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Nature's Iris Part 2

Author: Samanthie

Tools Needed

* Paint Shop Pro

* Photoshop

* Other graphic programs with layers support


In this tutorial the focus will be on enhancing the iris and adding reflections.


Step 1: Create a new image 500x500, 300dpi, on a transparent bg.

Open up your saved and merged iris image from part 1 of this tutorial. Copy the iris image and paste it onto the new image as a new layer and name the layer iris. Just turn off the transparent bg layer. You may close the original image file.

Use the magic wand tool and click on the empty area of the iris layer. If your selection does not fit snuggle around the iris and appears jagged then you will need to do a little bit of cleanup of scattered pixels. Using the selection tool set to circle make a circle from the center of the pupil all the way to the outer edge. Then just go to Selections/Invert and hit the delete key. This will cut away any scattered pixels. Don't worry if the selection overlaps the edge just a little just go ahead and hit delete. Leave the selection inverted and apply a drop shadow with the settings V0, H0, Opacity 100, Blur 100. Deselect.


Inverted Selection


Drop shadow applied.

Step 2: The pupil's edge needs to be softened a bit.

Create a new layer.

Click on the selection tool/circle and use settings feather 1, anti-alias checked.

In the center of the pupil make a circle so that just the pupil is selected. In the Selections menu click on selections/modify/feather and choose 24.


Click on Blur/radial blur and apply with these settings: zoom, strength100, H0, V0, Protect Center85.

Repeat the radial blur with the same settings. Your image should now look like this…


Step 3: Colorize

In this step we are going to change some of the colors of the iris just slightly.

With the freehand selection tool (lasso) select an area on the left side of the iris as shown. Feather the selection by 24 as you did in Step 2 (selections/modify/feather). Then click on selections/promote selection to layer.

Click on Adjust/Hue and Saturation/Colorize and apply these settings:Hue115 Saturation 67.



Activate the iris layer again and draw another shape with the selection tool on the opposite side of the iris. Repeat as before and feather the selection by 24. Click on Selections/Promote Selection to Layer. Colorize the selection and use these settings Hue 115 and saturation 115.

Next select an area near the top of the iris and feather the selection again by 24, promote to layer and use Hue and Saturation again with these settings, Hue 115 and Saturation 45.


Turn off the original iris layer and the transparent background layer and merge the three promoted layers. Go to layers/merge/merge visible.


Turn on the iris layer and lower the opacity of the merged layers to 70 percent. Now merge visible layers. The changes are subtle but they add a little more realism to the iris I think.


Step 4: Reflections

Create a new layer. With the freehand selection tool draw an irregular shape over the iris. Flood fill the shape with a linear gradient set to foreground/background colors. I used #ffffff (white) for the foreground and an aqua color #9db1b0 for the background. Deselect.


Activate the eraser tool and set the opacity to between 11 and 20 and begin erasing the hard edges around the shape. When the edges have been softened duplicate the highlight layer and change the settings to Screen at 80%. Duplicate the layer and set it's mode to dodge and opacity to 16%. Merge visible layers.


Step 5: Reflections Continued

Create a new layer and again draw a shape but a bit more controlled than the last one. The selection point to point tool is a good choice for this shape. Draw the image on the opposite side of the iris. Follow the contours of the eye. See image'


Flood fill as before with the same colors.


Select the smudge tool (hand with pointed finger) and set your settings to size 53, hardness 42, Step 1, density 100, thickness 100, rotation 172 and opacity 100. Make sure that 'sample merged' is unchecked.

Gently push and pull the edges of the shape so that the contours more closely match those of your iris shape. It is very OK if the image edges blur somewhat.


When completed with the smudging switch the layer mode to screen opacity 36%. Use the eraser tool with the same settings as before and erase just a little bit around the outer edge of this new reflection as well as some of the inner curved edge. Duplicate the layer and set mode to Dodge at 22%. Merge visible layers. You should have an image similar to mine….


Step 6: Enhancing Reflections

Create a new layer. We need to add something more to the reflections to really set it off. This is a fun and easy way to do just that. Activate your brush tool. I chose +Round 10 in PSP. Settings are default with size set to 5.

I used color #5f3323.Begin by making some lines over the left area of the iris following the contours. The lines may resemble a fence perhaps or a window. Change the brush size to 10 to make larger lines as well. Repeat by making a similar shape on the other side of the iris over the reflection.


Use the eraser brush again with the same settings and gently erase away the hard edges at the top and bottom of both areas.


Apply a median filter. Go to Adjust/Add/Remove Noise/Median Filter. Use the default settings and set filter aperture to 7.

Set the layer to Multiply and lower the opacity to 16. Merge visible layers.

Your finished image should look similar to this:


Step 7: Further Enhancement

We can enhance the reflections even more. Create a new layer and choose the brush tool and choose brush 'wavey' from the drop down menu. Settings: size 85, Step 32, Density 100 and Opacity 100, color white. Just make a few random dabs with the brush over the highlights as shown.


When finished placing your highlights set the layer mode to Dodge and lower the opacity to 12 to 16%.


Dodge opacity set to 12%.

Step 8: Optional Effects

You can also extend the reflection into the pupil area and it will give the iris a more glassy effect. You can do this by adding a new layer. Make the shapes with the selection tool as shown. Flood-fill the shapes with same gradient as before and use the eraser tool to blend. Merge Visible.



Try this as well:

Colorize the image Adjust/Hue Saturation/Colorize with these settings:

Hue 25 Saturation 140 to 178.

Duplicate the layer and choose multiply with opacity set at 34%.

Duplicate this layer and set it to Overlay at 50%. Merge all visible layers.


The image below shows the extended reflection as well as some added color placed randomly with the wavey brush as in Step 8 on a new layer set to overlay. Lower opacity as needed.


And lastly here is one more iris with the use of one of my paintings for a reflection. To accomplish this just use the same techniques as outlined in Step 5 but instead of using a gradient flood fill you would simply cut and paste your image into the shapes and continue with the tutorial from there.


Congratulations you have completed part 2 of Nature's Iris! :o)

Tutorial by Debbie Overstreet ~Samanthie' 2006