Ever since I got my first copy of OnOne PhotoFrames a few years ago, I have not been able to find anything comparable and as easy to use. There are several other Photoshop plug-ins that do have some very nice finishing frame effects, but nothing is as easy to use and so easy to modify to fit the mood of your image. The palm tree photo was actually put into a template type frame (in Photographic category named Instant Film sx70 5×5) of which there are many choices. (The image was processed using Topaz Black & White Effects.)
PhotoFrames 4.6 Professional (see sidebar in my Tidbits Blog for website link) has many different categories in the Library tab but my two favorites are the Grunge frames and the Gurus frames. The next image is an HDR image from downtown Jackson, Mississippi and the gray frame is perfect for this image. (HDR Photo Merge in Photoshop was used to process the HDR and then Topaz Adjust was applied.) The frame is from the Gurus group and is called Dave Cross 13 (Dave Cross is one of the original Photoshop Guys from NAPP and total Photoshop guru). When applied first, it was just a white color, but by sampling the image in different places, you can instantly see how another color would look. In this case, a neutral gray color was selected. When you first open up the plug-in, your image is already added to thumbnails so you can quickly see what it looks like. You can also add the frame and try different options on it (or delete the frame) before you actually apply it to your image. A preset can be created to save down all the frames (more than one can be applied to an image and appear on their own layers in Photoshop) with options you selected.
The vintage effect applied below (using a combination of Topaz Adjust, Topaz Detail, and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2) created the perfect result for an OnOne PhotoFrame. The frame is in the Gurus section and is called Kevin Kubota Bunko (a great photographer known for his Photoshop actions) – layer was set to a 53% opacity. A greenish color was sampled from the trees for the frame color.
When the frame is applied in Photoshop, the PhotoFrame group already has a layer mask where parts of the frame can be painted away if not needed in your image. Below some of the frame was lightly painted out over the flowers in the layer mask – this is a great example of some of the unique effects the frames can give an image – they do not all look exactly like frames. This one is in the Grunge category and is called Acid Burn Controlled 13.
Sometimes you just want a nice simple frame. Below is one called Weather Wood 18 in the Grunge category which adds just a bit of interest without taking away the main focus of the image.
You can download a 30-day free trial at their website (see sidebar in my Tidbits Blog for website link) or while in website go to the Products header -> Free Products and select Edge and Framing Effects where you can download 30 frames to use for free! Give it a try! There are many times I do not use frames on my images – they can sometimes distract from what you want the viewer to focus on. But there are times when a nice frame can really enhance an image, cover up something that is distracting, add a particular feel or emotion to an image. OnOne’s PhotoFrames has so many choices, and so many different options for adjusting the frames, that it makes it very easy to get the results you need. As I said above, I do not even need to look at other plug-ins, this one does exactly what is needed and in a quick and easy way. Definitely one of my favorite plug-ins!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blog:
Hyacinths and OnOne Frames
If you love Photoshop and you don’t follow what Russell Brown is doing, you need to start right now. I do believe a lot of people are Photoshop gurus but Russell Brown is at the top of the stack – partially because he works for Adobe and helps develop all these cool things we love. Well he is back again with one of his great scripts – this time one that creates a panel to add a texture, resize it to fit your image, and set a blend mode for you all within a single click! This is brilliant! Flypaper Textures has graciously supplied us Photoshop folks with 12 absolutely beautiful textures to try out on your photos in the panel, which is what you are seeing in all the images in this post. (For the above image, Paper Texture Touchstone using Overlay blend mode at 73% opacity, Paper Texture Creme Anglaise using Hard Light blend mode at 88% opacity and a layer mask to lightly paint out some of the effect on the flower details, and a Color Fill Adjustment layer using color dcdf91 set to Multiply blend mode at 11% opacity were used to create this look.) See my blog links at bottom for other Russell Brown creations.
Above is an example of a landscape type image that also does well with textures. (All blend modes were set to Overlay and stacked with Paper Texture Creme Anglaise at 63% opacity, then Paper Texture Dawn Grunge set to 56% opacity, and Paper Texture Muscatel set to 45% opacity. Next Topaz Simplify – see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website – plug-in was used to get a more painterly effect.)
This version of the panel does not allow you to add your own textures, but Russell is promising it will soon. UPDATE: See my blog Russell Brown’s Paper Texture Panel Updated! which now allows other texture folders to be used. The link to download the panel, the Flypaper textures, and a short video on how to use this tool is at Russell Brown’s Website Scripts page – look for Texture Panel. Below is what the interface looks like after you load the panel (complete instructions on Russell’s website link above.) In case you cannot see it, the top field is for the blend mode you wish to select.
If you click the Randomizer button at the bottom, it will select two textures and stack them to give some combinations you might not have thought to put together. This panel only works with Photoshop CS5 and CS6 (the screen shot above is from the new beta Photoshop CS6 interface). These textures work well with flowers.
(This image used Paper Texture Creme Anglaise using Color Dodge blend mode at 36% and Paper Texture Apple Blush using Overlay blend mode at 100% opacity with a layer mask and lightly painting out the effect on the leaves.) I changed this same image and used a Hue Saturation Adjustment Layer and Photo Filter Adjustment Layer to get brown and pink tones. Very similar look but different colors – try it!
If you like textures on your images, this is going to be a major time-saver and will let you try some new combinations of textures very quickly. I am already loving this panel. And now Russell has created an update to add in your own textures (see my blog link above). There is plenty here to keep you busy!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Think Pink! Rally for the Cure Pink Rose – Uses Russell Brown’s Painting Assistant Panel
Edit Layers with ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) Script – Russell Brown’s great script that lets you place a layer back into ACR once Photoshop is opened
Adobe Photoshop CS5′s Mixer Brushes – contains link to Russell Brown tutorial called “Clone Painting Basics”
Tips for Flower Textures
Soft-Look Flowers Using Textures
Why I Love OnOne’s Perfect Layers!
I love this Hawaiian image of the wonderful wooden boats that run between the different stopping points along the one mile walkway at the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort. These boats are an absolutely great way to move about – and a great way to meet other people!
I tried a new technique to process all the landscape blog images that was learned from another of Nik’s great webinars! The first example in “Integrating the Complete Collection Workflow to Create the Dynamic Image” by Dan Hughes was used to create all these great effects. It does require that you own both Nik Photoshop plug-ins, Silver Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex Pro 4.
Here is the basic workflow.
1. First adjust the image in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw and bring it into Photoshop – clean up any problem areas and noise.
2. Go into Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 – this image used the High Structure (Harsh) preset, which seems to be a good starting place on most images tried (and Dan Hughes started with this one). Go to the Color Filter section and set the Color and Color Strength slider. Adjust globally the Contrast sliders and Structure sliders. If the clouds look too sharp, which they did in this image, use a (-) Control Point on the clouds to remove some of the effect in this area. Add (+) Control Points in areas you want more Contrast or Fine Structure. The Structure sliders add texture to the image and make it appear very sharp. Exit to Photoshop and change the Layer Blend Mode to Luminosity – this is an important step!
3. Open Nik Color Efex Pro 4. Any of your favorite filters can be selected but the above image and Nik’s example used these two filters stacked: Brilliance/Warmth – use the Perceptual Saturation slider which works like the human eye sees color; and Darken/Lighten Center which acts like a vignette. Exit to Photoshop.
4. Final steps to consider are adding a High Pass filter to sharpen the image further, and adding a Curves Adjustment Layer for additional contrast. Not all images will need these steps, but both were used on the image above using a High Pass Radius set to 8.9 and a Curves Adjustment Point set to -1/2. (See the tip on the image in my Tidbits Blog “I Didn’t Know That! Curves Adjustment Layers.”)
The view of the coastline from one end of the Hilton Waikoloa Resort used the exact same workflow as above. Nik’s Viveza 2 filter was added after the other two plug-ins to even out the saturation in the brown rock wall. This could have been done in Photoshop using a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer with the mask filled to black - use a soft brush set to low opacity to bring in the saturation where you want it.
This is an image of the road up Mauna Kea volcano on the Big Island in Hawaii – it has a bit of a surreal feel but the wild yellow daisies were beautiful and unusual. The same basic workflow was used except that the stacked filters used in Color Efex Pro are the Detail Extractor, the Graduated Neutral Density to darken the top some, and Pro Contrast to make the yellow flowers show up more. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was targeted for just the flowers (using the same technique as on the wall above) to get the correct yellow tone. The original filters from the workflow were tried first, but the results did not look quite right to me so more experimenting had to be done until I came up with the ones used. Don’t get discouraged if you do not like the results with the filters you start with – there is always something in Color Efex Pro that will enhance even the most difficult images.
Image is of Lapakahi State Historical Park on the Big Island in Hawaii, which shows part of a 600 year old village ruins. It was processed using the above workflow and adding Midnight to the bottom of the stack to get a little less of that bright daylight look. Otherwise the same workflow was followed.
The Umauma Falls image is an example of a more difficult image to process. The first iteration used the settings in the workflow – it looked okay but the waterfalls were lost in the all the detail and color in the image. So I went back into Color Efex Pro 4 and started over. This time the following filters were stacked: Detail Extractor; Foliage to make the yellow flowers show up better; Remove Color Cast for the overdone yellow-green feel that is common in nature shots; Midnight – this filter made the image pop and gave it a “later in the day” feel (set to Color Set Blue, Blur slider moved way back to 10%, and the overall opacity of the filter set to 58%); and Vignette Blur using Type 3 to guide the eye through the image – a couple (-) control points were set on the waterfalls so they stayed in focus. After changing the plug-in filters, the whole image took on a totally different look. I think it gives a more unique look to the falls and does not look as much like your typical tourist shot.
QUICK TIPS: When working with Color Efex Pro 4, be sure to experiment with the Shadows and Highlights sliders at the bottom of many of the filters. By moving the sliders even just a little, you can bring out some missing details so be sure to check it out each time. Also, click on the arrow by the Control Points to get to the filter’s overall opacity sliders and try reducing some of the effect. The Midnight filter at 100% looked way overdone on the waterfall image. Press P to toggle between your original and your current look quickly.
If you have these programs, give this easy workflow a try – stacking the different Nik plug-ins can give some great results and takes your work to a higher level. And if you have not listened to some of Nik’s webinars, check them out – they have many great tips by some very knowledgeable people…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
NIK Color Efex Pro 4 – Digital Lady Syd’s Review!
Pseudo HDR Using NIK Color Efex Pro 4
NIK’s Champion Plug-in – Silver Efex Pro 2
Black and White Photo or Not? Give It a Try on That Difficult Image
Using NIK’s Color Efex Pro 4 and Viveza Together
Today I decided to do something different. I have spent a lot of time processing photos from the Hilton Waikoloa Village, especially from the Palace Tower where the above mirror-reflected fountain was located in an open air atrium in the middle of the hotel complex. It has been a challenge to find out any information on the art. Apparently the hotel was developed by the Hyatt and opened on 9/9/88 as the Hyatt Regency Waikoloa before the Hilton bought it in 1993. The developer put over $7 million dollars into the 1600+ art objects that is literally scattered about the the huge 62 acre complex, and I am not sure Hilton has done anything to change what was already preset. A display states “The art collection consists of works from Asian, Western, and Oceanic cultures – the cultures that, through the years, have come to define Hawaii’s cultural heritage.” Pieces were bought on trips to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Burma and Indonesia. That is all that is available on the art unless a description was placed near the object and very few objects have placards.
Since I love art and had the opportunity to go stay at this complex recently, I thought I would show some of the art pieces in the Palace Tower area. Not all of the objects are the best art in the facility, but it is a good representation of their stated goal above and is rather magnificent in its own right. With that in mind, here we go. The image above is from the corner where the elevators are located – I tried to capture a feel for all the items located in such a small area – and there is some strange lady taking a picture of it all! The hard to see black object in the center is of two spaniel dogs. The two framed images are Luigi Rossini etchings from 1823 of Italy (see top image on website for the right one). There was one more in another part of the entryway.
The fountain is quite a spectacular centerpiece and appears to be very old. The tired looking older men (or half fish/half men) are holding up what I believe are tired looking putti, who are holding up a woman that is releasing a dove – and then there are four offshoots from the fountain of slightly mythological-looking men and women, happy putti blowing trumpets (water was supposed to be coming out of the trumpets but most were not working), and fish and geese with interesting expressions that seem to be pets, all in sculpture. An 18-image 1:21 minute slideshow created in Adobe Lightroom is above. The sculptures were not cleaned up and some were in better shape than others, in fact this fountain is not in the best shape and much of it is not in good working condition. Still, it is not something you walk right by without noticing when entering the hotel. And it is really striking at night (last slideshow image)!
This simple wall art added a nice touch to the whole cultural flavor in the atrium area.
There were four of these huge, roughly 10-foot tall wood Chinese cabinets all with large porcelain jars in the center; carved wood at the top and bottom; and painted flowers on the sides, bottoms, and front. Several different warrior-like dolls were placed in the glassed paned shelves. I have never seen anything quite like these. The cabinets were really difficult to photograph due to the shiny glass panes, the mirror reflections from the entryway that were shooting light everywhere, and no tripod. I hope you can at least get a feel for how incredible they looked.
Another one of the beautiful colorful objects that was sitting around near the entrance to the Palace Tower. Very hard to ignore, especially if you like art.
I plan contacting the Hilton Waikoloa Village and see if there is more information on their art. It would be a shame if all the knowledge on the beautiful pieces becomes lost. I will be posting some more of the resort’s art as time goes on – this was just a starting point. In the meantime I hope you enjoyed this short blog…..Digital Lady Syd
How these images were processed (since this is a Photoshop blog after all!).
Palace Tower Image: Used Nik Color Efex Pro 4 using Detail Extractor, Pro Contrast, and Contrast Color Range filters to bring out all the great details (see My Go-To Recipe for Bringing Out Details with Ellen Anon). Nik’s Viveza 2 was also used to desaturate some of the distracting light in the background.
Slideshow images: Most images were processed as three bracketed HDR photos in Nik HDR Efex Pro using the Realistic (Strong) preset and then adding control points unique to each image. Next Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was applied using this set of filters in a recipe: Darken/Lighten Center, Detail Extractor setting slider to no more than 19, and a slight Vignette Blur. They were then added into the Slideshow module in Adobe Lightroom 4.
Wall Art: Topaz Adjust Crisp preset was used and OnOne’s PhotoFrame acid burn controlled 4.
Chinese Cabinet: Each image was processed with Nik’s Viveza. I used my my Tidbits Blog “Five Image Template Creates Beautiful Collection!” to create the photo grouping. The actual cabinet image was slightly out of focus so Topaz InFocus plug-in was applied before Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 and Viveza 2. Still not loving the result, but the image was salvaged somewhat. There was a lot of glare on several of the images which could not be completely removed with Viveza, but it did a fairly decent job.
Elephant: Topaz Adjust crisp preset and that is all.
A while back I listened to a really good webinar at the Nik site called “Incorporating Nik Software into your Daily Workflow with Don Smith.” (See my blog “Digital Landscape Effects with Nik Software.”) Don Smith runs a great website called Nature’s Best by Don Smith Photography. In his excellent workflow, that is discussed in my earlier blog, he talked about using Nik’s Viveza 2 plug-in, a powerful plug-in to selectively control color and light in your photographs. I have owned Viveza since it first came out and never used it that much since I thought it was like Adobe Camera Raw. I only used the plug-in after I had processed an image in Lightroom (or ACR) and could not get back to make adjustments*.
This image was taken on the road up to the incredible Waipi’o Valley – it represents how the Big Island of Hawaii felt and looked to me while I was there. It was very windy and I had to really work hard to get a good HDR shot since the tree leaves and waves were moving so much. The final result was processed with PhotoMatix Pro 4. (It gave a great result since it lets you pinpoint exactly where the problem areas will be.) The tone-mapped image was processed in Photoshop and the first thing done was to use Dr. Brown’s Edit Layers with ACR script to get rid of noise in the sky and blue water. Noise and clean up corrections need to be done first before applying the beautiful color and light effects that the Viveza plug-in adds. Next a composite layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) of the image was created and converted into a Smart Object, and then opened up in Viveza 2. Here is what my dialog box looked like before applying and after applying Viveza.
The top window shows how the image looked as it was brought into Photoshop at this point. The settings indicate what settings were used on the blue sky area but is not turned on in the view screen. The second image shows how the image looked once all five control points were turned on and gives a much closer look to the final. These settings show what ones were used where the dot is placed. The circle indicates where these settings will be applied and they can be applied by pulling out the lines on the image or adjusting the sliders on the right. You can set the control point circle size by just dragging out the bottom bar to fit. The really nice thing is that the changes you are doing will not affect colors that are not in its range where the point is set. If a slight change does occur, just set a control point in that area and do not make any changes – that part goes back to the original state. To finish the image a Curves Adjustment Layer was created to emphasize the grassy area and the sky. The masks were filled with black and the areas to emphasize were painted back in the mask using a very low opacity brush and building up the effect.
The important thing to understand is the the real power of this plug-in is not in the global adjustments you can make when you first open it up (which appear to be similar to ACR); it is with the use of the control points on the image that make this plug-in incredible! If you have just one area that is not sharp enough, just add a control point to that area and move the Structure (great little slider!) and maybe the Contrast or Brightness sliders to blend the area into the rest of the image. The Warmth slider is great also. If you want to warm up the image just a bit, as done above in the foreground area, it can really give a lovely lighted glow. To cool down are area, just move the slider a little bit to the left. Move the Structure slider to the left to make a background area smooth out in a blur so it practically disappears. The more you work with this little plug-in, the more handy it is. I am not sure I could process an image without it now – although I am still using Lightroom’s Develop module as my first step. Most people apply Viveza after using the other plug-ins like Nik’s Color Efex Pro, OnOne Perfect Effects 3, or Topaz Adjust or Black and White Effects. In this photo, Viveza was the only plug-in applied.
Another webinar I listened to at the Nik site was called “Mastering Macro Images with Nik Software & Photoshop Elements, Presented by Mike Moats” who also uses the basic workflow like Don Smith, but applies it to the macro world. If you like macro photography, check out his Tiny Landscapes blog for some great information. He uses Nik Color Efex 4 first and then Viveza to finish up his photos. On this image, I used a recipe created by Matt Kloskowski of Lightroom Killer Tips fame in Nik Color Efex 4 and then added a Lens Blur to soften the bottom left edge and background. In Viveza I used 7 control points for color adjustment. Mike Moats does a great job in this webinar showing you how to apply the control points so you get the best results. If you have this plug-in, even if you do not do macro photography, this video should be viewed.
The Dome is in the Main Building of Flagler College, aka. Ponce de Leon Hotel circa 1887 (79 Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows line the dining room in this building). Viveza was used with 14 control points to bring out the detail since the lighting was so uneven. It was also processed using OnOne Perfect Effects 3 (see the sidebar in my Tidbits blog for website) where a Glow Effect was added using the Effect Options (Effect-Glow; Type-Surface; Strength-70; Halo-68; Threshold-60; and Mode-Softlight.) to bring out the rich brown wood feel.
I hope you can see how the colors and lighting are fabulous when this plug-in is applied to an image, and it also works with all kinds of other plug-ins. Take the time to download Viveza 2 and see if you like the results. Check out some of my short blogs listed below for more examples of what this plug-in can do. I believe that after having used this plug-in for several months now, if I could only have just one plug-in, it would probably be this one. It does more to improve my photos than any other plug-in I have used…..Digital Lady Syd
* Now that has changed since Dr. Brown has come up with his script to let you open a layer into ACR once inside Photoshop – see my blog “Edit Layers with ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) Script” which, among other things, lets you get into ACR’s Noise Reduction sliders to fix your image.
Digital Lady Syd’s Related Blogs:
Topaz Star Effects on a Wildflower?
The Macro Shot
Another Pseudo HDR from Me!
Combining Plug-ins for More Image Interest
OnOne’s Perfect Mask Works Great!
Problems for Big Ben
Daisies are Everywhere!