Anything Photoshop or Photography

Photoshop Filter

MORE PAINTING – WITH PAINTER AND PHOTOSHOP

Image of a Native American Dancer dancingStill enjoying my summer so decided to present a couple of images that used both Painter and Photoshop, apparently my favorite way to process an image. The dancer image was taken at the Annual Native American Festival at Ormond Beach, Florida – one of my favorite events for photographing. This lovely dancer is performing the Butterfly Dance (check out the link for the uplifting legend associated with this dance). It is definitely a difficult balance to achieve in an image that contains some detail and realism to it, but yet has a definite painterly quality.

Both images took a long time to complete. I had trouble above getting the balance I wanted. I am glad I did not give up as it forced me to think about what  was really wrong with it. This image was actually opened in Corel Painter first – to get the colorful strokes in the background for the painterly feel. See below for the original image. Karen Sperling’s Artistry Quick Fix Video (#4 in this case) Series brush 02 was used to paint the texture along with a  couple of her blenders. Then it was saved as a PSD file and taken into Photoshop to do a lot more work on this now rather roughed in image. Several layers were created and the Mixer brush and Smudge brush was used to further blend the background in. One of the textures I created previously was added and set to Color Burn blend mode at 15% layer opacity to add a slight gold tone.

Here is where I had problems – I could not get her face to blend in nicely with the image – it stood out too sharp and bright. After trying a lot of different things in Photoshop, I decided to open an earlier RIF revision of the Corel Painter image. I wanted to soften the whole costume and face area. After trying a lot of different brushes, I ended up selecting Karen’s o1 brush with some brush modifications in the General, Well, and Color Variability Panels.  Used lighter colors to blend and soften the dancer. The adjusted brush did the trick and this time the image was saved as a PSD file to use in Photoshop.

Back in Photoshop just the top layer was copied and moved into my later image and set to Soft Light blend mode at 51% layer opacity. On a stamped layer, Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Lens Effects was used twice: once with the Diffusion Filter (Softness 0.41, Diffusion 0.25, and Edge Transition 0.50) to soften image overall; and then the Reflector Adjustments filter (set to Type Golden, Strength 0.34, Transition 0.62, Position 0.33, and Angle 208.5). A layer mask was applied so only the tents and sky got the warming effect – when the tents were lighter, it drew the eye to them instead of the dancer. A final check with a B&W Adjustment Layer to see if the focal point is set correctly, and it was not. Nik Viveza 2 was opened to tone down the white in the tents even more. Now the lady is just a little softer and blends better into the painted background behind her.

Bottom line here – walk away, come back later, and try something radically different if you do not like the results. I am not sure why I took used an older Painter revision of the image to correct this issue, but it worked!
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Image of a Flycatcher bird on one of my textures
I think this little beauty is possibly a Least Flycatcher, but authorities disagree on where they live. Anyway, he was very tiny and fairly friendly. This is another example of blending the image and the texture to give an overall pleasing effect. The workflow was similar. See image below for original as shot. This time opened a new document in Painter, placed the bird in as a layer, and then proceeded to paint a texture that would enhance his colors and location. At this point, the texture was painted in soft browns and light greens since he is standing in grass and the sun is pretty strong on his left side. When the file was brought Photoshop, the color in his body is both the golden back feather area and the bluish-brownish breast area. The color tones just appealed to me. But this image had a little different issue. It was warm on the left side and cooler on the right. This time Topaz Lens Effects Graduated Filter was used to lighten up just slightly the left side of the image so you can feel the sun on his side – a light yellow was used to get this effect. The more brushy grassy effect in foreground was added on a New Layer by laying down the stylus and pressing hard with my brush to create these more squiggly marks. (For brush used, see my How to Use Photoshop’s Brush Textures Section for Painting Clean-Up.) This brush was also used to clean areas on the bird where grass was running through his body. There were several clean up layers and adjustment layers to get the colors just right, but overall it is just he same basic process of adding your image on top of texture and painting out the distractions. I am finding this is not something you do in an hour – it takes a while to get the overall effect adjusted correctly.  Original images Well, hope you enjoyed the images and got a little inspired to try this. It is really fun to create your own textures, although I have not mastered this in Photoshop. Corel Painter does a great job when making the textures, and then using them in Photoshop with different adjustment layers to get the tones and color right is really not that hard. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
A Tricolored Heron That Fell in a Painting!
How to See If You Captured the Focal Point


TOPAZ FILTERS AND LANDSCAPES

Image of palm trees and the ocean in HawaiiThis week I just felt like exploring what I could do with landscape images to get a painterly, yet somewhat realist feel. Took this image of the Pacific Ocean at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island in Hawaii – one of those places that is total “eye candy” for the camera! Just a beautiful place to visit!

This image used a lot of Topaz plug-ins. Started with Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Clarity (my TC-John Barclay Basic Settings preset from one of his webinars – HSL-Hue – Blue -0.12; Sat – Red -0.16, Orange 0.13, Aqua 0.19 and Blue 0.11; and Lum Red -0.58, Orange -0.17, Yellow -0.39, and Green -0.19. Tone Level White Level 0.38). This is a nice preset to use for landscape images in Clarity. Next Topaz photoFXlab was opened (not available for use with Photoshop CC2014 and on but is a stand-alone app also) and on a duplicate layer in the plug-in, Topaz Lens Effects Diffusion filter was applied first (Softness 0.60, Diffusion 0.60, and Edge Transition 0.50) – in a layer mask used these brush settings: Brush Value 51, Brush Size 0.09, Hardness 0.17, Flow 0.18, and Edge Aware 1.00. Painted around the tree trunk to remove the diffusion effect around it and a little in the front palm leaves. Also painted over the white waves coming in. A stacked layer was created and the Adjustments tab sliders was used (Temp 21 and Sat 8; Contrast -15, Dynamics 22, Sharpness -51, Shadows 28, Whites 38, and Blacks 34). In the Brushes Tab, used Dodge Brush to paint in the distracting plant dark spots in foreground (brush settings were: Strength 0.68, Brush Size 0.25, Hardness 0.17, Flow 0.41, and Edge Aware 0.90). Exited photoFXlab and created a stamped layer on top. Note that all the steps in the photoFXlab filter could have been done in Photoshop using Topaz Lens Effects and adjustments layers and masks. Next a Curves Adjustment Layer and a Selective Color Adjustment Layer were applied to get the contrast and color correct. On a New Layer Aaron Blaise’s Cloud Brushes were used to add some interest into the plain sky. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz Glow was  opened to get some sharp detail back into the tree leaves. A black layer mask was added and just the trees and surf were painted back on the mask in white. On another stamped layer, Topaz ReStyle was added (TRS-White Veil preset – Set ReStyle blend mode to Multiply set to 54%; Basic Tone Black Level 0.36, Midtones 0.11 and White Level -0.45; and Detail Structure 0.41 and Sharpness 0.06). And yes, another stamped layer was created and Topaz Impression was applied using the Watercolor II preset set to Multiply blend mode at 31% layer opacity. On a New Layer above a mixer brush was used to smooth the cloud edges to clean up. And this is the final. image. Lots of Topaz here!
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Image of a road while crossing the Big Island in HawaiiThis is a beautiful drive through The Big Island in Hawaii (near Waimea) – I am always surprised at the Island’s terrain and how you can have this little forest in an area that is totally devoid of trees otherwise. That is why you love the Big Island – always something surprising to see with all the different

This image used Trey Radcliff’s Lightroom free preset called A Beautiful Release – he has some really nice presets that I have used for a long time. Topaz Glow was applied using my SJ Inter Web Variation ((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.) It is really hard to see the Glow effect, very subtle, since the layer was set to Soft Light at 51% layer opacity. In a layer mask some of the lines were painted out by setting the brush to Multiply mode, Opacity 47%, and Flow 50%. This way I could adjust the darker tones and blacks yet leave the color alone in the image. It brought out some of the structure in the fences and wires by the road, but did not interfere with the soft lines of the background. On a stamped layer Topaz Impression was applied using their Watercolor IV preset to soften the image. In the layer style (double-click on layer to open) the Blend If Underlying Layer white tab was split was set to 110/255 – this brought back some of the natural clouds in the sky and a lot of the image below but not all (all the tones between 110 and 255 below were added back). A layer mask was applied and some of the Impression filter was removed from the darker tones in the background. In Nik Viveza 2 seven control points were used to draw the eye gently down the road to the little forest. On a New Layer, the right edge was painted over to soften with yellow on a brush set to 11% brush opacity and Flow 50%. Very subtle again but it removed a distraction easily. A Levels Adjustment Layer was used to add back some contrast. With Clone Stamp set to reverse (and Options Bar settings of Mode Lighten so just white parts are copied over, brush opacity 32% and Flow 42%), the clouds were added on right side of image. With a little more clean up, the above was the result.

I always enjoy playing the wonderful filters or plug-in available. Topaz creates a nice one-two punch when Glow and Impression are used together, especially nice in landscapes. By using layer masks, the Layer Style Blend If sliders, and different blend mode and layer opacities, a very nice effect can be added to your images. And ReStyle can turn the color into something that you may never have thought of using in the image. I will try to use some different plug-ins available in the near future and hopefully give you some new ideas on how to use them. There are so many choices, so many choices! ….Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
HOW TO GET THE SOFT GLOW IN TOPAZ GLOW
HOW TO COMBINE ALL THOSE TOPAZ PLUG-INS FOR AN ARTSY LOOK!
DIGITAL LADY SYD SPEAKS OUT ON TOPAZ IMPRESSION
MORE CLARITY ON CLARITY


AND THE BEST COMPLICATED SELECTION TOOL IS?

Image of a Snowy EgretHappy Holiday! Doing just a quick post this week. Thought I would show a beautiful Snowy Egret that required a rather complicated selection to show off his feathers appropriately. The bird was photographed at my favorite St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery where the egrets were in a frenzy looking for mates.

This was not an easy task to get a good selection, especially in the tail area. I created several files and trying out Photoshop CC2015’s Channel selections, Color Range Selection, and Refine Edge, OnOne’s (see sidebar of my Tidbits Blog for website link) Perfect Layers 9.5 and even OnOne’s Perfect Mask 8.0, and Topaz (see sidebar of my Tidbits Blog for website link) photoFXlabs and ReMask. I even combined some using the layer mask in Refine Edge after creating it another way. I can honestly say I spent several hours trying to get a good result, and for this image the winner was:………. Topaz ReMask. It took a little figuring out exactly how to get the tools to do what I wanted, but it by far gave the best results of the techniques tried. That does not mean that the others are not good selection tools, it just means that in this case ReMask ended up being the easier to use and giving the best final results with not a lot of additional tweaking to get the feathers selected. So do not get discouraged if you do not have this filter – OnOne does a great job on most selections, but I just had trouble when tried on this image. Usually Refine Edge will give me great results on hair, but not as good on the bird. Guess the bottom line is, try different selection tools before giving up. One may end up doing exactly what you want.

That being said, if you want to see the way I selected this image in ReMask, check out Darcy Wheeler’s Topaz blog called A Hair Masking Trick That’ll Blow Your Mind.  Try adjusting the Color Recovery slider – I set mine close to 100 to get the best results. And check out the Mask Strength to get the best amount showing. Below is how my egret looked inside ReMask before any Brush cleanup, especially in the feather areas. By making your Magic Brush very tiny and zooming in on the image, you can remove some of the haze at the end of the feathers. You can see I added back some of leaves to give him something solid to be standing on.
Screenshot of Topaz ReMaskAlso, I should give credit to Jai Johnson textures – they are always wonderful on wildlife images and can be bought individually. This time I used her Soulful Sea Breeze texture under the bird set to 100% layer opacity and Normal blend mode. On top her Filly In the Field texture was set to Normal blend mode at 68% layer opacity which turned the texture into the lovely pinkish tones. The bird was the next layer, and then on top of that, her Soulful Sea Breeze texture was added again – set to Soft Light at 60%. A Color Balance Adjustment Layer was clipped to the texture to get the color adjustment just right – mainly added a little blue and cyan into Midtones and yellows into the Highlights. Some clean up on the foreground leaves and over the bright beak was done, and then Nik Viveza 2 was opened to adjust the strength of the feathers. Last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer to add back some contrast.

Hope this was helpful next time you got totally stumped on a hard selection. Have a great weekend!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO USE THE TEXTURIZER FILTER IN PHOTOSHOP

Image of Caribbean Flamingoes
Thought I would cover a little texture trick that I had never used before. The image above was taken at SeaWorld-Orlando – these beautiful Caribbean Flamingos are so graceful looking and seemed quite content to be situated in this rather crazy area near the entrance to the park and a roller coaster.

What I really like about this image is first, the color. I have an interesting older book called Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color by Leatrice Eiseman  that says the color “purple is a glorious yet complex color, preferred by very creative and eccentric types.” This is a color I do not use a lot, but the purple color seems to add a nice exotic look that seems appropriate for these elegant birds.

Texturizer Filter for the Impasto Effect

To use the Filter Gallery, the image or texture needs to be in an 8-bit mode (File ->Mode->8 bit) or it will be grayed out in the menu.  (See Tips Squirrel’s Solving Common Photoshop Problems-Greyed Out Filters for a work-around.) The purple impasto texture is one I created with a little help from one of my favorite texture people, Shadowhouse Creations, who has some of the most beautiful free textures. This one is located in his Vintage Soft Grunge Set 2 called SHC V21b. First converted this texture into a Smart Object (or Smart Filter – same thing) so it can be adjusted later if you do not like the results or want to change the settings. To add the nice impasto feel to this texture, need to go to Filter -> Filter Gallery -> Texture and select Texturizer. In the dialog there is a drop-down box where you can select Burlap, Brick, Canvas or Sandstone – there is also a little box to the right where you can Load Texture. A psd file, also in 8-bit mode, must be selected. There is no limitation on what it looks like, even the same image can be loaded. The bird image used a texture I created in Painter called Crazy Sky that was saved as a psd file.

Image of the original texture and after it was applied in Texturizer

When added as the Texture in the filter, it softened the image but no color information was added. The filter is taking the My Crazy Sky Texture Red Channel from the RGB file and using it to displace the SHC V21b Texture. On the bird image, it gives a nice Impasto effect. Here are the settings used for the bird image: Scaling 165, Relief 34, Light Top, and check Invert box. Change these setting around and you get very different results. On a New Layer use any brush to smooth out noticeable  patterning due to the scaling. At this point I saved the file to my textures folder as psd and jpg files so it could be used over again without reapplying the filter.

Below is another example of how SHC V21b texture looks with a different one of my psd texture files used for the Texture. The Relief was set to a much lower amount along with the Scale.

Screenshot of image using a different texture

To create the image, the new saved texture was placed under the flamingos image. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was used to get the purple color. A layer mask was added to the bird layer, and using a brush with some texture in it and a very low brush opacity of 30% and Flow of 60%, the birds were lightly painted back just leaving some of the impasto effect of the texture on the birds. The rest was just clean up. Don’t forget that you can change the settings of an Eraser brush to help adjust some of your strokes. I have created a couple brushes just for this use – one I like for painting uses a brush opacity of 38% and Flow of 15%.

Changing the textures in this Texturizer Filter is really a lot of fun. There are so many different effects that can be created from images and textures you already have! And it is really easy to do!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO USE A BLACK & WHITE ADJUSTMENT LAYER TO SEE CONTRAST IN AN IMAGE

Image of a house on a bluff in St. Andrews, ScotlandNow that I have been doing digital painting for a while, I am finding that the painting is only just a part of what has to be done to create a great image. This week I thought I would just cover a few of the techniques that are helping me get the contrast, and therefore the focal point, of my image exactly where I want it. The image above is of a house perched on a bluff in one of my very favorite places I have visited – St. Andrews, Scotland. This shot was actually taken from the ruins of St. Andrews Castle and the hills in the background are where the famous golf course is located. What a place to call home! This image actually took me out of my comfort zone a little due to the different color palette I chose, but I think I got across the effect I wanted in the painting. Recently I purchased Karen Sperling’s  Landscape Painting brushes and video access. I am finding I like her style of painting – a bit more in line with what I like to do with my paintings. I am still enjoying painting more abstract looks too. Her brushes also work really well for me, and it was easy to follow her video steps to get some good results. But after painting, I was not sure about the focal point results. So we all know in most cases dark areas draw the eye as this is where the contrast in the image will appear. And logically the focal point will be somewhere around that area(s). Jason Maranto in his You Tube video series called Color For Painters has some great tips for understanding this concept. One of his suggestions is to make your image a black & white to accurately see where the contrast is going to be. He also stated that 95% of our color perception is based on the value – defined as everything between the darkest darks to the lightest lights in the image. So using Jason’s suggestion, a temporary Black and White Adjustment Layer was used in Photoshop to get this result shown below. In this original B&W image, to me the eye goes straight to the dark part on the cliff, and secondarily to the lightest areas are on the house. Screenshot of original image before paintingI had originally thought the house would be my focal point.  As you can see above it does stand out some, but the dark bushes are showing up even stronger. So as an aside, how did I get this rather wild color scheme? In Corel Painter 2015, you can add image sources to use for cloning colors other than the original ones. By adding Topaz (see website link at my Tidbits Blog sidebar) ReStyle into the Effects, different color themes can be observed without ever applying them to your image yet. (To add this filter, the Topaz ReStyle folder has to be copied into the Corel Program Files Plugins folder.) The Orange Peel preset was selected which created warm orange and yellow tones in a new source in the Clone Source Panel. I really like that you can change colors and see results before putting all that time into the painting. Also just the standard Basic Paper with the default settings were used in Painter. Once the image was painted, the white house sort of faded away a little. Here is the screenshot view after the image was painted showing the different values in the image. You can see the house does not appear quite so bright and the bushes are really popping. The dark bushes sort of scream focal point to me. Screenshot of black and white value image I really wanted to show the connection of the stairs in the image as I could imagine myself climbing down them. Where my problem occurred was that the stairs did not exactly show up and did not fall on a point when following the Rule of Thirds. Instead the dark bushes lie exactly on a point. Note below that by selecting the Crop Tool and clicking in the options bar, the Triangle ratio (by opening up the drop-down, more options are available if the Rule of Thirds does not fit your image) actually fits this image and shows both the house and the dark bush as the focal points with the stairs sitting closely on the diagonal. The diagonal does works in this image and may explain why the composition does not look so unbalanced. Screenshot view of the Crop ToolTherefore, before cropping down your image, check out the other options to see if possibly the image is actually composed correctly or may give you a better crop choice. In this case, no crop was necessary. To try to further emphasize the focal points and diagonal, a few more steps were done. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) that was turned into a Smart Object, the Camera Raw filter was opened and a Graduated Filter was used to darken just the sky so house stands out a little more – the house and hillside were painted back so the filter did not affect these areas. The dark bush area was still too over-powering. A New Layer was created to paint in a little more detail in the dark areas to break it up a little and add some interest. Next a light orange Overlay was loaded and set to Lighten blend mode at 35% layer opacity to lighten it up a little more – a black layer mask was added and only the dark contrast areas were painted back to soften and lighten this area. On another stamped layer Nik Viveza 2 was opened and control points were added to the dark areas where a little brightness and saturation was added in the dark areas. After this, a New Layer was added and the Sharpen Tool was used to sharpen the detail the fence area and steps a little more. Whew! These little tweaks can make all the difference in the image, but it takes a while to figure out which ones work. Image of a painted Roseate Spoonbill birdThis image is of a beautiful Roseate Spoonbill that was doing a little photo shoot for me at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery a few weeks ago. I am assuming this is a female and she was actually busy at work setting up her household for the new babies, but took a moment to show off her beautiful spring fashion look. This image was also painted initially in Painter. I used one of Karen Sperling’s really nice brushes from her Portrait Painting set to get that feathery look, and basically hand-painted the whole image. Back in Photoshop a lot was done as I wanted a sort of illustrative feel to this one. Just used a Smudge Brush to really smooth out the distracting body lines. Nik Color Efex Pro was used and one of my favorite filters, White Neutralizer, was applied to tie the colors in better. As you can see below a Selective Color Adjustment Layer was added to tweak the Red-Pink colors to the exact colors I wanted. Then I applied the Black and White Adjustment Layer. The head and eye area did not stand out that great so I just started dragging in the image to get the contrast effect I liked. The white on her back was calmed down a little also. As you can see, the mask was turned to black and I painted back just the areas I wanted enhanced – that is the eye and head. Turned the layer to Soft Light and there is my painted Spoonbill as seen above! As you can see, I had to use some different tricks to get this one to come out the way I wanted. Below is the screenshot of the final image in black and white so you can see the contrast in the image and that the head is the now the more prominent area and the white back not so distracting. Screenshot of B&W image of roseate spoonbill bird There are a several other ways the color and saturation of parts of an image can be controlled. Color Balance Adjustment Layer or Curves Adjustment Layers used to lighten or darken different area by painting in black layer masks can really guide the eye through image and are easy to do. I use every trick I can find! Each image is so different. I think it is definitely a good first step to open a Black and White Adjustment Layer to see where your contrast really sits in the image, and then try to use it to your advantage. And it is not a bad idea to do it again after you have added your creative techniques to make sure the value did not change As in the spoonbill image, I actually added to my mage the Black & White Adjustment Layer to adjust the contrast correctly. Hope you get a chance to use this technique. I am trying to get in the habit of doing this regularly. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs: What About This Focal Point Issue?


HOW TO USE CONTENT-AWARE FILL AND NIK VIVEZA 2

Image of a Native American Doll in a papooseJust a simple blog this on Content-Aware Fill and and Nik Viveza 2, that I consider as the best Photoshop plug-in around and how I use it. Once again the Native American Festival displayed their beautiful doll collection. This year they were all shown in a tee-pee type structure, and this little doll was swinging around rather aggressively as it was pretty windy! The doll looks totally scared which I found rather comical! And the papoose was a very interesting object so I had to take some pictures.

For this image, nothing was done in Lightroom except to check Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration. Below is how the RAW image before taking it into Photoshop – not that great!
Lightroom Screen shot showing original image as shot in RAW Normally I would do a straighten and/or Crop in Lightroom and adjust the Basic sliders, but in this case, Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop was going to be needed to fill out areas due to the straightening and then cropping in Photoshop. Lightroom will not let you crop outside the image area, but Photoshop will. See below how the image looked after this step.

Image shown after crop and straighten in Photoshop

You can see the pink areas that have no picture info in them – these areas need to be filled in using Content-Aware Fill. I have created an action using the following steps which usually gives a decent fill-in result.

1. If possible use the Magic Wand Tool, which was done in this case, to select the areas to be filled in. In the above, the process was repeated twice, but you could select both areas by clicking the SHIFT button and clicking with the Magic Wand into the second area. I find that if too much area is chosen at once, the results might not be as good. Also, any way of selecting is fine and do use the Quick Mask Tool (Q) to clean up a selection if it needs it before proceeding.

2. This step is where I begin my action. Go to Select -> Modify -> Expand and put in 4 pixels. This is enough information for the Content-Aware command to work pretty well.

3. Go to Edit -> Fill (SHIFT+F5 or SHIFT+BACKSPACE) and select Content-Aware in drop down list, Mode Normal and Opacity 100% in the Fill dialog box, then OK.

4. Press CTRL+D to deselect the selection.

At this point some clean up on a New Layer is required using the Clone Stamp Tool or the Brush Tool. Below you can now see how the image looked as I took it into Nik Viveza 2 – just ignore the control points icons. You can see that it added in the upper right area perfectly, but top and left side had to corrected a bit after running content aware. In fact the doll on the left had been cut off in the original image, but Photoshop picked up some brown, so I just painted in an arm and smoothed out the brown edging. Since it was not a focal point in the image, it really is unnoticeable.

Image as shown in Nik Viveza 2 with no filter changes applied.

Next the image is shown with all the Control Points turned on.

Image showing Nik Viveza 2 control points turned on

Before going into the filter, I always make a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top and then right click on the layer and select Convert To a Smart Object. That way if the effect does not look good, I can go back into the filter and adjust the settings easily. There are 9 control points in this image. Usually I am looking at 4 or 5. The first control point is usually placed on the focal point of the image – in this case the doll’s face. The face was brightened up a little, Contrast added, and Structure pulled all the way out to show the detail of the face. The Control Point was adjusted so it only affected here face. Other control points lightened up the post on the right to make it almost disappear, the one shown above is for the middle of papoose to show a little more detail in that part of the object, and the bottom box was set with the Structure slider left to totally soften it instead of add detail. The Structure slider is very similar to Clarity in Camera Raw. In other words an image can be totally tweaked by adjusting the same sliders shown on the left for each control point. I really like the fact that a color can be sampled from an image and changed if it is not working in a certain place. Very easy to use.

Since the basic sliders – Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, and Structure – can all be adjusted in the Control Points, it is very easy to adjust the image to get the effect you need. I use the Shadow Adjustments and Warmth much less, but occasionally they really help. Also, by sampling a color you like, you can adjust a color very easily in a different part of the image.

Now that I have said all this about Viveza, you can do almost all of the same things in the Camera Raw filter in Photoshop – you just have to do it with Adjustment Brushes and Radial Filters, but it can very easily be done. I would recommend you try this if you do not have the Viveza filter as it is just about as good. I find Viveza is very quick and easy to use but I do use the Camera Filter a lot now that Photoshop CC and CC2015 have it. And you Photoshop CS6 users can get to it very easily on a layer by using Dr. Brown’s ACR Script (See my Edit Layers with ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) Script blog for download link.) The only thing it will not have the is Radial Filter, but it does have the adjustment brush capability.

Since it is usually at the end of my workflow I find that major flaw, Viveza has saved a lot of images. Also it can create a really nice subtle vignette by putting control points in each of the corners and just adjusting the Brightness slider down. A layer style was used to add the large brown stroke around the image.

Hope you get a chance to use this filter, you will not be disappointed with the results. Later…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Nik’s Viveza 2 Plug-In – A Hidden Gem!


JUST SOME PHOTOSHOP FUN THIS WEEK!

Image of a Totem Pole from the Native American Festival in Ormond Beach, FloridaThis 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!

Painted Clouds using Aaron Blaise Cloud Set Brushes imageRecently 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.

 


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