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Nature's Iris

Author: Samanthie

Tools Needed

* A picture of a flower with well defined overlapping petals

* Paint Shop Pro

* Photoshop or any other graphic software with layers capability.

Support Files


Step 1: Step 1:

Begin by creating a new file 500×500, 16million colors, 300.dpi.with a transparent background. Add a new layer and name it Iris. Choose the selection tool from the tool bar. Set the type to circle. The selection tool settings are set at feather 1 with anti-alias checked.


Make a large circle in the center of your image.

Flood-fill the circle with a base color of your choosing. This will be the base for your eye color. I chose #7c999e.


Step 2:

Invert the selection (selections/invert) and apply a drop shadow with settings V0, H0, Opacity100, Blur100. Deselect. 200-01ce.jpg

In the center of the iris draw another circle of medium size and fill with black. Apply a drop shadow with these settings V0, H0, Opacity100, Blur100. Deselect the image.

Your image should now look similar to this;


Select the image. Use the magic wand tool and click on the outside area of your image and invert the selection. If the selection is not exact go to selections/modify/contract/1 or 2 so that the selection is snuggly around the iris.

This is pretty much necessary for the entire tutorial. The reason you want to keep that outer circle selected is to keep things nice and tidy when you apply the blur effects a little later.


Step 3:

Tip: For future projects edge tools can be very helpful when editing your flower images. Try edge/dilate and erode as well. I used only edge/dilate and was pleased with the result. When you have finished editing your flower, be sure to save it for future use.

Copy your flower image to the clipboard and go back to your iris image. If the iris is not selected select it, create a new layer and name it flower. Paste the flower image into the selection on the new layer.


I wanted the edges of my flower to have a more consistent circular shape. To do this I turned off the iris and bg layers. Then I duplicated the flower layer and rotated it until the overall shape was circular. When I was happy with the shape I merged the two flower layers into one layer. Layers merge/visible. Then I turned the bg and iris layers back on.

Step 4: Color Editing

The natural colors of the flower may not be quite what you would want for your iris. To fix this the color must be changed to something more believable.

With the flower layer selected go to the top menu and choose Adjust/Color-Balance/Red Green Blue and use R-62, G-19, and B 22. If you are using another color for your base color then adjust your colors accordingly.


Step 5:

The outer edge of your iris should still be selected so click on the flower layer and duplicate it. Name this new layer blur. To apply the blur go to Adjust/Blur/Radial Blur and use these settings; select zoom, strength100, select elliptical, H0, V0 , Protect Center is set at 85%. Hit OK.

Just so you can see the effect and how it should look. Here is the image shown with all the other layers off and then again with all layers visible. You can begin to see the patterns developing in the iris!



Step 6: Layer Adjustments

Now we can make some adjustments to our layers. Set the blur layer to hard light 100%.

Click on the flower layer just below it and set it to soft light at 68%

Click on the iris layer and duplicate it and set the duplicated layer to hard light 100%.

Your image should now look similar to mine…


This is how your layer palette should look…


You may deselect the image.

Step 7:

Click on the flower layer and duplicate it. Set the layer to normal so you can see it better. Use the deform tool to size it down as in the image shown.


Go to Adjust/Blur/Radial Blur again and use these settings; zoom, strength 54, elliptical is checked, H0, V0, Protect Center is 85. Change this layer to overlay 100%.


That's it! Well that's it for part 1. You may merge/visible all the layers if you want. I think it is a good idea to save your image in its layered format as well so that you can play around with the various settings in your layer palette and see what special effects you can create. Try different colors too!

This tutorial covers only the patterns of the irises without any added highlights or reflections. I will cover both of those in the 2nd part. :o)

Tutorial by Debbie Overstreet ~Samanthie' 2006