Digital Plaster Chunks, 2 ways / by Jennifer Wagner

Last week's Freebie Friday was a chunk of plaster that you could download for use in your art.

This is a little tutorial showing two ways you could incorporate this type of element into your work.

The first way is more subtle.  I created a background texture by blurring out a photo I took of a sunset and then heaped other textures on it in Photoshop while employing various blend modes.  At the end, I layered in some of my plaster chunks and set them to screen, soft light and overlay blend modes so they aren't recognizable but added the texture I wanted to the image. 

Here is the texture example:

After I felt satisfied with the results, I merged it all into one layer and saved as a JPG so that I could easily pull it into other compositions.  I used it multiple times in this photo below that I captured at Governor Dodge State Park in Wisconsin.

So that is the more subtle route.  Here is an example of using them directly in a composition.  This is slightly exaggerated, I created this image just to show how they can be used.  I started with a background image of canvas and then I brought in the plaster chunks to border the image.  Then I copied in my photo of a Japanese Maple tree which had been filtered to look like a pastel sketch.  I masked out portions of the image with watercolor look brushes.  Finally I used watercolor brushes and the colors in the maple photo to paint on top of the plaster.

Using plaster in this way, just gives the image more of a three dimensional look and adds visual interest.

Here is an example in a finished composition where the plaster is more subtle.