Leonardo is my go to iPhone photography app for working with more than two layers at the same time. It’s a 5 star app created by Pankaj Goswami who is also behind another of my favourite blending apps Superimpose.

This iPhoneography workflow uses Leonardo to blend 3 images together to create a surreal image. I call it ‘Coffee Shop Doodle’ because that’s just what it is but a couple of people have subtitled it ‘Storm in a Teacup’. I quite like that!

iPhone photography apps used:

coffee shop doodle - vscocam lv2 edited

{ Leonardo – Coffee Shop Doodle }

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Process and apps used

ProCamera8 ~ initial capture of my daily Cappuccino at Coffee Aroma in Lincoln (no they’re not sponsoring this workflow).

procamera8

ProCamera8 ~ an iPhoneography image from my archive which included quite a nice looking cloud. At some point I’m going to have to create a library of these. I think they make great textures or elements for surreal images.

procamera8 - 02

Rainy Daze ~ my initial capture is processed through Rainy Daze with all settings manually adjusted to give no clouds and maximum rain strength (but faded out roughly below the coffee cup).

rainy daze

These are the three images I wish to blend. It’s quite important for me to be able to manipulate each layer while all the layers are active. This is to ensure all the elements line up as I need them to.

Therefore, I cannot use Superimpose as I generally would as this only allows a foreground and a background layer. Instead, I choose to break out Leonardo which handles layers much more in the ‘Photoshop’ style.

 

Leonardo – playing with layers

I start by importing my background image which will become the bottom layer. I then select the ‘+’ symbol to the bottom right corner which creates a new layer and import my rainy daze image. This becomes layer two. Finally, I select the ‘+’ symbol again and import my third image which is the image with the cloud.

Once I have all the images imported as layers I set about masking and blending them:

 

Leonardo – masking and blending the cloud

leonardo - layer3

{ Leonardo – masking and blending (layer 3) }

  1. Select the top layer by tapping its icon to the upper right:

    This becomes the active layer.

  2. Select the mask icon (bottom of left sidebar):

    leonardo mask

    This brings up the masking tools to the right of the screen. I select magic wand to mask around the cloud and then brush the remaining mask in quickly.

    I also blur the mask edges by the maximum amount to enhance the cloudy feel of the mask. The blur mask icon appears as a tool to the right of the upper bar when working with masks.

  3. Blend method – Tap the top layer icon again:

    Tapping the top layer icon again brings up the blend method and opacity slider. I select Normal and adjust opacity to taste.


 

Leonardo – masking and blending the rain

leonardo layer 2

{ Leonardo – masking and blending (layer 2) }

  1. Select the second layer by tapping its icon to the upper right:

    This becomes the active layer.

  2. Select the mask icon (bottom of left sidebar):

    This brings up the masking tools to the right of the screen. I select linear gradient and apply the gradients to the top beneath the cloud and to either side of the coffee cup.

Tip: View either active layer or all layers by toggling the picture icons in the middle of the top bar. When viewing all layers, individual layers can be toggled by tapping the ‘eye’ on the layer icon.

  1. Blend method – Tap the second layer icon again:

    Tapping the second layer icon again brings up the blend method and opacity slider. I select Luminosity and adjust opacity to taste.


 

Leonardo – aligning the cloud

leonardo - layer3 transform

{ Leonardo – transforming (layer 3) }

  1. Select the top layer by tapping its icon to the upper right:

    This becomes the active layer.

  2. Select the transform icon (second on left sidebar):

    The layer can now be resized, rotated and dragged to move the masked cloud into the required position.


 

Once all the layers have been worked on as required the image can be exported to the photo library. There is NO NEED TO MERGE ALL LAYERS. Once the image has been exported Leonardo automatically retains a working copy with all active layers and masks still editable (very much like a non-merged multi-layer Photoshop PSD file). These working files can be accessed by selecting the home icon at the left of the top bar.


 

VSCOcam ~ finally the image is imported into VSCOcam where I apply the LV2 preset which I adjust to taste. The image can also be viewed on my VSCO Grid – http://skip.vsco.co/

coffee shop doodle - vscocam lv2 edited

Finally the portrait ratio image was shared to my Instagram stream. Please see my article ‘Instagram – 4 ways to share portrait or landscape photographs‘ outlining options available to overcome Instagram’s square only image policy.


 

Get the iPhoneography app mentioned in this article

Apps used in this article:

  • ProCamera8 my preferred camera replacement app. Manual focus and lock is helpful when trying to capture blur

  • Leonardo my go to app for working with multiple active layers

  • Rainy Daze iPhone version / iPad version fantastic app for adding an atmospheric rainy and/or cloudy mood to images with a range of styles

  • VSCOcam a quality app for adding and editing a wide range of modern filters. It has a desktop editing software heritage. Also provides a minimalist online grid to showcase images

 

I hope you enjoyed my iPhone photography look at masking, transforming and blending multiple layers with Leonardo. Thank you for reading and I hope to see you again. If you enjoy my work and would like an email when new articles are published (rarely more than one per week) please subscribe to Skipology. Thank you for your support.

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p31VpY-1OJ




7 Comments

  1. Ann Wiechmann says:

    Paul, I think this is my favorite tutorial yet. You do a great job of keeping it thorough yet concise. I love the whimsy and creativity of this project. Thank you so much for sharing your process and experience!

  2. Carolyn Hall Young says:

    I have enjoyed this. Thank you, Paul.

  3. Ulas says:

    This is an amazing creation. Great tutorial as well!

    Only if I have 1% of your creativity :P…

  4. […] Leonardo is my go to iPhone photography app for working with more than two layers at the same time. A 5 star app created by the same team behind Superimpose  […]

  5. Donna says:

    I love this image! It’s so beautiful and creative. Excellent tutorial too, because of this I have purchased Leonardo, and I love using it. I am trying to get to grips with Procamera too. That’s taking a while longer though. 😉 I would love to see a tutorial on that. Thank you so much Paul for taking the time to put together this wonderful tutorial.

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