Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cactus Shapes for Design




At the top, is the original photo I used of the nightblooming cactus. While its flowers are spectacular, the cactus is not that exciting from an artist's visual perspective. I needed to find a way to use it and make it more interesting in the process.
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I started with some simple cutouts of diamond and oval shapes. This is quite easy to do in Photoshop. Examples are in the top row above.
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Next, I took a triangular section and duplicated it, flipping it horizontally to create a mirror image. I combined the two and came up with the diamond and oval shapes you see in the next rows. The third, larger diamond in the center took things a further step. With it, I combined 4 triangles rather than 2; to create this more complex design. I could do the same with the ovals.
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It took me awhile to figue out how to make a triangular cutout with Photoshop's marquee tool. It will make rectangular or square cutouts, or circular or oval cutouts. To create a triangle, I took a square or rectangular cutout and used the paintbrush tool with a click in one corner and a shift click in the opposite corner to create a straight line from corner to corner. I then used the paint brush to block out one half of the square in a solid color. I then used the magic eraser to remove that half of the shape, leaving me with a triangle. One can then use the shape tool and drag the handles to adjust the shape to what is needed. Combine two or four triangles to create a diamond shape. Do the same with the ovals.
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On the bottom left, is a rectangular cutout. I duplicated it and created the square you see in the middle. I used this to create the background for this mandala. I took a field of 85% gray and superimposed this shape over it. I then reduced the opacity until the gray showed through to dull the color enough to serves as a background. I then blurred it a bit with Gaussian blur so that it wouldn't compete too much with the foreground.
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I will be using this same technique with other foliage sections for other mandala designs. You artists in the group could finds lots of uses for this approach.

Nightblooming Flower Mandala with Butterfllies


This mandala use some new approaches to the foliage elements that fit our emerging patterns theme.