This week I want to cover a very simple thing – creating a signature block for your images, but more importantly, how to make it show up without being over-powered by the image. The image above is of one of the wood boats at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island in Hawaii – one of the most relaxing things you can do at the hotel, especially at night when the stars are out! Anyway, I did not want to place my signature block in the right corner as I felt it would have ruined the effect I was looking for. Instead it was placed in the left corner, but had to be brought out a little to see.
Creating the Signature Block
A few months ago I went to my local photo club meeting where one of the members showed everyone how to make a nice signature effect for your images. I decided to upgrade my basic copyright symbol and name (last line of my signature brush) that I have used for years to create the one above. To do this, these are the very basic steps – probably a review for most of you – but worth the time to do.
1. Open up a New Document in Photoshop. I used a 10 x 8 inch document with 240 dpi. I believe you can make this much smaller, but this worked for me.
2. Select Text Tool and create your line of text. Since I wanted to create an overlapping text design, three text layers were created, each using the same font and sizes. The font I used was Easy Street Alt ESP. The first letter was set to 100 pt. and the smaller ones to 40 pt. I wanted to space the lettering so they would overlap evenly, so the letters were adjusted using a few of these tricks:
- Highlight two characters in text line and press ALT + -> key to increase the space between them
- Highlight two characters in text line and press ALT + <- key to decrease the space between them
- To change word spread, highlight the text and ALT + right or left arrow keys like above
A fourth line of text was created using the Dom Casual BT font and the last line that is my copyright line uses Freehand 575 BT font. See my Adding Copyright Information to Your Image blog to add a copyright symbol to brush. The Move Tool was used to line up the different layers of text to create the one used above. And you are not limited to using just one brush for your photos or using only text layers for your signature. You can write on the layer with the Brush or Pencil Tool to get an authentic signature in your brush.
3. Flatten the image by going to the fly-out menu in the upper right corner of the Layer Panel.
4. Go to Edit -> Define Brush Preset and voila! you have your custom brush listed at the end of your Brush Presets Panel. If it is too large, you can either Free Transform (CTRL+T) it and recreate it at a smaller size. Also, you can just save it as a Tool Preset. To do this, in Options Bar set the correct size for brush and go to the far left brush icon and click – press the little bottom icon on right that Creates a New Tool Preset. Now anytime you select the Brush Tool, you can click on the icon and it will always be listed with that size setting. I keep it as a Tool Preset since I use it on almost every image.
Adding Layer Style to Make Name Brush Stand Out
Now that you have a preset of your photography brush set up, you need to make it so that the brush does not get lost in the photo. The image above is one I actually created in Photoshop. You can see the signature block would have not shown up well if I had not added something to smooth out the area behind the lettering. This is how I do this.
To create the Layer Style, add a New Layer to an image, select your signature brush and apply one once. Then open the Layer Style by double-clicking on the layer in the Layers Panel. Click on the words “Outer Glow” in the left-hand list. Change only these settings – Blend Mode: Normal, Opacity 34%, Spread 15%, and Size 20 px. Click on New Style button and name and save – mine is SJ Sig Out Glow.
To apply the Layer Style to your signature layer, do this:
1. Create a New Layer and add your signature brush to the layer in the color you would like it to appear.
2. Double-click on the layer to open up the Layer Style dialog and click on Styles in the upper left-hand list – your new layer style should be listed at the bottom. Click on it to apply and click on the checked Outer Glow words in the left-hand list.
Or open up the Layer Style Panel and at the bottom will be the new style – click on it to apply. Then double-click on the Outer Glow line attched under the layer to open up this section.
3. First click on the color swatch and sample in your image to a color that will make your signature show up. In the case above, the bluish-gray tone was chosen. Now adjust the opacity, spread and size to make it as noticeable as you want. Sometimes it takes a couple different colors to get it to blend in correctly, but it does a very nice subtle job of enhancing your signature. The Opacity was set to 89%, Spread 18% and Size 35 px on the image above. Note that in this image it says Painted By in the signature block – a new brush was created for my images created from scratch.
For the top image, a light pink tone was added at 72% opacity, Spread 41%, and Size 65 px – different settings than on the bottom image. I know this seems really basic, but it is an important part of every image. You do not want the signature to be overwhelming but you do want it to be noticeable. Hope you can use these tips to create a very nice signature block on your images…..Digital Lady Syd
Decided to take the next couple of weeks off from this blog to catch up on some new Photoshop techniques. I will be posting on my Tidbits Blog – just taking a break from my longer blog posts. The above image (which I took with my cell phone in the local grocery store – they have great lighting in groceries) is an example of what I am learning in Melissa Gallo’s Painting With Photoshop videos – if you are interested in painting with Photoshop, I highly recommend these videos. I believe they are the best I have seen from anyone on teaching painting in Photoshop including creating your own mixer brushes and textures. Melissa has a wonderful way of teaching and I am learning a lot from her videos. On this image several of Fay Sirkis’s Signature Mixer Brushes were used since I am really familiar with them. And I still have a goal of learning Corel Painter this year, which I hope to get back to this week.
Also giving a heads up that CreativeLive will be starting another Photoshop Week and you can watch it for free the week of February 24th thru 28th on two different channels. They did this last year and I learned so much – this year they have some great presenters including several Adobe gurus – Julieanne Kost, Russell Brown and Bryan O’Neill Hughes, and my favorites Dave Cross and Jack Davis, among many others. Definitely try to catch some of these shows as they are one of the best ways to learn Photoshop.
In the meantime, since I have not taken a week off in three years, I will catch ya in March. Keep having fun in Photoshop!…..Digital Lady Syd
This week I have been reading a book, The Way of the Digital Photographer, from one of my favorite photographers and Photoshop people, Harold Davis. As always, I love reading his books because they are not over-complicated, but have a fresh approach to post-processing your images. The above is the first time I have used his LAB inversion technique and I really liked the results. Harold has a nice website article called Using LAB Color Adjustments that goes into a lot more details on how to get this effect and even more creative results than what is shown in this blog. He has a great tutorial in one of his older books called The Photoshop Darkroom if you really want to understand it. The bottom line is that by switching LAB mode and inverting the LAB Channel at the top of the Channels panel, all color values in the image will be swapped with their opposites, and Harold says it can create electric blues. With just the L (Lightness) channel selected, the grayscale information is reversed so that the black becomes white and white becomes black – this is great when the image is on a white background and you want it on black as shown above. With the “a” channel inverted, the magenta pixels become green pixels and the green become magenta. Same with the “b” channel when it is inverted – blue pixels become yellow and yellow pixels become blue. Once this is done, he likes to adjust the blend modes and layer opacities for more effects and to use layer masks to apply some of the results to localized areas of the image. Pretty creative process here!
The above image is of a little tiny wild flower plant growing on my porch – just hanging in there. I had to lie down flat to get the picture since the plant is no more than 2 inches tall with a white cardboard background set behind it. The original image from Lightroom is shown at the bottom of the blog so you can get a feel for how this technique can really change up an image.
After the doing the basic Lightroom adjustments which included sharpening the main flowers, the image was brought into Photoshop where the image was changed to LAB mode first. To do this, go to Image -> Mode -> LAB. This needs to be done on a flattened layer since the LAB mode does not read all Photoshop layers info like masks and adjustment layers correctly. Therefore you may want to duplicate your image at this point and use it in LAB mode. Once in LAB mode, duplicate your layer (CTRL+J). Go to the Channels panel where you can now invert the whole LAB image, or the individual channels, especially the L channel where only the luminance info resides. Just do a CTRL+I if using all the layers, or highlight the individual channel and with all the eyeballs on, CTRL+I to invert just the one channel. For the above just the L layer was inverted, but I tried them all. Very interesting results with each. Instantly this beautiful black background showed up with the soft colors in the background objects. At this point you can try localizing the effect with a layer mask, or changing the blend mode of the inverted layer. The image now needs to be flattened again so that the colors do not change when converted back to RGB. Go back to Image -> Mode -> RGB to continue the processing. The steps are listed more clearly further down in the blog. In this image a little more sharpening was done and Melissa Gallo’s Painted Textures Taupe Canvas was applied.
Above is another example of what a LAB inversion effect does to the L channel. This image was a lot of fun to do, but it did take a lot clean up – I basically wanted the colors to stand on there own – an image of mixers at Margaritaville in Orlando just happened to have the elements I wanted to show. The original image I posted on my Mixers for Margaritas! Tidbits Blog. (Here are the details on what was done to get the above image using the image from the blog: This blogimage was flattened. The layer was taken into LAB mode where the layer was duplicated, then in Channels panel, the L channel was inverted. Back in Layers panel the blend mode was changed to Linear Burn, then flattened before returning to RGB color mode. The layer was duplicated and taken into Topaz Simplify 4 where only black lines were applied – only Edges section is used. Once out of Simplify, went to Select -> Color Range where the Highlights were selected with Fuzz 1, Range 255, and Inverted checked. A layer mask was added and the selection applies. To get a little more black line emphasis, PS Ink Outline filter was applied using Harold Davis settings of 11/5/19. The Color Range line layer was set to 59% and the original Simplify layer was deleted. Some clean up was done to finish up.)>
This image of the Incredible Hulk Coaster (to see a video from the front seat of the ride, click here) at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, is a good example of what an image will look like with the “a” channel inverted in LAB Mode along with the L Channel. In this case the L channel caused the background to turn to a nice dark color since it was originally light, and the “a” Channel conversion caused the roller coaster to become a red-orange color from the original green-yellow. To help you follow along, here are the LAB steps that are basically the same for each image:
1. Opened image in LAB by going to Image -> Mode -> LAB.
2. Duplicated layer and highlight it.
3. Go to Channels Panel and select “a” channel – invert (CTRL+I) the channel.
4. Highlight the L Channel and invert it also.
5. Click LAB Channel eyeball so all channels are turned on.
5. In Layers Panel, changed blend mode to Linear Light. (Could add a black layer mask at point and add only parts of the effect into the image.)
6. Go to Image -> Mode -> RGB and choose Flatten Image.
Pretty dramatic change but I like the results. To make the reds and blues really vibrant, just before converting back to RGB Mode, the LAB layer with the inverted channel changes was changed to a Linear Light blend mode. Then, once back in Photoshop, the layer was duplicated and set to Multiply blend mode at 52% layer opacity just to make it more vivid. The Lightroom original for this image is shown below.
As you can see, this LAB conversion technique does have some possibilities. It tends to give a graphic feel to your image. It can pick up a little noise and I had to run Topaz DeNoise 5 at an overall setting of .39 to the coaster image – then added a black mask and painted in areas that looked too noisy – surprisingly it was not the dark background (since it came from a light sky) but the reds and blues. This LAB Inversion effect is definitely something to remember when you want to do something very different to an image – pretty easy technique to follow and some really interesting results can be obtained. Hope you will give it a try!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Unsharp Mask Filter In LAB Mode
Since I have been under the weather this week, I decided to do a short post the Adobe Photoshop CC Manual – a whole 1061 PDF pages that can be downloaded. Here is the link to the file called the Adobe Photoshop Help and Tutorials. The PDF link for Photoshop CS6 is Adobe Photoshop Help and Tutorials. There is even information on the latest update and how to use the new tools. I have used this reference quite often when I cannot figure something out. I have also included the website link for Help documents for Creative Suite including Photoshop CS5, CS5.1, CS5.5, and CS6 applications (PDF and HTML) for all their associated programs. There is also a link to a PDF reference file on Photoshop CC and CS6 Adobe Bridge, Mini Bridge and Camera Raw specifically. And for Lightroom users, here is the download link to their Adobe Lightroom 5 Help and Tutorials. Here is a link for the Adobe Help Page which includes the update links and videos – nice easy way to find it if you need it quick!
I also just noticed a couple of little things the January 14, 2014 update did that will be really helpful (not to mention the big things like the new Perspective Warp, 3D enhancements, or the scripted Pattern Fills item that I discussed last week – see How to Create a Scripted Pattern Fill Border.) They are:
1. A single click on the lock icon (at far right on Background Layer) unlocks the layer. How handy!
2. You can now see recent swatches in the Swatches Panel. Yeah! This is too cool – open up your Swatch Panel and across the top the last 20 colors you used are shown – just click on the color and you can get the same one you were using before.
3. Layer names can now be as long as 255 characters. Another great thing since I personally love to put notes on the layer name to let me know what I did on that layer – it can get rather long if I list filter settings.
4. Improved selection of shapes using the Direct Selection Tool. Don’t use this much, but it is nice to know they have improved it.
5. Color Replacement Tool now has a Clear All button in Options Bar – not one I use a lot, but could be handy.
Hope you will find a use for these PDF’s. Check out some reading and also my related blog link below for a short tutorial on text!…..Digital Lady Syd
Here is a quick explanation of how I created this image: Created New Document and then added a Color Fill Adjustment Layer and used the a sampled light blue color from the Photoshop logo. Created the Photoshop text using Cosmi Script 40 that I have had for ages and added a layer style I created following a tutorial called Elegant Glass-Gorgeous Text Effect. Next I used a different font called Freshman – added my Thin Double Edge Frame Layer Style and used dark blue and light blue for colors. Caleb Kimbrough from Lost & Taken’s Summer 4 texture was applied placing it above the Color Fill Adjustment Layer and setting the layer to Overlay at 100% opacity. On a New Layer above it, using my SJ Cloud 5 brush enlarged to fit, a darkish blue color was brushed once to look nice – the layer was then set to 39% opacity. The CC text layer was rasterized (right click and choose Rasterize) and then Free Transformed (CTRL+T) to make larger – a layer mask was applied and the center of the letters was lightly painted out to show the water inside. A New Layer was created and some white water looking waves were painted in along the bottom edge of the type to make it look like it was floating. This layer was set to 56% opacity. My free SJ Soft Sparkle Two Tone Overlay Frame was placed on top and a white Solid Color Fill Layer was clipped to it to get the pretty edge effect.
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Add Images to Text
It’s been a while since I have done a Photoshop tip but this week I ran across one I had to share. With Photoshop CC’s update to 14.2, the Scripted Patterns were part of it. Not something I had dealt with before, but sure enough, there is a pretty nifty upgrade to this feature that makes it now worth using. Andy Anderson has a nice short video called Photoshop CC: Scripted Patterns and Fills on many of the pattern fill new options. The feature is hidden in the Edit -> Fill screen with Contents Use: Pattern selected and Scripted Patterns checked. (To get this to work on a separate layer like Andy did, be sure to uncheck Preserve Layer Transparency.) The image above demonstrates one of the Picture Frame borders that can now be applied really easily. First I will start with the easier border below.
So how is this done? For the cute Seuss Landing Trolley Train Ride at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, the image was first opened in Lightroom where the normal RAW work was done, then in Photoshop the image was taken into OnOne (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Perfect Effects 8 where the HDR Adjustment Brush was used to paint over the area in the back of the image – I was totally impressed how it sharpened up the trolley and lines in the background! A Detail Adjustment Brush was used on the eyes and hands of the characters – it did not need much work. A New Layer was added on top and then from the Menu Bar, Edit -> Fill was selected. Many times Content Aware is in the Use field, so to select Pattern is unusual – but change the Use to Pattern, uncheck Preserve Transparency, and check Scripted Patterns. See screenshot below:
In the Script drop-down box, there are now three new choices: Picture Frame, Place Along Path, and Trees. If you select Picture Frame, it does not matter which Custom Pattern shows in the little icon in the dialog box. When you click OK – this huge pop-out dialog now appears as shown below:
You can see above many of the choices you have for making borders – my image used number 38 – Crisscross Double Line Box – there are currently 42 canned choices. Some of the options for creating the frame borders are shown in the screenshot below:
The settings shown are the ones I used for my basic frame, which I actually really liked. Some of the borders are a little clip-arty looking, but with so many settings to change, an interesting border can be created as shown in the red carnation image. This image took forever to figure out exactly what settings it needed – lots of trial and error, which is a bit of a drawback to this feature since it cannot be used as a Smart Object. If you do not like the way the border applied, you have to CTRL+Z (undo) and go back into Pattern Fill to change it and reapply. The good news is that you can actually save the frame and its settings as a preset to use again once you do discover a good combination. Here is a screenshot of the Flower choices for some of the frames.
I am supplying the settings used in case you need a bit of a starting point – as I said before, a little trial-and-error is required. (Frame: 9 Wisp, Vine Color R145/G147/ B45, Margin 5, Size 9, Thickness 11, Angle 0, Arrangement 1, Flower 19 Heart, Flower Color 200/180/167, and Flower Size 57) Since the frame is on its own layer, it can be free transformed and sized or warped or distorted easily. Also blend modes and Layer Styles can be added to the image to get a little different effect, which is what was done on the this image. Bevel & Emboss (Style Inner Bevel, Technique Chisel Hard, Depth 72, Direction Up, Size 16, and Soften 0 and Texture checked); Stroke (Size 3, Position Outside, Blend Mode Normal, Opacity 82; Fill Type Color; and Color Medium Gray); and Outer Glow (Blend Mode Normal, Opacity 100%, Noise 0, Color Gold sampled from image, Technique Softer, Spread 22%, Size 51%, and Contour – one that goes up in the center – not sure where I got it) effects were added on this layer. Since the border still had a bit of a clip-art feel, the layer was set to 65% opacity to soften the the overall effect. I think this type of frame would look good on cards or invitations. This image used a texture I painted in Corel Painter using Skip Allen’s Buttery Oils Fine Bristles Smooth brush in soft yellows and coral tones. Flowers were painted in Photoshop using Fay Sirkis Mixer Brushes. Fay is both a Corel Painter Master and a Photoshop painting guru – if you were a NAPP member, and now are a Kelby One member, her fabulous painting brushes are all downloadable for free from her webinars and videos posted on-line at the site. Font is Quilted Butterfly. (This font does require a $2 donation to use.)
This tinted dahlia is just another quick example of this technique. This time Frame 36: Line Box was added with a Vine Color of white, Margin 7 and Thickness 50. Once applied, a Gradient Fill Layer was clipped (ALT+click between the layers) to the border layer and Wow Gradient 41 (from Jack Davis’ Photoshop 7 One-Click Wow Presets book CD) was applied. Back on the frame layer a Bevel & Emboss layer style was added. On a layer mask, the border was painted out so some of the petals popped out.
Well I hope you get a chance to experiment with this little effect. The scripted trees also look like fun to experiment with – just did not have time to try them yet. The great thing is that this feature is part of Photoshop and is not a plug-in – pretty cool!…..Digital Lady Syd
This week I decided to mention a few things I personally like and don’t like about Corel Painter at this stage of my learning process, and basically, what I think it does better and worse than Photoshop. I have been starting to dive down into some of the more hidden features of Painter. (PRO) We all know the brushes are definitely better – there are so many ways you can change a brush in Painter. I have not even begun to explore how to use them properly, much less figure out what can be changed to get certain effects. I find I am going into Photoshop a lot to clean up parts of the painting. I understand Photoshop’s brush panel and I know which brushes to use for the final tweaking. So that is where I am at this week with my New Years Resolution.
The above image is a good example of how I can get to a certain point in Painter, but then end up in Photoshop. For one thing, I usually do some basic processing in Lightroom – then I have to take the Camera Raw image into Photoshop if for no other reason than to change it to an 8-bit image since (CON) Painter will not open up a 16-bit image. Then I save down the image and usually designate it for use in Painter in the rename.
Now the image is opened in Painter. Not sure what I would do without Corel Master Skip Allen‘s wonderful videos on YouTube and his website – there is so much information there if you need help. This time I followed his video called Advance Auto-Painting with Watercolor, which selectively applies effects using channel selections in this technique. I never thought I could do watercolor images, but he explains it so well that I may actually get comfortable with this artistic medium. After following this video tutorial, the gerbera image actually looked pretty good, but I decided to add some contrast in Photoshop. I really like the Curves Adjustment Layer and this does not seem as easy to do in Painter. (CON) Painter does have an Effects menu with various items listed that appear to be similar to Photoshop’s layer adjustments, but many of them have very different results when applied. They cannot be applied as easily as Photoshop’s Adjustment Layers. Therefore, I find myself going back into Photoshop to control the contrast that I am used to. (PRO & CON) This does not mean that Painter does not give some interesting results when manipulating, for example the Effects -> Tonal Contrast -> Color Correction which has a Curves option in the drop down under the curve, but it definitely gives different results than in Photoshop. I also added a Photoshop Selective Color Adjustment Layer where the Reds, Greens, Cyans, Magentas, and Neutrals were adjusted. Adjust Selected Colors in Painter seems similar – check out Skip’s Beyond Painting videos to learn about how this is different. On another layer WOW BT Watercolor Small brush was used to clean up edges and fill in – I am finding it is very handy for adding in some color to a missed place or smoothing out an ugly edge. This brush is in Davis One-Click Wow Preset Mini Sampler of brushes from Jack Davis, who allows you to download it from his Facebook page Freebies or directly by clicking here if you do not have Facebook. (He has lots of other goodies on his Facebook page so check it all out.) Added a watercolor frame created using my SJ WC Salt Brush at 60 pixels on a New Layer. The last step involved going into Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) ReStyle to check for a little better color combination. This time I got one (started with Butterfly Wings preset and set ReStyle Panel Opacity to 78%; Color Blend Mode; Color Style Hue to Fourth -0.62 and Fifth -0.33; Sat – no changes; Lum Primary -0.27, Third 0.52, Fourth -0.45, and Fifth 0.83; Texture Strength 1.00; Basic Panel Opacity 28%; Multiply Blend Mode; Color Temperature 0.56; No Tone changes; and Structure Detail -1.00 and Sharpness 0.44. Named preset SJ Very Soft Watercolor). Plug-ins can actually be added into Corel Painter – ReStyle is one of them – but I am just more comfortable adding them in using Photoshop. (CON) In Painter to create a stamped layer on top so the plug-in effects can be applied requires going through a lot of steps – another disadvantage.
******This yellow rose, a free image from stock.xchng y MEJones, was used to begin my painting. Skip’s Beyond Painting Tutorial videos were followed on this image. (PRO) Painter’s Stroke Attributes feature is really interesting and helped to get the effect in the rose petals especially. Skip talks about how to use this with Painter brushes – it is very similar to changing the Mode in the Options Bar in Photoshop. Now here is the big question – how often have you done this in Photoshop? Probably every so often when using the Burn Tool to adjust bright spots, but usually not to paint on an image. Most Photoshop gurus say don’t mess with this since it is easy to forget that you have changed the Blend Mode since it is a “sticky” setting and will mess up a different image when using the Brush Tool again. It is recommended to change the Blend Mode in the Layer Panel instead. The Stroke Attributes actually is a really nice feature in Painter and seems to be better than its Photoshop counterpart. For me the biggest problem seems to be that Stroke Attributes do not work on all brushes, only some and I do not understand how to tell when it will work. This appears to be another “quirk” Painter has and it takes some sorting through the brushes to figure out which ones work best. By watching the videos, you can learn a few of the brushes that do work with this feature.
(PRO) Painter also has a couple of extra Photoshop “blend modes” or what they call Composite Methods. One is Gel which acts like a transparent area or gel overlaid on top of your layer, and another is Colorize which affects just the color in an image. If layer is set to Gel and you want to take it into Photoshop, change the method to Multiply so it will copy since there is no Gel blend mode in Photoshop. Colorize comes into Photoshop as Color and looks bad – change to Lighten blend mode. The reason I bring up this information is that if you find brushes they works with, it can create some really nice effects on your images. You can switch between Composite Methods for your layers depending upon whether you want to darken an outline in the image, or add some really bright strokes in another part to smooth out or fill out an outline. Sample the color by ALT clicking on color in image (just like Photoshop) and painting. (CON) A layer mask can be added, just like in Photoshop, but not all brushes work on layer masks, unlike Photoshop. Need to watch Skip’s videos to get a handle on this, but the good news is that he does supply you with a pretty decent brush to use on a layer mask. The original background, splashes of color, and flower coloring were all done in Painter, and then I brought the image into Photoshop. On a New Layer, Jack Davis WOW Watercolor Small brush was used again to clean up some of my mistakes. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added to increase contrast just a little. Next a different plug-in, Nik Analog Efex Pro, was added to get the vintage feel – the Nik plug-ins will also work with Painter. Lots of filter effects were used on the image, but not Film Type which can change the color of an image and I did not want that.
Skip says he actually prefers doing the things I am doing in Photoshop in Painter because he learned that program first and understands it better. I totally get that – I am not sure I will be able to do everything in Painter as well as he does. I seem to need my crutch using Photoshop. I hope Adobe is working on making the brush engine better in Photoshop so that many of the Painter brush effects can be achieved. The Mixer Brushes were a great start, but they do not have many ways to manipulate them or the range of strokes effects like Painter. When I look at my work in Painter, it does seem to be more realistic like I would expect a painting to be. So this is where I am at – a few steps forward but still a lot of things to learn. I hope I have not confused everyone, but I believe that if this program can be “tamed,” it will reap great benefits toward creating a unique style for anyone that wants a creative look in their images – but I will always love Photoshop!…..Digital Lady Syd
Even though I have been spending a lot of my time recently trying to learn some of the “bells and whistles” of Corel Painter, I find I still enjoy going back into Photoshop and using brushes I am more familiar with using. This is where I started learning painting techniques and I believe it is a good place for others to start. Painter has a lot to offer, but you have to get used to using brushes in either program to create beautiful images – for me Photoshop was the place to begin. And selecting flower images was a nice easy place to get the feel of a brush or to experiment with new settings. That is what was done in this case above with the Alstroemeria flower that was shot a while back.
1. First a texture was dragged into and re-sized to fit an image from Bridge, but you can right click and choose Place -> In Photoshop. If you open the texture in Photoshop and then move it into the image, you lose the texture name in the Layer Panel which I find useful to have. I guess you can tell it is Melissa Gallo’s Painted Textures Christmas Present Texture that she graciously gave away for the holidays. Can’t say enough good things about her textures! If you want to learn a lot more on this effect from a real expert, she offers classes on this type of painting at her site . This texture was left at Normal blend mode and 100% layer opacity.
2. Next a layer mask was added to the texture and the flower was painted out partially with black to hide some of the petal edges using my Chalk Brush set to 30% opacity. This was an easy brush to create and a good example of one I just started using and liked the results – in this case just used Photoshop’s Chalk Brush 60 with the Shape Dynamics turned on and Angle Jitter set to 19% in the Brush Panel. The jitter creates a little different angle for each stroke so the strokes do not look so uniform in the image. On the layer mask I just dabbed with short strokes to keep some of the rather scratchy effect from the texture on the flower. By using a lower brush opacity, 30% or less, or changing the size of the brush, you can go over certain areas to get just the right amount of the image being hidden. And if you go too far, just press the X key to switch the paint color to white and paint back areas that don’t look correct. If you are not quite sure you like the effect of this brush, try some of the other brushes Photoshop offers – Spatter 59 gives a slightly different effect with the Angle Jitter turned on. If you like a brush you created, save it down as a New Brush Preset by clicking on the pop-out in either the Brush Panel or the Brush Preset Panel. When I really like a brush, I also save it as a Tool Preset by clicking on the little arrow next to the brush icon in the far left of the Options Bar and click on the bottom icon, New Tool Preset. This is where I keep my Chalk Brush – always have it available.
NOTE: A couple little things to know about the Brush Panel. You need to click on the words of the individual brush section to get it to open up – if you just check the section on the left side, it applies whatever settings are there without your seeing them. One thing I noticed, if you set the Shape Dynamics Angle Jitter to 19%, this setting is sticky (does not change until you make a change to it) if using the same type of brush tip – it will always appear at this amount in the Shape Dynamics section until you change it. The Chalk and Spatter brushes are use the same Brush Tip so the setting sticks. But if you switch to a different Brush Tip, like an Airbrush for example, the Angle Jitter amount changes. It is recommended that you lock the setting in a section when creating new brushes if you like the setting so it does not change when trying out different brushes. Any unlocked attributes revert to those with which the original Photoshop brush tip was created. I do not lock my brush settings once save it down as a preset. Whew! Brushes in Photoshop can be confusing!
3. Used the same brush to add paint on a New Layer above the texture layer to add a few different colors (light pinks and blues). Also used Fay Sirtis’ Water Impressionist Blender Brush #1 Mixer Brush. Fay is both a Corel Painter Master and a Photoshop painting guru – if you were a NAPP member, and now are a Kelby One member, her fabulous painting brushes are all downloadable for free from her webinars and videos posted on-line at the site.
4. Now to add some texture back into the area where the layer mask removed it. The same texture layer was duplicated (CTRL+J) and placed at the top of the layer stack with the layer mask deleted. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to the layer (ALT+click between the layers) and with the Colorize button checked, Hue was set to 282, Saturation slider was set to 21, and Lightness -37. (I just discovered that with Colorize checked, the Saturation slider only goes from 0 to 100 so a setting of 21 is not that saturated in this case.) This added a slight pinkish cast to the whole texture. The texture layer was then set to Hard Light blend mode at 28% layer opacity – this adds the stroke texture over the flower and just added a little pinkish color. Basically I just experimented until I got a look I liked.
5. On a New Layer on top, French Kiss Spatter2_13 brush was used to add a little more localized texture to the image in different colors. These were added at a very low opacity.
6. The last step was to walk away until the next day (learned this from Aaron Nace) and realized I needed a little more color pop so a Selective Color Adjustment Layer was added. The Reds were adjusted so more pink was showing up in the upper right , Whites cyan was adjusted toward red, and Blacks cyan, yellow and black sliders were adjusted. Since this was over the top, the layer mask was filled with black (CTRL+I in mask) and just the areas I wanted to look a brighter were painted back. You have to be careful when messing with the Whites and Blacks Colors in this adjustment layer as they can really ruin an image if too much is applied. That was it. I really like the resulting colors!
******This image used even fewer steps with a different texture – just painted out parts of the flower with the Chalk Brush. I did not think it needed texture added above the flower in this case. The beautiful white texture is from French Kiss’s Tableaux collection and called CremeFraiche, another one of my favorite texture sites. Next a Selective Color Adjustment Layer was added and only the Reds and Yellows were adjusted to darken the red in the front flower and greens in the leaves. The layer mask was filled with black and just a little bit of localized color was painted back with a white low opacity chalk brush I created. The last step involved adding Nik Analog Efex Pro using just a few filters – Basic Adjustments was checked with the Detail Extraction set to 74%; Light Leaks was added over the red flowers using the first light leak in the Dynamic category and set to 52% Strength – this gives the lovely light pink in the texture; Lens Vignette was added to just whiten the image edges; and Levels & Curves – what I like to manipulate is the Luminosity Channel, just dragged it up a little and the RGB Channel down a little all set to 100% opacity. I believe the Luminosity curve is what makes me like this plug-in so much! Last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer in Photoshop. This was a very simple process, but the image is so much prettier than the original with the distracting background.
I am still learning to paint in Photoshop, but I feel like I can count on getting a pretty nice painterly look with just these few steps. The bottom line is that you should just make a couple of brushes that you like (and as noted above, be sure to save them as a brush and a tool preset if you really like them). Just start building up paint on separate layers or removing texture with layer masks at very low opacities, and maybe higher if you like the effect. With a few adjustment layer tweaks and blend mode changes, a very interesting image can be achieved out of one that looked rather ordinary. ….Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Trying Out Some Aaron Nace Techniques
A Few Painterly Tricks!
How to Turn a Brush into a Watercolor Brush
Create a Winter Scene with Photoshop Brushes and Textures
Adobe Photoshop CS5′s Mixer Brushes
This week I took it a bit easy. Hope everyone is having a great New Years. It always feels good to put the past behind and start over or focus on what you want to accomplish in the coming months ahead. As I stated in my Tidbits Blog, I am not very good at keeping resolutions, but I have one I am going to try to keep this year – learn Corel Painter. I will still learn everything I can about Photoshop – not sure you ever could quit learning with this program and it is my favorite program ever – but I want to expand my abilities and try to incorporate the two programs into something that will create my own “personal style.” With that in mind, the above is one of my first efforts at creating a watercolor in Painter, but with a lot of help in Photoshop (and I hope tolerance from the blog world). I am learning that for my particular “style” I have to try different effects in both programs. This painting used Skip Allen’s wonderful Floral Maker brush that eats away the Painter canvas (this technique is totally amazing!) and his Roman Candle brush created the little rows of flowers. More info and links on Skip and his magic in the paragraph below. Since I do not draw, the pitcher was created from a low resolution Shutterstock stock photo (from a 2006 Advanced Photoshop Magazine No. 25 CD – could not find this pitcher on Shutterstock anymore, but they have several other beautiful pitcher images if you need one) – just selected the pitcher in Photoshop and took it into Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 using one of their watercolor presets. Next Painter supplied the flowers, and finally back in Photoshop Melissa Gallo’s 2 for 5 Friday Set 2 Seafoam texture from her Painted Textures website was layered into the image using a Darker Color Blend Mode at 79% opacity. To smooth out the texture a little, a Gaussian Blur was added to the texture so it gives more of a soft watercolor look. Used the same border as the image below, and voila, a floral image!
Wish I could take credit for this image idea, but instead I followed Skip Allen’s 10-video tutorial called Corel Painter X3 SP1, New Flower Brushes…Loads of Fun that teaches you how to paint this image. He gives you links to download his brushes and everything you need to create an image similar to the above. I can’t say enough nice things about Skip and these videos – not only did I learn a lot about how to paint a watercolor, but I also learned a lot about Painter. My image was pretty rough compared to Skip’s at this point, but since I know Photoshop pretty well, I decided to clean it up there. My leaf lines were way too sharp, so on a New Layer the Wow BT Watercolor Small brush was used to clean up and soften the edges quite a bit. This is a brush supplied in Davis One-Click Wow Preset Mini Sampler of brushes from one of my favorite Photoshop people, Jack Davis, who allows you to download it from his Facebook page Freebies or directly by clicking here if you do not have Facebook. (He has lots of other goodies on his Facebook page so check it all out.) I also removed a few of the splats that I got carried with. Since I always try out Topaz (see website in sidebar of my Tidbits Blog) ReStyle when dealing with major color issues, this plug-in was opened and sure enough, I found a little bit better color combination. The Orange Bush in Snow preset was selected that brought out more of the reds that I really liked. (Changed these settings in the preset: Hue Third -0.81 and Sat Third =0.34; Strength to 100%; Temperature 0.39 and Saturation 0.09; Tone Black Level 0.23, Midtones -0.11, and White Level 0.11; and Detail Structure 0.25 and Sharpness 0.44.) Back in Photoshop, the layer was set to 42% opacity so the color change was not overdone. The last step involved adding a watercolor frame created using my SJ WC Salt Brush at 60 pixels on a New Layer. It had been saved from another image so it was just added onto this image. As you can see, Photoshop really helped me finish up my photo.
Here is just another rather quick painterly image that I just like – the colors are a palette I would never have tried without Topaz ReStyle. The trees are the same painted grouping I created in this image on my Snowmen Passing Through! Tidbits Blog a few days ago. This time several of Melissa Gallo’s textures were stacked in Photoshop: 6 for 6 Thanksgiving Foliage texture set to Soft Light blend mode; 2 for 5 Friday Set 12 Summer Silk texture set to Hard Light at 13% layer opacity with a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer attached and set to Hue 18, Saturation -56 and Lightness -11; another layer of Summer Silk Texture set to Overlay blend mode at 100% layer opacity; and 2 for 5 Friday Set 12 Ice Palace set to Divide at 100% layer opacity – the Blend If This Layer white tab was set to 159 to bring back some of the underlying color. A stamped layer was created on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and Topaz ReStyle using Tiara Frost preset was applied with a few adjustments (Sat Fifth 0.66 and Fifth 1.00; Texture Strength 1.00; and Structure -0.61 and Sharpness -0.55). This layer was set to 80% opacity. Melissa’s textures create such interesting results when combined with your own basic painted images.
Painter does seem to have a lot of quirks and to really learn it, I believe you have to do a little in the program every day – not that different from Photoshop. What I really like about Painter are all the beautiful effects you can get from its brushes, as shown above with Skip’s. I like Photoshop’s Mixer Brushes, but find they have a very limited scope when compared to all the different Brush Controls in Painter. If you are interested in learning how to use this program and especially watercolors, I would recommend downloading the trial and following along with Skip’s videos – you may surprise yourself like I did. I never thought I would be able to create anything that remotely looked like a watercolor, but am finding I really enjoy the artistic media and will work on improving my skills in this area. Happy Painting!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Topaz ReStyle with Corel Painter & Nik Analog Efex Pro
Photoshop with Corel Painter for Texture
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful year ahead and create some really spectacular images from your photos! Recently I have gotten interested in adding a painterly feel to my photos. Alien Skin’s Snap Art 3 has definitely been one of my favorite Photoshop plug-ins for doing this – not only for its ease of use, but also because it gives some great results quickly. (See my Digital Lady Syd Reviews Alien Skin Snap Art 3 blog). I was excited to hear the plug-in was being updated to version 4. Since I reviewed Snap Art 3 not that long ago and since it is the holidays, I am just going to do a fairly quick update for this version. Needless to say I love Snap Art 4. It is definitely worth a second look if you love the painterly effects like I do. To be honest, I do not see a whole lot of difference between the two versions except for the new interface, which looks more like Lightroom’s interface. The biggest change is that thumbnails are note created of your image showing all painting style variations in each artistic group – this makes it easy to choose a particular filter or effect for the image. Also the Background and Detail Masking Panels can be seen at the same time which is very helpful. F5 still resets the Background to some default settings, but I am not quite sure how this is determined. CTRL+R resets the Detail Mask so you can create new ones. The sliders and artistic effects are all the same as version 3.
The image above is of a beautiful golden retriever dog (similar to one I used to own) that was enjoying a nice sunny morning in Savannah, Georgia, in October. This is a great example of how subtly the plug-in can be applied, yet still get a nice painterly feel. In Lightroom, Trey Radcliff’s Dramatically Clean Chipmunk preset was applied before opening the image into Photoshop and the Snap Art 4 plug-in. I applied a preset I created from Snap Art 3′s Factory Default preset settings – still one of my favorites that is based upon an Oil Paint effect. To sharpen the details when using this filter, increase the Photorealism slider and decrease the Stroke Length slider. In this case, two Detail Masks were created to add back the detail to the dog’s fur and face. Pretty simply!
I am finding that I like to use this plug-in with other Photoshop plug-ins to achieve the look I like. In this Bird of Paradise bloom pix from my yard, a 5-image HDR was processed using HDR Soft’s Merge to 32 Bit HDR and returned as a 32 bit TIFF file in Lightroom. Some localized sharpening and Trey Radcliff’s Gradient Folding Colors preset was applied before taking the it into Photoshop. The layer was duplicated and made into a Smart Object before opening in Snap Art 4 (it is very helpful to use a smart object so you can go back and adjust the detail masks if needed), which achieved this beautiful painterly result using the Abstract Pastel preset – two detail masks used on the bloom where a little more Color Variation and smaller Stroke Length were used. Next Nik’s Analog Efex Pro plug-in was applied using only three of its filters that just popped the color: Basic Adjustments with Saturation set to 85%, Lens Vignette with amount set to -29%, and Levels and Curves with just a little RGB and Luminosity tweaking and an amount set to 67%. By combining these different applications, a very beautiful image was achieved.
********This image of Victoria Station in London uses Snap Art 4 Colored Pencil filter. First Topaz (see sidebar for website link at my Tidbits Blog) ReStyle’s Cambridge Battleship preset was set to Soft Light blend mode. Then one of Snap Art’s colored pencil presets was applied. In the Detail Masking panel, the Photorealism slider was set to 100 and the people were painted over to bring out detail in them. Created the frame back in Photoshop by painting around the image edge on a New Layer with a Sponge brush, then opening up a Drop Shadow layer style where Distance was set to 0, Spread to 34% and Size to 5 pixels. This gave the cool dark edge effect in the border.
Check out Alien Skin’s website page for several useful tutorials, especially one called Chris Wieck’s Snap Art Tips. Well, that’s it for this post – just wanted to get this review done since I believe Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 is a fantastic way to add some painterly effects to an image, or to totally change the image. This is in my top five plug-ins for Photoshop so that means it is pretty darn good! Lots of fun – and that, my friends, is the “name of the game!”
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Get Great Results with Alien Skin Snap Art 3 and Topaz ReStyle Together!!
A Day in the Sun!
The last two years I have done blogs on inexpensive gift items that I felt were a good deal if you are a Photoshop and/or Lightroom lover like I am. All the previous items I still recommend and would still make great gifts.
This year I am running a little late with my list, but I thought I would add a few more items that might help you out if you need another quick, last-minute gift. All can be downloaded in some form and put on an inexpensive little thumb drive from WalMart or Staples for a nice little gift. These items are not listed in any particular order, just how I thought of them.
1. Topaz ReStyle ($59.99)
The snowman greeting above used this Photoshop plug-in which has turned out to be my favorite Topaz plug-in (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) – since I love all their plug-ins, that is quite a statement! I almost always try it on every image opened in Photoshop, usually as a last step, just to see if a slightly better color palette can be achieved. More times than not I will apply it. At least try out the trial to see if you like it – just a fabulous plug-in that no one else has. The snowman image was originally in whites, greens and browns, which looked okay. But when put into Topaz ReStyle and the Warm Steel Wash preset applied, this was the result which looks more wintry to me. Totally love this plug-in as seen by the various references to it throughout many of my recent blog postings.
This is a set of 46 presets that I use all the time – I love the way he has added different light effects that sit on top of your other presets in many cases. It can really helps even out a dark corner in an image and the presets can be easily edited in Lightroom if the effect is too strong. These sell for $10 or you can get a bundle with David duChemin’s Lightroom presets (see last year’s #10 item) and get them for $16. Can’t go wrong with either set.
This image of the Colonial Park Cemetery (the link is to a website on the ghosts said to haunt the cemetery in Savannah, Georgia where over 10,000 people are said to buried) used both David duChemin’s Toxic Cool Heavy + MTC preset which added the soft fall tones, and Dave Delnea’s Backlight Horizontal Left preset that filled the back corner with light for a more natural tree shadow and lighter background.
3. Argus Preset Viewer ($9.99)
Last year I recommended the Preset Viewer Breeze by Tumasoft (last years #3 item) and it has been a great little program, but the Argus Preset Viewer appears to me to be just as good, faster and cheaper. It adds thumbnails down the right side of your Windows Explorer where you can view a complete set of Photoshop brushes, swatches, styles, shapes, gradients, or patterns. This is such a time-saver and at such a reasonable price. Definite must have!
Above is an example of how my free Cloud Brushes look in the Argus Preset Viewer from my Deviant Art site when highlighted in the Windows Explorer.
4. Flypaper Nik Color Efex Presets ($8)
We all know that Flypaper Textures are great. Recently they offered 84 presets for Nik’s Color Efex Pro plug-in and they have turned out to be really nice. Also gives a great starting point for stacking several filters to get an interesting effect. And the good thing is that they are very inexpensive! This would be a great stocking stuffer!
This image used three plug-ins: Topaz DeNoise, Nik Color Efex Pro using the Fly For Girls preset which stacked Cross Processing, Darken/Lighten Center, Reflector Efex, and Graduated Neutral Density filters, and Nik Viveza. The clouds were added using my brushes 1 and 2 in brush set shown above. The image is of an old residential building in the Belarusian countryside outside Minsk – I have always wondered what stories it could tell.
5. Melissa Gallo’s Painted Textures ($5 to $35)
Her textures are so gorgeous and I use them on many of my images. If you like the very true vivid painted texture look, check out her textures. She does have a couple texture sets at very reasonable prices – her Winter Solstice Mini Collection of 10 textures for $20 and her Monet Collection of 20 textures for $35. This is something that you cannot get right now, but usually the first Friday of each month, she offers two of her beautifully painted textures for sale for $5 – only time they will be available. She has some more expensive bundles with tutorials and actions included. If your Photoshopper likes textures, definitely check these out.
Just an example of what several of Melissa’s beautiful textures can produce. My mums were not that outstanding an image, but by stacking Melissa’s Mist on the Lake texture at 100% opacity and painting back the flower, her Thanksgiving Mayflower texture set to Overlay blend mode at 87% layer opacity, and finally her Spring Rain texture set to Soft Light blend mode at 92% opacity, an interesting and unique texture look can be achieved. These textures were all from her 2 for $5 deals each month.
6. Lightroom 5 Unmasked E-Book ($20)
If you are like me and get a little discouraged that every time Adobe upgrades their software, you have to spend bunches of money on a new book to cover all the little upgrades they did, this is the solution. When Adobe upgraded to Lightroom 4, I bought Piet Van den Eynde E-book and it served my purposes since I knew how to use the program, just needed a quick reference for the new things. When Lightroom 5 came out, Piet came out with an update to his book for just a few dollars (Lightroom 5 Up to Speed) and I was now all set for version 5. His updated complete Lightroom 5 E-book is 356 pages.
7. Trey Radcliff’s Photomatix Pro Presets ($14.97)
Needless to say anything Trey sells has got to be good! I am listing these presets as they are very unique and once again I do not know anyone who sells this type of item. Trey also has several nice inexpensive Lightroom preset sets and many inexpensive E-books available in his website store so check them all out.This is a 3-image HDR using Photomatix Pro 5.0 and Trey’s A Little Sumfum Sumfin preset was applied.Some mushroom edge sharpening and a radial vignette were added in Lightroom. These were the tiniest mushroom I have ever seen, only 2 inches high at the max, and I had to shoot them lying on my stomach! I actually expected a little tiny hobbit to walk out!
8. The Way of the Digital Photographer by Harold Davis ($25.61)
I have always been a big fan of Harold Davis ever since he released The Photoshop Darkroom and The Photoshop Darkroom 2 books (they are still great books). This book is his latest and I just bought it. Planning on spending a few days enjoying some of his new techniques this holiday. Anyway, not sure you can go wrong with any Harold Davis book and they are all available in Kindle editions from Amazon.
I just bought this and it looks really good. Snapseed is a free IPhone or Adroid application from Nik to create all kinds of interesting effects on your phone images. The above E-book, example images, and videos from Flatbooks discuss how to get the most out of this really cool app. Would make a great gift for someone just getting a new phone (like I did).
A COUPLE FREE ITEMS THAT MIGHT BE USEFUL
For people who do not really want to buy Photoshop because they do not need to use it that much, this is a pretty good alternative. Adobe no longer is supporting this version but they will let you download it for free. Since it is a 10-year old program, it lacks a lot of the bells and whistles of the newer versions, but for people who just want to add an adjustment layer or select with a channel, this is not a bad way to go. Thought I would put this out there since not everyone is as crazy about Photoshop as I am. And the bonus is that you can learn the basics of some of the other Adobe programs and see if you might want to actually upgrade to the CC Cloud verion. The link above goes to a recent Gizmoto blog that discusses this in more detail and contains the link to Adobe.
This is a Photoshop Panel that I have been trying out a little but have not spent much time on it due to the holiday overload. It is a free download and you might want to give it a shot. It is opened from the Window -> Extensions -> NKS5 where a panel with all kinds of brushes and effects are set up on icons. It could be a real time saver. I actually added it to Photoshop CC without any issues even though it says it is for CS5 and CS6.
For some other fairly inexpensive gifts for the photographer, check out this recent episode of The Grid where Photoshop Guys Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski discuss all kinds of items. Lots of fun to watch too. Also, I cannot say enough good things about Creative Live and all the programs they present. If you like what you see during the live presentations, you can get the videos for a reduced price. Keep checking in as they often have different videos at reasonable prices – several are under $50. Still one of the best places to learn about all types of programs that have to do with photography.
Hope this little blog will give everybody some quick ideas for their last minute shopping. Happy Holidays everybody!…..Digital Lady Syd
I have become a big Aaron Nace fan ever since he appeared on Creative Live earlier this year. He is a Photoshop retoucher by trade, but he does a lot of You Tube videos through the website Phlearn. A while back I did a blog called How To Use the Apply Image Command for a Cross Processed Look that used one of his tips. This week I wanted to share some of his workflow and editing tips he uses for his images.
My image above is of a Bagpipe Player near Waverly Station in Edinburgh, Scotland – someone is always there throughout the day playing a bagpipe. Aaron’s 5-part Post Processing series (link shows all 5 videos) has some very good tips and ways of looking at your images. Originally this image was in color, but after watching Aaron’s short videos, I changed it to a black and white to better help direct focus to the subject. One of his workflow tips is to convert your image to a black and white version first – if it does not look good in black and white, it will not look good as a color image. He says that by converting it to a black and white, just a tonal representation without any color distraction is seen and a lot of the problems in the image can be located more easily. I used a Lightroom preset by for my black and white conversion using David duChemin’s Lightroom B+Yellow Filter Cool Duo preset. Cropping was also done in Lightroom as there were several distractions off to the right that were ruining the image. The background and the bright orange color in the benches were a big distraction from the bagpipe player, the focus of my image, so this was the main reason I selected a black and white version. In Photoshop the stones and person in the background were softened since they still were distracting, especially the big blob of shadow in the upper left corner. This was done by using a Curves Adjustment Layer to lighten the background and then bring back the subject by filling the layer mask with black (CTRL+I), selecting the Gradient Tool and with white as foreground color in the Color Swatch, use a white to transparent linear gradient on the layer mask to apply most of the Curve change to the background. Next a Gaussian Blur was added to the layer mask (highlight Layer Mask and go to Filter ->Blur->Gaussian Blur and a Radius of 8 was used although this size will depend on the effect you want). The subject had to be painted back in a little more on the mask. The image was sharpened using the High Pass method as discussed below. The last step was my idea and involved adding the bluish-green tint by taking the image into Topaz (see website link at my Tidbits Blog sidebar) ReStyle and using the Tiera Frost preset. I felt it showed off the plaid in the kilt nicely. Back in Photoshop the effect was dropped back to 80% layer opacity – Aaron says he usually does this as the special effects can be a bit overdone easily and I am finding this a useful tip. I was surprised how well the focus is centered on the bagpipe player. All these techniques are discussed in his videos and I would recommend your taking a look to get a feel for how easy it is to get a good workflow started. I found it refreshing to have someone discuss how to choose your image, how to find the focus of an image, and if distractions are taking away from the your subject, how to then get the focus back on the subject.
Another tip from Aaron was to walk away from you image when you think you are finished and then come back later – it helps you see distractions or effects that you may have missed or overdone. That is what happened in this case with the Cinderella Castle ornament from Disney World. I thought I was through but the next morning discovered several things I did not like. As a first step, this image was also turned to black and white which helped me decide that it would be a good choice to process as a color image. What attracted me to this shot was the beautiful bokeh that was created by the Christmas lights. In Lightroom the regular basic sliders were adjusted, then it was opened in Photoshop. Since I got the new OnOne Suite 8 (see my Tidbits Blog for website link), the image was opened in Perfect Effects 8 and several filters were applied to get a little better color in the image (Bleach Bypass, Detail Adjustment Brush over the castle, and Vigette filters were used). In Photoshop I added a light orange Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer set to Color blend mode at 20% opacity from Aaron’s really short Make Your Images Stand Out video where he uses a Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer to make the image pop. This evened out the colors a little bit. There were still many light distractions that had to be adjusted out. Distractions were painted and cloned out on another layer. I recognize that there is a bright green bulb at top, but since it is a Christmas Card with lettering, I decided to leave it as is since I love that color of holiday green. (Sometimes you just have to break the rules!) Aaron says that to get someone to look at your subject, you usually need to make it lighter than everything else – that is why you create a vignette. Aaron’s vignette was created to just add a little spotlight on the castle. To do this a Curves Adjustment Layer was added on top to lighten the image. Filled the layer mask with black, created an Elliptical Marquee selection over castle in image, and pressed SHIFT+BACKSPACE (or go to Edit -> Fill) and Use: White – then enter to create the spotlight effect. Finished by adding a Gaussian Blur with Radius set really high like 170 px to feather the edge of the spotlight nicely. Now it was time to sharpen the subject. A stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created on top of the Layer Panel and desaturated it using SHIFT+CTRL+U. Changed the blend mode to Overlay and went to Filters -> Other -> High Pass. Added a black layer mask and painted back with a 30% opacity brush the subject so only the areas I wanted were sharp were sharpened. This is a great technique that many well-known retouchers use, especially on portrait work. The text font is Bambino. So I looked at the photo in the Lightroom the next morning and this was when I tried some of my downloaded presets and found one by Jared Platt called DeSat Warm Tone. It essentially desaturated the colors and used a Split Tone and Tone Curve to create softer muted colors. I liked the look a lot so I took the image back into Photoshop and added a Camera Raw filter with some of the Lightroom preset’s settings. I did change some of the settings to get the blue and green colors I wanted. Once again Aaron says to experiment – you may be surprised at some of the results you get.
I hope I have not put everybody to sleep – I just wanted to show you how you can turn a pretty good image into a really good one using some of Aaron’s techniques. He also has some good videos on portrait retouching. A lot of what he says is probably obvious, but I like his workflow to actually look at the image, look at the tones, walk away from it, try some different effect and see what happens. It might help you find that little thing that will set your work apart from everyone else. It is also nice to see a younger person’s perspective on Photoshop editing. Anyway, I would recommend you take a look at some of his videos – he does use a slightly different approach for working on images, and I am adding them to my workflow and editing arsenal……Digital Lady Syd
It seems like this has become a rather popular look, especially with the Vintage Film looks that are so popular right now. Thought I would preset a few different sources for creating some nice looking light leak effects. The Belarusian Chrysanthemum image above used the Light Leak tab (see below) in Nik’s Analog Efex Pro (Crisp – 5th row down-3rd over) to get this nice subtle effect on these flower.
Well I just found several good short Lightroom videos that Gavin Hoey, a great Photoshop guru from England, posted on his Gavtrain website. I followed his Light Leak Effect Creative Lightroom Episode 1 to get the beautiful color in this image of St. Andrews Castle in Scotland. He gives you two ways to do this, one using Graduated Filters (the left side of image) and one using the newer Radial Filter in Lightroom (the right side of the image). I was totally surprised how nice this turned out. First I applied Jack Davis Cross Processing 01 Lightroom preset (basically it is a higher Clarity, lower Vibrance and higher Saturation for the sliders, and a slight backward S-shaped Tone Curve – download his Lightroom presets on link above) before adding Gavin’s light leaking effect. In the Adjustment Brush settings that Gavin used, I did change a few settings to get the effect to look right on this image. The image was taken into Photoshop where Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Clarity was opened and the Architecture Collection’s Exterior Texture preset was applied as is – it really sharpened up the bricks on the castle. That was all that was done. I guess I got more of a dramatic effect, but I really liked the result so it is my customized “Light Leak Effect.”
Using a Photoshop Plug-in for a Light Leak Effect
This Santa image took advantage of the beautiful Light Leak choices in Nik’s new Analog Efex Pro plug-in. This one used the first one listed in the Soft list of Light Leaks and set to a 50% Strength – definitely created a little pop to the image. All but the Lens Distortion, Zoom & Rotate Blur, and Dirt & Scratches tabs were used. In the Light Leak tab there is a large dot on the image that can be adjusted so the light leak affects just the part you want. The candy cane border was created by adding a Stroke Layer Style (Position Inside, Blend Mode Color Burn, and Opacity 82%) and setting the Fill Type to Pattern using Christmas day by Photoshop-Stock pat 5 set to a Scale of 239%. Once again I love the vintage effect that Nik’s Analog Efex Pro gives to an image.
This image at The Old Village of Ayaymku in Belarus of a guy blowing a wooden whistle was processed in both Nik Color Efex Pro using Flypaper Textures Steps preset and then in OnOne (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Photo Suite 7.5, (but the new Suite 8.0 will have these effects), using their Light Leak 3 and Brushed Realism 10 set to 81% opacity, then Amazing Detail filter, and topped off with Sloppy Border 19 and the Tin Type 001 at 57% to get the real vintage look. I did not want to overdo the leak look, but it does add some colorful effects to the image.
Using a Light Leak Overlay on the Image
There are actually quite a few jpg Light Leak images on the internet that can be downloaded for free. The image above used one from Lomo Light Leaks by Denny Tang (scroll way down to download from website) – really nice light leak images. Have to talk a little about this image – it was an awful image taken from a moving car and the third shot I took in Minsk, Belarus. I wanted to see what the new Trey Radcliff’s (my favorite HDR guy) Lightroom presets could do with a bad image – I loved the results and I love the new presets – this one used Super Flatjack – really grainy and very subtle. Once in Photoshop I had to remove a whole bunch of electrical lines (see my Get Rid of Those Power Lines Fast – with Paths and Spot Healing Tool! blog). Next I applied Topaz Adjust’s Classic Collections Low Key I preset – another great product from Topaz. Of course, I could not stop there even though the image looked really nice – Nik’s Analog Efex Pro was added and the beautiful vintage color came out (used Basic Adjustments, Light Leaks which added a slight red tint using just a -36% amount, Lens Vignette, Film Type and Levels & Curves) and the layer opacity was set to 76%. The sky still did not look quite right to me, so now Denny Tang’s light leak was applied – set to Screen blend mode and 75% layer opacity – to add just some subtle interest into the sky. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added and I just dragged in the sky with the Targeted Adjustment Tool to get the color I wanted (note – used ALT+CTRL to get the Hue slider to change as the Tool defaults to the Saturation slider). Also, Shadowhouse Creations has 17 beautiful light leak textures for free download.
Hopefully you can see what a nice effect the Light Leak can create. They really add a little additional vintage feel to an image. It does not have to be overdone and with a Hue/Sat or Selective Color Adjustment Layer, you can tweak the colors for a great subtle look. Hope you get a chance to try out this technique. It really can add that little bit of extra interest into an image to really make it pop!…..Digital Lady Syd
This week I have been really busy watching Creative Live and Jeremy Sutton‘s presentation called Intro to Photo Painting: A Creative Approach Using Corel Painter X3. Wow – had not realized all the things Painter could do. I have Painter XI and was able to learn a lot in spite of not having the newest version (on my major wish list now!). This week I am doing just a short post showing you a few tips on adding some texture from Painter into an image first processed in Photoshop. This is pretty basic info since I am not that well-versed in Painter yet, but I thought it would prove interesting all Painter user, especially those who have never used it much.
The violet image above was first cleaned up in Lightroom and Photoshop before saving a copy down as a JPG for Painter. Several brushes were then used in Painter: Painter 11 Custom Brushes by Mitkov Abstract 1 brush (these are a nice group of brushes that are a free download on Deviant Art), Jeremy Sutton’s “Jeremy’s Jittery Dabber” brush, and Fay Sirkis’s “Sea World Fan Blender” brush, along with others that were used in small amounts (more info on Fay and Jeremy’s brushes below). In Photoshop the Mixer brushes were used to do some clean up I missed in Painter and to add the text using Radium J font. The reflection of the violets was created by using the Clone Stamp Tool and in the Clone Stamp Panel, setting it to a 180 degree angle and Flip Vertical – turned out pretty cool. Just a lot of fun to create.
With the image of the little gerbera above, I was happy with the bokeh effect, but was disturbed by how bright the bokeh was in the image – really pulled the eye away from the main focus, the flower. By taking the image into Painter, other color and blending could be done just to the background to soften the bokeh spots in the background by replacing them with some interesting texture. This was done by finding a couple brushes you like and alternating between sampling a color you want, painting on the background, and then blending the texture to soften somewhat. In this case it almost gave a shimmer to the background. I am still using a regular brush that lays down color and a blender brush which blends it in. Now this could be done in Photoshop with the Mixer Brushes, but Painter has so many more brushes to choose from that it is easier to get some pretty nice textured results.
Much more was done in Photoshop in this image – just skip the italics if you are not interested. Details on how this image was created. The RAW file was first opened Lightroom and Auto Tone was used and David duChemin‘s Classic India Split Tone preset for the soft vintage colors. (Here are the settings if you want to create it: Split Toning Panel using these slider settings: Highlights Hue 50 and Saturation 60, and Shadows Hue 266 and Saturation 35.) The Adjustment Brush was used to slightly sharpen the flower. In Photoshop Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) DeNoise 5 was used set to Overall .07 and Shadows .47 since I wanted a little noise left in the flower petals. Kim Klassen‘s Brush 1793 was used to add some color grunge in the top part of the image and the layer was set to 61% opacity. 2 Lil Owl’s Workbook Bonus Texture Set-14 was placed on top and set to Linear Burn blend mode and 61% layer opacity. Nik Analog Efex was used adding these tabs: Basic Adjustments, Lens Distortion, Zoom & Rotate Blur, Light Leaks, Lens Vignette, Film Type, Frames, and Levels & Curves. As you can see, this was a major evolution! At this point the image could have been done and it looked pretty nice.
After saving as a PSD file, I saved it as a high quality JPG and took the image into Corel Painter. Since Analog Efex Pro changed the tone of the image when the pretty frame was applied, I could not remove it so I had to work with the edges of the frame in Corel. Painter is basically a pretty destructive program – I am find out that not every brush will work on layers above the canvas like it does in Photoshop with the Mixer Brushes. Therefore, most of the painting is done on the canvas itself. When it gets to a point you like, do a Save As and number it. Then go back and try some more painting and do the Save As again with a new number. I did this several times until I got a look I really liked. Basically worked with a Jeremy Sutton “Jeremy’s Jittery Dabber” brush from his Painter X Creativity book’s extra CD, and Fay Sirkis‘s “Sea World Fan Blender” brush from her Fay’s Master Brush Collection from Kelby Training several years ago (unfortunately it does not appear to be available anymore – her brushes are the best!) Since Painter has so many different brushes, and there are many available for free on the Internet including Deviant Art, it is pretty easy to find some brushes you like. By adding color and blending, the background is what resulted. Jeremy has a website that you can join and get all of his workspaces and brushes – see Paintbox TV.
The PSD file from Painter was brought back into Photoshop where a little Topaz Detail 3 was added – really added a nice edge to both the flower and texture in the background. I duplicated the layer and converted it to a Smart Object. Then I went into the Camera Raw filter just to fine-tune the colors in the HSL sliders. That was it!
This is just a simple frame that I created in Painter using a brush called Dems Oil Chunky Funky, a favorite of Jeremy’s and a free download. I saved the frame as a JPG and brought it into this image of the top of an old historic building that is the Armstrong Junior College building in Savannah, Georgia. The frame layer was highlighted and Select -> Color Range was used to select the white inside – then check invert box, click OK, and add a layer mask. There is your frame. You can adjust the opacity, change the blend mode, add Solid Color Adjustment Layer or Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to get the effect you want. Very simple. And you can use it on many different images if you save it with your own texture collection.
I hope you found this blog useful. Using Painter with Photoshop is really not that difficult and you can get some startling results without too much effort. I hope to be able to show some more techniques using both programs in the near future……Digital Lady Syd
Well this was a most unexpected and very much appreciated addition to the Nik Collection since Nik had not given us any hope that they would be updating or adding to their plug-ins. If you own the Nik Collection already and have not gotten the update, just go over to Nik’s website and download the trial – it will automatically update and add the new plug-in into your software for free. Since I am not very familiar with some of the older film processing, it has been fun to try some of these looks on my images. The above image is of the top of Lafayette Fountain in historic Savannah, Georgia. All filters but the Lens Distortion, Zoom & Rotate Blue, and Light Leaks were used on this image – that means the other 8 camera filters (Basic Adjustments, Bokah, Dirt & Scratches, Photo Plate, Lens Vignette, Film Type, Frames, and Levels & Curves) were added! (Other than Lightroom basic slider changes and a Selective Color Adjustment Layer adjusting the Reds and Yellows for more yellow tones, there were no other changes but the plug-in.) Since I love adding a vintage feel to an image, I am finding this plug-in to be one I am using more than I thought I would! All my original images are shown in the Tych Panel at end of blog so you can get a feel for what this plug-in actually does to an image.
All but the top image were taken with my cheap little point-and-shoot, which does not take the best images to begin with, and were then processed in the new Analog Efex Pro by Nik. It was a perfect match and I totally love the results. For the gumball machine image a basic Lightroom workflow was done and then in Photoshop the Adaptive Wide Angle Filter was used to straighten out the shelves a little. Since the edges got a little wonky, I added Kim Klassen‘s Serendipity texture set to Normal behind the image to fill in the blank edges with her beautiful brown texture. The last step involved add the new plug-in – opened up the Toy Camera presets and choose the fourth down, then just did a few adjustments to get the look I liked. Most of the changes occurred in the Basic Adjustments sliders and Lens Vignette tab. The Film was changed to the bottom middle one the Subtle group and a more Faded look was added. Not much to change here. For a quick overview of what each filter does, check out the Nik Collection Help link here.
What I Like About Nik Analog Efex Pro
1. It is totally creative and fun – what a big surprise since I was not even sure what these different type of old-time cameras did. Can make a boring image into something fabulous.
2. There are On Image Controls for most of the filters – very easy to adjust and set up in your image.
3. Love that you are not limited to the settings they want you to use for each of the camera categories. By going into the Camera Kit, you can add any of the other filters not used in the original camera preset. Totally creative use of the filters!
4. I love that they gave us Nik Collection owners the plug-in for free – totally made my day!
What I Don’t Like About Nik Analog Efex Pro
These are pretty minor gripes.
1. It would be nice if you could apply some of the filters more than once. For example, I would like to add more than one Light Leak on the same image. At least they can be moved round inside your image but not rotated or resized. It would be nice to have more border choices too or to be able to adjust the width of the frames in this section.
2. Not real happy with the Vary button since you never know what the variation will be and what sliders will be changing – just have to hope a nicer one comes up next. It can be fun to try different looks within the filter by clicking on the Vary button and if you hold down the SHIFT and click Vary, all the filter’s settings randomizes for all the filters being applied. Luckily you can get back to the original settings in the History tab as long as you have not applied the plug-in first.
3. No control points. Nik says at this point that the plug-in does support U-Point Technology but they plan on adding it in later versions. It would be nice to have that.
I am finding that if I get settings I like, I am saving them down as presets such as SJ Toy Camera-gumballs. Since I have been using the Vary button a lot, this seems to be the only way to save those effects to use again. It is nice there is Smart Object capability which will save these settings, but you would have to open the original image that contains them by moving all the settings or writing down the settings and resetting to a new image to achieve the same look.
This guy below was an image taken at the wonderful Gulfstream Family Day in Savannah, Georgia, a while back. He really screamed vintage to me so he got it!
This image needed some major clean up since there were distracting feet at the top and a rope on his foot, and it just did not seem right to have this beautiful bird looking this way. In Lightroom just basic changes were done. In Photoshop the Patch Tool was used to get rid of a lot of the problem areas. In Analog Efex Pro the Wet Plate Camera 9 preset was used as a starting place. I removed some of the filters on the right by going into the Camera Kit and picking what ones I wanted removed and what I wanted added. This really is a trial-and-error process since every image I process comes out quite different when applying similar effects. The Wet Plate presets are quite lovely and I could have used several of them on this beautiful bird. The plug-in really is one of those that is just plain fun to use.
A cowboy picture is definitely a worthy image for this plug-in! This guy was up on tall stilts greeting everyone coming into Family Day – what fun! Just the basic panel sliders and cropping were used in Lightroom before going into Photoshop. Then Analog Efex Pro was applied – not sure what I started with but the following filters were used: Basic Adjustments, Bokeh at 45% blur strength, Dirt & Scratches at 67% strength, Photo Plate at 31% strength, Lens Vignette left for darker edges, Film Type at 100% strength, and Frames. It does not seem to matter where you start if you plan on adding the filters you like and saving it as a preset. Very simple to use. That was all the changes made on this image.
This may be my favorite image I have processed using the new plug-in. Again not much done in Lightroom except for a dramatic crop. In Photoshop I applied a saved preset I had used on my first image using this plug-in and saved the results at a preset. So you can compare how the strengths and filters varied, I have given you basic strength settings. It started with a Vintage Camera preset and the Basic Adjustments, Bokeh at 88% blur strength, Dirt & Scratches at 82% strength, Photo Plate at 20% strength, Lens Vignette set to the right for a white edge, Film Type at 52% strength, and Levels & Curves dragging RGB curve down in midtones were added. The Camera Toolkit was used to get all the filters used. I added my own little edge frame as I did not like how the ones in the plug-in looked. I love the delicate colors in the final image!
As promised, here are the originals – don’t be too critical – my point-and-shoot is not the best, but as the saying goes – at least I got the shot! (Got to get my phone upgraded – on the to-do list!) It is pretty amazing what you can do with an imperfect image!
This plug-in is definitely worth a second look. You can get similar results using Photoshop or other plug-ins. But Nik does such a super job of interfacing with Photoshop, and they make it so easy to apply the effects, that I think it is a real winner. I think the greatest thing is that Nik is back and gave us another great plug-in – we Photoshop Nuts have to be ecstatic! This plug-in is lots of fun and I am starting to see many uses for it. I am now going to get back to having some more Fun with the Analog Efex Pro plug-in – please excuse me!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Using Nik’s Analog Efex Pro on a Historic Statue
This week I am celebrating three years of blogging on my Fun Photoshop Blog! I can’t believe it – time passes by so fast! (See My First Post – Painted Oleander.) Since my mission is to have “Fun with Photoshop,” so far it has been great fun creating this blog. The good thing about Photoshop blogging is that it takes some effort to really learn about a new technique or tool so that you can share it properly. This week I am taking a little breather and just looking back. Below is a little slideshow compilation of some of the images I used or created for my blog during the past three years. (It runs for 2:46.)
The slideshow was done totally in Lightroom using the Default template in the Slideshow module. The music is a little ditty called Malt Shop Bop by Kevin MacLeod that is royalty free – basically you must use music if you do a slideshow or it does not look good. It was then uploaded to my You Tube account and linked into the blog. If you have some photos you want to share, give this quick slideshow effect a try – very quick and easy to do.
While celebrating, I thought I would share with you a list of a few of what I consider are some of my most useful and favorite Photoshop things from the last three years. I find it funny that I often go back to my own blogs for steps on how to do various tasks that I don’t use that often (like creating seamless Panoramas) – another benefit of blogging!
Digital Lady Syd’s Most Used Blog Techniques From the Last Three Years
I do a lot of Photoshop technique blogs, and I use them all to some extent, but the ones listed below I use on a regular basis and are, should I say, my very favorite techniques. There usually is more than one way to do something in Photoshop, but I have found that when a technique sticks in my mind, that is the one to use.
How to Use a Selection to Draw Focus in an Image
Learned this technique from an Australian wedding photographer Yervant and use it all the time! Just works wonderfully!
Using Curves Adjustment Layers to Get Rid of Shadows and Highlights
This is a similar technique by David Nightingale, a famous photographer from England, as the one above and I use it equally as often.
The Best Dodging and Burning Technique!
I use this technique by John Paul Caponigro (one of best Photoshop guru’s) every day – period!
How to Create an Overlay Out of a Texture
I was pretty excited when I figured out how to do this. Now a texture can be added as if it were a vector and the color changed easily using a Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer clipped to the texture – opened up a whole lot of new possibilities. Beautiful framing or borders can be added to your image this way. Also a soft grunge feel can be used on the whole image to get that perfect effect.
HDR Using Photoshop Merge to HDR and Nik”s HDR EFex Pro and Silver Efex Pro? Wow!
This is definitely one of my favorite blogs on post-processing landscapes and it was developed by one of the top Photoshop guru ladies, Katrin Eismann. Everything she does in Photoshop is wonderful and creative! This blog discusses one of her many techniques and I still use it all the time!
Digital Lady Syd’s Favorite Plug-ins
Let the celebration continue! Since I am a big fan of Photoshop plug-ins I thought I would sum up what my very favorite ones are. This does not mean I do not use lots of the others I own, and they may be equally as good, but these fit my style and I use them regularly. My plug-in favorites are:
Nik Viveza 2
I have always said if I could only buy one plug-in, this is the one. I did not use it that much when I first bought it – thought it was like ACR – but now I use it on almost every image. What does it do? It will crisp up soft edges, adjust a color glare spot by letting you change the color with a control point, add a slight vignette around the edges, desaturate a color competing with your main focus, add clarity (structure) where ever you need it in an image, remove shadows, add warmth – all in very localized areas. It can fix up a ruined image in a few clicks. And it does it much quicker than the Adjustment Brush in ACR and Lightroom since you use their Control Point technology. See my Nik’s Viveza 2 Plug-In – A Hidden Gem! blog for more info.
I love all the Topaz plug-ins – can’t say enough good things about this little company that keeps the big plug-in producers on the run (and gives free updates to its owners). Almost all their plug-ins have an interesting twist to them that can really make an ordinary image look creative and unique! My biggest surprise came with their latest release, Topaz ReStyle. I really thought I would not love it, but I use it all the time! It puts different color combinations together based upon the Saturation, Luminance and Hue of your original image that can make your image look totally different and incredible! I usually check this out as one of my final steps just to see if I can get a little better result. And I do not know of any other plug-ins at this time that can do this! See my Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz ReStyle blog.
Alien Skin Snap Art 3
This plug-in blew me away! The results can be totally stunning, especially when you have a soft image but really like it. After setting up a few presets, and making a few localized tweaks in the image, it can make almost any image beautiful. This is not for a realistic image look, definitely for creatives. Alien Skin will be coming out with a new version very shortly. I use it all the time and it looks great with ReStyle. See my blogs Digital Lady Syd Reviews Alien Skin Snap Art 3 and Get Great Results with Alien Skin Snap Art 3 and Topaz ReStyle Together!!
There are several other plug-ins I use quite a bit, OnOne Suites (new version coming out very soon) and the Nik Collection (especially love their vintage effects), but the ones above I use the most. I also use Topaz DeNoise for problem images – by far the best around for this since you can target just the Shadows (or other areas) if that is where the issue is. And there are specialty plug-ins for HDR and black and white processing, that I use (see the last blog technique above), but maybe not quite as much those listed above. As an aside note, Nik recently came out with a new free plug-in for their Collection owners called Analog Efex Pro that appears to be quite intriguing.
Digital Lady Syd’s Other Favorite Photoshop Things
Photoshop amazes me when I see all the different things you can do with just this one program! Below are a few miscellaneous things I really like and, once again, use all the time.
Many panels are now being created to make things easier to access, including one I made for myself when painting in Photoshop – definitely a major time-saver. See my How to Create Your Own Panel for Photoshop blog. They are so handy to have. Perhaps the best ones are created by the brilliant Dr. Russell Brown of Adobe – I have written several posts on his panels. Check out my blog link above and scroll down to the bottom for several more blog links to other great panels.
I have to say that Fay Sirkis in particular has taught me so much about Photoshop brushes and hers are the best. In order to download them though, you need to be a member of NAPP (best Photoshop value for the money in my opinion). There are many other people with good brushes, but I still think Fay’s are the best! See my How to Turn a Brush into a Watercolor Brush blog for one of her wonderful brush tips. Click on my Photoshop Brushes category on the right side for more on brushes.
Wow – there is so much going with textures these days, and so many great ones to choose from. During the past three years I have had the opportunity to really learn about some of the great texture techniques and I have totally enjoyed the results. I have discovered new ideas and learned so much from many talented people. But what is the most fun is to create my own textures and I have tried to pass on tips about this. See my Texture Resources – So Many Choices! So Many Choices! blog for so many great texture sites that usually share their tips on their websites. There are too many of my blogs on texture techniques to list – just click on my Textures category for a long list.
This is a rather vague term, but I have learned so much from two major sources – Kelby Training and CreativeLIVE. Both present top-notch Photoshop and Photography experts and I always learn something from their videos. Kudos to them for making available the kind of videos that really help when learning Photoshop. Kelby Training (and NAPP) have a long track record of creating some great videos by the Photoshop Guys along with the most talented photographers. CreativeLIVE is fairly new in the process, but you can watch live shows for free and around the clock for the next 24 hours so you can decide if you want to buy the videos – I have several in my Photoshop arsenal. And there are so many wonderful things I have learned from the many Photoshop experts presenting at the sites above that I have not listed – Jack Davis, Ben Wilmore, Scott Kelby, Dave Cross, just to name a few. I would highly recommend either training site or both for anyone wanting to learn Photoshop seriously.
Well that about wraps it up on some of what I have learned over the past three years. It has been a pleasure to learn and try to share with you some of the wonderful things Photoshop can do – as much as I grumble about the software and all the changes, I could not live without it! So thanks Adobe for creating such a wonderful software and making it so much fun to do what I love! Let the Celebration continue and let’s have some more Fun with Photoshop!…..Digital Lady Syd
Please check me out at my other sites:
My short sister blog at Digital Lady Syd’s Tidbits Blog or click tab at top of this blog.
My personal website at Syd Johnson Photography
My Flickr Account at Syd Johnson (aka Digital Lady Syd)
Digital Lady Syd on deviantART where my recent give-aways are located
Digital Lady Syd’s Files on File Social for my older give-aways
Digital Lady Syd’s You Tube link
Three Year Anniversary Image Notes: Need to give a few credits for items used in the top image. The bottom texture is one I created in my How to Use Those Handy Blend-If Sliders! blog – turned it to purples and blues and used the Blend If slider again set to This Layer 102/255 to get the edge effect I wanted. Used Mel’s New Years Brushes for the wine glass and some of the bubble background. Used Bubble Sparkler 2 by Cloud 9 for the bubbles coming out of the glass. Painted a layer with white foam for top of glass. Used Nagel Rough Pastel 3 for the rough purple color behind the glass. Used the Birch Standard font for the Celebration Time Is Here font and made one line into a brush that I sprayed on the image in different hues. The three year anniversary font is Angelic War and the I Must Blog font is Batik Regular. Just put them all together with different layer styles. Lots of fun to celebrate!
A few weeks ago I discussed one of the ways to use Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layers in my How to Use the Apply Image Command for a Cross Processed Look blog. This effect used two fill adjustment layers set to the Color blend mode to create a very nice effect. This week a few more tricks using them will be shown. The image above was taken recently in Savannah, Georgia, on a perfectly gorgeous Sunday morning. Color Fill Adjustments were used to make the beautiful colors in this image. But this is not the only way to use these rather obscure layers for adding “color” to an image. As shown below, they can be used as an overlay to add soft colors or localized ambient light to an image, or to match borders seamlessly to a finished image.
Adding Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layers to Add Color to an Image
This technique is just one of several I learned from Calvin Hollywood in his Color Adjustment and Manipulations video on Kelby Training. This is another top-notch Kelby Training video and Calvin has many great techniques once again. (See my Spotlight Effect With the New Subtract Blend Mode blog for another of his creative techniques.) This was a 3-image HDR TIFF file that used 4 solid color fill adjustment layers in Photoshop using the technique below. See image 1 info at end of blog for more details.
1. By going to Layer -> New Fill Layer -> Solid Color, the New Layer dialog opens up where the Mode can be changed to Soft Light and click OK.
2. In the resulting Color Picker (Solid Color) dialog, sample a color over an area you want to enhance in the image. To get a really nice rich tone of that color, choose a little darker color than what you sampled by dragging straight down in the swatch so it is just below the middle. In this images case, a rich brick brown, a turquoise, a golden yellow and a light brick colors were used. Be sure all the Color Fill Layer Masks are set to Soft Light Blend Mode.
3. Fill the layer masks with black by clicking inside the mask and inverting (CTRL+I ).
4. Paint with white in the layer mask over areas matching the color in the layer color thumbnail.
5. Now the layer’s opacity can be adjusted as a last step so you do not over-saturate the image.
Adding color in the image this way can really just “pop” the colors, and it can be localized to just include the colors you want more vivid. I find this definitely works best on images where there is a very colorful element in the image to begin with. You can see in the above the difference between just a tone-mapped image, and the addition of the Solid Color Fill Adjustments. And notice that the street and most of the greenery were not changed much – just the house colors added the pizzazz to this image. It takes a few minutes to do, but I think it is definitely worth the effort since the effect can be localized to just what areas you want.
This pink gerbera image contains two Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layers – one was added to bring out the pinks more and it was set to Saturation blend mode, and the second was a white one with a pattern painted on the layer mask to add some subtle texture to the background – it was set to Soft Light blend mode at 69% layer opacity. Both of these layers added some color shifts and lightening that I really liked in the image. See Image 2 info below for more about processing. You can experiment here using different blend modes and also filling the layer masks with black and painting in the localized effect.
Use Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer to Add Some Localized Ambient Light to an Image
Here is a great example how using a Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer can help lighten an image to give it a real warm feel. This image of a porch in Savannah, Georgia, was taken in bright sunlight but it did not have that real translucent golden-hour feel. I followed a similar technique as used above, but this time just a really bright Yellow Fill Layer was added, then filling the layer mask with black and painting back only the leaves and flowers, thus directing the lighting effect to areas I wanted brighter. I love the final look – a beautiful place to have your morning cup of coffee! For more post-processing info, check out Image 3 at end of blog.
Add Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer to a Border or Frame
I have used this technique many times where an already created PNG overlay file is used as a border and I want it to blend in perfectly. (See my How to Create an Overlay Out of a Texture blog.) By clipping the Solid Color Adjustment Layer to the PNG or JPG border (ALT+Click between the layers to clip), you can sample (click on swatch and move eyedropper in image and click on a color) to match the border to the image background color easily. This can give a nice finished feel making it look like you painted the frame in the image. Below, the Granada Bridge on the Halifax River in Ormond Beach, Florida, used a Watercolor Border Frame from another image and then a sampled light beige solid color fill was clipped above it and set to 69% layer opacity. For more details on image, check Image 4 information at end of blog.
The solid color fill adjustment layers are often overlooked but can be quite effective with some experimentation. Note that lots of the expensive actions use the layers in their actions setting them to different blend modes and opacities to get certain looks they want. Lots of fun once you start playing around with these layers and so easy to manipulate. Definitely take a look at what they will do and I think you will like the results. I know I did!…..Digital Lady Syd
Image 1: In Lightroom three images were opened in Nik HDR Pro 2 where the Graduated I preset was applied – top image in tych above. It came back into Lightroom as a TIFF where Basic panel sliders were set and the Lens Correction panel with the Remove Chromatic Aberration checked and Upright Auto used – bottom image. Next it was opened in Photoshop as a Smart Object. Note the Layer opacities were set at various amount depending on what looked right – you do not want to over saturate the image. Then just a little clean up to the sky area was done. Very simple process and quite lovely!
Image 2: In Lightroom just the Basic panel changes and some sharpening with the Adjustment Brush on the flower center. In Photoshop a bright pink Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer was added and set to Saturation blend mode to really bring out the colors in the background. Also in the Layer Style the Blend If This Layer black tab was split and set to 0/94 to add a little more lightening to the background. 2 Lil Owls Studio French Script Brushes 31 and 27 were added and the lines were painted off the leaves using a layer mask. Next a white Solid Color Adjustment Layer was added and set to Soft Light blend mode. I used a really rough brush I had created years ago to add a grainy feel to the whole image and painted with black into the layer mask of the fill adjustment. A Levels Adjustment Layer was added and the Output Levels was set to 30/255 to lighten up the image more. The last step involved adding Nik Viveza 2 to give the center a little sharpness and the edges just a little darkening vignette.
Image 3: I had to crop this image in quite a bit to get the look I wanted. Next Topaz (for website link see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) DeNoise 5 was set to an overall setting of 0.09. To get the fall look, a Selective Color Adjustment Layer was added and the Reds, Yellows, Greens, Neutrals and Blacks were adjusted to get colors I liked. The Camera Raw Filter was applied to get rid of some purple fringing I found while clean up the image – worked great! Nik Viveza 2 (my favorite plug-in) was applied and the flowers were sharpened and saturated with control points. Next the Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer was added using the color #e7e148 and a black mask – just the leaves, flowers and gold fence tips were painted enhanced. Set to Soft Light at 57% layer opacity. Next a Color Balance Adjustment Layer for the pinks in the image (same process as the Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer) and another Selective Color Adjustment Layer for just the Yellows were added. It sometimes takes a lot of little tweaks to get the image the way you like it.
Image 4: The image was created using a technique I discovered. French Kiss Collection Studio 3′s White Wash texture (my favorite of hers) was applied on top of a white background in a New Document. Next the texture’s layer style (double click on layer in Layers panel) was opened and a Pattern Overlay was added that used my original image that had been saved as a pattern (Edit -> Define Pattern) along with a Pattern Blend Mode of Vivid Light, Opacity 100%, and Scale 53%. The texture layer was set to 55% layer opacity. Next a composite (stamped) layer was created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and Topaz (for website link see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) ReStyle’s Tuscany Memories preset was applied (set Texture to 0.33 and Structure to -0.44). Back in Photoshop the Sketchy font was used with an Outer Glow (Opacity 27%, Spread 44%, and Size 62 px) and Drop Shadow (Opacity 41%, Distance 9 px and Size 4 px) Layer Style applied. The frame I had created used my free SJ WC Salt Brush set to 69 px on a blank layer clipped on top and painted around edge of a different image to get a nice effect. This layer was then saved as a PNG file to be used on other images, as in this case. The last step involved clipping the Solid Color Adjustment Layer with the cream color sampled from the image to the frame.
This week I am just adding a few little topics for a change and I hope you will find something useful in them. Enjoy!
The Trapeze Artist! Creating a Simple Painterly Border
I just had to post this little Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly hanging almost upside down in a breeze on one of my pink pentas – it was amazing to watch! This image was really cropped down tight in Lightroom to focus in on the butterfly. Her body, legs and antennae were sharpened using the Adjustment Brush. Besides the basic tone adjustments, a Lightroom preset I created from David duChemin’s older Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom book (still a great read) that I call “duChemin Classic India” preset was applied. It contains just the Split Toning Panel using these slider settings: Highlights Hue 50 and Saturation 60, and Shadows Hue 266 and Saturation 35. It creates a really nice soft feel and I have used it many times. I love the simple things! In Photoshop I added Isabella Lafrance’s Facebook overlay called Bedrock set to Hard Light blend mode at 100% layer opacity that can be downloaded under her Freebies tab. I think her overlays are some of the best around! In a Layer Mask, the butterfly was painted back to make it sharper.
Okay – I cheated when making the light pink painterly border (not the sharp edge border on the outside) and took the next few steps directly from Creative Live’s 30 Days with Dave Cross – Day 7 on Layer Masks that had been running around the clock. Love this website and love Dave Cross! This process is a very “simple to do” look. A composite layer was placed on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E). Next a New Layer was created and placed underneath the composite layer, then filled with white (Edit -> Fill -> White). A layer mask was added to the composite layer and inverted to black (CTRL+I inside mask). Now to create the border, I used a Stipple Brush set to 30% opacity at 100 pixels to create a first pass at the border – painted in white on the layer mask. Dave used a Chalk brush in his tutorial. Then a Mixer Brush was used to make interesting edges around the image. (I used Dave’s Mixer Brush setting of a Round Fan set to Load and Clean, and load was set to Wet 100%, Load 90%, Mix 60% and Flow 100%, and do not check Sample All Layers.) You could stop here, but I decided to add a Color Fill Layer in pink to create a pink effect in the border just made – the Layer Mask was copied from the composite layer by clicking on the mask, holding ALT, and dragging to the Color Fill layer mask. Next the Properties Panel was opened and the mask was inverted, and the Density set to 48%. A Levels Adjustment Layer was added on top to put a little contrast back into the image. The last step was another composite layer where I added my SJ Thin Double Edge Frame layer style for a second finishing frame – sampled from the image to get the pink and green colors. Dave’s border can get a really nice painterly feel This can be a very creative border process – it was easy and a lot of fun!
Creating a Vintage Image
While listening to a Creative Live rebroadcast (this is a great site to have running in the background when playing around in Photoshop – just click on their Watch tab and select a show), I created this image. This is not really a tip, but is an example of how to combine old images, clip art, text, and textures to get a unique, and rather in-vogue look. I am a big fan of The Old Design Shop and am constantly downloading so many of Julie’s vintage images – this is a real treasure site if you love vintage items which I do! For this image I actually started with a New Document set to 10 inch X 10 inch at 240 resolution and then added in the American Agriculturist magazine cover from November 1879. It was too nice an image not to do something with. (On her website just click on her image to make it bigger on your computer and then right click and select Save Image As to download.) I took this image into my new document. First selected the beige using Select -> Color Range (see my How to use the Color Range Command with CS4 Through CC 14.1 blog) and exited to show a selection. Changed the swatch to black as foreground color and added a new layer; then CTRL+Backspace to delete the beige in the clip art and set the layer to Color Burn blend mode. A brownish Color Fill Layer was clipped (ALT+click between the layers) to the turkey art. Erased some of the edges out. Next I brought in Clip Art flowers from Dover Floral Bouquets CD Rom clip art 029 as a jpg – went to the Color Range Command and Sampled the white setting the sliders to Fuzziness 200 and Range 4 and Localized Clusters checked. Back in Photoshop a Layer Mask was created and it looked kind of nice, so I left the dark square around the flower and left the lines white. A darker color was added using a darkish brown Color Fill Layer clipped to the flower layer. 2 Lil Owls Workbook Bonus Texture Set 17 was added as a background texture underneath the above layers. A New Layer was added directly above the texture and Brush Lovers 1st 2000 brush was used in upper left corner (not available anymore but any nice flower petal would work). Shadowhouse Creations Text Brush 9, which is a nice script, was used and set to 39% opacity. A Layer Mask was added and the text was removed from the cover magazine and clip art flower areas. A greenish Color Fill Layer was clipped to the text to make it green. A New Layer on top and Kim Klassen’s squiggle 2 brush was painted on top of magazine cover. Kim Klassen’s Cloth & Paper touch1 was used as an overlay on top and changed to a light peach color. The last step was a Levels Adjustment Layer. This was a lot of fun to create – almost like doodling in Photoshop! I am not sure you can go wrong with any creative approach to this.
Lightroom/ACR Hand Tinted Portrait
This is a very simple technique I first saw from a video called Adobe MAX: Expressive Painting in Photoshop that Jack Davis (Photoshop Hall of Famer and very creative artist besides being the Wow Book guy!) did for the Adobe Max 2013. He does a beautiful vintage image of his mother using this technique. It involves first taking a color image in Lightroom or ACR and turning it into a black and white, digitally or actually scanning an old image that is already in black and white. The trick is to select the Adjustment Brush and set the color swatch to a color, then paint in different areas of the image with new brushes using different color swatches. You do not have to be real exact with your colors – that creates some of the charm of the image. Jack basically does this hand-tinting in just a few minutes. Needless to say it took me a little longer – maybe 20 minutes. For Aliona’s picture, 8 different pins were created each with different colors and slider characteristics. Remember when using the Adjustment Brush sliders that the Exposure and Contrast sliders are equivalent to Luminance in the HSL tab, and the Color Swatch is your Hue and Saturation. By combining these settings, you should be able to get the exact colors you want. For Aliona’s eyes and lips, the Clarity and Highlights sliders were adjusted to get the look I needed. A light pink tone was used on her cheeks. The lips used a darker tone of pink. Also a Radial Filter was used to emphasize her face. That was basically it – turned out very beautiful and unique. Take a look at the video for some other great tips from Jack too!.
I hope you enjoyed my short little blogs post this week. It is fun to try some little techniques and see what you get! Now go have some fun!…..Digital Lady Syd
Aaron Nace had this wonderful little tip to go along with his ad for his Phlearn website (this site has gobs of Photoshop tips) on Creative Live‘s Photography Week in September 2013 . The technique uses a rather obscure command, Image ->Apply Image, to add color to the highlights and shadows of an image quickly, thus creating a very nice cross-processed effect.
The above shows a sculpture of a little girl knitting by a Florence sculptor named Ella Pollock Bidwell – probably my favorite piece at the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, Florida. (See my Tidbits Blog The Art Corner: Little Girl Knitting – A Mystery Sculpture! for more on her story.) This image started with the Apply Image Command workflow as described below, with some texture and other Topaz (see sidebar for website link at my Tidbits Blog) Restyle to finish it off. For setting details, see Image 1 at end of blog.
Since I love St. Augustine, Florida, I am going to make you suffer through some history since this fountain is so different. The following two images of the terracotta Turtle and Frog Fountain in the plaza area of Flagler College has a unique history. The Fountain was created to be a part of Henry Flagler’s Ponce de Leon Hotel back in 1890. According to Summer Bozeman’s St. Augustine Then and Now book, the Fountain “…. was necessary to aerate the sulphur-infused spring water before it could be pumped through the hotel’s pipes into the guest rooms. The Fountain also served as a sundial, with each frog representing each hour.” There are 12 frogs and 4 turtles on this fountain. The book has a charming sepia toned back cover image showing two little girls in white garb sitting by the fountain. The walkway forms a Celtic Cross and the center of the fountain looks like the hilt of a sword – that one took me a long time to see! If you go to St. Augustine, Florida, you have got to take a few minutes and check out this beautiful building and its architecture!
The above is an older image of the lovely turtle fountain with frogs in the background that was a hand-held 3 image HDR processed using the free Lightroom Photomatix Pro’s Merge to 32-bit HDR plugin, if you own the HDR program. (This way I can use the Develop module in Lightroom instead of using ACR in Photoshop which I find the interface more difficult to understand.) The resulting TIFF file was adjusted using Basic Panel sliders before taking into Photoshop where the magic happens!
Create a Cross Process Effect Using Apply Image
I am going to list the steps of this very easy workflow:
1. Open image.
2. Go to Layers -> New Fill Color -> Solid Color Layer (or click on the third icon at bottom of Layers Panel and select the top item – Solid Color). Select from the Color Swatch a color for the Shadows (in this case a teal color was used #0a4642). Set this layer to Color Blend Mode.
3. Duplicate the Solid Color Fill Layer and this time set the colors for the Highlights. (This time a light cream color was used #e5d8b3.)
4. Highlight the top Solid Fill’s Layer Mask and go to Image -> Apply Image. This time check the Invert checkbox. Voila! There are your Shadows with the color applied to the shadow areas in the Layer Mask and in your image.
5. Highlight the bottom Solid Fill’s Layer Mask and go to Image -> Apply Image and uncheck the Invert checkbox. Voila! There are your Highlights with the color applied to the highlights in the Layer Mask.
6. Adjust both the Solid Color Fill Layers opacity in the Layers Panel.
This workflow can create some beautiful results. See Image 2 for the specific details for the above image.
This image used the same technique as the one above, just different colors in the Color Fill Layers. I wanted to try and keep this image representing the terracotta color that is so prominent throughout the building. See Image 3 at end of blog for more details on image. I really love the slightly nostalgic look I got from this combination of colors. And you should be able to see what a different look you can get by varying the colors. This is a great technique and so easy!
I did spend quite a bit of time using one of the more traditional ways to use this command. Photoshop User TV – Episode 100 had a tutorial called Experimenting with the Apply Image Command, which goes through some steps for combining two images into an interesting combination or by just applying a certain blend mode to one channel only. Ben Wilmore also did a series on Creative Live and in his Photoshop Mastery: Ultimate Mastery he did a section Apply Image Command. I did not get good results with either, but I think with the correct images, it could create some good results. The way Aaron used this command is very creative and definitely an easy one to put into your Photoshop toolkit!…..Digital Lady Syd
Image 1: This image uses the same steps described below with Color Fill Color of bright yellow for the Highlights and red for the shadows. French Kiss Artiste Summer Garden texture was applied at 59% and then adding a layer Mask to bring back the girl. Nik Viveza 2 was used to sharpen the face area a little. I was having a hard time getting the look I really wanted when I decided to try Topaz ReStyle. I cannot say enough good things about this program if you need some creative spark! This time I used the Pale Beauty preset as a starting point, set the ReStyle tab to 74% opacity and set Texture Strength to 100%. Next in the Basic tab the Black Level was really opened up at 1.00 and Midtones slightly adjusted to -0.17. The whole section was set to Color blend mode inside Topaz. Out came this really soft look effect – just what I would think a little girl knitting would want.
Image 2: To finish up the first image a Levels Adjustment Layer was used to add a little tonal adjustment to just the Midtones (0.89). Next a composite (stamped) version of the image was created on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and it was converted to a Smart Object by right-clicking on the layer and selecting from menu. The Camera Raw Filter was opened and a Radial Filter was added to showcase the turtle in front. Nik Viveza 2 was used to add just a little more detail to the turtle’s face. Some dodging and burning was done to the front turtle using my The Best Dodging and Burning Technique blog.
Image 3: So the Highlights were set to an orange and the shadows to a blue. Alien Skin Snap Art 3 using the Factory Default as a starting point was used on this image next – this time the Photorealism slider was placed all the to the right so it does not look so painterly, just a little. The fountain was painted back lightly in a Layer Mask. A Curves Adjustment Layer was used to create a slightly darkening feel the outside edges by dragging the far right top dot straight down to Output 145. Then I painted back the center to make sure it was not too dark and set the layer opacity to 81%.
I have to admit that I had no idea what a gobo effect was until I saw Mark S. Johnson’s nice tutorial on Planet Hollywood called Using Photoshop to Create Digital Lighting that goes step-by-step on how to create this lovely lighting effect. Mark is the creator of the fabulous Photoshop Workbench videos (also see his Workbench 398 – Digital Gobos for a video of the same effect) that can be accessed at his website – I have learned so many Photoshop tips from these workbenches over the years. Since this effect seemed so striking, I just had to try it for myself and found out it was not that hard to create. Mark gives really straight forward steps and I had never heard of the CTRL+ALT+T keyboard shortcut to copy and open Free Transform at the same time, much less CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+T to repeat the last transformation. Major cool stuff here!
So what is Gobo Lighting? Wikipedia explains that Gobo means “goes between optics” – a piece of metal with patterned holes through which light passes is placed in a beam of light to allow only the desired “shape” or pattern through, while blocking the rest of the light, casting a specific shadow/light into the space. When created in Photoshop, the resulting png file looks like an overlay with a specific design in it. It is a great way to add a little interest to a flat background. I see it used a lot with portraits, like in my bottom photo.
The image above was one I created basically using two textures, a flower object, and the 6-pane gobo created using Mark’s tutorial. Painted Textures beautiful Mountain Range texture was used as a bottom layer, and Kim Klassen‘s July Trio Red texture was placed above it and set to the Hue blend mode at 100% layer opacity. The Zinnia flower is one I had selected from another image so I just dragged it over into this one as a layer. Followed Mark’s video to create the 6-paned Gobo window light as a Smart Object. The Gaussian Blur Radius was set to 40 pixels in this case. When the lighting effect was transformed and placed correctly, a composite (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) layer was created and turned into another Smart Object. Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 was applied to this layer using the Monday Morning filter set to Sepia, Midnight filter set to Neutral Color Set, and Image Border Type 12. The Gobo window lighting layer was saved as a separate file PNG so it could be used in other images again, like the one below.
I decided to help you out with these steps. I have posted a free download of my two Gobo png files for your use up on Deviant Art. Enjoy!
Here is an example where the same Gobo effect created above was moved into this image and instead of it acting as a light window, it was reversed so that the inner frame is light and the window enhances the background colors. To do this, the png Gobo file created above was moved on top of this image. Using Free Transform (CTRL+T), it was adjusted so it lines up as a horizontal window across the image. Then a Color Fill Layer filled with black was clipped (ALT+click between the layers to clip) to the Gobo layer so it turned the panes black instead of white. You could make this color fill any color you wanted to get a nice creative feel. A Gradient Fill Layer was added on top with the cream foreground color to transparent gradient and set to 66% layer opacity to get a nice soft bright look. 2 Lil’ Owls Studio’s The Artisan Collection Big Set 2-texture 5 was placed on top and set to Soft Light blend mode. Nik Viveza 2 was used to sharpen the center of the flower. Jack Davis‘s Wow Texture 02 Layer Style was added on top to give a little more texture feel to the image. This is “an oldie but goodie” layer style from a book I bought years ago called “Adobe Photoshop 7 One-Click Wow!” by Jack Davis and Linnea Dayton.
This image was taken by Premiere Model Management as a JPEG. My daughter-in-law’s wonderful image was first adjusted in Lightroom and an Adjustment Brush was used on her eyes and eyelashes before bringing into Photoshop. Topaz Black & White Effect Platinum IV was applied to get the beautiful color. I created a shuttered looking Gobo to add some interest to the plain background. Used the same technique Mark used except made it a double-pane, 18 horizontal lines down. In this case, a Gaussian Blur filter was not needed.
For some great Gobo effects that can be bought, check out Layer Cakes Collections Window Gobos. They really have created some interesting gobo overlays that I think would look great on all kinds of images. This is a fun effect and can add some unique or subtle interest to a plain image.
Thanks Mark for finding this one – really nice!…..Digital Lady Syd
I have not often discussed using the Color Range Command to make selections, but I do use it all the time! This blog is a pretty long explanation, but maybe it will help you understand what is happening next time you need it. I have always found its dialog box a little bit confusing. It was updated in Photoshop CS4, and then a big update was done in Photoshop CC recently. So I will go over both versions. Richard Curtis, who wrote a great blog called Photoshop 14.1 Update – Color Range Enhancements and Micro Contrast, explains the new features. Color Range always has had the ability to find Highlights, Shadows and Midtones, but the results were based on fixed values. With the CC update, you can now select a range of tones for each as Adobe now provides Fuzziness and Range sliders for fine-tuning (but no eyedropper sampling yet). This is a major improvement, although I still was able to create a very nice berry image as shown below using the CS6 Highlights in the Select drop-down menu.
The image above of is of Iao Valley in Maui, Hawaii (see Battle of Kepaniwai link for the significance of this area), and is an example of Richard’s use of his Micro Contrast technique (see Micro Contrast section below for more info and a screenshot) which added contrast to the distant trees on the far hillside. To really understand how to use the Color Range no matter what version you are using, I would recommend taking time playing with the sliders on a test image to try out the different settings – it is much easier to understand. And note that what you are creating is a selection, so all the other selection tools will work with it for adding to or taking away from the selection (like the Quick Selection Tool, the Lasso Tool, etc.) Just be sure to use the SHIFT key to add to a selection or ALT key to take away from a selection when switching to different methods. And the Quick Mask Tool works good with this command also!
Dialog Box Definitions
For all versions, go to Select -> Color Range. There is only one level of Undo in the Color Range Command. (Just for your information, if you are in a Layer Mask with the Properties tab open, a bad option is to click on the Color Range button in the panel in CS6. It has been reported this can cause Photoshop to act a little erratic and may even crash the program. I have not had a chance to fully try this out – so just be aware there might be a problem. It seems to work fine with CC as far as I can tell and I used it without a problem for my berry image using CC.) The dialog box should open with these options available:
- CS4 Through CC
Select: Default is set to Sampled Colors – check out the drop down menu (click downward arrow) to see if one of the other choices might work, but they have very limited capability with grayed out slider controls or eyedroppers as compared to the Sampled Colors choice, except in CC. To turn the Cancel button into a Reset button to set sliders to default settings, press the ALT Key and the Reset button. Very handy! To reset in CC use SHIFT+ALT keys. Note CS6 and CC also have a choice for Skin Tone that can be selected. See Detect Faces section below for more info. When selecting a Color in this field, I noticed that the Eyedropper will let you click on the image and does nothing, but it sets down a Color Sample point – to get rid of this, just highlight it with your mouse and drag it off the image. I also just found this nice tip in the free 798-page PDF download called Adobe Photoshop Help and tutorials. Here is a quote from their section on Color Range using a color in the drop-down: “To refine an existing selection, use the Color Range command repeatedly to select a subset of colors. For example, to select the green areas in a cyan selection, select Cyans in the Color Range dialog box, and click OK. Then reopen the Color Range dialog box, and select Greens. (The results are subtle because this technique selects parts of colors within a color mix.)” Also you may get this notice: “No pixels are more than 50% selected, The selection border will not be visible.” If so, the color chosen in the drop-down field does not contain any of that color’s hues with a high enough saturation to select.
Fuzziness: Martin Evening explains this best in his Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers book by saying it “….adjust(s) the tolerance of the selection, which increases and decreases the number of pixels that are selected based on how similar the pixels are in color to the already sampled pixels.” Its default is 40 similar to the 32 Tolerance default for the Magic Wand – same principle in place here. While the Magic Wand selects more solid pixels as you increase the Tolerance number, the Fuzziness Slider selects more transparent pixels which leaves edges softer. Think of the Fuzziness Slider as a feather slider – just not as dramatic as the other Feather options. That is the major difference between the tools. (Thank you Lesa Snider, from her Photoshop CS6, the Missing Manual, one my favorite reference book). Lesa recommends setting this fairly low to begin with. In CC the default is 142.
Range: Adjusts the range of colors selected. This slider works with the Localized Color Clusters and will be grayed out if the the Localized Color Clusters checkbox is not checked.
Localized Color Clusters: When checked, the Range slider will be set to 100%, default setting, and looks across the entire image. To quote Martin Evening again , “….the Range slider lets you determine which pixels are to be included based on how far or near a color is from the sample points that are in the selection.” If Localized Color Clusters is unchecked, the Range slider is grayed out and cannot be adjusted. This feature allows you to isolate just part of an image. This is useful if you have two objects with the same color, and you only want one of them selected – just reduce the Range slider so that only one is selected.
Radio Buttons: Set to Selection. You can go between them while selecting to see the original image in preview pane. Since the pane is so tiny, I do not do use the Image button often.
Selection Preview: Many people leave this set to None as they find it distracting. Personally I like to see the selection on the image so I set it to Grayscale – this helps me tweak my edges since this is important for the texture selection and you can see the effect of the Fuzziness slider. This shows what the selection would like if applied to a Layer Mask.
Eyedroppers: To select, just click with the left eyedropper anywhere in your image that you want to select. SHIFT+click will add to the selection or click the Eyedropper with the plus sign and use ALT+click to delete or the Eyedropper with the minus sign. TIP: Can SHIFT+drag in your image to increase selection size quickly. You can also click inside the preview box if needed. Notice that when you click with the Eyedropper, the Foreground color in the Toolbar swatch changes to the sampled color.
Invert Checkbox: Remember White reveals (this is your selected area) and Black conceals. If it is easier to select what you do not want, go ahead and then check the Invert box. I do this a lot. Pixels that are partially selected will appear gray.
- CS6 and CC
Detect Faces Checkbox: For CS6 and CC users, this option is available. It helps make quick selections of faces so you can adjust just that part of an image or protect that part of the image in a layer mask. When using the Skin Tones in the Select field, it does not do a good job on all ethnicities. The Detect Faces Checkbox will become available if Skin Tones is selected. Lesa Snyder says it works only on a limited number of images – it tends to select anything in the image with the face colors present.
- CC Only
Select: (These are all notes and settings from Richard Curtis’s Blog from above who gave great examples. Watch the short video to really understand what I am repeating here.)
Highlights – Small Fuzziness value (like 20 for a 20% feather) keeps the selection tight with a Range of 190 (all pixel values of 190 thru 255 are selected just like on a Histogram or in Curves and Levels). These are the default settings. Change Range to 250 and it narrows the overall selection for Highlights. Set Fuzziness value to something like 80 (80% feather) and Range to 250 – the results of the feather start to include other tones. The Fuzziness slider gradually fans out the selection.
Midtones – Has two tabs that can be set. The default settings (area between the two tabs will be selected) for the Range black tab is 105 and white tab is 140 and the Fuzziness slider set to 40. Set black tab to 120 and white tab to 130 for a very narrow long blended selection. Change Fuzziness to 10 and the feather is restricted to 10% thus reducing the selection.
Shadows – Works like the Highlights sliders except Range selects lower values – for example a setting of 20 selects all pixel values between 0 and 20 for the selection. Default settings for Range is 65 and Fuzziness is 65.
Can save the settings as presets and use them in actions and scripts. Legacy default values are obtained by SHIFT+ALT and the Cancel button turns into a Reset button. For more info on the new update on this tool for CC, check out another Adobe free PDF download called Adobe Photoshop CC 14.1 update.
CS6 Color Range Example
One of the best uses of Color Range Selections is for creating a detailed Layer Mask. For this image done completely in CS6, I decided I wanted to use a texture in the background instead of the out-of-focus background. The first step was to decide what you want to select – what you want to delete or what you want to keep. It was easy to select the whites – just went to Select field and choose Highlights. See Screenshot below – the sliders are grayed out.
On a duplicated background layer, a Layer Mask was selected which added this selection to it. Now the Highlights (whites) are in the Layer Mask. Next the background layer was duplicated moved on top of the layers. Once again the Color Range Command was opened and this time a Sampled Color was used – browns and greens on the berries and branches were selected using the eyedroppers. It was not inverted since I wanted these items selected – it seemed easier than trying to select all the greens in the background. It really does not matter how you select, it can always be inverted once added – just click CTRL+I inside on the highlighted mask or go to the Properties Panel and click Invert button. The screenshot below shows what the second Color Range dialog looked like with the sliders working when using Sampled Colors.
In Photoshop the top two layers with the layer masks were highlighted by shift clicking the layers. Right click and choose Merge Layers – the layer masks are applied and the layers are combined. See Screenshot 3 below with the bottom background layer turned off.
This gives results that look a little messy, but can be cleaned up really easily by adding a Layer Mask or using the Eraser brush on the obvious areas. Now textures can be added below or above or both (which I did with this image using French Kiss’s Atelier MayDay texture twice, once set to Normal blend mode underneath and Divide blend mode at 44% above). Some clean up was done. To get the pretty colors in the texture, Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) ReStyle plug-in was set to the Mongoose and Nutmeg preset with a few adjustments.
Photoshop CC Color Range Example
I am using the same image so you can see the differences between the dialog boxes and some of the results. This time I used a little technique that I learned from Deke McClelland, another one of my favorite Photoshop gurus, on using the Properties Color Range button from some videos he did at Lynda.com called Photoshop Masking and Compositing Fundamentals.
To create this image, I duplicated the layer and added a Brightness and Contrast Adjustment Layer. It was set to Screen blend mode and used the settings Deke used, Brightness -125 and Contrast +100. Select the Layer Mask and go the Properties Panel where there is a Color Range Button. By clicking on it, the Color Range Command dialog comes up. In this case the new Highlights were chosen and the selection appears immediately in the layer mask of the adjustment layer. Pretty cool and quick! This was done again with different slider values using a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer.
Next one of 2 Lil Owls Workbook Bonus Texture Set 13 was added underneath the duplicated berry image. A layer mask was added to the berry layer to remove some areas that did not come completely out of the image since the green leaves in the background and the green leaves on the branches were very close in color, but overall it came out pretty clean and it was fast to clean up the Layer Mask. To get the final illustrative look, Topaz’s Black and White Effects was applied – this is a preset I created a long time ago that just works sometimes. This plug-in is simply fabulous for giving a different feel to an image.
Micro Contrast Technique
The top image is a good example of how selecting the Shadows in the new CC update can really add incredible contrast to an image. I followed Richard’s steps in his video and was able to get a really great image from a pretty flat one. By first over-sharpening the image in Lightroom, then selecting the Shadows in the new Color Range Command in Photoshop, and lastly adding a Selective Color Adjustment Layer, the image got the extra contrast it needed to make all the little trees on the hillside show up. This is a really great way to improve your landscape images! The screenshot below shows a comparison of before and after adding the Micro Contrast. Just an OnOne PhotoFrame was added to finish up the image – no Sharpening or Curves Adjustment Layers.
It is definitely worth the time to learn how to use this selecting method. Once you have applied a selection to a layer mask and see how it can be tweaked, it will be one of your favorite Photoshop Tools. The Micro Contrast technique is something that can be quite useful on the right images. Hopefully this info will help you out if you get stuck. Enjoy!…..Digital Lady Syd
Last week I did a blog on the “retro” effect (see How to Add a Little Retro to Your Shots) and was going to include this image – it really fits the scope of that blog. But then I wanted to go over how easy it is to create a panorama like this. Now Photoshop has the Adaptive Wide Angle Filter which helps get rid of all the distortion that used to be a big problem. I will say that this is a destructive process, unless you want to make a massive file by creating a composite or stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top to do more processing.
Basic Panorama Workflow
1. Need to take several overlapping shots to use for your panorama. Since this can be a very complicated process, I am not going into details on how to shoot a panorama. Just be sure to overlap 1/3 of the image as you take the shots. One quick tip – if you know you are going to take a pano, first take a picture of your finger to show the beginning of the images used, and the palm of your hand for the end. Now they are easy to find and put together.
2. Next the images need to be lined up and stacked using one of these three ways:
- After selecting your images in the Library module in Lightroom, right click Edit In -> Merge to Panorama in Photoshop – it now pops into Photoshop and the dialog opens.
- If using Bridge, select you images by CTRL+clicking on each and go to Tools -> Photoshop -> PhotoMerge which open up the dialog box.
- If starting in Photoshop, go to File -> Automate -> Panorama where you select the images in the dialog box that opens up.
3. Usually the default Auto setting works but if it looks funny, just do Step 2 over and choose another one – I have used Reposition at times.
4. At this point the layers are all Merged Down in Photoshop – do not use Flatten or you lose the transparent areas. Now there is just one large layer with some transparent parts.
5. My experience says to do this step next, although it can be done after Step 7. Go to Filters -> Adaptive Wide Angle Filter and select Auto and the top left Constraint Tool. In most cases you will be straightening a landscape horizon so drag a line as far as you can across the horizon, then still holding mouse down, press the SHIFT button to make horizon perfectly straight (horizontal). Do this again from the middle of image to other end if you need to adjust both sides of image. If lines look bent, drag down without holding SHIFT. This feature is available in Photoshop CS6 and CC. If you need a vertical line up, do same thing but drag down holding the SHIFT button.
6. Want to select the checkerboard to fill in. Double-click on the layer thumbnail to select the image. With selection still active, go the Select -> Modify -> Contract and set to 2 pixels – this blends the semi-transparent pixels on the edge. Then go to Select -> Inverse so the Checkerboard areas are now selected.
7. With the checkerboard selection still active, go to Edit -> Fill and select Use: Content-Aware and OK. The area will be filled with very similar looking pixels as in the edges.
8. Crop image the way you want – do not have to crop too close – want the image to be balanced. Can always use Content-Aware Fill again.
9. The last step is to clean up any areas that did not match up great in Step 7. The image can now be processed as any image.
The panorama of the Flagler Beach Fishing Pier above was created by, believe-it-or-not, hand-holding in a pretty stiff breeze. All I did was select the seven best images in Lightroom and followed the above workflow. I felt like the sky looked really flat so I added two New Layers, one using my SJ Clouds 1 brush at 4734 pixels and 92% layer opacity and the other using my SJ Clouds 8 brush flipped at 5000 pixels at 64% layer opacity. (Download my set of 12 free Cloud brushes here.) Be sure to try out the cloud brushes to make sure the clouds have the same highlights or it looks terrible – that is why in the brush palette the one cloud brush was flipped by checking Flip X in the Brush Tip Section. Now the image looked nice, but no retro feel. I keep going back to these two filters – they work so well together for this effect. Alien Skin’s Snap Art 3 was applied and the Oil Paint (dry brush) preset where Saturation was increased in the Color tab to 42. A Layer was brushed in over the pier and people that maxed out the Photorealism slider so it has lots of good details. Another layer was placed on the foreground and waves that had much less Photorealism. The last step used Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) ReStyle’s Peppermint Gray preset to set the colors for the real retro feel I was after. The whole layer was set to 83% layer opacity and the image was complete. I loved how the detail is perfect in the image and yet the clouds look perfectly painted. I think this definitely captures Flagler Beach!
This image of Pololu Valley on the Big Island in Hawaii was created from 5-images. The above workflow was used and the Reposition setting (which just lines up the layers – no stretching or skewing) was used in the Photomerge dialog box. Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 stacked these filters: Darken/Lighten Center, Brilliance/Warmth, Tonal Contrast, Dark Contrast, Film Efex Vintage 14, Graduated Filter, and Image Border. Topaz ReStyle’s preset Tangerine Gauze was applied to a composite layer created on top. These settings were changed: Hue Fifth -0.11, and Texture Strength 0.45, Tone Black 0.06, Midtones -0.09, and White Level 0.09, and Detail Sharpness 0.06. In Photoshop a black layer mask was added and with a white soft low opacity brush, the clouds and parts of the valley were painted back. That is all that was done and I love the results!
This last pano image of some shops at Flagler Beach was just a little experiment I tried. I really was not trying to connect these two images, but did it anyway and got a pretty nice result. I have to admit the sky was a little crazy that day, but overall it gives a nice pleasing, still a little retro like from last week’s blog, look and it was fun to do. The workflow above was all I did to get the nice pano result. Topaz Adjust 5′s French Countryside preset was applied (my favorite preset in Adjust), and then a Color Balance Adjustment Layer to add a little more Cyan to the sky. The layer mask was filled with black and just the sky painted back. Then my favorite plug-in Nik Viveza 2 fills in all the shadows, color imperfections, sharpness and vignetting to make this image pop! It is unbelievable what this plug-in can do! The last step involved adding another one of my favorites again, Topaz Adjust using HDR Light Pop Smooth preset. Once again, a couple images I was not too excited about turned into a nice memory of the Flagler Beach area.
Photoshop is really an amazing piece of software and if you know a few of the tricks, the results can be quite spectacular. The Panorama function is very good, especially for the type of work I do. And it is not that hard to work with – my computer can handle the activity as long as I don’t load up too many images! Now that the Adaptive Wide Angle Filter is available, a very realistic image can be accomplished in just minutes. By following along with the workflow, you should get a nice result, even with hand-held shots like above, using this fabulous little sub-program in Photoshop. Give it a try!…..Digital Lady Syd
This week I decided to combine a little Flagler Beach in Florida with a little Lightroom and Photoshop. Got a chance to get down to the beach recently on a beautiful day. This little beach is about as laid-back and what I call “retro” as you will ever find in the US. I just love this place! The retro effect seems to be very trendy right now in photography processing. When I think of what is retro vs. an old photo look, I believe that a retro look is what you personally remember or think something would have looked like when you were younger, not just adding some effects to make something look old. All the images in this blog have my personal retro stamp on them – they were pretty good to begin with, which always helps when post-processing your photos. The colors and softness are what I added to get my personal retro affect.
Create a Lightroom Preset For a Vintage Feel
The above may be one of my favorite recent photos. What a wonderful place to spend a sunny day and this family epitomizes what I think of as a great beach day, now or when I was younger! I was really happy to be able to get this nice effect from a Lightroom preset. First I downloaded a preset from Allen Mowery’s Photography Site’s blog entry called Allen’s Vintage Retro – A Free Lightroom Preset. His work is really interesting. Then in Photoshop I further tweaked it to make it mine and saved it as a new preset. The Luminance and Saturation sliders and Split Toning Colors adjustments from Allen’s preset gives this image a great feel. I added Basic slider adjustments along with a Tone Curve adjustment on the RGB channel by creating points on the curve and dragging to get a softer look. (Here are all my Lightroom preset settings if you would like to create it: Basic Panel Highlights -100, Shadows +45, Whites -53, Blacks +25, Clarity -27, Vibrance -2, and Saturation +39; Tone Curve RGB Channel Points at 19.6/27.8% and 52.5/56.9%; HSL Saturation Red -42 and Blue -83 – all others 0, and Luminance Red +25, Orange +19, and Yellow +21; and Split Toning Highlights 64, Saturation 56, Balance -54, Shadows Hue 229 and Saturation 23.) In Photoshop the image was duplicated and Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for link) Clarity’s Micro Contrast Boost preset was applied. In Photoshop a black Layer Mask was created and just the water area and a little of the people were painted in to get just a little more detail. A Levels Adjustment Layer was added using these settings: (27/0.70/255 and Output Levels 23/255). That was it! A very magical Summer Beach Scene!
This pirate stands watch at the doorway to Bahama Mama’s Tropical Gift shop a block off the beach. Looks like a cute place. Very little was done to this image after some cropping. In Lightroom three presets were applied – each one affected different sliders so three can be applied to get this look. An HDR Split Tone preset I had created a while back (Highlights Hue 52/Sat 64; Balance +49; Shadows Hue 215/Sat 50), Jared Platt‘s Sharpen Sharper preset which is just an Amount of 50, Radius of 1.0 and Detail 25 – pretty much the default; and Dave Delnea Backlight Horizontal Right preset which uses a bunch of different settings to get this effect (I just bought his presets and am using them a lot). In Photoshop Nik Viveza 2 was used – three control points on the pirate to draw focus. A Levels Adjustment Layer was added and the Output Levels was set to 18/255. The last step used Topaz Clarity’s Flowers III preset. I think it has a really vintage feel to it.
Using Photoshop Filter Add-on Plug-ins
Had to give this colorful surf shop image a bit of a retro feel – love the dogs, but maybe the tattoos give away how current this image is! (See Sullys Surf Shop Facebook link.) Only a few changes were done in Lightroom – just Lens Correction, Cropping, Auto Tone and Clarity applied. In Photoshop the image was turned into a Smart Object and taken into Alien Skin’s Snap Art and Oil Paint (Landscape – Soft) preset was applied. This filter can give a really nice vintage feel to an image. Two layers were created to bring back more of the photo effects on the people and dogs and the painted flowers on the building. A Layer Mask was added and with a large soft black brush set to 12% brush opacity, the details were further painted back. On a composite layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top, Jack Davis’ Wow Edges 01 was applied for a frame effect – it is basically a soft edge created by using a white Inner Shadow but I love Jack’s Layer Styles, even if they have been around a long time. That was it and it sure looks like a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning at the beach!
Just another example of using filters on an image to get a really nostalgic look – this time it’s the Flagler Beach Fishing Pier (the same one at the top of my Flickr site). The shot was a three-image, and the tone-mapped HDR tiff file was processed using Nik HDR Pro Deep 1 preset. On a duplicate layer Topaz ReStyle was applied using Teal Skies and Setting Skies color preset. Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was used and Monday Morning filter set to Color Set Sepia and White Neutralizer was applied. A Levels Adjustment Layer was used next with the Output Levels set to 14/255 to get a slightly hazy look. A Color Balance Adjustment Layer was next selected and Shadows Yellow to Blue was set to +14 and Highlights Yellow to Blue -50. A Curves Adjustment Layer was used next and the curve was pulled up to get a slightly over-exposed look. Because grain was added to this image in the HDR preset, it has a very vintage feel.
This beach image uses very similar processing as the one above, except there was a lot more processing done in Lightroom first. Once again three images were stacked to get a 32-bit tonemapped image (using Photomatix Pro’s owners free add-on for Lightroom Merge to 32-bit HDR). Then I set all the Saturation sliders to -100 and slowly started adding in the colors the way I liked them. The Hues and Luminance sliders were also tweaked to get the colors right. An Adjustment Brush was opened just the water was selected – then the Tint, Exposure, Contrast, Shadows, Clarity, and Saturation sliders were changed. The Color was changed to a turquoise color. Another Adjustment Brush was opened and just the people were painted. This time the Contrast, Highlights, Clarity and Sharpness sliders were reduced, and the Shadows increased to soften the people. Jack Davis’s Bluish Split Toning Curve was selected in the Tone Curve drop-down, and Dave Delnea’s Backlight Horizontal Left was used to brighten up the image. At this point the image looked pretty good, but in Photoshop Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was opened to add grain to the image. Jared Platt says they have the very best grain filter. So the Film Grain Filter was applied along with the one of my very favorite filters in CEP4-Monday Morning using the Neutral Color Set and the filter set to 55% opacity. That really made the image look the way I wanted it to look.
This image has a combination Lightroom preset and Photoshop plug-in to get this look. The more greenish aqua sky is one characteristic I think of when creating retro effects. Dave Delnea’s Lightroom preset Washed Vintage 01 and Backlight Vertical Right presets were used to get this beautiful color and lighting on the image. Then in Photoshop, Snap Art 3′s Oil Paint (dry brush) was once again used to get a painterly look. Three layers were used to bring in details more clearly. On a layer mask in Photoshop, more was softly painted out in a layer mask so you can see the chairs and windows more clearly. A Levels Adjustment Layer was used to add some Midtone contrast and that was it! I could see myself living on the beach in this house!
I am finding that if I try out different combinations of colors and my filters, I can get a nice nostalgic feel to an image. I especially like the new Lightroom presets I got from Dave Delnea and Topaz ReStyle, Nik Color Efex Pro’s Film Grain and Monday Morning filters, and some types of media in Alien Skin’s Snap Art 3 can turn an image into a very retro feel with just a few clicks. I really enjoyed creating a personal interpretation of what is my “retro” look……Digital Lady Syd