It's relatively easy to isolate some of my preset flowers (which came with Plugin Galaxy) using your graphics application. Having isolated a flower, there's no limit to how you can use it! (There are some ideas in the Examples pages.) Remember, as always, these tutorials are aimed at giving you the basics to get you started with some useful techniques - you can, and should, adapt everything to your own taste and the needs of an individual graphic. Start with the Red Gold Daisy below, because it's easy.

  • Open a new 800 x 800 image (default for the flower presets) with a white or light colored background layer - this will show any flaws in your finished flower when you remove the background color from the flower layer. 800 x 800 seems like a BIG flower, and it is, but scaling the result down afterwards is actually a GOOD thing, as you will see.

  • Add a new filled layer, any color - the appropriate background color for the flower is provided within the preset.

  • Open Plugin Galaxy then choose and apply the flower preset.

  • Back in your application, use your magic wand to select the black background. Not all of the background in all of the flowers will be pure black, so you might have areas that need manual removing on the outer edges of the image, or a few small selection spots between or around the petals. You can either:

    • add these areas to your first selection using  one of the selection tools with your program's "Add to Selection" option (usually the Alt or Shift key); or

    • clear/delete the main black area, then use any of the selection tools or the eraser to remove any remaining unwanted background.

  • At this point, if your application has the Selection>Modify>Smooth function (Photoshop CS2 does, not sure about any other programs) you can round off the petals as much or as little as you want. Selection smoothing was used for the flower here, as the petal tips were quite square.

  • As you can see, when the selection is inverted and cleared against the white background layer, there are some quite ugly jagged edges. However, as I mentioned earlier, resizing is a GOOD thing. The third image has been scaled down to a 200 x 200 image, and the jaggies have instantly been taken care of. You can add a pass of Blur More or a weak Gaussian blur before scaling down as well, if necessary.

  • Finish the flowers off with the #Hoods - Flower Center preset scaled, colored and shaded to your own taste. A simple black paintbrush dot also works well with many flowers.



Try these alternative simple steps to isolate flowers such as Fiery Blue, which doesn't have pointed petal bases at its center like the Red Gold Daisy above. If you use the method below "as is" on flowers like daisies, the central area will be compromised by blurring.

The initial steps are exactly the same as those described above. Having isolated the flower from the black background as much as you can,  you will be left with a fairly rough looking flower with jagged black edges.
  • Using your program's Blur More filter, only once or twice, will get rid of any sharpness on edges of color bands inside the petals. This is all you want to do - don't be tempted to overblur, and don't bother trying to smooth out the black outside edges at this stage.

  • Use your magic wand to select the transparent area of the layer.

  • Modify>Expand the selection by 2-5 pixels, judge how much for yourself. You want to increase the selection just enough so that it moves into the black edges without compromising anything else.

  • Apply a Gaussian Blur of 1-2 to the selection area. Again, don't overblur - when you resize the flower the smaller jaggies will be removed by the process. The amount of blurring you see below left is ample.

  • Only if necessary, select the transparent area again, expand the selection slightly and clear away 2-3 pixels of blurring.

  • When the image is downsized it will be fine!

Don't be afraid to try out some of your program's features, or go back and use other Plugin Galaxy color (or other) filters to modify the finished flower. I thought the isolated flower below left for the header graphic, then it took only a few seconds to change it completely using a Hue Saturation Lightness filter. There are more ideas for use of extracted flowers in the Examples area.