2016 INEXPENSIVE GIFTS FOR THE PHOTOSHOP LOVER ON YOUR LIST
I have not done one of these in a few years, but I thought I would share some of my favorite inexpensive items that any Photoshop Lover would want. So without further delay:
1. Grut Brushes
($1.00 to $20)
Nicholai has some of the best brushes around using all kinds of media. He gives away a Free Photoshop Brush of the Week – it is so much fun to get a new brush to try out each week – remember, you can never have too many brushes! My favorite brushes are his Cloud FX set – best variety of cloud types I have seen from any brush providers and they can make such a difference in a landscapes. A close second is his Inky Leaks Splatter FX set which are really great too! I have a hard time choosing between all these brushes. He also has some great Impasto brushes that do not require a layer style to work. Check his site out for some fun browsing! The image below is one that used several of the Inky Leaks Splatter FX brushes for the background texture and his mixer brushes to paint the goose. (For post-processing info, check out my A Little Brush Fun blog.)
($49.99 but check site for sale price/$29.99 for additional sets)
I never thought I would like this plug-in since I use Corel Painter a lot. I was totally surprised when I found out what it will do. See my Intro to Corel ParticleShop Plugin for Photoshop blog for several other examples usng just the basic brush pack. ParticleShop comes with 11 brushes to get you started – Debris, Fabric, Fine Art, Flame, Fur, Hair, Light, Space, Smoke, Storm and Superhero. I seem to be doing fine with these, but plan on getting a few additional packs in the future. A couple things to remember is that it only works on 8 bit images and it applies just the changes to its own layer, which is major handy for adding other effects in Photoshop. (For post-processing info, check out my Feeling Fancy blog.)
3. Creative Live Videos
(Price varies depending on length of videos – and watch for sales)
Creative Live has been on the air for several years now – usually 5 or 6 classes run 24/7 around the clock covering all kinds of subjects (click their On Air button to see what is currently playing), but they do an especially great job on Photoshop and Photography classes. Each daily program is run for 24 hours so you can decide if would like to purchase it – the videos can then be downloaded or run from their website anytime. These programs always have at least 6 hours of training and experts from all over the world are showcased. I think it is an excellent way to learn. Recently I watched a Kathleen Clemons class called Creating Painterly Photographs where she discussed macro and Lensbaby photography on flowers and then how to process them in PS (see my How To use Motion Blur for Artistic Effect blog for info on flower below.) I also loved Karen Alsop’s Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World – her work is wonderful and she does a great job of teaching how to do this in her videos. There are also wonderful classes by Ben Wilmore, Dave Cross, Brooke Shaden, Art Wolfe, just to name a few. Lots of great inspiration and technique here!
($10 to $80 depending on size of collection)
For several years I have been buying Jai Johnson’s beautiful textures. She is a marvelous wildlife and bird photographer and her textures look especially good with this type of image. She has several beautiful textures that are free so I would recommend trying these out. Recently I bought one of her new collections called Unpredictable Texture Collection (see image below for an example that uses one of these textures). Sign up for her newsletter to get her sale announcements. (For post-processing info, check out my Tiger in Snooze Mode Tidbits Blog.)
I always like to promote this little program which I have found so helpful when searching for specific brushes or gradients, layer styles, fonts, shapes, patterns, color swatches, just about everything except preset tools, which I wish it had. It is still a very handy item that is added to your Windows Explorer – and it is a major time saver! Below is how the Argus Preset Viewer shows my free Cloud Brushes from my Deviant Art site when highlighted in the Windows Explorer.
6. Lori Jill’s Udemy Classes on Painting your Images in Photoshop
($40 – $100, but Udemy does give some large discounts on their classes)
The past few years I have been trying to improve my digital painting ability in both Photoshop and Painter. I always keep coming back to Photoshop to do this as I feel a lot more comfortable with the its brush engine. Part of the reason is that Lori Jill teaches this topic very clearly in her videos. In her Turn Photographs into Digital Paintings Using Photoshop videos, she uses an action that comes with PS. This class was made in 2014, but it is still one of the best I have seen on basic painting in Photoshop using this complicated action. The class supplies brushes and jpg files to learn her techniques. Lori has two other videos that are also very good, but a little more advanced – Digital Pet Paintings Using Photoshop and Create Vintage Style Pin-up Portraits from a Photograph. All these classes do not allow you to download the videos, but you always have access to them on-line once purchased. Below is an example of following Lori’s workflow .
I watched a video recently where the presenter was using this handy color picker that is based on the one in Corel Painter. I now find I cannot live without it. It is so handy to have open on my desktop when I am painting and want to change a shade or a color just slightly. It also shows the complementary colors and two tabs: Mixer has several strips that can be left open when needed (Color History, Swatches, Scheme, Shadows and Tone, and Blender); and Sliders which shows the selected mode (RGB, HSV, LAB, CMYK or B/W) corresponding color sliders (keep them all open by holding CTRL when selecting). Definitely check this out if you like to have a picker open all the time. Below is what Coolorus 2.5 and the Mixer tab looks like in CC2017 when opened. It is another great time-saver!
8. Topaz Texture Effects
($70 – watch a Topaz Labs live webinar and get a good discount on their products)
I can’t say enough good things about Topaz Labs (for website, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) and all their products. I do not think I could choose my favorite plug-in from the collection if I had to – therefore, I am going with their latest and one I use a lot. Topaz Texture Effects is just a fabulous product! Lots of nice presets come with this program and many more can be downloaded from the Topaz Community. Your own textures, light leaks, and double exposure images can be added into the program which makes it very useful. You do not have to use a preset, just use the program to add just your own textures (more than one can be added – just keep adding a Texture section) where many different sliders can be selected to adjust it the way you like. Also love the Masking tabs in this program (both individual section masks – open by clicking Yes on Enable Masking – or the overall Masking section are the same) – use them all the time! If you love textures, you need to at least download and try this one out. It is really a class program (I know, Topaz Impression is fabulous and so is ReStyle for creative endeavors, but Texture Effects is right up there!). See my Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz Texture Effects Blog for more examples. The image below actually used the Corel Particleshop along with Texture Effects. (See my Bird of Paradise Tidbits Blog for more image info.)
I hope this blog gave you few ideas for your Photoshop lover or possibly yourself. These are all items I use a lot and would not recommend if I did not think they were great. Let me know how you like them if you decide to purchase or try them out. Have fun shopping!…..Digital Lady Syd