Use Composite Feature To Apply Your Own Mask

Hi again,

Here is my third video tutorial on creative masking techniques. The underlying concept for this one came to me as I was developing the previous two approaches. It is funny how these things happen.

This time the user is encouraged to make their own creative masking templates and use the Composite feature within Smart Photo Editor to apply it.

The masking template is simply an ‘means to an end’ – it is a temporary aid to creating a proper mask. The video shows how to use such a template and how to hide it once the ‘actual’ mask has been made.

Although new users might find this useful, the video assumes prior knowledge. Users are expected to be familiar with the ‘Composite’ and ‘Select Area’ features within SPE. Likewise, a basic knowledge of how to use ‘Selection Brushes’ would helpful.

I’ve not experimented with this new approach myself, but I will in due course. That leaves the field wide open to others to show what can be done with concept.

My view is that this particular approach, which gives users the opportunity to create unique ‘personalised’ masking templates, extends the scope of Smart Photo Editor and offers new directions to go in.

As always, I hope you find this video tutorial useful – enjoy and have FUN!



Random Masking Techniques

This tutorial video entitled ‘Random Masking Techniques’ is aimed at users who are familiar with Smart Photo Editor’s ‘Select Area’ feature and know how to use ‘selection bushes’ to make masks.

The concept here is to select an area of your image by randomly brushing over the focus of your attention – perhaps the subject. This is not about perfectly selecting the object – this process allows ‘spillage’ into other areas and may incompletely select the focal point. It is a kind of ‘Graffiti’ approach which may give surprising results.

Here is an example ‘before & after’ image created by applying a random masking technique, and then applying, in this instance, a combination of two effects.

Before & After - Small

The supporting video is basically a ‘slide-show’ of SPE screen shots and it assumes a basic familiarity with the general masking process.

This is an experimental approach, but it is also FUN!



Brand new ‘Masking’ concept using ‘Creative Masking Templates’ effects.

I wakened about 6:00 am this morning with a brand new idea involving templates by which you can create specific mask shapes, either ‘as is’ or inverted. Absolutely no clue as to where the idea came from – but that’s the nature of creativity!

I tested out my concept and created 27 new effects called ‘Creative masking templates 001-027′. There are instructions contained within the effects on how to use them, which are removed before using the effects. However, I thought it would be best to make a short video showing how these new templates should be used.

Here is a jpeg of example templates:

Example Templates

Example 'Creative Mask Templates'

I have lots of ideas for using these templates and I hope to upload many more. I hope other effect designers will pick up the idea and develop it – look forward to what other might come up with!

Each template is in a strong color as this facilitates easy use.

Experienced users can open up the Manual Edit feature and change the template color to suit their own needs.

Hope you enjoy and find useful.



Using Smart Photo Editor for Creative Art

My interest in Smart Photo Editor (SPE) began a number of years ago when I installed the free download and discovered the incredible potential to use the program creatively to make Photo-Art.

Below is an example of my photo-art – here a quite ordinary photograph has been converted into an artwork in a few minutes using only Smart Photo Editor.

Original Image

Abstract Photo-Art

Although the program is extremely capable for mainstream photo editing, I noted the intention of Anthropics, the company behind SPE, to allow users to create, modify, combine and develop effects that could be used freely within the SPE Community. I was ‘hooked’ – right away I purchased the software and waited for each update with great anticipation, hoping that the next one would open up the Effect Editor to users. Ultimately, when this update arrived, I set about learning all I could about creating effects for myself and contributing them to the community. Most of my effects were, in the early days, designed around the application of textures to photographic images, but as I developed my expertise the range of effect types increased. I’ve tried to encourage others (via the SPE Forum) to create effects themselves and  to share them with the SPE Community. Today, I am the leading effects creator for SPE, but I am delighted to tell you that coming behind are many users who are creating and sharing some incredible effects too. Originally, most of the effects were developed by the program team members, and by manually editing their effects, much was to be learned by users, including myself.

It is my intention to use this new Blog to share my experience by offering an insight into how I use SPE to make Photo-Art. Although I’m an independent user, this Blog is hosted by Anthropics on their Smart Photo Editor Website.

Happily I accepted an invitation to share my knowledge through this means. My philosophy has always been to share with others, so it was a delight when I realised that SPE was  (and is) a community powered photo editing program.

I am well known to Anthropics and have created tutorial videos on their behalf, but, as I said,  I’m just an ordinary user – albeit, with a bit of time on his hands, as I’m 66 years old and long since retired. My background is in engineering, wood-crafts and sculpture and for many years I was engaged in Management Education with Colleges, Industry & Commerce. I was a Senior Lecturer in Management & Management Consultant. However, all through my life I would have preferred to follow a more artistic path. I retired in1998 owing to ill-health and for many years unable to engage in much physical activity. About 10 years ago, I had a heart-pacemaker implant and since then I have been more active. After the implant I studied full-time and gained a Scottish Higher National Certificate in Art & Design with Distinctions. Today, a spinal condition prohibits me from being a traditional artist, so I was overjoyed when I stumbled upon Smart Photo Editor as it facilitated my creativity.

The content of this blog assumes that readers are familiar with the basics of SPE – that they can load an image and apply effects to it.

If you are not at this stage, then perhaps this video tutorial will be of help: Smart Photo Editor – Getting Started.

Check the Smart Photo Editor Forum for more tutorial videos.

Note: The effects applied in combination to create the above abstract image were ‘Intermingle 002′, ‘Vibrance’. ‘Nuances 006′, ‘Watercolor vectors’ and ‘Nuances 006′ again.

There are some great debates happening on the Forum and I will tap into some of these in future blogs.

In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed this Introduction and I look forward to sharing my experience through text, ‘before & after’ images, SPE screen shots and tutorial videos as well as offering you links to helpful resources.

I would like to add my personal thanks to all the contributors that I have learned from and also thank Anthropics for giving me this opportunity to share my skills through this blog.