I have always enjoyed a nice soft glow effect in my images. This week I have been experimenting with the On1 (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Photo 10 (which is now version 10.5) and am finding this is a much improved plug-in from a few years ago. The image above of a beautiful Palm Beach home is an example of one of their filters I like most – On1 Effects Glow Filter. This effect is very similar to the Diffusion effects in Topaz (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Glow 2 (which has many presets but not all create the above effect – still a fabulous plug-in); and Lens Effects, Topaz Black and White Effects and Topaz Adjust and even Texture Effects plug-ins (where the Softness, Diffusion and Diffusion or Edge Transition sliders can be adjusted), or in the now free Nik Color Efex Pro 4’s Glamour Glow Filter with a Glow slider, Midnight Filter’s Blur slider effect, or Monday Morning’s Smear slider result. So everyone should be able to create a similar effect. All give very interesting soft effects to your images and can be localized with masks or control points.
On1 Effects offers the a lot of flexibility for this effect by providing 24 presets to select or using the individual sliders that can be adjusted manually. This also includes the ability to protect the Shadows or Highlights from this effect. For this image, Lightroom Basic Panel tweaks were done. Then On1 Photo was opened as a stand-alone and the Perfect Layers module was selected to swap out the original colorless sky with a new one. (Go to File -> Add Layers to Files and found a sky to use.) The sky layer was placed under Palm Beach layer. Then the Masking Brush’s Perfect Brush was used to paint out old sky so the new one underneath shows through – used CTRL + drag in trees to get rid of some of the areas. Would normally use the PS Refine Brush to remove edging. Next the sky layers was opened in the On1 Enhance module and lightened up a lot to match the top image tones. Then back into the Layers module and the Move Tool was used to adjust sky around trees. Highlighted the Palm Beach layer and went back into On1 Enhance to make a few exposure changes on the Palm Beach image layer. Last step was to use On1 Photo 10 Effects and apply the Glow Dynamic Contrast Filter – Amount 58, Halo 22, Warm 20 and Sat -24; Detail Small -34, Medium -25, Large 58. Saved image as a PSD file. This may sound like it was hard to do since three different modules were opened, but On1 had made this switch very quick and easy now. I still wish all the different panels were in just one interface as in Photoshop or Lightroom’s Develop Panel, and I wish the Layers module was available as a plug-in in PS or LR. Effects, Enhance and Portrait are available for PS and LR (if saved as a Smart Object, when image opened in PS, layers and masks will be available to edit). Still, this plug-in has come a long way and is much improved. For more information on how the sky was replaced, check out On1 Short Clip – Replacing a Dull Sky by Bob Campbell. For info on how to adjust the Glow Filter, check On1 Short Clip – The Preset Workflow Trick by Blake Rudis.
Since many of you may not have the filters listed above, this image of the sign painter at the Jacksonville Zoo (this has got to be a dream job – love the paint on his pants!) used the free Nik Color Efex Pro 4 filters listed above to get a very similar feel. After doing some basic panel adjustments in Lightroom and sharpening up the image a little, it was brought into Photoshop. On a duplicate layer that was converted to a Smart Object (so I could go back and adjust the settings if needed – right click on layer and select Convert to Smart Object), Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was opened. These filters were selected and stacked: Glamour Glow (Glamour Glow 76%, Saturation -39%, Glow Warmth 20%, and Highlights 44% to protect them from being too soft); Midnight Color Set Neutral, Blur 37%, Contrast 50%, Brightness 67%, Color 81% and Highlights 100%. A Control Point was placed on the painter and cat’s faces to remove the softening from this area – then the filter opacity was set to 67%); and Vignette Filter (place center on the painter and cat and set Adapt Edges 0%, Transition 59%, Size 19%, and Opacity 75% – a Control Point was placed on the white Jaguars sign and set to 54% opacity). Using Control Points in this plug-in can really help shape the effect you want. Last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer to add a little contrast. Very easy and it created a beautiful soft glow effect.
Hope you have a chance to try out a Glow Effect. Hope everyone has a nice beginning to the Fall Season!…..Digital Lady Syd
This week I have been working on my Photoshop painting skills. This painted image is of a group of apartment homes on a highway just outside Minsk, Belarus. I love all the classic geometric shapes in this image to give it a very interesting feel. I have not painted recently so this image was used to go try out the techniques of one of my favorite Photoshop gurus, Jack Davis, and his wonderful free Davis-Mixer Painting Setup-Beta action (located in Jack’s Freebies section of FB). This action is a lot of fun to use and is somewhat similar to the Mixer Brush Cloning Paint Setup action that comes with Photoshop. His various techniques are presented in his wonder Creative Live videos called Painting with Adobe Photoshop, but watch his Adobe MAX: Expressive Painting in Photoshop for a quick overview (need to zoom through to get to this Mixer Brush action technique). Basically just followed his steps and finished up with a few adjustment layers to adjust color and contrast. And yes, the Grut FX Cloud Brushes were used in this image! That was it. It takes quite a while to paint an image of this size, but it is also very creative and relaxing to do. And do not get upset if it looks awful for quite a while – it all pulls together at the end. Sort of an amazing process!
This painted image was taken in Belarus at a Farm near a Local Art and Zoo facility in the countryside. This image also used the same action as above. Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) ReStyle was used to set the color palette just right. There are so many steps in this action do not many steps was done afterwards. Jack’s provided brushes were also used in both images although one from Melissa Gallo was used for to get the nice foliage effect. There are a few tips and tricks that Jack has in his Creative Live videos that really help with the overall effect. Once again, it took quite a while to get the final result.
For more examples of Jack’s technique, check out my Can You Get a Painting Look With a Photoshop Action? Jack Davis Can! blog. Also another example of the above action using a flower image can be see at my Tidbits Blog called Jack Davis Painting Action Really Works! He has 12 different actions in the download to get different effects in his Action so check it out. And he supplies you with all the brushes needed to use these actions.
That’s it for this week. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd
This week I just felt like pulling together a little image so here is a little montage that uses several different media. I wanted a natural feeling to the image so I tried to use natural looking colors, textures and brushes to get the total effect. (For explanation of the difference between montage, composite, and collage, see my How to Create a Quick Montage blog.) Think I have a few new tips for this tutorial.
To do this type of image you need to create a selection. Selections were needed to create both the brushes used in this image and for adding the elephant and palm trees removed from other images.
Creating Brushes using Vectors or Objects
First a plant layer was created just because they looked pretty. These brushes were created from various vector flowers and plants collected from free sources on the internet. Try checking out Creative Markets and Design Cuts for some wonderful weekly free vectors. They also both have inexpensive sets that can be bought. Many scrapbook websites also have some great vector art that can be converted into brushes but be sure to check out the usage license. If you want a nice set to try the technique below on, download Frostbo’s 16 Aquatic Plants PNG Brush Set at DeviantArt to turn into nice brushes.
So how do you do this?
- First the object needs to be placed on its own layer. If the object is one layer with a solid color background, it can be selected by going to Select -> Color Range. Then select the background color and click the Invert box to select the object. Then press CTRL+J to put object on its own layer.
- All brushes are created using shades of black and white. Therefore set foreground/background to default colors – Black/White by pressing the D key.
- CTRL+Click on the thumbnails of the object layer to select it, then ALT+Backspace to fill the selection with a solid black color. Or to add a little variety to the image, on a New Layer paint over the selected areas with shades of gray to add some interest in the object. Or after selecting and placing on its own layer (CTRL+J), the Object can be converted to a black and white object by going to Image -> Adjustments -> Black & White Adjustment Layer – adjust sliders to get some interesting texture effects for the brush and say OK. Need to create a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top to create brush if using the B&W Adjustment Layer technique.
- Now select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and place around the Object.
- The last step is to go to Edit -> Define Brush Preset. It will now appear at the bottom of the Brush Preset Panel.
Use this brush on a New Layers so the strokes can be adjusted, transformed, change blend modes, or whatever you want to do with the layer. I used Frostbo Aqua 12 to create a brush by selecting as above using a Black & White Adjustment Layer to leave in detail, and then changed the settings in the Brush Panel to the following: Brush Tip Shape – Size 400 px and Spacing 108%; Shape Dynamics – Size Jitter 9% and Angle Jitter 3% with Flip X Jitter and Brush Projection checked; Brush Texture using a Cold Press Pattern chosen in the drop-down panel with the little arrow (this is a small black and white patterned texture – try different ones to get a look you like), Scale 150%, Brightness 28, Contrast -10, check Texture Each Tip, Mode Multiply, and Depth 100% (if no effect is seen from the texture, try changing the Mode like to Height, and the sliders – watch the Preview Panel for changes); Color Dynamics – Check apply per Tip, Foreground/Background Jitter 100%, Saturation Jitter 20%, and Purity -37; and Smoothing on. Use a couple of nice plant colors and give it a try. It gives a nice light and breezy floral effect. This brush was used to fill the middle area of the plants in the image above. Below is an example of what the brush looks like with a dark red and greenish tone and with black and white. If the stroke appears too light, change the blend mode of the brush to Multiply or Linear Burn in the Options Bar to darken it. These brushes may take a while to create one you like, but once you find one, it is so nice to have these to give your own unique feel to an image!
Using Quick Mask to Create Image Object Selections
Several different ways of selecting can be used , but I really like using the Quick Mask mode (the little icon located right under the foreground/background color icon on the Tool Bar or just press the Q key) when the object is not that large and not too complicated. When painting with a Regular brush, a selection will be created showing the red overlay which represents the selection. Just press Q again or the icon to exit and the selection will be seen as dotted ants. If your selection comes out wrong, double click on the icon and make sure it is set to Color Indicates Selected Areas. Of course there are many different ways to do selections, but this is my favorite for adding small objects. The elephant image was selected this way from an image taken at the Jacksonville Zoo and actually looks much happier placed in my image. Also the Palm Trees are a favorite object taken from one of my older Florida images.
Using Pattern Fill Adjustment Layers to Add Texture to Objects
The interesting birds are a free PNG file from Jai Johnson’s The Daily Textures (scroll to the bottom of blog to find download). A Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT+Click between layers to clip adjustment layer so it only affects the birds in image) to get the soft effect. To find the Pattern Adjustment Layer, go to the bottom of the Layers Panel and click on the half black and half white circle – then choose Pattern Fill. In this case a turquoise/blue watercolor pattern was chosen as a pattern and set to a Scale of 120%. The pattern can be moved by dragging in the image so the pattern is lined up just right. If you do not have a pattern you like, open up a JPG texture file in PS, then select the whole texture (CTRL+A) and go to Edit -> Define Pattern. Now the texture appears at bottom of the pattern list to add as an effect with the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer (or it can also be used for the Brush Texture in the Brush Panel or the Pattern Overlay Layer Style effect). Using Pattern Fill Adjustment Layers creates some very nice effects when clipped to a black and white brush layer or vector layer. In this case, the bird file was a solid black PNG layer so adding the variegated watercolor effect created some very nice subtle detail in the flying birds.
Creating a Reflection
A reflection of the elephant and palm trees was created by duplicating their object layers, then choosing Free Transform (CTRL+T). By holding down the SHIFT key and dragging from the top straight down, the image can be pulled upside down to any length needed. If the water is shallow, the reflection will have more color in it. Above the water is shallow so the layer opacity was set to 49% to keep it soft but with some color from the original object. A round brush with grain it was used to paint in some water in a bluish color.
One of my orange and yellow colored Corel Painter textures was added underneath in Overlay blend mode to warm up the image a little. The texture border is from Kim Klassen‘s Nested Frame set to 80% layer opacity. This was after the texture was taken into Select -> Color Range and the center color removed – this created a border effect instead of placing the whole texture on the image. I am not sure this texture is still available – it is a shame since she creates very subtle soft textures that give images a slightly different feel. The now free Nik Viveza 2 was used to set the elephant as the focal point. Some clouds were added on a New Layer using Grut’s FX Cloud Brushes (these are fabulous!) – using a soft a beige color and not blue or white to match the image. The last step was to open Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Lens Effects’ Grain filter (set to Amount of 0.48 and Size 0.47). Adding just a little grain to everything can really soften the object edges and blend the objects to make the image look like it was all in the original setting.
It really is a bit of a process to pull all this together, but it is fun to do. It took me several hours to actually create the above image. I made several wrong-turns before I got the effect I liked. The experimentation can give some really surprising results. Check out some of my older blogs below if you want some more ideas. Hope this helped you out a little – have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Springtime Wishes from Betsy
How to Easily Create a Photoshop Brush for Painting
How to Create an Image From Nothing!
Just adding a short post as I am still taking a blog break. This pix is of a Greylag Goose that resides at the West Palm Beach Zoo in Florida. Wanted to showcase the wonderful Inky Leaks Spatter FX Brushes recently purchased from one of my favorite brush people, Nicolai at the Grut Brushes Website. First created a texture to be placed behind the bird after he was selected and the original background removed. Topaz ReMask 3 (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) was used, but the new PS Select and Mask Command would also do this very well. This background was created using several of Inky Leaks brushes and was a lot of fun to create. He has 100 brushes in the collection so there are lots of ways to use them. My favorites are the small spatter regular brushes which are shown in the texture above. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added above to change the color palette to more green and blues.
The Bird: The Crispy Swill mixer brush in the set was used to smooth out the paint strokes on the bird. The Grut website has lots of other nice brushes and in fact each Monday he posts a free brush to try which has given me a chance to try out different types of brushes and media. Another Grut Mixer Brush called Hay Camel was also used on this image, but I changed the Options Bar settings to Wet 100%, Load is 50%, Mix 100%, and Flow 83% for softening the edges of a subject. Just because certain settings are shown with a brush, take the time to try different Options Bar settings and textures. Very different brushes can be created that you may like better! Fay’s (Sirkis) Precious Oil Diamond Mixer Blender was first used to soften the feathers. This is a brush I use all the time on birds and the only place I can find her brushes is at KelbyOne Training – search for Fay as an instructor and several classes with downloadable material that includes her brushes are available. Her mixers are the best I have found for PS. If you can find a few brushes that you like, it is definitely worth the time to create a Tool Preset file with just these brushes. (See my Why Use the Tool Preset Panel? Photoshop Painters Listen Up! blog.)
After painting the bird, Topaz Lens Effects was opened and a Silver Reflector filter and a Toy Filter filter with the Camera Shake turned off was applied to further blend the bird into the background. For some reason I find this plug-in does a good job with blending objects together. The now free Nik Viveza 2 was opened to create a soft vignette feel. I just did not like the way it was looking so the texture was duplicated and placed on top using the original texture colors. A black layer mask was created by ALT+clicking on the mask icon at the bottom of the Layer Mask and parts of the image was painted back to introduce a little more color into the image. 2 Lil Owls (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Color Bokeh Grunge Set #2 overlay was added and set to Linear Burn blend mode at 67% layer opacity. This added a little more color and darkening in the corners. On a New Layer a Bevel and Emboss Layer Style was added for some painterly effects. The goose now has a lot more dimension and blends into the background much nicer.
If you love Photoshop brushes, Grut’s brushes are definitely ones to check out! Lots of choices here! And my other advice is to do not give up on an image if it is not turning out exactly like you wanted. Walk away for a while and come back to it – lots of times an answer does show up to improve the results. Well have a great weekend and go try out some new brushes!…..Digital Lady Syd
I was going to take a break from posting this week, but felt I had to share what is going on with the Lucis Pro 6.0.9 plug-in – they are closing their site and are offering this fabulous plug-in for sale at just $6 if bought before September 1, 2016 (UPDATE: This offer is extended until September 6, 2016 at noon PST – a nice short video on the plug-in has been added called Lucis Basics if you are interested in what it is actually doing to your image). If you are interested in this effect at all, it is definitely worth the $6 to purchase it – it works fine in Photoshop CC 2015.5 and CS6. I have not tried other versions of Photoshop, but I believe it would work fine. I am finding I use this plug-in a lot – sometimes at just a very low layer opacity to sharpen up details and it can reduce noise in one particular noisy channel. This image of the Flagler Kenon Pavilion at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach used their Technique #8 to get this result. Instead of desaturating this image, now free Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 High Structure (Smooth) preset was applied as is. On a duplicate layer, Lucis Pro 6 was applied using these settings: Mix with original image – 57/43 and Enhance 83. Duplicated the layer again and applied Lucis Pro 6 again with these settings: Mix with original image 47/53 and Enhance 123. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added on top and set to Hue 187, Saturation 8, and Lightness -7 with the Colorize box checked. This is all that was done to get the really nice sketch effect. Recently I created a blog called Digital Lady Syd Reviews Lucis Pro 6.0.9 (Now Affordable!) which shows a few more examples of the wonderful effects this plug-in can produce.
Anyway, if you are like me and have always loved the Lucis Arts effects, this is the time to get it. I am not sure they will be updating this plug-in since they are closing down the website. Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I do. Now off to take that break!…..Digital Lady syd
Decided to take this week off from serious blogging so just posting the same pix with some different filters applied. This image was taken a while back at a Turkey Run held in Daytona Beach at the International Speedway center field the day after Thanksgiving. I believe they have a new location on Beach Street. Since I am a big corvette fan, I had to take a lot of pix of them and this was one of them.
The above image results followed a little written Topaz Labs blog by Jodi L. Robbins called Auto Shine Tutorial with Topaz Glow 2. Very simple steps to follow and it creates a nice preset for the recently updated (and free if you already own) Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Glow 2 to use on with cars, boats and motorcycles. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) above, Topaz Lens Effects’ Diffusion filter was opened and sliders set to Softness 0.32, Diffusion 0.63, and Edge Transition 0.35. Back n Photoshop a layer mask was added and the car was completely painted out so the Glow effect was totally removed there and just a little in the foreground area. A Black and White Adjustment Layer was added on top and set to Luminosity blend mode to further enhance the focal point. That was all that was done. I really like the beautiful vivid color with the soft look of the whole image.
This image used On1 Effects 10 (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link), and it looks really natural! Created these nice results by following a video, this time by Blake Rudis called ON1 Short Clip – The Preset Workflow Trick. I am finding that by downloading his preset and using it as a starting point, a really nice sharp image results. In the plug-in, the On1 Glow effect was masked off the car to keep it in sharp focus.That is all that was done to this image!
This image used a free Photoshop action called FX Paint and Sketch Action – using only the sketch action. The action layer was duplicated and the layer mask was applied and set to Multiply blend mode. The bottom background layer was duplicated and a Gaussian Blur with a Radius set to 112 was set just above it. That is all that was done – once again a very simple process! I was really surprised by the interesting tint effect that appeared in the image.
Definitely worth trying different filters and actions on an image to discover very different results. Some turn out to be really outstanding and it was never apparent it would look as it does. Will be taking a summer break next week and be back in a few. Have a great weekend!…..Digital Lady Syd
Just doing a short tutorial this week on creating a montage. All these photos in the montage were taken at the Flagler Museum or Whitehall, the last home of Henry M. Flagler of railroad fame. This is a really beautiful home to tour and is built on the Intracoastal Waterway but is very close to the Atlantic Ocean.
Now for a little definition lesson here as I have always found these terms confusing:
Montage is defined by Dictionary.com as “
A Composite is defined as “combining (two or more images) to make a single picture, especially electronically. This is what is being done here.”
A Collage is defined as “”
Therefore, according to these definitions, I believe this image is a Montage that uses a compositing method to achieve the end result since it is made up using the same type of media of digitally related photos. Whew!
Here are a few quick tips to do this easily:
- Each image was placed in the a large sized file. The Move Tool (press V) was chosen and on the Options Bar, the Auto-Select box was checked so that no matter which object needs to be adjusted, by clicking on the object in the image the correct layer will be selected for you. Also when making a montage, the Show Transform Controls box was checked so the size of each inserted object could be changed at will. Both these boxes make it much quicker to move through a composite file. Normally I leave these boxes turned off.
- To create the soft edges on the layered photos, the Rectangular Selection Tool was selected to make a box just inside the edges of each inserted image. Then the Select and Mask panel was opened and Smooth was set to 6 and Output was set to Layer Mask for all layers. The Feather slider was adjusted depending upon the selection size brought in – this image used a Feather pretty close to 20 for each one. The Contrast was also adjusted and this varied quite a bit depending upon the tones in the selection. The last slider that was changed a little was the Shift Edge – always to the minus side. Now the edges of the image are really nice and soft with a good soft transition edge.
- The layer masks could then be painted in with a low opacity, soft round brush to further soften areas on the edges.
- For the non-photo object layers, the new Select and Mask panel was used – the objects were first selected using the Quick Selection Tool and then the Refine Brush was used to clean up the rougher edges in the panel. This retooled panel is much better than the old Refine Edge panel. Just be careful when painting around the edges too fast, it can crash the panel.
- The Logo was scanned in to the computer from the museum’s brochure.
- The last step was to place an image that was desaturated before bringing into the image as a soft line background. It was set to a lower layer opacity (64%) and a Levels Adjustment Layer was used to further soften and lighten the lines.
Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link.) ReStyle Cambridge Battleship preset was applied to a stamped version (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top to soften the colors – it just smoothed all the content together a little better. This is all that was done, of course several steps were repeated since 10 layer images were used to create this montage.
This image I put together several years ago, but is an good example of how to use the basic montage steps above. This time a straight white edge was added instead of a soft edges, but the final is a similar effect.
Another montage of images taken at The Magic Kingdom at Disney World, Orlando, Florida, several years. This time round instead of square openings were created. Check out my Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs if you want some more ideas or tips for creating montages. This is one of my favorite things to do in Photoshop!
I thought is was really nice that the edges could be softened so much easier with the new Select and Mask panel. If you have not tried out this new feature, I would recommend you try it out. IMHO it is one of the best improvements Adobe had done to PS since it became a CC program! Hope everyone is having a good end of summer!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How To Use the PixelSquid Add-on in Photoshop
How To Make a Basic Composite Image
Photo Art Compositing For Fun
Using a Tych Panel to Show Off Your Images
Showing Off Your Images with Lightroom
How to Use a Photo Frame Mask
A Victorian Visit