a planet.  I liked it so much I added some textures to give it something more special.  Thank you to Kirsty from KLBImages for allowing me to share it with you today.  If you love sports, have a look at her  facebook page, KLB Images.

golden hour








Outback & Oceans

An opal hearted country, a wilful, lavish land.  All you who have not loved her, you will not understand……Dorothea Mackellar

I am blessed and privileged to live in Australia.  It is a land of extremes.  A month ago, the area where I grew up was surrounded by bushfires.  This week they suffered massive floods.   One year in November, we too had bushfires in the Blue Mountains where I now live.  The next year on the same date, we had heavy snow.  It has lush, green paddocks and barren red soil.  It is never boring.

I grew up in Geelong, surrounded by beautiful beaches and on my last trip home took a photo at sunrise of the palm trees and buoys that line the waterfront.  I have been lucky enough to travel quite a bit of this vast land.  One of my trips took me through opal country to Central Australia.  We camped along the way and I took a photo before dawn as we were packing up our camp site to drive to Uluru.  A flat horizon of black with only a road sign silhouetted against a yellow sky, trying to wake up.

I loved both of these photos and although the landscapes were vastly different, there were many similarities.  Both were taken in the early hours of the morning while the sun was just starting to rise.  Both had very yellow and orange skies and both had silhouetted features across a flat skyline. I started to wonder what I could do with them.

I had seen people make planets and tunnels from panoramas and though I didn’t have panoramas, I decided to give it a go anyway.  I made a tunnel from one and a planet from the other and then put them together to make my planet with a core using Adobe Photoshop.

Tomorrow I will share with you the steps to make a planet or a tunnel out of any landscape photo you have.  The secret is to have a landscape where the horizon is fairly straight but has some interesting higher features like the palm trees or the road sign. It is best if both sides of the photo is uncluttered.  Find a photo you think will look good and tomorrow  we’ll go through the steps to make one.  They are effective and with a bit of imagination, you could make some pretty amazing art out of them.

Outback & Oceans - Across the Universe



Blossom smile some sunshine down my way, lately I’ve been lonesome.  Blossom it’s been much too long a day, seems my dreams have frozen.  Melt my cares away…. James Taylor


When I wrote the piece called The Muse  a few weeks ago, I spoke about setting out to do one piece of work and losing all track of time and space.  This has happened to me a few times and it’s almost like coming out of a dream and finding my work has found a life of it’s own and it’s not what I had planned but better than I expected.  It’s like my muse has allowed my conscious brain to rest for a while and taken my unconscious mind for a spin.  I never mind when this happens. In fact I love it.

I think maybe sometimes as artists, we think about our work too much and try to bring a modicum of logic to it rather than letting it take a shape of it’s own.  There is pressure to produce work that is commercially viable rather than what we feel.  We have to try to fight that urge or we are at risk of losing the passion to create soul work.  Art is extremely subjective and what one person does or doesn’t like really shouldn’t influence the way we work. We need to let our artistic soul have free reign.

This piece I’m showing you today was one of those ones that took on a life all of it’s own.  I had been experimenting with double exposure images and as I had taken a series of silhouettes of my friend Amy in studio, I  decided to play with them to create the look I wanted.

To do this, I bought the original silhouette into Photoshop and made sure I cleaned up all unwanted spots on the photo.   Then I added a levels layer and played with the sliders until the white area was reasonably bright and the dark was dark but still with a tiny bit of detail, especially around the neck area.

Then I chose a photo I had taken of a beautiful bunch of flowers I had been sent and dragged that photo into the project.  Then I changed the  mode  to screen (lighten works well too – try which suits your photo the best).  What this does is blows the colour out on the white area leaving the photo only filling in your silhouette.  This is the photo I started with and how it looked with the floral photo layered onto it.  You can see I left the tiniest bit of detail in the silhouette just to give the finished photo more depth. I moved the photo around until the large leaf fitted perfectly onto her face to define it and the eyes and cheeks were highlighted with the yellow.  This added more definition and gave the photo less of a flat look.


Original photos

I then decided that I wanted to give her a set of angel’s wings and found a set on a graphics site and purchased them.  I adjusted them to look like they were attached and then set the blend mode to pin light.  Next, I added some rustic looking sheet music on a new layer and using a layer mask, brushed most of it off my  model and then changing the opacity, brushed around to make it a bit softer in some places and bolder in others.

After that was all done, I started to play with textures and added quite a few on top, again using a low opacity brush to soften them here and there.  Every texture you add may need a different blend mode so while I always start on soft light, sometimes screen works best or even multiply.  This is the time to really have a play with blend modes.

I’ve actually had to go back to the original PSD file to tell you what I did after the wings went on as I really can’t remember doing most of it.  It just happened and I’m so glad Blossom came to life the way she did.  Blossom was a name I used to call my daughter when she was young and also the name of a beautiful James Taylor song. I seemed to type it before I knew what she should be called.  I think Blossom named herself.  She is very dear to me.


The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes

The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears….. Native American Proverb

As promised yesterday, here is a short tutorial on how to change eye colour in Adobe Photoshop.  It’s a very simple process and only takes a few steps to do.  Although I’m showing you how to do a rainbow eye effect, you can use this process to change the eyes to any colour you want.  It is how I changed Kirsty’s blue eyes to brown in the Geisha shoot I showed you yesterday.  Be daring!

First choose a good quality photo with clear eyes and before you start, try to do all the adjustments you want to do first.  If you are going for a black and white with the only colour being in the eyes, do all of those adjustments first. Clean up the skin, teeth, whites of eyes and any other issues with the photo up before you start.  If however, you are going to resize the photo, do this AFTER you’ve finished changing the eyes.  When you’re happy with the photo, it’s time to start the magic.  This is the photo I’m starting with.


Open the photo in Adobe Photoshop (I’m using CC2015 but have used other versions previously for this technique) and click on Create New Layer. (look at the orange arrow on the photo below)  Make the new layer (orange circle) active and change to the paint brush tool.  Make your brush small enough to fit in between the outer edge of the eye’s iris and the pupil.  You don’t want it to hit either edge as the colour will spread out a bit further in the next few steps.


Pick your first colour and paint a dot on each eye.  Choose  bright colours for this as they do fade a bit with the next few steps. Try to put the colour in about the same spot in each eye. Change your colour palette to the next colour and paint a dot on each eye again.  Keep the process going until your eye is fully coloured.  It should look similar to the photo below.   (If you are only doing one colour, choose a few variations of that colour and paint in the eye randomly to make it look more natural)


With the new layer  still active, click on >filter >blur >Gaussian blur.  This will bring a dialogue box up and you can play with the blur slider until the colours start to blend into each other and you can’t see a solid line.  The colour however should still be in the iris and not bleeding into the whites of the eyes or the pupils. For this particular photo I had the blur set to 7 but each photo may be a bit different so just experiment until you’re happy with the result.  If it has gone over the iris lines, you can clean that up carefully with a layer mask later on.  It should now look something like the photo below.

004 guassian blur on 7

When you’re completely happy with the result, it’s time to change the mode to one that suits.  Mode allows different levels of transparency to allow the natural texture of the eyes to shine through.  The mode drop down can be found just above the new layer and the default mode is normal.  Click on the arrow at the side of normal and you’ll find all your available modes.  This really is personal taste and depends on what look you are wanting. I set the mode to colour first which I liked the best but to show you the difference, they are in order, 1.colour, light then 3.screen.  As you can see, this creates a vastly different look each time.  Experiment with all of the modes to see which suits your photograph the best.

005 mode is color005 mode is pin light005 mode is screen

What happens if you’ve done all of this work and then wished the green colour was on the opposite side of the eyes or that you want it a bit lighter or a bit brighter?  This is really easy.  Add a hue/saturation layer on top of the create new layer.  While the hue/saturation layer is active, right mouse click on it and choose create clipping mask.  This will ensure that whatever you do with the hue and saturation, it will only affect the eye colour layer and not the original photo.  When you’ve created the clipping mask, go to the dialogue box and slide the hue slider back and forth.  You’ll find that the colours will slide around the eye until you’ve found what suits you the best.  You can also add or decrease saturation and lightness as well at this time.

006 with hue saturation change the hue


Once you’ve done all of the above, just clean up a little around the eye area to make sure there is no colour bleeding out of the iris into the whites or pupils and you are finished. This isn’t the neatest eye colour change I’ve ever done as I was doing it quickly for the tutorial.   I have used this technique before with a different photo from the same shoot.  I changed that one to black and white before I added the rainbow irises.  This was the result.

Rainbow eye

This photo was the basis for the piece “Through Diamond Eyes”.

Through Diamond Eyes