Sep 15, 2014

Fish Story - A Tutorial by David Hayes

David Hayes has once again agreed to share his secret for creating another beautiful mobile photo art piece. This one is titled Fish Story. Take it away, David!

Fish Story 

Apps used: Laminar Pro, PS Touch, Repix, Snapseed
Stock photo credits: Jar – Holliewood Altered Reality; school of Goldfish – Holliewood Beast of Burden 

It was my pleasure and honor to have Fish Story as the lead image in a recent Art of Mob showcase so when Geri asked if I’d share my workflow on this image, I was happy to do so. I’ve listed the apps I used above, but these are not mandatory by any means…use what works for you! Two of the elements in this piece are stock images that I purchased from Holliewood Studios but everything else I shot or created on my iPad. 

Using PS Touch as my work app, I brought in a background that I had created sometime ago using Laminar Pro. (Like Geri, I create textures and backgrounds and store them in a folder for future use.)

For those of you who aren’t familiar with PS Touch’s workflow, I thought I’d show you how I add layers. I first clicked on the + icon in the bottom right to bring up the “Add Layer” menu. In this menu, I clicked “Photo Layer” to bring in my first element from my Camera Roll. I’ll use this flow to bring in future elements as well.

First in is the Jar element from Holliewood’s “Altered Reality” collection.

Next the school of goldfish from Holliewood’s “Beast of Burden” collection. With these two elements loaded, I can start the real work behind my image.

Keeping the Jar at full size for the moment, I resized and repositioned the goldfish to fit pleasingly in the jar. This done, I wanted to “flatten” these two layers to make resizing and repositioning of both elements easier in the future. So….I clicked on “A” and then on “B” to bring up the layer menu.

Making sure the goldfish layer was active, I clicked on “Merge Down” which merged this layer with the Jar layer. Clicking “Done” put it all into place!

Resizing/repositioning the jar of goldfish came next but even this was just an approximate because I wanted to bring in one more element.

Before doing that…a little PS Touch layering magic was in order. Going back to the Layering menu, I used the Blend Modes….picking “Subtract” to give the goldfish an eerie blue opacity. (I will have to admit this was one of those happy surprises. I didn’t know I wanted blue goldfish until I saw what “Subtract” did to them!!)

Now it was time to add my final element. This time it was another gold fish…a pic of a wooden fish lure I have sitting on my bookcase.

All the elements in place and blended…it was time to do some final repositioning and resizing so there was a bit of back and forth between the two element layers, doing so until I was happy.

Here’s the result from my flow in PS Touch…saved to my Camera Roll and ready for Repix!

Once loaded into Repix, I went for the “Rain drips” stamp to add some detailing to the jar.

Painting “Rain drips” on either side of the jar gives it a look of wetness/condensation…and a bit of light glitter.

The background needed some “grunge” so it was “Cracks” next…and I dabbed this stamp all over!

You can see in this screen shot the “Cracks” I added…and while I could have added more, there was one more effect I wanted to put into place before I did that. Clicking on the double circle icon brought up the Preset menu.

It had to be “Stage” and its single spotlight! Using the usual two-finger pinch and spread moves, I adjusted the width of the spotlight to bring the focus on my elements and darken the remaining background.

One last bit of polishing…this time I clicked on the “Adjustment” icon and then used the brightness, contrast, and saturation controls.

And there you have it…Fish Story. I do hope you like it!!


  1. Oh yes, I like it very much! Thank you, David and Geri!

  2. You're welcome - David does the best tutorials - he is so detailed and concise.

  3. You're welcome Roxi! David is a great teacher.

  4. Love the tutorial thanks David and Geri for sharing with us!

  5. This looks like a wonderful tutorial - thank you for sharing!

  6. I don't know what David used but if you have a Mac you can use the Preview mode to do all sorts of things. I just found out about this and am thrilled!

  7. Different stock photos have different terms of use. I know with some scrapbooking clipart you can use for commercial use. Same with everything from textures to Photoshop brushes.

  8. David is an expert at tutorials for sure!

  9. I did use Preview to prep my screen shots. This is a great app that comes with the Mac and lets you add arrows, lines, etc. as well as text. It's also let you do basic editing like cropping and the like.

  10. The stock images I used only came with a "personal use" license which means I can't print and sell this image. Some images do let you do this while others require a "commercial use" license that's easily purchased. I got the stock images from

  11. I love preview and only just discovered all the editing features!

  12. so if im looking for stock images that i want to be able to use in printing what would i look for david?

  13. Here's one resource for commercial use images Also I used to do a lot of digital scrapbooking and most of the sites offer a commercial use license for slightly more than the normal price. Hopefully David will see this conversation and reply as well

  14. You might try DeviantArt where many of the contributors allow for royalty free use and there's Flickr's The Common which also has royalty free images. Of can always Google "royalty free images" and see what pops up!

  15. thanks david good to know. I have used the commons once or twce thanks for the info, i have a good idea what to look for.


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