Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist

May 5, 2013 — 12 Comments

There are various ways of blending photos into other materials in Serif Craft Artist. This post will show you what they are and how to do them.

First off, if you don’t know what I mean by blending a photo into the background, here is an example.

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Example Image

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Example Image

Ok, so I chose a weird background to demonstrate this on but I felt that it was one of the best for you to see the results in this explanation.

Anyway, as you can hopefully see, the photo that is in the centre of the page looks as though it is part of the background texture but in fact it is a separate layer that has been digitally altered to look as though it is.

All will hopefully become clear as you read on. Now, let’s start at the beginning and get a photo into our project (you can skip ahead if you already know how to do this).

Adding Photos To Your Workspace

  1. In the Photos Tab (on the left of the screen) click on the word that says Add…
  2. Browse your computer to locate the photo(s) that you want to add to your background, select one or more photos (depending on your plans) and then click on the button at the bottom right of the box marked Open.
  3. The photos should now import and appear in your Photos Tab as shown here (obviously it will be your photos in this area though).
Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Adding Photos

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Adding Photos

Right, so the photo is in, lets crack on.

Setting Up Your Background

Setting up the background and preparing the photo ready for blending is the same for both blending methods.

Add a background to the page. To do this, simply click and drag a background from the Backgrounds Tab on the left of the screen onto your page.

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Adding A Background

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Adding A Background

Next, drag and drop a photo from the Photos Tab onto your project.

To make sure that everything is set up correctly click on the Layers Tab on the right hand side of the screen and then click on the little arrow next to where it says Layer 1, it should look like this with Layer 1 as a group; the background at the bottom and the photo just above. They will both have (picture) as their title. You can either rename them or just use the thumbnails as a guide.

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Adding A Photo

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Adding A Photo

While the photo is selected, feel free to resize it and position on your page where you want it. If at any time you click away from the photo and it is not selected, select it again before trying any of the blending methods below.

You are now ready to move onto blending.

Method 1 – Layer Blending

Layer blending is achieved by blending two layers together using some simple one-click options. Layer blending options are found in the Colour Tab on the right hand side of the screen.

To apply a simple transparency effect, simple select the photo and use the slider (called Transparency) at the bottom of the Colour Tab to adjust the opacity of the image.

In the example below I have set the transparency to 50%.

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Simple Transparency Blending

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Simple Transparency Blending

Next to the transparency slider you may have noticed a drop down menu marked Blend Mode. These are very specific styles of blending.

To apply a Blend Mode select your image and then choose one from the drop down box.

I can’t upload an example of each option as it would make this post too bloated but here are two examples that will give you an idea of what is possible.

This first one is called Soft Light. It’s quite a subtle effect and would work well if the image isn’t going to be a focal point.

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Soft Light Example

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Soft Light Example

The second one is called Hard Light. It works in the same way as soft light but instead of softening the colours, it really intensifies them but stills keeps the texture of the background beneath.

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Hard Light Example

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Hard Light Example

There are more Blend Modes available and I would encourage you to play with all of them with different textures and photos to see what combinations you can create.

Method 2 – The Transparency Tool

Although this is a different tool, it can be used in conjunction with the layer blending method that I showed you earlier.

To use the Transparency Tool you will need to use the button on the top menu bar that looks like a wine glass (sadly this isn’t a glass for ordering up your fave tipple while you work). In the image below it is highlighted in orange.

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Transparency Tool

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Transparency Tool

Click on the “wine glass” button and then click and drag a line on your photograph. It should now look something like this.

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Applying The Transparency Tool

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Applying The Transparency Tool

You can see from the line that your dragged that the transparency goes from 0% (not see-through) in the centre (where I clicked first) to 100% (totally see-through) at the outer edge (where I dragged the line too). This will look different depending on how you drag the line out, and you can of course go in and move these points around.

Next up, and assuming that you haven’t clicked off the image, you will notice a Context Toolbar at the top of the screen. It looks like this.

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Transparency Toolbar

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Transparency Toolbar

These are all options that relate to the Transparency Tool that we just used. By altering these you will get different effects.

The drop down menu (that currently has Linear written in it) can be changed to Radial and will give an effect like this.

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Radial Transparency Tool

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Radial Transparency Tool

Go on, give it a try. Try changing all of the options and see what happens – you’re not going to waste any paper after-all :)

Anyway, that’s the basic principal of Layer Blending and the Transparency Tool.

Here’s a final example where I have combined a crumpled paper with a photo that I took whilst in Scotland …

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Combo Example

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Combo Example

… to create this! I used a Blend Mode called Colour Burn to achieve this. I love it!

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist - Complete Blend

Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist – Complete Blend

So, what do you think? Is this something that you would have a go at? Have you already used it?

Either way, I hope that you enjoyed this little overview of just two of the creative tools available in Serif Craft Artist.

If anything didn’t make any sense, or you have thought of a different way of doing the same thing, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond.

Many thanks for reading.

John :)

12 responses to Blending Photos Into A Background In Serif Craft Artist

  1. 

    Oh John thank you very much for your tutorial found by mistake (I was looking for info on importing a photo) I’m learning how to use craft artist 2, I keep exporting embellishments and other bits to my docrafts digital designer I’m bit overwhelmed by the layout and things disappearing on my screen on craft artist 2 (that will be me clicking the mouse) well you learn by mistakes. Well as you can tell I’m not giving up just yet I think craft artist 2 has good things to offer me when I can find them (or discover them) now I must retrace back my steps so I know where to find you. (This tutorial) thank you Janet

    Like

  2. 
    Katie-Louise sweetlove July 31, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Thank you John your answers have been very helpful to me.
    it looks like I’ll need some more practice with basic cdroms before trying craft artist pro/ two.
    Thank you for answering all my questions so quickly. Very kind of you.
    Katie-Louise

    Like

  3. 
    Katie-Louise sweetlove July 29, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Hi John, what amazing effects you’ve created by blending your photos using this tech package. My computer has a stupidly small hard drive ( my oldish iPod has more GBs space on it than my computer!) so i can’t use craft artist software. I’m hoping to save up to get a new laptop for all my CDROM crafting I’ve started doing. Can I ask please… Do you need the Internet to use this software? As I don’t have it on my laptop as I have a tablet and do everything on that on the Internet, if you need the Internet I wouldn’t be able to use it.
    Also how easy is craft artist two/ pro? as I’m not very technically minded and simple things tend to overwhelm me. I am not very confident with software beyond clicking and printing and some parts of the crafters companion cdroms took some time to get my head around.
    Can you use this software to make card toppers rather than a whole flat card printed out? I know you have to add digikits to it if you want to do scrapbooking layouts and you can import photos into it but I’ve no idea how to get photos onto laptops. It’s easy to get my photos from my phone to my tablet but that’s using an app designed for that technology.

    Thank you for showing me what you can achieve using this software and photos, I love the second blended background photo the scrunched paper texture makes the photo look like some amazing artwork.

    Best wishes from Katie-Louise

    Like

    • 

      Wow, a lot of questions there Katie-Louise. I’ll try and cover them all.

      You asked: Do you need the Internet to use this software? As I don’t have it on my laptop as I have a tablet and do everything on that on the Internet, if you need the Internet I wouldn’t be able to use it.

      Answer: The software may need to be registered online if you want to take advantage of some help features and automatic updates. You may also need to be ‘online’ in order to search the digi kit library from within the software.

      You asked: How easy is craft artist pro? as I’m not very technically minded and simple things tend to overwhelm me. I am not very confident with software beyond clicking and printing and some parts of the crafters companion cdroms took some time to get my head around.

      Answer: Although there are tutorial videos online and help available via forums and other peoples blogs I would say that if you struggle with point and click then it is likely that you will find this a steep learning curve. Most things are drag and drop but there are other advanced features that will take some thought.

      You asked: Can you use this software to make card toppers rather than a whole flat card printed out?

      Answer: Yes. You will obviously have to cut them out once printed though.

      You asked: I’ve no idea how to get photos onto laptops. It’s easy to get my photos from my phone to my tablet but that’s using an app designed for that technology.

      Answer: That’s not something that I can help you with. You will need to consult the help files on your laptop for that one.

      Like

  4. 
    Laraine Breeze July 28, 2013 at 6:37 am

    wow John, I have just found your blog from the address you gave out on C&C and I must say I have found it to be very inspirational. I like the way you explain how to do the cards and I found the tutorial on using Serif very good. I will definitely be having a go with that using on of my photos I took this year at Mudeford of a beautiful sunset.
    Keep up the good work. It would be interesting to see you on the sewing shows too!!!!
    Thanks for all the hints and tips.
    Laraine Breeze

    Like

    • 

      Thank you for the compliments. I have previously been on sewing shows and thoroughly enjoyed them. Paper crafting is a recent thing for me, but definitely here to stay :)

      Like

  5. 

    Hi john ..loved this tutorial ..your instructions are so easy to follow .. I have c.a.p. but dont find their instuctions are always easy to follow so tend to stick to the bits I know how to use ..would love to see more CAP projects on here …Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful Ideas with us ..am looking forward to many more sue milham

    Like

  6. 

    Wat a great effect. Great explanation of how you achieved it as well.

    Like

  7. 

    Very very interesting and lovely effects. I have Serif but haven’t gone beyond using the ready prepared album pages to do a memories book for my daughter a couple of weeks ago on her emigration to Australia. it was a case of adding photos and and changing things around so very basic really.Your tutorial seems easy to follow and I shall definitely have a go at it myself. I will certainly have more time now my daugher has gone! Thank you.

    Like

  8. 

    This is wonderfully clear and easy to follow. I want to try this with my artwork. I’ve never heard of Serif Craft Artist. Is it like a photoshop program of sorts? What’s the best program for taking a scanned art piece and then completing the piece with digital effects?

    Like

    • 

      Thank you for the compliment Katherine,

      Serif Craft Artist is a digital crafting software programme. It has a range of tools and features to work with. You can find out more about it here – http://www.createandcraft.tv/_253022.aspx and also from the software developers, here http://www.serif.com/craftartist/

      What you plan sounds exciting. Would love to see what you create if you do decide to get a copy.

      As for your final question, this depends on what you hope to achieve, your skill level and what you want to do with the finished piece (oh, and your budget level will also play a role). Given that there are so many varying factors it’s difficult to recommend a one stop solution for you. If you are just starting out it might be worth asking around on forums and also social networks for other peoples experience and recommendations.

      Hope that goes someway to helping you.

      J :)

      Like

    • 

      Hi Katherine. Just thought I would give you a link so you can take a quick peek at what you are able to do with Craft Artist
      http://www.daisytrail.com/popular.html?filter=most_liked
      I use an earlier version (DSA2) for scrapbooking and have Craft Artist ready for when I get my new laptop. I have found it one of the easiest programmes to get to grips with. There is a learning curve, of course, but if you use the forum you can get all the help you need from some lovely helpful people. There are tutorials, freebies etc made by members and the inspiration you can get is fantastic. I make a lot of my pages from my own photos and scans using the effects and tools etc in the software and very rarely have to use any other software to get what I want. Hope you take a look and find it interesting and helpful. Regards Angie

      Like

Share Your Thoughts On This Post

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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