When I’m doing a lecture, people often ask about how to do a particular technique. I don’t consider myself to be a Photoshop expert, so I usually give a name to the process, e.g. “layer mask” and suggest they put that term into Google and come up with a tutorial somebody has done on that process! There are some great tutorials out there to help you get started.

So, for my Christmas Greeting this year I have built a Northern Lights e-card, based on a web tutorial at this link, though I didn’t quite follow the process in the tutorial, preferring to use the techniques I generally work with.

widdall-christmas-card-2012

I don’t often stray into the “digital art” arena, but this e-card has no photographic content at all. I started with a blank file with a very dark blue background…and painted in some purple streaks, then reflected them asymmetrically across the frame:

xmas2012_0000_paint

I added in some mountains and some streaks of colour in the sky….the streaks were made using a colour gradient on a separate layer and then using a layer mask to mask off the bits I didn’t want.

xmas2012_0001_mountains

The sky colours were flipped and blended to create some reflections in the “water”:

xmas2012_0002_reflect

Next, a few more colour adjustments, more mountains, some trees on the “nearest” mountains and some stars. I used the mixer brush in Photoshop to blend the coloured steaks more smoothly:

xmas2012_0005_HSB

Final colour tweaks with HSB layer, a line and border and a greeting with a layer style were added:

widdall-christmas-card-2012

My take on the Northern Lights. Happy Christmas Everyone.

Images Copyright © Christine Widdall 2012

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