This week I watched a few videos by the Lightroom guru Serge Ramelli. Thought I would show a few things I have learned from his techniques in the last few weeks. I have found that if you follow a few of his videos, you get the main idea of how he gets the results that are definitely a signature effect for his style. I like it, but not sure it fits all my photos. This blog will show a few things I have learned from him.
He went on a safari recently and created some interesting Lightroom/Adobe Camera Raw presets so I decided to try them out. The above African Elephant image was taken at the Jacksonville Zoo and seemed like a perfect subject for my first attempt.
To download the free presets, need to go to one of his U-Tube videos where he has a link to them – How to Edit Amazing Landscape Photos with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop or How to Remove Fence Lines: Simple Camera Trick. You must sign up for his site to get them. I do not feel these are Serge’s best videos, but I appreciate the fact that he has given us some interesting presets to try out. There are 10 presets with the download, and the one used above is called Warm Dramatic Light – it seems to be his favorite. Two Radial Filters were used to brighten up the elephant face a little light reflection on the foreground rock. Two Graduated Filters were used one on the bottom and one on right side. For the rest of the workflow, the image was brought into Photoshop (the latest PS update this week fixed the problem with opening PS from Lightroom to edit an image). I believe if one thing has changed my recent workflow from the holidays, it is Topaz (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Studio’s AI Clear. I am now using it on every image as my first step in PS. In this image the Clarity slider was also set to 44. A Dehaze Adjustment was also added and set to 41. Back in PS an Exposure Adjustment Layer was used on the eye and a 50% Gray layer was used to Dodge and Burn on the elephant.
Another trick I learned this week was from Jesus Ramirez, definitely a PS guru, in his Color Matching in Photoshop Fast and Easy – 90 Second Tip #05 (Phew!). This is the coolest tip which uses the Curves Adjustment Layer – check out his video as it is really short and to the point. (I may do a blog on this as it really is a good technique to have in your arsenal of PS effects.) The last steps were just a little clean up in the image. Between the nice Safari preset of Serge and the Curves Adjustment Layer of Jesus, the image has a natural African safari feel to it.
This image was created by following several videos in a class at Kelby One by Serge called Lightroom Classic Techniques for Creating Black and White Images. I felt like Serge did an excellent job on discussing this process and gave some really nice presets with the course. I have not taken any of his individual classes he sells, but for the $9 sale price, it is probably a good buy if you want to learn his black and white technique. This image used a B&W preset created in the class but he does have some that are in his free Welcome Kit (28 presets and lots of other goodies) offered at his site. One thing I did learn is when to use a black & white treatment. He says “Boring colors mean go black and white.” In Photoshop Topaz Studio’s AI Clear was applied. The image was cropped and a few spots cleaned up. A slight vignette was created using Matt Kloskowski’s technique – see my How to Create a Subtle Vignette blog. That was it – not even a Curves Adjustment Layer was needed for contrast.
This image was taken on a country road in Belarus and of course it did not have any snow. This image used Serge’s preset called Zoo Hollywood (in a free set of 6 that can be downloaded with his video called How to Turn Your Zoo Photos into Fine Art with Lightroom). In PS, Topaz Studio was opened and AI Clear applied, then Topaz Impression using the Type 03 brush. Next the Edge Adjustment was added to give some interesting edges to the cornfield. Back in PS Serge’s Snow brushes were applied – these are probably the best atmospheric snow brushes I have used – 10 of them in the set. Check out his video called How To Create Snow in Photoshop CC to download them. His video shows a few tricks to make them look good. I just had fun applying them. Nik Viveza 2 was used to even out the colors and that was about it.
Hope you get a chance to try out Serge’s presets and brushes – they are really nice. He takes a bit of a different approach to his images for processing and the presets show this. Enjoy your week!…..Digital Lady Syd
A free font called Geno Shadow Grunge for the both lines of text was used.
- First type in your text, then convert the layer into a Smart Object.
- Double click on the Smart Object icon in thumbnail to open as a PSB document.
- Before starting to change the font, the size of the layer needs to be increased so go to Image -> Canvas Size and check relative and use 0.5 inches in both the Width and Height fields. This gives more room to stretch the font around.
- Now go to Edit -> Puppet Warp – a dialog opens that says the text layer must be rasterized – so say OK.
- Add Puppet Warp points to each letter to stretch the text – lots of fun here.
- When done with Puppet Warp, click the check in the Options Bar.
- Make any other changes like color or adding adjustment layers and when finished, press CTRL+S (File ->Save) to save the PSB file and then close the file. The text layer will now be updated in the Photoshop file. Pretty cool!
The buildings were also Puppet Warped on a duplicate of the original image from the 20 New York Photos from Deeezy photos. To get the poster looking colors, a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer was added on top .The different letters were colored by adding a Blank Layer and clipping it to the Smart Object Layer, then sampling colors from the image. Some scribble brush strokes were added underneath the letters on blank layers (brushes included in the free Adobe Creative Magazine Photoshop action called Turn Photoshop into Illustrations). Below is what the actual Puppet Warp pins looked like when I finished the text in the Smart Object. Had to erase out some extraneous lines that occurred when the warp was added.
Hope you give Puppet Warp a try – it can give some really interesting looks that are a lot different from just using the regular Warp effect. Here is a link to an earlier blog I created called How to Use the Puppet Warp Tool Creatively). Enjoy and have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd
Just popping onto my blog to go over a fun painting/drawing technique I attempted recently. This young lady is an illustration I drew in Photoshop only using the reference stock photo from Little Girl Stock as a guide – no painting over the image. This is my first attempt at digitally drawing an image. I made it of a little older young lady as it fit what I felt like drawing. I am learning this technique from David Belliveau and his Paintable website, who had a One Week Portrait Class with lots of videos and brushes. I found the whole thing very addictive – who knew I could actually create an illustrated portrait??? For a quick overview of what he does, check out his Digital Painting Walkthrough: Portrait Tips & Tricks video. If you are interested in downloading some good Photoshop painting brushes, check out his How to Paint Realistic Eyes: The Ultimate Guide video. It includes a set of 14 brushes and 1 Smudge Tool preset (which I really love) to go along with this tutorial (but also will work on any painting project). The video goes over a short example of painting eyes that follows the same basic steps of his digital painting program.
This image took a long time to complete and lots of mistakes were made along the way. I am not sure when David will be running another one of his Portrait classes. He has so many videos posted on YouTube that it would be pretty easy to learn. I tried to paint another example for this blog, but it just is not ready to present. It is a very time-consuming process. I can see this definitely takes a lot of practice. And even though I liked David’s brushes, some of my other painting brushes worked really well. I created a group of Portrait Painting Brushes in the Brush Preset Panel. There some of David’s brushes were added along with several of my favorite Grut Brushes (Grut-I Qwillo-my favorite drawing brush for sketching, and Grut-My Dehy-good texture brush especially nice for skin and eye irises). In the meantime, if you are interested in trying out this type of digital painting, check out David’s You Tube videos where he has lots of great information posted. I think he is an excellent teacher and a lot can be learned. Enjoy your week – I am going to be painting another person!…..Digital Lady Syd
Just dropping in this week to share this composite Leopard image. The whole image started because of a blog that Chris Spooner recently wrote called How To Create an Animal Fur Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop. I am not sure how often I will use this text effect, but he gives instructions on how to make a fur brush using the Pen Tool so I had to try it out. It has turned out to be a very nice brush and was used in several places in the above image. The actual brush created has several little spikes sticking out in a circular manner and is mainly used to create a fur edging on a path for the actual text effect. I personally found it to be very useful for adding softness to the edges of the Leopard around the cat’s body and to add more of a hairy emphasis to the lettering edges. I applied it manually using different sizes. I wanted to use it as a Clone Stamp Tool to add some of the actual texture and color from inside the Leopard body to the outside edges. That is how the steps below were created which turns a Regular Photoshop brush into any other type of Brush Tool. Since PS’s latest updates that now keep a brush’s Options Bar info with the brush preset, it has been difficult to use it for other Tools such as the Clone Stamp, or Eraser, or Smudge Brush. So here is the trick to actually using the brush for other tools:
- Save the Regular Brush created as a preset in the Brush Settings Panel using the default settings if the brush was just created. The Create New Brush icon is at the bottom of the Brush Settings Panel or the Brush Preset Panel (located to the left of the Trash Can) and the brush will be shown at the end of the list in the Brush Preset Panel. If brush to be converted is already listed, skip this step.
- Highlight this brush in the list and create a new preset by clicking the Create New Brush icon as in Step 1.
- When dialog opens up, Rename brush but do not check “Include Tool Setting” – now no tool will be connected with this brush. No brush icon appears to the right of the name in the Presets Panel.
- Select a different Tool such as the Clone Brush Tool. The settings from the regular brush are now connected to the selected Clone Stamp Tool.
- To save this Clone Stamp brush, create another preset and this time check “Include Tool Setting” – all your settings will be preserved with the brush.
For the above fur brush, the spiked ball brush settings from both the Brush Settings Panel including the dab structure and the Options Bar settings are now part of the my new Clone Stamp brush which was immediately saved down as a new Clone Brush to retain the settings.
It seemed to take a long time to complete this image but all the layers are just the same ones used in any composite. The Background was created in Corel Painter. The Fur font is Cosmi 04, a really old font. The Leopard font is one called Braveheart, which was rasterized and warped on a New layer to get it to fit over the Leopard (which was a free image from Pixabay). The font letters were also connected by hand as they did not look correct after warping. On1 (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Photo Raw 2018 Effects was used to initially sharpen the leopard. The cat’s Paw and the little cat are a set of brushes from Brusheezy and a black leather texture was clipped to the paw. The fur brush was then used to paint on the paw print at a low opacity to get the shiny highlights. A Dodge and Burn layer at 50% gray set to Overlay blend mode was used. A shadow was created for the leopard and smudged to smooth out. One of the legs of the leopard look strange so the front forward paw was duplicated, warped and placed in back to cover up this area. The last step involved going into Topaz (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Studio and applying AI ReMix using the Ink Blot swatch set to Overlay blend mode at 0.89% opacity (Topaz Studio has added several new swatches to AI ReMix so if own it, update to get them). It gave the whole image a sort of abstract feel. This was all very easy to composite.
If you like making brushes, I would recommend checking out Chris’s tutorial – it is a really interesting brush and a new way to create a brush effect. Well, so much for being gone – will probably miss the next couple weeks. Hope you are enjoying the lovely Spring weather!…..Digital Lady Syd
Wishing 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
This week I am doing a little video on how I brought these tiny yellow flowers into sharper focus using one of my favorite dodging and burning techniques and show what a few of my other workflow techniques look like once applied. This image could have been used with several other textures or have been cropped differently for a totally look. I really liked the negative space and dreamy feel of the image, so I left it the way it was done for the video. Links to more information are provided below. Here is the video:
Here is a list of places that will give you more info or where you can get more information on some of the techniques or resources presented in the video:
- Lightroom Preset called Hazy Days 17 by 2 Lil’ Owls – See sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link, she has a lot of great Lightroom presets besides her gorgeous textures.
- My Fun Photoshop The Best Dodging and Burning Technique blog – basically same technique as presented in the video except that a black brush color is used to burn instead of sampling a dark color from the image.
- I Qwillo Brush from GrutBrushes.com – keep checking back on Monday’s on Nicolai’s site for a free brush each week – love his brushes!
- Adobe’s Paper Texture Pro – free panel that can be added into Photoshop to quickly add and change textures layers to your images – very useful.
- My Fun Photoshop How to Add a Spot of Light blog – the blog used a technique by Corey Barker, but Pratik Naik uses the same technique with the soft round low flow brush – try this brush in different colors to get some interesting effects.
- My Fun Photoshop How to Use a Black & White Adjustment Layer to See Contrast in an Image blog – should use this technique on every image to make sure your focal point is standing out.
- My Fun Photoshop Yet Another Great Way to Create a Vignette! blog – same technique used in the blog except the Gradient Editor was opened and the gradient color changed from black to a soft purplish color in the bottom left tab. Blake Rudis came up with a brilliant idea here!
If anyone has questions on some of the procedures performed on this image, just drop me a question in the comments below and I will go over it more clearly. This was a pretty fast pace for describing all the steps followed in this image. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and Happy Halloween!…..Digital Lady Syd
This week Adobe Photoshop released CC2018, a long awaited update, which finally addresses some of the issue we painterly people have wanted for a long, long time. Adobe claims to have increased the speed of brushes for just painting. Since a lot of us have used Corel Painter for years and it has one of the easiest systems to set up brush palettes, it was always a wonder why Photoshop did not do a similar thing. Well they finally have. It may not be quite as easy to use as Painter’s, but it goes a long way towards correcting some of the digital artist problems with organizing their brushes. Above is a tri-colored heron taken at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm that was painted using the new Brushes Panel set-up. It took a while to get my brushes converted over, but it is overall a much faster workflow.
Photoshop Brushes Panel
To clean up some initial confusion, the old Brush Panel is now called the Brush Settings Panel and is where the settings for each brush are located. The old Brush Presets Panel is not called the Brushes Panel and is where all the brushes are listed.
- Photoshop now allows New Groups (or folders) for saved brushes and sub-groups can be added into the new group. So for example, if you want to put all your Texture brushes into one group, the group can be added and sub-groups created for brushes used for backgrounds and those used in drawing. Also Mixers or Erasers or any different types of brushes can be grouped with Regular brushes so you can easily switch between the different types without having to select the new Tool.
- Within the Brushes Panel, the brushes can be moved between the groups by just clicking and dragging. No need to go to the Preset Manager to organize the brush order. Some people like to keep brushes together for a current project so the top Group might be named Flower, and the sub-groups Background and Retouching. If you want the same brush in two places, a new copy of the brush needs to be made by highlighting the group to add it to and clicking on the New Brush icon at the bottom of the Brushes Panel – name it the same and the new preset brush will pop into the highlighted group.
- The brush presets now store all the Options Bar information with them as if it was a Brush Tool Preset. So if you wanted to have one brush set to 100% opacity and the same brush set to 50% opacity, they could be created and saved in the same group for quick switching. This means no more Brush Tool Presets, but will still need to create Tool Presets for the Gradient Tool and Paint Bucket since they are not brushes.
- Both the Brush Tip and the Brush Strokes can be seen in the display. To load the Brush Tip, click on the upper right pop-out in Brushes Panel, and check Brush Tip along with the Brush Stroke and Brush Name. The brush view can be made bigger or smaller by moving the slider at the bottom of the Brushes Panel. And the panel can be dragged out horizontally to display several columns of brushes if several are listed in a group. If a color is saved with the brush, a little square shows up in the list showing the color.
- Brush Tool Presets can be easily converted to regular Brush presets. If just converting one or two Tool Preset brushes, just select the brush in your Tool Preset and click the Create New Brush icon at the bottom of the Brushes Panel. A New Brush dialog box appears with check boxes for Capture Brush Size in Preset, Include Tool Settings, and Include Color. A note of caution here – PS might name the brush some really weird title if that the brush creator used so make sure the brush has the desired name. The brush will be placed either at the bottom of the Brushes list or in a Group that was highlighted before saving the preset. If you accidentally try to save the brush as a Tool Preset, a long dialog appears asking if you want to actually change it to a Brush Preset instead. By saying yes, the brush will then be placed into a new Converted Tool Presets group. For converting all the Brush Tool Presets, go to the pop-out in the upper right corner of the Tool Preset panel and select Convert All to Brush Presets – they will all be placed in a new group called the Converted Tool Presets group. In this case, all the brushes will retain the same names from the Tool preset. Really weird. By converting the Tool Preset brushes to regular brushes, the brush file extensions in PS will change from a .tpl to .abr files.
Here is a link to a short video by of my favorite Adobe people, Julieanne Kost, called New Brush Preset Management in Photoshop CC for more information on the Brushes Panel.
This new little feature has been added to the Options Bar in Photoshop whenever the Regular Brush Tool, the Pencil Tool, the Mixer Tool or the Eraser Tool is selected. This Smoothing Slider filters out jittering in your paint strokes. The default setting is 10% and it goes from 0 to 100. There are a couple drawbacks to setting this slider too high. 1) It can really slow your computer down depending on the brush selected. 2) And there can be a big lag – by clicking on the little gear next to the Slider field, there are some options that can be chosen which controls this.
By default, the Stroke Catch Up (Enables paint to catch up when brush cursor movement is paused) and Adjust for Zoom (Automatically adjust smoothing amount to avoid jitter in low zoom percentages) are checked. Disable Stroke Catch Up and the paint application stops as soon as the cursor movement stops. In Adjustment for Zoom, if the Smoothing amount will be decreased if zoomed in, and increased if zoomed out. The Pulled String Mode (Enable paint application beyond the radius set by smoothing values. Use when sharp corners are desired.) creates a really large lag if Smoothing is set high. It paints only when the string is taut and outside the radius. Definitely experiment with this slider and drop-down settings to see what works best for you. To change the setting on the fly, press ALT and numerical number like 3 for 30%. To completely turn off Smoothing in the selected brush, go into the Brush Settings Panel and uncheck the Smoothing box. For you Painter folks, it is still not near as sophisticated as the Smoothing Panel in Painter (the slider appears to be very similar to the Damping slider), but it is definitely a step in the right direction. I personally think the default settings are fine for most brushes as it seems there is not much of a lag in most brushes. But when using your favorite painting brushes where a lag can occur as you stroke, definitely adjust the Smoothing setting and try the different Smoothing options. In the above image a Smoothing setting of 35 was used and the default options.
Once again here is a short video by Julieanne Kost called Brush Stroke Smoothing and Paint Symmetry in Photoshop CC that goes into a really good explanation on these settings and shows some great examples.
Adding the new Kyle T Webster Default Brushes
Also, there is another little thing Photoshop added to the Brushes Panel – Kyle T Websters brushes are now most of the Default Brushes except for the round brushes. Many new brushes that can be explored here. To get to them, need to go to the pop-out in the Brushes panel and select Restore Default Brushes – they will not override the ones already in the list, but will add 4 new groups of brushes (General Brushes, Dry Media Brushes, Wet Media Brushes and Special Effects Brushes) – only the General Brushes are ones from before. If you want all brushes from CC2017, in the pop-out select Legacy Brushes – all of them will be appended and put in original category types groups. There is also a set called Convert Legacy Tool Preset brushes (some of you may not have known the Tool Preset Brushes were there – many of them are very nice brushes so check them out.) that can be appended to your brushes.
It appears to me that Adobe is beginning to phase out the Tool Presets and the Preset Manager. If you are interested to learn more on Photoshop CC2018, check out Adobes Information Page or a longer video by Jesus Ramirez at the Adobe Training Channel called Photoshop CC 2018 Tutorials – What’s NEW in Adobe Photoshop CC 2018. Well I think I am about talked out here. Lots of other new things to explore in Photoshop. Have a nice busy weekend catching up!…..Digital Lady Syd