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HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

Happy 4th of July image of fireworks
Just a quick Happy 4th of July blog – hope everyone has a chance to see some fireworks, or at least enjoy them on TV.

A few quick notes on how to create this look or use these fireworks in some of your non-4th of July images. I created this image on my Tidbits Blog a few years ago. The fireworks are from freeimages.com and Jai Johnson’s Fireworks Overlay Collection which is now for sale. Check out my very old (but I just updated links) blog called Faking Fireworks which contains several great tips on using the Blend If to good results on these fireworks.

The letters were scanned using some inexpensive letter templates and then adding layer styles using Shadowhouse Creations free Patriotic Pattern set. Used a different one for each letter by placing each letter on its own layer first. A Levels Adjustment Layer was used to add some contrast back. Then it seemed like there was not enough smoke in the background that fireworks always generate. Therefore Phlearn’s free Fog Brush set to light blue and 11% opacity was applied. A Gaussian Blur was then applied to the layer to soften the edges of the fog a little.

Have a wonderful holiday!…..Digital Lady Syd

USING THE FUN TOON ARTIST PHOTOSHOP ACTION

Cartoon Effect of image of Old Ford
Just a quick blog this week – wanted to share this really free fun Photoshop action downloaded from Adobe Create. Nuwan Panditha (Black Null) made this wonderful action and the results are give a nice cartoon-like effect. The image above was processed as a regular photo before, but the cartoon look worked out well for this close up of the front of an old Ford.

First, here is the download link. The download folder contains the action, a PDF guide, and a .pat file of 20 patterns. I would suggest looking at the PDF guide giving relevant information on the different layer groups before running the action. I will also caution you that the files can get pretty big – the Jaguar image was over a gig after running the action.

There are a few things you need to do before running the action: 1) set the image to 8-bit and RGB modes; 2) make sure the document does not exceed 5000 px on a side and 3000 px is best; 3) make sure Open CL is active in PS preferences; 4) if image is cropped, be sure to “Delete Cropped Pixels” is checked in the Options Bar; and 5) load the patterns (info on how to do this is in the PDF). The other thing that must be done is to create a brush that has a Hardness set to 100 and Spacing 10% – use it to paint in white on the new layer where you want the action to place cartoon effect before actually running the action.

Nuwan says that close up images work very well with this action – image should be sharp and well lit. So do not use images that are all white or black and use Levels Adjustment to balance the brightness of the image before running image.

To run the action, two layers are required, the bottom image layer and a New Layer on top – this is where you use the brush noted above is used to paint with white over the part of image to be emphasized. The action can take 3 to 4 minutes to run.

Once the actin is run, a Toon Artist folder is created that contains all the subgroups which allow you to get the different effects. Just turn on and off the eyeballs to see what each section does to the image – and open them up to tweak each. Several have layer styles attached so check out those. In the Screenshot below the 2nd layer up shows just the white painted front part of the car that was detailed with the cartoon lines. The painted background effect was created by turning on in the BG FX folder the Original BG layer and adjusting the BG Color (Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer that shows a brownish icon color) located at the bottom of the Toon Artist folder (3rd layer up in screenshot). In the Screenshot it can be seen that the BG Pattern subfolder was not used in for this image.
Screenshot of Toon Artist Photoshop Action

Here is a Jaguar image taken at the Jacksonville Zoo that shows some of the other cartoon features that can be added to an image with this action. To keep the image size under a gig, I had to resize it making the long side 6 inches, and remove all the hidden layers that were not being used.

Cartoon image of a Jaguar from the Jacksonville Zoo
Bottom Line: It is a bit complicated to use, but once you try it a few times, it is really fun to create different effects. I enjoyed having something different to try out. Nuwan also did another action I wrote about a while back that you might download. The blog is called Trying Out the Free Watercolor Action from Adobe – Pretty Nice! Have a great week…..Digital Lady Syd

HOW TO USE A SPATTER BRUSH FOR A BACKGROUND EFFECT


Image of a Lily

The image above is an example of what I like to do with a spatter (or splatter) brush in Photoshop. It can really pull an image together when it is lacking some interest. Thought I would show you a couple ways to get this nice effect and where to find the brushes to do it. I got this idea from watching an “oldie-but-goodie” video by Mark J. Johnson, one of my favorite Photoshop people from years ago – I have not been able to find any of his more recent material. The video is called Photoshop Workbench 418: Paint Splatter Border Effect from 2014. He is using a brush from Lisa Carney, another one of my favorites – he does not give you the brush, which has more of a splatter look to it, but you can see what it looks like and the settings he used. These are the settings I used on some of my brushes from various resources.. 
Image of a Sand Cat at the Smithsonian Washington DC Zoo

So lets start with this tiny adorable Sand (Desert) Cat image taken at the Smithsonian Washington DC Zoo. It was not a great shot as it was he was inside a building with poor light and was moving a lot, but his face was well focused. By adding some interest to the background, the overall moving effect could be blended in with a spatter brush. So after doing some initial clean up, it was time to add some spatter marks.

Finding the Brushes

This image used the Splashy brush in Kyle Webster’s Spatter Brush set. To find the spatter brushes, open the Brush Panel (I usually just press F5 and it opens up along with the Brush Settings Panel) – just click on the little “hamburger” icon in the top right corner of the panel. In the pop-out menu, there is a choice called “Get More Brushes” – that is where Kyle has all his brushes for you to download. Once the website is opened, you will see a New Release Summer 2020 Brushes at the top – the Lily image uses the Spladoosh Variant brush from this set. Scroll down and find a group called Spatter brushes – download them – to add them to PS, can just double click on the spatter.abr file – they will load in as a group at the bottom of your brush panel. (Even if PS is closed, it will open up PS and add them in.) Scroll down the group list until you see the Splashy brush.

Adding a Spatter Layer

For the cat image, a New Layer was added and the Splashy was selected. Just dabbed around until an effect was created. In this case, no texture was added first. No changes were made to the Splashy brush but it should be noted that it is set to “Multiply” blend mode in the Options bar which appears to give the brush a much softer lighter stroke effect in this case. If it is switched to Normal, marks have more emphasis on the dark and light aspects of the brush tip itself. Also for this image the actual spatter brush layer was set to Linear Burn at 72% Layer Fill. A Color Lookup Table using a Cerulean Blue preset from PhotoFocus was used to get the overall image color effect.

The Tilde (~) Keyboard Shortcut

New with the November 2019 update of PS 2020, the tilde key (~) key acts as an eraser – so when you paint with a brush, pressing the Tilde key will erase using the exact same brush with the same settings, not the brush selected in the Eraser Tool. This can be quite useful for blending when the brush is set to a lower flow or opacity – it will remove just a reduced amount of the stroke. You can use this in a layer mask to create soft blended edges.

Also, press the Tilde key (~) and the right arrow (->) key to rotate the brush tip clockwise. Use the left arrow key (<-) to rotate counterclockwise. Add the SHIFT key and it will change the Angle in 15 degree amounts. I really love this key – it has made it a lot easier to paint in PS.
Image of a group of Flamingos called Flamboyance

Using Spatter Brushes in a Layer Mask on a Texture Layer

In the Flamingo image, Spatter Brush 139 in a free set called Abstract Paint Brushes by Darrian Lynx was used – the settings in the Brush Panel were: Shape Dynamics Size Jitter 31%, Control Pen Pressure, and Angle Jitter 100%; Transfer Opacity Jitter 29%, Control Pen Pressure and Minimum 48%; and increase size to 1158 pixels. On one of my painted textures a layer mask was added and the above brush was used to paint out the center with black for a border effect. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), Luminar 4 (for website link, see sidebar of my Tidbits Blog)was opened and several “looks” were applied to soften up the edges of the painted spatter border to give a sort of dreamy feel to the image.

The top image of the Lily used a brush from Kyle’s new Summer 2020 Brushes set called Sladoosh Variant. This brush is set to Normal blend mode at 30% opacity for this image and no changes were made to the brush settings. The Tilde keyboard shortcut was used a lot to get the effect around the blossoms that I wanted.

Brush marks can be combined on different layers and set to different opacities to make new spatter brushes. Also several different layers set to different layer opacities or blend modes using different brushes can be stacked above the image to create some great effects. And don’t forget to try different textures with different blend modes to get some interesting results. It is really a lot of fun to do this. Have a great week and start looking at those spatter brushes!…..Digital Lady Syd

HOW TO GET A SOFT TEXTURED FLOWER EFFECT


Image of an orange Bird of Paradise plant

In the process of reorganizing my office so have not done a lot of Photoshop. But I did recently enjoy one of my favorite texture people, Kim Klassen, blogs and some of her really nice give-aways. She also is a Lightroom expert but her textures have always been great for that soft subtle look. Most of her looks are with florals and of very peaceful surroundings. Sign up for her newsletter and she will give you some great textures. Also a Jai Johnson texture was  used (see more on this below) and her textures are a favorite for me, especially with my animal images.

For the above image, Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Sharpen AI was applied on a duplicate layer. The spotlight effect was added to bloom and leaves (see my How to Add a Spot of Light blog to do this) to draw the eye to the focal point. To further sharpen the bloom only, a High Pass filter was added with a black mask – painted back only what needed a little more sharpening. Chris Spooner’s Wood Grain Texture 01 png was added next and the plant was painted out in a layer mask so the grain only affected the background. (These are really nice textures and are a free download – check out Chris’s site for lots of free goodies.) A Selective Color Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT+click between the layers to clip) to add the blue color to the wood grain.  A texture by Jai Johnson at Daily Textures called Watercolor Experiment was set to Vivid Light at 20% layer opacity. This was a free give-away from Jai – if you sign up for her newsletter she will give you several great textures. Her specialty is creating natural textures that look great with animal images. Jai also has some great tutorials at her site for adding animals into her textures which is a lot of fun.

Now Kim Klassen’s Mocha stamp brush was used to soften the whole image down – this was a free give-away this month and is in her Dry Brush Stamps set. Set it to 43% and did just one stamp down. Kim’s Minimay grunge frame was added with a layer mask and everything but the frame was painted out. The texture was set to Pin Light at 83% layer opacity. Another Selective Color Adjustment Layer was clipped to the frame to adjust the color for a very rusty effect. The last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer to add back some contrast.

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Image of Pink Pentas in my Yard
This is more of a real Kim Klassen “look” compared to the top image. This also was a much simpler workflow. On a duplicate layer converted to a Smart Object, the Camera Raw filter was opened and the Calibration Panel was opened to add a little more pink back into the flowers – it really improved the color. This is one of Kim’s tricks when she is processing her images – a great way to remove some greens if they are overdone or not quit the right color. I brought a butterfly image taken at the Butterfly Rain Forest to just add a little interest – this orange beauty was turned into purple to fit in subtlety. Wish there really was a purple butterfly like this – to soften those edges a little, put an Inner Glow on it (compositing trick learned from Matt Kloskowski) – set your blend mode to Normal and sample color from image for swatch. Clip a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to butterfly layer to change its color. On a new layer another free brush set from Kim called Edged Stamp (used 2) was selected – just clicked once – it gave a beautiful textured look. On top another Kim Klassen texture called Paper and Grit 2 was added (this is from a set I got several years ago but I believe she still sells it – these are really beautiful textures). This one was sort of a concrete look but in a light beige color and was set to Soft Light blend mode at 100% layer opacity.

The last step is pretty nifty – very similar to my Spotlight Effect, but this time Unmesh Dinka did a One Trick to Add Light or Shine to Anything in Photoshop video that shows how to add some shine to any object. That is what was done on this image to just slightly pop the flowers. I actually created a simple action to do this as I found this technique really helpful – just need to create the brush first so it can selected in the action.

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Digital Art of some flowers
Just another example of a Kim Klassen’s effect. This time the steps in her A Start to Finish Quote Art Photoshop Video Tutorial were followed using her mostly-subtle stamp brushes that are available on the site. It was a lot of fun to do. The flowers are from Vector Huts Globe Flowers – 40 Plant III No. 4 which were free a while back.The outside frame is from Jai Johnson and is called Chaos Frame Border. The dark lines were selected using Color Range and a layer mask added – you want the dark areas to appear as white in the mask. It was one of her give-aways from December. That was all that was done.

If you want to get some nice textures to tryout, get on both Kim’s and Jai’s mailing lists – they are super about giving you samples to try out and their textures are absolutely fabulous! Have a good week…..Digital Lady Syd

HOW TO GET A SOFT BLACK AND WHITE LANDSCAPE EFFECT

B&W Image of Spanish Cay in the Bahamas
This week I decided to try to create a soft landscape look. A fabulous German photographer named Christian Zieg inspired me to try to achieve a similar effect. Of course there are several ways to do this both in-camera and in Photoshop. In Photoshop any type of filter using the word glow, radiance or diffusion will probably give a good start to creating this look. I tried several different ways, and the following was the best result for this image in my opinion.

This vacant beach on Spanish Cay (as of February it is now open after the devastating Hurricane Dorian) in the Bahamas used two different types of filters to get the final look. Below is how the image looked after a few basic adjustments in Lightroom.

Image of deserted beach on Spanish Cay in the Bahamas

For this image, Skylum’s (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Luminar 4 was used to get the original soft look. In Luminar these were the “Looks” used: In the Essentials section AI Structure was applied and a Luminar Structure mask was created so only the dead trees were selected. Next in the Creative section the Color Styles (LUT) was applied – the LUT selected was called BW_XInf preset (created by retoucher and photographer Victor Fejes for KelbyOne). By setting the Saturation to -100, the image became a black and white. Next the Glow Look was selected and set to Type: Soft Focus Light, Amount 61, Brightness -18 and in Advanced Settings Smoothness 15 and Warmth 0. The AI Structure layer mask was copied and pasted into the Glow mask,  then set the Density slider to 18% so there is not much effect from the mask. By adjusting the Smoothness slider, a very soft effect can be achieved. The last step was to open the Pro section and choose Advanced Contrast where Highlights Contrast slider was set to 39, Midtones Contrast 13, and Shadows Contrast 19. At this point a preset was created called SJ Dreamy Look so the effect could easily be applied to other images. Below is how the image looked after applying the above plugin. I have to admit I sort of liked just this effect.

Luminar version of Spanish Cay Image

Now using the Luminar plugin is really great for the soft effect, but to get the dark look, a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer is added using the white to black gradient which creates a beautiful black effect with the white showing up for emphasis. Be sure you have white selected as the foreground color and black as the background on the swatch. A clip-art moon was added to the image with a Levels Adjustment Layer clipped (ALT+click between the layers to clip) to it to adjust the moon tones.

The second filter used is my favorite, Nik Viveza, to adjust the brightness of the different areas in the image and drive the eye to the moonlight. Wanted it to appear as though the moon was lighting up the island and water behind it. Then just a little clean up was done like dodging and burning on a few of the branches so they are correctly lit. (See my How to Add a Spot of Light blog to do this.) That is all that was done to get this effect and it is a lot of fun to do.

There are other ways to get the nice soft effect, but this one worked best for me. I tried Diffusion and Radiance techniques, but they did not look as good as Luminar’s Glow. The Gradient Map Adjustment Layer was great for switching up the blacks and whites. Will catch everyone later!….. Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Add a Simple Glow Effect to Your Image
How to Add a Darker Background Image for a Darker Background Image for a Different Effect
My Glowing Porch Flowers!
Can You Spot the Photo Bombing Kids?

HOW TO USE A PHOTOSHOP TEMPLATE

Image of template of birds
This week is a reblog from 2016 that shows how to use a template (of mine that can be downloaded at DeviantArt – see link below) to create a fun image in Photoshop. I decided to try a new image as shown above. Notice I did not really follow the template markers, just used them to give me a layout idea and deleted all of them but the top one. The results are very similar to my post of on How To Do a Little Subconscious Digital Art Journaling a couple weeks ago. Lots of fun to do.

My image above used free Graphics Fairy images for the top image and white heron, but the Osprey is mine. The two birds on the Text word are from Watercolor Russian Birds by Anna Faun. The background texture is one I took in St. Augustine of part of a wall at the Castillo de San Marcos fort. The flying birds are from PixelSquid. And now on with the previous blog. Have a great week!

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Template showing various imagesLast week I covered using templates in Lightroom to display your images. (See my How To Use Lightroom’s Print Templates to Display Your Images blog.) This week I am using Photoshop and a template I created a while back that shows another way to display your images and objects. Any template that can be opened in Photoshop can be used, I just like this particular the photo arrangement in this template. Here is the link on my Deviant Art page where my SJ 5 Opening Template can be downloaded if you would like to use it. This blog is just discussing how to use a template in Photoshop. (See my Using a Template to Create Your Own Unique Valentine Blog for steps on how to create this template.)

In each of the two images I selected a color scheme and added texture and natural objects to the mix. When you open the template in Photoshop, you will find a white Background layer and 4 black blocks where images and/or objects can be placed. In most templates, this is what you will find – black or colored boxes where the images are to be placed. For each layer with a black block, an image or object was placed above it. The crucial step is this next step – the image was clipped, which means the image was linked to the black block and showing up just in the black box area, not outside that area. There are several ways to clip the image or object layer – can go to Layer -> Create Clipping Mask, or use the shortcut keys ALT+CTRL+G on layer, or right click on layer and select Create Clipping Mask from list, or my favorite, just ALT+click between the two layers to be clipped. Very easy! Next using the Move Tool (V), the image was dragged to fit in the location just right. If it does not fit correctly, go to Edit -> Free Transform or CTRL+T to adjust the size. The top version contains little images I painted or just some of my favorite clip art. For the starfish, a vintage texture was added behind it (all clipped to the black block as more than one layer can be clipped at a time). The background texture was added just above the white Background Layer and only a portion of it was used. It can be transformed and different Adjustment Layers can be added to the texture to match the template pictures. To get the line around the openings, be sure to add a Stroke Layer Style on the black block layers to get the same treatment for each, not the pictures. To copy the Layer Style to another layer, just ALT+drag the fx letters to the new layer.

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Template showing several images and objectsThis image uses the same template and same workflow as used above. Just found some interesting objects and one of my painted trees. Again, just clipped them to the black block layers, added one of my painted textures underneath (texture was created in PS using Grut’s Inky Leaks Brushes which are wonderful). No strokes were added to the black boxes in this image. This time Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Texture Effects’ Dingy Cream preset was used with a few changes to give the interesting border. On a New Layer, some texture was painted on the image (see Just Jaimee Summer 2012 Brush Sampler 4) to finish up. Sometimes painting on a little extra texture adds a nice touch.

That was it. The trick to using Photoshop templates is to clip the images to the openings. If you just want the layout without using the block, just add your objects on top, then once placed, just remove the black box layer. Just remember that and it will be very easy – maybe easier than Lightroom. And there is more leeway for creativity with all the cool templates out there that can be downloaded many times for free. That’s it for this week – have a great week and chat at ya soon!…..Digital Lady Syd

JUST A LITTLE LANDSCAPE LOVE

Sunset image from Spanish Cay in the Bahamas
Taking a bit of a break this week from blogging. Well I thought I was but this image took a very long time to post process so it is a good thing I like Photoshop! I will share with you some of the techniques that went into creating this image.

  • This was a 5-image HDR taken at Spanish Cay in The Bahamas several years ago. (It is also one of the places to go through customs when sailing in and out of The Bahamas.) Used the Lightroom HDR program – just made sure the auto settings were turned off so I could do the next step.
  • The resulting DNG image was opened in Photoshop. I have been learning how to work with Jimmy McIntyre’s Luminosity techniques for landscapes. The steps he explains in his How to Use Luminosity Masks and Single Exposure video – this is a bit of a complicated technique that uses the Apply Image command, but it gives great results. In my Tidbits Blog of Thursday called Little House on Green Turtle Cay, the same technique was used.
  • The resulting image was pretty noisy so on a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), Topaz (See sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) DeNoise AI was added – used the Auto settings and it cleaned it up with just a small amount of the sliders. Best I have seen it do! Also Topaz Sharpen AI was added using Stabilize model (Sharpness 74 and Suppress noise 16). Be sure to watch haloing with this filter – it probably caused some of my clean up issues that had to be addressed later.
  • The Lighting Effects filter added some more warmth to the image. Last week I did a blog on this filter – this week Colin Smith came out with a new video called Lighting Photos in Photoshop – add Stunning Sunset Lighting. I felt like it did a good job on this image.
  • There were several places with some color discoloration on the water – used a tip I learned from Randy van Duinen. This is the best way to fix it when faced with type of color distortion: make a rough selection of problem area and enter the Quick Mask Tool, go to Gaussian Blur Filter set to a large amount for blending edges (depends on size of selection), go out of Quick Mask, and add a Curves Adjustment Layer (or any Adjustment layer needed) and adjust all the channel curves to match up. See my How to Subtle Adjust Areas of an Image Using Two Methods blog for more on this. This is one of my favorite PS tricks.
  • There was a little haloing where the clouds met the treetops – it really was not haloing but it looked bad. To smooth the colors between the clouds and the trees, David Belliveau’s fabulous mixer blender brush was used at a small size – it can be downloaded at his Painter website. The brush is one of the best for blending anything.
  • Several areas were accented with a little spotlight effect – set a layer to Overlay blend mode and Brush Options set to 100% Opacity and 9% Flow. Just dab where a little brightness (or darkness or color) needs to be added.
  • Last step was to create a little vignette. Since this sunset makes the image off-balance, the vignette techniques I usually like did not work. Went back to Jimmy McIntyre and followed his The Power of Vignettes in Photoshop where he uses two different Curves Adjustment Layers to create the vignette. This technique worked the best and gave a more natural look.

Well that is it for this blog – just a little landscape jargon. Hope everyone is safe and still enjoying learning new things that can be done with Photoshop. I am slowly trying out some recently viewed video techniques – many were used above. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

HOW TO USE THE LIGHTING EFFECTS FILTER

Image of a Squirrel Monkey at the Jacksonville Zoo
This week I did some video viewing and trying out the Lighting Effects Filter again. Colin Smith from Photoshop Cafe did a set of 5 videos on this filter the last few weeks. This filter has been around for a while (it is exactly the same in CS6) and I have used it on and off over the years. Colin is an expert at using this filter, and there is a lot more to it than what it appears to be and what I knew.

Colin Smith had one particular video I felt was extremely helpful for lightening the Squirrel Monkey image above and the Butterfly image below. It was called Lighting Portrait Photos in Photoshop, Its Amazing – Part 2. The other videos are definitely worth the time to watch if you are enjoying using this filter, but this one was the most helpful to me. An Alpha Channel selection to limit the effect to just certain areas in the image was not created for my images (but is discussed in great detail in the other videos and looks great on some images), but several minutes into the video Colin shows you how to adjust the lights and use the filter.

Basic adjustments: The above image is of a Squirrel Monkey at the Jacksonville Zoo. To use the Lighting Effects Filter (Filter -> Render -> Lighting Effects), it is best to begin with a stamped layer on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) that has been turned into a Smart Object (or Filter – they are the same thing). It is good to use it as a Smart Object so the settings can be re-adjusted after applying the effect. A default Spot Light is shown when the filter is first opened. Dragging your mouse around the points on the light give you several options for adjusting the actual light (Move, Rotate, and Scale Width or change its size).

Available lights: Three types of lights were added in the above: Spot Light, Infinite Light and Point Light – Colin goes into detail on each of these types of lights in the 5 videos, but he seems to prefer the Spot Light effect. If you look in the Options Bar Presets drop-down, the first one listed is called 2 o’clock and is a good starting place. (There are many choices in the drop-down menu – check out the Adobe link below for the list.) An Infinite Light was added to basically just lighten up the whole image. The Point Light was just a small light placed on his face to brighten it up a little more.

To get good results: Need to just go back and forth making adjustments between the “Color and Intensity slider” and the “Colorize (swatch for tint of the overall lighting) and Exposure slider (controls highlight and shadow detail).” Clicking on the color swatches bring up a Color Picker with an adjustable Intensity slider which makes the color lighter and is using 32-bit lighting (per Colin).

Other sliders: There is a Texture field that does not have to be added to your image but it can really help an image that is lacking a little in detail. First set in the Texture field drop-down the Red Channel (it appears to be the best channel to use for this) and a Height of 1 (if you want texture to be in the other direction, use -1) – it really sharpened up this guys fur. Moving the Height slider too much can give some really weird looks. For a natural look keep it to 1 or 2. The Metallic and Gloss sliders work mainly as contrast sliders. Ambience is one of my favorite sliders as it lightens up or darkens the surrounding areas around the lighting edges.

This filter requires a lot of playing with sliders, which is what I really like to do! For more info on the post-processing of the Monkey, check out the end of the blog. Here is the Adobe Photoshop link to the Lighting Effects Filter.

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Image of a Malay Lacewing Butterfly at the Butterfly Rainforest in Gainesville, FloridaThis image is of a Malay Lacewing Butterfly (took this pix at the Butterfly Rainforest in Gainesville, Florida) and was much easier to post process. (See post-info at end of blog). Used a stamped layer that was turned into a Smart Object before selecting the Lighting Effects Filter. A single Spot Light was added – similar to the giraffe image below. No Texture field was added since textures were added before on other layers in PS. The light was directed to the left side of the wing where the light was naturally falling onto the butterfly.

A couple tips when using the Light Effects Filter:

  • It is a little cumbersome to use and sometimes it is hard to adjust the lights. To zoom out, click on the bottom left corner and change the amount in box to zoom, or hold the ALT key with the scroll wheel (this did not always work for me).
  • When the interface is in the way so you cannot tell what you are looking at, do a CTRL+H to toggle the tools on and off.
  • When I open this filter an awful scary dialog box called Embedded Profile Mismatch comes up – just click Cancel to use the filter. Get same dialog when applying the filter – still clicked Cancel and it applied the filter. Not sure if anyone else will see this, but this does work.
  • Need to be in 8-bit mode to use this filter now (used to be also for 16-bit, but no more).
  • For a dreamy glow effect, set the Metallic slider to -100 and then move the Gloss slider towards the right to achieve a nice result.

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Image of Bronze Giraffe Sculptures from the Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden in West Palm BeachThe above is an image I had shown before, but it used the Lighting Effect Filter. This bronze giraffe sculpture is part of the Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden in West Palm Beach and was created by Henry Mitchell in 1959 – and was one of my favorites at the Garden. To get this effect and see what Lighting Effects filter settings were used, check out my How to Get a Fantasy Feel in Photoshop blog that shows a Screenshot of the filter. You will see in the older blog that a Red Channel was used for a Texture and the Height was set to 9 to emphasize the really nice markings on the giraffes. In this case it is okay to set the Height slider amount up a little.

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Below is another older image taken at Flagler Beach in Florida and the Lighting Filter Effect was used for adding a little sunlight effect in a painted image sky. It shows a different way the filter can be used to add some artistic interest.

Image of Flagler Beach and the natural Sea Oats

Since this is a Photoshop filter, it is an easy one to try out and produces some really terrific lighting results. And since photography is all about light, it has a lot of possibilities. I have used it for years on and off, and I am going to try it out some more now that I have learned a few more things about how to use it. Hope everyone is doing fine and will be able to get out and start taking pictures soon……Digital Lady Syd

Image Post-Processing Details:

Squirrel Monkey Image:  To begin this image, a texture group was created using FrenchKiss’s Stone Blush texture (these are fabulous painted textures) and Kim Klassen’s Epic texture (and yes, Kim is doing her wonderful textures again). The textures were put in a Group and set to 30% opacity – this gave the image a really beautiful pastel spring-like feel. The monkey was selected and place on top and lots of clean up was done, including adding some fur in strategic places (used coyotemange brushes Rough Tuft and Long Fur from last week’s blog). Next on a stamped layer Skylum (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Luminar 4’s Sky Replacement look for this image was applied – it found all the white areas and added in the sky – totally Amazing! On another Smart Object stamped layer, the Lighting Effects Filter in PS was added. This really sharpened up his fur by setting the Texture field to Red Channel (appears to be the best default channel to use for this) and a Height of 1. A Spot Light was used first on the whole image. Next an Infinite Light basically just lightened up everything. Last a Point Light was just a small one placed on his face to brighten it up only and get that backlit feel. The rest of the image was the standard clean up layer, Curves Adjustment Layer, and Levels Vignette.

Butterfly Image: Just used Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Sharpen AI (love this filter) and Topaz DeNoise AI first. Then added a texture called BB Orange and Gold Bokeh (not sure where I got it as it is from 2008) set to Overlay blend mode at 72% layer opacity – duplicated texture and set it to 17% blend mode. On a new layer painted in some Bokeh circles sampling the colors from the texture (used a brush from MiniPixBox-Bokeh 34). Did some clean up and the image just looked a little drab to me. On a stamped layer turned into a Smart Object, the Lighting Effects Filter was opened – only a single Spot Light effect was added – similar to the giraffe filter settings. No Texture was added – here are my settings on a Spot Light set from upper left to lower center right: Color White and Intensity 26, Hotspot 22, Colorize (light yellow H58/S27/B75 and Intensity +1.50) and Exposure -76, Gloss -32, Metallic -6, and Ambience 26. It definitely added the light in the area on the wing where the light was coming onto it.

ENJOYING A LITTLE RELAXATION WITH SOME TEXTURE FUN

Image of a Bonobo Monkey from the Jacksonville Zoo
Taking it a little easy time this week and decided to show this Bonobo Monkey (link describes difference between the Bonobo Monkeys and Chimpanzees) from the Jacksonville Zoo totally enjoying himself in the warmth of the day on his blanket and having a good chuckle. The technique used was partially from a webinar that Matt Kloskowski gave last week called Texture Photo Challenge – Hands On. Since Matt has a Wildlife Tutorial Blending course for sale on this, the Webinar does not seem to available anymore. Matt used some different techniques and brushes – I like mine so that is okay since I have a little different way of doing this. I will say that he starts with very basic Photoshop steps so even a beginner can follow. And Matt’s videos are always a lot of fun to watch. Here is the one tip I will give: download from DeviantArt this free set of brushes by Coyotemange called Wildlife Texture Brushes – they are great for painting in missing areas of fur on all kinds of animals, and by making them smaller, nice sharp edges can be made. I have used these brushes for all kinds of animal images – by adjusting the color dynamics, size, angle, etc., almost every kind of fur issue can be fixed.

Below is a Ring-Tailed Lemur that had posed nicely at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Rookery and was featured in my Tidbits Blog last year. Used the same brushes and similar technique.

Image of a Ring-tailed Lemur at the St. Augustine Animal Farm in Florida

Hope everyone is getting a good opportunity to watch some new techniques to use in Photoshop. I have been learning about Luminosity Masks from Jimmy McIntyre and Luminosity Selections from Steve Arnold, some macro techniques from Mike Moats and shooting some new ways from Denise Ippolito, creating clouds from Glyn Dewis (this was fun to do), and adding ethereal glows to landscapes by Mark Denny – all these people have fabulous YouTube sites or blogs and their photography is excellent. I’ve definitely got a lot of new things to try out. Have a great week…….Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Getting the Joe Sartore Look on Your Zoo Images

HOW TO DO A LITTLE SUBCONSCIOUS DIGITAL ART JOURNALING

Image of Digital Art Journal showing the Man in the Moon
Sorry I missed last week – just got way behind with all the fabulous webinars and videos everyone is making. In fact, the above is the result of listening to five videos presented by Design Cuts on journaling and scrapbooking. I have never done either too much, so it was kind of fun to try it out.  Thought I would have a little fun this week and share some of what I learned.

The video that particularly got me interested was called Basics of Digital Art Journaling by Tangie Butler. Tangie pointed out that Digital Art Journaling is a little different from scrapbooking or collage, which I have done a few times before. (See some of my related blogs at end.) She says “it has some sort of meaning or symbolism that is an expression of your thoughts and feelings in your life right now.” What I found fascinating is how you do this. Just start moving different files into an another image open on your computer. Use whatever items fit your mood at the moment – they will stack as layers in your extra document. Tangie says it is your subconscious coming up with all the items. I thought I was just pulling several of my favorite objects into the document to use. But then I tried to figured out what my image was saying: Possibly that I want to get my bicycle tires fixed, there are deer in our neighborhood (and I love to photograph animals), I really like Mystic, Connecticut, and Astronomy is my favorite hobby behind Photoshop. That was a little subconscious coming through I think. Hum!

Resources

The image above used 28 layers and was filled with lots of Hue/Saturation, Curves, and Color Lookup Adjustment Layers. It used a couple textures and several objects. If you want to find some great free resources for your journaling efforts, go to The Graphics Fairy and the Old Design Shop. Both have lots of old signs and vintage objects – you may need to remove the white backgrounds by selecting the Color Range command in most cases. I love the Man in the Moon on the image above which was from Graphics Fairy. Also Deal Jumbo has lots of free items every week to download so get on their mailing list. Design Cuts is great and have just about everything a creative could use in Photoshop, including lots of freebies. Do not forget some of the great scrapbooking sites also – they have some nice inexpensive sets, but watch out for the usage copyright rules, many are for personal use only and cannot be used on the internet. My favorites are Pixel Scrapper and E-Scape and Scrap, who has giveaways in their newsletter all the time

A Few Digital Art Journaling Tips I Learned

  • Using Layer Styles, especially Drop Shadows and Strokes, and the Blend If sliders, especially the Underlying Layer white tab, can make for some nice grungy looking text. A small shadow or stroke can really make an object pop and try different colors for them.
  • Just painting on a layer can make a huge difference – try using splatter brushes or watercolor ones. Kyle T. Webster has included a bunch of specialty brushes with Photoshop so this is a good place to put them to use. And GrutBrushes has great Photoshop brushes (check out his free brush every Monday and free his Sampler Brush Set).
  • When working with so many layers and using the Move Tool, be sure to check the Auto Select and Show Transform Controls in the Options Bar. It can get very frustrating trying to find the needed layer quickly.
  • If you keep selecting the wrong layer (or if PS jumps to a different layer thinking that is what you want), just click on the object, the Transform Lines should show up around it – then press the CTRL key and it will let you move or transform the correct layer now. This I found very helpful.
  • If you need to resize or stretch an object, instead of just placing it into your image, open it up in Photoshop and make it a Smart Object – then resize, save and move it into your journal page. It keeps the sharpness of the object.
  • When you do a Layer Style and want to do some more things to the layer, exit the Layer Style, add a New Layer either above or below this layer, highlight both layers and press CTRL+E to merge the two layers. Now you can make changes easier and do more things like changing the blend mode or do another Blend If.

*****

Image of a Digital Art Journal of Spring in FloridaThe digital art above was all about Spring – I wanted to do lots of plants but these darn seals (or maybe these guys are Sea Lions) just sort of showed up in some nautical clip-art and I could not say no to them. (How they got into my subconscious I do not know!) I did not know seals were in the Bahamas (one of my favorite places to sail), but the text behind them is from a book published in 1731 and says they were – I think of them in Monterey, California (where I used to live). So that must be why they popped in. Otherwise the other objects are sort of how Florida looks to me right now. The Pelican, the Dolphin, fish on the beach and Hyacinthe (one of my favorite flowers) are all doing their Spring thing without a worry like the rest of us. There were 35 layers in this document.

To learn more, check out other You-Tube videos by Tangie. This was a fun mental exercise to try. I think one of the most intriguing things about this technique is that it dives into your unconscious. I did not believe it until I attempted these two images. There was a Photoshop Virtual Summit a week ago and I have a lot of new stuff to review. I will try to get a blog on some of the new things I have learned together shortly. Have a good week and stay safe!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Pseudo Scrapbooking
Enjoying Some Spring Butterflies
A Victorian Visit
How to Create Personal Overlays for Your Images

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