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!
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
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 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
The above image is a modeling shot taken of my daughter-in-law with Painted Textures beautiful Seafoam texture added above. The first tip below was used to apply the texture. This week I thought I would pass on a couple painting tricks I am currently using. (See Image 1 in Image Notes at end of blog for more info.)
Creating a Nice Simple Brush for Painting Out Textures
These were fairly good-sized mushrooms that popped up in my yard this week – had to take a picture of them as the natural texture of the mushrooms was so pretty. (See Image 2 in Image Notes at end of blog for details and resource info.) Painted Textures Christmas texture was added and on a layer mask, the mushrooms were painted back using a very simple brush – Photoshop’s Chalk Brush 60 with the Shape Dynamics Angle Jitter set to 19% and a brush opacity of 30% – I use this brush all the time to add a painterly edge to textures. By changing the Angle Jitter setting just a little, a different looking stroke is laid down each time. Use this brush at different sizes and opacities (I often start at 12% opacity) to get the effect you like. It has a little bit of a watercolor brush look to it, but build up the effect by painting over the areas several times. It really works great for painting out textures in masks. It works very well for creating the frames that many of the painted-looking images require.
Clipping a Texture to a Border for Extra Effect!
This may be one of my favorite images that was just a quick snap taken on my porch. It has an autumn Victorian feel to it! What was done with this image to get this look? Lightroom and Alien Skin’s Snap Art 3 created the painterly effect. (See Image 3 in Image Notes at end of blog for details.) What I discovered is that you can actually clip a texture to the frame (ALT+click between layers to clip the top texture layer to the frame below) to get some very interesting textures applied to them. In this case Kim Klassen‘s July Set Rue texture (if you are not on her newsletter list, get on it to receive beautiful free textures like this one) was clipped to the frame to give the vintage feel to the whole image. You can try any of your favorite textures.
Saving a Border You Created
Remember you can always save any borders you create by selecting just the border layer. Turn off all the other layers by ALT+clicking on the border eyeball and go to File -> Scripts -> Export Layers to File and select the PNG-24 default settings. Click Run button and Voila! you can drag it into any image you are working on as a border. In the case above, a frame was created using my free SJ WC Salt Water Brush. Then just clip a texture to it (as described in section above) and adjust the layer opacity of the clipped texture (and don’t forget to try different blending modes too). For more information and a visual of the PNG dialog box, check out my How To Make Frames or Borders blog.
Add Blend If Sliders to Textures for Extra Texture
This large Barking Tree Frog that fell out of my Palm Tree while it was being trimmed was very patient while I photographed him. It only lasted a few minutes, but he was very still for me – I love his little hands. This is the same frog that was in my Viveza 2 Does It Again! Tidbits Blog. Three of Kim Klassen’s textures were added and the Blend If sliders were applied to her textures to get the above effect. The combined Blend If slider adjustments give that sort of spotty grungy look that I liked for the nature image. (For details on which textures and settings see under Image Notes – Image 3 at end of blog.) I covered these sliders in a previous blog, but this image shows more exact results of what the Blend If sliders can create. (See my How to Use Those Handy Blend-If Sliders! blog link.) One important thing to watch out for is a color shift if a Stamped (or Composite layer) is created on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) – just set the Fill (not Layer Opacity) to 0% and it will work fine.
Using a Pattern Overlay Layer Style to Add a Texture Effect to a Border
These large Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies love my yellow and bright pink Lantana flowers in my front yard. This girl had her eye on me – my camera makes those little click sounds and some of the butterflies are disturbed by this – but it did not stop her from what she was doing. All the techniques described in this blog were used in some way on this image border. Another way to add texture to your border layer is to use a Pattern Overlay Layer Style (just double click in the layer to the right of the thumbnail to open up) – then by clicking on the words Pattern Overlay (the check box does not open up the dialog info for it), a pattern can be selected in the drop-down menu. , The pattern can be moved around by dragging the mouse in the image and moving the texture, and blend modes, scale, and texture opacity can also be adjusted.
The border above was created in white on its own layer using pastel brush settings in the Image 5 notes below. A bright pattern was stretched to 852%, which is okay since it is just for a little bit of border color (normally this is way too high and the pattern is greatly degraded unless it is a very high resolution pattern). A bright yellow-green texture was added on top and the Blend If tabs were adjusted to slightly break down the edges to give more texture in the border – these settings are also listed below. Check out my short More Border Fun! blog for another example on how to do this.
Converting a Texture or Image to a Pattern
This concept can be a little confusing since Photoshop seems to use the word texture and pattern interchangeably. Basically the way I see it is that a texture is usually in a JPEG or PSD format while you must use a special extension, PAT, to use the Photoshop Pattern items. This includes using the Pattern Stamp Tool, Pattern Fill Layer, Content Aware Fill Pattern, and Pattern Overlay Layer Style. Note that any texture or image can be easily converted into a pattern by opening up the texture in Photoshop, go to Edit -> Define Pattern. A dialog opens up and the texture or image name appears in the Name field. Now when you open up the Pattern drop down list, it appears at the end.
I hope some of this info will help you with your basic texturizing and painting of an image. They are really simple tips that can be big time-savers. Have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd
Image 1: This image was taken by Premiere Model Management as a JPEG. My daughter-in-law’s beautiful image was first adjusted in Lightroom and an Adjustment Brush was used on her eyes, eyelashes and eyebrows before bringing into Photoshop. Painted Texture’s beautiful Seafoam texture was added and a layer mask was added where the Chalk brush was used to hide and reveal the image underneath using different brush opaciites. In the Layer Styles Blend If section, the Underlying Layer black tab was split and set to 5/17 which brought out the jean outline nicely. A composite layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created on top and made into a Smart Object. The Camera Raw filter was opened and the image was adjusted to correct her skin tone with the texture around it. A Levels Adjustment Layer was added on top to add back just a little bit of contrast into the image, and her face was painted back so the effect was not on her skin.
Image 2: Took a 3-shot HDR and selected PhotoMatix Pro’s Merge to 32-Bit HDR to create a Tiff in Lightroom before adjusting the Basic Panel sliders. I bought some really beautiful Lightroom presets at Craft and Vision by Dave Delnea and applied his Washed Tropics Look3 preset – I really like his photography style too. (Craft and Vision is one of my favorite places to get interesting and inexpensive E-books and was created by one of my favorite photographers David duChemin.) In Photoshop just did a little clean up removing a strand of grass. Next Nik’s Viveza 2 was opened and a control point was added to each mushroom to add a little structure and adjust the tone. The last step involved adding Melissa Gallo’s Painted Textures Christmas texture. As noted above, a layer mask was added to the texture and the Chalk brush was used to add in the painterly border. In the Layer Style the This Layer white tab was split (ALT+click on tab to split) and set to 48/173. I really love what the texture did to bring out the color in the mushrooms!
Image 3: First in Lightroom I used my old SJ Vivid Drawing Look preset – still works pretty good when converted to Lightroom 4 and 5 settings. In Photoshop Alien Skin’s Snap Art 3 was opened up and the Watercolor Abstract preset was applied using Cold Press Paper in the settings. Three layer effects were used to add back some Photorealism to the flowers and clouds in the background. Different brushes were used on each layer so experiment with this when you set up the layers. Back in Photoshop the next step was to create a stamped layer on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and Topaz (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) ReStyle was opened where the Cream and Plum preset was selected. Settings were: Color Style Sat – Primary -0.30 and Fourth 0.44, and Lum Primary set to -0.37; Texture Strength -1.00. In Basic Section, Color Temperature set to 0.36 and Saturation -0.11, Tone Midtones to -0.14, and Detail Sharpness 1.00. This preset brought the nice fall colors. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added to increase contrast. On a New Layer a border effect was created around the image by using my SJ WC Salt Water Brush painting in white.
Image 4: This time I added Topaz Clarity to the image using the Morning Dew preset and then I popped into Topaz ReStyle, their new plug-in, and changed the color to more of a greenish-brown color scheme. Started with Gable Green and Gandis. Changed these settings: Color Style: Sat – Primary 0.75 and Fifth -0.30; and Lum – Primary -0.31, Third -0.83, Fourth -0.20, and Fifth -0.66; Texture Strength 0.72; Color: Detail Structure 0.03 and Sharpness 0.42. Three Kim Klassen textures were added this time: Loveinlayers (set to Hard Light blend mode, 69% layer opacity, and in the Layer Style the Blend If This Layer white tab was split (ALT+click on tab) and set to 182/216 and Underlying Layer black tab set to 0/56.) and the B channel was unchecked): Ugglovebandw (set to Linear Light blend mode, 94% layer opacity, and in the Layer Style Blend If This Layer white tab split and set to 156/205 and Underlying Layer black tab set to 45 – a layer mask was added to texture to remove some of the black in the final result for this layer); and UggLove Ugglove (set to Hard Light blend mode, 96% layer opacity, and in the Layer Style This Layer white tab split to 159/175.) A New Layer was created and set to Overlay blend mode – with a low opacity soft small brush, some of the areas I wanted to emphasize were painted in. (See my The Best Dodging and Burning Technique! blog for info on this.) A Curves Adjustment Layer was created to get rid of the over-dark blue tones in the shadows by changing the colors in the Red, Green and Blue Curves. The last step was to add a stamped or composite layer that is composed of all the layers on top (SHIFT+ALT+CTRL+E). When this was done, the color changed in the image. I believe this was due to the Blend If Layer Style changes. I figured out that to get around this, set the Fill Opacity for the composite to 0 and it is no longer an issue.
Image 5: In Lightroom the Lens Profile and Remove Chromatic Aberration boxes were checked, and then the image was cropped tight and switched to Portrait layout. Another preset from Dave Delnea’s group, C+V Washed Vintage 001 preset (link in Image 2 info) was applied and the butterfly was painted over with an Adjustment Brush with the Saturation, Exposure, Sharpness and Clarity sliders were adjusted to sharpen his body and eye a little. In Photoshop a duplicated layer was made (CTRL+J) and the image was opened in Topaz ReStyle. I am finding I always check this out before going on as sometimes I can get a slightly better color palette for an image, as I did in this case. Used Moody Collection’s preset Wedgewood Blue and Tan. Set Structure slider to -0.39. In Mask painted out the butterfly and foreground area to keep background blurry but not foreground. Back wing was set to just a little blur. This was a great way to sharpen the foreground area and slightly blur the background to direct the eye to the butterfly. Nik’s Viveza 2 was applied as a Smart Object with several control points placed on the background to slightly desaturate the area around the butterfly wings, and some to sharpen and add a little more saturation to the foreground colors. Back in Photoshop a Curves Adjustment Layer was chosen and just a little more contrast added to the outside areas by dragging down on the curve – then in the Layer Mask the butterfly was painted to appear a little brighter to draw the eye a little more. This is just standard processing. Now a border was created using a basic Photoshop Pastel brush from the Natural Brushes 2 set and in Brush Tip Shape set the spacing to 81% and size 60 pixels, Smoothing was turned on, and Shape Dynamics Angle Jitter set to 10%, just like in the Chalk Brush. The edge was painted in white around the image where I wanted. A Pattern Overlay Layer Style (click fx at bottom of Layer Panel and select) and this time a free brightly colored pattern was used that contained the colors of the image. The one used is from 10 Splatters Patterns by Idealhut 07 pattern. The Pattern Opacity was set to 46% and the Scale was set to 852%. The pattern was moved around to get the effect I liked. Next French Kiss Artiste Collection’s Autumn Leaves texture was clipped on top of the border. In the Layer Style the Blend If This Layer black tab was split and set to 82/120 and the white tab was split and set to 151/214.
I did recent posts on my Fun Photoshop Blog called Digital Lady Syd Reviews Snap Art 3 and Digital Syd Reviews Topaz ReStyle. Both of these plug-ins have captured my “inner creative me” so it seemed logical to try to combine them and see what happens. I think they are a perfect match – both have creative aspects but emphasize different elements. For the above Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog for website link in sidebar) ReStyle was added first to get a gorgeous fall color palette that gives this image a totally awesome feel. (The preset used was Leaking Red on Blue.) What I like about Snap Art is that it lets me try different mediums of art – I have never tried a colored pencil image, but I loved how the treatment worked with this image. (The preset in Snap Art was Colored Pencil Landscape-More Coverage.) I also have to admit that the wonderful Topaz Clarity was added first to give me sharp edges for the pencil look. Not much to it but really great results. This photo was from the countryside outside Minsk in Belarus – it was such an interesting and beautiful area to photograph.
…..Above is a beautiful purple mum from a dacha in Belarus. In Alien Skin’s Snap Art 3 the Favorite section’s Oil Paint (thick brush) preset was applied followed by Topaz ReStyle’s Cream and Plum preset was selected. (See settings under Image 2 for more details.)
Same image as the first one, but this time the original RAW file was converted to a black and white on a Virtual Copy in Lightroom using the Lightroom B&W GA Infrared 01 preset that turned this image into a fabulous looking shot to begin with! (Once again, just goes to show what a good image to start with can do.) I wanted to see what Snap Art’s Charcoal effect would look like since the Colored Pencil effect looked so nice. The Landscape Charcoal preset was selected. Three Layer Masks were created in the plug-in to direct the tone and focus throughout the image. I really liked the result – beautiful sketch – but it just did not have any real pizzazz! That’s when the image was opened in Topaz ReStyle. Not all the presets looked great, but the Teal Frost looked beautiful – no changes! It now has a beautiful winter feel – Amazing! The last step involved adding a New Layer and painting a frame around the image. (See settings info under Image 3.)
Just another example of how plain white flowers can be changed into a beautiful color palette and turned into a lovely oil effect.
The Baby Blue and Pink preset was used in ReStyle. This image looks very soft since the Detail Structure slider was moved left. The flower centers were kept sharp by masking out the effect using the Basic section Mask. In Snap Art an Oil Paint (dry brush) saturated preset was applied. The flower centers were once again made more sharp than the rest of the image by adding more Photorealism and small Brush Size to a Mask on the flowers.
I used this image previously in my Snap Art Review without the new Topaz ReStyle plug-in applied to it. I really love how the two plug-ins together created this very painterly and sculpted look – it really makes me want to sit on the bench and enjoy the surroundings. The Snap Art plug-in used the Impasto Landscape (Small Brush) preset. (See Digital Lady Syd Reviews Alien Skin Snap Art 3 blog for more on image settings.) I had created a preset that used the Raw Sienna Haze preset with several of the sliders adjusted to get this pleasant result (all the settings were lost). A stamped layer (CTRL+ALT_SHIFT+E) was created on top and this was what made the image really work – the Blend If sliders in the Layer Style. The This Layer black tab slider was split (ALT+click on tab) and set to 69/143. (See my How to Use Those Handy Blend-If Sliders! blog.) A Layer Mask was added and areas that did not look like it fit in were painted out with a soft black brush. That was it and you get this nice fairytale look!
As you can see, there is definitely a very complimentary nature between these plug-ins, even though they are made by two totally different companies that use totally different methods to create the effects. I am constantly amazed at how far plug-ins have come in the past several years. A while back it cost almost as much as Photoshop itself to get them, and now there are so many reasonable choices and so many incredible effects. The technology has come a long way, but you have to thank Adobe and Photoshop for giving us the capability to have all this fun! So kudos to Adobe (in spite of all this Cloud mess) and kudos to all the plug-in companies that are now producing reasonably priced, inventive plug-ins for us Photoshop “nuts!”…..Digital Lady Syd
Image 2: Sean McCormick’s LR5 Essential Development Preset Toolbox was used to apply his LR TB63 Tone Curve preset to the image in Lightroom. I hope to review this down the road as the PDF looks very interesting along with his preset concepts. In Photoshop the Shake Reduction filter was applied as a Smart Object and then Snap Art was applied to the same layer. The Favorites category Oil Paint (thick brush) was used as a starting point and then the Background Tab slider Photorealism was changed to 22. In the Color Tab the Brightness slider was set to -19. In the Layers Tab, two different layers were created – one for the center of the flower and one for the long lines of the petals. The Mask Tool was set to Feather 50 and Amount 30. The center of the flower Effects were set with Detail, Brush Size -41, Photorealism 85, Paint Thickness -50, Paint Stroke Length 0, Stroke Color Variation 57, and Bristle Brush Style. For the long petals these settings were used: Detail, Brush Size 57, Photorealism -44, Paint Thickness -50, Paint Stroke Length 100, Stroke Color Variation 55, and Bristle Brush Style. The Canvas Tab used the default settings except for the Lighting which was set to the Diffuse setting. A stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was added on top and the Topaz ReStyle plug-in was opened. Cream and Plum preset was used as a starting point. Then in ReStyle Tab changed Texture Strength to 0.39. Painted in the Mask back some of the interesting color effects from the original image – brush was set to Strength 0.23, Brush Size 0.25 and Hardness 0.30 using Edge Aware and building up the effect the way I liked. Went to Basic Tab and set Detail Structure to 0.61 and Sharpness 0.11 to bring out the painterly texture more from Snap Art. In Mask painted out the flower to keep it from being affected as much using a brush Strength of 0.74. Back in Photoshop the layer opacity was set to 48%. Isabelle Lafrance Daiphanous Overlay Cobwebby was added on top and set to Linear Burn blend mode at 100% opacity. The last step added a Curves Adjustment Layer to enhance the contrast just a little.
Image 3: Once Lightroom Develop sliders and Photoshop CC’s Shake Reduction filter were applied, the Snap Art plug-in was opened. F5 was pressed to reset the plug-in and in the Pencil Sketch section, the Landscape Charcoal was applied. Pencil Width slider was then changed to 35 and Photorealism to 89. In Tone tab the Brightness was changed to 44, Contrast 10, and Red Channel Strength 42%, Green Channel Strength 72%, and Blue Channel Strength 41%. Canvas tab was set to Paper, Cold press, and Lighting was set to Diffuse (warmer). Layers tab was set to three different layers, the first was placed on the center tree to sharpen it a little (by increasing the Pencil Width and Photorealism Amount), the second on the front plant to tone it down some (by reducing the same sliders the other way), and the third on the structures to slightly enhance the details on them (sliders set in between the other two layer amounts). This is where the real strength of this plug-in lies – this enabled me to direct the focus through the image. Back in Photoshop a Darken and a Lighten layer were created to dodge and burn a few areas in the image (see my Fun Photoshop The Best Dodging and Burning Technique! blog). A Levels Adjustment layer was added to get the final correct tone to the image. Then Topaz ReStyle’s Tiara Frost preset was applied. The last step added the frame on a New Layer using Photoshop’s Natural Brush Spray at 41 pixels using a color sampled from the image.