Third Valentines Card In The Series

November 11, 2008 at 7:43 am (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , )


The Third Card In The Valentines Series

The Last In the Valentines Series

I worked for 3 days and nights on this one. As usual after completing an image, I feel a bit disoriented, partly from being at the computer for such long stretches, beginning about 3 p.m. and working right through until the following morning. One night I didn’t get to bed until 9:30 a.m. the following morning. Then I slept for 5 hours and began again, working all afternoon and through the night. And again today most of the day, doing the final revisions and touch ups.

I’m feeling very satisfied with the intense colors and lighting in this one, the splashes of light on the window frame and ledge. I loved working on the birds, small creatures, but actually more intricate and difficult than many of the larger animals. I love the bits of weathered stone and wall and the nook with the birds nest that I constructed out of a hole in a tree. Believe it or not, one of the most difficult parts was the dark interior behind the window. It took a long time to get the mood and lighting right, with some contrasting yet complimentary colors. I tried a slew of different interiors and colors before settling on this one. It adds to the 3-dimensional appearance of the window.

Drinking Red Bull To Stay Awake

After the illustration marathon, I’m drinking Red Bull to stay awake and to feel human. I still need to work on the design for the inside of the card.

Photoshop Tip – Channel Mixer

Oh yes, I did promise to add Photoshop tidbits to this blog. I don’t know why it took me so long to discover the power of the Channel Mixer settings. Before, whenever I needed to change the color of anything, I used to use Hue and Saturation. But have you noticed how it is often destructive to color and pixels? Very frustrating. Even if you find the right color within its settings, usually it flattens the tone and makes it appear unnatural. Unlike the Hue and Saturation settings, Channel Mixer allows you to make very intricate settings to both brightness and all the subtle tones within an object’s color. I am amazed how beautifully it works.

At first the Channel Mixer’s palette seems a bit daunting because each output channel (drop down menu of red, green, and blue … each has their own red, green and blue settings. You have to experiment for awhile, keeping your fingers firmly on the CTRL / Z keys (CMD / Z on the Mac) to undo the slider if you set it wrong. You can also reset completely by pressing the Alt key (it’s a hidden command) When you press the ALT key after making a selection on the slider, you will see a “Reset” button appear. If you press this, it resets your colors.

After experimenting for a few months, I now know exactly what sliders to use to achieve any given color tone, no matter how subtle. It is a digital artist’s dream, and has saved me sooooo much time. I’d say it’s my favorite Photoshop palette in my 2008 arsenal, besides the dodge and burn tools. (I recently attended an Adobe Seminar where the presenter from Adobe said the Dodge and Burn were completely useless. I almost had a heart attack on the spot because I thought he was about to say that the tool had been eliminated in CS4, but thank goodness it hasn’t). I use it constantly for creating lighting highlights and shadows. Completely and absolutely essential tools. I bow to the feet of the programmer who created them. πŸ™‚

Visit my website: The Graphic Groove
Or my gallery on Flickr

Return To Gale’s Home Page


  1. Elisa Day said,

    I dont know what to say! Just wonderfull!

  2. galefraney said,

    Thanks so much Elisa ! πŸ™‚

  3. Martin LaBar said,

    Another splendid one. I love all those little red hearts.

  4. galefraney said,

    Thank you Martin ! πŸ™‚

  5. badkitty said,

    Hi Gale,
    I’ve been your fan for a while now… u r amazing…

    I wanted to ask u 2 questions:

    1- Do i really have to use masks? i hate using them, i think they r hard to use.
    2- How do u get the face of the child to look this flawless? it has a “doll” like, unreal texture, kind of like everything else in the the background… is that a filter? the hair too looks kind of “fake”, how do u do that?

    Thanks, and keep up the magic!


    p.s. love the nest with the blue eggs πŸ™‚

  6. galefraney said,

    Hello badkitty,

    1). Each person approaches digital art with their own style and techniques. For myself, I work constantly with masks. I could not do without them. But they are actually really easy to use. It is eactly like erasing, but you are erasing on a Mask, which allows you to go back again and paint back portions in order to get the edges completely accurate, soft for some edges, hard for others.

    2). Regarding faces, I use many different techniques, not always the same ones, depending on the colors, lighting and effect I’m trying to achieve. I add a combination of lighting and shadow techniques plus add blending modes, plus apply cloning and healing brush where needed.

    Cheers! πŸ™‚

  7. Triin Q said,

    Thanks for photoshop tips, i have really learned something.

    Amazing card! Great details!

  8. Mike Astill said,

    I’m new to digital art, and seeing your work, I wonder should I give up now. Each picture of yours leaves me stunned. Thanks for all those wonderful images.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: