Anything Photoshop or Photography

Holidays

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS FROM DIGITAL LADY SYD

Christmas Greetings CardJust wishing everyone a Wonderful Holiday. This little bird was from a set called Watercolor Russian Birds by Anna Faun and the breast was turned red using a Selective Color Adjustment Layer, my Santa and Reindeer PS brush, and Julie Mead’s A Winter Lullaby White Tree and Green Tree stacked. The lights on tree were from Corel Particle Shop using the Cluster brush. Several different textures were stacked and my snow overlay was placed on top. Finished off the image by going into Topez (see sidebar my Tidbits Blog for website link) ReStyle and applying the Snow Cover II preset. So much fun to do Christmas Cards! Hope everyone is having a good one!……Digital Lady Syd


A SHORT CHAT ABOUT PHOTOSHOP CC2019

Image of a Santa Claus Christmas Ornament
A little late on this post – but then writing about Photoshop is never late to me. As usual whenever Photoshop updates to a newer version, I have mixed feelings. It seems to take me a while to get organized and this was the case with Photoshop CC2019. I have watched several recent posts by some of my favorite Photoshop gurus, Julieanne Kost, Colin Smith, and Scott Kelby, and here are a few things I discovered about this new update:

  • First I got totally confused with the old Edit -> Fill command (for me it used to mean Content Aware Fill) and the new Edit -> Content-Aware Fill command. After playing around with it, it does seem to have much better results than the old “Fill” command and it is much easier to see what is changing right in the new panel. One thing I learned is that if you do not use the Lasso Tool but instead the Magic Wand or Quick Selection Tool, there can be discernible lines where the selection edge was. To fix this, just go into the Select -> Modify -> Expand Selection and set it to 2 pixels before going into the new command. Lines disappear or edges are much smoother.
  • On the Toolbar the tools can be pulled apart and added in by clicking on the three dots near bottom of the Toolbar (under the Zoom Tool) and then dragging the tools apart. I set both the Rectangle Marque Tool and Elliptical Marquee Tool up on my toolbar. Also put the Patch Tool under the Spot Healing Brush (which still contains all the other tools). I added the new Frame Tool onto the Toolbar but not sure it is that useful.
  • There is now a Windows -> New Guide Layout panel (versus the old New Guide panel) where the number of columns (or rows) and a Gutter amount between them can be set up. This is handy to blend two different images together using the Gradient Tool in a mask and placing the gradient between the two line in the gutter area to create a nice smooth transition.
  • Here is something you may have not noticed – when adding an object/texture/image whatever into the main document and a Group is highlighted showing layers, the object layer will go into the group and not above the group. Just close the group before adding the new material to add above.
  • Did you know that if a part of a filter name like Gaus for Gaussian Blur is added in the search field (on the Options Bar on the right side), it will bring up the dialog box without going through all the steps to get there?
  • To me this is a biggie! Regarding those darn layer styles that sometimes just do not look right when applied. Here is one thing that is going on. If applying a style to a group, PS treats all the layers in the group as if they are flattened before applying the layer style to the group as a whole. Same thing with blend modes. So if you start to get some really strange results when applying a lot of different layers styles in image, check out the group and layers underneath to see if this issue is happening. Hope to blog on this later as I want to experiment with this.
  • I personally, and apparently many other people, have been having problems taking an image from Lightroom Classic into Photoshop when PS is not already open – most of the program is grayed out. The work-around is to first open PS before bringing the LR image into the program. Very annoying but it does work.
  • If you are like me and use the File -> Info panel, the Photoshop History field is stuck and you cannot scroll within it. This information is set in the Preferences -> History Log – I always keep mine set to Save Log Items to: Metadata and Edit Log Items: Detailed. It come in handy when you forget what you did not an image. The good news is that the information is contained in Adobe Bridge under the Metadata tab, Edit History section and it works.

I am sure there are lots of other new ways to do things with this update. I just have not had time to find them all. I hope this helped you out a little with some of the things going on.

So how did I get Santa to twist like this? Well once again it is a filter in Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website) Studio called the Motion Blurs Adjustment – set to Type Swirl, placed marker on nose, and Angle to 0.06 (just a little is enough). Then added the Smudge Adjustment set to Strength of 0.13, Extent 0.49 and Sharpness 0.61 and painted it in a mask just on the Santa and letters to get an illustrative feel to the ornament. Then went back into PS.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday – Enjoy!…..Digital Lady Syd


HAPPY VALENTINES DAY (WITH A FEW TIPS)!

Image of a pink dahlia for Valentines DayJust my annual Valentine Blog with a few tips. I really like to create images for this holiday. The little tiny dahlia flower above is growing in my otherwise very dead-looking garden. Unfortunately in Florida we had a couple cold days below freezing at night and many of my beautiful plants and flowers were lost.

The image was taken into Photoshop where the Shake Reduction filter was applied since the shot was taken hand-held while on my hands and knees – definitely some shakiness there! Then the layer was duplicated and the flower was selected – used the Select and Mask dialog to refine the selection. Applied the mask so the background could be painted out. I had to use Tip 1 to find out which brush I had used to paint the background – it was a Fay Sirkis’s Precious Oil Diamond Blender brush (her brushes are pretty hard to find now but worth it for painting in PS – they are still available from KelbyOne along with several very good earlier PS painting videos if you are a member – just search for her name and download course assets) with a few Brush Setting Panel changes that made a nice smooth pinkish background. Her Portrait Face Sfumato Detail Blender was used to paint the flower petals. The Valentine Brushes created in Tip 2 were used to add the holiday feel. A Bevel and Emboss default  layer style was used on the valentine objects. A yellow-orange light leak was applied to the lower left corner (see Tip 3 for this). Finished off with my regular workflow. The text font is Birch Standard.

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Happy Valentine greeting with textured imageThis image started out as a texture I was creating with the hearts from Julie Mead’s Valentine Gift 2 set (See Step 2 below for link). The cupid is also from this set. Used my SJ 3 Pastel-Van Gogh TI brush was used to add the green background color on the bottom layer. (Also Tip 2 below.) Different layers were used to add each valentine brush and the cupid brush to the image. To make the cupid green, the cupid layer style was opened up by double clicking on the layer words in the Layers Panel – a 2 px Stroke was used in a dark red color, a Gradient Overlay was selected using the Forest Walk green to white linear gradient from Random Gradients – Graphix 1, and an Outer Glow set to 65% opacity using a pink color. A small 17 pixel valentine brush by Digital Touch was used to paint little valentines all over a New Layer and a Pattern Overlay layer style was added using a pink valentine pattern set to Multiply. (Tip 2 shows you how to create this brush easily.) The font used was MC Sweetie Hearts. Last step was to add a New Layer and use a spotlight effect on the cupid – set to Overlay blend mode at 55% layer opacity. (See my How to Add a Spot of Light blog.) The last step used a Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer to create a vignette using a dark red color. (See my Yet Another Great Way to Create a Vignette blog.)

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By My Valentine image More crazy Valentine Fun above – this time started with the free Big Heart brush – the rest of the valentine was built up around this main feature.  A darkish red and pink texture was used and could be made using Dave Belliveau’s Mixer brush from Tip 2 for a bottom background. On top of this a Heart Bokeh Stock element by sweethooligan (no current link could be found but appeared to be an old DeviantArt location) was applied and set to Screen blend mode at 57% layer opacity. The Be My Valentine text blurb was from by Ulia Choo. The music playing cupid was from Glass Prism Cupid Brushes at DeviantArt set to Multiply and then a dark Inner Gray Layer Style was added that shows the original square edge around the element. Upper left element is Heart Corner Large from Valentine Brush Set by Cheshire Angel that was set to Multiply blend mode to remove the white background. Some small valentines using the same Digital Touch brush as in image above was used – this is a handy valentine brush! Then three Light Leaks were used to add some variance to the color tones in the image.

Tip 1: Use the File Info Dialog to Find Brushes and Filters Settings Used

This is a tip I have mentioned before, but it is worth repeating. Have you ever forgotten what brush you used to create a certain effect and want to use it again? Or what settings were used on an Adjustment or filter that were not noted? This info can be found if you go to File -> Info (ALT+CTRL+SHIFT+I) to open the dialog. But to be able to recover this information, your Preferences (Edit -> Preferences -> History Log) in the History Log tab must have the Metadata radial turned on when the image is created. I just keep this turned on even though I do not use this function often, there are times it has been helpful to have.

Tip 2: Find or Create Brushes – then Get Comfortable Using Them

Mixers: When painting in Photoshop, it is really important to have a couple Mixer brushes ready to use – at least one good blending brush and one for adding color. It is important to have confidence these brushes and learn to change the settings on the fly to get good results – that is what I did using Fay Sirkis’s Precious Oil Diamond Blender brush. I have large and small sized ones and a couple that add color using the same basic dab. To find out what the dab of any brush looks like, just turn off the Spacing setting in the Tip Shape section of the Brush Panel. One of my favorite Mixer blender brushes for smooth background colors is free from David Belliveau with his How to Blend Colors in Photoshop: 4 Essential Technique blog download (included with regular soft and hard edged brushes and a Smudge brush).

Regular Painting Brushes: Check out my How to Create my Favorite Brush blog and make a nice regular brush (my SJ 3 Pastel Brush) – great for painting or just touching up an image when used at a small size. In the second image, my SJ 3 Pastel-Van Gogh TI brush was  used. It can be created by following my Painting Fun in Photoshop blog’s third paragraph – gives an explanation on how to make the base brush more painterly. My favorite paint brush site is Grut Brushes.com who gives away a brush of the week to try out – also his sampler has some really nice paint brushes. I use Grut brushes all the time.

Regular Stamp Type Brushes: Converting a PNG to a regular stamp brush: Both these images used some brushes created from nice free valentine hearts by Julie Mead at E-scape & Scrap. There are 9 wonderful valentine PNG files that instantly made me think of Photoshop Brushes. So that is exactly what I did – created several valentine brushes. See Tip 2 below.. All the PNG but the first heart were converted to brushes adding the PNG file to a New Document, then converting to Black and White – I used the Black and White Adjustment Layer to do this – and then creating a stamped layer on top. Now go to Edit -> Define Brush Preset and create the brush. I did not make many changes – mainly just size. I also created a couple of brushes that were created by stamping down the new brushes together on another layer and saving that as a brush. This can be seen in the second Valentine Greetings image. This image started out as a texture that was created by using New Layers for each color and just stamping down the Julie brushes for the effect.

Creating a stamp brush from a Photoshop Shape: The little Valentine Brush used in the last two images can be created by selecting the Custom Shape Tool in Photoshop and set to Shape in the Options Bar. On a New Document, go to the Options Bar Shape: drop-down menu, select the valentine and drag out holding the SHIFT key to hold the shape and press enter. Go to the Layers Panel and use the Marquee Tool to draw a selection around the shape – go to Edit -> Define Brush Preset and press Enter. A Valentine Brush has been created and added to the bottom of the Brushes Panel. Now any settings you would like to add can be done in the Brush Settings Panel.

Tip 3: Make Other Resources

Sometimes it is easier just to use resources you have collected, but sometimes this is not possible. That is when I try to reproduce what I like – it may turn out better than the original. This does take time so I do not make all my resources. Make your own texture when you can. In the last valentine, the red heart background could easily be created by using a black background and painting red hearts using the valentine brush (shape brush in Tip 2) and Brush Settings Panel’s Scatter and Color Dynamic settings. Tip 2 shows how to make the Valentine texture in the second image. The text block could easily have been reproduced using Text Layers and fonts in PS. Create some Light Leaks to add nice color variations to your images. (See my How to Create Light Leaks to Use Over Again blog.) I keep them in my PS Library so it can be tried out on images quickly.

Hope these tips were useful and has some fun making Valentines in Photoshop. It is my favorite Photoshop holiday – Happy Valentines Day! …..Digital Lady Syd


MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM DIGITAL LADY SYD!

Digitally Painted Christmas MessageWishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! And thank you for taking the time to stop by and check out my blogs. It has been a busy year, especially the last few months with all the new software and updates to older versions being released. It has been a real challenge to keep on top of it all. So for the next week I am taking it easy with family and friends. Then I am going to try and figure out how these programs really work and present some new techniques.

A couple of notes  –

  • If you are a Windows Luminar 2018 owner, Skylum sent out an update just a few days ago and fixed the plug-in problem with Photoshop. It now comes back into PS with the changes applied – that in itself is something to celebrate! If you are still having trouble, go into the stand-alone program and to File -> Install Plugins dialog where the Photoshop and Lightroom should say installed. Change to uninstall, go out of the dialog, then go back in and click Install. It should now work properly when you open PS.
  • Also, Topaz Studio issued an update last week with a few interface changes and the Glow filter added into the program – it should show the new Glow filter if you already own Topaz Labs Glow.  It stacks the Glow (which looks very similar to the Labs version) with HSL Color Tuning, Vignette, and Smudge filters. Wonderful extra Holiday treats here!
  • Have heard lots of people (including me) are raving over the updated Auto Button in Lightroom and Camera Raw – I am finding it is a great starting place for my other adjustments so give it a try!
  • And On1’s new Photo Raw 2018  seems to be really good – I am especially enjoying the overall speed and sharpness in my images with this program.

It has been a wonderful year with all the new advancements to the various plug-ins. (All the above plug-in website links can be found on the sidebar at my Tidbits Blog.) I see 2018 just getting better for us Power Photoshop Users. And with the old Nik filters being picked up by DxO, it should get really interesting!

The Christmas card above was one I created mainly using just Photoshop. The trees were created using the Filter -> Render -> Trees where the Pine Tree 1 was selected (this filter is not available in CS6). This is too much fun creating your own trees in PS – and did you know that if you select the Advanced tab (yes, there really is one there right next to the default Basic tab) the color of the leaves and branches can be changed! As silly as it sounds, this is the reason I keep coming back to PS – it just has some of the best tools and filters.  The tree was duplicated 4 times and each was Free Transformed and selecting the Warp Tool in the Options Bar.  Then mainly created some snow brushes (check out Corey’s Universal Particle Brush video to make one) and used one of Grut’s brushes called W Wain Riff brush to paint in more snow – this brush is free until Monday – check out each Monday for a new free brush! The deer is from Deer Antler Clipart by Tigerlily Design Co. The Santa and Reindeer is a brush I created. The color in the trees is from one of the basic Corel Particleshop plug-in packs using the Cluster and Light brush. The Merry Christmas lettering is from a major cool Photoshop template called Free Ice Cool Text Effects by Alifuwork where the font called Adrenaline Brush was used. A Color Lookup Adjustment Layer using PS’s Foggy Night preset was applied and set to Multiply blend mode at 69% layer opacity.

As stated before, hope everyone is having a Wonderful Holiday Season! Enjoy and see you next year!…..Digital Lady Syd


A LITTLE VALENTINE FUN

Heart image for ValentinesThis week I have been feeling “under-the-weather” so I am going to present a valentine link for the image above and the workflow for the card below from a few years ago. To get the info on how the top valentine was created, check out my original blog at Free Valentine Templates and a Valentine with Heart.

To create the above, these steps and resources were used:
1. Started on a New Document with Spatter Heart Frame from PS Brushes. A Layer Style was added – Outer Glow set to a soft yellow and Linear Dodge (Add) at 75% and a Spread of 21; and a Gradient Overlay adjusting Graphix1 Muted 8 for a gold tone.
2. Next a background was added underneath using Colored Vintage Paper by Ciara Panacchia Texture 08 (Deep Red).
3. Another texture was added above this one – Vintage Valentine Paper by Aramisdream using Texture 09. It was set to 59% and a layer mask was used to brush out the center and to create a vignette effect around the edges.
4. A layer was placed on top that used Obsidian Dawn’s Glitter set-hearts-glitter brush in a soft beige at 43% opacity.
5. Glass Prism’s cupid brush was placed in the center on it’s own layer.
6. The red valentines were placed on their own layer – Hearts by King Billy Sample Brush 20 was used (there are some other nice valentine brushes in this set). A Layer Style was added using a red Color Overlay and a small 1 pixel Stroke.
7. Two Text Layers were created using the font Precious, a perfect Valentine font. A Layer Style was added using: Inner Shadow set to Distance of 21 and Size of 21; Outer Glow set to Linear Dodge (Add) at 45% opacity and Size of 24 pixels with a light yellow color; and Bevel and Emboss set to Inner Bevel, Smooth, Depth 103, Size 10 and the rest default settings.

That is how I made some Valentines. It was a lot of fun to try out the different effects with the brushes – the layer styles really made a difference. When you have a minute, try a layer style on some of your brush strokes – you may get some surprising results!…..Digital Lady Syd


SOME OF MY FAVS FROM 2016

Thought I would do a short post of my favorite images from the last year – have not done this in a while. For more info on photo adjustments, click on the image to go to Flickr where links to the original blogs are available. Hope you enjoy my favs!Image of the Veira WetlandsImage above is from the Viera Wetlands in Brevard County and used the Orton Effect.
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Image of a Malayan Tiger at the Jacksonville ZooThis beautiful Malayan Tiger was post-processed using the fabulous Topaz (for website link, go to my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Impression 2 filter. This is one of my favorite images created using Impression.
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Image of a painted pink roseImage of this peach rose is one that was painted in Photoshop with the mixer brushes, and the background was created in Corel Painter – then the layers were stacked in PS.
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Image from Shorpy's of a boy looking in a store window in DC cc 1922The original image was taken in Washington, DC, around 1922 was cropped and hand-tinted in Photoshop. I find it is really fun to hand-tint old images found at Shorpy.com.
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Image of the Flagler Kenan Pavillion at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, FloridaThis is the Flagler Kenan Pavillion at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Florida. It is one of the lightest, brightest rooms I have seen and is on the IntraCoastal Waterway. This effect was created with the no longer available Lucis Pro 6.0.9 Photoshop plug-in – too bad that in 2016 it finally became a reasonable purchase and then it discontinued.
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Painted image of St. Trinity Church in Belarus Image is of St. Trinity Church as seen from the Mir Castle in Belarus. This image was painted in Photoshop using Jack Davis’s painting action.
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Image of three painted birdsThese three painted Florida birds are presented in a Lightroom template with the background added in Photoshop. The birds were all painted in Photoshop and the bird backgrounds painted in Corel Painter.
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Composite image of Rudolph the Raindeer and a Native American little boyThis image is an example of a composite that integrated several elements into a story.
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Image of several ants on a dandelionImage taken with a LensBaby Composer on my camera which gives a very lovely soft effect.
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Flowers created using Paintstorm StudioThese flowers were painted in Paintstorm Studio, a really nice painting program.

Next week I plan to continue presenting all the Fun Tips and Tricks that can be done in Photoshop with a little painting mixed in!…..Digital Lady Syd


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year image
Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year with lots of Photoshop Fun in your future!

This week just a few details and free goodies to start your year.

The trees, reflection and small plants were painted in Corel Painter using mainly Karen Bonaker’s wonderful free painter brushes – so many choices here so I will not go through them all – actually do not remember them all! I am sure most Painter people have all these brushes, but if you are new to Painter, check out the link for a great website and to get a huge assortment of great brushes (and Karen’s classes are terrific – she usually includes new brushes and teaches how to adjust them). The image was saved as a PSD file to be opened up in Photoshop.

In PS a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) composed of the Painter layers was created and then duplicated. Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Texture Effects 2 was applied to the top layer to create the basic soft background (used Dingy Cream preset and made tweaks).

On another Stamped Layer on top, Corel ParticleShop (these brushes can also be bought and used in Painter) was opened and the Wild Grain brush and the Fur brush were used to add a little more detail to the image. What is really nice is that only the changes to the layer are brought down on the layer that was duplicated – it was set to 44% layer opacity and a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT+click between the layers to clip) to the ParticleShop layer. The Adjustment Layer was needed as the colors from ParticleShop were a little too vivid and needed to be slightly desaturated.

Jai Johnson’s free Flying Birds overlay was added – a few birds were painted out with a layer mask and a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer using a gravelly stone looking pattern was clipped to the birds to give them some texture. Set the bird layer to Overlay blend mode at 80% layer opacity.

On top Texture Times Bokeh Number 5 was set to Overlay blend mode at 48% layer opacity.

A couple text layers using the free font called Winter Holidays by Vintage Voyage Design Company from Creative Markets – need to get on their newsletter list to get all kinds of wonderful free PS items each week. A Layer Style was opened by double clicking on the layer words and added a red and gold Pattern Overlay style to fill font with color and a 2 pt Stroke style around the letters. Used a layer mask to paint out parts of the lettering – note to make this look right be sure to check the “Layer Mask Hides Effects” in the Blending Options section.

A Curves Adjustment Layer was added for contrast – pulled the curve down a little bit.

On a Stamped layer the free Nik Viveza 2 plug-in was applied using only one Control Point on the tree leaves to add a little more detail with the Structure slider.

Added a Black & White Adjustment Layer and adjusted mainly just the Reds to pop the image – viewed in B&W then converted to color by setting the adjustment layer to Luminosity blend mode.

It is not really as complicated as it seems. Many steps that were pretty much my regular workflow. At least take a minute to check out some of the wonderful people who still supply us Photoshop Nuts with free products that make our images unique. Hope you have a great New Year!…..Digital Lady Syd