ADDING TEXTURES TO WILDLIFE PHOTOS
This has been a busy summer for me so my posts are a little sporadic. I have not used textures a lot recently but I did get a chance to look at Jai Johnson, a wonderful wildlife photographer, and her Artistry Beyond texture videos. (Of course all her textures are to die for, especially if you do any wildlife shooting.) This got me interested in trying it out again so I followed several of her tips to create both images in this blog. She does use an older Topaz interface – photoFXlab plugin (I agree with Jai – I still love this little program) – but her steps can easily be adapted to Photoshop and Topaz’s new program, Studio (for website link, check out the sidebar on my Tidbits Blog). I just finished watching her Episode 4 on Working with Harsh Light and found her tips very helpful since I photograph a lot in bright light. This beautiful little Rainbow Lorikeet (a type of Parakeet) lives at the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida. Since you are inside the actual bird exhibit, images can be taken quite easily although these birds do not stay still for long.
This image followed Jai’s Farmhouse Art concept (see her Episode 7 for more on this) which basically is a desaturated, simple, subdued and fresh appearance. I have not seen this look very often although I think it is very popular for home decorating. Usually the background is white-washed looking with neutral tones so that is what was done in this image. This image used 9 different textures (only 2 were from Jai) at different blend modes and opacities. It was surprising how nice the effect built up but it did take a lot of trial and error to get the effect. The created texture can be saved down using the combined textures as a jpg to use again on other images. Many of these textures had lots of color in them so they were desaturated using a clipped (ALT+click between layers) Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. Some textures were blurred to soften a little and layer masks were used on some to apply just in certain parts of the image. Also the bird had to be lightly desaturated by selecting it and using the Photoshop Camera Raw filter to soften it down. Using different blend modes at low opacities can really change how a texture applies itself. And do not forget those Blend If sliders in the Layer Style. Used all these tricks on the images. Also Nik Viveza 2 was used to help direct focus – still the best Photoshop plug-in out there!
I really like the font Blossom that was used in the word Rainbow and the Lorikeet font is Marcelle Script. A Dodge Brush set to Highlights at 30% Strength was used on a rasterized Rainbow text layer to add a tarnished effect to it. Still learning how to do this effectively, but it was fun to try.
This elephant image was also taken at the Jacksonville Zoo. Similar steps as above were taken to get this effect. This time 5 different textures (these were all different kinds of textures, several I created using Painted and Photoshop) were used. One thing I learned from Jai is that if an area needs a certain color, light or texture, just load a texture that might work and hide the texture with an black layer mask. Then paint back the areas that will add the effect you want using a very low brush opacity. This was done several times on this image to get the darker and softer effect in the corners. The little bird is from a beautiful free set of watercolor birds by Anna Faun – he really looked good with the elephant. The font is called Candy Texture and I added a little smoke effect over it to soften the text.
If you are interested in learning more about how to get some great texture effects, I would recommend Jai’s videos. She has some really good techniques I have not seen anywhere else. I will probably be another week or so before updating again……Digital Lady Syd