Category Archives: Digital Art


Twirling is on fire, especially if you’re a member of the Photoshop and Lightroom group on Facebook. Hundreds upon hundreds of images have been shared on social media this week featuring the techniques that create a Twirl.  Some will say that this technology has always been there and that it’s not new.  While this may be true, the trend worthiness of it certainly is, as most had never heard of it or knew how to create one.  They are addictive and super easy to do. The possibilities are limitless.

Step by Step Instructions on How To Twirl in Photoshop

1.) Open any image in Photoshop

2.) With your background layer selected, go to Filter – Pixelate – Mezzotint. Make sure your mode is set to “Medium Lines.” Press OK.

3.) With your background layer still selected, go to Filter – Blur – Radial Blur.  Amount (100) – Blur Method (zoom) – Quality (best). Press OK.

4.) Repeat step 3 as many times as you like.  I usually like to run it about 3 times.

5.) Duplicate your background layer.  Keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD J. This will create a duplicate layer called “Layer 1″ right above your background layer.

6.) Select your background layer.  Then go to Filter – Distort – Twirl.  In the Angle number box, you want to put in a positive value number.  Let’s put in 80 for now.  Press OK. You can always try different ones the more you experiment.

7.) Select Layer 1 above your background layer.  Then go to Filter – Distort – Twirl.  In the Angle number box, you want to put in a negative value number this time.  Let’s put in -80 for now.

8.) With Layer 1 selected, we want to change the blending mode of this layer. In your layers palette, right above Layer 1, you will see the word “normal.” Click on that and it will expand a variety of choices.  Depending on the colors and exposure in your image, will depend on which blending mode works best here. Click through the various options until you find the one you like the best on your image. I like Darken, Multiply, Lighten, Exclusion and Difference modes for Twirl art. But choose what works best for you.

9.) Flatten your image. You can stop here or work on it some more.

10.) To see more advanced tips on taking what you’ve just created to the next level, watch the video directly above this step-by-step guide. Have fun!

Here are some Twirls created using the step by step methods shown above as well as some more advanced techniques. Click on any image for larger view!


Clown-Balloon-Kaleidoscope-web-twirl collage twirl frax_47362_custom-web with frame kia6-web photo 3 purple

Also posted in abstract, art and entertainment, photography

Collage and Orb

Just the other day I was looking through some older files. While doing so I decided to compose a collage of florals. This collage is shown below. Shortly after creating the collage I wondered what the collage would look like if I turned it into an orb. This orb is shown below too and I think you will agree looks rather nice!

The Collage

The Collage

The Orb

The Orb

If you would like to learn how to make your own orb, you can find a video and written tutorial here: HOW TO MAKE AN ORB

Also, I run a group on Facebook that is about orbs. People from around the world post their orb creations here for others to enjoy. If you would like to look or join in you can do so here: NATURE OF ORBS

Also posted in art and entertainment, flowers, orbs

Sabattier Effect Revisited

I got an email from someone asking about the Sabattier Effect. After answering his questions, I realized I had not done anything using this effect for quite some time. So I dug up an image I thought would work well and applied the effect. This image is of some small boats tied up in the harbor of Sorrento, Maine.
Should you be interested in trying this effect on your own images, there is a written and video tutorial here: Sabattier Effect


Sabattier Effect on Sorrento Harbor boats.

Sabattier Effect on Sorrento Harbor boats.

Also posted in abstract, art and entertainment, Maine, photography

Featured Photographer – Connie Mitchell

One fall day in 2009, I was reading through some of the forums at when I came across some information posted by a lady from the UK named Wendy Williams. Wendy was telling forum members how she had taken photographs and created some “orbs”. These “orbs” were supposed to look like what you would see reflected in a gazing ball placed in a garden. She also posted a number of examples. Additionally, Wendy posted step-by-step instructions so anyone interested could create the same “orbs”. Well, I was indeed interested. I took Wendy’s instructions and created a few of these “orbs”. I was addicted after the first attempt!

Recently I was asked to speak at the Cape Fear Camera Club in Wilmington, NC. I told them the above story and told them how to make these “orbs” (You can do it too, click on “tutorials” above). Connie Mitchell, one of the CFCC members, recently sent me an example of her Orb work! I think you will agree with me that she has done a fantastic job!

(Click on image for larger view)


Also posted in Featured Photographer, flowers, Fun Stuff, orbs, photography

Kaleidoscope Images

Do you remember playing with a kaleidoscope as a kid? You know, that cylinder with mirrors and loose colored objects like beads or pebbles or bits of glass. You would turn the cylinder and watch with amazement as wonderous shapes took form and then changed before your eyes.

Most kaleidoscopes are mass-produced from inexpensive materials, and intended as children’s toys. At the other extreme are handmade pieces that display fine craftsmanship. Craft galleries often carry a few kaleidoscopes, while other enterprises specialize in them, carrying dozens of different types from different artists and craftspeople. Most handmade kaleidoscopes are now made in Russia and Italy, following a long tradition of glass craftsmanship in those countries.

I like to create my own kaleidoscope images – images that look like what you might see when looking into a kaleidoscope. Below are some I created today. Let me know if you enjoy them!

Click each image for larger view.

BOP-Kaleidoscope-webTulipField-Kaleidoscope-web  English-Daisy-Kaleidoscope-webBOP-Orb-Kaleidoscope-web Azalea-Kaleidoscope-web

Also posted in abstract, art and entertainment, Fun Stuff, kaleidoscope

Updated Orbs

Last week I was honored to speak to the Cape Fear Camera Club. We talked about the many different things you can do with your photography other than the normal – “Think outside the Box” stuff.

One of the topics was Orbs. This seemed to have been met with some enthusiasm and I was thinking about his while driving home. It occurred to me that I had not done an new orbs recently. The next morning I corrected this situation. Below are some new orbs for your viewing pleasure.  These are also posted in the Orb Gallery here on this website.

If you are new to the world of orbs and would like to learn how to make your own, I have a video and written tutorial available for you. Just follow this link or “click” on Tutorials in the menu bar above.

Bird-of-Paradise-in-Pool-Orb-web Crotons-Orb-web Peacock-orb-web BelinUMC-Orb-web Ornamental_Cabbage_Orb-web Pile-of-Leaves-orb-web Swamp Sunflower Orb-web

Also posted in abstract, art and entertainment, Belin, Bird of Paradise, Fun Stuff, orbs Tagged , , |

Solarized Crotons

Crotons, Codiaeum variegatum, are evergreen, tropical shrubs that have been commonly grown in Florida landscapes for decades. They belong to the Euphorbiaceae Family. In southeastern Asia they have been cultivated for centuries and many hundreds of cultivars have been bred with a range of different leaf shapes, sizes and colors.
Crotons are originally native to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and northern Queensland, Australia. It is a tropical shrub and grows best in the southern and central parts of Florida. Frost or temperatures below freezing temperatures can damage crotons.
If they get damaged by cold, delay any pruning until the danger of frost is past. In central Florida this is usually late February or early March. If the plant is damaged, lightly scratch a stem. If it is green then the stem is alive and will resprout. If not, usually the lower stems survive and resprout from the roots. Plant it in a warm location in the landscape. In colder locations be prepared to protect the shrub in winter or grow in containers and bring them indoors during freezing weather.
Crotons are easy to grow. Most prefer full sun or bright shade. Plants in higher light have the brighter coloring. Some varieties prefer indirect sun and will look washed out with full sun. Crotons can tolerate shade but the shadier the location the less vivid the foliage color will be.



Prints of this image are available for sale here:

Also posted in abstract, art and entertainment, flowers, Fun Stuff, outdoor, photography Tagged , , , , |

Sabattier Effect Revisited

Last night I pulled up an image I had taken of a Blue and Gold Macaw (see below). I then applied a Sabattier Effect to the Macaw (also see below).

Using this effect can create some strange images. It is fun to play with! I have a written and video tutorial if you would like to learn more and play along. You can see the tutorial here: Sabattier Tutorial.

If you create some images doing this, feel free to share them on my Facebook Photo Page here: Bill Barber FaceBook Photography Page

Below is the before and after of the Blue & Gold Macaw.

Blue and Gold Macaw-web Blue-and-Gold-Macaw-Sabattier-web

Also posted in abstract, art and entertainment, bird Tagged , , , , , , |

Pineapple Fountain – A different look

One of the most eye-catching fountains in the whole city, Charleston’s famous Pineapple Fountain stands in Waterfront Park, in the downtown district. The Pineapple Fountain has become one of the city’s most photographed landmarks and symbolizes hospitality.

I have posted this image previously, but this time have taken a different “look” at it. Hope you enjoy it!

Click on image for larger view



Also posted in abstract, art and entertainment, Charleston, outdoor, photography, South Carolina

Reworked Image

This morning I reworked an older image that I had taken on the Inlet side of Belin Memorial United Methodist Church here in Murrells Inlet. Here we are close to the beginning of Advent and obviously this picture was originally taken during Lent! I liked the “rework” and thought I would throw it up here for your comments.

Click on image for larger view:


Also posted in churchs, murrells inlet, photography, scripture art Tagged , , , , , |