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THREE VIEWS OF AIR BALLOONS AT EPCOT’S THE LAND PAVILION

Inside the Land Pavilion at Epcot CenterJust doing a quick blog this week – this image from The Land Pavilion at Epcot Center, Disney World-Orlando, just caught my eye this week. This may be my favorite place to see when I visit Epcot – never get tired of all their exhibits. Depending on the time of day, different versions can be seen.

In Lightroom Dave Delnea’s Backlight_Horizontal_Right preset (these appear to be unavailable at this time) was applied. It gave the original lighting effect from the window that was needed to create this image. The Camera Profile was called Crisp Warm Soft (from the LUT file in Photoshop – Matt Kloskowski gave it away). Basic section changes were done and the Graduated Filters were adjusted to fit the image correctly from the preset. Then went into Photoshop to finish up.

The background layer was duplicated and taken into Luminar 2018 (for website link, see my Tidbit Blog sidebar). My favorite Joel Grimes Indian Summer preset was applied on the bottom layer. (To download his free presets from Luminar, open the stand-alone version, click on More Presets button which opens up Microsoft Edge in Windows, choose Presets and scroll down to his Pro Photographer and Artist Presets-Joel Grimes. There are several free and inexpensive categories here. To load them in the program, go to File -> Load Custom Presets Pack – they will then show up as one of the Categories that can be selected. Joel gives us 6 presets and they are all great!) Then the Sunray Filter was added to Layer 0 – just played with the light until something looked good. Back in Photoshop, Shadowhouse Creations Dust Particle brushes were loaded and some light and dark dust was sprinkled around in the Luminar sunrays to get a reflected light effect. The last steps involved my normal workflow: added a spotlight effect on the air balloons facing the light, used a Curves Adjustment Layer to add a little over-all contrast, and lastly, on a stamped layer applied Nik Viveza 2 to sharpen the air balloons and direct the focus to them.

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Image of the beautiful air balloons at the Land Pavillion at Epcot, Disney World OrlandoThis image is a view taken from the other side of the room on a different day and time. You can see the air-balloons much better. Used another preset by Dave Delnea called Highlight Warming Look 3 and a few Basic slider adjustments in Lightroom. Then in Photoshop the Background layer was duplicated and Topaz (for website link, see my Tidbit Blog sidebar) ReStyle was opened. The Tangerine Gauze preset was used and set to Multiply blend mode at 50% opacity. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added for some contrast. Then Nik Viveza 2 was opened on a stamped layer to adjust the focal point just a little. That was it – I loved the detail that can be seen in this version.

Below is an older image previously posted to Flickr before I was blogging that is still different. It appears a Lucis Pro effect was added, an Ash bright green Texture 8 (which is not available anymore – it was my first set of textures I ever bought) set to Overlay blend mode, and a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. Pretty basic but it has a nice feel to it.

Image of air balloons from Epcot several years agoAnd here is a link to a blog where Topaz Impression was used on the image called Hot Air Balloons the Disney Way. Wish I could go to Disney and Epcot all the time – it is a perfect place to get gorgeous pictures. It is always fun to see the beautiful hanging air balloons throughout the years – I hope they do not change them. And The Land Pavilion has several exhibits that are always fun to photograph. Have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd


RELAXING AND HAVING FUN IN PHOTOSHOP!

Image of a painted bird on a branchSometimes when you get so busy blogging about cool things you can do in Photoshop, you forget about just having fun with what you already know how to do. I have not blogged a lot recently as I am trying to catch up on my creative side and just have some fun. This week I am showing a few things I have been doing to just enjoy myself.

The above is an image trying to emulate a piece of art called Bird on a Flowering Branch by Watanabe Seitei, a famous Japanese painter, created in 1887. My image does not look a whole lot like his, but it gave me a good place to begin a composition. I don’t see anything wrong with trying to emulate a piece of really good art as long as it is not a direct copy. I think it is a great way to learn so that is what I did. A Kim Klassen Cloth & Paper texture called huges was placed on the bottom to give a nice layer effect to build on. The paint spatter underneath the piece is in a free set called Oh La La Llama by principesca. Then the branches were painted in and the painted bird is from one of my bird images. The flowers are from another free set called All Ginko Textured Watercolor Graphics by Paperly Studio – these are beautiful floral elements. All the layers had to be juggled around a little and opacities adjusted. On a stamped layer, Topaz (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) ReStyle was used to further blend in the correct colors and soften them a little. That was about it. I need to take some more pix of little birds to create some more of this type of image – it was very relaxing and fun to do.

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Image about creating a Ham Salad SandwichCreated this image using several items from one of my favorite places to get reference objects – PixelSquid. They had the meat grinder, the basil, the scale, the sandwich, the plate, everything but the wonderful recipe by Kelly at Wildfleur’s Cottage Kitchen. It appeared to be pretty close to the one my mom made since I do not have her recipe. Every now and then the meat grinder would appear on the counter and low and behold, there was a ham salad sandwich! To learn how to add PixelSquid objects, check out my How to Use the PixelSquid Add-on in Photoshop blog. Several textures were then applied to really soften the image and get a vintage feel. These are all ones I made and just removed the color from them. Pretty simple. The font is called Mr. Grieves.

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Image of a vintage waffle iron and kitchen cannistersThe Hogan House and Museum has recently been designated as an historical home in Bunnell, Florida (Flagler County). It has some really nice period pieces including the old waffle iron on the counter. First Luminar 2018 (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) was applied using Joel Grime’s Dramatic Detail preset (his presets are all pretty good so if you own the program, try to download them). The same textures applied at different opacities as the ham sandwich image were also used on this one. A couple Gradient Map Adjustment Layers and a Curves Adjustment Layer were used for the final result.

I guess I have been in a vintage mood recently. It is nice to take a break and just work with your images to give them a look you like – not just what you see. I could almost imagine being back in time. Well hope everyone is not too hot – this summer has been a really warm one! Stay cool and create something fun!…..Digital Lady Syd


LUCIS PRO IS BACK!!!!!

Image of Great Guana Cay in the Outer Banks in the BahamasI was so excited when I found out that Dr. Gary Gaugler of Microtechnics has bought the rights to Lucis Pro – Yeah! Definitely one of the best Photoshop plugins ever made. It is so good and is once again available at a reasonable price. If you already have Lucis Pro 6.0.9, the latest version before the plugin went defunct, the new version 6.1.1 appears to be exactly the same and their website is also very similar. (The Stand Alone editions were apparently updated, but I only use the plugin as a filter in Photoshop. Check out the Support tab if you have trouble loading the Windows version to PS CC2018.) This blog won’t go into a lot of explanation on how the plugin works as I have written about Lucis Pro in past blogs. If you go to the Support tab on the Lucis Pro website, there are PDF manuals that can be downloaded and info which discuss very specific details on how the plugin works. See my recently updated Digital Lady Syd Reviews Lucis Pro 6.0.9 (Now Affordable) and my How to Get a Great Illustrative Effect with Lucis Pro 6.0.9 blogs for more info and examples from me. Below is a short video showing the interface and a little bit about how the sliders change the look of the image. The image above is the finished image started in the video below. I decided not to use the painterly effect and just go with the regular sharper image look, then used my regular workflow to finish it up. (If the link is not available in the RSS feed, go to the actual blog to activate video.)

 

 

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All that was done to the image below (which was set to 8-bit mode but it can be used at 16-bit with different settings) was to apply Lucis Pro – checked the Split Channels box with Red set to Enhance Detail 101/Smooth Detail 1, Green 125/1 and Blue 103/1 and the Assign Original Image Color 75% Processed/25% Original. Then just added a little white spotlight effect on the centerpiece and a dark vignette.
A colorful exhibit at St. Augustine Alligator Farm in Florida*******

View from Edinburgh Castle in ScotlandThis image is a view of Edinburgh from the Castle. Lucis Pro was run twice to get this final effect. On the bottom duplicated background layer, the plugin was opened and the Split Channels box was checked and set to Red Channel Enhance Detail 191/Smooth Detail 1; Green 173/1; and Blue 107/1 with Assign Original Image Color to 40% Processed/60% Original. The Background layer was duplicated again and placed on top of the first Lucis Pro layer. This time these settings were used in Lucis Pro: Enhance Detail slider set to 233/Smooth Detail 99 – this gave the image a much more painterly look which I wanted for the trees. A black layer mask was added and just the places where I wanted the more sharp lines were painted back, such as the tower and the white house. A Curves Adjustment Layer for contrast and one for exposure were added and a slight dark vignette was used to finish the image. Pretty simple!

The Lucis Pro effect is one of my favorite plugins. It is very easy to use and it can create such clean, sharp lines in an image, especially if the image is a little soft – and the colors can be quite spectacular. I think it is definitely worth the money – I use it in my workflow quite a bit, especially with images that are a bit graphic. It seems to give a lot of definition to these subjects. As I noted before, I do not believe there is a “try before you buy option” at this point so there is some risk. For me I have always liked the look of this plugin since the early 2000’s so I got it in 2016. Anyway, it is something to think about if you like the results.

Have a great weekend!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO USE LINEAR DODGE (ADD) & LINEAR BURN BLEND MODES ON IMAGE

Laupahoehoe Harbor on Maui, HawaiiThis week I am presenting an oldie but a goodie that was done quite a while ago. Decided to try it out again with some new images and I still like this technique. It is just slightly different from the normal Dodge and Burn techniques and very simple to do. The above image was taken on Maui, Hawaii at the very breezy Laupahoehoe Harbor.

I learned this at a Photoshop World several years ago and am not sure who even presented it. It was just in my notes so I thought I would give it a try and got some really nice results! The workflow is pretty simple:

  1. Duplicate the image twice after doing the basic color and tone corrections to the image.
  2. Add black layer masks to each layer by holding ALT key while clicking on the Add Layer Mask icon (rectangle with circle in center) at the bottom of the Layers Panel or by pressing CTRL+I in a white layer mask.
  3. Now on the top duplicate layer, change the blend mode to Linear Burn and name it Darken.
  4. On the layer underneath, change the blend mode to Linear Dodge (Add) and name it Lighten.
  5. Using a soft round brush set the Options Bar Opacity to 9% and Flow 55%.
  6. On the Lighten layer mask paint in white over areas to brighten. Do same for Darken layer mask on areas to darken. Since the Opacity and Flow are set fairly low, it will be a build up effect to get just the amount needed.

It is a very easy way to add a little color and/or focus to different parts of your image. If the effect is too strong, just lower the layer opacity. Also, the Linear Dodge (Add) blend mode could be used as a spotlight effect to fill darker areas with some soft light. For the above, the Lighten effect used the Linear Dodge (Add) blend mode at 75% layer opacity and the Color Burn blend mode did a great job on darkening with a layer opacity set to 48% – the Linear Burn was too much for the shadows in this image.

Just to let you know what is happening with these blend modes, here are the blend mode explanations according to Lesa Snider in her Photoshop CS6 – the Missing Manual book (an excellent book BTW):

Linear Dodge (Add) – “Lightens your images by increasing its brightness. It is a combo of Screen and Color Dodge modes, so it lightens images more than any other blend mode. But since it tends to turn all light colors white, it can make an image look unnatural.”

Linear Burn – “In this mode (which is actually a combination of Multiply and Color Burn), Photoshop darkens your image by decreasing its brightness. Linear Burn produces the darkest colors of any Darken blend mode, though with a bit more contrast than the others. It has a tendency to turn dark pixels solid black, which makes it ideal for grungy, textured collages…”

From this it is apparent that Linear Dodge (Add) can make an image look unnatural so take care when using it. And Linear Burn can give a grungy effect so watch the results of this. Therefore if your image does not look quite right, try changing the layer blend modes to Screen or Color Dodge for the Lighten layer, and Multiply, Darken or Color Burn (as I did above) blend modes on the Darken layer. Experimenting with blend modes can give some great effects! Image taken on the Big Island in HawaiiThis image is from the Big Island in Hawaii after a short rainfall. Just painted areas to lighten and areas to darken using both the Linear Dodge and Linear Burn blend modes. Used Nik Viveza 2 to even out the colors.

Hope you get a chance to try this little technique – pretty easy to do and can give some great results. See ya later!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Create a Subtle Dodge and Burn Effect
How To Use Curves Adjustment Layers to Dodge and Burn an Image
The Best Dodging and Burning Technique!


WHAT’S NEW IN THE PHOTOSHOP PLUGIN WORLD

Image of Edinburgh, Scotland, cityscape

This has been a major busy week for us Photoshop people so I thought I would pop in with what’s new. The above image was post-processed with the new Aurora HDR update using 5 layers including one that totally softened down the clouds. This program is turning out to be a favorite of mine, especially when wanting a really nice sharp look.

Adobe Camera Raw/Lightroom Updates

Apparently the biggest news is that Adobe added the ability to sync your presets and profiles with Lightroom Mobile on your phone and tablet. In LR Classic the Preset Rollover feature can now be turned off and the Profiles feature can be stopped by just holding down the ALT key while selecting and no previews will be seen. To me the best feature is that any preset folder can be turned off by right clicking the plus sign on the Preset column and select “Manage Presets.” Then uncheck the ones you do not want to see and click save. This seems major handy to me. It can also be done to the Profiles by right clicking on any profile group – then uncheck ones not needed and save. There are a couple other features for stacking images and adding label colors for folders. Check out Scott Kelby’s Lightroom Classic 7.4 Update blog on Lightroom Killer Tips for more information.

Skylum’s Aurora HDR 1.2.0 Update

I really love both the Luminar and Aurora HDR programs that Skylum owns, but lets face it, we Windows people still are not quite caught up with the Mac versions. (For website links, check out the sidebar at my Tidbits Blog.) Aurora now supports batch processing – it seems all the plug-ins are rushing to get this added to their programs. Other updates includes a new White Balance/Eyedropper Tool, layers can be renamed, and quick previews are enhanced. Aurora seems not near as finicky – the brushes work smoother in both the layer masking area and the Darken & Brighten filter. That was one area that needed improvement. For more update info, check out this page called Aurora Is Better Than Ever.

On1 Photo Raw 2018.5

On1, not to be outdone by Lightroom, did a huge release this week and it appears to be really good! This program is starting to grow on me. When I first got the new On1 plug-in several years ago, it ran my computer hard and I did not like that. Now this is not a  problem and it is lightening fast when adding files into its Browse module. One of the areas that I am totally loving is they have added lots of new LUTs (lookup tables) that can now be hovered over to see the effect. You can now right click and choose Create Version which is the same as a Virtual Copy in LR – love that! There are so many things that it is best to just check out the website to find them – I am still digging through it all. (For website link, check out the sidebar at my Tidbits Blog.) I will blog on its new features soon after I have had a chance to try them all out.

Image of some pink azaleasThese beautiful pink azaleas were growing in my yard a while back. What a perfect color of pink! Most of the post-processing was done in the new stand alone version of On1 Photo Raw 2018.5, but a little more was done in PS. The Effects module’s LUTs filter was applied with the Color Pop category and Honkey Tonk LUT. Just loved the result. Also used my favorite Dynamic Contrast and Sharpening filters at their default settings.

Topaz Studio AI Clear

I love Topaz and this is their newest filter released this week. (For website link, check out the sidebar at my Tidbits Blog.) It detects and removes noise in an image while sharpening the details at the same time. They say the filter “uses the insight of a custom neural network trained on millions of images to detect and reduces noise as well as enhances details in your images automatically.” When I tried it out, it did a pretty good job on my images. But it seems to overlap with their really good Noise Reduction and Detail/Clarity filters – I need to work with it more to understand how to use it properly. In the Disney Tomorrowland  image below, one of my new favorite filters, AI ReMix, was applied and then Topaz Adjust was added on top. Topaz recently added several new presets to the filter which gives a lot more choices for making images more interesting. There are so many ways to use Studio that is it a bit mind-boggling.

Image of Tomorrowland Sign at The Magic Kingdom

Google (Nik) Collection

Last, but not least, DxO recently bought the Nik Collection from Google. They have now updated the collection to run with all the operating systems. I do not believe any new filters have been added to the group, but now it is functioning properly for everyone. If you have had problems with the original aging plug-ins, I would definitely recommend updating to this new version. To get the upgrade, here is a link.  I am so glad these filters are being updated and will continue to be used. It contains my favorite plug-in that I use on almost every image – Viveza 2 so I could not be happier!

Well that’s it – just thought I would catch you up since it seems like a lot is going on in the plug-in world. I am so glad the plug-in folks are busy adding to their collections and improving their programs to keep up with the times. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO ADD A SKETCH EFFECT QUICKLY

Image of a Japanese Festive Doll This week I wanted to say that I will be taking several weeks off from blogging (after 7 1/2 years of this) to take care of a few other things on my list. Will be popping in as time allows and will definitely not be closing my site. Just a temporary break as these blogs take some time to do and my schedule is currently a bit limited. That being the case, I will present a quick sketch tip today that was used on the above image of a Japanese Festive Doll at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island.

First began by creating a sketch effect. This was one I had forgotten about from the great Photoshop guru, Corey Barker, who used it in a tutorial a long time ago. This effect was first done on the doll image and then on the background image. This technique can be done on just one image also. Make sure you have all the clean up that needs to be done on the image(s) and also make sure the image is a sharp as you wanted. The background was from an image on  Unsplash by Sorasak of Kyota, Japan – when opened in Photoshop, it had a resolution of 72 so this had to be changed: go to Image -> Image Size and uncheck the Resample box – change the resolution to 300; then click the Resample box again and set to Bicubic Sharper (reduction) since the size of the actually image gets much less (though still pretty big). Now to create the Sketch Look.

  1. Duplicate the background and desaturate the image. This can be done quickly by either pressing CTRL+ALT+U (Image -> Adjustments -> Desaturate), or could add a Black & White Adjustment Layer, or a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer set to Black and White gradient or a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer with the Master Saturation set to -100.
  2. Create a stamped layer on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and set the layer to Divide blend mode. Now you see a sketch effect.
  3. Go to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to a sketch effect you like. The doll was set to 5.5 pixels and the background to 24.9 pixels which gave a heavier look to the lines of the city. There is your sketch.
  4. To add color back into the image, duplicate the bottom background layer and place it on top. Add a black layer mask to this layer and gently dab into the mask with a lower opacity brush. The color will appear very much like an illustrated watercolor effect. On this layer, other filter effects can be used like from Topaz  (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Studio or Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to give a different color and look to the color being brought back into the image. Or add another copy on top of this layer to get even more effects into the image.

For the doll, another 2nd copy of the background was placed on top, then CTRL+I was pressed on the layer thumbnail to invert the colors. A black layer mask was added and just a bit of complementary color was added back into the image to add interest.

To finish the image, the doll was selected using the Quick Selection Tool and Select and Mask in Photoshop. The layer was then taken into the Kyota image where the sketching and light color effect was already done. A stamped layer was created and then Topaz Adjust’s Setting Sun preset was applied. A Levels Adjustment Layer was used to bring back some of the image contrast and then on another stamped layer Topaz ReStyle was opened and the Travertine Tint was added. A Curves Adjustment Layer was used to add more contrast back into the image. Some clean up and a watercolor edge was done to complete the image.

Well I hope you get a chance to try out this sketch technique. It is pretty easy to do and works rather nicely, especially if you want to add some color back into the image. I will be returning in a few weeks……Enjoy the Spring!…..Digital Lady Syd


SOME CREATIVE EXPRESSION IN PHOTOSHOP

Image of a bird on the side of Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, ScotlandThis week I am taking a break from the technical aspect of Photoshop and am presenting a couple images which is what I consider was a lot of fun create in Photoshop. Usually when I do creative art, I start out going in one direction and end up in another. Many times there are several iterations of an image I really like, which happened in this first image – it looks pretty good in blue tones and warm tones.

The image above is from Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland. I love to photograph the interesting details in the historical architecture that is so prevalent in Europe. The workflow for this image was actually pretty simple. Just using my basic workflow and through in a bit of Nik Viveza 2, Topaz ReStyle and several Adjustment Layers. This was definitely created with a lot of experimentation.

The image below went a totally different direction where the elements were added onto a blank layer.

Colorful image of an Egret's PlaygroundThis Heron had this crazy idea of what he would like to be his playground. I just had to follow his lead and created this rather “groovy” looking image. Started with this really beautiful background from Unsplash by Steve Johnson that had all the bright colors in it.Then just used several elements – some I created and a few are from other people. The really weird line art in this image is from a large Cruise Ship at night taken from a small sailboat – got sort of a creepy result that looks kind of good here but was very scary when you actually are there! My bird chose it anyway. All the elements were added to New Layers also. The sunflower is from PixelSquid. The bee is one I painted. The Tree is also from PixelSquid and the Heron is my pet, the little guy from Graphics Fairy – painted him up a bit with one of my favorite Grut charcoal brushes, Shin Ding which adds great texture on anything, to give him some matching color. The Grass is from Frostbo Set 1 Grass 03 brush. I actually added a little touch of Impasto effect on the orange block on the left using a blank layer set to 0 Fill opacity and painting with the Grut Shin Ding brush to add the texture on it. Last step I added the border using the one I created in my video and blog on my How to Create a Quick Layer Style Border or Frame.

One thing I have learned is not to throw out those really weird images you get – sometimes they can turn into something quite  interesting! Hope you enjoyed it! Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd