Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Guest Post by Abigail Walker of Source of Joy Creations, inspired by our Spring 2012 Enchantment Lookbook.



Ruche is undeniably one of the most beautiful sites I have ever visited. You can spend hours pouring over their gorgeous clothing and accessories, reading their inspiring blog posts, and (of course) swooning over their dreamy lookbooks.


To me, they symbolize all things beautiful, feminine, and romantic. Inspired by these ideas, I have created this tutorial to help you take a piece of Ruche’s dream world and incorporate it within your own photographs.


Let’s begin...  



Step One - Create a new document in Photoshop. I named my document “painted flowers” and set the width and height to 200 pixels.



Step Two - Select a hard brush. I used a custom pencil brush from Vin Rowe. I found the link to this brush and others like it on Pugly Pixel.


Whichever brush you decide to use, just make sure that the blend mode is normal and the opacity and flow is set to 100%. As for the brush size, it will vary depending on the flower you are painting. (Use the bracket keys to increase and decrease the brush size)



Step Three - Paint some flowers that look similar to mine. I do suggest using separate layers for different elements of your flowers.


It doesn’t really matter what colors you choose but here are the ones that I used:

  • flower one - #cf91a4, #e7dfbd, #ede8d9, and #786762 . 
  • flower two - #e8e1b0, #bfba96, and #8f8a69. 
  • green stem and leaves - #99be88. 


The key to painting these flowers (either with a mouse or a pen tablet) is to create the illusion of detail when there really isn’t any. Essentially these flowers are made up of blobs and squiggles but when they are seen from a smaller scale, you are tricking the mind to see flowers.


You are free to make your flowers even more detailed than mine but just remember that we are going to shrink them down in the end. I would also suggest making at least two different kinds.



You should now have two beautiful flower paintings. Next, I will show you how use them to create a seamless pattern.



Step One - In your painted flowers document, find the center of the canvas and mark it with a few guidelines. To do this, you need to first bring up your ruler (pc: control + “r” and mac: command + “r”). Now use your move tool to drag out blue guidelines from the top and left portions of the ruler.


Click on the eye of your background layer so that it becomes transparent. This will allow you to use your patterns over any background you like.


Then take one of your flower paintings and position it in the center of the canvas. Make a copy of that layer (pc: control + “j” and mac: command + “j”) and flatten it.



Step Two - Offset the (flatten) copied layer by going to filter --> other --> offset. Since my canvas is 200 pixels, I am going to set the horizontal and vertical to 100 pixels (divide your canvas size by 2). Make sure wrap around is turned on.



Step Three - Add and arrange a few more of your painted flower images in the center of the canvas. Make sure that they do not touch the edge. Then define it as a pattern by going to edit --> define pattern. Name it and click ok.


I used this technique to create another pattern using just one of my painted flower images.



You should now have two beautiful flower patterns. Next, I will show you how to use them to create a wallpaper.



Step One - Create a new document in Photoshop, I named my document “wallpaper” and set the width and height to 3600 pixels.



Step Two - Add a solid color layer. The color I used is #f2efe3.



Step Three - Add a pattern fill layer using one of your floral patterns you made. Play with the scale until you find a setting you like. I set mine to 200%. 



Step Four - I decided to darken my flower pattern a bit by duplicating the layer and changing the blend mode to multiply. I also toned down the opacity to 85%.



Step Five - To create the look of faded wallpaper, I used two textures found on Lost and Taken. (Download the images HERE and HERE). 


Drag in one of the textures and scale it up by using free transform (pc: command + “t” and mac control + “t”). Play with the blend mode and opacity to create a look that suits you. You can also duplicate the layer to enhance the effect. 


Drag in the other texture image and repeat this technique. (You can view my settings in my example images).



Result - Your textured pattern should look something like this...



You should now have a beautiful wallpaper pattern! You can save it as a jpeg so that you can use it as a digital paper. Finally, I will show you how to use this wallpaper in a photograph.



Step One - Open up a picture with a blank background (or download my sample image HERE).


Select the pen tool and start drawing an outline of the subject in the foreground. (In my example, the foreground subject is me holding a cup). Don’t worry if your pen path is messy, you can refine the anchor points with the direct selection tool after you are done.



Your pen selection can be found in the paths panel. Make sure you double click on the work path layer and rename it to save that path. (I already went ahead and created an outline of my cup and saucer).



NOTE - If you are not comfortable using the pen tool, I suggest checking out Pugly Pixel’s How To Replace Backgrounds tutorial. Katrina teaches you how to create the same effect using the brush tool. 


I personally like using the pen tool because it gives my selections a nice sharp edge. This is especially handy on hard surface objects like my cup and saucer. But either method works just fine. 


Step Two - Drag in your wallpaper pattern and add a gaussian blur filter to it (filter --> blur --> gaussian blur). I set my radius to 2 pixels. The blur filter is necessary since my photograph has a shallow depth of field. Therefore, my background should not be in focus.


If your layer is already a smart object, make sure you rastorize it (right click on the layer and choose rastorize) so that we can add another blur filter to it.



NOTE - These next steps only work in Photoshop CS5. Please scroll down to the view the “Alternate Version.” 


Step Three - Convert your textured pattern into a smart object (again) and change the blend mode to multiply.



Step Four - Go to your paths panel and make a selection of your pen path of the foreground subject. I feathered my selection a tiny bit since my dress and arms are soft.



Step Five - Inverse your selection so that everything except your background is selected. Then add an average filter (filter --> blur --> average).



Result - The average filter removes the pattern from the subject in the foreground but still preserves the texture’s color. 


If you expand your wallpaper layer, you should see a smart filter mask. You can refine your average filter selection by using a soft round brush. (Remember: a black brush conceals the effect and the white brush reveals the effect).



Alternate Version:

-Follow steps one and two.

-Change the blend mode of your textured pattern to multiply

-Add a mask layer and use a soft black brush to remove the texture away from the subjects in the foreground.

-Sample a color from the background using the dropper tool.

-Add a solid color layer using the sampled background color and change the blend mode to soft light.

-If you like the effect, you can leave it as is. Otherwise, use a soft black brush to mask away the solid color from the background.

-Make sure you zoom into your image to refine your brush strokes.

-Play with the opacity on the solid color layer. You may want to tone down the effect.



Cup and Saucer (Optional) - I decided to add a pattern to the cup and saucer. Instead of using a textured pattern, I just added a pattern fill layer. For the front part of the cup, I scaled the pattern down to 50%.



I changed the blend mode and opacity of the pattern fill layer. Then duplicated it and changed the opacity and blend mode again. (You can view my settings in my example images).



I repeated this technique for the rest of the cup and the saucer. I scaled down the pattern even more (20%) so that it creates depth. (You can see what my layers look like in the example image).



Lastly, edit your image to your liking. I edited my image with Paint the Moon's Fresh Wonderland 2 actions.




Thank you so much for reading my tutorial. I hope it was helpful and fun! Please let me know what you think and if you have any questions please leave me a comment below or email me at: sourceofjoycreations@gmail.com and I will be happy to get back to you :)


  • What an excellent tutorial! Thanks for sharing. I've been looking for one like this on how to create patterns. Lovely results!

    Posted on July 10, 2012

  • Thanks October! I hope my tutorial was helpful and fun :)

    For those that would like to skip ahead to the last section of this tutorial, I have provided a link to download the painted patterns that I made so that you can just practice replacing your background.

    You can find the link here: http://www.sourceofjoycreations.com/2012/07/ruche-inspired-patterns-tutorial.html

    Thanks and have fun!

    Posted on July 10, 2012