Anything Photoshop or Photography



Image of a Queen Emma plant
I am a little late discussing this software, but I only recently got a chance to really try it out. Luminar (for website link see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Flex is basically a spin-off of the bigger program, Luminar 3, meaning your images are not being pulled into a catalog for sorting. Basically it just contains the filters. Currently it is a free program so if you own Luminar 3 or Luminar 2018, please go download it. Why? See the quote below from Skylum that pretty much sums up what is happening and why you need to download it:

“We’re fully committed to our desktop editing and organizing platform in Luminar 3. But we’ve heard from many current customers and several others that they want just our editing tools for enhancing their images when working in other apps.

Our goal is to develop Luminar as a comprehensive platform which will become your go-to photography tool. With your support, we’ll be there soon.

Current workflow – Both Luminar Plugin and Luminar 3 with Libraries offer plugin options for popular photography software.

Future workflow – With the next major version of Luminar, you’ll find plugins available only in Luminar Flex. The plugins workflow will be removed from Luminar with Libraries.”

It looks like Skylum has decided to create different modules, not unlike what On1 (for website link see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) has done with the Develop vs. Effects modules. I do not see this as a real problem since I do not use Luminar as a Raw Processor, even though their Develop filter is in Flex, to categorize my photos like Lightroom does at this point. I may decide to do this down the road, but at this point I mainly use Luminar 3 as a plugin with all their beautiful filters.

This macro image above is of a Queen Emma Lily plant, possibly my favorite bloom in my yard – you certainly notice them from the street. Luminar Flex was mainly used on this image – Accent AI Filter, Golden Hour, Advanced Contrast, and Detail Enhancer filters. A High Pass sharpen was used and Nik Viveza 2 was used on the front petal.

Both programs interface with most of the major programs including Lightroom and Photoshop. The Workspace names appear to have been renamed, but seem very similar between the two. Flex opens up with the Image Aware workspace but that can be changed by going into the the drop-down.

The major difference between the two programs at this point is with the new Accent AI 2.0 that is available with Luminar 3 but not yet with Flex – it is coming later this year (Flex is still using just Accent AI). Is this a deal breaker – not a problem since Luminar 3 still is supporting its filters but down the road it will probably only be available in Flex.

Regarding the Looks (presets), those made or used in Luminar 3 or Luminar 2018 are all compatible with the Flex, even the ones downloaded from other sites. You can either reinstall your custom Looks packs in Flex, or manually copy items between the Luminar Looks folders.


Image of Lake Rowena at the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida

This image was taken on the water’s edge of Lake Rowena at the Harry P. Leu Gardens in the heart of downtown Orlando, Florida. Hard to believe such a tranquil place is located in all this hustle and bustle! And yes, Luminar’s Flex was used – landscapes are Luminar’s specialty. These filters were used to get this soft cool effect on a very hot day: The first layer contained the wonderful Accent AI Filter and AI Sky Enhancer Filter – both set pretty high, just a little Golden Hour Filter and Foliage Filter, the Saturation and Vibrance Filter (toning down the color a little), and the Brilliance and Warmth Filter – then on a 2nd layer above, one of my favorite filters called Image Radiance was applied. To see if I liked the filter on this image, it was placed on its own layer and the Gradient was used to remove the effect off the clouds which had gotten way too soft. One thing to watch with the Luminar filters is they tend to over-saturate the image so in PS the Saturation/Vibrance Adjustment Layer was added and the Saturation reduced to -17, even after adjusting it in the plugin. I think I could have pulled up a chair and just enjoyed the view from this point for a while, but the flowers were waiting!


Image of the center flowers in a Red Bromeliad

About all I can say is “Thank You Mike Moats” for teaching me many years ago how to do this! If you like macro photography, he is the guy to learn how to do it right! This was taken using Aperture Mode set to ISO 200, F/7.1, and -1/2 EV with my Nikkor 60 mm Lens with a Bower 0.5 x High Resolution Digital Lens with Macro added to the lens. This center of a Neoregelia Bromeliad image from the Gardens was also taken into Luminar Flex and just a few filters were required to get this effect: Foliage Enhancer, Structure, Brilliance/Warmth, Top and Bottom Lighting (to reduce the top reddish bromeliad color from the actual bromeliad), and Details Enhancer (just using the Small slider) filters. Topaz (for website link see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) new DeNoise AI was used to remove some of the noise (this plugin is incredible and now AI Clear is included with it. This is pretty cool -first set the Remove Noise high to 0.72, Enhance Sharpness to 0, and applied; then added a mask and painted back with a small brush set to 30% just the areas that needed a little detail brought back like the centers of the blue flowers. Got both the sharpness and noise removal at once!) Not much else was done but to add a spotlight effect in the center. This was definitely a Tiny Garden inside a Big Garden! Here is how the interface looked for this image (click on image to see larger in Flickr):

Image of Luminar Flex interface

Bottom Line: Flex is definitely here to stay since it will be the only way in the future that Luminar’s filters can be accessed using Photoshop, which is what I like to do. I love Luminar’s filters because they are unique, and in a sort of odd way, their results always make me happy. I like it when my photos make me smile so that is probably why I am a big fan. Please check Luminar Flex out – it is much more than just their Sunrays and AI filters – very easy to use and the program does not make your computer go into crazy mode to apply them. It is so exciting to have so many choices and new ways of applying effects being available to us Photoshop nuts who totally love this! Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd



Image of a Great Flamingo

Since it is the Memorial Day Holiday here in the U.S., I am letting my Animal Buddies take over the the blog and I am going to play hookie. (Hope you all have a sense of humor!) With that, will see you in a couple weeks after a blog breather! Take it away guys!

I am a beautiful Greater Flamingo showing off my new pink beak polish (DLS: Where in the world did she get this?) at the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida. Syd took a selfie for me that involved a bit of post-processing in Photoshop to get my gorgeous looking beak. (DLS: To be honest, she had a pretty bright pink beak as it was). There’s a whole bunch of us in the pen – we love to dance and follow each other around. Please come and visit me and my large family. You can find us on the Main Path – we love it when people visit! (She has some really colorful, noisier relatives called Caribbean Flamingos further back in the zoo so visit them also – see my short blog called I Am Feeling So Sleepy!) (Check out Image 1 for pix info at end of blog.)

***** Image of a Ring Tailed Lemur at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Hi Everyone! Nice to have someone visit! I totally love living here at the Lemurs of Madagascar Exhibit at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. If you come by early when the Farm just opens, you can enjoy breakfast with me. I am a Ring Tailed Lemur and our family is headed by a female. I always check out my breakfast of tamarind and flowers carefully – I don’t like to share my food. (DLS: I think we’re seeing here a very picky eater!) I also have to share my quarters with several Red Ruffed Lemurs (Here is one sunbathing from a previous Flickr link). Usually after breakfast we all do a group sunbathe in the morning. Come on by and say “Hi” to us – we will be glad to entertain you for awhile. We have lots of fun here! (Check out Image 2 for post work on this image.)


Image of an Eastern Bongo at the Jacksonville Zoo, Florida

OK, Syd thinks I wanted to eat her! Not really – I do not like to eat animals, strictly a vegetarian here. I just thought I would give her a different pose since she seemed upset I was not looking at her so she could take my picture. I am called an Eastern Bongo, which in your lingo is antelope, and there are some pretty weird stories about my species on the Jacksonville Zoo website. It says I can hang from branches by my horns and drop on unsuspecting hunters in the forest. Really??? I have never done that in my life! Where do these tales come from??? Come on by – I am near the Plains of East Africa section and either me or one of my family will be glad to give you a nice camera pose. (See Image 3 below for pix info.)


Image of Spoonbill at the Jacksonville Zoo, Florida

Excuse me while I get situated here! I am not sure what happened! Oh my – this is embarrassing! Well apparently Syd got a shot of me at my worst! I am an African Spoonbill – not pink like the pink Roseate Spoonbills that are always flying into our River Valley Aviary at the zoo this time of year. I spend most of my time walking in the water looking for a seafood lunch, but sometimes I like to hang out on big branches. Did you know I am the size of a 3-year old human? I will be very happy to pose for you, but do not get too close or I will run away (DLS: or lose your balance?). (Image 4 has info this pix.)


Digital Art of a Dolphin's Playground

DLS: Uh….Where did these guys come from? Hi – we are dolphins that are a figment of Syd’s imagination so we decided to make an appearance even though you can’t come visit us. Pretty nice digs though? I think she was thinking about Hawaii or maybe sailing in the Bahamas. Either place is fine since we will fit in anywhere. I know Syd loves dolphins so you will probably see us make other appearances in the future. Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday and celebrating like us! (Image 5 info below.)

All us animal buddies hope you enjoyed out blog this week. It was really fun to do something different and help Syd out with her blog. She will be back soon with more tips and maybe, just maybe she will let us do this again down the way. Everyone have a great weekend and come see us!…..Animal Buddies for Digital Lady Syd

Image Information:

Image 1: Topaz (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) DeNoise AI was applied first on the image first. Her background was created in Topaz Studio using the Impression Adjustment and the Chalk Smudge III preset where the bird was painted out. Precision Detail and Precision Contrast adjustments were used on the bird. PS’s Fan Flat Blend mixer was used to paint in the bird feathers, neck and head. The Topaz ReStyle filter was applied using the Cadet Gray and Copper preset – lots of changes in there to get the nice texture on the background. On a stamped layer, Skylum’s Luminar 3 (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) plugin was opened and Joel Grimes Details Warmth preset was applied at 52%. The last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer and a Levels Adjustment Layer Vignette. The font is called Style Casual, one of my favorites but is not free.

Image 2: Not much with done with my little friend here. In Topaz Studio AI Clear was applied to sharpen him up a bit. A little dodge and burning with Curves Adjustment Layers and an On1 Color Lookup Adjustment Layer set to 36% was used to pull the image colors together a bit. The font is a free one called kb Sickboy. That was about it.

Image 3: This pix was hard to post process since he was cut out of a larger image. I had to use a Blur in the background to create the DOF I wanted. The color was hard to get close to what he looked like – easy to over-color here and I am still not sure it is that accurate but he looks good. Topaz Sharpen AI was set to Stabilize and the defaults. Then just the standard (for me) dodge and burning, Nik Viveza 2, Spotlight layer and Curves Adjustment Layer to finish up.

Image 4: This Spoonbill took me a long to get right as I had a little trouble with the white feathers. Also the background was just too sharp so that had to be softened a bit. And then pretty much the same ole workflow – edges had to be cleaned up, a little sharpening, and contrast added. The font is another one of my favorites called Honey Script.

Image 5: This image was just total fun and tons of layers. The main attractions, the two dolphins, palm trees, and flying birds are all from my favorite object place, PixelSquid. The square effect is from a free action called Inception by Sparklestock which is what started me on make this composite. The waterfall is a brush from a set by Frostbo called Waterfall Set 2. The waves in the water are more brushes from Aaron Blaise’s water brushes. The overall soft effect was created by going into Luminar 3 using their new AI Filter 2.0 and AI Sky Enhancer filters along with another favorite, the Radiance filter, which gave the overall soft feel to the image. The not free font is called Fratello Nick. Nik Viveza 2 was used to even out the color in the palm fronds. Then just my basic workflow. I love doing this kind of image!


Mock up image of a Hawaiian sunset
This week’s blog is about how to display your art work in a mockup and where they can be downloaded. There are many places where mockups are offered for free (all but 1 are free in my blog). If you are interested in marketing your images, it is a great way to see if they would look good as different types of products. This has turned out to be a lot of fun since I started going back through some of my older work to place in these these files. This older sunset image was taken on the Big Island at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. The folder for this mockup contained the .psd file with all the layers needed and was called Work Presentation Mockups For Free. Not sure this is a a very useful mockup, but it is pretty cool to see how your image would look to a larger gathering. I might actually use it as a start for a slideshow presentation of my images to a club or community group .

How to Add Your Photo into a Mockup File

  1.  All mockups contain Smart Object layers which need to be opened by double-clicking on the little icon on the lower right corner of the layer.
  2. Once clicked, a new type of file opens up with a .psb ending.
  3. Highlight the layer where the image should be placed. Often there is a layer named “Place Artwork Here” or the company’s logo – highlight this layer to add image above it.
  4. Bring in your image – can go to your Explorer and just drag the file into the PS .psb file. (I like to drag my images in from Adobe Bridge) Usually the image will need to be adjusted to fit the opening correctly. Free Transform handles will be shown that used to fill out the opening. Can right click in the image to get other transform options to adjust the image even more.
  5. Click enter or the check box in the Options Bar to set the transform settings. The placeholder layer can now be deleted.
  6. The Smart Object file (or .psb file) must now be saved so it shows up in the original .psd file – CTRL+S to save and close out of the file. If you try to “x” out of file, PS will ask if you want to save – select Yes and to close .psb file. These Smart Object files can always be re-opened to switch out your image or add adjustment layers.

Pretty simple. Many of these mockup files come with lots of extra groups or adjustment layers in the original .psd file that can to be used to add interesting effects to the overall mockup. Others have adjustment layers in the actual Smart Object that can be used to get an interesting effect to just your image. The above mockup contained a guy in the image that I did not like so he was removed by using the Clone Stamp Tool in the original .psd file on a New Layer.


Mock up Image of three of my Floral Images
This free mockup is totally different from the one above. It is a good way to see how your images (come of my digital painting creations) would look on the wall. This folder contains three different configurations where images can be inserted and each file has 3 individual Smart Objects to add the photos to the different frame positions. The wall and pillow colors can also be changed easily with a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer in the .psd file. The file is called Poster Set Mockups by SparkleStock Lite


Mockup image of a book
Thought this book mockup looked good – if I had written a book it would make a nice notification. The download folder called simplebookcoverfreemockup contains a .psd file where the photo (a Laughing Kookaburra) is added in the Smart Object layer.  This is also where the text layers and the line art bird from Winterland Collection by Bilberry Create Gray png 11 was added – just saved the .psb file (CTRL+S) to update the Smart Object in the original file. The background color can be changed in the main .psd file. This mockup is also available for free.


Image of a mockup with a gramophone on a sign
I really like this street scene image – it took me a while to find an image I thought looked good in the signage area. The graphophone taken at the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, Florida, (one of my favorite St. Augustine places to visit) has a sort of vintage feel which is what the mockup seems to have. That is because the mockup contains a Film group which contains a dust group and a leaks group with several different choices. There is also a regular Leak group and a Glass group. You can even change out the background image with your own! This is a super-nice mockup with so much flexibility – could play all day with these settings. The file is free and named Outdoor Light Ad Mockup.


Image of a painting in a mockup frame
This is a pretty basic frame mockup but I liked the nice green leaf in the mason jar. The image was one I painted in Corel Painter (thank you Skip Allen) some time ago and it looks nice with this kind of setting. This is a very simple mockup – just a Smart Object and background layer with the design items on it. It is called Frame Mockup and is by Gabriela Dantur and unfortunately is not free but is inexpensive to buy at the link.


The following two mockups are pretty basic but really show off possible products nicely. The first one is a very simple mug on a soft blanket and has a very different appeal than just showing a plain ole coffee mug. I had created this snoozing Sumatran Tiger image to actually put on a mug and I think the mockup is perfect for this type of product.

Image of a coffee mug with a tiger face on it
This mug mockup is free and called Sublimations Mug Mockup Coffee Cup by Leo Flo Mockups. It is another really one with just a background layer of the blanket and mug, and the image is loaded into a Smart Object single layer. Of course you can add some adjustment layers here to make your image look the way you want.


The image below of the duck from last week showed up very nicely as a pillow. Another really simple mockup called Free Brand Square Pillow Mockup from freemockupzone which contains several more layers with a Smart Object single layer. I thought it did a good job of making my image look just like a pillow would really look. The floor was darkened to match the pillow tones in the Smart Object (.psb) in this image.

Image of a duck on a mockup pillow

Hope you got some ideas for showing off or selling some of your objects. I have not looked at this too closely, but I think many of my items would be suitable as mugs or pillows or framed. Also it was fun to see how my photos would look on a large screen presentation. That’s it for this week……Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Mockupped Sailboats
Red Hibiscus Holiday Cheer!


Painted image of a Ring Tailed Lemur from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm
Sometimes I like to just take a break from all the techniques I am learning and do something because I feel like doing it. So this week’s blog is not really emphasizing anything, but doing what this blog is all about – “Just Having Fun!” So without further ado, here are some images I have created in the last few weeks just because it was FUN!

Not to bore everyone too much, but I will give you a few insights as to how I got a particular look for these images. This fabulous Ring Tailed Lemur above is one of my favorite recent compositions. The basis for creating this effect was a video by Jesus Ramirez called Pencil Sketch Effect from a Photo in Photoshop. His technique does not work on every image, but sometimes it gives an interesting result and it worked on this image. It gave a great beginning overall sketch of my subject that was different from others I have tried. I actually created an action to do these steps. The ugly background area had to be removed next. On more layers Photoshop’s Fan Flat Blender mixer brush (located in PS’s Converted Legacy Tool Presets -> Default Tool Presets) was selected to paint in the hair and several variations were made in the Brush Settings Panel (like changing the Brush Angle and Size, adding Shape Dynamics, and adjusting Texture settings). It was fun to do this and I like the results the new brushes created – am now using them a lot including on the bottom image.

Dreamy Landscape
This image’s final effect turned out to be a surprise. It all started when I read a tutorial by Scott Valentine in the Kelby One Photoshop User Magazine from March 2018 called Hard Mix Tricks. There was a section about creating a Pop Art look. A Curves Adjustment Layer (which is just a placeholder to set the blend mode – any adjustment layer could have been used) was set to Hard Mix blend mode on top of the original image (see Pixabay’s Chiemsee-517997_1920) – the image now was broken down into its basic colors. Between the Curves Adjustment Layer and the original image a Black and White Adjustment Layer was set to Luminosity blend mode. The color sliders were adjusted so more colors were added back in. Now I did my own thing by adding several New Layers on top. Used David Belliveau’s super Mixer Blender Brush to smooth the mountains and water in the image. By pulling this brush up, the grass in front was created. For the details several smaller regular and mixer brushes were used. The bird is from Obsidian Dawn. To get the color palette, a Color Lookup Adjustment Layer was added using the Futuristic Bleak preset. Again this was just some fun that came about by playing with brushes. I think this image would look good in several different color palettes. And other brushes will definitely give some different results – I think I will be trying out this technique on other images.

Image of a Sunda Teal (Duck) taken at the Jacksonville Zoo, Florida
This sweet duck was overall a pretty nice image and had a teal blue water background. The sketch technique was used here just like on the Lemur image. The duck was selected and placed on a layer above, the feathers were painted back in using the Mixer brushes created in the top image. The texture I made in Corel Painter and was placed behind the duck. Three different fonts were used in this image: Sunda used Blossom, Teal used Breakable, and Anas gibberifrons used Dancing Script. I like all three of these free fonts. Topaz’s (see website at my Tidbits Blog sidebar) ReStyle filter was used with a preset from one of my images to unify the color.

Painting in Photoshop is not so popular, but it is very satisfying if you have a bit of a creative vein in your vision. I hope you enjoyed my images – will probably be returning back to tips and tricks but I thought I would share these. Have a good week and Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms out there!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of room taken at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Florida
This blog shows how to add some very soft directed lighting using Lightroom (or ACRs) Adjustment Brush, and how to get rid of the noise caused by the high ISO settings usually associated with interior images. I am not particularly an interior photographer, but there are times when touring old homes or museums I have taken some pretty boring images. I decided to try a technique learned from watching Serge Ramelli’s The One Trick That Got Me the Most Jobs on Interior Design Photography video to pop these image a little – if using LR (or ACR) a lot, check Serge out even if you do not like his total style, he always has some of the best ideas on how to use LR creatively. The image above was taken at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Florida and was quite forgettable. Two major things changed this image dramatically: Serge’s LR adjustment brush settings and in the use of the new Topaz (for website link click sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) DeNoise AI filter in PS.

Serge’s Lightroom (ACR) Adjustment Brush Settings

The RAW photo is shown below. After watching Serge’s video, the soft lighting effect was painted in on a JPG (gasp!!!) created when trying out the DeNoise AI filter. These are the Basic settings used: Exposure -0.44 (want it darker here for this technique), Highlights -91, Shadows +85, Whites +72, and Blacks -54 – pretty standard sliders to use when beginning the image processing. Next click on the Adjustment Brush set up a brush with these setting from Serge: Set the basic brush to Flow and Density around 70, Feather 100 and no Auto Mask (in LR only, I set my Brush B to these settings). In the Panel set the Exposure to +0.84 and Clarity to -48 (he says for a glow effect). At this point I created a preset of the brush called SRamalli Interior Lights. Then just started brushing with a fairly large brush in places where the light would go or have a pleasing effect on. Paint on the ceiling and carpet also. The trick is to go back and forth between the Basic Panel and the Adjustment Brush Panel settings to get exactly the right settings for the look needed. I would encourage you to watch Serge’s video to get the total feel of how he does this. To finish up this image, the Transform Panel’s Upright was set to Full since the image was very crooked (caused a few lights on the walls to disappear but this is not an image that I be publishing – just one to remember how nice the Museum was.)

Topaz DeNoise AI

Normally I would have finished up in LR by going into the Details tab and adding sharpening and removing noise, but this time I decided to let Topaz DeNoise AI filter do the heavy lifting in Photoshop. (Note that you can actually access DeNoise AI from Lightroom if you add it on as an External Editing program from your Preferences panel.) This image was originally selected to try out the new AI fiter and it really created a great result (set Noise Level to 0.50 and Enhance Sharpness to 0.50). Most of my images are not that noisy so this was the kind of shot needed to try it out. A Color Lookup Adjustment Layer was added called Vintage Chrome by On1 (they recently gave out to software owners a whole bunch of great LUT’s for both their On1 (for website link click sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Photo Raw 2019 software and PS.) It was set to 57% layer opacity and the lace in the curtains were darkened in window using a layer set to Overlay blend mode and a low opacity black brush painted over them.

Raw file from Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Florida
This image below was an taken in one of the historic rooms at Flagler College (was the old Ponce de Leon Hotel built in 1888) in St. Augustine (not to be confused with the above Flagler Museum image taken where Flagler used to live in Palm Beach). Same steps in Lightroom and then in PS, used the Topaz DeNoise AI filter (set to Noise Level 0.50 and Enhance Sharpness 0.50). But also Topaz Sharpen AI filter was applied (set to Processing Mode Stabilize, Remove Blur 0.50 and Suppress Noise 0.50) – needed a little more sharpness since the image was taken hand-held at a high ISO and Stabilize mode will fix this. Last step involved adding a Levels Adjustment Layer to even out the midtone contrast. That was it.

Image of historic room at Flagler College (old Ponce de Leon Hotel)The original RAW image is below – pretty unbelievable that you can even get an image from it. It is nice to have a nice shot of the beautiful chandelier in the room.

Original RAW file for Flagler College room
Hope you enjoyed these couple little tricks – it is pretty easy to do and I plan on trying this technique out on a few old cathedral images taken in Europe. It does add some nice of emotion and color to an image which in normal circumstances would be pretty uninteresting. And do download DeNoise AI, especially if you have AI Clear or DeNoise6 – it is really good! Until next time…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Showing Some of Serge Ramelli’s Effects
Topaz DeNoise AI – And Yes, Free Upgrade When You Own DeNoise6 or AI Clear


Image of a home on The Big Island in Hawaii
This week Topaz (for website see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) came out with their new DeNoise AI filter which is supposed to replace the older DeNoise 6 filter and the Topaz Studio AI Clear Adjustment. I am glad we still have access to all of them – and yes, if you own either DeNoise or AI Clear Adjustment, you get the the DeNoise AI filter and stand-alone products for free. What could be better!

So what is DeNoise AI? Once again I have to take info from the website as there is not much info out there on the filter. It seems to me that a pretty noisy image works best when using this filter – for me that means a higher ISO setting or overall darker images. The interface (see screenshot below) is basically the same sliders as AI Clear Adjustment (without the Exposure and Clarity sliders) so it is easy to figure out how the filter works. Definitely need to fiddle with the Noise and Sharpness sliders but I could not see much change with the Restore Detail slider at this time. Also be sure to set the Automatically Update Preview button to Off. It seems this filter produces a much higher DeNoise effect than either AI Clear (which has Remove Noise buttons called Auto, Low, Med and High as choices) and Sharpen AI (which has a Suppress Noise slider). The older DeNoise 6 plugin does not use AI technology so it may not be so useful now.

The only negative I see is DeNoise AI has only a small preview area which limits viewing of the whole effect on the image. It takes a while to get the preview and has to be reapplied each time you move the view area. Once the Apply button is pressed, it takes an even longer time, depending on the size of the image, to set the change on the layer in PS. This will probably be improved with future updates. On difficult images like the one above, it does do a fabulous job and my house image can now be used. Therefore I am finding AI Clear is still working great when I just need a little quick noise clean up but when I see real noise issues, DeNoise AI is excellent. On Topaz’s website, there are several images you can download and try with this software.

On this image when a sky was added (see steps in next paragraph for this), I had to also run the sky layer through the DeNoise AI filter so it would match the image – did not expect to have to do this but it worked! Sometimes textures and sky images are pretty low res and have a lot of noise in them. (Set the sky to Noise Level 0.70 and left Sharpness and Restore Detail at 0.) The house image had these camera settings (ISO 1600, 35 mm using a 18-200 mm zoom lens, F/9.5 at 1/500 sec. taken from a moving car) and was in bad shape. In LR only did a Crop, Enable Lens Profile and Remove Chromatic Aberration. See the screenshot of what the interface looked like after applying the DeNoise filter to the LR image. Click on the image to see a larger view of the interface in Flickr. The noise was particularly apparent in the glass in the windows. Notice all the other reflections from the car window that had to be removed with a Clone Stamp Tool too.
Image of Topaz DeNoise AI filter
And a little trick for adding a sky: if the original sky is basically all white with lots of tree branches and leaves around it – just add the cloud image on top and then double click on the layer to open the layer style for the sky; set the Blend If to Blue and in Underlying Layer move the black tab right to bring back the leaves and branches (split the tab by ALT clicking on it to pull apart and get a more natural transition between sky and trees). Really quick and easy to do. I might also add that Skylum’s Luminar 3 (for website see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) upgraded this week and totally improved their Accent AI Filter – I used it on this image and was very pleased with the result. Their AI Sky Enhancer was also used on the image. This is also a free update for Luminar 3.0 owners.

I plan on writing about this filter again after I have had more time to test it out. If you own either of the other noise products, be sure to upgrade. Definitely worth doing and it really is a nice addition. I am sure there are many ways to use it on your images. Have a very nice week!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of a Red Ruffed Lemur at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm
Decided to take a bit of a break this week so just presenting a few Lightroom tips I have run across over the last couple months. Most of them will also apply to Adobe Camera Raw (and the Camera Raw filter). Sometimes where reviewing a video or blog, there will be a little jewel included in the technique, but it is never really emphasized or in some cases below, actual blogs were created on the technique. All the names listed are Lightroom gurus. So without further ado, here are a few tips you may not have tried using:

  1. Using the Auto button in Lightroom and ACR’s Basic Panel (it may be the first AI feature used in Photoshop) was added in December of 2017 and many people think it is a great starting point for post-processing. But you can also just hold down the SHIFT button and double-click on any of the individual slider tabs to set just one of the Auto values.
  2. For the Adjustment Brush in either LR or ACR: If no pin is selected (highlighted), whatever settings chosen will be the values for the next new pin; if pin is selected, the settings will only apply to that pin – if New pin is clicked, the settings go back to the old values. This had confused me for a long time.
  3. From Unmesh Dinda, a Lightroom trick only – click on the little triangle on upper right side of the Adjustment Brush panel – it will bring up an Amount slider so the total effect created by that pin can be adjusted.
  4. Unmesh’s second tip, also for Lightroom only: In the regular Adjustment Brush panel, once a section is painted, ALT + click and drag over pin in photo to increase or decrease all the sliders but this time proportionately which also will adjust the total effect. I think this is really something!
  5. From Matt Kloskowsky: Can draw a straight line with the Adjustment Brush by clicking once, and then SHIFT + click at end point – works just like in Photoshop.
  6. Also from Matt a Lightroom tip only: When using the Adjustment Brush, hold the CTRL key to paint close to the edges of an object – it essentially turns the Auto Mask checkbox on. Just let go of CTRL to release. It will not indicate when it is on in Brush section, but it is on.
  7. This tip is from Serge Ramelli (see link at end on my blog on him – almost all of his work is done in Lightroom) – if you have converted image to black and white and there are halos in your image, look at your Black & White Panel to see if any of the color settings are larger than -50 – it will cause halos, especially in skies.
  8. From Rob Sylvan, hold the ALT Key while moving the Defringe Amount sliders in the Lens Correction Panel’s Manual section. This is really a great way to see what effect it is having on just the discolorated edges in Lightroom but not Camera Raw. This also works with the Hue sliders but I did not see that it helped much in Lightroom but worked great in Camera Raw. So try both sliders when adjusting your image.
  9. Also from Rob Sylvan: Sometimes removing the purple or green fringe from your image can reduce the saturation in parts of your photo where you want the color to remain. To fix, first make adjustments in the Lens Correction Panel; when finished, select the Adjustment Brush and reset sliders to 0 (click on the word Effect – turns into Reset) except for the Defringe slider that should be set to -100. Paint over areas of image to remove the unwanted Defringing, especially where there a similar colors to the fringing. Don’t know where those areas are? Do Step 8 and it will show what areas are being affected.
  10. From Scott Kelby, to enhance Detail in Lightroom, use the Clarity slider (don’t go too far or halos will appear) which adds midtone contrast and causes the image to be darker; to fix just adjust the brightness by moving the Exposure slider between 20 to 30. Great for  hard edged shots but not for people images.
  11. Use the Calibration Panel to tailor your colors. Can still use these colors with the Basic Panel Tint and Tones.
  12. From Matt Kloskowsky, to fix bad lighting, decrease Exposure and increase Whites.
  13. When using the Detail’s Sharpening section, Martin Evening suggests using these settings: Set Radius to 0.7 to 0.9 for images with lots of fine lines, and 1.1 to 1.3 for softer edges as in portraits; Detail slider – as you increase the amount above 25, more chance for halos so keep at 25 or below; and the Amount slider acts like a volume slider for sharpening.
  14. From Blake Rudis, when creating LUT files (or profiles used in LR) in Adobe Camera Raw (see below for link on how to do this), use adjustments that are unique to Photoshop like Solid Color, Levels, Curves (more precise in PS), Channel Mixer, Color Balance, Gradient Map, and Selective Color Adjustments Layers. Seems intuitive but good to remember.
  15. Here are some shortcut keys from Julieanne Kost on how to use the Radial Filter:

• Shift + M selects the Radial Filter

• When you drag in the image area, the Radial Filter is scaled from center, Shift-drag will constrain to a circle

• Control-double-click in the image area to expand the Radial Filter to the visible image area.

• Control-double-click on an existing Radial Filter will expand it to the visible image area.

• Control + Alt-drag an existing Radial Filter will duplicate it.

• “H” hides the interface

• Tap the Apostrophe key ( ‘ ) to toggle the Invert Mask option

• Double-click on an existing Radial Filter will apply the Radial filter and dismiss the tool.

Hope you found some new Lightroom tips. Well, that is it for this week- have a wonderful Spring break if you get one, or if not, just have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Create Profiles in ACR from LR Presets and Some PS LUT Files
Showing Some of Serge Ramelli’s Effects
Lightroom for Animal Photography

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