Around the Web – Sept. 17


From Spoon Graphics, “The Extra Features of Adobe CC You Might Not Be Aware Of”.

And from – did you know that there are more brushes available than just what is programmed in to Photoshop? There are a bunch more available here in the “Summer 2019 Release”.


From – “10 Things Successful Photographer’s Don’t Do”

On PhotoFocus – “Why a Great Tripod Can Make a Great Image”

Over on – “What is Depth of Field in Photography?”


From – “Abstract Geometic Vector Backgrounds”. (Free, but attribution required or you can purchase for full license.)

Around the Web – Sept. 10

Sunday Sampler Update

For some reason, Dropbox seemed to have a hiccup this week! It was asking people to sign in, which you do not need to do in order to access the Sunday Sampler files!! I’ve left the old folder in place (I think it worked for most people), but I’ve also created a new folder with the same textures HERE! Hopefully this will work like they normally do!!! Gotta love technology!


From CreativeBloq, “All the Best Free Photoshop Brushes”. I love using brushes to create my own textures as well as over an image as a texture. Watch for a tutorial on Thursday.

And if you love Grunge like I do, I found this cool website for grunge brushes! Sign up for their newsletter for freebies!


From CreativeBloq, a list of “42 Best Handwriting Fonts”


If you have an iPad, most likely you have Procreate! Over on the Designest is an interesting article and interview with the founder of Procreate, James Cuda.

On Lightroom Killer Tips by Kelby One are several articles about Lightroom Mobile.

A great YouTube Channel for Photoshop Tutorials by Jesus Ramirez. This week is “How to Cut Fur from Busy Backgrounds in PS”.

Around the Web – Sept. 3


Three tutorials from, “How to Blur Water in Landscape Photos”. Also “How to Make Your Travel Photography Your Own”, and “Stray Light and Lens Flares in Photography”


From, “Maybe You Should Be Using Lightroom for That!” and from, “How to Use Lightroom’s Graduated Filter to Improve Landscapes”.


There is a HUGE amount of resources in this article from A Better Lemonade Stand, “200+ Curated Graphic and Brand Design Resources”. Everything from stock photography, image editing programs, fonts, color palettes and more!

And from, “50+ Free Photoshop Brushes to Download Now”

And over on, “20 Outstanding Free Photoshop Text Effects”


“How to Install Patterns, Layer Styles, Brushes and Gradients in PS and LR”.


Pixelo’s newest bundle is “The Artistic Abstract Design Bundle” with over 2900 Abstract Designs.

This bundle contains:
– 44 design packs;
– 2900+ abstract designs including backgrounds, textures, patterns, shapes, overlays and more;
– Commercial License, check out more about the ;
– Unlimited and quick response.

If you purchased all of these bundles individually, it would cost $885 – grab this bundle for just $29!


And scroll through the web page to see the detail of each included pack!

Around the Web – Aug. 27


From, a roundup of “Free Photoshop Actions for Photographers”. Some actions worth in both Photoshop and Elements and some are PS only – be sure to check if an action will work in your software.

PHOTOSHOP TUTORIALS has “80+ Best Photo Manipulation Tutorials in Photoshop”. There are a wide variety of techniques and levels of difficulty in these! Give some a try!

PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUE has great tutorials on many subjects. This one is “How to Blur Water in Landscape Photos: Essential Tips”.


The folks at DealJumbo have put together a great deal on 20 premium Photoshop Actions – the “Amazing Artistic Photo Effects” bundle! You get 20 Photoshop Actions (For CS3 through CC); 5 PSD templates; and extended licensing. They also supply help files and tutorials! Reg. $250, now just $24! Act fast – this deal ends in 4 DAYS! CLICK HERE to grab your copy!


In the Sunday Sampler I posted a new product from the guys at LayerCake!

Meredith Images and Layercake teamed up to introduce you to the New! Photoshop Grafix Brushes. All FUN – No Mess!

The Grafix brushes load your photo into the custom brush. You can create unlimited photo designs. Works great for all types of photos. You can use the brushes as a clever framing effect or for photo edges. Also great for creating unique greeting card designs.

Over 700 custom brushes which have been carefully organized for you. Concise movie tutorial included!


Grab this huge package of 700 brushes (includes 10 sets) – Reg. $190; on sale for just $47!

Or get the Brush Set PLUS 50 LR & PS presets PLUS 200 textures for just $10 more = $57 (save 80%)!

Around the Web this Week

As mentioned in the Sunday Sampler, I’m going to be coming to your inbox a little more often (but not TOO often!). This is the first week of the new format and Tuesdays will feature items I found Around the Web – freebies, tutorials, sales and other helpful info.


From, a roundup of 20+ Free High Quality Photoshop Brushes Packs.

MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY TUTORIALS has 13 Extremely Useful Tutorials On Macro Photography.


Another cool resource from, 350+ Free Handwriting Brushes for Photoshop. I love using writing in my composite designs. There are a ton of great resource links in this article.


And over on, there is an article listing a bunch of resources for 16 Free Sky Overlays to Make Skies Pop. Sky overlays are great for those images taken with a dull grey sky, or to help add some color and “pop” to an ordinary sky.


Colin Smith over on Photoshop Cafe has a great tutorial on removing glare from glasses in a portrait! Check it out HERE on his YouTube Channel.


My friends at Pixelo have a cool bundle for those of you who like to do scrapbooking, card making, graphic design, etc. The Gigantic Vector Graphics Bundle contains 9229 unique vectors for just $29.


  • 30 vector illustration sets with 287 unique elements;
  • 10 flat-lay vector clipart sets with 250 unique elements;
  • 8 watercolor vector clipart set with 85 unique elements;
  • 2 top notch t-shirt design sets with 151 designs;
  • 150 summer vector illustrations;
  • 9 vector mascot creation kits with 721 vectors;
  • 6 calligraphic ornaments & page decoration sets with 345 vectors;
  • 45 vector elements set with 7240 unique vectors;
  • Commercial License, check out more about the ;
  • Unlimited and quick response


Sunday Sampler July 21

Whew, it’s HOT out there! Here in the Northeast the heat index yesterday and today is over 110! Stay indoors in AC if possible and stay hydrated. I’m staying inside and doing some packing!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some wallpaper images! When I travel I love to check around the hotel for unusual patterns in wallpaper, rugs, fabrics, etc. There are three textures and two of them have two versions for a total of 5. I think the twig one will be great to overlay in a background!

Info on the newest Topaz product is supposed to be under wraps until release day this coming week. However, you may have seen some info posted on social media – but I’ll just say, “stay tuned this week”! I’ll be doing a special blog post when it’s official! I’ve been involved with the pre-beta and beta testing and I think you will all be very happy (I know I am!).

Don’t Miss Out on my July Specials!

Just 10 days left to grab these deals!

One-on-one training special pricing until July 31st (sessions do not have to be completed in July, just purchased prior to the 31st).


Don’t miss out on the sale on Sunday Sampler Groups. These bundle the older Sunday Samplers into groups ranging from 75-90 textures each! Or, you can grab all six at an extra special discount – 468 Textures for just $60! No coupon code needed! On sale until July 31st in the Peacock Studio HERE!

Photo Competition!

I came across this photo competition being held at the Pennsylvania Center for Photography, and I thought some of you might be interested too (I will be entering). The theme for this is “Transformations”, so it’s right up our alley with creative photography! Entry is open now through Sept. 25th. If you are not nearby to enter prints, they also have a digital division.

Check out the Prospectus HERE. With some competitions you need to be careful as to what rights you are giving away. With this one, you retain all copyrights – you only give them permission to use your image (with credit) for advertising future competitions. Good luck!

Free Watercolor Action from Adobe Create Magazine

Actions are a great way to save time when batch editing photos. They can also be a fun way to get creative with your images with minimal work. I found this action on creating a Watercolor look from Adobe – CLICK HERE

I haven’t tried this one myself yet, but I did play around with one I got from Graphic River call Architectural Sketch – I like the way this image came out:

Graphic River – and many other great artists – sell a wide variety of actions on Creative Market.

One thing to pay attention to with actions – in some cases you need to “do” something before running the action. In the example above, I had to create a new blank layer and name it “ga”, then use a round brush to brush where I wanted the effect to be (over the lighthouse). THEN hit the “run” button for the action. It’s not difficult, you just need to be sure to read the instructions for each action to be sure it runs properly.

Also – if you are an Elements user, be sure that the action says it will run on Elements. Some will and some won’t, depending on the steps required to complete it.

Another quick way to create a watercolor look is with this Watercolor Creator from DealJumbo. Here you just add your image to the file – no action needed! This deal expires in 10 DAYS – and it’s just $7. Save another 30% with the code PUP30 (expires 07/22/2019 23:59:59 CET – central europe time), so use it quick!

Also be sure to check out their FREEBIES page HERE!

Have a great week – and don’t forget to watch for the Topaz News this week (due to release on Thursday). I’ll be traveling to Michigan this week for the SWMCCC Conference, but I’ll get the info out to you! Next Sunday’s blog post may be delayed a day or two as I won’t be back home till late Monday.

July 14 – Sunday Sampler

Just back from the 74th Annual NECCC (New England Camera Club Council) Conference! Always a busy weekend full of learning, friendship and exhaustion!! My brain is on overload, so this week’s Sampler is a little “short”!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of “old” things – a stacked stone wall, wicker basket, and old barn board. Enjoy!

FREEBIE! High Resolution Photoshop Splatter Brushes.

And this week I have an exclusive coupon code from Pixelo just for my readers! They have a new bundle, the “Ultimate Photoshop Add-Ons Bundle” with 72 Artistic Photoshop Scripts (actions).

It has a value of $195 – regular bundle price is $29 – SAVE 25% with the code meredith25 at checkout!

This bundle is only available for two weeks, so don’t miss out! CLICK HERE to check it out! See the photo below for some of the effects.

What’s included in this bundle?
– 60 Pencil and Mood Effects for Photoshop;
– 12 Artistic Color Caricature & Rough Drawings Photoshop Scripts;
– Sketches and Moods Styles;
– Pencil and Illustrate Styles;
– Commercial license;

Features & Tech Specs for 12 Caricature Photoshop Scripts
– Applicable to Photoshop (versions: CS5 through Creative Cloud 2019) and Adobe Elements (versions: Versions 13 and 14)
– Operating systems: Mac OS X and Windows
– Can be used with different image types
– Compatible with Mac OS and Windows

Grab your special deal HERE!

June 9 – Sunday Sampler

Our Tennessee journey continues! Purchasing 2nd piece of property attached to the first for a total of 2.1 acres! Put a deposit on a modular yesterday – great deal on one that someone ordered with lots of upgrades then didn’t like the outside color! Good for us! Will be heading back down in a couple weeks on the way to Chattanooga where I will be presenting on Thursday, June 20th at the Photographic Society of Chattanooga. On Saturday the 22nd I will then do a half-day hands-on workshop for them on Topaz. Just a few spots left if you are in the area!

Sunday Sampler header

Some soft floral bokeh images are this week’s Sunday Sampler. I didn’t blur these TOO much – you can use a Gaussian Blur to soften them even more. Great for replacing the background behind a nice flower shot!

Here’s how I used one of these in a quick edit. I had this rose shot with a fairly plain green background (which isn’t a bad thing, but I want to show you how to use the bokeh backgrounds!).

I selected the rose and feathered the edges 3 pixels. Delete the old background. Save the rose with the transparent background as a PNG file.

Open Floral Bokeh 3 and drag the rose into the background (just as you would drag in a texture). I used Neutral Density gradients to darken the background, and a Hue/Saturation Adjustment to make the flowers a little more pink. I also used a Layer Style to add a slight drop shadow to the rose (very subtle). Here’s the final screen shot:

And the final image:

Needs a stem of some type so that it doesn’t look like it’s floating on the background, but you get the idea!

Survey – New Logo Design!

I am beginning an update of the Meredith Images website and decided it was time for a new logo to tie in with the “Peacock” theme. I’ve come up with a few versions – I need you to vote for your favorite!

Here are the versions numbered. The link to vote is at the end of this article! Thanks for your feedback!








If you like to create the look of pencil sketches and other art from your images, you’ll love this bundle from Pixelo – “The Ultimate Photoshop Add-Ons Bundle”!

It contains 72 Artistic Scripts to create a world of effects with just a click! Check it out HERE! Just $29!

And if you didn’t grab the Design Cuts “Totally Vibrant Textures & Patterns Collection” yet, it expires Monday midnight UK time! Don’t miss this huge collection for just $29! Click HERE to check it out!

And from WeGraphics, a cool little tutorial on how to make a “soundwave” in Photoshop! I followed the tutorial and did this less than 5 minutes!

And finally, from Light Stalking, an article of “The Coolest Photography Links of the Week” including tutorials and some great photographs!

Have a great week!

June 2 – Sunday Sampler

Happy June! May was such a busy month that it totally flew by! The good news is that we’ve purchased property in Tennessee – 1.3 acres of heaven! Now the real fun of purging, packing, etc. We’ll be putting a modular home on the land – plus a workshop/studio for the Peacock Studio! Hopefully move by Fall.

Our property is the “unmowed” area – all the way down the hill to the tree line on the right, then over in front of the little pond and back up the hill. We’ll be putting our house about even with the one in the distance toward the left of the frame.

This week’s Sunday Sampler is “bricks”! An original image plus three variations created in Smart Photo Editor. Enjoy!

New Column!

Welcome to “Inside the Peacock Studio”! In this column (once or twice a month), I will show you the “before” and “after” of an image and explain how I got to the final result. These demos will be processed with some of my own textures from groups that are available in the Peacock Studio online store. There will be a sale on the group(s) used for the upcoming week.

For this first column, I am using an image I took a few weeks ago in my kitchen with some lilacs from our yard.


I started with a trifold background (the kind that kids use for class projects). I put the cup on top of a piece of wood-looking scrapbook paper, and sat that on top of some old books to raise it up and make it easier to shoot. You can see in this original below, that the wood paper curved down slightly – I fixed that in Photoshop.

Before fixing the “floor”, I cropped my image. Then I made a selection of the right hand “board” with the Polygonal Lasso Tool. Control + J duplicated that selection to a separate layer where I could rotate it slightly to make the floor appear straight.

I then cloned out the leaf design showing beneath the cup handle. Then I started adding textures – 4 textures and a border.

First texture is from the Bokeh 2 Collection > Pale Tan. Used at Soft Light blending mode and 50% opacity. This texture brightened up the lilacs and made the overall lighting/color more uniform.

The second texture is also from the Bokeh 2 Collection > Blue-Gray. Used at Multiply Blending mode and 100% opacity. I only wanted this texture on the background and not the lilacs or cup, so I used a layer mask.

The Layer & Mask

Our next texture is from the Watercolor Collection – Nature’s Pastels > Lilacs in Bloom (figured the name made sense!). Blending Mode Soft Light at 67% opacity.

Our fourth texture is from the Enchanted Collection – Tans & Vignettes 2 > Peacock Blend > Bygone Dreams. I also wanted to mask this texture from the lilacs and cup/saucer. Here’s an easy way to copy a layer mask so you don’t have to create a new one.

Click on the layer mask from the Bokeh Blue-Gray layer — IMPORTANTE: Make sure you click the actual mask icon so it is highlighted. RIGHT click on the layer mask and choose > Add Mask to Selection. You will see the “marching ants” appear.

Now select the layer of the new texture and click on the Add Layer Mask Icon (the square with a circle in the middle). The new mask will be applied.

I changed the Blending mode of this layer to Multiply and opacity to 88%. Because I reduced the opacity of this layer, you will see the mask is now more grey than solid black:

For the last step I “burned in” the edges a bit more. I selected a Soft Round Brush around 175 px at 25% opacity and darkened the edges a bit. It’s very subtle, but helped to direct the viewer’s eye to the subject.

You can save 33% on the collections used in this project – reg. $6, on Sale for just $4!
Bokeh 2
Watercolor Nature’s Pastels
Enchanted Collection Tans & Vignettes 2
until Midnight EDT Sat., June 8th
No coupon code needed!

CLICK HERE to go to the Peacock Studio store!

The folks at DESIGN CUTS have a great new texture bundle for you! The “Totally Vibrant Textures & Patterns Bundle”! Value $4082 for just $29! I just downloaded all of the goodies yesterday – can’t wait to try some out! This bundle is only available for the next 8 days, so don’t wait! It comes with their full personal & commercial license. CHECK IT OUT HERE!

From the folks at Creative Bloq, a collection of 66 FREE Photoshop Actions. And the Best Sans Serif Fonts of 2019.

And from Pixelo, several new bundles of goodies, – The “Magical Summer Designs Bundle” for just $29; The “Splendid Spring Fonts Bundle” for $39; and the “Ageless Vintage Bundle” for $29. Click each title to visit the website and check ’em out!

May 21 – Sunday Sampler (2 weeks combined!)

Our 3rd Creative Photography Conference is in the books! What a great weekend of inspiration, creativity, learning, friends, food and fun! Here are a couple of comments from our attendees:

“The Conference was “Over The Top Good”! You two (and helpers) made it the Best. Met many fine people, learned from Best In The Business, Great Meals & Fantastic Discounts… (Hunts came through for me)…..Best To You Both for doing so much for so many.” ~ P.M.

“Thank you, it was a wonderful workshop, well organized, great lecturers and photographers.   I learned a lot and was inspired by the Creative theme. Being there with like minded folks was so much fun.” ~ E.S.

“Just wanted to say thank you for a great conference! I really enjoyed the Friday workshop and all of the presenters. Having known nothing about textures, I finally have a good starting point after your class.” ~ K.C.

Due to the Conference last weekend and a trip to TN this coming weekend (yes, we finally found some property that we are purchasing!!), I’m doing a combined blog post with six textures!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of textures from hotel rooms!! Five of them were taken this past weekend at the Southbridge during our Conference stay. The “Geometric” is the lampshade; “Marble Simplified” is the bathroom counter; “Rug Geometric B&W” is the rug; “Swirls with Spatter” is the drapery; and “Wallpaper leaf print B&W” is the wallpaper in the bathroom!! The “Abstract Circle” was modified from a framed print in another hotel. Textures are EVERYWHERE!! Enjoy!

From, a free tutorial “How to Make a Photo Look Old and Scratched in Photoshop”

Grab “50 New Adobe Photoshop Tutorials from 2019” over on Graphic Design Junction.

From Pixelo – the “Spring Font Bundle”. 100 Font Families with 200+ Unique Fonts. Check it out HERE!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend! Please also remember the meaning of the day and give thanks to those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

We should be back on schedule with the June 2nd “Sunday Sampler” and the debut of our new feature column, “Inside the Peacock Studio”!