Eye Candy

This is just a bit of FUN – thought I would show you an animated gif of abstract art I created using only Smart Photo Editor and only my own (andrewb2012) effect contributions.

The guitar is my handmade Farida Parlour and I photographed it in my garden laid on white paper earlier today – it was relatively shadowless which suited my purpose.

I don’t intend to tell you how each was created, I would rather encourage you to experiment yourself. I suggest that the images in the animation work because the subject is quite simple and minimalistic and lends itself to the processes I used. This is where my heart lies – towards the abstract with a hint of realism.

The main reasons for this article is to show the wide scope of processing that can be done in Smart Photo Editor.

Abstract Art Animation

I posted the same Gif Image in the Smart Photo Editor Forum and a dear friend of mine DBenterprises suggested that theimages might look good on a poster – well here is a sample of what could be done.

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Anyway, have FUN!

Kind regards,


Classic Selective Color on Black & White

This simple tutorial video is aimed at users who want to create ‘Classic Selective Color’ images on Black & White. Although, a little prior knowledge is assumed, most users, including beginners, should be able to use the  ideas in their own creations.

The transformation is shown step-by-step and the original image lends itself to this type of processing, as it works well with block colors.

Not a lot more to say about this other than encourage you to try the technique for yourself.

Once you have viewed the video you will sense that you can use any effect on the background – not just black and white effects. Give this a try too.

Kind regards,


Prototype Effect for Effect Designers to Develop – Tutorial Video

This video tutorial is aimed at experienced Smart Photo Editor users who have previously created basic effects.

The tutorial clearly shows you how to build the prototype effect shown in the video using a step-by-step approach.

Underpinning the design is the combined use of ‘Solid Color’ and ‘Place and Merge’ nodes to create adjustable color overlays that are ultimately blended with the original image.

Users are INVITED to try making the effect for themselves and DEVELOPING it by making improved or altered versions.

As always, I hope the information proves useful to you and gives you an insight into how more complex effects are created and the thinking that lies behind them. Regards – Andrew.

If Erasing Does Not Work, Try Patching (New Concept Video)

The idea for this tutorial video stems from one of  Fotoart’s recent posts to the SPE forum. I saw that there was a distraction in his image and suggested its removal. But, I realised that the particular nature of the image would be problematic for normal erase procedures. A new concept came to mind which I have called ‘Patching’ and this video shows what I mean and how to do it.

I wish to thank Jon (aka Fotoart) for giving me permission to use his interesting image for tutorial purposes.

Jon’s website link: http://500px.com/fotoartista

This video is offered as an extension concept to erasing which should be the first port of call in attempting to remove unwanted objects.

Hope you find my approach interesting and useful.

Kind regards,



Creative Montage & Composite – Tutorial Video

Hi again,

In this tutorial video we selected the ‘Montage’ feature within Smart Photo Editor in order to start with a blank or textured layer on which to create our photo-artwork. Immediately after this, the author decided to crop the image for aesthetic reasons. The ‘Composite’ feature was then opened and three additional layers were superimposed on the first layer. These additional layers (overlays of a female model in this example) were each in turn altered – backgrounds removed, resized and repositioned to create a single image (once completed) comprising three poses of the same model. This then became the image to which effects were applied and was the basis of the final composition.

The process is outlined and annotated up to the first overlay was applied and then the process is shown twice more without annotation giving you the opportunity to simply view.

After the three overlays were complete, the final stages whereby a combination of two effects were applied are once again annotated.

There are many possibilities for the creative use of these techniques and I think they could be used to create Surrealist Images – I say that because a user did ask in the forum if there were any effects that met that purpose.

Hope you enjoy and find this video useful – have FUN!



Creating Photo-Art: My Thought Process

Here is an example of the thinking that lies behind my photo-art.

Boat Transformation Before & After

The original image in this example is a boat and tackle. I simply love boats of all descriptions and I could easily publish 1000’s of original photo images of boats. However, I try to take notice of many things when I photograph boats. The surrounds and textures that abound in the boat’s environment – for example, old nets, creels, fish boxes, water, sand, people, harbours, buildings. Likewise, I try to remember the day when I took the photograph, my mood, the weather, precious memories…and so on. I often do photo-shoots completely on my own as the way I photograph things is relatively selfish and personal – frankly, my wife would be bored to tears with my obsession for textures. I often limit myself to strict criterion, such as, a single focal length, 16 x 9 format, manual only, only 20 shots – daft things like that to make me think about what I’m shooting. Oh, and by the way – I never carry a camera with me when I am out and about normally – I only do  photo-shoots!

It is from this jumble of experiences that I select ideas to inform how I create my photo-art. Since I choose to make art from photographs, I don’t want the result to look like a photograph.

In order to move away from that look I choose painterly or sketchy effects and ‘all manner’ of textures, in combination to produce an end result.

In this example I started with an unprocessed and rather ‘dull’ image of a boat & tackle. The first step was to convert the image to a more graphic one. The foreground float in the image lent itself to selective masking to be used ‘as is’ or as an ‘inversion’. Next a ‘Rusty’ looking texture was superimposed on graphic one – informed by similar textures that I had photographed at the time. As there were some stray elements showing towards the edges, I applied a ‘Vignette Mask’ effect to clean up the image. An effect that created a strong border and a feeling of age was then applied. I could easily have stopped there, but I was influenced to add yet another effect from a fleeting memory that passed through my head – it was of another rusty texture that appealed to me, but this time it was ‘pitted’.

So, although it is easy to create photo-art in Smart Photo Editor through random selection of effects or pure experimentation (both of which I do too), it requires more artistic thinking to deliberately bring different elements together to produce a result similar to what was in your mind’s eye prior to starting the process of transformation. I’ve told you what was in my mind when I created the photo-art based on the boat & tackle image. The actual process is shown below.

The Process Outlined:

Boat Transformation Process

Love to hear your thoughts.



Congratulations to Anthropics, PortraitPro 12 team on Professional Photographer’s Hot One award for industry innovation, Winner 2014

Transforming an ‘ordinary’ photograph

Smart Photo Editor is great for creating photo-artworks.

Below is shown a ‘before & after’ example of such a transformation.

Statues Before - After

So how was this achieved?

Here is a visual ‘step-by-step’ guide showing the  transformation stages. Note the mask – this was created using a soft edge brush – no attempt was made to be precise as it was not necessary in this instance.

Transformation Process

Let me restate the process of transformation:

  1. Load original image
  2. Crop original image
  3. Apply ‘Vibrance’ effect by Tony
  4. Apply ‘Extreme Sharpness’ by David
  5. Apply ‘Photo-art at a click 049′ by andrewb2012
  6. Create mask at this stage – basically we erased some of the ‘Photo-art at a click 049′ effect to reveal previous stage
  7. Apply ‘Vignette masks 012′ by andrewb2012
  8. Use the ‘Image Treatment’ feature to:
  • Lift ‘Darks’
  • Lift ‘Shadows’
  • Increase ‘Clarity’
  • Reduce ‘Saturation’ a little

This process is typical of how I use Smart Photo Editor.

Hope you find this useful.



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.