The Watercolor Spot Textures are getting closer to release. I know I've teased you with these on Facebook, but they really are coming (very soon I hope.) They've been in production and testing for weeks and honestly, there have been a few times I nearly chucked the whole project! The exciting side of it is that I'm developing an entire system for working with watercolor elements.
When I first started experimenting with the idea of these watercolors, I envisioned them as being simple little splashes of color on a white background. Easy Peasy. (Well easy after the creation, scanning and clean up.) As I tested them, I realized that it would be nice to be able to use them both together and combined and with other textures. The problem I soon encountered was that as watercolor is transparent, it blends with the paper. If I created a mask to knock out the ivory colored watercolor paper background, it still didn't blend with a new background. It just ended up looking a bit milky. If I just set the blend mode to multiply, which will definitely blend it, it dulled the colors too much and lost the sweet vibrancy.
After weeks of testing, I finally came up with an ideal way to mask and blend the watercolors. My intention was to save the files as transparent .png files, but then discovered that the size of a 30 piece texture collection would be 1GB. Really too large for a download. Back to the drawing board.
Side Note: I know that there is a technique where you create a B&W brush and then apply colors and/or painted elements with a clipping mask—with great results—but it isn't quite the same as the real colors you get from the original watercolor.
Today the solution came to me. These watercolor spot textures will come with a Photoshop action that will transform the jpgs into a double layered file with transparent backgrounds. The good: small download. The bad(ish): some assembly required. I've already created the action. I want to hand these over to my testing team to see if they find any flaws in my system.
I've also been creating spatter overlays, (Seen with watercolor spot in the image above.) brushes, and full background watercolors. Now you know what rabbit hole I've fallen into the past couple of months! As these elements work great together my production process just kept getting bigger and bigger. I'm nearing the light in the tunnel now.
I'm adding in a graphic to show how I came up with a combination of using two layers and blend modes to get just the right amount of transparency with the watercolors.
Also, for those with problems using actions - I can also give instructions of how to do the action steps manually. The action just makes it quicker.