A New Beginning

photography by Mary Lou Jacobs

Tricolored Heron

I took this photograph 4 years ago with my Nikon D80. I never liked the way it looked but I held on to it thinking maybe someday I would be able to do something with it. The day is here!! I love playing with textures so I pulled up this image and started to play. I am very pleased with the transformation and will now be able to use this image. It took me a while to find the textures that worked with this image but once I found them there was no stopping!!


Please click on image for full view


Please click on image for full view


1. Duplicate original image.

2. Do your normal edits on the image and create a composite layer ~ CMD + option + shift + E on a Mac or CTL + ALT + shift + E on a PC.

3. Choose several textures and try them with the image to see if you like the effect. For this image I chose Shadowhouse Creations FREE  Aged Canvas Textures (ACT) #8 & #11.

4. I placed ACT #8 under my composite layer.

5. Choose ‘D’ on the keyboard so that your background color is black.

6. I then added a layer mask to the composite layer. Select the layer mask and change it to black by choosing CMD + delete on a MAC or CTL + delete on a PC.

7. Making sure the foreground color is white, select a soft brush and set your opacity accordingly. (I set mine to 50% for the bird). Click on the layer mask and start painting back the parts you want to show through.Then I started at the bottom with the opacity at 18% and as I painted upward I made the opacity higher. Adjust your opacity according to how much of the image you want showing.

8. Next I moved ACT #11 over the layer with the layer mask and changed the blend mode to Overlay. You can then make adjustments with the opacity or brightness to your liking.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


As always please remember if you choose to use any of the links or tutorials on this blog that you give credit to the author.


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16 thoughts on “Tricolored Heron

  1. Ms Katy on said:

    I love your bird! I can’t wait to try this!!! Thanks!

  2. regularman on said:

    This is a great photo in the first place, but your finishing makes is wall-worthy. Very nicely done Mary Lou … I have a new favorite!

  3. Love the initial image but the process shot reminds me of the Sinornithosaurus which has caused so much controversy amongst Palentologists.

  4. this is a wonderful Heron photo and the processing is amazing…thanks for sharing the how-to-steps…

  5. PS great link, thanks again!

  6. Fantastic results!

  7. I’m loving your new blog, Mary Lou! You are on fire with creativity.

  8. A wonderful work of art Mary Lou! This proves that we should never delete what we think are bad images. Thanks for sharing your workflows.

  9. Nice work–it looks spiritual, almost like a phoenix.

  10. Beautiful work Mary!!

  11. Great work! I actually like the original image as well even though the processed one really stands out. Might try this process myself now. Thanks for sharing it.

  12. Saw this on FB and STILL am blown away by how gorgeous it is. All the texture in the wings is amazing.

  13. Love both of them, great images!!

  14. I loved this on FB too and like seeing the two fine images together.

  15. Pingback: Fun « PHOTOBLOG 2812

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