Anything Photoshop or Photography



Image of Blue Berries
This week I just wanted to share a quick tip learned from Photoshop Guru Corey Barker in his Master FX Trick Shots video recently (it is now available for sale). In one section on Abstract Shape Effects, he showed how to easily add a little lighting effect to your image. As a last step on the above, I wanted to emphasize the focal point at the center of the lower leaf and add just some subtle color to enhance that area.

  1. A New Layer was added on top and changed to Overlay blend mode.
  2. With a large soft white brush, the leaf was painted over to just pop the lighting in that area and a little on the upper center berries.
  3. Optional Step: Since this slightly desaturated the color, a light green Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer was added (clicked on the black & white circle icon at bottom of Layer Panel and selected Solid Color in pop-out menu) and clipped to the New Layer with the white paint by ALT+clicking between the two layers.
  4. The white paint layer’s opacity was set to 63% so the whole effect was not too much.

Now the leaf is definitely in the spotlight with just a little added color. White works nicely in most cases. This is a very similar technique as in my The Best Dodging and Burning Technique! Fun Photoshop Blog – this I use all the time! Well hope you liked the quick tip – give it a try if you just need to add a little extra light to an area! For more post-processing info for this image, check out my Some Blue Berries Tidbits Blog. …..Digital Lady Syd


Image of the Carousel at Jacksonville ZooThought I would share a tip that can really improve your photos, especially landscapes. Wikipedia says “Chromatic aberration manifests itself as “fringes” of color along boundaries that separate dark and bright parts of the image.” This seems to be very apparent in blue skies in landscapes with lots of trees. The above image was taken at the Jacksonville Zoo of a vintage-looking carousel (see my Only in Florida! Tidbits Blog for a closer look). Just a few Basic panel adjustments Lens Corrections (checking just the Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration boxes) were done in Lightroom before opening up Photoshop.

This technique was passed along by one of my favorite Photoshop people, Blake Rudis (who says he learned it from Steve Perry), at his f64 Academy in a video called The Color Blend Mode – there is a free downloadable action here to do this technique. The image had some empty branches against the blue sky along with was some real blue-cyan chromatic aberration. In Lightroom the Remove Chromatic Aberration checkbox did not remove this and to be honest, I did not  notice it until I was in Photoshop since only the upper corners were affected. Below it can be seen what a subtle difference the technique makes – you can definitely see the cyan color shift due to the Chromatic Aberration in the sky. It is hard to see, but the branches on the right side image look a bit darker and sharper, especially where the larger branches are present. This was also true on the upper left side of the image.

Image showing with and without Chromatic Aberration

So here are my steps to get rid of this ugly blue edging in this case but it will work on any color of chromatic aberration.

  1. Duplicate the Background layer (CTRL+J) and turn it into a Smart Object by right clicking on the layer text area and selecting Convert to Smart Object. A stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) could be used and duplicated if in the middle of post-processing.
  2. Go to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur and set the Radius somewhere between 6 and 20. I used 6.8 for this image.
  3. Change the layer blend mode to Color – now the whole image is blurred.
  4. Click in the Smart Filter layer mask and CTRL+I to turn it black. With a regular soft round brush, paint with white just in the areas you want the blur to correct the chromatic aberration.

Blake does not use a Smart Object, just applies the filter and adds a black layer mask – then paints back areas that need correction. This technique also works if the chromatic aberration is not completely removed when using the Camera Raw filter. What is really useful is that this is a localized correction and only affects the part of the image that needs the correction. The Blur does not affect the whole image! I find this gives a very subtle and sharp result to the bad areas. Here is a link to one of my Tidbits Blogs called  Defringe that Nasty Blue Edge from Trees On a Bright Blue Sky! done a while ago where 4 other ways to remove Chromatic Aberration are presented if you would like to try out some other techniques.

There were lots of steps used for final processing in this image – Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Glow, Topaz DeNoise, Photo Filter Adjustment Layer, Vignette, and clean up layers. Overall I was pretty happy with the final results.

Give this Chromatic Aberration trick a go, especially if you have cyan blue going around those branches in trees. It works really great! Also check out Blake’s f64 Academy website as he has lots of great ideas on improving pictures. Well, back to my organizing until next week…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of giraffes on painted background Still working around my office, but thought I would post a picture showing a little group of giraffes taken at the Jacksonville Zoo. The basic technique is that you can apply a filter to a layer without applying it to the while image to tie it all together very easily.

The giraffes were selected in Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) ReMask 5 but any method works fine, then the resulting  layer mask was applied in PS. Next one of my Corel painted textures was placed underneath the giraffe layer. Topaz Impression was opened on the giraffe layer and the Van Gogh I preset was applied with no changes. The small giraffe’s head was too dark so it was lightened by adding a Curves Adjustment Layer to lighten the head (ignored the rest of the image) – then filled the layer mask with black and painted back with a low opacity soft round white brush just the head. On three separate new layers above, the free Frostbo’s Grass Set 2 brushes were used to add the grass – just change the size and add Color Dynamics for brush variety. These layers were put in a group and the group duplicated.  Turned off the original group and with the duplicated group, right clicked and selected Merge Group. Topaz Impression Van Gogh I was also applied to the grass which really give it a nice painterly effect. 2 Lil’ Owls Studio’s (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Light It Up overlay in mini set 5 was placed on top and set to Color blend mode at 85% layer opacity. This warmed up the image a little. Topaz ReStyle was added at 47% layer opacity to give a bit of color back into the giraffe bodies. Dodging and Burning was done with Overlay layers using a black or white brush set to 15% brush opacity. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Nik Viveza 2 (now free – go get it!) was used to emphasize the focal points and add a slight vignette feel in the corners. That was it.

Hope you got a few tips here – the best thing to understand is that you can actually apply a filter just to a layer that contains objects only for some pretty nice effects – it does not have to be applied to the whole image……Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of a Malayan Tiger at the Jacksonville ZooOnce again, had to share something I think is rather cool. I usually do most of my post-processing in Photoshop CS6 because I do most of my painting with it. (I have my favorite brushes saved in the Tool Presets, I can use my own Flash panels, and the Mixer brushes paint faster.) But that does not mean I do not like Photoshop CC 2015. Adobe has greatly improved the Spot Healing Tool from earlier versions of CC and it seems CS6 and I just wanted to show how good it now is. The above image of a Malayan Tiger (I think) was taken at the Jacksonville Zoo inside a room with large bars in front of his beautiful face – they were doing a little tiger demonstration for the visitors so so you could see them up close. I really loved the expression on his face, so I decided to experiment in PS and see  if I could get a good image from the original – the left image below.

Before and After of Spot Healed image.

By selecting the Spot Healing Brush and setting the Options Bar settings to Mode Replace (This mode works best for me – per Adobe it preserves noise, film grain, and texture at the edges of the brush stroke when using a soft‑edge brush), Type Content-Aware and Sample All Layers, I was able to remove the bars completely – no other tools or cloning needed! I found that using short strokes was most useful and going over it a couple of times was sometimes needed. Apparently the Tool will learn how you want the area filled. I used a brush that was slightly larger than the chicken wire bar to be removed to help with the fill in information. I also used a layer above to make my corrections on so if something was really messed up, it could be erased and redone in just that area. See the right image above for spot-healing results. Obviously it was not totally perfect, but not bad at all!

Finalized the image by creating a stamped layer, and applying Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Detail 2 to sharpen the face. One of my textures created in Painter was added underneath the tiger. A Black and White Adjustment Layer was added to the texture – sliders were adjusted and set to Tint using a beige color. This darkened the texture quite a bit. A layer mask was added to the stamped layer so the texture could be used for the background. Another stamped layer was created and Topaz Impression’s Photo Painting III preset was applied as is and set to Saturation blend mode. A layer mask was added to bring back some of the whiskers and facial detail. A little painting was done on a layer for clean up of the face. The eyes were sharpened using an Exposure Adjustment Level.  Nik Viveza 2 was used to add focus to the face – everyone can do this now that the plug-in is free! The last step was to add two Curves Adjustment Layers set to Luminosity blend mode – used to darken the image and one to lighten. Fill layer masks with black and paint back to dodge and burn. That was it.

Such for not blogging, but I was so surprised how good the Spot Healing Brush is working over the one in Photoshop CS6 and wanted to share – anyway, have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How To Do a Quick Eye Sharpening in Photoshop
How to Use Curves Adjustment Layers to Dodge and Burn an Image


Painted Image of some Spring FlowersKnow I am taking a little time off from blogging, but wanted to share a new inexpensive painting program called Paintstorm Studio recently purchased (currently $19) that is so much fun. (Can also download to try out for 15 days.) I created a few different brushes created from viewing a few of their videos. The Help tab on the website has several at the bottom – no audio but if you watch closely, some really nice brushes can be created from them to use along with some great ones provided. Check out this 3 minute video if you are interested in what it does – Paintstorm Studio – Overview. Since I love to do flowers, it fits my painting expression very well. Used lots of layers in Paintstorm and then saved as a PSD files so they could be manipulated more in PS – they actually come in with no background layer unless you add one. Created my own background  in PS using a brush made from Grut’s OI Shore Cap (check out Grut’s other wonderful brushes – look under the Resources tab for a free Brush Sampler and free Brush of the Week) and in the Brush Engine, changed the brush texture to Gauze with various texture slider changes and layer opacity of 68%. Now the strokes match the ones created in Paintstorm Studio brushes. With this brush a background layer in white was painted on a layer at 55% layer opacity with a Layer Style called Kyle’s Impasto – Just Right with the Gauze texture used to get the nice canvas effect. On a stamped layer, John Derry’s Layer Style Varnish Gloss Light was applied also with the texture changed to Gauze at 69% layer opacity.

Photoshop brushes can actually be brought into this program and many features are similar to both Photoshop and Painter. There is an application for iPads besides the stand-alone program on regular computer. Check out my Purple Flowers Tidbits Blog with another image example.

Also, if you have not heard, Google Nik Collection Photoshop plug-ins are now available for free – this is probably the death toll for these wonderful plugin – they have always been a wonderful supporter of my blog! I love the Nik Viveza plug-in – my all-time favorite. Definitely worth downloading just for this plug-in and the price is right!

Another quick link – Perfectly Clear Photoshop plug-in is offering its Perfect Exposure module for free – I tried it out this week and really like it – lots of sliders to experiment using. So check it out – again, can’t beat the price.

I will try and do some blogs on both Paintstorm Studio and Perfect Exposure as time permits. That was it for this week! Have a nice week trying out all these new things!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of painted zinneasThis week I have just been working on my flower painting skills. This is a beautiful Zinnia elegans with a Dahlia blossom in the lower left – I am looking forward to planting  both in my yard later this month. I am now getting to a point that I can objectively see differences and similarities between painting in Painter and Photoshop.

The painting technique used above is basically the same one I use on my various bird images, except I am painting the flowers in Corel Painter and finishing up in Photoshop. I am taking Karen Bonaker’s 2016 Painter Club at the Digital Art Academy and it really is a lot of fun. This month she is presenting a Blenders to Brushes class where she teaches you how to use different Painter brushes to create this effect. Of course, since I am a Photoshop person, I ended up finishing the composition in CS6 (which I and Karen prefer when using the Mixers in PS – the computer seems to paint much faster). I am finding that Painter brushes are definitely the most gorgeous, but the the basic program is a lot harder to manage than Photoshop (I can’t believe I am saying PS is easy to manage????) I am also using some PS tricks in Painter since the programs are similar in some respects (Layer Styles, Transforming, Blend Modes to name a few). I find selecting an item and using Layer Masks is much easier in Photoshop. And no Commit to Layer commands. In Painter a Mixer Pad with just black and white color swatches was created to quickly sample between the colors for working with a layer mask. And there is no way to view what the layer mask looks like on the image as in Photoshop (press the “\” key to see the colored overlay of the Layer Mask on the image). And I totally miss the Quick Mask selection tool in PS. Karen’s class supplies some wonderful brushes for this type of painting which produces a rather realistic painted rendition of the image.

This technique is similar to what Lori Jill teaches in her Udemy classes for PS but applies it to portraits and landscape type images. She also does a great job on teaching you how to use the PS Cloning Action which can be a little difficult to figure out. (See my Tidbits Blog Looking Glamorous! and An Old Victorian House for some examples.) I could easily create brushes just from watching her videos, but some brushes are supplied with a couple of her classes. Fay Sirkis’s (if you are a KelbyOne member, should be able to download) skin brushes for children work really well with flower images and were used to clean up painting problem areas from Painter. I am finding the basic trick for this technique is to figure out what brushes work for you. It is easy to get really confused by all the choices in Painter and sometimes really good brushes are forgotten. One thing I do like about Painter are the personal Palette’s that can be used to hold your favorite brushes and commands. A couple weeks ago I blogged about how to create Tool Presets .tpl files when painting in PS – similar concept, just not as easy since only one Tool Preset Panel can be opened at a time on your desktop. (See my Why Use the Tool Preset? Photoshop Painters Listen Up!)

Painted image of a pink roseThe pink rose used the exact opposite workflow from the first image – it was painted completely in Photoshop and the background was done completely in Painter. Topaz ReMask 5 was used to separate the rose in my original image from the background. Then the Painter background texture could be placed behind the rose. Now the edges of the rose can painted into the background to keep it all very blended – same technique as in my bird paintings. (See my How to Paint an Image Using Regular and Mixer Brushes in Photoshop.)

The other area that I am trying to figure out is exactly how Painter’s new Blending Panel relates to the Options Bar settings in PS. PS also has lots of presets choices – basically just need to know that if the word Dry is in the preset, it will be adding color if the Load Color icon is turned on; if the word Wet is shown, it will be mainly blending with Load Color icon turned off. Usually Sample All Layers is turned on unless the PS default Mixer Brush Cloning Paint Setup Action is run – then turn it off. These settings are very similar to using Painter’s Blending Panel Presets, new with the 2016 version. (Note the Blending Panel used to be called the Well Panel which does not have the presets.) One thing I do not like is how finicky the Blending Panel Preset field is – the Enhanced Blending Layers checkbox does not always work correctly and has to be reset by setting the Preset field back to Balanced and turning the checkbox on and off to get it to work. The Preset settings also do not save with down if a new brush is saved. And the Preset field is sticky, meaning if you go to a different brush and starting painting and the preset field is not set to Balanced, you can get some really weird results or none at all. Just beware if you use Painter’s Blending Panel Presets to always set them to Balanced before painting with a new brush. Sometimes I am just not using the presets and am adjusting the brushes manually. Definitely a glitch here that Painter needs to fix.

Painted image of some purple violetsThe purple violets are just painted but with a more illustrated feel to them. Tried to change up the colors a little for a slightly different look. Same process – this time painted in Photoshop and using a Melissa Gallo texture. The difference is that Kyle T Webster’s Impasto brushes, the Oil Dry brush and the Palette Knife 1 brush along with his action and layer styles, were used to paint some impasto stroke effects into the flower petals. This is a similar technique used by John Derry and Melissa Gallo to get that impasto effect, but I am still experimenting with this effect. It does give the flowers a little different look!

Well that is what I am learning. If you are interested in trying this technique, I would encourage you to check out the links above to check out their courses. I plan on being a little sporadic in getting blogs up for the next few weeks – trying to reorganize my office and set up my video capability on my new computer. In the meantime, keep on having fun in Photoshop!…..Digital Lady Syd


Since my scheduled blog is not quite ready, I am posting one I did previously on my Tidbits Blog. It is a tip I find personally very useful, especially when painting and I want to see what my original image (history state) appeared. I am finding this especially helpful when adding highlights and shadows to areas that are not obvious they needed a little extra attention. So here we go with an “oldie-but goodie” from a few years ago.

Well once again I learned another little tidbit this week that really surprised me because basically I had never thought about it! Photoshop allows you to create a document from an earlier History State by just clicking a state you want to look at again, and dragging it down to the bottom of the History Panel’s left icon called “Create New Document from current State.” It will open up another window with the image as it appears in the older state. Below is an example of a photo I am currently adjusting where a Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Adjust Portrait Drama preset was applied (I know it is a landscape type image but it works!) and then a Nik Color Efex Pro Tonal Contrast filter was applied next. I wanted to compare the later combined filter state to the earlier Topaz Adjust only state. Pretty cool, huh? There are those times when you just need to compare something you did before and this is perfect! Remember though, that you lose your History States when you close out of Photoshop so save that extra window if you want to keep the image for comparison.

This is me back again. Also, by setting up your window to be tiled like above, you can zoom in to the same area at the same amount by following these quick steps.  Go to Windows -> Arrange -> Tile and then Windows -> Arrange -> Match All. Choose the Hand Tool (also can use the SPACEBAR to active the Hand Tool) or the Zoom Tool (CTRL or ALT+SPACEBAR), hold down the SHIFT key and click in or drag an area in one of the images. The other image is magnified to the same percentage and snapped to the area you clicked. Usually I do not need this all the time, but sometimes it is helpful to zoom in on an area. Below is an example of how I am using the windows feature for painting – the smaller image that was set to the original state of the image when opened was set to Float to Window and the zoomed in image was still set as tabbed in Photoshop. They are two different documents still and the small one can be enlarged at any time.

Hope this was something you can use. Later….Digital Lady Syd


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