Make Beautiful Poppies: A Digital Art Tutorial

An iPhoneography App and Digital Art Tutorial by David Hayes

Earlier this summer, the photo streams I follow were filled with images of poppies. Poppies close up, fields of poppies, poppies and more poppies. Of course I had to try my hand at putting together my interpretation of this theme. Problem was that I didn’t have a gorgeous field of poppies to work with in my neck of the woods. However, there was a house along the way my dog and I would walk that did have a small poppy bed in their front yard! So one bright spring day during our walk, I grabbed a quick shot of this flowerbed. (With my puppy, all shots have to be quick!)



Let’s face it…not the most appealing of images! Yet I was not deterred as knew I had a perfect background in my files and a great extraction and layering tools at my disposal!



Opening the source image in the app PS Touch, I first opened this set of tools and went for Crop.



Using the selectors, I went for a roughly square crop focusing on what I considered the best section of the image.



Next up, extracting the poppy field! I went for the Magic Wand tool to select areas that I wanted to cut out of the composition. The app’s Contiguous tool will also come in handy, as it will let me select large chunks at a time!



I first turned the Contiguous off and tapped on a section of the road behind the poppy bed. As you can see in the screen shot, not only does Magic Wand select the roadway but also the sidewalk!



Clicking on the Pencil/Pen icon, I then click on Cut…that cut out all the selected area. Fantastic! That means more than half of this process is done.

I continued in the fashion of using Magic Wand to select and the Cut tool to remove more of the image.



Once I was down to just a few areas remaining, I switched over to the Eraser tool and used it to clean up the remainder of the background…leaving me a field of poppies!



Time to bring in my background. (I had created this earlier using a blank field in the app Distressed FX.) Once the background had loaded into PS Touch, I selected its layer and pulled it down so that it would show behind my poppy field.



I needed to scale down the poppy field to better “fit” the background so I activated the Move tool and adjusted the poppies size and position.



In this screen shot you can see the final position. Now it was time to do a little blending of the two layers so I clicked on the layers icon to bring up the blending tools.



After taking a look at all the blend possibilities, I picked Multiply at 100% opacity.



I then saved this part of my composition to my Camera Roll and moved on to the next app, Repix.



First up in Repix is its “Dust” filter that I used to lightly “paint” dust into the background area above the poppies. (This filter has two settings: one for white dust and the other for black dust. This is the one I used.)



One of my favorite filters in this app is “Hatching” so of course I had to see what it would do for my image.



As with “Dust,” I worked across the background putting down hatch marks to give the image a painterly feel. Here’s a zoomed in look at these marks.


Made with Repix (

Okay! All done here…saved to my Camera Roll…and one last stop!



This time…Snapseed. I wanted to brighten up the poppies on the left and right edges of the image and I knew that the “Selective Adjust” tool would do the trick!



I first put a selection point on the right side (A) and used the Brightness slider to bring it out more. I then moved over to the left side (B) and did likewise.



A quick stop using “Tune Image” to do a little Brightness and Contrast fine tuning…



Then off to “Frames” for a final touch!



Frame 23 was my choice this time.



Not quite done!! When you use one of Snapseed’s frames it will also give you either a white or black “matte” as well. Sometimes I like this…but not this time!



Easily taken care of in “Crop”…



Which I did in an instant!!


Made with Repix (


Here’s the final image, “Poppies!” I certainly had a good time taking what I first considered a “trash” shot and turning it into something I’d want to share!!

David Hayes is a photographer, mixed-media artist, painter and explorer of life. Visit his blog at

Photo Craft_160For more digital photography tips and techniques check out Photo Craft by Susan Tuttle and Christy Hydeck.

You may also like these articles:

This entry was posted in Make: Mixed Media Art Projects and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.