Frischluft's flAIR Highlight plugin                     























































In our first tutorial  for Fritschluft's flAIR plugin suite, we used the Glow plugin to produce a coloured line art effect.  Now we'll try something a little more complicated (but not much, still pretty easy!)  using the Highlight plugin and Layer Blend Modes in Paint Shop Pro 7.04.

We'll start with another photo.  This time, we've used  something most families have dozens of -  SCHOOL PICTURES.  You know, those ones that they line those little darlings up for, hand them a 6 inch rubber comb, and then, if you're lucky, snap them with their eyes open and their tongues in their mouths?  

School Pictures Across The Years!

Here I've selected 3 pictures, same image dimensions, and opened them in my image editor, which in this case is Paint Shop Pro 7.04.  School pictures tend to be good for this technique, since they tend to have dark areas and a lot of contrast.  

 We're going to manipulate each photo individually, and then composite them to produce a collage  effect.  Open each image in Paint Shop Pro, and make sure they are the same approximate size.  Make sure your Layer Palette is visible, by  clicking on View/Tool Bars and then making sure the  Layer Palette is checked.

 Click on the title bar of the first image you want to work with, to make it the active image.  Duplicate the original layer of the image by  either going to the Layers menu and choosing the  Duplicate option, or by rightclicking on the layer title in the Layer Palette, and choosing  Duplicate,  as shown below -

Paint Shop Pro 7.04's Layer Palette

This adds a second identical layer above the original background layer, both of them showing the original image.  Click on the top layer title, in the Layer Palette, which is titled "Copy of Background Layer."  This makes the top layer the "active layer" and any effects you add at this point, will be added to that layer only.

flAIR Highlight Plugin User Interface

flAIR Highlight sb_DodgeArt preset applied

From your Plugins menu, load the flAIR Highlight plugin.  You'll see a user interface like this one, as well as a large Preview Pane where your effects will be updated as you apply them.  If this is the first time you've used Highlight, you'll need to open the .config file in order to use or save any presets (and there's a preset in the config file you'll need for this!)  So click on Open, navigate to the Frischluft folder, look inside the  configs folder for the Highlight.cfg file and click okay.  (If you are familiar with the Sinedots II plugin, the config files work exactly the same way.)

Now you should be able to click on the arrow in the drop down dialog for presents, to the right of the "save" button.  Any presets you have loaded in the Highlight.cfg file are now available to you.  Scroll to a preset named sb_DodgeArt. (The sb_DodgeArt2 and sb_CartoonHighlight presets are variations on this preset.  If you find the effect too weak or too strong on your chosen image, try one of the other presets.)

If this preset is not available, you can duplicate the settings you see on the interface to the left, to achieve these results.

You may find you need to finetune your settings.  The "low," "high," "soften," and "climax" settings can all affect the look of this effect.  Try to maintain the significant facial details while removing most of the colour. This preset is NOT the end result you are aiming for, so don't worry that it looks sort of blotchy.  Click Okay to appy the effect to the top layer of your image.


 The Highlight effect should be applied to the top layer of your first image now.  In the Layer Palette,  click on the arrow next to the word "Normal."  This opens the Layer Blend Mode dialog.  Click on "Dodge."

PSP 7.04's Layer Palette showing Layer Blend Modes

Your image should now look similar to this.  If you click on the "eyeglasses" on the title bar of the "Copy of Background Layer" - it will turn that layer off, and you will see that the background layer is exactly as it originally was.  Conversely, if you turn off the bottom layer, you will see nothing but solid black on the top layer.  The image needs the interaction of the Blend Mode layer on top of the Background layer to produce the effect you see. Save a copy of this image in .psp format, in case you lose your work at this point!  It will preserve all your layer information, too.  You can go to Window/Duplicate (or click Shift D) and this entire image will be duplicated in your workspace, with complete layer information.  Close out the original layered image, and work with this duplicate now.  Go to Layers, Merge All, to reduce this image to a single layer, which does not alter the look of the image thus far.  You can also right click on the title bars of any of the layers in the Layer Palette, and choose Merge/Merge All from that menu, as well.

Emilie on a Layer Blend of Dodge

Following the same instructions, complete the same tasks on each of the remaining original photos.  You should end up with several images of similar size and coloration.  You may find specks of colour that you want to remove, just set your colour palette foreground colour to white, use the paint brush tool Paint Brush tool and brush them out.   Don't try to make it too perfect, the dots and specks add to the overall look!

Three completed images, ready for collage

Let's move to another page, where we'll look at some ways to assemble our collage!



More flAIR projects
















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