EXHIBITION AND MODULE REFLECTION

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Inspiration

Growing up in Newport, West Wales, in a family full of Artists was one of the most incredibly creative and magical childhoods anybody could wish for. There was a smorgasbord of inspirational endeavours, artefacts and wildlife waiting to be discovered. One of my most vivid memories of my formative years was spending the Summers in my garden with Mum; we would spend hours talking about the names of flowers and their wondrous colours, studying their intricate design, and making a note of which went well with others. I was mesmerised at the transformation from seed to bloom. My Dad and I would also take trips into what we called the ‘Fairy Woods, which was a walk from Newport to Nevern. We would undertake a magical journey through Nature; the proliferation of wild plants and flowers also helped to bolster my love for all things botanical. This love of Nature and the outdoors has stayed with me even until this day.

I chose BUSY BLOOMS as a challenge to myself; having previous preconceptions that I couldn’t draw flowers properly was something I needed to tackle head-on. It’s easy but creatively unfulfilling to keep within a comfort zone and boy did I come out of it.

Who knew!! I can draw flowers accurately and organically.  I challenged myself to continuously observe the detail, line, pattern, structure, and shape within subject. Having a research bank such as WGSN   enabled me access to current trends, patterns, colours, prints and designers I would never have known about otherwise. Without Martha (the librarian) I would never have been able to navigate and source the wealth of knowledge available to enrich my creative practice. THANK YOU MARTHA.

 

Client/Brief

I undertook a vast amount of market research before properly beginning my own design journey. My demographic was the 25-40-year-old Female and I had scrupulously chosen John Lewis as my client and must have spent at least 6-7 hours spilt over a few days within the store in Cardiff. Market research was conducted by studying the people who browsed, purchased and asked questions about certain products. I even requested 20+ samples so as to get a better understanding of what fabrics work well together and gauge the quality and properties as well.

I wanted to create a range of designs that could offer a timeless and classic contemporary aesthetic aimed towards my target market. My idea was not to design for a specific age or gender per se but to embody a collection that was aspirational to everyone regardless of sex.

Digital

Having never previously worked on a digital platform before I will admit that I was extremely apprehensive and very nervous to use Photoshop/Illustrator. These preconceptions would be the tip of a nightmarish scenario in which the proposed workshops were run by a member of staff who genuinely did not understand what they were meant to be doing, which affected my progress incredibly.

By requesting some of my peers’ time I was able to begin to piece together the fundamental basics of Photoshop to create basic digital patterns and repeats. The online resource section was useful but found other tutorials on Skillshare a little more tailored to my needs. Week by week, and after a wonderful Intensive Digital Session run by Matt and Charlie, I became more and more confident in my approach to visualising my ideas and concepts digitally. Matt Leighfield has been a wealth of digital knowledge, and without him, I would not have been able to have completed my collection as early as I did.

Although not a master by any means, I am now thoroughly enjoying the digital fruit of my labours via the incredible tool that is Photoshop. I will say that I undertook nearly all of my learning via my peers or from Matt or Charlie, with very little input from the people I expected to learn from.

Reflecting

This module has been both a labour of love and loathing for me. I have unquestionably enjoyed certain aspects such as my independent drawing, colour theory,  moodboard creation, collection boards, tweaking designs to employ harmony and cohesion, and learning new digital skills. The disconnect between the Monday tutorials/lectures and the Friday ‘workshops’ was terribly disappointing. The timetabling and resource planning has been extremely poor and in hindsight, if it weren’t for my ability to work independently and maintain such a strong work ethic I would not have been able to produce the quality of work that I have. I just didn’t feel that I was offered the support I was promised.

Nevertheless, I am extremely proud of the outcome of my collection. The flow and organic structure through my collection is exactly what I wanted to convey through memories of my childhood. My Hero design is heavily influenced by the beautiful verges of flowers in my garden and the wonderful Rose trellis scrambling over a huge back gate. Other inspiration came from the rich and varied walkways in woods, cut fresh flowers in vases on the weekend, long tall grass being run through, ice creams being devoured on the beach, and the beautiful view of the blue sea.

Presentation

I chose to present my collection on Charcoal Daler Rowney mountboard as I wanted to look incredibly professional. The colour was chosen to both harmonise and contrast the rich, yet subdued, colours of my individual designs and whole collection; grey truly can be a wonderful colour to offset and enhance work beautifully.

I cannot express how glad I elated I feel now that this module and the academic year is now over!!!! It has felt like a prison sentence at times but looking at my work I feel an immense sense of pride and joy that I have been able to produce such a good body of work. A job well done.

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PRINTING ONTO FABRIC/PRINFAB

Having heard that the Cardiff Met Digital Printer was on the blink, to say the least, I decided to utilise one of Sian’s suggestions to print individually from a company called PRINFAB.

PRINFAB

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History

Prinfab was started in January 2016 by two brothers. The first 6 months were spent setting up a state-of-the-art production facility using the latest direct-to-textile print technology. By July 2016, they started to trade and the business quickly grew to become one the UK’s leading providers of short-run fabric printing.

Core Aims & Values

Core aims and values are key to everything we do at Prinfab. The aim is to:

  • Process all orders with 100% accuracy
  • Process all orders for print fabric within 1-5 working days
  • Process all orders for stock items placed before midnight the same working day
  • Ensure all fabrics are in stock

The customer service I received from Harry and Ollie was absolutely incredible!!! I rang them up and they gave me step by step instructions on how to transfer the files, not to mention they converted all the files, resolution and made sure all the colours were print compatible. The fabric that was recommended to me was a COTTON SATIN WARP @ 246gsm, needless to say, I was over the moon with the results!!! The clarity and colour of my designs are magnificent. Yes, I had to pay £26.99 for the service/fabric and £20 for next day delivery…..but it was worth it.

My next blog post will showcase all my hard work on this module in the form of my EXHIBITION, which strangely enough will be ready for the Level 4 & Level 5 Public Exhibition tomorrow!!!!!

WATCH THIS SPACE

COLLECTION PROGRESS

I won’t lie, this project has been extremely tough for me. It has opened up a new avenue in which I thought I would never feel comfortable to work in, but as the time has gone on I realise how incredibly valuable digital technology is to me as a Textile Designer. That’s not to say that at times I have felt like throwing my Mac through the window, but fortunately coffee has seen me through.

There have been elements of my collection that I knew I wanted to use but was either scared to or unsure of how to incorporate. I decided to just ignore the thoughts of failure, putting my procrastination to one side, and just have fun with my explorative studies.

I wanted to find out what worked and what didn’t work within my collection. Initially, some of the drawings, paintings, and motifs that looked the most obvious to include, at times would be the designs that would not offer an organic and fluid pattern. Take for example the little oil painting on canvas of Peonies I created; organic, rich and kinetic, but when trying to create a reflected pattern an obvious problem presented itself.

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If this pattern was to be repeated in a reflected layout the overall aesthetic of the pattern would form unsightly blocks of the flowers travelling horizontally and vertically. However, when forming this pattern I inadvertently created some incredible motifs which could be extracted via the PEN TOOL or POLYAGONAL TOOL and juxtaposed with other elements from a different design.

Next, I began working to resolve how I would incorporate my beautiful Cyanotype motifs into my collection. Looking back through my notes, and with the help of Charlie, I began to manipulate the image by removing the scanned background and creating a new coloured one. I then shrunk the original motif design via the FREE TRANSFORM TOOL and began creating both a standard and half-drop repeat pattern.

 

Although the colour is not which will be chosen from my collection I wanted a good initial contrast between the motif layer and that of the background. I am over the moon with this pattern, and will definitely be focusing it somewhere within my collection. My next step was to explore with scale and colour.

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I chose one of the cyanotype motifs specifically as I was drawn to the shape and style. The first sample I created using a green background with the blue motif, paying particular detail to a soft colour palette and manipulating the motif opacity down to 20%. I flipped the colour palette, although not exactly, to a blue background with a green motif layer, again reducing the opacity to 55% and manipulating the motif via the Hue/Saturation slider bar. The results are beautiful, and I would be proud to include them as part of my collection.

My next step to bringing all the design elements together will be to tackle ongoing issues I have in finalising my HERO Design. However, I now feel confident to undertake this task after the wonderful Intensive Digital Workshop run by Charlie and Matt on Thursday 24th May.

 

IS DIGITAL​ TECHNOLOGY MY KRYPTONITE?

Although I have really tried my best to learn the core structure of Photoshop, I have hit a brick wall. The anxiety at not having created any Collection Moodboards is creating a type of fog that I am finding nigh on impossible to break through. Seeing all of my classmates produce board after board of progressive collections has almost made me retreat inside myself; feelings of failure and inadequacy are now commonplace throughout my day. Is Digital Technology my Kryptonite?

I have decided to go back to some of the SKILLSHARE tutorials and try to learn from the ground up again. The first tutorial I am undertaking is ‘DIGITIZE YOUR WATERCOLOURS: Getting Started With Photoshop’ by Anne Butera.

Anne recommends the DPI to be set to 720, not 300. By scanning at a higher resolution the image can be scaled up without losing any of its integrity.

I also discovered the benefit of using the MARQUEE TOOL to crop the chosen scanned image. Previously I have had issues removing more than one type of background when manipulating the image in Photoshop but can now see the advantage of cropping down the design.

The LASSO Tool is also an invaluable tool in a Designers’ arsenal; its a great way to ‘cut out’ individual areas of a design/image.

The MAGIC WAND Tool is also a fantastic way to remove unwanted areas and keep specific elements of design. The ERASER TOOL can then be employed to remove all the small little discrepancies that the MAGIC WAND Tool had failed to remove. A fantastic way to make sure that there are no discrepancies left is to create a NEW FILL LAYER with SOLID COLOUR, ideally choosing Black. This new layer needs to go behind the design/motif to expose any marks etc that have been left. I then used the ERASER TOOL in Black to remove these elements. The NEW FILL LAYER can then be deleted!!!

Firstly I worked my way through Anne’s ‘How to Create A Repeat Pattern’, which simplified the process of creating a ‘perfect’ repeat tile. This tile could then be duplicated to create a perfect repeat. Yes, my repeat is rather simple, but I now understand the core ingredients of this wondrous technique.

 

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I then followed Annes’s instructions to scan other designs/motifs through the scanner @ 720dpi, used the MOVE TOOL to arrange in my desired location, and the FREE TRANSFORM TOOL to alter and set the scale.

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This was the result of incorporating some of my favourite elements from different designs and amalgamating them together. I am so proud of this design!!! I absolutely love the contrast of the B+W against the subtle yellow, orange, gold and green. Does it need a colour in the background? I did try to add a colour background, but unfortunately, there are gaps in the lines of the larger rose, meaning the background fill leaks into the rose. Going forward, I will endeavour to use the pen/brush tool to link up these open lines.

Thanks to the additional tutorial by Anne I was able to spend the day both learning and practising on Photoshop simultaneously. I won’t lie, the time it takes to properly edit and manipulate the images to my standard took hours!!! However, through trial and error, I was able to edit all my designs/motifs and create one document layered with each individual element.

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This was my first attempt at a preliminary idea for my HERY Design, albeit not quite finished, and I will admit I am rather proud of it. I will add many other motifs and design elements to this idea but first wanted to see if I actually could create a digital design.

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Next, I applied a little colour, which I think has brought the design to life!! This design has been completed on an A3 Print Document in Photoshop and will allow a perfect repeat as a tile. The results of my Market Research Survey have played a massive role in my design process, staying true to what my demographic wanted. The colours are specific to what my client base wants and the DESIGN and COLOUR have been purposefully chosen to create a SIMPLISTIC and GENDER NEUTRAL design.

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A half-drop pattern was added to the design, and I absolutely love it. I also have made a note of the colour of the background, specifically the numerical value. Making a note of the colour is extremely important, not only will it allow me to remember the specific colour, but will also allow me to create a colour bank for future projects. Watch this space to find out how the design progresses………

 

TIMOROUS BEASTIES INFLUENCE

If I were to choose my current favourite design company it would have to be TIMOROUS BEASTIES. How did I find out about this company? It was actually my Damask bedspread that led me to TB. I have always been fascinated by the symmetrical and repeat patterns of Damask wallpaper/fabric, so a quick search on the internet for Damask and Textile Design came up with the goldmine that is this innovative and forward-thinking design company.

Why do I love this company so much? Here are a few reasons why……

(Clockwise) Beasties, T. (2017) Damsel Damask, Omni Splat, Butterfly Blurr & Grand Blotch Damask. Available at: http://www.timorousbeasties.com/shop/wallcoverings/ (Accessed: 14 May 2018)

The contemporary use of design and colour is spectacular!!! Whilst undertaking this current project at Uni, I have begun to comprehend the subtle complexities of creating a repeat pattern for the Interiors market; something I am 100% sure I would want my own designs to be available for.

‘Our Product is highly crafted and designed. It’s always quality first’ Timorous Beasties

The sheer attention to detail resonates so strongly with my own core values as a designer. I think that having OCD has actually been both a help and hindrance within my creative practice; a help in being meticulous about what I include as part of my creative output, and hindrance due to my procrastinating and always trying to make sure everything is perfect.

The designs of Timorous Beasties have allowed me to accept that I am not perfect and that these imperfections can be utilised as a strength within my designs.

Having struggled with the repeat element and to incorporate all of my ideas I decided to undertake a back-to-to basics approach in creating ideas within my sketchbook, which will ultimately be transferred to Photoshop and manipulated digitally.

I am really proud of my ideas and will spend the next couple of days really honing the concept.

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A natural progression from a more traditional style of a hand-drawn collage bouquet to that of a reflected contemporary design, influenced by Timorous Beasties.

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Utilising my strengths, specifically observational studies fused with collage, painting and drawing, I began to expand my idea of using specific elements to amalgamate into a cohesive and fully rounded design. Yes, there are still areas I need to work into and complete, but I now have a strong concept of what my final collection will look like.

WATCH THIS SPACE…….

PHOTOSHOP (4) (MEG LEWIS) COLOUR, SWATCHES, BLENDING, FILTERS & BRUSHES

I made the conscious effort to skip PHOTOSHOP (3);  the tutorial was far more focused on Web Design and not towards my area of study…DIGITAL DESIGN for TEXTILES.

Going forward, I have decided to make a note of the numerical value of a favourite/specifically chosen colour within the CMYK range. This will make replicating the colour for future endeavours really easy. Clicking on the Foreground/Background Tool will make the Colour Picker Tool to pop-up, allowing the choice of colour.

SWATCHES

Wow!!! I knew that this tool would be beneficial eventually to my ongoing creative projects, but found that it can be super useful for my current project. Firstly, select the SWATCHES Tab, which can be found at the top right of the Photoshop screen. Creating a SWATCH LIBRARY is incredibly easy; click on Foreground/Background Tool, which will pop-up the Colour Picker Tool. Simply choose the specified colour for the particular brief you are working on, and press ADD TO SWATCHES.

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I find it particularly useful to rename the colour, to avoid confusion if using at a later date. The colour will now be available in MY LIBRARY, meaning it will now be available to access anytime.

I disovered that I could remove the pre-populated (Default) Colour Swatches and replace them with my own. This feature will be invaluable for my professional career; I can create a range of individual colour schemes for different clients without bulking the palettes together.

By clicking on the tab in the top right corner of the Colour/Swatches Window I found a  menu with many options appeared. I scrolled down to PRESET MANAGER, which caused the PRESET box to appear. By holding down SHIFT and selecting the colours I didn’t want, I selected the DELETE button, removing all the unwanted palette.

Say for example I was working on a brief for John Lewis, who stipulated that they wanted a Yellow Floral Colour scheme for a Spring/Summer collection. Now that I had removed all the unwanted colour swatches I could now create my own.

The wonderful aspect of being able to save this specific palette for a specific client will allow me to have a clutter-free and tailored palette at the ready should I need it.

If I wanted to reintroduce the Default Colour Swatches back I would simply click on the top right tab, scroll down to RESET SWATCHES and select OK to replace current swatches with the default colours.

BLENDING MODES, OPACITY & TRANSPARENCY

Application to apply overlay in interesting and specific ways. I began by choosing to create a Rectangle via the RECTANGLE TOOL and renaming it to avoid future confusion. Secondly, I created a NEW LAYER and also created a second Rectangle (overlapping), which was also renamed.

The Blending Mode option can be found within the LAYER section described as NORMAL in the drop-down menu. After allowing myself a few minutes to explore the individual modes, I decided to choose MULTIPLY; a fantastic mode allowing the exact fusion of the two colours.

I played around with the OPACITY; the translucency was dictated by decreasing the percentage via the scrollbar. Although similar to the Opacity tool, the FILL tool could only be demonstrated by applying a border (STROKE) to the second shape.

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The difference between toggling the Opacity and Fill tool is that the Opacity will alter both the border and fill of the shape/design/image, and the Fill will only alter the fill of the shape/design/image, leaving the border unchanged. This could be a really helpful tool/application when looking at my current/future designs.

FILTERS

The majority that I explored really isn’t appropriate for the type of design I undertake. However, I did find a few which may have merit.

The FILTER option is accessed via the FILTER tab, and in the first instance, I decided to choose STYLIZE: EMBOSS. I was really surprised to see how interesting and abstract my design became. I actually really like the EMBOSS mode.

The CRYSTALIZE tool was equally as interesting; I actually played around with the Cell Size, to find that the design looked better somewhere within a median range rather than that of a small or large selection.

Last, but not least was the OIL PAINT mode. I really loved this application and could happily see it being used within some of my digital designs. There are 4 individual elements to explore; Stylization, Cleanliness, Scale & Bristle Detail. The overall effect was really subtle but created a wonderfully painterly effect to what was originally a stylised observational pen study.

BRUSHES

An incredible tool to manipulate, add or extend my own designs. The BRUSH mode can be accessed through the WINDOW tab and scrolling down to Brush Settings. The Brush Settings menu will pop-up, but will be greyed out. I simply pressed the letter B, and hey presto I am able to access all these wonderful features.

I must have spent around 20minutes just exploring the settings. The possibilities are endless within this feature, and this is something I am going to exploit when I have more time. Some of the effects that I have shown interest towards are as follows:

(Clockwise) I fell in love with this bold and highly textural ‘split-brush’ (306) tip effect, and strangely enough, the effect resembles the foliage and leaves of some of the flowers I have been trying to capture. Could I use this tool to help with some of the motif elements? The second effect (284) would be an incredible way to create a varied and textural background, not to mention its striking resemblance to the patterns found on some birds eggs. Finally, I love how this effect (60) can be built up to create depth and structure. Could this be used as a wonderful way to create the patterns and shapes of a tree? Exciting times.

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An exploration of Scale, Spacing, Colour, Smoothing, Texturisation, and Brushstrokes.

Always create a new layer when using a new/different brush; quicker to remedy a problem on one single layer rather than altogether.

PHOTOSHOP (2) (MEG LEWIS) LAYER ADJUSTMENT, LAYER STYLES, TRANSFORM & CROPPIN

Seeing how fantastic PHOTOSHOP (1) was, it would be silly of me not to advance my knowledge within this incredible digital tool. What will I be learning today?

LAYER ADJUSTMENTS

‘The Adjustment Layers in Photoshop are a group of a super useful, non-destructive image editing tools that add color and tonal adjustments to your image without permanently changing its pixels. With the adjustment layers, you can edit and discard your adjustments or restore your original image at any time’.

My initial favourite, and LA that I would consider using within my own work are:

HUE & SATURATION – Exactly as described. Allows the user to manipulate colour.

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Anything under the chosen Adjustment Layer will benefit from the manipulation of chosen Adjustment Layer. The COLOURISE box, when ticked, will allow the image to be manipulated to the exact colour on the Hue Slider Bar, and the saturation can be decreased or increased to individual preference.

VIBRANCE – Wonderful tool to add that little extra to the image, design or photo. Gives vibrancy to shape, pattern, colour, and line.

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Vibrancy can be decreased and increased to individual preference.

PHOTO FILTER – I found this tool a really useful addition to my digital arsenal. Not only can it create a warmer/cooler tone to the chosen image, but can also be manipulated to a custom colour of my choice too.

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The PRESERVE LUMINOSITY box should be kept ticked to maintain the integrity of the image and not saturate the image with the chosen colour.

INVERT – Turns all the colours to their polar opposites. I actually think this may be a really great tool when creating some otherworldy designs for future projects.

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LAYER STYLES

‘A layer style is one or more effects applied to a layer or layer group. You can apply one of the preset styles provided with Photoshop or create a custom style using the Layer Style dialog box. The layer effects icon appears to the right of the layer’s name in the Layers panel’.

By undertaking these Photoshop tutorials I am beginning to understand how integral this digital is to my ongoing creative journey. Not only is it opening my mind to the endless possibilities of what I can achieve digitally, but more importantly what I can do creatively.

To create a copy of chosen layer, drag existing layer to the CREATE NEW LAYER (Half-Moon) tab within the LAYERS window. To add a new LAYER STYLE, double-click on the far right corner of the highlighted LAYER box (away from the text).

Colour Overlay – 3 settings: Blend Mode, Color, and Opacity.

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The Blend Mode allows you to set the blending mode for your Color Overlay, while the color box allows you to choose the Colour. The Opacity Mode; smaller number here makes your Colour Overlay more transparent, while a higher number gives a stronger effect.

Incredibly useful tool for design. Some of my favourites are:

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I am really excited to attempt applying some of these LS to my own work. The Opacity should ideally be set to 0% before attempting to apply any of the LS, and gradually increased to suit individual preferences.

Stroke – The LS which will create a border around your chosen image, design or shape. I chose this tutorial element due to it’s possible importance within my upcoming design collection.

To start with I deleted the Copy Layer, created a New Fill or Adjustment Layer (Choosing a SOLID COLOUR, White Background), renamed the layer to the desired title, created a New Layer, and created a Shape (Perfect Circle).

To apply this new LAYER STYLE (Stroke), double-click desired layer to the right of the text. This will border the chosen layer only. The size slider bar will allow the thickness of border to increase or decrease respectively.

Fantastically, the border colour can also be changed!! Not only that but the opacity of the border can be increased or decreased also. This can prove to be extremely useful when showcasing a background layer, allowing the image/design to peer through the translucency. To remove the White Background simply click on the eye symbol and the desired/chosen image/design will appear. By clicking V or the MOVE TOOL, the shape can now be placed anywhere within the layer.

Each online tutorial is allowing me to grow in confidence when using Photoshop, but not only that I am storing a bank of information that can be called upon for future projects.

TRANSFORM

Probably one of the most utilsed and useful tools within Photoshop.

CMD&T = Transform. I selected a file of my choice by selecting the EDIT tab and scrolling down to FILE EMBEDDED option.

Next, selecting the FILE tab I scrolled down to the TRANSFORM option and chose FLIP HORIZONTAL from the sub-menu.

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I had been trying to suss this out for about a week prior to this tutorial, and now I feel confident in applying the same principle to my Hero design, incorporating a REFLECTED Layout.

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That is how simple it is to horizontally flip the image; would be silly not to try the FLIP VERTICAL option.

I have been struggling to make use of this incredibly textural design of my own, but thanks to this specific tutorial I am able to connect the dots and hopefully create a truly stunning design.

I can even use the FREE TRANSFORM tool to rotate the image!! Hold down the SHIFT key to rotate the image to equal angles and preset factors. If image/design needs only a small rotation then the SHIFT key is not a necessary function.

Exciting times lie ahead.