lol thanks! I need to start integrating PS with Alchemy more often, the coloring and added effects were really attempts to hide errors that just kept on getting worse the longer I played with the image in Alchemy.
Found a new way of bypassing one of Alchemy's limitations, though! There was a problem with using the Smooth Affect: it makes really sweet gradients but after a good 500 strokes or so, the program begins to not recognize when you're trying to make a new stroke until you just turn off Smooth for the rest of the image. Apparently what's going on is that when a new stroke is made with the Smooth affect on, every previous stroke is simultaneously smoothed: for example, with this picture I'd do something on the face and suddenly strokes on the leg would shift.
The bypass trick is to just save/export the image, clear it from canvas, then reload it as a background image. I'm guessing this works because Alchemy is a vector-based program, so it has programmable capabilities to do stuff like memorizing and manipulating every single brush stroke ever done without computationally killing your computer. When the image is reloaded/imported, its no longer part of the calculations but just a stagnant imported piece of wallpaper, and all future strokes will be done in vector until its exported as well.
I know this most likely doesn't make sense at all since everyone uses other programs for better effects, I just wanted to say something about this for the sake of just getting it out of my head.