Recently I discovered that several of the major Photoshop plug-ins all seem to be presenting a dual tone effect in their arsenal. I decided to create for you a Dual Tone Comparison using similar settings for each plug-in. In each case I used an image of a Spanish Cay beach in the Bahamas taken last year while sailing. I am trying to add a believable sunrise effect. So let’s get to comparing!
NIK Color Efex Pro 3.0
This NIK Color Efex Pro effect was created using the BiColor User Defined Preset. The swatches colors were set as follows: the Pink top color was set to R180 G152 B151, and the bottom blue color was set to R143 G141 B162. In the past I have used this preset with different colors on other images – it is really easy to apply and the BiColor Filter has many quick presets to choose from if you do not need to use specific colors. Personally I believe the real strength of most of the NIK plug-ins is that they provide quick, very visual choices which usually can create the look you want fast – and if you do not like the presets, you still have all the wonderful sliders to adjust to make the effect the way you like. Also, there are control points that can be applied on the image – in this case the opacity can be adjusted in the shadows and/or highlights areas. Four presets can be saved in the BiColor User Defined Preset Quick Save Slots to use again. To get a really nice look, the Polarization preset was also added with Rotate set to 0 and Strength set to 200%.
OnOne PhotoTools 2.6 (Now OnOne Perfect Effects 3.0)
OnOne has a totally different way of accessing the plug-in which I find a bit cumbersome. I have to go to the Image -> Automate and select it from a list to open up the interface. My computer runs more sluggish whenever I use one of their plug-ins but not a big enough problem for not using their products. That said, I was surprised at what a nice result I got in OnOnePhotoTools 2.6 (no longer available – see OnOne Perfect Effects 3.0 – click on OnOne icon in my Tidbits Blog sidebar) on the above image. Since the interface is different from most plug-ins, it takes a bit of practice to find where all the settings reside to get this effect, but once there, your choices are unlimited.
When choosing the effect you want, you must first go to the Library section at the bottom of the interface and select a Category which brings up many different results. In this image, Photo Filters was selected and 30 results were obtained; the Polarizer effect was choosen by clicking on Add to Stack. If the effect looks awful, just click Undo and it disappears. If you look under the Navigation Panel on the right side of the image above, you can that I stacked three effects (they can be dragged up or down for a different order) to get this one final look: Polarizer, Graduated Red, and Graduated Warm-Cool. You can spend many hours finding the perfect formula to get very creative results. I was not able to add the exact colors used in the NIK BiColor User Defined preset above, but it was a pretty close approximation. I will try to cover this plug-in more thoroughly at a later date. Just note that it does create a good dual tone effect and compares nicely with the Nik Color Efex Pro result. (Also, as far as I am concerned, there is no better way to add a frame to finish up your image than using OnOne’s PhotoFrame – all images in this blog have the same one applied from this program.)
Topaz Lens Effects
I really figured that the Topaz Lens Effect Dual Tone Filter would not be as good as the two above. When I did my blog on this feature last week, it did not create exactly the look I wanted. But bingo bango, I think this is the most accurate effect and it was pretty easy to adjust the sliders to get the look.
As you can see, I have created a SJ-Sunset preset that contains the settings used to make this dual tone effect. The Transition Adjustments section under the Navigation window sets how large and where you want the filter to be applied. The Region A Adjustments and Region B Adjustments allow you to create the colors you want – there is not option to add a specific color as in the BiColor User Defined preset but you adjust Cyan, Red, Magenta, Green, Yellow, and Blue sliders to get the two colors. A Polarization Filter can also be applied after the Dual Tone Filter, but there is only one slider, Strength, and I just did not care for the effect on the water. The polarizations effect was not as good as in the other two plug-ins above. Still, just the dual tone filter created a very good overall representation of what I wanted to present.
Plugin Galaxy 2.0
Plugin Galaxy 2.01 surprised me with the above result. I did not think the plug-in had the capability to do what I wanted, but I was wrong. Once again, you have to get used to the interface so you can figure out where to find the look you want. The interface appears to be much smaller than on the other three plug-ins but all you have to do is drag out the bottom right edge and it will almost fill the screen. Also, one of the tricks of this plug-in is that whenever you see a (+) in the center of your image, you can right click and drag it to place the effect in a specific location. In the interface image below, you can see the (+) in the lower right hand corner of the image. This is where I placed the effect.
I used the Expert Mode which gives you the most choices, and selected the Nature Group with the Sunset FX (filter effect). The first attempt was not so great as the Mode under the Brightness slider was set to Normal. But by trying different modes, I was able to select Add and get a really nice effect. The color sliders I had to experiment with to get the look – it makes a big difference whether you add just a bit of green or blue to the red – and the intensity and brightness sliders must be adjusted carefully. The interesting thing is that this plug-in has a lot of versatility – you just need to work with it to get that final look. This plug-in contains one of my vary favorite effects, the Instant Mirror Effect, which I blogged about here.
For me this has been a very interesting comparison. Each plug-in definitely has strengths that I love about each. My final decision on which plug-in worked best for the above image is the result I got with Topaz Lens Effects Dual Tones filter. Why? Because the mood created looks like what I think it should look like – the way there is a touch of yellow in the clouds that gives a more believable look to me. I really thought the NIK BiColor User Defined filter would do the trick best – it is one of my favorite filters. And OnOne’s PhotoTools really surprised me – I had not considered how many choices I had with that plug-in and if I played around a bit more with the presets, I might have been able to get the best look. And even though I did not like the Plugin Galaxy’s overall look for this particular image (and actually I really liked the way there was some color in the sand on the left bottom side which none of the other plug-ins created), this plug-in has some amazing choices that I am definitely going to experiment with more. Both Topaz Lens Effects and Plugin Galaxy have very reasonable prices for their plug-ins so they do give you a good alternative to the more expensive plug-ins and are definitely worth downloading and trying out the trial versions. With that said, I hope you enjoyed this comparison and all the images turned pretty nice – maybe you can try some comparisons of your own. You might get some surprises just as I did with the image above……Digital Lady Syd
I am happy to say that I am using the new Topaz Lens Effects Plug-in. I am still learning about all the things it will do but so far I like what I see. They advertise 20 lens effects and over 150 presets so there are plenty of things to try. These filter effects can be stacked to create a final look. Topaz has several short tutorials up on U-tube that walk you through many of the new features. Click here for Topaz Lens Effects Intro and this good basic tutorial called Introduction to the New Topaz Lens Effects to learn how to use some of the features. Here is a link to the Topaz Lens Effects User Manual that will help explain exactly what is going on in each of the listed sections below and lets you see for yourself all the great effects they have included.
Bokeh – Selective Effect and Vignette
The image above used the Bokeh – Selective Effect with manual settings. It helped a lot to watch the second tutorial above to understand how to make a good Depth Map. The Depth Map created by the program is usually a very good starting point. See the next section on how to use the brush to fine-tune your Depth Map. Some adjustments were then added to the Focal Plane and Focus Area sections. A slight Vignette from within this effect finished up the image. Once you have the focus set by using the Depth Map, it is pretty self-explanatory to figure out how to proceed.
Fisheye Effect and Bokeh – Selective Effect
There has been a lot of excitement about the Fisheye Effect since you do not have to actually buy the expensive lens to get the look. It is easy to apply – this funny image below used the Extreme Fisheye Preset for a starting point and just a tweak to center the effect under the FishEye Adjustments section. (To see original image, click here.) Next a Bokeh – Selective Effect was applied. It is really necessary to play around a bit with the Depth Map and understand how to use it to get a good result. First uncheck Use Gradient Brush if you want to paint on your depth map. (Check Use Gradient Brush only if you wish to create a gradient on the Depth Map.) White areas are used for distant objects, black for near objects, and gray in-between – for some reason this seems strange to me. At first I kept getting a completely black Depth Map when the Reset button was pressed – finally realized that the Depth Value Slider was set to 0 so everything started as black or in focus. Set this slider higher, not all the way back or it will be a completely white Depth Map, to get a place to start if you do not like what the program generated for the map. Then add areas in black or white with the Brush and adjust the size to fit the areas you are trying to contour. The manual states that the larger the brush size, the more it will affect the adjacent areas. I found this to be true so a little experimentation is required to get the correct map. The side-by-side view gives you a real-time comparison to see how the effect is working.
I could not get the Lens – Motion effect I wanted for this image so I went back to my OnOne PhotoFrames and chose one from their Zoom Effects. I may be able to achieve this look in Topaz, but for this image it was just not working out. I also did some adjusting with the Clone Stamp in Photoshop where the Depth Map was not quite correct and the edges were smudged a bit. The Eyes were sharpened to make them pop more.
Camera – Toy Effect
This image was created using the Camera – Toy Effect and the FoliageI Preset as a start. The effect was centered on the wheel and Toy Camera Aberrations were set as follows: Vignette Strength (-0.30), Camera Shake (2.22), Camera Shake Angle (8.87), Grain Amount (0.09) and Double Image (No); Placement Adjustments were set to: Region Size (0.01), Transition (0.48), and Angle (130.3); Region A Color Casts were all 0 except for the Blue Cast A slider (0.06); Region B Color Casts were all 0 except for the Yellow Cast B slider (0.06); and Image Adjustments: Brightness (0.41), Contrast (0.09), Saturation (0.06), Saturation Boost (-0.08), Shadows (0.53) and Highlights (-0.01). I listed these settings so you could get a feel for all the sliders that can be adjusted to get a really unique look as shown above. A preset called Bright Colors was then created since it is very different from the ones provided. (Two OnOne PhotoFrames were added to give the grunge and frame effects.) Smashing Magazine has an article, “Uncovering Toy Cameras and Polaroid Vintage Effects (with Photoshop Tutorials),” that shows what some of the original images looked like with different types of toy cameras if you need some inspiration.
Camera – Tilt & Shift Effect
This image was created using the built-in Tilt and Shift Effect after watching another short U-Tube video called Quick Tips – Miniature Scenes 101 from Topaz. It turned out to be fairly easy to create but a little Gaussian Blue was added to the image in Photoshop for a little more blur in a few places. Smashing Magazine has an article on 50 examples of Tilt-Shift Photography if you want to get some good ideas how to use this effect.
Dual Tone Effect
For this image a Dual Tone Effect adding a bit of yellow and red was applied. For the original as seen on Flickr, click here. The preset that was used as a starting point was Top Left Red Leak but then a lot of sliders were adjusted to get the look above. There are four areas that can be adjusted: Transition Adjustment which includes the Region Size, Transition and Angle – all of these are really important sliders; Region A Adjustment which sets the top color; Region B Adjustment which sets the bottom color; and Image Adjustment which includes the Brightness, Contrast and Saturation – all really important features. An OnOne PhotoFrame filmstrip border completes the image.
My final conclusion on this plug-in is that the Bokeh Effect has a possibility of being fantastic – it just has a bit of a learning curve but with practice, you should be able to get the exact results you want with the Depth Map. The other effects seem to give very pleasing results from the fun effects to the serious effects for doing major adjustments to you image. Even the Saturation and Sharpening effects I found to be really good. The Topaz Lens Effect plug-in is a great plug-in, but then I am a big Topaz fan and use most of their other products on a daily basis. The thing I like best about Topaz is that they keep the price down so for most people it is very affordable and makes Photoshop faster and more fun. (Check around for sites that will give you discounts for their products – NAPP members get 25% off.) Therefore, I give major Kudos to Topaz and all they do for the Photoshop community. That said, I do believe it is important to pool all your resources and if one plug-in does not give the look you want, use another one – they usually all work well together and the results can sometimes be spectacular.
Topaz has a 30-day fully functional download and they present short Webinars almost daily on the different effects. Give it a try and see if you can give your old images some new looks!
The flood effect is a look I have been fascinated with for a long time. There is not a lot of information on this and most of it is from several years ago. I plan on sharing a few of the best resources I could find to achieve this effect. The image below is a pretty basic flood effect – the Banyan Tree is from Oahu, Hawaii and provided a perfect starting point.
The Flood Filter from Flaming Pear was used to create the above effect, although creating a simple reflection using just Photoshop could probably have achieved a similar result. This effect is created very quickly with the filter that contains three sections: View, Waves and Ripples. All the sliders are self-explanatory by just trying them out. The filter bought by itself is $29.00, but bundles with some of Flaming Pear’s other filters are available. After applying the filter, the image was processed in Photoshop’s HDR Toning adjustment (Image -> Adjustments -> HDR Toning), a Nik Color Efex Pro BiColor Filter to darken the reflection, Nik Color Efex Pro Glamour Glow to brighten up the tree leaves, and OnOne PhotoFrame to finish up.
The following image also uses the Flaming Pear Flood Filter, along with Nik’s Glamour Glow filter and OnOne’s PhotoFrame.
For more information on how to use this filter, I found two really good resources. A book called “Digital Photographer’s New Guide to Photoshop Plug-Ins” by Jim Zuckerman and Scott Stulberg that has some great tips on using the Flood Filter (and many others); and Flaming Pear’s Flood Filter on-line guide that tells you what all the sliders represent – be sure to check out their Hints section at the end. Here are a couple links to some creative ways this filter has been used – most of the tutorials seem to be in German and are quite old, but the images are interesting: Bubbles English, and Top Zane Janeth. At this point I will mention another plug-in that can make a flood effect called Aurora 2.1 by digi-element which creates both clouds and atmospheric effects and flood and water scenes. This plug-in had a hefty price of $179 and is created by the people who made WorldBuilder – I cannot find any current information on either program but I did request authorization to download a demo. I will update if I get some new information on this plug-in as it looks like it could be really nice. Both of the above plug-ins seem to have similar water sliders as some of the 3D programs – I blogged about creating space scenes where I used the free Terragen Classic program which uses similar water options. Only one resource on creating a flood-like effect in just Photoshop could be found called “How to Create a Reflective Water Flood Effect” by Robert Mizerek.
Below are some important comments to know when creating the flood effect:
- Do all the clean up on your image before you do the reflection for flooding.
- Will probably need to add canvas to the bottom to make room for the effect. To do this, go to Image -> Canvas -> and change the width and height to percent in drop down box and uncheck the Relative box. You may have to experiment to see exactly how much room you will need to make room for the reflection. I had to apply the Flood Filter several times for the image above in order not to cut off the bird’s reflection (ended up with 150% for Height added to bottom).
- After applying the flood effect, I found it helpful to use a Blender Mixer Brush on a New Layer and by gently mixing the edges smooth so you do not create a real sharp line. This layer can then be lowered in opacity, and if it looks too obvious just erase in areas that are overdone.
- Most resources say that reflections are usually a bit darker than the original image, so keep this in mind when completing your image. If you have already applied the filter, use the Marquee Tool to select the reflection and place it on its own layer (CTRL+J). Then adjust the blend mode to Screen or add a clipped Curves Adjustment Layer to darken this layer a bit.
- Note that not all water needs to have waves – some images look better when the water is calmer (like in the above images).
Specifically for the Flaming Pear Flood Filter:
- The size of the effect is related to the size of the image so a smaller image may require a smaller amount of an effect with the various sliders than a large sized image. I found it difficult to see the Ripple effect at the larger sizes.
- A short quote on this filter from Steve Caplin in his “How to Cheat in Photoshop (2002 edition)” book states: “Flood works best with images shot head-on, since the horizon line is always horizontal. This makes it difficult to work with scenes photographed at a angle, although it is possible to build up multiple reflective effects from each object in a montage and then blend them together.” I have not tried this, but it makes sense.
- Try applying the filter a couple times and stack different water effects using layer masks and lowering layer opacity.
- If you are not sure what look you want, click the dice – this gives random settings that can sometimes help you get started.
- To create a pond ripple on the water, make sure you have set a size set in the Ripple generator, and click in your image on the preview where you want it to appear in your image. Often I have to actually apply the filter to see if this occurred.
The two images above used a straight on horizon line to add in the reflection. Below is my favorite image of the London Eye. I have added waves to this image to create more waves to match the weather of the sky. Here is a link to the original image on Flickr. In this case, the effect was created by applying the Flooding Filter in the area where the waves belong but with some overlap on the parts that should not be covered with water. Then a layer mask was added to mask out the incorrect areas. An alternate way to do this would be to first create a selection of the areas where the filter should be applied and then actually apply it to just the selection which will create a similar result. If you create a selection, add a bit of feathering to the selection to make the transition lines smooth.
My final image is more of an artistic look and I really liked the results of the water reflection.
After spending quite a bit of time adjusting to get this effect, here are the basic steps:
- First, it took me quite a while to find a suitable image – this sometimes seems to be the hardest part of using the filter.
- The image was made smaller since I was having trouble seeing the ripple effect at the higher resolutions. This image was turned into a 5″ X 7″ size at 240 resolution in the Image -> Image Size dialog box.
- Go to Image ->Canvas Size to add room at the bottom for the reflection in this case, 200% was added – be sure relative is unchecked. I tried various other sizes before settling on this one – it really is a trial and error application.
- Apply the Flood Filter using these settings to get the painterly look and the Ripple at the water’s edge: Horizon 34, Offset 21, Perspective 69, Altitude 65, Waviness 5, Complexity 83, Brilliance 69, Blur 10, Size 41, Height 19, Undulation 92, and Normal. Click in the Preview where you want the Ripple to appear – in this case under the main cactus. If you are not sure how the settings will look since the Preview box is so small, just click on one of the dots to save your settings and apply the filter. CTRL+Z to remove the effect in Photoshop and go back into the filter where your settings are saved to readjust.
- To get the width and height back to 5″ X 7″, again go to Image -> Canvas Size and increase the Width to 140%. Then I used Edit -> Content Aware Scaling to stretch the image. Finally the image was cropped to 5″ X 7″.
- Now add the blender mixer brush layer to smooth the edge between the image and the water effect. (See my Adobe Photoshop CS5′s Mixer Brushes Blog to create a blender mixer brush.)
- Add any final effects you want. In this image, a cross processing effect was added using Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 and a PhotoFrame from OnOne software. I tend to use these two sets of plug-ins the most although I do like Topaz’s effects too.
I personally feel that the Flood Filter from Flaming Pear is a nice plug-in even though it has not been updated since December 2009 when 64-bit for Windows was added. For the $29, I think it would be worth adding to your plug-in library. The trial is good for 30 days meaning you get 30 different days to use the plug-in even if it takes 6 months. Therefore there is no real good reason not to download it and see what you think. Flaming Pear has several other plug-ins I plan on downloading in the next few months. Hope you try this one out!…..Digital Lady Syd
I keep finding cool brushes and started wondering how to make them. Lots of times they are not of the quality or the look I want. In this post I want to go over what can be done with your own images to create really nice paintbrushes and how to save them so you can find them easily. This all began last week when I was catching up on my Photoshop User TV videos – Corey Barker, one of the Photoshop Guys, came up with this really simple way to make a Lens Flare Brush in Episode 259. It was a short tutorial – the blooming oleander tree image below is how it turned out. The text tutorial was by Dave Cross in Photoshop User TV video Episode 258.
The most important thing to know about Photoshop brushes is that they are all created in black and white – anything that is white in the image will not show up in your final brush (it is transparent), all that is black shows up clearly, and anything in gray tones shows up partially.
Creating a Brush Document: Before starting to make a brush, first create a New Document in Photoshop – the all important size issue needs to be addressed here. BittBox, in a great little article called “How to Make a Photoshop Brush” stated that it is best to make your brushes as large as you can and reduce the size later when using the brush. Since CS2, you can make the size as large as 2500 pixels each direction. Therefore, in the New Document dialog, set up the width and height to 2500 pixels at a resolution of 300 (this creates a high resolution brush), Color Mode Grayscale, 8 bit mode, and White background. Save and name this document (Brush) so you can use it again anytime you want to create a new brush. Grayscale is used for a color mode since defining a brush automatically creates it as a grayscale brush.
Here’s how to create a good brush.
- In Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw, open an image that has an object you want to make into a brush. For my example, I will use a cloud from one of my images. Crop to create a rough selection around your object, it does not have to be a square. In my case it will be one of the clouds used in the image below.
- There are many ways to adjust the contrast to create a good brush. I found that by first putting my image into black and white in Lightroom and then adjusting the sliders mainly in the Basic Panel, a lot of definition in the object could be obtained. For the clouds below, the following sliders were used: Blacks at 95, Contrast at +100, and Clarity set to +47. Experiment with all the sliders to get a major contrasty look – you want a really extreme black and white with lots of detail in the object. It does not have to be perfect at this point. (Alternate method: If you want to experiment, do not convert you object to Black and White in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw, but do this in Photoshop using any method you would like – Black and White Adjustment Layer, Image or or Image -> Adjustments -> Desaturate (as used in Corey’s tutorial above) or maybe a plug in like Nik Silver Efex Pro, for example. Just be sure that you either merge any adjustment layers down into just one black and white layer, or do a composite layer (turn off all the layers but the ones you want to composite and highlight the top layer – then CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E to create).
- Open your object in Photoshop to begin the final adjustments.
- Look at your image to see if it needs to be inverted so the details you want to appear in the brush are showing up in black. For my clouds, the image needed to be inverted so the clouds looked black and the background was white – otherwise the clouds would not show up in the brush, only the dark background since only black and gray tones create the brush. To invert the image, just CTRL+I or Image -> Adjustments -> Invert. A Curves or Levels Adjustment Layer may need to be applied if the contrast and detail is somewhat lost with the inversion. Be sure to merge adjustment layer(s) down so there is only one black and white layer, or do a composite layer (turn off all the layers but the ones to be combined, then create composite by highlighting the top layer and CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E). (For my Mountain set, this step did not need to be done – see below to download.)
- Next clean up any extraneous edges you do not want in the brush. I used a soft edged brush and painted white at a fairly low opacity to reduce hard edges around my clouds to get rid of the the distinct sharp lines around the outside of the document. This can be tricky, but if the final brush turns out a little off, just come back to this document and try again. Save your document now so all your work does not accidentally disappear if further adjustments need to be made.
- If a brush document is not already created, make one now (as described in “Creating a Brush Document” section above). Drag your black and white object layer into into your new brush document. Use the Free Transform (CTRL+T) to adjust to fit the document if it is comes in too large. With the Crop Tool cut any extraneous areas not needed in the brush.
- Now in the Brush Document, go to Image -> Define Brush Preset. If the Define Brush Preset is ever grayed out, the brush is larger than the 2500 pixel maximum Photoshop allows. This is why you move it to a new document. I had this happen with Corey’s Photoshop User tutorial referenced above. It has you create the brush in the original document (which I do not recommend doing because of this issue) – it took a while to figure this out.
- It is important to save your new brushes in a set so click on the Open Preset Manager icon (2nd icon from the left) at the bottom of the Brush Presets Panel. In the Preset Type field, be sure Brushes is showing. Now select your new brushes in the table by ALT+clicking on each one to highlight, and click the Save Set button. In Explorer, make sure you are in your Brushes folder in Photoshop to make it easy to keep track of where they are on your computer. (On a PC, it is located at User Name -> AppData -> Roaming -> Adobe -> Adobe Photoshop CS5 ->Presets -> Brushes.) Name the .abr file, in my case SJ-Clouds.abr. I use my initials first so I can find them quickly in the fly out list when I want to choose them later. The brushes can now be loaded anytime by going to the Brushes Preset Panel and clicking on the fly out menu (the little arrow to the left of the Done button) and clicking on the brush set name. If brushes are present that you do not want in your set, you can Alt+Click them to delete the brushes and resave the set. This trick also works in the Brush Presets Panel – just highlight the brush name and ALT+click to delete. I found I had way too many brushes – some I use all the time and some I do not. I created a Favorite Cloud set, for example, by adding all my cloud sets into the Brush Presets Panel, appending each so I had a full list of the cloud brushes. Next eliminate the brushes you do not use much (CTRL+click) and go to the Preset Manager to save as “My Favorite Clouds” set. (Be sure to CTRL+A to select all the brushes so they all appear in the set). Keep the original cloud brush sets in a folder called Extra Brushes so they can still be used by clicking Load Brushes in the Brush Preset Panel’s fly out and navigate to the folder if you need them. This has reduced the size of my brush list considerably.
For the image below, the sky was just a flat clear blue. To get the pretty cloud effect, I used three of the brushes I created using three different images. Two new layers were added and just one dab of each brush was used over the sky area. Then I erased out what I did not want to use and set the layers to Screen blend mode at different opacities to get this effect. I think it is a realistic look. The clouds can be set where you want them for effect. If you would like to see an example of some nice cloud brushes, here is a link to some very beautiful clouds that I also use often called by Clouds by Rubina119 (see my “Adobe Photoshop CS5′s Mixer Brush” blog’s last image). Click link to download my 12 cloud brushes called SJ-Cloud Brush Set.
Text can also used to make a brush and used as a repeated pattern in an image. Using the steps above, but creating a much smaller sized brush, the image below uses text layers repeating the word “daisies.” Each layer used a different size and color to create the receding type effect.
I feel the hard-working people who create so many of the wonderful resources should be given credit for their work. The brushes I did not create but used on this photo include: the bright purple daisy is a beautiful brush from Texturemate and can be downloaded here and one of their grunge brushes was used on a layer to add texture. This site has a lot of very nice resources for your images; and a texture from Caleb Kimbrough‘s set called Color Grunge Texture, texture no. 295, and BittBox‘s Ice and Snow Textures – Ice Texture bluer (I could not find these two textures still available on the internet). BittBox has several other beautiful textures available on their Flickr account. Also, the font is my favorite Fantaisie Artistique that can be downloaded for free from daFont.com.
One of the really cool free programs I came across is called abrMate that allows you to view all the brushes inside a set before adding them to your Photoshop brushes. I use this little program all the time since I like to download interesting brushes. Here is the link under the abrMate download section. If the program comes up with a Brush Reading Issue dialog that says “Issue Reading brush file, file may be protected.”, it is because the brush was saved as a 16 bit file – when the brush is selected in Photoshop’s Brush Presets Panel, it can be used but it shows a 16 in the top right of the brush icon. The size of the thumbnail can be adjusted and the name of the brush can be displayed by clicking on the top menu Settings. Below is an example of what the program looks like when open.
These beautiful free brushes are from Mel’s Easter Eggs set. The reason I am showing these is that this is another great example of how you can create nice brushes by making different parts to fit together. The decoration for the eggs fit exactly over the basic egg brush so different brushes can be stacked to create a very colorful design. See my blog on “The Incredible Editable Easter Egg” from a few weeks ago.
If you are interested, the following all totally free brushes were used in this image: Two of the clouds from my cloud set you can download above, a mountain image brush set contains this mountain in Nevada from a trip last year, the flying bird brush and grasses and plants are great sets from Obsidian Dawn (this site has some beautiful brushes and other resources), 20 people brushes by digitally present, trees from Larrydnjr, waterfall brushes from Midnightstouch and Redheadstock water brushes. To finish off the image, in Nik Color Efex Pro a Custom Bi-Color preset was created using a blue tone on top and brown tone on the bottom to give a late in the day feel, and an OnOne PhotoFrame was added. I was surprised how realistic this image came out! There are some really nice brushes out there.
Well that should wrap it up for this blog this time. It was fun to learn so much about the basic object brush and I feel I can now make better brushes when I need them. I hope you learned some new tips too! See ya next time!….Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Just Plain Fun Brush Effects!
Create a Winter Scene with Photoshop Brushes and Textures
That Flaming Fire Brush!
Brushing up on Circles!
The blog today is about a really fabulous new way to select separate layers in Photoshop and process them individually in ACR by using smart objects – they can then be edited as much as you want. Dr. Russell Brown, an Adobe Photoshop expert, created a script that allows you to do this – it can be downloaded here along with a video and installation instructions. (Try out some of his other tutorials at the download site – they are always excellent!) Below is a simple example of how to use this technique in an image. It was created using two smart object layers – one for enhancing the sky and the other for the rest of the image. A layer mask was applied to the sky layer to mask out all but the sky. An OnOne PhotoFrame was added to finish. Pretty easy if you like using Camera Raw.
In his download video Dr. Brown tells you what preferences need to be set inside Photoshop to make this script run correctly so be sure to look at this short video. I had no trouble getting this to work in Photoshop so it is pretty easy to install. Dr. Brown is a master at scripts! He discusses using this as a great way to process HDR images that are no longer RAW files, but were converted to a TIFF file. The script allows you to go into ACR and use the Fill Light, Luminance, Clarity, Sharpening and Noise Reduction sliders as if the image were a RAW file. Calvin Hollywood helped Russell Brown create this script and has an excellent video called “Edit a Layer in Adobe Camera Raw” on how to use it on portraits and landscapes. One of the reason he likes this technique is that the Orange Luminance and Saturation sliders can be used to enhance skin tones in portraits.
In the tulip image above, a composite layer (that consisted of a few adjustments layers and the image layer-just create a composite on top by CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was brought into ACR by running the script to add the purplish toning. The tutorial followed is called “Enhancing Black and White Images with Photoshop and Lightroom” by Richard Hale at TipSquirrel and is very informative. I was trying out the split toning in Photoshop’s ACR instead of going back into Lightroom and got this result. The original image before tinting can be seen at my Flickr account here. It is felt that you can get more accurate corrections using the sliders in ACR than with many of the tools in Photoshop. Basically, by creating a composite layer after running other filters and adjustments in Photoshop, it is very easy to use this script to add ACR effects .
The final image is an HDR shot of Hana Highway in Maui – even though it was processed originally in Lightroom, the ACR script was very useful. First a Nik Color Efex Pro plug-in cross processing effect was applied to the image (but it could easily have been done in Lightroom) along with a Photoshop Photo Filter Adjustment Layer in an Orange Color at 50% (I wanted to get lessen the intensity of the yellow-green colors). A composite layer was created on top and then Dr. Brown’s ACR Script was run to add Clarity and Sharpening. which is superior to Photoshop’s tools.
The more I think about it, there seem to be many uses for this script – like using the Noise Reduction Tools or Grain Effect on an image (besides just the Sharpening Effect above or the Soft Tint Effect in the tulip image). This is easier than going into Lightroom every time you need to make a quick adjustment. Definitely a great plug-in! Since it is a free download, I would recommend trying it out and see what you think. Thank you Dr. Brown!