This image was taken at the 2015 Native American Festival in Ormond Beach, Florida. It is a very different type of totem pole and I wish I knew more about which group it was from and what it meant. In Lightroom Seim’s (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Classic Holga preset was applied. Once in Photoshop some clean up was done on a New Layer. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Impressions was used (see preset settings at end of blog). Painted Textures Sunrise Canvas texture (one provided in one of their workshops) was used – it has some very soft yellow/orange colors. The Layer Style of the texture was opened (just double-click out side the thumbnail on the layer to open dialog box) and the Blend If sliders were adjusted to bring back some of the greens in the grass. On the This Layer slider, the white tab was moved left and split (ALT+drag on tab to split) with settings of 186/204; and on the Underlying Layer slider the Black tab was moved right and split with settings of 49/93, and the without splitting the white tab was set to 221. The next thing done, which is a little unusual, was to turn off the G and B Channels so only the Red one is checked. The layer Blend Mode was set to Hard Light and the Layer Opacity to 52%. You need to experiment with these settings as they can make some dramatic color differences to the image. (See my How to Use Those Handy Blend-If Sliders! blog.) Another stamped layer was created on top and set to Multiply blend mode at 60% layer opacity, and then the layer was duplicated (CTRL+J) and this layer was set to Screen blend mode at 14%. This adjusts the contrast in a different way. The last step applied Nik Viveza 2 to direct focus to the face. Loved the colors that came from the image!
Recently I wrote about some Pen and Ink Photoshop brushes created by Aaron Blaise, a wonderful illustrator and former Disney movie artist (see How to Create a Watercolor/Ink Image in Photoshop blog). Since these were so fun (and inexpensive), I decided to try out his Cloud Brush Set and this was my first effort. I believe that Corel Painter makes the best cloud effects, so I was surprised how good Aaron’s Photoshop brushes are! By following his video and learning about all the 30 different brushes included in the set (see Painting Clouds – Custom Photoshop Painting Tutorial video), it was not really that difficult to do this. I did find that some of the edges were a bit rough, but by just switching from the regular brush to the Mixer brush, those edges could be smoothed away when used as a Blender. To use it as a blender type Mixer brush these Option Bar settings were used: Turn on Load the Brush After Each Stroke (there will not be much color coming in due to the low Load amount), Wet 100%, Load 1%, Mix 90% (high amount indicated more paint is being mixed from canvas), Flow 100%, and Sample All Layers checked. Adjust the brush size and use it to push the color slightly from one area to another. Aaron does not use the Mixer brush, but does like to use the Smudge brush – I found this worked fine with the brush set to Normal Mode, 50% Strength, and Sample All Layers.
That’s it – just wanted to share a few things I learned this week, mainly what turning off a Channel does in the Layer Styles dialog box as in Image 1 and how to paint some pretty nice clouds in Photoshop using Aaron Blaise’s brushes. Total fun. Hope you all have a good week!……Digital Lady Syd
Image 1: Topaz Impressions SJ WCII background preset settings: Stroke: Brush Type 09, Brush Size 0.50, Paint Volume 0.68, Paint Opacity 0.83, Stroke Rotation 0, Stroke Color Variation 0, Stroke Width 0.44, Stroke Length 0.38, Spill 0.09, Smudge 0, and Coverage 1.00; Color: Overall Hue 0, Saturation -0.02, and Lightness -0.04; Red only Sat 0.41; Orange only Sat 0.43; Yellow only Sat 0.43; and all the other color settings at 0; Lighting Brightness 0.17, Contrast -0.29; and Vignette 0; Light Direction x0.52/y1.00; and Texture Strength 0.16, Size -0.68, Canvas IV used, Background Type solid white, and Background white.
This week I thought I would just address a topic I consider when choosing pictures to post-process. That is, how do you get the most out of that not quite perfect image that you really like? Many times I end up taking a picture that does not look like much out of camera. I do not want to discard some of these pictures – after all, they are my memories, but it does seem to be a constant battle to figure out a way to pull out a good result with them.
One of the best starts is to try out different crops. Lots of times I have taken too much background and/or foreground in the shot, but the main subject does not look too bad close up. The image above is an example of this. This only works with my better camera where I have pixels to spare. Due to the lower resolution of my phone pix, they may not give a better result with a crop. That is one reason I like filters. So often a special effect turns a shot into something I totally love. With some pretty cool phone apps, you can get some very impressive results. But with my dSLR, I like to use the Photoshop plug-ins since I can often get some good results with marginal images. So let me walk you through the above example.
The image is of a male Common Moorhen – who knew – it was a really striking bird hiding in the grass. (To see the original RAW images, check out the end of the blog.) The patterns in the water were totally lost in the original image, but in Lightroom the image was cropped extensively and a totally different look appears. A good crop can make all the difference. Since cropping can create some rather soft edges in the image, Seim’s Super HDR X preset was applied to sharpen up the image overall. Then in Photoshop, Topaz Detail 3 was used to sharpen just the bird – a black mask was applied and the bird was painted back. (See sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for Seim’s and Topaz website links.)
Now it was time to try out some different filters on this image. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz Impression was applied. This is such a painterly look that I did not consider it one I would like, but it is still worth trying different effects to see what you get. One of my favorite Topaz filter guys, Blake Rudis, created a video called Atmospheric Backgrounds with Topaz Impression. Since this image had such a crazy zig-zag pattern in the background water, it seemed like a good time to try out the Ethereal Background preset he created in his video. All the settings are listed at the link and it really did calm down the color so the bird stands out. A Lookup Adjustment Layer using the Crisp Winter preset was added and set to 55% layer opacity to cool down the colors just a little bit. The last step was using Nik Viveza 2 to direct the focus to the bird a little more – this is almost always my last step, but it you do not have this filter, try using Photoshop’s Camera Raw filter and adjust some Radial filters in the image. It creates a very similar result and I use it a lot also. I now have a shot I really like!
This beautiful little Cattle Egret was riding on the back of this gigantic cow. I was sitting in the backseat of a car and shot this through the opposite side window – I am still surprised it turned out at all! Now to be honest, this image was not really that great – lots of the background was very blurred. But the bird was not in too bad a shape. This image was turned into a black and white in Lightroom – it really made the bird show up nicely. (Used Seim’s Angels Kiss preset.) Otherwise its tiny size and all the colorful wild grass and reeds really made the bird hard to find. So definitely check out a black and white treatment just to see if it could enhance a rather tired looking color image. This is pretty easy to do in either Lightroom with the canned presets or Photoshop with the black and white adjustment layer.
In Photoshop the Shake Reduction filter was used, and it worked nicely on the bird, but way overdid the rest of the image. Therefore a black layer mask was used and just the bird and part of the palm tree in front were sharpened. The Shake Reduction filter can sometimes really straighten out a soft shot so check it out. Use the black layer mask if it is too much and paint back areas that needed the sharpening.
Use your brushes to paint in over the soft edges of focal objects. A New Layer was created on top and the bird edges were lightly painted in cleanly. Used a tiny soft round brush set to 7 pixels, 30% layer opacity, and sampled the bird color (ALT+click on object) – only painted his edges and a little bit in the beak area. I still did not like the overall appearance. Topaz Clarity was opened and my SJ Artsy with highlights preset was applied, and all of the sudden it looked so much better! This is a preset I created for something totally different ages ago, but it worked on this image. In a layer mask only the bird was painted back to retain its detail as this preset really softened everything in it. (Here are the settings if you are interested: Clarity Dynamics Micro Contrast -0.86, Low Contrast -0.86, Medium Contrast 0.63, and High Contrast 0.94; Tone Level Black Level -0.19, Midtones -0.36, and White Level 0.19; HSL Filter Hue – no changes; Sat Orange 0.06, Yellow 0.63, Green 0.13, Blue 0.25 0.25, and Overall -0.45; and Lum Orange 0.36, Yellow -0.34, Green -0.42, Blue 0.61, Purple 0.11, Magenta 0.75, and Overall -0.27 – all other colors were 0.00. Adjust these settings around if they do not quite fit the effect you want.) The layer opacity was set to 84%. Since this filter was applied to a black and white image, it gave a different result than on color images. The post-processing could have been finished here as it looked pretty good. A blue toned Solid Color Adjustment Layer was placed on top and set to Color blend mode at 33% layer opacity to get a really pretty night feel to the picture. And once again, since the background was pretty busy, Topaz Impression was opened and the new Ethereal Preset by Blake Rudis was applied. The layer was set to 75% layer opacity and in a white mask, the bird and some of the areas I wanted the detail to show up was painted back. The last step was using Nik Viveza 2 to draw the eye to the bird.
Here is another example of an image a thousand people have taken and I wanted to get something a little different out of it. I have to say I have a soft spot for Wood Storks since they are all around where I live. In Lightroom the Crop was set, Seim’s Super Gentle X was applied, and the head was sharpened with an Adjustment Brush. The Clarity and Sharpness were set up fairly high. In Photoshop the first step was to extend the image size 50% so Flaming Pear’s Flood filter could be used. This is an oldie but goodie filter, but it is still one of my favorites and it gives major realistic results. (Flaming Pear Flood Settings: Horizon 56, Offset 0, Perspective 41, Altitude 29, Waviness 2, Complexity 43, Brilliance 39, Blur 27, Size 0, Height 24, and Undulation 38.) Next Topaz Detail 3 was applied. (Here are the preset settings: Overall Small Details -0.51, Small Details Boost -0.40, Medium -0.39, Medium Details Boost -0.30, Large Details -0.51, and Large Details Boost -0.41; and Tone Exposure -0.40, Cyan-Red 0.48, Magenta-Green -0.29, and Yellow-Blue 0.31.) This looked really good as is when applied twice. (See my Tidbits A Reflecting Wood Stork blog.) But I decided to go after one application and use Topaz Glow on a stamped layer and my SJ Inter Web Variation preset. (Settings are: Primary Glow Type Dark, Glow Strength 1.00, Effect Sharpness 0.12, Electrify 1.00, Simplify Details 0.06, Edge Color 0, Detail Strength 1.00, Detail Size 0.42, Brightness 0.16, Contrast 0.18, Saturation 0.08, Line Rotation 0, and Glow Spread 0; Secondary Glow Glow Type Light, Glow Strength 0, Effect Sharpness 0.54, Electrify 0.11, Simplify Details 0, Brightness 0, and Contrast 0; Color Overall Saturation to 0.62, Red Sat to 0.44, Yellow Sat to 1.00 Yellow Lightness -0.36, Green Sat 1.00 and Lightness -0.51, Aqua Lightness -0.36, Purple Sat 1.00, and Magenta Sat 1.00 and Lightness 0.50. Set to Screen blend mode at 66% Strength; and no Finishing Touches.) This gave a very, artistic twist to the image. On another stamped layer Topaz ReStyle was applied to get the pretty pink and greens in the image. (Here are the settings: SJ Thistle Blush 2-Sr1 Sh1 preset – ReStyle Sat Fourth 0.78; Lum Fourth -0.52 and Fifth -1.00; and Texture Strength 0.05; Basic Blend Mode Soft Light at 62% opacity; Color Temperature 0.25, Tint 0.42, and Sat -0.06; Tone Black Level -0.33, Midtones -0.06, and White Level 0.64; and Detail Structure -0.09 and Sharpness 0.97.) The lower part of the image was darkened to try and copy the way a true reflection looks. And of course my last step was using Nik Viveza 2.
I am showing thumbnails of what the originals looked like or this whole blog would have little meaning. It really does not matter whose filters you apply or what colors, it is just experimenting until you get something that makes the image look good. I could have used other filters and gotten totally different results. And by using adjustment layers and blend modes, even better results can be achieved. I know I have covered this before, but it is something I consider for the post-processing of each image. I love to just play in Photoshop and have fun – and that is what this whole blog is about. Challenge yourself to get something nice out of a “maybe not so nice” image. Have a good week…..Digital Lady Syd
Happy Valentines Day to everyone! Finally got a chance to get create a valentine for one of my favorite holidays! I took some still life type images today and used this wonderful pitcher purchased a while back at at the Deland Antiques Show. I bought the fake flowers at Michael Arts and Crafts Stores. Used Seim’s and 2 Lil’s Owls Studios (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for both website links) in Lightroom before bringing the image into Photoshop. Topaz (also linked at my Tidbits Blog above) Detail 3 was applied to overall sharpen up the detail. Then the hearts were adding using a valentine brush I created – to get the random opening in the heart, use a dual brush. The background doily was from Design Cuts Valentine Poster Freebies and a Pattern Fill Layer and a Gradient Fill Layer using a red gradient were clipped to the doily object. Some layer style effects were added to make it stand out a little. Similar effect was created using little valentines and setting the Color Dynamics section to add different colors. On a stamped layer Topaz ReStyle’s Pastel Green Field preset was added. The last step was to add the valentine pattern on the background just to add some interest.
This is another Still Life image created using a different pitcher. I like this plain white vase as it is easy to put things on it, like the soft pink valentine, to fit your theme. So the original raw file was opened Lightroom where I used Jack Davis’s Five Step Tango from his videos at Creative Live to clean up the image. In Photoshop the image was sharpened using Topaz Detail 3. It was changed to an 8 bit image for Painter at this point. Then in Painter, 4 source images were created. A source using Topaz ReStyle was used the most to get the warm pinkish colors. Just did the basic painting steps to lay out the background and then bring in the object details. My favorite brush for this image was one from Legacy brushes called Medium Bristle Oils 25. Also one created from watching Commercial Packaging Illustration with Michael Bast – a Corel webinar. He uses a Distorto Brush that breaks up the texture – it really works great to get rid of those really eye drawing sharp lines. Painted Textures‘ Concrete Canvas was added and a Layer Mask was used to bring back the flowers. The layer was set to Multiply blend mode before bringing back into Photoshop. Here a very basic heart was added onto the pitcher and warped to look correct – then Pink Sherbert Dirty Grunge texture (not sure this is available anymore) was added and clipped (ALT+click between layers to clip) to get the right color in the heart. The heart layer was set to 63% layer opacity. The font is Kingthings Pique’n’meex, and a Levels Adjustment Layer was added last.
Hope everybody is having a great day!…..Digital Lady Syd
Could not resist blogging just a little bit on what I did recently in my favorite programs, even though I am taking a vacation from blogging. The above image was post-processed in Photoshop – an image in Scotland that I overlooked. Won’t go into great detail as this was pretty basic – each was done on a duplicate layer – Shake Reduction filter, Topaz (see sidebar in my Tidbits Blog for website link) Clarity Clouds 1 preset, then Clarity Color and Contrast III preset, Topaz Glow using the Room Glow Blake Rudis preset created in blog link below, a couple Selective Color Adjustments Layers, one for the clouds in particular, and Nik Viveza 2 to adjust vignetting.
Just created a little impressionistic painting following the basic steps from Thomas Churchwell’s video called Turner Style Painting in Corel Painter using Marilyn Sholin Brushes. I did have to add the my image in as a Source in the Clone Panel for me to get it all the brushes to clone correctly. And a pretty rough paper texture worked best on the canvas for the effect. Love the free cloner brushes from Marilyn (see bottom blog link below for site).
Well that is it – have a good week!
I will be taking a few weeks off from blogging to “regroup” – need to get caught up with both my favorite programs – Photoshop and Painter. But for this week I am going to carry on with my tree theme a little more since I seem to like to do tree images! Not sure why???
Created the above because I love this Bare Trees Brush that Karen Bonaker made in her Happy Holiday a Day brushes for Corel Painter. (It is in a few of my other blogs too.) This time it was turned into a Photoshop brush and below is how it was done.
Creating a Photoshop Brush Out of a Corel Painter Stroke
1. Open Corel Painter and set foreground color to black on a white canvas by setting the Color Wheel RGB sliders all the way left.
2. Select a brush in Painter to bring into Photoshop – in this case Karen’s wonderful Bare Brush Tree for me. The stroke can be placed on its own layer or just on the bottom white canvas. With Painter, there are lots of ways to adjust the actual brush to adjust the dab. What was done above was to just use Karen’s basic brush (and which I like). Save the file keeping it as a PSD file.
3. Open the file in Photoshop and turn it in a brush by going to Edit -> Define Brush Preset. The wonderful Painter brush has been converted to a brush in Photoshop, listed at the bottom of the Brush Preset Panel!
4. Make adjustments to the new brush in the Photoshop Brush Panel. For the brush used above, these settings were applied: Basic Tip Shape – Size 1190 and Spacing 63%; Shape Dynamics – Size Jitter 36% and Control set to Pen Pressure; Scattering – Scatter 30%, Control Pen Pressure, and Count 1; Texture – Texture set to Burlap and Invert was checked, Scale 100%, Brightness -29, Contrast 33, Check Texture Each Tip, Mode Multiply, Depth 100%, and Depth Jitter 38%; Color Dynamics – Check Apply Per Tip, Foreground/Background 11%, Saturation Jitter 12%, and Brightness Jitter 13%; and check Smoothing. The texture in the brush is due to the settings in Photoshop, not Painter, so the Texture setting can easily be turned off or changed if the effect is not right. Try adding a Dual Brush to get a snowy tree look or Wet Edges for a watercolor feel. Experiment with all these settings!
5. Last step is to start painting with your new brush – in this case, just painted a treeline of trees. If you like your brush, now is the time to go to the bottom of the Brush Preset Panel and select Save Brush. Usually I end up with several different variations of the brush and as a last step will save them together as a set in the Preset Manager by clicking on the 2nd icon on either Brush Panel or Brush Preset Panel – select each one (CTRL+click on each brush variation) and then Save Set. If the brush gets deleted, it can easily be added back in the Brush Preset Panel.
The rest of the image steps are as follows: Added 2 Lil Owls Enchanted4-1 overlay (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link), a New Layer with just some line definition, three more New layers – one with Shadowhouse Creations Fence brush, one with the two dear using different brushes, and one with the Barn1 brush; a New Layer with the painted deer tracks; Texture Mate’s Free Grunge Texture (was Original Starfield) set to 85% layer opacity and a layer mask painting out the center of the image – it really has a vintage snow look to it; a New Layer using the Sharpen Tool just on the deer faces; and my SJ Snow 2 Overlay-slight blur set to 53% layer opacity. Two Text Layers were used – first with Marcelle Script font and then Kayleigh font. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) ReStyle was added and the Peppermint Gray preset was applied at 75% layer opacity. And there you have it – a pretty nice wintry scene!
This is another example of using the above brush. This time a new brush was created by combining a few strokes so it looks like a treeline. Then on a New Layer above the Background Layer, just a couple strokes were used in the image making the brush smaller for the distant trees. After that a couple of my textures were placed underneath the trees and a stamped layer was placed on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E). In Nik Analog Efex Pro 2, these settings were used: Basic Adjustments (Detail Extraction 22%, Brightness -17%, Contrast -15%, and Saturation 27% – and then 4 Control Points were added to image to pinpoint the detail and brightness exactly), Dirt & Scratches (Strength 26%, Organic, bottom center example), Lens Vignette (Amount -62%, Circle more than Rect, and Size 100%), Film Type ( B&W toned third down 2nd over, Faded, Strength 79%, Grain per pixel 500, and Soft), and Levels & Curves (100% opacity and Luminosity – one point -pull up slightly in upper left). Back in Photoshop, a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer set to Foreground to Background and in the Layer Style set the Blend If Underlying Layer black tab split to 55 and 116 (Alt + drag on the tab to split). Nik Viveza 2 was used to add emphasis to the final tree. Very different look from the first one!
Hope this gave you some ideas on how to use your brushes and how to bring them in from other programs. Not too hard and worth the time if you are using the Painter brush a lot. Will catch up with everyone in a couple weeks!…..Digital Lady Syd
Sounds simple enough! It is but it is not. Had a lot of fun trying out a few techniques and going back and forth between Photoshop and Painter. Unfortunately, I believe this will be my workflow since both programs have things I like.
So let’s start with this top image. This actually is a tree that was created in Photoshop with their relatively new Tree Filter – it is in both Photoshop CC (go to Edit->Fill->Pattern Fill and open Scripts-has a few of the sliders missing from CC2014) and CC2014 (go to Filters->Render->Tree). It took some experimenting to get what I consider an artistic feel to the tree, but it can be done. Two files were created to do this. First I found a texture that I liked – it was Anna Lenabem’s Texture 208. (If you have not seen her textures, check them out – they are absolutely beautiful!) Next the tree was created on a New Layer above. (Here are the settings in case you want to see how it was done: Base Tree Type: Robinia; Light Direction 180, Camera Tilt 3, Leaves Amount 100, Leaves Size 98, Branches Height 100, Branches Thickness 112, Check Default Leaves, Check Custom Color for Leaves – color used R255/G255/Blue147, Check Custom Color for Branches R238/G128/B99, and Arrangement 94.9.) I think I am turning into a Blake Rudis “groupie” – he definitely has the best tutorial on how to create trees in Photoshop – see his recent video tutorial called How to Make a Tree in Photoshop CC. He also gave me the idea to try and make a fine art image out if it. Now here is where it gets a little sticky – the layer was duplicated and just the tree was taken into Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Impression. (Here is my preset and the settings applied: SJ WC like Effect preset-Stroke: Brush Type 04, Brush Size 0.91, Paint Volume 0.42, Paint Opacity 0.87, Stroke Rotation 0, Stroke Color Variation 0, Stroke Width 0.33, Stroke Length 0.89, Spill 0.23, Smudge 0.26, and Coverage 1.00; Color: Overall Hue 0.15, St -0.20, and Lightness 0.06; Red Sat 0.47 and Lightness 0.14; Orange Sat 0.60 and Lightness -0.42; Yellow Sat -0.33 and Lightness 0.13; Green Sat 0.20 and Lightness -0.32; and Blue Sat 0.36; Lighting: Brightness -0.04, Contrast 0.39, and Light Direction x0.33 and y0.06; and Texture: Strength 0.78, Size 0.30, Canvas IV, Background Type Solid, and Background #d38967 (soft melon color). Changes I made to it: Stroke Color Variation 0.52, and Green Sat -1.00 and Lightness 0.) The layer was set to 63% layer opacity. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was placed and clipped to tree layer on top with Master Hue set to -43, Sat +36, and Lightness 0 – this added some pink tones into the leaves. A stamped layer was created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 was applied. (Here are the settings used: SJ Abstract Large Color Variation – Artistic Style Oil Paint; Background: Brush Size 27, Photorealism 4, Paint Thickness 100, Stroke Length 49, Color Variation 73, Brush Style Bristle Brush, and Random Seed 418; Detail Masking none; Colors Brightness 59, Contrast -14, Saturation 54, and Temperature 33; Lighting: Highlight Brightness 45, Highlight Size 26, Direction 120, Angle 65, Color White; Vignette none; and Canvas Rough Paper, Thickness 26, Zoom 16, Texture Paper, rough, Color white.) Since it puts the layer on white background, the layer was set to Multiply back in Photoshop and the layer opacity set to just 21%. The last step in this file added a Gaussian Blur filter with the Radius set to 1.1 – added a black layer mask and painted back just the sharp edges of some of the leaves that looked unnatural. Saved this image and then saved another version that was flattened to take into Corel Painter. Here is what the image looked like at this point.
All that was done in Corel Painter is a New Layer was added and Karen Bonaker’s Bare Trees brush from her Holiday 2014 Brush-a-Day Set (this is brush 1) was used to add the trees in the background. The file was saved as a PSD file and taken back into Photoshop where the Painter layer was set to 49% layer opacity. A little clean up was done on a New Layer. Next Painted Textures Desert Sky Canvas texture was applied twice, first set to Divide blend mode at Fill of 26%, and the second one set to Linear Burn at 68%. Another stamped layer was created and the image was taken into Nik Viveza 2 where the focal point was clarified just a little – I love what this filter does to a photo! Created a stamped layer and this time another of my all-time favorite plug-ins, Topaz ReStyle, was added. (These settings were used: Silver and Ivory Cloak preset – Set ReStyle to Screen at 53% opacity and Texture 1.00; Basic Tone Temperature -0.34; Black Level 0.66, Midtones -0.27, and White Level 0.05; and Detail Structure 0.39.) On a New Layer above back in Photoshop, the Blur Tool was used to further blur the edges of just the dark leaves on the tree that appeared too sharp. The last step was adding a Curves Adjustment Layer to give a little more contrast. That was it – a really involved workflow, but it was not that hard – just a lot of experimenting. It was really fun to create something that looks so artistic with just filters!
This is the same tree – the only difference in the whole workflow is that I used a different preset for Topaz ReStyle – the Guite Chrysanthemum preset. The settings were lost but is was slightly lightened in the plug-in. I liked the results so I thought I would show you what a different color palette can do for the image. I really like the way the oranges and blues play off each other.
Hope this blog gave you some ideas on how to use your filters with the Tree Filter in Photoshop. It really can give some beautiful results. And what the heck is a Robinia Tree? Have a great week and grow a Photoshop tree!…..Digital Lady Syd
Well, now that the holidays are over, I have had a chance to get reacquainted with Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Glow and start to understand this little gem of a plug-in a little bit more. I watched a Topaz Webinar by Blake Rudis’s (Integrating Topaz Glow into Your Workflow) and then another shorter video (Topaz Glow A Closer Look with Blending Options), and the program actually makes a lot more sense to me. I thought I would show you a few more examples of how Blake is using Glow to get some absolutely beautiful soft glow effects. Click on the Webinar link above for a download button that links to a Glow PDF file showing how to make his presets and several of his actions – I refer to the PDF file all the time now.
For me it seems Topaz Impression works great as the second step once Glow has been applied. The image of the two pink hibiscus has both filters applied. If you would like the detailed steps and plug-in settings used, check Image 1 info below. Two things were done differently from the usual application of this filter: 1. A black layer mask was added to the Glow layer and just the parts where I wanted the Glow to show up were painted back in the layer mask. Since the original image was pretty nice for starters, Glow was used to just add detail and highlights to just the flower centers and leaves – the rest of the image looked way over-the-top with the settings used. 2. Then the layer opacity of the Impression layer was reduced so you can still see some of those preserved Glow strokes. This image resulted in a pretty natural final look, which is what I wanted.
These flowers were taken at Disney World Epcot Center last year. I could not get this image to post-process correctly so I had skipped it. Then Glow came out and it has actually turned it into a rather unique feeling image. Glow added the light to the foreground colors but by using Topaz ReMask, it did not affect the reflection and sky in the background. Then Topaz Impression was applied using one of my presets at 82% Strength. All the steps and settings are below under Image 2.
In this image of a leafless tree taken from above on my phone, a different workflow was used. First some texture and Topaz ReStyle was applied before Topaz Glow was used. That is because I felt the image needed that beautiful light effect that Blake discusses in his videos. His Room Glow preset was applied at 66% Strength and set to Hard Light blend mode before going back into Photoshop – it basically popped the picture! See Image 3 info for settings.
This image is from my favorite eating place in the Daytona Beach area, Takeya Steak House – just the best! I could not resist taking this image while waiting of a table recently. It seemed to be begging for a Glow application, so here it is, but it definitely also shows the fractal side of the plug-in. Not much was done this image other than adding Glow and clean up. See Image 4 for the complete workflow and plug-in settings. I like this sort of illustrative feel that Glow can give to an image.
I decided to give you a small look at the original images as it is really hard to tell what effect this plug-in had on the images without them. So below are the images as they appeared after Lightroom but before Photoshop.
This last example is for all of us animal lovers – wanted to show how this plug-in does a great job with lighting on animal images. The image is from MorgueFile Free Photos – this site is loaded with fabulous pictures. The beautiful dog image was taken by GaborfromHungary, and I wish I had taken it. I wanted to try out Blake’s Animal Glow preset. It did not work well with this image, but my Graphic III Beach preset looked real great on the image. You need to try different settings for different types of images. The presets Blake gave us and the ones I am providing are just nice starting places. Once you find one you like, make a few changes for the specific image – you will get a real feel for what the sliders do and what effects you like. For all the settings on the dog image, check out Image 5 below.
I hope this blog has shown you how to get some gorgeous lighting effects with this plug-in. One of Blake’s workflow steps when using Glow is t0 set the Overall Saturation to -1.00 so you can see what is going on with the luminance and not the color. Then adjust your saturation back. I find this very helpful to do when adjusting the sliders for each image – you are just looking at the black and white tones and not the vivid colors, which can sometimes get in the way. You really need to at least look at his PDF and try his settings to see how the light effect changes in your images. It really is an incredible result and I am so happy I tried out the presets. Maybe this info will make you look at what can be done with this plug-in from a little different point-of-view – I know it changed how I am using it. Blake has really found a new way to use Topaz Glow that makes this plug-in much more useful and interesting. Hope you give it a try at least! Until next week, stay warm and have a good one!…..Digital Lady Syd.
Workflow Steps and Plug-in Settings:
Image 1: This is a very basic image taken with my Android phone camera, then in Lightroom 2 Lil’ Owl (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Hazy Days 22 preset was applied to get a bit of a Tuscany feel to the image. Once opened in Photoshop, some clean up was done on a New Layer, a stamped layers created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), and Topaz Glow opened. If you watch Blake’s videos, you will find he uses the plug-in to add a beautiful soft light effect to almost all his images. That is is exactly what I did with this image. A preset I created was used to get some very nice lines in the leaves and flowers and some nice lighting. Then once back in Photoshop, a black layer mask was added (CTRL while clicking on layer mask icon at bottom of Layers Panel) was added – just the flowers and leaves were painted back into the mask. Next Topaz Impression was opened and a preset following the instructions in Blake’s free download PDF (see first paragraph above) was used to create a preset I call Abstract Settings-Blake Rudis. (Here are the settings if you would like them: Primary Glow Type Dark, Glow Strength 1.00, Effect Sharpness 0.12, Electrify 1.00, Simplify Details 0.06, Edge Color 0, Detail Strength 1.00, Detail Size 0.42, Brightness 0.16, Contrast 0.18, Saturation 0.08, Line Rotation 0, and Glow Spread 0; Secondary Glow Glow Type Light, Glow Strength 0, Effect Sharpness 0.54, Electrify 0.11, Simplify Details 0, Brightness 0, and Contrast 0; Color Overall Saturation to 0.62, Red Sat to 0.44, Yellow Sat to 1.00 Yellow Lightness -0.36, Green Sat 1.00 and Lightness -0.51, Aqua Lightness -0.36, Purple Sat 1.00, and Magenta Sat 1.00 and Lightness 0.50. Set to Screen blend mode at 66% Strength; and no Finishing Touches. In this image I set the Primary Glow Saturation to -0.41.) Since I did not want too much applied, the layer was set to 55% opacity. A New Layer was created above and I just painted using my Chalk 60 Brush (just the Shape Dynamics Angle Jitter is set to 19%) to clean up some of the painted areas that need to be smoothed out – here your own touch can be added. Last step was to add a Curves Adjustment Layer to add a little contrast back into the image.
Image 2: Just basic changes were made to this image in Lightroom, no preset. This time Topaz Clarity was applied using the settings Blake suggested in his Webinar (here are his basic settings and they usually are a pretty good starting point for the image: Micro Contrast 0.13, Low Contrast 0.33, and Medium Contrast 0.52 – than can look at histogram and black tone – I did not adjust that here). Next Topaz Remask was used to separate the foreground from the background so Topaz Glow would only be applied to the foreground. In Glow, Blake’s Abstract setting was applied as shown with no changes and no blend mode changed in the plug-in. Back in Photoshop, the blend mode was changed to Pin Light at 100% layer opacity. On a stamped layer (CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+E) above, Topaz Impression was applied using my Abstraction preset set to 82% Strength (Stroke Type 12, Brush Size 1.00, Paint Opacity 0.38, Stroke Rotation 0, Stroke Color Variation 0, Stroke Width 0.85, Stroke Length -0.50, Spill 0.72, Smudge 0, and Coverage 1.00; Color Overall Hue 0.14, Sat 0.23, and Lightness 0.06; Red Lightness 0.14, Yellow Sat -0.11, and Green Lightness -0.36; Lighting Brightness 0.13, Contrast -0.23, and Vignette 0, Light direction X 0.34 and Y 0.05; and Texture Strength 0.19, Size -0.43, and Canvas I, Background type white solid and Background White). Now the painterly effect was added to the whole image, not just the foreground. A little clean up was done and that was it.
Image 3: In Lightroom used 2 Little Owls’ Fresh Color 1 preset. In Photoshop Topaz Clarity was used, but this time John Barclay’s settings were used (check out his Topaz Webinar called Creating Your Images with Topaz Plugins (not posted yet but is from 12/23/14) for another good video and some good Clarity info here.) The settings used for this image are: Micro Contrast 0.36, Low Contrast 0.20, Medium Contrast -0.11, and High Contrast -0.23 (see the stair stepping effect of the sliders) – then he looks at the histogram to adjust the Tone Levels – I usually do this in Photoshop but Clarity does a great job with the tones and colors. I am finding I like these basic settings a lot for this plug-in. Next Painted Textures Thanksgiving Winter Marsh was added twice – once set to Multiply at 64% layer opacity and Blend If This Layer white tab split (ALT+drag) was set to 96/130 and the top texture set to Linear Light at 22% layer opacity. Then Kim Klassen’s Deep Sigh texture was added and set to Hard Light at 74% layer opacity and the layer style Blend If sliders were set to: This layer white tab split and set to 149/196, and Underlying Layer black tab split and set to 14/42. This lightened up the background some. Next on a New Layer I used a brush I created using a portion of French Kiss’s Atelier Georgia texture set to 1600 px and just painted some green texture over the tree and everything – set layer to Soft Light blend mode. Created stamped layer and applied Topaz ReStyle Regal Blue Shades (settings changed here: Restyle Opacity 50% and Color blend mode; Basic Opacity 22% and Multiply blend mode; Detail Structure 0.50 and Sharpness 1.00. Mask for Basic painted to bring back some of the white in the tree – Brush Strength 0.77, Brush Size 0.05, and Hardness 0.30 using Edge Aware and Color Aware sampling tree branch). On a New Layer above, the Sharpen Tool was used to sharpen up the tree branches – it did a pretty good job on this image. Next Topaz Glow was applied using the setting in Blake’s PDF for his Room Glow preset – the Strength was set to 66% and blend mode was Hard Light before returning back to Photoshop. This one really took a while to complete and ended up very different from the start. Totally fun to do!
Image 4: In Lightroom 2 Lil’ Owls’ At the Vineyard 7 preset was applied. In Photoshop John Barclay’s Topaz Clarity preset was applied with same settings as Image 3. In Topaz Glow I used these settings for my Inter Web Variation preset (Here are the settings: Primary Glow Type Dark, Glow Strength 1.00, Effect Sharpness 0.12, Electify 1.00, Simplify Details 0.06, Edge Color 0, Detail Strength 1.00, Detail Size 0.42, Brightness 0.16, Contrast 0.18, Saturation 0.08, Line Rotation 0, and Glow Spread 0; Secondary Glow Glow Type Light, Glow Strength 0, Effect Sharpness 0.54, Electrify 0.11, Simplify Details 0, Brightness 0, and Contrast 0; Color Overall Saturation to 0.62, Red Sat to 0.44, Yellow Sat to 1.00 Yellow Lightness -0.36, Green Sat 1.00 and Lightness -0.51, Aqua Lightness -0.36, Purple Sat 1.00, and Magenta Sat 1.00 and Lightness 0.50. Set to Screen blend mode at 66% Strength; and no Finishing Touches.) On a New Layer above, the Sharpen Tool was used on the lettering in the bottles and hats. A little vignetting on the sides was applied with a Brown Solid Color Fill Layer with the mask filled with black (CTRL+I in white layer mask) and the edges painted back.
Image 5: First the image was duplicated and taken into Topaz Clarity (John Barclay Basic Settings from Image 3 was used, then Tone Level Black Level 0.13, Midtones -0.16, and White Level 0.30; HSL Filter Sat Red 0.45, Aqua 0.69, and Blue 0.33 were added). The Spot Healing Brush Tool was used to get rid of areas. Then in Topaz Glow my Graphic III Beach preset was applied ( (Here are the adjusted settings I used: Secondary Glow: Glow Type Light, Glow Strength 0.23, Effect Sharpness 0.47, Electrify 0.17, Simplify Details 0, Brightness 0.36, Contrast 0.62, and the other two 0; Color: Red Sat 1.00, Orange Sat 0.27, Yellow Sat 0.20 and Lightness 0.09, Aqua Sat 0.78 and Lightness -0.26, and Blue Sat 0.49). The Blend Mode and Strength is the same as the blend mode and layer opacity in Photoshop, so usually I do not apply them until I go out of the plug-in so they can be readjusted easily. This time the Overlay blend mode was used and set to 67% layer opacity. A black layer mask was added, and the dog was painted back in. In the Properties Panel, the Density was set to 85% and the Feather 31.6. The last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer that was used to add back just a little contrast and the Blue/Yellow curve was used to move the image to a more cool look. That was it.