Watercolor Spot Textures

Posted on September 29, 2012 by Leslie Nicole | 6 Comments

 

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.

The Snags

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. 

The Solution

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.

Beyond The Spot Textures

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.

Feedback

  1. What do you think? Will requiring an action be too daunting for some? (I think it's the only way without providing layered tiff files, which would be huge.
  2. What should I call them? I'm thinking maybe all the watercolor elements (brushes, overlays, and spot textures) should have one name with categories? Maybe Aquarelle? (French for watercolor.)

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.


Posted in News, Watercolor


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6 Responses

Suzan
Suzan

September 30, 2012

I’ve started using textures almost exclusively and my show in the New Year will be with mostly your textures and my photos. Anything you do will come out well and we’ll be totally usable. I have faith.
Suzan

Muriel Hastings
Muriel Hastings

September 30, 2012

Thrilled to discover this mailing today! I, too, have been lusting for these watercolor beauties. As for me, I use CS6, so running an action is easy. I have been running your action for Grunge Frames for some time now and the action has never failed! Having a multiple process for an original piece seems like a very small requirement. You, afterall, have done all of the heavy lifting in figuring this all out! Thanks in advance for this latest offering, Leslie!

Leslie Nicole
Leslie Nicole

September 29, 2012

From experience, large files lead to download problems and it would eat a very large portion of my paid download space.

You can use the multiply blend mode, but then you lose a lot of the nice color vibrancy. I’ll update the post with a graphic so you can see. :-)

Sharon
Sharon

September 29, 2012

I love the idea of these watercolor spot textures…just what I’ve been looking for!!! but…I’m not keen on having to use an action..only because I can’t figure out how to get actions added to Elements10 on my Mac. I did research and have tried several times unsuccessfully!
I had no trouble with actions when I had CS2, which no longer works properly on my Mac.

Regards,

Sharon

Marie Z. Johansen
Marie Z. Johansen

September 29, 2012

I think the answer isn’t black or white. Yes, I do think that some people will be intimidated by a double layer process. – but – if your explanation is clear (which I know it would be) and the effect ohlala then I think folks would be happy to give it a try.
I like Aquarelle – because i think of the paper brand!
Bon chance!

Terry B
Terry B

September 29, 2012

I don’t think I’d mind a large download. But why can’t you use a multiply blend mode on the ones with the ivory colored background?

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