Agnes Caruso Photography

Photography


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Changing background in a collage

Today I got an interesting question from Julie in WA state. How to change a background color in a collage in Corel PaintShop Pro 2018? My immediate response was, I have to check this out. I remember trying to do it and not succeeding very well. However, when you have to find an answer you tend to do so. So below are two options of changing background in a collage you created. First one, adding an image as your background and second modifying color and/or texture of the background.

Before you can start editing backgrounds, make sure that once you have created your collage it has been saved in .PSPIMAGE file format. This let’s you go back and re-edit your creation.

Step 1. Create your background, by selecting File > New. As I said on the previous post I like my background larger rather than smaller as you can always crop your image at the end. My standard size is 20.833 by 14 inches. There is no good reasoning behind it, in case you ask. Make it what you like it to be but keep it larger rather than smaller.

Step 2. Create your collage

Step 3. Each image you add will be a new layer. In this case right now you have 6 layers.

Step 4. Now if you want to use another image as your background, because white is boring or you have a picture which you desperately want to use as your background, click on Manage tab. Find the image you want to use, click on it to highlight it and then select Edit Tab.

Step 5. Image will open up, you can make changes to it at this stage if you want or need. Once you are happy with the way it looks, select all, copy and then paste to your collage.

Step 6. Now you have 7 layers and it all looks ugly and you lost one or more of your images underneath. In order to be able to see all the images, make sure that the new layer is moved to just above the background layer we created in step 1.

Step 7. In Layer Menu, select New Adjustment Layer. You need to pick what adjustments you want to make to your background image. I selected Brightness/Contrast. If you right click on adjustment layer you can adjust brightness and contrast to your liking. If you select General Tab you can also adjust the background image in other ways by selecting more actions from the drop down menu as well as change opacity. This is all up to your creativity.

Step 8. It is important to make sure that your layers are ordered properly at this stage. So counting from the bottom you should have your layer 1 (large background), image layer that you wish to use as background and adjustment layer. All other images have to be above or you will end up modifying them as well.

Step 9. You can also change the image that is your background by deleting the layer and adding a new image as new layer.

 

Now if you want to use a solid background, you can add a new New Art Media Layer. This will allow you to ad solid color fill of your choice or paint texture of your choice in any color available. Here is how you do just that.

Step 1.  You have your collage as below.

Step 2. Now in the Menu select Layer and pick a New Art Media Layer. This will allow you to pick a texture or a fill color.

Step 3. Texture has to be painted on either using a dry medium such as chalk or wet such as oil brush. Corel help is actually pretty handy here to guide you through the process. However, main thing is to experiment with different effects till you find what you want. Again, make sure that all the images of interest are above Artistic Medium Layer or you will make changes to them.

Try either of the two options or both of them and pick what you like. This is just a start, the effects can be pretty stunning if you focus on the artistic side of things. I would love to see what creations come out of this work, so post your comments with links to images. Have fun!


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Coffee – little coffee shops discovered in my travels

It seems that coffee is present everywhere. There are coffee shops, espresso bars in so many places that it is hard not to find one. Is coffee good or bad for us will not be discussed here, this is not the place or space for it, I leave that topic to others.

I just want to share some of the really great little spots I visited where coffee is really good. As any Australian I like my coffee strong and it has to have a taste that is not burned. So where are those little gems.

Let’s start in Brisbane – Merlo coffee is served in many spots, with a few of their own coffee shops. It is even on the Goodwill Bridge so you can get that ever important shot of coffee while strolling to work or riding your bike.

16187330482_aea41230a5_z   H04A8899  Da Capo, NYC

One of my favourite spots is Da Capo in New York. A small Italian coffee shop on Madison Avenue has that small perfect espresso, just what you need to pick you up in the morning or energize you during the day. You can match that with some of their pastries or sandwiches. The place is small but then so are many coffee shops in Italy.

On the opposite side of Manhattan there is another small coffee shop with good strong coffee – Ramini Coffee. They used to make fresh juices too but those days are unfortunately over. You can still get fresh juices and yogurts but they are ready made. Coffee, however, and pastries are great. One of the really nice things are mini-pastries.

La Colombe, PhillyWP_20151031_005 (2)In addition to individual coffee shops there are also local coffee shop chains much smaller than Starbucks and with much better coffee and much more personal service. One of such chains is La Colombe, it has unique charm and serves coffee in colorful cups in some of the stores. The first of their coffee shops I visited was in Philadelphia, right in the city center. Nice and spacious with quick service. The DC location is not as handy but that does not affect the coffee you get.

There are also some interesting options in Baltimore, with one of them being this time a French-style coffee shop – Café Poupon. They serve coffees in many different styles, pastries and sandwiches. Some of the pastries look so amazing you do not really know if you want to eat them or stare at them. Nice spot for breakfast or lunch, alternatively just for that coffee infusion.

 

WP_20160527_09_21_00_Rich (2) Kookaburra

While traveling further south into North Carolina, you can stop in Market Street Coffee and Ice Cream store in Chapel Hill to enjoy perfectly sized and tasting cappuccino.

Finally, the home of great coffee is in Florida, you can enjoy good coffees in many spots, but watch out for that sugar finding its way into your cup. Cuban coffee is frequently extremely sweet, so be very sure that you know what you are ordering. Strength is similar to Italian coffees though. Pastries are different and you will not find croissants or danishes as easily. However, there are Australians everywhere and Florida is not different, so there is a small Kookaburra coffee shop in St. Augustine, serving strong Australian coffee and Aussie scones to go with it.

Another great choice in Florida was an Argentinian Buenos Aires Cafe in Miami beach, good coffee and really amazing pastries.

InstagramCapture_67e4858d-e562-4a35-bf45-e532cc4966c4  New Orleans   

Then a place you cannot forget in the south, is Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans with its cafe au lait and beignets.

I have not been to many places on the west coast but one that picked my interest was La Parfait Paris in San Diego’s Gaslight district. A French patisserie with great breads, pastries and good strong coffee is nicely tucked away from the main streets. The location does not remind you of the Paris coffee shops but the taste is definitely there. They offer not only breakfasts but also make great lunchtime sandwiches.

The big challenge is to find a good coffee chop when you travel overseas. While going home to Australia presented little challenge as I already have my favorite spots not just in Brisbane but also in Sydney. A bigger challenge was finding this right spot in Canada. When traveling you frequently end up at one of the big chain stores like Starbucks or Tim Hortons, but you want something better and something unique. In Toronto, the unique is Balzac’s coffee. My favorite location is on Market Street. The slightly European décor makes it feel really cozy. The service is amazing, and early mornings are not very busy, so you can really enjoy your time. There is a little of everything for everyone, organic milk, home-made granola, pastries, coffees and teas. Just sit down and relax. The best part it is right opposite of the market so you can also get fresh and tasty fruit to get a healthy bite.

balzacs coffee  Balzacs lemon tart  Balzacs cappuccino

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