Anything Photoshop or Photography



Digital Art image of a person playing guitarDecided to do just a quick blog and video on Topaz Remix since it a rather unusual filter by Topaz (for website, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog). I reviewed the filter back in March (see my What is Topaz AI ReMix!!! blog), but this week they came out with an update (if you already own it, be sure to open up Topaz Studio and update the filters). It now has 102 styles (not layer styles as I called them in the video but just styles) and are sorted into 5 different categories: Abstract, High Impact, Pastel, Sketch, and Pastel. Below I did a short video just showing exactly what the adjustment interface looks like and what some of the style effects do. I am finding this plugin lots of fun to use. If not applied at too large an amount, some very creative but natural looking results will occur. The original image used is free from ISO Republic called Guitar Man.

Here is a list of what was shown in the video if you are interested. (First showed A Neon Rise and set the Opacity to 0.53 set to Low Style Strength. Next shows Ashen Waves, then Burnt Off and shifted the blend mode, Ink Blot at 0.74 opacity, White Water at 0.27 opacity, and finally applied Velvet Abstract.) To finish off the image above, just a Curves Adjustment Layer was added and that was all.


Image of a guitar playerSame image using different settings in Topaz Studio. AI Clear was added, then Black and White Adjustment set to Darken blend mode. Next AI ReMix using Bleach Beach style was selected and set to 0.41 opacity and Color Blend Mode. Last step used Texture Adjustment at 0.46 opacity where one of my Bokeh textures was added into the filter – a layer mask was used to remove off the guitar player. Very different result – much more of a photographic effect.

These styles also look terrific on any of your textures. There are so many possibilities. This is definitely the same kind of filter as Topaz Impression, which as I said, may be one of the very best plugins ever created. My other go-to creative Topaz filter is Topaz ReStyle – use it all the time! This is just one of the reasons I find Topaz to be such a fabulous company as they do work very hard to give the Photoshop creatives some great choices, and AI ReMix fits right in. And I do not want to forget Texture and Simplify, but I do not use them quite as much. Well I hope you will at least download the trial and see what you think of this adjustment. I think it will surprise you how much you will use it – it did me!…..Digital Lady Syd




Celebrating 8 Years of Blogging bird imageJust realized this weekend that I have been posting at this site for 8 years! Thought I would put up a little image I worked on this week of 3 little sparrows – they seem to be in their very colorful costumes so here they are to help me celebrate! I have to laugh when I think about my first blog – I thought I was really doing something. (See My First Post – Painted Oleander blog) Over the years it has evolved and has become something I look forward to creating. It has also been a great way to really learn Photoshop – would recommend it if you like to write. And now doing videos really steps up how to present the information and new challenges. I will continuing to add more videos over the next year. I still plan to stay on top of the new plugins and Photoshop update which I always so much fun to try out.

Actually I was practicing painting (which oddly enough my first post was painting with Mixer Brushes in CS5) – have to do this to stay good at it. Decided to brighten them up a bit to make them look a little more interesting and friendly. Basically followed my standard workflow: Paint a flat primary layer, then Highlights and Shadows layers, some fur or feather layer, blending with the Mixers and Smudge brushes layers, and last step to add in anything that needs to be done to finish up the image. The background is one I painted in Corel Painter. The balloon from hanging air balloon free mock up is from Deal Jumbo and used Gavtrain’s Instant Confetti Action. Applied a speech blurb and a couple text layers. That was it.

Hope everyone is still enjoying my blogs and finding them useful when needed. It has been so much fun to share all the great Photoshop techniques I have learned over the years. Hopefully I will still be blogging for another 8 years!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of meadow mushroom with heavy texture added

This is a repost of a blog I did way back in 2013, but it is something I have not seen anyone post recently (or ever for that matter) and I think it is a pretty cool technique. Mainly, you can select all the whites (or darks or both) in an image by going into the Layer Style Blend If panel and setting the tabs to the amount you want removed. Then, a layer is created with those tones removed permanently. It is a great way to just remove white quickly – faster than Color Range and more flexible since you can choose precisely what tones should be removed. Also, more layer styles can be applied to this layer and more Blend If sliders. Some really interesting effects can be created. I created a really short video below to show you how easy it is to do this.

Now to continue with my original blog below for more explanation and the workflow steps.

It seems like I have been using these Blend If sliders a lot recently. (See my How to Use Those Handy Blend-If Sliders! blog.) For this blog I used a little known tip from the brilliant Ben Wilmore who explained a while back how to apply the blend-if sliders permanently (see his Photoshop Mastery: Retouching and Collage videos – this is a great course on CreativeLive BTW). Probably the first question is why would you want to do this? Firstly, it is one of the easiest ways to remove the white (or black) pixels from an image. It is a simple way to indirectly select and turn transparent the white or black pixels in a the background or complicated image areas for creating collages or adding textures. And secondly, it is a way to add texture to an image without it covering up all parts of the image – it keeps lines sharp as shown in the last image. This can be a major problem when adding textures.

Here is a quick reminder of what the Blend If sliders do. Double click on the layer to open up the dialog box shown below. By moving the This Layer white tab to the left, all the corresponding white tones (as seen in the black to white strip) to the right of the tab are removed from the the image and turned clear or transparent in the layer. For example if you moved the white tab left to 159, all the white pixels between the 159 and the 255 tone values will be removed. If you further split the tab (ALT+drag on tab to split) to say 124, then the gray tone pixel values between 124 and 159 will be partially deleted. The rest of the tone values will stay the same. These numbers correspond to the same values that are very visible under the histogram in the Levels Adjustment Layer – same concept here. See the screenshot below demonstrating the Blend If Slider dialog box info.
Screenshot of Blending Options dialog box and Blend If Slider SettingsThe individual Layer Style Blending Options on the left side can be applied by going to Layer -> Layer Style -> Create Layers. Each effect is lined up and clipped to the original layer so they only affect that layer. But when just the Blend If Sliders are changed, the Create Layers option is grayed out or ignored if some affects are checked on the left. Layer Styles cannot be Rasterized into one layer like Smart Object or Text layers. So here is the tip on how to apply those Blend If Slider settings and all other affects checked into one layer. Once you have the Blend If Sliders set up the way you like (and the Blending Options wanted checked), duplicate this layer. Next Create a New Layer Underneath the duplicate layer. Highlight the top layer and press CTRL+E or right click and select Merge Down. Voila! the layer is now free of its layer style limitations and shows an image with transparent areas that correspond to the deleted pixels. The workflow below goes into more detail.

On the resulting layer, textures can be added under this layer, the layer can be set to different blend modes and opacities, and new Layer Styles options can be added. My workflows below show how I achieved the results in the images in this blog. You are not limited to just the Blend If Gray channel (which is equivalent to the RGB channel), but in the drop down the Blue, Green and Yellow channels can be used alone or together to get some different results. Ben says to look at these channels if there is a big difference in colors in your image such as a blue sky and a green foreground. Also by selecting the resulting image layer (CTRL+click on the layer thumbnail) and adding a layer mask to the original layer or to a texture, some more very interesting effects can be created easily – and without a lot of hand-selection going on, which I always like.

Workflow For Using Blend If Sliders to Remove White From a Texture

1. Open up the texture and duplicate Background layer.

2. Add a New Layer between the two texture layers and fill with a bright colored color., or can add a Solid Color Adjustment Layer attached to the New Layer (can then adjust to any color easier). This is so you can tell if you are getting the right effect with your slider adjustments and can be deleted when finished with the effects.

3. Take the top texture layer and make the tab slider adjustments to get rid of the white areas. In my image the white tab on This Layer was set to 124/159. (See screenshot above.) If you want to remove black, just move and split the black tab, and if you want both black and white removed, use both tabs.

4. Duplicate top layer with settings.

5. Create a New Layer underneath the top duplicated layer and leave it blank.

6. Highlight the top texture layer and merge it down by clicking CTRL+E or right click and selecting Merge Down now there is only one layer which contains image with Layer Style including Blend If settings applied.

The texture overlay applied to the Meadow Mushroom image above used Melissa Gallo Texture Taupe Canvas texture, The screenshot below shows the blue layer that lets me see what parts of the texture is still there and what were removed. Notice that I got a white result – this was done by following the workflow steps above and changing the black tab to a split 157/237 (instead of the white tab) – just a little of the colored tone highlights showed up and the darker areas were deleted.

Screenshot of texture added to mushroom image

You now have a basic overlay layer with just the parts you want from the texture or image. This layer can be added into another image (highlight layer, CTRL+A to Select All, CTRL+C to copy, and go to other document and CTRL+V to paste into new image) or saved as an overlay PNG file. (Turn off all layers but this one and go to File -> Scripts -> Export Layers to File and save in a 24-PNG format and add to your textures and overlay files.) To get some different results, try selecting this layer by CTRL+clicking on thumbnail and adding a Layer Mask to another layer. More Blend If slider settings can be applied to the result. There are all kinds of options. Try inverting the Layer Mask (CTRL+I on Layer Mask) to see how it might look on different backgrounds.You can now get really nice embossing on the edges as shown in the image above. And you can save different versions using the same texture.

Remember that if you are getting some color shifts on composite (merged layer using all the layers underneath – CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) after using the Blend If Sliders on a layer, the work-around is to just set the Fill Opacity to 0% on the composite layer. Also another little thing I noticed is that if one of the check boxes for Channels R, G, or B is unchecked, you get some really odd color shifts when you merge the layer down so don’t mess with these unless you like the results. Also, don’t get discouraged if it does not work out on the image you are trying it on – it does not work for all images.

Using Blend If Sliders to Remove White in Image to Let Texture Show Through

Image of Belarusian Countryside using Blend If sliders on textureThis image was one I used in a previous blog (see my Flickr Image for original). Just showing you a slightly different way of doing what was done to the texture example above. I decided to remove the white in the original image using the Blend If sliders and to place a texture under the resulting transparent layer to add a painterly look. The same workflow as above was used – this time it was used on the image instead of a texture and of course it is not saved down as a PNG file (unless you wanted to use it that way). I really liked the how the texture showed through the transparent areas in this image. Basically by converting the RAW file to a pretty monochromatic (see my Get Great Results with Alien Skin Snap Art 3 and Topaz ReStyle Together!! blog) image and then removing the whites, the texture shows through very nicely.

You can paint more in the Layer Mask using different brush opacities to hide more or less of the underlying texture that you added. You can also add another Layer Style to the layer that contains the transparent image. All kinds of possibilities are present including changing the blend modes.
Here is another image that uses the same workflow steps as the Belarusian Countryside image. In this case the image was turned into a sepia tone in Lightroom before opening in Photoshop. Three textures were combined to get this effect after creating a layer mask of everything except the sky basically. The This Layer Blend If settings in this case were split Black tab 56/78 and White tab 102/161. As you can see, quite a few black tones and white tones were removed from this image. I really liked the final result which added a lot of texture throughout the image without covering up the actual details in the image. (See Image 3 for more info on settings.)
Image of the London Eye with texture addedThis is such a great way to get some wonderful and unique effects that can be reused on other images. The reason this is major cool is that you can add layer styles to these resulting layers and even more Blend If sliders. And it really is not that hard once you try it a couple of times. It seems we are always looking for ways to add something just a little different to our images and this may be one to keep in your arsenal just for that purpose. And it is so much fun to try on different images – and that is what it is all about!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Get Blend If Slider Settings to Apply to a Layer blog


Image 1: This is another shot of a large Meadow Mushroom that appeared in my yard recently. In Photoshop the image was processed in Nik Color Efex Pro 4 where the B/W Conversion filter was set to Dynamic Control and an opacity of 56%; Film Efex/Vintage was set to Film Type 11 and 85% opacity; and Bi-Color Filters set to Color Set 3 with a control point placed on a mushroom at 39% opacity and an overall opacity of 20%. Next French Kiss Collections Artiste May Roses texture was applied. The mushrooms were lightly painted out in a layer mask. A New Layer was added where I added a little white cloud in the upper right of image at 89% layer opacity. Next Painted Textures Taupe Canvas was added to image – but I used the one created from the texture with the white removed from the texture and inverted. It was set to a Difference blend mode and a pink Solid Color Fill Layer was added to turn the remaining texture to a pinkish color. The Blend Mode made the color actually look dark blue which I really liked. A Bevel and Emboss Layer Style Effect was added to the layer. Some of this effect was removed from the mushroom with a layer mask. A composite layer was created on top (CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+E) . The background was darkened and the mushroom brightened.

Image 2: For this image, French Kiss Collection Tableaux WindSong 2z was applied on top. Next the composite layer (which was the charcoal image posted previously) was duplicated and the Layer Style opened up. This Layer Blend If White tab was split and set to 102/184 and in the Underlying Layer the Black tab was split and set to 191/194. Since this image had the texture underneath, the Underlying Layer tabs could also be manipulated. The Blend Mode was set to Vivid Light. A Brightness/Contrast layer was added with no settings and set to Multiply at 28% layer opacity – to darken image just slightly. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added next to add contrast to the midtones and darker areas. The Blend If layer was duplicated and placed above – a blank New Layer was set underneath – then the layers were merged together to apply the Blend If sliders to make transparent some of the white and black tonal areas. A selection was made by CTRL+clicking on the thumbnail and adding a Layer Mask to the original Blend If layer. Since all this did was select the structures, and I wanted the transparent areas preset, it was inverted by clicking CTRL+I in the Layer Mask so the texture will show through this layer. A white border was created using Photoshop’s Natural Brush Spray 41 pixels in a white color to create the white edging. Another Curves Adjustment Layer was added just for brightening up the image to emphasize the white a little more. A composite layer was added on top and the Fill Opacity was set to 0% to reduce the color shift.

Image 3: As described above, a sepia tone preset was used on this image in Lightroom. Painted Textures Confetti texture was set to 12% on top of the original image. Next 2 Lil’ Owls Mosaic Set Benoit texture (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) was added at 12% opacity also. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added and clipped to the top texture and set to Hue 57 and Saturation 12. Next the original background layer was duplicated and placed on top where the Blend If sliders were set as described above. The steps were followed with the a duplicate copy merged down, a selection created, and a Layer Mask added to the layer above the textures and to the Confetti texture. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added and contrast was added by pulling down on the curve. Next 2 Lil’ Owls Light It Up Mini Set 1 texture was added and set to Color Burn blend mode. French Kiss Collections free Glorious Grunge Edging was added and the Color Fill Layer was clipped to the edging and set to a light yellow. On a composite on top, the Fill Opacity had to be set to 0% to stop the color shift.


My Personal Fantasy MapIt was a busy week since Adobe decided to do a major update to their products including Lightroom and Photoshop. That kept me very busy since it seems to take forever for me to get it all working the same (still have a couple problems that aren’t working correctly). so I took a break from my normal blog and just decided to show what I worked on creatively this week! Chris Spooner made a short video called Create a Fantasy Map of Your Own Fictional World in Adobe Photoshop that really caught my attention. I had never thought of doing that! The more I worked on it, the more things I thought about adding. I named a few places after some my favorite people who create great work and some classical artists. It took forever to actually set the text, which I find really fussy with Photoshop anyway, and add a bunch of clip-art, mostly from PixelSquid, my favorite object site. Some of the images were from images I took and selected parts to add, like the resort hotel from Disney World. Chris Spooner also has a blog Download My Free Treasure Map Maker for Adobe Illustrator some basic map elements. I opened his Illustrator Treasure Map Assets.eps file, which opens up in PS. Created brushes from the objects by using the Lasso Tool and SHIFT+CTRL+J to put object on it own layer, then creating a brush by Turning on just the object layer and going to Edit -> Brushes. Not sure I used them on this map, but they looked like good, especially the pirate ships.

The hardest thing about making this map was to keep the layers organized (contains 84 layers). Therefore group of layers were created for lots of the different elements so I could find them quickly, including text layers (31 text layers). There are water layers, road and trail layers, and each text and object had groupings. Many of the layers had Hue/Saturation or other types of adjustments layers (26 in total) attached to them to adjust out the colors. Most of the object and text layers have layer styles added to them.

Overall lots of fun if you want something different to try. The basic land masses are very easy to create and as you can see, the maps can be as complicated as you want. I have to admit it was a bit of a challenge. Until later ….. Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Posts:
How to Use the PixelSquid Add-on in Photoshop
A Few Compositing Tips and Tricks!
Pseudo Scrapbooking


Sleeping Quarters at Castille de San Marcos in St. Augustine, FloridaLoving this new version of Aurora HDR (for website link, check sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) – it really does add an extra HDR boost to an image without taking it over the top like some of the older HDR software can do. I feel like the image above (taken at the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida) represents what this software does best – sharpens up the image for spectacular detail and color – and much of it occurs just on opening up the image in the program. Skylum states “Skylum’s Quantum HDR Engine harnesses the power of AI for a more streamlined editing experience than ever before. It reduces burned-out colors, loss of contrast, noise and unnatural lighting caused by halos and unstable deghosting.” As far as I can tell, this appears to be true. Aurora HDR 2019 seems to be very different from the Aurora HDR 2018 – the images appear to be brighter and more color visible in the new version. And very little post-processing was done to get the above result. This program can be used as a Photoshop or Lightroom plugin or as a stand-alone program. See below the original RAW file before LR and Aurora HDR 2019 changes were done.

Original Raw File for above image
In Lightroom some Basic Panel and HSL Panel Luminance and Saturation changes were done. Then in Photoshop, duplicated the Background layer and opened Aurora HDR 2019 as a PS plugin. I am not one to use presets (now called Aurora HDR Looks) a lot, but Aurora HDR 2019 comes with a new Collection (previously called Categories) named Randy Van Duinen Looks and the Night Tungsten Mix Look was selected – totally opened up a rather dark image. Check out all the looks in his Collection – they seem to be really nice. (I also noticed that most of the original presets from 2018 have been replaced with newer versions – I believe this is due to a realignment of several of the panels, especially the HDR Basic Panel.)

Trey Ratcliff is a major proponent of Aurora, actually helping to design the program with Skylum, and he says 70% of his RAW processing in Aurora is done with just a single image – he finds no difference when three bracketed images are used or just a single RAW image. I personally find this amazing! I am now just mainly using it with the best HDR bracketed shot I have and am getting really good results also. He states that both the Windows and Mac versions are exactly the same. I did find an instance when this was not true – in the new Adjustable Gradient Panel (based upon the older Top and Bottom Toning Panel) does not have the ability to set a point and be dragged out to blend the look on your image. Instead Windows still has the Blend, Horizontal Shift, and Rotation sliders – it is sort of hard to tell where the Top and Bottom effects start and stop. The really good news is that Aurora 2019 has moved the Highlights and Shadows sliders out of the top HDR Basic Panel into this Panel. Now the highlights can be protected in the clouds or shadows lightened in the foreground areas much easily. This is a big improvement to me. The new HDR Smart Structure slider in the HDR Enhance Panel analyzes the scene and applies structure in areas where the details are not in the sky, for example, so that it is now applied locally instead of globally.

To finish up the post processing, a layer mask was added to the Aurora layer and in the Properties Panel, the Density was set to 47%. In the mask a few of the details were painted back individually to sharpen them up (the newspapers, hanging clothes on the bed and cups.) Nik Viveza 2 was used to add a little vignette to the image, but this could have been done with Aurora. That was it. This rather dark image was totally sharpened and brightened up with Aurora HDR 2019! I particularly like the texture effect on the walls. Trey does say that interior architecture images, which are difficult to adjust due to the bright outside and dark insides, are much improved with this version of Aurora HDR.


Image of a tree in Oahu, HawaiiHere is an example of a different kind of image from Waimea Valley in Oahu, Hawaii – the original was all in green tones which was also nice, but I wanted to give it more of an engraved feel. In this case the image was turned to black and white using one of PS’s new Profiles called B&W Red Filter. Then a few adjustments in the Basic Panel were done before going into PS and duplicating the Background layer for opening in Aurora as a plugin. I wanted to show the difference using the exact same settings in Aurora HDR 2018 and 2019 – it is quite a noticeable change. Settings used in Aurora were as follows: Bottom Layer: HDR Basic: Contrast 27 and Smart Tone -24; and AL1: Dodge & Burn using Lighten at Size 28 and Strength 24% -painted over the foreground limbs to get some depth and detail onto the tree branches. Set to 54% opacity.

Aurora 2018 vs Aurora 2019 image comparisonIt seems to apply more contrast to give a more crisp HDR image in the update. Then additional settings can be applied. Sometimes just opening the image in Aurora HDR 2019 is all you need to do. The Aurora HDR 2019 image was taken back into PS where a layer mask was added to the Aurora layer. In the Properties Panel, the Density was set to 53% and just the foreground bright branches were painted back to restore the Aurora effect a little more. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added for more contrast. Topaz Len Effect’s Diffusion filter was applied to just soften the outside areas a little leaving the focal point very sharp. (This step could have been done in Aurora with the Image Radiance panel.) The blue tone was created setting a PS Color Lookup Adjustment Layer set to Foggy Night at 50% layer opacity. (This all could have been done in Aurora 2019 – they now have 11 LUT’s that can be applied, and the PS LUT’s can be accessed and applied to your image inside Aurora).


Image of sailboats at Camachee Cove MarinaThis image was mainly post-processed in the Aurora HDR 2019 stand alone edition, but had to be opened in Photoshop as there is no way to remove lens spots as far as I can tell. Used the Adjustable Gradient Panel to give the balanced feel to the top and bottom. I really love how clean the image looks with no noise at all. It would probably look pretty good in Aurora HDR 2018 even – the program has always been very good. In PS a Color Lookup Adjustment Layer was added using my SJ Darkly Bright, which was created in my video a while back and it really added a color pop to the image. (See my How To Use and Create Lookup Table (LUT) Files blog.) Last step was a slight vignette effect using Nik Viveza 2.

Overall this updated version seems to be a real winner! It does run a little faster and has a lot of nice improvements, especially for us Windows users. If you already own the program and use it a lot, it should be one you will want to update. If you like the HDR look but have never used Aurora HDR to see what it will do, you definitely need to download the 14-day trial and see what you think. I have always liked the program as it seems to always sharpen up my images just a little, especially when I have not used a tripod, and it reduce noise wonderfully. For me these are both really big deals. Hope this has give you something to try out to see if you like it – I do not think it will disappoint you! …… Digital Lady Syd


Image of an egret's eye I know I am a major Topaz groupie – been beta testing with them since almost the beginning and cannot seem to get enough of what their team does for us Photoshop users. They have created some of the most remarkable software – totally different from what I call the “big boys” in the field do and it never lets me down. Now they have come out with Topaz (see website link at my Tidbits Blog sidebar) A.I Gigapixel, a stand-alone program, and it is what I consider a major software phenomenon – a 30-day trial version can be downloaded through my link. What it mainly does is enlarge any image using “artificial intelligence” to fill areas of your image to upsize them. At first I thought, why do I need this? Well the above image is a great example. This egret has been upsized 600% in Topaz A.I Gigapixel to make the bird eye image go from a size of 777 pixels X 670 pixels (2.59 inches X 2.233 inches) at 300 ppi to 4662 pixels X 4020 pixels (15.54 inches X 13.4 inches) at 300 ppi. The eye looks sharp and you can even see the feathers on the head. Below is what the original image looked like before any editing, cropping or upsizing. The size of the image was 14.293″ X 9.493″ at 300 ppi – almost the same size as the new image above.

Make Small Details in Image Main Focal Point in Cropped Version

Original Egret Eye Image
It has been suggested that this can be done with a panorama that has some details that would look nice printed out as individual images. Once the image was upsized, it was post-processed like normal in Photoshop. In this case a Curves Adjustment Layer for contrast was added along with a Color Balance Adjustment Layer and an Exposure Adjustment Layer for the eye color. That was it – not much to it.

Copy Out a Frame in a Video to Make a Sharp Image for Printing

Image of some kids having fun in Oahu, Hawaii Above is the final image from Oahu, Hawaii, after doing edits in PS (added Camera Raw Filter, and a Curves Adjustment Layer) to the upsized image – definitely something that would look great printed out. Image size is now 20 X 11 inches at 300 ppi or 59.5 megabytes. Below top image was taken from a rather low res video – I ran it through my video player (I like the free VLC media player – it lets me play my videos without converting the file type) and stopped at this frame. Used the Windows Snipping Tool to save it down as a jpg. When opened in PS, the original image size was 17 X 10 inches @ 96 ppi or 4.5 megabytes. Below are close ups of the kids showing the original and underneath, the image upsized 400% with A.I. Gagapixel for detail comparison.

Original close up image of kids in Oahu
Close image of upsized image of kids in OahuIf you look closely, the faces are a little bit clearer, the palm tree in the background is a lot sharper, and the fronds at the top of the image are a lot clearer. If you look at the finished image, the fronds look really incredible. A.I. Gigapixel fills in areas with pixels it thinks need to be added – Topaz says the program does 1 -2 million operations per pixel when it is analyzing the image.

To Increase Size of a Favorite Image from Internet or from Your Social Media

I love to find images from old famous painters or photographers for slideshows on my computer (Windows 10 capability). So many web images have very poor quality so running it through A.I. Gigapixel creates some really nice results. Here is an example of how this can work. The original image of the Waterloo Place image from London, 1899 has a size of 89 KB (600 X 438 pixels) and 72 resolution. (See image below.)

Image of Waterloo Place, London, 1899

After running the image through A.I Gigapixel (see below) and increasing it by 600% to 1919 KB, it is so much smoother and much less grainy. It was enlarged by 600% for a size of 12 X 8.76 inches (3600 X 2628 pixels), which is large enough to get a nice print. No changes were done to this image but the Reduce Noise and Blur was set to Moderate in A.I. Gigapixel – it really improved the atmospherics of the image. If you have a relatively clean image, this is not needed.

Image of Waterloo Place, London, 1899, after being upsized using Topaz A.I. Gigapixel

I am sure this program will continue to grow and get better, and they promise that if you buy it, all the upgrades will be free. This same process can also be used if you have textures you created or bought that are older or just not that large, this program can be used to bring them up to the new large size photo standards. Also, downloading a thumbnail from your social media can be run through A.I. Gigapixel to get a good result, even if the image is only a few kilobytes large. I have not tried it on my phone images, but I am sure it will really help. Topaz has a really nice video called Topaz Live Training: Introducing A.I. Gigapixel that takes you through several images. They also show how to use this A.I. Gigapixel with 3D so it definitely has some cutting-edge uses.

I will try and do a video once I have learned all the tricks. I only downloaded the image a couple days ago and I can already see lots of possibilities. Give it a try if you are like me and have lots of old photos on your computer that could use a little help or would like to really zoom in and get a nice high resolution image of a part of a favorite shot. Have a good weekend!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of sailboats at Camachee Cove, St. Augustine, FloridaRecently I came across a very interesting technique for making a layer mask based on how saturated your image is versus a luminosity mask based on how bright your image is. A filter called Multi-plugin, a free download from Adobe, is applied to a “duplicate of your image.” First created for Photoshop CS5, it still works in CC and can be downloaded here: Windows version ; for the Mac Version and Photoshop CS6 (for both 32-bit and 64 bit), go to this page to download using buttons for “Electric Image and HSBHSL (Optional MultiPlugin).”

The filter pretends to convert the RGB mode of a duplicated image to an HSB or HSL mode (a choice is given and slightly different results can occur) to create masks for Hue (red channel), Saturation (green channel) and Brightness/Lightness (blue channel). To create the Saturation mask the green channel is duplicated in the “duplicate image.” Then go back to the original image and the “duplicate image” Green channel is applied from the Select ->Load Selection menu item. Okay – this is not as hard as it sounds. I will list the steps below on how to do this.

I learned about this nifty little plugin from John Paul Caponigro (possibly the best Photoshop guru out there) blog called Selecting the Unselectable with Photoshop’s Saturation Masking. He goes into great detail on how to add in the plug-in and steps for using it. The plugin is to be used on images where semi-neutrals are not saturated enough and the other colors are not over-saturated. This plugin gives different results from what Vibrance does to an image. When you load the plugin, it appears in the Filters -> Other as HSB/HSL in the menu. The image above is of Camachee Cove in St. Augustine in Florida and had a rather gray look to it. For this image only the medium ranges of Saturation were targeted which I feel gives a much richer feel especially to the water. John’s blog walks you through this workflow along with targeting specific hues. I have used this technique on several images and really like the results. Below is a video of an image taken recently at Haw Creek in Florida.

Steps for applying the HSB/HSL Filter

  1. Duplicate the original file in Photoshop (Image -> Duplicate).
  2. On Duplicate image go to Filter -> Other -> HSB/HSL filter and click OK – some really weird colors will appear.
  3. Go to the Channels Panel and highlight the Green Channel. Right click and select Duplicate the Channel. It will be named Green copy at the bottom of the panel. Note that the more saturated the color is in the original image, the lighter the values will be in the green channel.
  4. Highlight your Original image and and go to Select -> Load selection – in Document drop-down, choose the “image copy” and Channel set to Green copy. Say Okay and a bunch of little blinkies appear which show where the most saturated areas are in the image.
  5. With the selection active, add a mask to your layer or add an Adjustment Layer. I find the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer makes the most sense to me for adjusting the saturation. Most changes will be to the Saturation slider but there try out the others.

Image of a Magnolia Tree PodThe image above of a magnolia tree pod used a regular High Saturation Curves Adjustment Layer where mainly the Blue channel and the RGB channel were adjusted. Then the Curves Adjustment Layer was duplicated and the mask inverted so just the low saturated areas were selected in the mask – the Red Channel was adjusted and the layer was set to 71%. Mainly the color channel curves were adjusted to get the look needed. This actually gave the leaves a more satin look.

I guess what I like about this filter is that it gives a very clean effect to the image – no halos are created, just nice bright colors. I have also experimented with the Hue (Red Channel) and Lightness/Brightness (Blue Channel) selections to see what happens. It does produce some different results, so give that a try also. Hope everyone will check out this filter, it is really spectacular and not that hard to use. Have a wonderful fall – have to love the colors this time of year!…..Digital Lady Syd

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