The catch was not the problem at all. It was the pic I was using, although for the life of me, I can’t figure out why because the original photograph does render. It’s just the altered version of the photo that doesn’t. Why, I have no idea. No settings were changed, no colors, nothing but imposing a heart onto the sand was done and re-saved as a jpeg. For some reason, it refuses to render any color but white or grey.
Now that I figured this out, I went back to the original pic for the background and I will add what I want to the sand in post. What really matters is that the shadows of the figure are casting over the sand so it looks real. I don’t know what I’d have done if the shadows had to cast over the imposed heart as well, which is why I altered the image to begin with, just in case it might have to.
Now, can ANYBODY explain to me why one jpeg would render and not another with no settings whatsoever altered? I do not want to repeat this stress again ... lol.