Cup Of Summer: A Peek At The Layers

A photographic design that uses textures, vintage overlays, masks and brushes.

Cup of Summer by Leslie Nicole

Photograph © 2012 Leslie Nicole and design © 2014 by Leslie Nicole.

The Original Image

Hydrangeas from my garden in one of my vintage Limoges cups on one of my vintage tins.

Photographed in natural light with a little fill flash.

Cup Of Summer Original Leslie Nicole

The Textured Image

Sometimes it takes awhile for ideas to come together. I created the textured image below a couple of years ago and it has sat in my Work Bench folder (images in process) since then. While I was overall happy with the flower, cup, vintage tin and the colors, there is no dimension to this image. The cup arrangement is just floating on the background. Recently, I was playing around with a few new collection releases of textures, overlays and masks and this image finally came together for me in the design above.

I used a texture from the Solstice Collection for this — lightened quite a bit. I think I made the background large as I was playing around with a design idea at the time. On the cup image, I used the filter, Topaz Labs* Clarity filter (Macro preset) and also brushed the background to white.

Unfinished textured image

A Peek At The Layers

This isn’t so much of a tutorial as a peek at my layers. I’ve written the pertinent information in each layer and circled the use of clipping masks.

Layers From The Bottom Up

  1. White Background
  2. Texture: Boater from the Impressions Volume 6 Collection.
  3. Levels Adjustment Layer: Note the Layer Mask. This was to lighten the middle part of the texture.
  4. Texture: Haven from the Impressions Volume 6 Collection. Note how I’ve used a layer mask to reveal just a little bit of the texture, Boater, below. Adding that bit of texture gives weight to the bottom of the design and picks up on the gold in the cup.
  5. Levels Adjustment Layer: Note the Layer Mask. This was to lighten the middle part of the texture in the layer below.

Grouped Layers

Layers 6–11 are grouped together with a layer mask. The layer mask was made by selecting the white part of the texture, Haven, with the magic wand tool and then choosing the group layer mask and filling the selected area with black. Look at the finished design above and you can see how the texture has irregular edges. With this layer mask, none of these layers spills beyond irregular edges of the the texture part of the haven texture. I’m not an Elements user, but I understand grouping layers isn’t quite as easy. You will have to do more acrobatics to get this to work. A possible solution would be to place the layer mask in all the layers you need to mask. Another solution might be to create a flattened final image and then use a mask created from the Haven texture and clip the final image to the mask. (I’ll do a tut on this in the future.)

Grouped Layers From The Bottom Up

  1. A Large, soft, diffuse brush in a pink color. Set to multiply, the brush adds an overall richness of color in the middle of the image. I used a brush from the Rubbed Chalk Photoshop Brushes.
  2. Photo Mask: Free for now! Get it Here
  3. The Textured Image from above.
  4. A levels adjustment layer to increase the contrast a little. Sometimes masked images need a little extra oomph.
  5. An Overlay from the Vintage French Script No. 2 overlays. Blend Mode: Linear Burn, Opacity: 65%. Note the layer mask. I brushed away the text a bit from over the cup — although I left a little bit. I also used a crackled grunge brush from the Free Grunge Brushes to antique the type even more. (see this tut)
  6. A Solid Color Adjustment Layer to change the color of the overlay. See: Add Color To Transparent Overlays

Layer Panel Cup Of Summer


Topaz Labs filter is an affiliate link. I get a small commission from any sales resulting from a click from this site (at no extra cost to you.) I really do love these filters. Nearly all of my own images use one of these filters. Thank you for supporting the site!

Paint Impressions Volume 6 paint monotype texture collection.

Vintage French Script digital overlays

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4 Responses to Cup Of Summer: A Peek At The Layers

  1. Julie Boyle November 1, 2014 at 1:31 am #

    Thank you Leslie for sharing your ‘how to’ instructions. The image is beautiful and I can’t wait to try this method on one of mine. Cheers

  2. CheyAnne Sexton November 2, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    wow, incredible. I know so so little about all you are talking about. Just the very basics. but your images are stunning. thanks for sharing,
    peace n abundance,
    CheyAnne Sexton recently posted..Surreal kind of selling my art this morning….

    • Leslie Nicole November 3, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

      Thank you, CheyAnne. Let me know which steps you need help with!

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