I really enjoy working with Photoshop Plug-In's. They can be very helpful throughout your workflow and a real time saver for specific tasks. I also enjoy the creative aspect of many of them. Topaz in particular has some unique plug-ins like Impression and Glow. Whenever I use a plug-in, I make sure that I use it as a layer in Photoshop. Doing so greatly increases my flexibility to alter the look and feel of that plug-in once I bring it back into Photoshop.
While playing around with some photos for a project recently, I decided to combine a textured photo with a Topaz plug-in for something a little different. I worked on this image of lilies several years ago. I applied a texture for a more artistic feel to the image.
I took this image with the texture already applied and brought it into Topaz Impression.
I chose Liquid Lines III for the painterly effect while still retaining the overall feel of the original image. I wanted it to look different...but not "too" different. I then switched the blending mode within Impression to Multiply to darken it. This, in the plan in my head anyway, would help separate the textured image from the Impression image when I layer one on top of the other in Photoshop.
I changed the size of the textured photo by 25% and then placed it on top of the photo that I made in Impression and added a drop shadow. Here is the layers palate.
This is the final result. The more painterly image became a new background matte which acts as an accent to the original image. I like the look...I may do it again! Don't be afraid to mix it up when working with layers and plug-ins...you never know what you may create!