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HOW TO USE THOSE HOLIDAY RESOURCES

Image of a Santa Claus Christmas cardSince it is the time of year many people are creating cards, I thought I would post a few using some of my favorite resources and showing some of the ways to use their items.

The Santa card above was created using a tutorial created by Design Cuts for a holiday party flyer. I started following this tutorial and finished it up my own way. If you have not been checking out Design Cuts for some wonderful textures, fonts, vectors, brushes, actually anything needed for graphic design and just plain fun in Photoshop, then you need to check into this site. It presents wonderful resources at very reasonable prices. And they always have tutorials to try out and freebies – so even if you do not purchase the particular package they are offering at the moment, you can still try out some of what they are offering. Can’t say enough good things about them. The tutorial being followed is called Design A Retro Style Christmas Cocktail Party Invite and to be honest, it is rather complicated. If you follow the steps exactly, it does give the results they achieved. The background used tutorial texture Paper 15 from Lost & Taken in a group called 42 Free Vintage Paper Textures. Then followed their Steps 3 through 5 for the type effects and background. I also added 2 Lil’ Owls (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Vintage Papers 8 set to Multiply blend mode at 34% layer opacity under the green strips (from their tutorial) to get more of a candy cane look in the background. The Santa was the one from their Step 6 downloaded from Graphics Fairy. When added as a layer, it was taken into Select -> Color Range and in drop-down, select White and check Invert Box. Now the black outline was selected and a Layer Mask was added. Right click on the mask and select Apply Layer Mask – it is now a transparent line image. New Layers were created underneath the outlined Santa and using my Chalk 60 Brush set to Angle Jitter of 19% at 30% brush opacity, the beard, mustache, eyebrows, and hat were painted in white; the face was painted a light pink; and the cheeks and lips were painted a brighter pink. Adjust the opacity to make it look right. A red Color Fill Layer set to Color blend mode at 94% layer opacity was placed on top and clipped (ALT+click between the two layers to clip) to the Santa graphic to give the black areas some reddish tones. Also added 2 Lil’ Owls Creative Masks Set 2-20 mask, which is a black texture, set to Screen at 75% opacity – just added to the vintage feel. Still with me? One of my new finds is Nicky Laatz – her Watercolor packages. This image used her Instant Watercolor Set, which also came from one of Design Cuts wonderful packages. I love what she does with type! Her Form 24 was used to create this watercolor effect on the Merry Christmas text which by the way is Ornatique font. A New Layer was created using Santa (and the flying reindeer) in Christmas Brushes by Flina, one of my all time favorite Christmas brushes, and set to Multiply blend mode at 79% layer opacity. Two layers of my free Snow 1 Overlay were applied to just the bottom section of the card. The last step involved adding a Curves Adjustment Layer on top to add back some contrast into the final card. Sounds like a lot, but it was basically just created by working through different sections of their tutorial and adding my own twist. I love holiday cards!
Image of a Christmas Card created in both Painter and PhotoshopWhat started out as a simple card always turns into a major project as I keep experimenting. This was so much fun to create. The card was started in Corel Painter using the wonderful Painter Holiday brushes by Karen Bonaker, who has graciously made them available to the Painter community. (If you use Painter at all, you have to check these brushes out – great fun!) I have used several of her previous holiday brushes for many years and never tire of them. She recently updated all her free brushes so they are completely compatible with Painter X3 and Painter 2015.  Check out her new holiday brushes and you will find the deer, brushes for making trees, snow and snowfall brushes. By putting some of them on layers, they could be brought into Photoshop and manipulated more using layer styles. Text font called Kingthings Christmas 2 was used. Also I added some snow on the trees in Photoshop. This was pretty much just trying out different things.

Christmas Card collage This was just totally fun trying different objects and putting them together. To do this I first used my SJ 5 Opening Template as a guideline and turned it 45 degrees. After that it was simply trying different little Christmas objects and giving them different layer styles to get the looks I liked. Since I wanted a vintage feel to this card, several of the objects are from two of my favorite vintage resources. The Santa image, Christmas Clip-art Poinsettias, and Merry Christmas typography are all from a terrific site called Graphics Fairy.  The Bird on Branch Silhouette and Vintage Tag Roses were from another wonderful site called The Old Design Shop. Both these sites have lots of vintage items and most are free to download. The beautiful vintage background texture is from Painted Textures called Scattered Leaves. The Christmas Tree I painted in Corel Painter and brought into Photoshop. Most of the items were lined up basically with the template, and then the black box layers were just deleted so they did not show up on the edges. Most of the items have layer styles applied to the layers using various color strokes or glows. This was basically just experimenting. The last step involved adding my Snow Overlay that can be downloaded in section on first image. I enjoyed putting the different items together to get this total vintage effect.

I hope you all have are having a great Holiday Season. I also hope everyone has a few new things to try out on the computer during this wonderful time of year!…..Digital Lady Syd

DIGITAL LADY SYD REVIEWS TOPAZ GLOW

Image of a little Native American Girl with headressThis week Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) released their newest plug-in, Glow, and it is once again so fun and unique! I will say right from the start that if you like plug-ins and filter effects in Photoshop, Topaz has the best selection to chose from. They are raising the bar with their new innovative effects to be used in your images. Topaz Glow is so unusual and I did not think I would like it that much – what can I do with it? But after using it for awhile and combining it with some of their other plug-ins, it is becoming one of my favorites. It brings out detail, color and lighting to get some very nice results. So lets see what we have here.

On the image above, of a beautiful little Native American child, is a good example of the use of color and lighting effects to get a lovely result, especially in the headdress area. First used Topaz Clarity’s Skin Smooth and Brighten II preset (these settings were adjusted: Dynamics Micro Contrast -0.36, Low Contrast -0.41, Medium Contrast -0.09, and High Contrast 0.19; Tone Level – Black Level 0.05, Midtones 0.06, and White Level 0.28) for a more natural skin look that this plug-in does so well. Next Topaz Glow was applied using one of my favorite presets, Mysterious I (these settings were adjusted: Overall Saturation 0.22; Red Saturation -0.63 and Red Lightness 0.23; Orange Hue 0.24 and Orange Saturation 0.62; Yellow Saturation 0.46; Blue 0.66; and Purple Saturation 0.68. Set to Multiply Blend Mode at 100% strength). This preset makes the image very dark as it uses a Dark Glow Type. By setting the blend mode to Multiply, the beautiful color and sharpening in the feathers of the headdress is achieved. A layer mask was added and with a soft round black brush, the face was lightly painted back so the filter did not apply to the face.  Several clean up layers were used and a Curves Adjustment Layer was applied to create a black vignette effect by just dragging the top right dot straight down to the .25 line. The face was lightened just a little bit more using the Camera Raw Radial Filter. That was it. There was not really much manipulation to get this nice result. And what is really nice is that the effect is apparent just in the rather straight lines of the image, but it does not look like just a neon application or over-sharpening of the image. Since there was such a drastic change done on this image, the original is shown below for comparison.

I am finding that using images with lines in the objects work well with this program. Glow can really bring out the details that you did not realize were present. I seem to prefer the effect on flowers and grasses,

Image of trees that were painted and taken into Topaz GlowThis image was done just a little differently. It was first painted in Corel Painter using oil brushes where several sources of this same image were used to get a very colorful and illustrative final result. In Photoshop Topaz Glow was added and the Mysterious II preset selected with a few changes. (Changed Secondary Glow to Dark and set Fractal Strength to 0.20, Red Lightness to -1.00, and Sharpness 0.27. Strength 0.82 and Multiply blend mode.) By using the Secondary Glow, the effect could be emphasized even more to create this rather illustrative effect. On a stamped layer Topaz ReStyle’s Dark Goldenrod Sunset preset (Detail Structure 0.50 and Sharpness 1.00) was applied. I was really please how Painter worked with Glow.

What I Like About Topaz Glow

1. Love the totally unique effects this plug-in creates! Like I said, at first I was not sure how I would use it, but once I got the feel for what the different collections (6 collections and 50 presets) are doing, it became much easier to figure out and get the subtle looks I like.

2. I have an older computer and this plug-in zipped along really nicely when adjusting the large number of sliders (over 70) that were required to get the effects I liked.

3. The results actually work very nicely with several other plug-ins I like to use a lot, especially Topaz Impression and Topaz ReStyle. Below are examples of each of these being used with Glow.

4. Having a duplicate set of sliders to use as a Secondary Glow makes it very useful to fine-tune an effect. I am using this more as I get used to what the slider do.

What I Don’t Like About Topaz Glow

1. There is not an undo function. It makes it a little hard to compare the old setting to the new setting. The company is promising this will be in the update for the program – which by the way, is always free to people who have purchased the program. Maybe this should go under What I Like…… hum! Also you have to go back to the preset list, click on a different preset, and and then go back in to the original preset and start over if you do not like some of your changes.

2. Wish Glow had a mask so the effect could be removed from parts of the image and remain on other parts. Right now you have to apply the effect, then add a layer mask in Photoshop and paint out the effect with a black brush in the mask, to localize the result.

3. Wish we had a few more blend modes to chose from – currently just Normal, Multiply, Screen, Overlay, Soft Light and Hard Light are available.

Image of my miniature mums and Boston Fern on my porchThese are my miniature mums that bloomed on my porch a month ago – they are my very favorite mums! What worked in this image are the lines in the flowers and fern that Glow emphasized. To create this effect, first in Lightroom Seim’s (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) PowerWorkflow Magic Portrait preset and Dave Delnea’s Backlight 002 vertical preset.  (If you want some spectacular lighting effects in Lightroom, you need to check out Dave’s inexpensive presets. These may be the best ones I have ever downloaded.) I like the effect of Glow and Impression used together, which is what this image did. The basic steps are as follows: On a duplicate layer, Topaz Detail 3 was applied using my preset (Medium Details 0.38, Large Details 0.16, and Contrast 0.30). Some clean up was done on a New Layer. Created a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and Topaz Glow was opened – Wonderland preset was applied and set to Multiply blend mode at 66% opacity while still in the plug-in. Now you start to see the magical effect this plug-in can creates. Next Topaz Impression was applied on another stamped layer using the Monet II preset as is. A layer mask was added and some of the Glow detail in the flowers was painted back. One again a Radial filter was used to dial in the center right flowers which is the focal point of the image. A Curves Adjustment Layer was used to add contrast back into the image. Remember that when you apply lots of filters from these plug-in, you almost always need to add a Curves Adjustment Layer or Levels Adjustment Layer to bring back the contrast that gets lost.

Image of Disney Parking Lot Tram Another example of some of the effects you can get on an image. I created this preset and cannot figure out what preset I started using – even my settings are off a bit so I will try to reconstruct this and present another example. The nice webbing effect in the sky and the sleek colors in the front tram area are apparent. To me, this is the way it should look at Disney. The original of this is one is also shown below to give you a comparison. Also Smart Photo Editor using Burton’s frame and lowered effect so some color came through, and Violet Dream effect was used for the border.
Original Images before Topaz Glow appliedTopaz has included their really great color sliders which gives a lot of flexibility to making the image colors look correct. I almost always adjust these sliders in both Glow and Impression. Also I seem to prefer the Multiply blend mode, but discovered that by reducing the Brightness slider some of the other Overlay, Soft Light and Hard Light blend modes will work nicely. I also discovered that the Electrify slider can give some really crazy results so sometimes it needs to be reduced. Still exploring how all these sliders work together – lots of fun here!

There are a couple of things that can be done to make using this program a lot easier. First, check out the manual that does a pretty decent job of explaining all the sliders and what they do. (Go to Help -> User’s Manual) And what I consider is the best resource is to go to Topaz’s webinars website and watch their wonderful videos. UPDATE: Topaz has now posted a really good video called Introduction to Topaz Glow. I find it extremely helpful to know what the software designers were thinking when the program was designed and how others use the plug-in. For example, I learned that in the Neon Collection, if you do not like the non-natural colors in the preset, reduce the Edge Color slider by moving it left to get a more natural look. Or that the Heavy Metal presets look good on cars! Still working on that one. I believe Topaz does have some of the best instructional videos.

Bottom Line

If you love the special effects that so many of Topaz’s filters create, this is a definite “Yes” for you! It creates some very different results and works nicely with their other creative plug-ins. I have been having a lot of fun working on different types of images and will present more as the holidays get past. This is not just a neon filter, but lots of different effects that use the neon-type effect as a starting place. Topaz has once again created something totally different and for that I am grateful – no one else seems interested in doing this. It definitely adds something new in the “artistic” area to give more of a creative style to an image. Thank you Topaz!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Simply Glowing!

COREL PAINTER’S AUTO-PAINTING RESULTS – NOT BAD!

Painted image of a yellow gerbera daisyI just had to retry the auto-painting aspect of Corel Painter just to remember what it really does. Most digital painting artists would not even consider using this part of the program, but it was fun to experiment with it this week. The yellow gerbera daisy was partially auto-painted and partially hand-painted. By following a short 6 part video series by Corel Painter’s Michelle Chinn called Easy Auto-painting, the above was achieved pretty easily and quickly. She demonstrated how to stop and start the auto-painting process so brushes can be changed and their individual settings adjusted. Two Elliptical Marquee Selections were used, one for the flower and one for the center, to contain the auto-painting to just those areas. (The selections can be inverted to auto-paint on the outside area by going to Select -> Invert.) Give this a try if you are interested in getting some nice quick painting effects or want to lay down a nice foundation for hand-painting follow-up. Since auto-painting is not limited to the clone brushes, one of my regular brushes was used to auto-paint in the background and a smaller one for more detail in the selections. Afterward a blender brush and the same small detail brush were used to actually paint on the image, just do not go to the Restoration Panel if you want to hand-paint in the image. I still love to hand-paint and will probably redo this flower just to see what the difference will be.

Image of a store on Southwark Street in LondonThis image followed the instructions in Auto-Painting Magic with Painter Master Marilyn Sholin, a wonderful webinar from a while back. This was so much fun! The technique is similar to the one in the videos above, but with her own twist on it. Not sure this is exactly my painting style, but I totally enjoyed trying out her workflow. Basically I followed all her steps pretty closely using my image of a nice little sandwich bar/delicatessen called Harpers on Southwark Street in London. (Apparently it is now Costa Coffee and the building architecture has been totally redone and not near as interesting-see above link.) In Painter Marilyn’s MS_MUSHV_Cloner from her Free Cloner Brushes set was used to do the auto-painting and some clean up. Back in Photoshop more clean up was done with the Mixer Brushes for both blending and adding in some details. A Levels Adjustment Layer was created to increase the contrast. Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 was opened and instead of using the Tonal Contrast, like Marilyn suggested, the Darken/Lighten Center with the lighten centered on the people at the table was applied to pull them out a little. Also the Detail Extractor was set to fine and the Opacity to 57%. The actual Layer Opacity in Photoshop was set to 84%. The last step used John Derry’s Varnish Gloss Light Layer Style from John’s Impasto for Photoshop set where the Shading Highlight Mode was reduced to 41%. Give this webinar a try if you have Corel Painter XII, X3 or 2015 – Marilyn did a very good job with it – easy to understand and some great tips in it.
Painted image of Native American Boy
Loved this image of a Native American boy in costume taken at the Native American Festival earlier this year. Just wanted to try one more Painter auto-painting image – this time the child was selected out of the original image in Photoshop and saved before taking into Painter. Just did the same basic steps – ran auto-painter with the larger brushes, then did more individual painting with the smaller detail brush. Afterwards brought the image back into Photoshop and did more clean up with my Chalk 60 brush set to 19% Angle Jitter. 2 Lil’ Owls (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Cosmos 11 texture was applied and set to Linear Light. In the layer style, the Blend If This Layer white tab was split (ALT+click on tab) and set to 116/189 – it brought out the feathers better. To add the gold painted texture, just used a brush I created (see my How to Paint with a Texture Brush from Your Image blog) from French Kiss texture called Atelier Georgia – it makes a really nice textured brush set and was set to a low layer opacity. (See sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link.) Used a layer mask to remove the paint off the child. Added a Curves Adjustment Layer to add contrast to finish the image.

As you can see, there are lots of variations you can get – pretty much the same as if you painted the image. The related blogs below both contain other examples of the auto-painting feature. I still like painting the image myself, but I do believe auto-painting is not a bad way to go if you do not have a lot of time to create a painting, or just want to get the first blocked-in step done quickly. It might also be handy to try out different brushes to see if you like the results when using in painting. Also, anytime I can combine Painter and Photoshop I am having a blast! So go out and experiment. I believe the referenced videos will work on at least the last 3 versions of Painter. Have a nice week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Related Blogs:
Some Pros and Cons of Corel Painter (And Why I still Love Photoshop)
Topaz Restyle with Corel Painter & Nik Analog Efex Pro

MORE PAINTERLY EFFECTS

Image of outdoor cafe in Edinburgh, ScotlandSince such a busy week so I thought I would just post some of the painterly effects I have been trying and maybe give you some new ideas to improve your digital artistic flair! The above was done completely with Photoshop plug-ins – I am always amazed at how these results can be achieved with a little mix and matching! This image used Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Clarity, Topaz Impression twice, Topaz ReStyle, and Nik Viveza 2. For the specific settings, check out Image 1 info at end of blog.

Image of some painted looking gondolasThese gondolas I had actually painted in Corel Painter before opening them up in the Smart Photo Editor. Check out Image 2 info for the shorter details in this case!

Image of some red roses paintedThis is an image I did mostly in Corel Painter 2015, but finished up in Photoshop. The roses were painted from an image taken at the grocery store and painted on a gray background where the finished image was saved as a Photoshop file in Painter. See Image 3 for more info.

Image of a Bird Still LifeThis image I set up and took in my home-sort of a little still life. Wanted to remind everyone that Photoshop still does a great job of getting that painterly look with its wonderful brush engine. This image used Melissa Gallo’s Antique Rose Canvas texture for the beautiful background effect. More info under Image 4 below.

I know I have said it several times before, but it is definitely a lot of fun to mix and match the different softwares and plug-ins to get different effects. This is definitely worth the time exploring if you are interested in creating unique artistic effects. Now that there are so many apps that can be uploaded to fix up phone images, it is hard to look unique and not just canned. That is why you have to pay attention to how these programs work together. Hope you get some time to paint and play with your plug-ins over the holidays and try out some new combinations……Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Painterly Plug-ins – So Many Choices, So Many Choices!
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Smart Photo Editor Photoshop Plug-In
Getting Back to Playing in Photoshop

Image 1:  Started in Lightroom with a preset I created from David duChemin’s wonderful, but dated book, called Vision & Voice which used Lightroom 3. It is just a Split Toning setting which means it can be used with other Lightroom settings. Highlight Hue is 50, Saturation 60, Shadows Hue 266 and Saturation 35 – that’s it! I have used this preset a lot in the past as it creates a very pretty tint. Clean up was done to remove some people walking. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz Clarity’s Color & Contrast Boost III preset was applied as is. On a new stamped layer, Topaz Impression’s Charcoal I preset was applied. Then the layer style was opened (double click on the layer to open) and set the Blend Mode to Divide, Opacity to 32%, Blend If Gray-This Layer white split tab (ALT and drag to separate) and set to 90/156. Added a Solid Color Fill Layer set to Color Blend Mode using R77G51B31 reddish/sepia tone. Topaz Impression was applied on a new Stamped Layer using my Watercolor-like effect on buildings preset – what the heck is this! Okay, this little preset is one I am using a lot in this plug-in so you would like to try it, here are the settings for SJ WC like effect on bldgs preset (started with Watercolor II preset and these were the final settings: Stroke Type 04, Brush Size 0.91, Paint Volume 0.42, Paint Opacity 0.87, Stroke Width 0.33, Stroke Length 0.89, Spill 0.23, Smudge 26, Coverage 1.00, Color Overall Hue 0.15, Saturation -0.20 and Lightness 0.06; Red Sat 0.47 and 0.14; Orange Sat 0.60 and Lightness -0.42; Yellow Sat -0.33 and Lightness 0.13; Green Sat 0.20 and Lightness -0.32; and Blue Sat 0.36; Lighting Brightness -0.04, Contrast 0.39, Vignette 0, and Light Direction X0.33 and Y0.06; and Texture Strength 0.78, Size 0.30, Canvas IV, Background Type solid white, and Background color used #d38967 – all other settings not listed at 0.) Adjust your color swatches to get other color tones – this is the secret to this preset. Next was Topaz ReStyle set to my SJ BW with greens preset (changed ReStyle blend mode to Color; Color Style Sat Primary -0.14, Secondary 0.48, Third 0.77 and Fifth -0.58; Lum Third 0.57; Basic Opacity 76% and blend mode Luminosity; Color Temperature -0.58, Tint -0.22, Saturation -0.11; Tone Black Level -0.59, Midtones -0.16, and White Level 0.36; and Detail Structure 0.73). On a new Stamped layer, opened Nik Viveza 2 and just add a little extra Structure, Contrast, Saturation and Warmth on the people in the center – basically my focal point area. Next another Stamped layer and Photoshop’s Gaussian Blur was applied using a Radius of 8.4. Adding a black layer mask, paint out just some of the signs so you cannot see all the writing too clearly – it draws away from the focal point. A Levels Adjustment Layer was added to add back some contrast. Next a Color Balance Adjustment Layer was added (Highlights Cyan-Red -5, Magenta-Green -4, and Yellow-Blue -37; Midtones Cyan-Red -2, Magenta-Green -6, and Yellow-Blue +17; and Shadows Cyan-Red +2, Magenta-Green -6, and Yellow-Blue -3). Next I painted a white edge frame around the image. This was a rather extensive workflow, but I love the results!

Image 2: The Photo art at a click of 050 preset by andrewb2012 was applied. (Here were the settings: Effect Controls: Master Fade all the way right; Multi-color Match 0.81, Exp -0.029, Highlight Clipping 0.254, High Clip Detail 0.044, Vibrance 0.673, Hue -1.000, Sat -0.312, Bright 1.156, Gamma -0.223, Contrast -0.085, High Clipl 0.421, High Clipl Detail 0.54, Vibrance 0.85, Hue 0.146, and Sat 0.265.) Used Grunge White Border by superdave to add the pretty edging, and then went out of Smart Photo Editor. Took the same layer back into Smart Photo Editor and applied the Photo art preset again with a little less Master Fade. This produced quite an interesting effect. This plug-in is so much fun!

Image 3: To learn to do this effect in Corel Painter, I have to thank Melissa Gallo and her Painter Workshop for Photographers and the Autumn Still Life Workshop. If you use Painter and want to get the most out of your brushes, definitely sign up for one of her future workshops. In Photoshop Two Little Owl’s Shabby Creek texture was applied and was set to Darker Blend Mode at 61% layer opacity. In the Layer Style the Blend If Gray This Layer white tab was split to 190/227. French Kiss’s Brayer Blocks 13 was added and a copy of the background layer was clipped to the png file (ALT+click between the layers to clip). A Stamped layer was created on top and Topaz ReStyle was opened using the Orange Bush in Snow preset (these settings were adjusted: ReStyle opacity 57%, Hue Primary -0.89, Third -0.31, and Fourth 0.30; Sat Primary 0.84 and Secondary -0.03; Lum Primary -0.06, Secondary 0.25, Third -0.62, Fourth -0.16, and Fifth 0.08; Texture Strength 1.00; Basic Blend Mode Color; Temperature 0.22, Tint 0.50, and Saturation -0.17; Tone Black Level 0.41, Midtones -0.39, and White Level 0.13; and Detail Structure 0.86 and Sharpness 0.45). Nik Viveza 2 was used to emphasize the top rose and add a little structure into the bottom two roses. Four New Layers were used to selectively sharpen and paint in to fix distracting areas. A Levels Adjustment Layer was added for more contrast and another Levels Adjustment Layer was created. The layer mask was turned to black by CTRL+clicking in the mask and painting back just the very center of the flower.

Image 4: This image was done totally in Photoshop following the directions of Melissa Gallo’s Painting with Photoshop. This was definitely the turning point for me in understanding the brushes and how to use them. This image was cleaned up a lot and Topaz Detail 3 was used to sharpen up the image. Most of the technique is how Melissa uses layers and brushes to get the final effect. Just wanted to let everyone to know that Photoshop can be very effective as an artistic form. Just experiment with the different types of brushes and you may be surprised how nice an effect you can get from them.

PAINTERLY PLUG-INS – SO MANY CHOICES, SO MANY CHOICES!

Image of a Native American Girl dancing in costumeCreated this blog to show some painterly effects using the same image with some different Photoshop plug-ins. I started by first trying to get Topaz Impression and Alien Skin Snap Art to give a similar look. I really thought that if one looked nice a certain way, the other would give similar results since both plug-ins create painterly, and in this case oil painting effects. It just did not work! They are as different as can be and yet both plug-in are very good at what they do. The final results on all the images are ones that I thought looked good for each of the plug-in(s) used. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety in the images and all the very nice painterly results even though processed so differently! I hope you will get some ideas on how to achieve the look you want. Also, at the end of the blog I have links to reviews on each of the plug-ins used if you want more info on any of them.

The original image above was taken at the Native American Festival in Ormond Beach, Florida. This image had a large group of people dancing and watching so it had to be totally clean up and the sky extended. The clouds were still there at least. Then a stamped layer was opened into Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 where a preset I created from the Default preset for Snap Art 3 was used. One thing I like is that up to three different Detail Masks can be painted onto the image and different settings can used to pinpoint those areas. In this case two were used. There is a Photorealism brush which will bring back a little more of the image which is great to emphasize the focal point of the shot. Some clean up painting and horizon adjustments were done on separate layers. To get the pretty orange tones, Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) ReStyle was opened and the Shadowy Orange preset was applied. A Radial Filter was used to emphasize the wrap just below her head area. A Selective Color Adjustment Layer was used to tone down her shadow. It actually took a lot of manipulation to get the final look but I really like the results. The plug-in settings are listed below under Image 1 if you are interested.

Image of a Native American Girl Dancing in Tribal CostumeThe above was more how I had envisioned this particular image. This time Topaz Impression was applied using the Turner Storms I preset with no changes. I liked the way the ground and shadow looked a little more realistic and the sky does look stormy, which it was not. I had originally tried to get this image to look somewhat like the Snap Art Image by applying the Oil Glaze by Blake Rudis, but it did not give quite as nice a final look.  Therefore I went with a totally different filter look. Topaz ReStyle was also applied to this image – the Zambest Zest preset (changed the Basic section to Luminosity blend mode and the Structure to -0.59 and Sharpness 0.73). Nik Viveza 2 was used to emphasize the back of the wrap.

Image of Native American Girl dancing in tribal costumeFor those of you who own the Topaz Suite of plug-ins, this is an example of using both Topaz Simplify and Black & White Effects to get the above result. I think it looks just as good – just took a little creativity to get the total look. The background layer was duplicated twice. The bottom duplicate was taken into Black & White Effects and a preset showing lots of detail that I created was applied. Then on the top layer Topaz Simplify was applied and another of my presets that added the painterly look was applied. A layer mask was added to it, and just the parts of the B&W Effects that I liked were lightly painted into the Simplify layer mask – used my Chalk brush with black paint at 20% brush opacity. This technique was used since the Simplify preset added the painterly feel but basically wiped out any of the texture in the image – B&W Effects was used to add back the texture a little. This mainly included the shadow area and the details in the wrap. Lots of clean up was done using my Chalk Brush to just go around and sample and add in paint where needed.  A Gradient Map Adjustment Layer, using the Gold-Copper gradient that comes with Photoshop, was set to Darken blend mode. A Curves Adjustment Layer was used to add contrast back into the image. Finally Nik Viveza 2 was added to direct attention to the focal point, but the Radial Filter in the Camera Raw Filter could have been used instead. For settings in the plug-ins, check Image 3 below.

Image of Native American Girl Dancing in tribal constumeCan this look more different from the other? This time I used Nik Analog Efex Pro 2 first. Then Smart Photo Editor was opened and just the Daniel-Davidson Lost and Taken 4-02 preset was applied to get this pretty result. The effect had to be adjusted in the plug-in to line it up properly. I did not love the resulting color when brought back in Photoshop – a real color shift occurred. Therefore a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added and Yellows were set to Hue +11 and Sat +29, and then Master Hue -2 and Sat -49. Next a Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer was added and set to a deep purple color (R68/G35/B75), set to Overlay blend mode at 29% layer opacity to get the final more colorful effect. See Image 4 settings for Nik Analog Efex Pro settings.

I hope you can see that it probably does not matter which plug-in(s) you have, you can get something rather painterly and interesting in many different ways. I guess that is why we get them – you can often get a surprise while using them. I have my favorite plug-ins that seem to give me the results I love, but I was also pretty pleased to see some different results by just combining them in various ways. I hope this blog gave you some ideas on how to use plug-ins you already may have and maybe get you interested in some of the ones you do not have. Any way you do it, it is always fun to play with these filter effects! Have a very Happy Turkey Day if you are one of my U.S. friends and otherwise, just have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Posts:
Digital Lady Syd Speaks Out on Topaz Impression
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Alien Skin Snap Art 4
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz ReStyle
How About That Update to Nik Analog Efex Pro 2?
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Smart Photo Editor Photoshop Plug-In
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz Black & White Effects 2.1
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz Simplify 4
Nik’s Viveza 2 Plug-In – A Hidden Gem!

Image 1 Settings:  Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 SJ Factory Default preset – Artistic Style Oil Paint; Background – Brush Size 35, Photorealism 35, Paint Thickness 85, Stroke Length 45, Color Variation 30, Brush Style – Default Brush, and Random Seed 7556; Detail Masking used on the feathers and the small face portion – Effect Detail, Brush Size -22, Photorealism 56, Paint Thickness -6, Stroke Length -31, Color Variation 44, and Brush Style Default Brush; Detail Masking used on just the diagonal lines in her skirt – Effect Detail, Brush Size -30, Photorealism 7, Paint Thickness 43, Stroke Length 0, Color Variation 66, and Brush Style Default Brush; Colors – Brightness 22, Contrast 25, Saturation 12, and Temperature (cool/warmth) 34; and Lighting – Preset Default – Highlight Brightness 46, Highlight Size 35, Direction 120, Angle 59, Highlight Color White, and Vignette – Preset: None; and Canvas – Preset: No Texture. Topaz ReStyle settings: Shadowy Orange Rose preset with these changes:  ReStyle blend mode Color; Color Style Hue Third 0.33; Sat Primary -0.69, Secondary 0.17, Third 0.47, Fourth 0.03, and Fifth 0.45; Masked out the bright green shadow to make it much blacker – used Edge Aware Brush, Strength 0.58, Brush Size 0.10 and Hardness 0.33; Basic Color Temperature 0.14 and Saturation 0.19; Tone Black Level -0.47, Midtones 0.14, and White Level -0.20; and Detail Structure 0.42.

Image 3: Topaz B&W Effects settings:  Conversion Section – Basic Contrast -0.33, Brightness -0.01, Boost Blacks 0.25, and Boost Whites 0.25; Adaptive Exposure – Adaptive Exposure 0.86, Regions 18, Protect Highlights 0.02, Protect Shadows 0.10, Detail 2.58, Detail Boost 1.11 and checked PDI; Color Sensitivity – Red 0.15, Yellow -0.14, Green 0.47, Cyan 0, Blue 0.31, and Magenta 0; and Color Filter – Hue 325.1 and Strength 0.27; Creative Effects Section – Simplify 0.12 and Feature Boost 1; and Finishing Touches Section – Silver and Paper Tone – Tonal Strength 0.40, Balance 0.30; Silver Hue 0, Silver Tone Strength 0.50, Paper Hue 4.00, and Paper Tone Strength 0.25; and Transparency – Overall Transparency 1.00. I also had Border (Border Type Grungy BW7 set to Size 0.36) and Vignette (Vignette Strength 1.00, Size 0.71, Transition 0.44 and Curvature 0.55) that were turned off before applying the preset. The Topaz Simplify preset settings were: General Adjustments Section – Simplify – Colorspace RGB, Simplify Size 0.84, Feature Boost 0, Details Strength 1.29, Details Size 0.96, Remove Small 0.10, and Remove Weak 0.20; Adjust – Brightness 0.02, Contrast 1.11, Saturation 0.60, Saturation Boost 2.06, Dynamics 0, Structure 1.00, and Structure Boost 1.00; and Edges – Edge Type Color Edge – Normal, Edge Strength 0, Simplify Edge 0.60, Reduce Weak 24.00, Reduce Small 0.20, and Fatten Edge 0. My Chalk Brush settings: Select Photoshop’s Chalk 60 brush and in the Brush Panel set size to 200 pixels and in the Shape Dynamics section set the 19% – everything else off. I use this brush usually at 30% brush opacity or less to paint in texture and clean up layers.

Image 4: Here are the settings used for my Nik Analog Efex Pro 2 plug-in: Basic Adjustments – Detail Extraction 81%, Brightness 4%, Contrast -17%, Saturation 13% and two control points were used on the image – both placed in the sky on the right and left and set to Detail – 100%, Brightness -16%, Contrast -42%, and Sat -100 to soften the overall detail effect in that area; Bokeh – Bokeh Style – circle for apply elipse, Blue Strength 87%, and Boost Highlights 90%: Light Leaks Strength 50% and set to Soft choosing the 3rd row and 1st column soft red glow leak set right in the center of the image; and my favorite section Levels & Curves – Opacity set to 100%, Luminosity Curve pulled down with two points (7.5/6 and 12/16.5), Red one point at (12/13), Green two points at (7/6) and (12/14), and Blue two points at (5.5/6) and (12/16).

HOW TO COLORIZE AN OLD PHOTO

Colorized Image of my Great-Grandmother Alice Ann GreenNot sure I have blogged on photo restoration much. This week I am going to show you how to colorize old images to give them a nice tinted effect. This image is of my Great-Grandmother Alice Ann Green says it was from 1913. I thought she looked awfully young to be a grandmother at this point in her life since she was born on 7/6/1861, but her hair might actually be slightly grayed as seen in the original below.
Original photo of Alice Ann Green from 1913I learned how to do this from photo restoration specialist Suzette Allen when she appeared on Creative Live a while back. This is how she uses Solid Color Adjustments Layers to add color to her images. I might add the skin effect is also from her video but that is another blog as it is a bit tricky. In this case various Solid Color Adjustment Layers were used for her skin, then hair, and finally the dress and background. In all 7 were used. I would suggest you first download Suzette Allen Color Guide Faces photo – a free download from her website – before beginning. Frequently I open up this image in Photoshop to use for sampling skin and lip color. Nik’s Color Efex Pro was used at the end and  Flypaper Textures Nik Color Efex Presets White Buttons was applied. The Frame was added in the Smart Photo Editor plug-in using the white border with gray stroke classic border. The Solid Color Adjustment Layer technique is the same as in the workflow below.

Image of kids on a jungle jim in 1941The cute kid image was downloaded from one of my very favorite websites, Shorpy Historical Photo Archive (this links directly to the original black and white image and there are some pretty interesting comments on the playground itself), and was taken in New York City on July 14, 1941. A few months ago I did a little vintage blog on how to make a nice old photo really look vintage. (See How to Add More Vintage Feel to An Old Photo blog.) (Also check out my Related Blogs below for how Calvin Hollywood uses Solid Color Adjustment Layers.) So here is the basic workflow on how to colorize your old images.

1. First I sharpened the image overall using Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Detail 3’s Overall Detail Light preset, but you can sharpen anyway you want. Do any major adjustments to the photo before starting the colorization process.

2. Select a Solid Color Adjustment Layer. Fill the layer mask with black by clicking on it and CTRL+I to fill with black.

3. Change the blend mode of the adjustment layer to Color and the layer opacity to 32%. Name it so you can tell quickly where it was used.

4. Suzette suggests starting to colorize with the skin first. Open up her Color Guide Faces in Photoshop. In the image click on the foreground swatch and then click in the guide and click on a skin tone to use in your image.

5. Go back to your image and double click on the Solid Color Adjust Layer color box in the Layer Panel which brings up the Color Picker. By dragging your cursor outside the Color Picker, it turns into an eyedropper to sample the Foreground Color in the swatch at bottom of the Toolbar. Your adjustment layer will now have the the skin tone color from the guide.

6. Click on the black mask and paint with a brush with a white (brush changes from the colors to black and white when painting in a layer mask). Set your brush to white and 12-30% brush opacity in the Property Bar and add a little hardness to the brush so you can get some fairly close edges. You will now see the color being painted on the skin area.

7. When finished with that color, duplicate the layer by CTRL+J. Now rename this layer to indicate the new area you will be working on and fill the layer mask with black again (CTRL+BACKSPACE in the mask). Go back to the Guide and choose another skin tone for the Foreground Color – back in your photo sample the Foreground color and start painting in white on the mask again.

It really is an easy process once you do it a couple of times. I created separate Solid Color Adjustments layers for each skin area, along with hair, dress color, background colors, etc. To keep everything straight, Groups were created (highlight the layers and press CTRL+G to group them) with those titles since there were 10 or 11 Solid Color Adjustments Layers in each group.

The nice thing about this technique is that it is easy to go back and change a color if it does not look right. By double clicking on the color swatch of the adjustment layer, you open the color picker where several different colors can be selected – a live update will show in your image as you hover over each color. This is a really easy way to add believable color to an image.

The rest of the image effect was created using a New Layer and doing some skin smoothing by sampling nearby colors to smooth some of the splotchiness, and by applying Nik Color Efex Pro’s Glamour Glow, Film Efex-Faded, Image Borders, and Brilliance/Warmth to get the final result. This image actually took quite a while to complete, but the localized colors in both the clothes and skin tones did create a nice result from a rather dull and cluttered black and white image.

Not all images work well for this type of technique – you just have to experiment to see how it looks. It can be a bit tedious to really get a good result, but overall it can really make your vintage images pop. It is fun to try and figure out what your long lost relative may have looked liked in color. Give this technique a try – works great on any type of image. I find I am really enjoying trying this out on my old photos. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How To Use A Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Smart Photo Editor Photoshop Plug-In

HOW TO USE A PHOTO FRAME MASK

Image is of a poster with Dewey Duck at Epcot at Disney World OrlandoThis week I decided to play around with some photo masks – some very nice ones that I purchased from French Kiss (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) called Brayered Blocks Clipping Masks and others that are free to download or I created. The masks make some interesting framing effects, especially when stacked. They are actually a lot of fun to use, but it does take some understanding as to how the masks work to get a nice result. This short tutorial that Nicole created on how to use her masks called Using Masks as Overlays was very helpful and she has several other related blogs to view. The image of Dewey above took a lot of clean up as this image was taken of a display with lots of glass reflection. Check out Image 1 below for all the gory details on how I did this crazy image and how to add in this type of mask! This one took a while to do!
Image of painted gondolas with special framingThis generic image of some gondolas used photo masks created using brushes. A new image was created with the photo added on top. This time Shadowhouse Creations Grunge Frames brushes, which are a free download, were used twice to get this effect along with a free photo mask from French Kiss Collections Facebook page. Now the trick is to get this all connected together correctly. Check out Image 2 information below to get the steps on how this was done.

Some quick points on using these photo masks. Try using the Free Transform on the different layers to line up your masks to your image or get rid of any edges from the image you see. Usually it is not the photo mask you think that is causing the problem – check out the others. Also, if you just cannot seem to get rid of the line from edge, try just painting in your original image with the background color to remove it.

Photo masks can be made fairly easily by using some of the available brushes, like those from Shadowhouse Creations, or by using your own watercolor brushes on a layer. Just start by adding in some texture effects to your brush – can use a lower opacity and get a layered edge. Try using two different brushes together. I even made a couple by just using brushes in Corel Painter and opening the file in Photoshop – just needed to do a Select -> Color Range and in drop down choose Highlights so the whites are selected – then check the invert box. Add a layer mask to the brush layer, right click to apply the layer mask, and there is your photo mask. Now create a brush by using the Rectangular Marquee and placing around the strokes, and go to Edit -> Define Brush Preset. Actually not as hard as it sounds.
Screen shot of photo mask layers in PhotoshopThe screen shot shows how this pretty basic image set up. (Click on image to see larger view in Flickr.) I created the photo mask using free Watercolour Brushes by Leyla – no. 1 and 6 at 30% brush opacity and using black as a color. Just left the edges lighter and painted more in the center area. The layer was duplicated and reduced in size to fit the image. When edges showed up on this image, the actual image was changed in size to adjust for them but also I had to sample the background to get rid of parts of it. The layer mask was used to make some of the lower flowers slightly pop out into the photo mask. You can always go back into the mask you created and paint in more color or erase some to fit the look you want. The interesting background texture is from Kim Klassen called deepsigh.

Hope you get a chance to try this type of effect and maybe experiment with making your masks. This is really a lot of fun to do and I have to thank Nicole at French Kiss Collections for bringing this concept to my attention!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Just a Frame Flower

Image Information:

Image 1:  How did I get rid of the reflections? In Photoshop I used my Chalk Brush (regular Chalk Brush 60 with the Angle Jitter set to 19% in the Shape Dynamics – can’t tell you how much I use this brush in place of a regular round brush!). At a lower brush opacity of roughly 30%, the colors were sampled from the image as I painted over the reflections. Next the image was opened in Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Impression and the Edward Hopper II preset was applied. A flattened version was created and opened in a new document. On a layer underneath the image, French Kiss  Brayered Blocks 01 was added and a light pink Solid Color Adjustment Layer was clipped to it (ALT+Click between the layers to clip). Under that a mask another mask was added, Brayered Blocks 05, where a brownish color was used in another clipped Solid Color Adjustment Layer. On the original image a layer mask was added and with my Chalk Brush, the edges were brushed around the inside edges to get a rough looking inside frame edge. At this point a Group called Dewey Frame was created and collapsed to keep everything straight. (Highlight your layers and press CTRL+G to place in a group – then rename.)

Upper text was added using 1942 report with an outer glow added. The text layer was duplicated and rasterized (right click and choose Rasterize) and the original text layer was turned off. Under the rasterized text layer, another mask, Brayered Blocks 12 was added and warped to fit underneath the text. French Kiss Chalkboard 2 texture was clipped to the actual brayered block mask layer, and a Solid Color Adjustment Layer was also clipped to this layer using a brown color. Another group was created called Upper Text Group.

Just above the Background Layer French Kiss’s Tableaux Northern2Z texture was moved into the file. An image of the Epcot Ball was moved into the image above this texture and adjusted off-center. It had been previously turned into a black and white image and this layer was set to a 71% opacity. Clipped to this image only was a Curves Adjustment Layer and a blue to white Gradient Adjustment Layer at 52% layer opacity – this gave nice sharp edges to ball pattern. Now the layers involving the Epcot Ball selected and grouped together. The last steps involved adding the text for Epcot Center – this is the Prototype Community 25 little letter a. A layer style was added to the font – Inner Glow for the white edging (Choke 24% and Size 29 px), Color Overlay to get the matching center brSo here are the image details – there are lots of them here so skip down if this puts you to sleep. How did I get rid of the reflection? In Photoshop I used my Chalk Brush (regular Chalk Brush 60 with the Angle Jitter set to 19% in the Shape Dynamics – can’t tell you how much I use this brush in place of a regular round brush!). At a lower brush opacity of roughly 30%, the colors were sampled from the image as I painted over the reflections. Next the image was opened in Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Impression and the Edward Hopper II preset was applied. A flattened version was opened in a new document. On a layer underneath the image, French Kiss (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Brayered Blocks 01 was added and a light pink Solid Color Adjustment Layer was clipped to it (ALT+Click between the layers to clip). Under that a mask another mask was added, Brayered Blocks 05, where a brownish color was used in another clipped Solid Color Adjustment Layer. On the original image a layer mask was added and with my Chalk Brush, the edges were brushed around the inside edges to get a rough looking inside frame edge. At this point a Group called Dewey Frame was created and collapsed to keep everything straight. (Highlight your layers and press CTRL+G to place in a group – then rename.)

Upper text was added using 1942 report with an outer glow added. The text layer was duplicated and rasterized (right click and choose Rasterize) and the original text layer was turned off. Under the rasterized text layer, another mask, Brayered Blocks 12 was added and warped to fit underneath the text. French Kiss Chalkboard 2 texture was clipped to the actual Brayered Block mask layer, and a Solid Color Adjustment Layer was also clipped to this layer using a brown color. Another group was created called Upper Text Group.

Just above the Background Layer French Kiss’s Tableaux Northern2Z texture was moved into the file. An image of the Epcot Ball was moved into the image above this texture and adjusted off-center. It had been previously turned into a black and white image and this layer was set to a 71% opacity. Clipped to this image only was a Curves Adjustment Layer and a blue to white Gradient Adjustment Layer at 52% layer opacity – this gave nice sharp edges to ball pattern. Now the layers involving the Epcot Ball selected and grouped together. The last steps involved adding the text for Epcot Center – this is the Prototype Community 25 little letter a. A layer style was added to the font -

own tone, and Drop Shadow (Opacity 34%, Spread 35% and Size 57 px). On a New Layer the I Love Donald Brushset for CS3 by xxxNightwingxxx-Donald brush 28 was used and an Outer Glow layer style was added using the pink color set to Structure Opacity of 62%, Spread 48%, Size of 6, Range of 83% and a Contour in a set called 50 Contours that I am having trouble finding the download link. The two text layers and were Grouped in a Donald and Text group. Last step involved created a stamped version (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E). Nik Viveza 2 was used to emphasize the Disney sketch in this image. A New Layer was added and with a round soft brush set to 250 px at 12% brush opacity, a couple large sweeps were painted over the upper text block as it appeared over-powering. A New Layer was created on top and French Kiss Spatter4-01 brush was selected – the Color Dynamics section of selected in the Brush Panel where the Foreground/Background Jitter was set to 49 and Brightness Jitter set to 54% and in the Shape Dynamics section the Angle Jitter was set to 40%. This gave the randomness of the spatters with color sampled from the image. This layer was set to 76% opacity and a layer mask was added where the spatters were removed from Donald and the Epcot Center text mainly. I could do this kind of image all day! Got to love Disney!

Image 2:  A new document was created – 7 inches x 7 inches at 300 ppi. The gondola is one first painted in Corel Painter and you can see the final image at my Hanging With the Gondolas! Tidbits Blog along with the specifics used in Painter. Next in Photoshop the image was opened in Smart Photo Editor (the settings used were: Applied Photo-art at a click o50 by andrewb2012 – Effect Controls: Master Fade all the way right; Multi-color Match 0.81, Exp -0.029, Highlight Clipping 0.254, High Clip Detail 0.044, Vibrance 0.673, Hue -1.000, Sat -0.312, Bright 1.156, Gamma -0.223, Contrast -0.085, High Clipl 0.421, High Clipl Detail 0.54, Vibrance 0.85, Hue 0.146, and Sat 0.265). Check out last week’s Digital Lady Syd Reviews Smart Photo Editor Photoshop Plug-In blog. This is the image that was later added to my file above. Above the background layer which had a golden tone added to it, French Kiss Dusky Rose texture was added and set to Overlay at 100%. A New Layer was created and with one click using a black Shadowhouse Creations Frame 1 brush which size was adjusted to fit the image, a block mask was created. Next a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped to the block mask layer, and from 10 Free Seamless Colored Splatter Textures from Idealhut, Pattern o2 was applied. This pattern can be moved in the image to adjust it the way you it to look – I have used these patterns a lot over the years. Next French Kiss free Photo Mask was added, set to Screen blend mode, and a light creamy orange color Solid Color Adjustment Layer was clipped to the French Kiss’s photo mask. Shadowhouse Creations Grunge Brush 10 was added next and then the gondola image was brought in. Both layers were adjusted using the Free Transform (CTRL+T) – do the image first, then clip it to the Grunge Mask, and then adjust that to fit the image. A Hue Saturation Adjustment Layer was used to get the color just he way I liked them.

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