Anything Photoshop or Photography

Photoshop

HOW TO CREATE A SUBTLE VIGNETTE

Image of the View from Sterling Castle in ScotlandThis week I thought I would share a Vignette tip that Matt Kloskowski (one of original Photoshop Guys and one of my favorite gurus) presented in his Bonus #1 Video called The Do’s and Don’ts of Lightroom/Photoshop Workflow (BTW it is a downloadable mp4 file). This is a good overall video, but his section on creating a subtle vignette was brilliant tip. I find I am now using this all the time and it is a really easy workflow. The image above was taken from Stirling Castle in Scotland and was an incredible panoramic view of the local area. It is a good example of how subtle the effect is. This vignette should be applied at the end of own workflow after all the changes to the image have been done.

Content Aware Move and Abstract Painterly Effect

First I will share a quick tip discovered before applying the vignette The above original image took a tremendous amount of clean up as there were trucks, garbage cans, and road cones all over the place. Instead of trying to clone and spot heal over some of the larger objects (like a large truck in this image), the Content Aware Move Tool (in group with the Spot Healing Brush) was used to select and move the truck down into the trees (make sure Mode field says Move). Since the Transform on Drop was checked, the truck was reduced to a really tiny spot in the corner and could easily be removed with the Spot Healing Brush or Backspace to remove it. Of course some clean up had to be done on the original truck spot, but it was much less work to do. I found this worked better than using the Content Aware Fill command so give it a try if other methods are not working well. For a good explanation on these tools, see the Patch and Content Aware Fill Tools, see the short video Content Aware Patch and Move by Adobe’s Julieanne Kost, another great PS guru. By letting PS to do the initial work, it takes a lot less time. To get the soft painterly effect, Topaz (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Detail 3 was used – all the Detail sliders were set to -1.00 and the Boost were set to 0 – then adjusted the Tone and Color section  sliders to get this rather abstract feel. Back in Photoshop a layer mask was added to paint  back in some detail.

Vignette Workflow

The last step was to create the Vignette:

  1. Select the Elliptical Marquee Tool and drag out to surround the focal point of your image. Hold down ALT key and Spacebar to move selection around the image to position.
  2. In Options Bar click on the Select and Mask button and go the Feathering slider. Depending on your photo resolution, set the feathering to blend nicely into the background. For the above a 120 px feather was used since my photo did not have that many pixels in it. For larger formats 300 px may be necessary.
  3. At this point click Invert button at the bottom of the panel and set Output to: Selection.
  4. Put selection on its own layer by pressing CTRL+J.
  5. Change the blend mode to Multiply and adjust the layer opacity (18% in the above image).

Matt explained that it looks good because the vignette is made from the photo itself rather than adding a black overlay on top of the image.

*****
Yellow Flower with Bee taken at Harry P. Leu GardensThis image was taken at the Harry P Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida. Had to zoom in close to get a good look at the little “Acrobat” in the flower. The pretty golden colors was achieved using one of my favorite Lightroom presets I call TChurchwell Aging Photo (to create, view short video called Aging a Photo before Painting) and adjusting the Radial Filter to fit on the bee. In Photoshop a light beige texture by Kim Klassen (a lot of her textures are no long available – most have a soft grainy look and a few are still for sale) was added and set to Linear Light at 34% layer opacity. New layers were created for clean up, a painting to cover up distracting background objects, and the Sharpen Tool on just the bee and foreground flower.  Then a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created and the Vignette workflow was followed. The vignette was set to 34% layer opacity to get this final effect. I really liked the soft feel in the whole image.

Below are what just the two vignette layer’s feathering looks like after the Multiply blend mode was applied but before the layer opacity was adjusted. (Note the white ovals are actually transparent in the PSD file so the image below shows through.) It can be as subtle as you want. The left vignette was set to 18% and the darker right image was set to 34% layer opacity as the final step.

Image of Vignette Tych
Hope you get a chance to try out this vignette effect – I think you will really like it. Matt K usually is right on with this tutorials. Have a good weekend!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO ENJOY THE DOODLE

Drawings of items on my deskThink I am having a bad case of Spring Fever this week so here is a change of pace for my blog. I have seen so many of these types of drawn objects being sold in scrapbooking kits especially. I am not the greatest at drawing, but I thought it would be fun to see if I could actually do a little of this myself.

I probably would never have tried this except a while back I was listening to one of my favorite websites, Creative Live, who was running Kate Bingaman-Burt’s Drawing the Everyday Every Day videos – Kate made this really fun to watch so I decided to try my own everyday drawings. She says you need to practice “every day” to get better at drawing, especially with the lettering (I confess I do not do this every day). The drawings do not have to be perfect and a personal flavor can be given to them which I think makes it fun to do. Both blog images were drawn on an inexpensive non-digital Sketch Pad from WalMart – supposed to be good for Pen, Pencil, Pastel and Oil Pastel. Kate says just try to create a basic theme when creating the items – they can be anything that is sitting around your home. A mechanical pencil (in image above) was used to draw for my images but Kate uses an inexpensive drawing Pen. The sketch was scanned in as a JPG file using my old scanner. In Photoshop a New Document was created and the sketch file was pasted into the document as a layer. The Select -> Color Range command was used to select just the sketching (click OK and press CTRL+J to put it on its own layer), but any way of selecting can be used. Duplicate the layer and merge down (CTRL+E) if the lines are too light – since mine were pencil this needed to be done. I placed a New Layer underneath and just used a solid hard-edged round brush to paint in the color. For the background, just painted in some pink and blue hatch texture using Just Jaimee Texture Brush Sample Brush 4 – added Color Dynamics to the brush to get the two color effect. This was really an interesting and fun project to try. Kate goes into much more detail and steps on how to do this process and does a great demonstration in her videos. Here is a link to Kate’s website so you can see how great her sketched items are.

*****
Wild Flower DrawingsHere is another one of my crazy drawings of wild flowers. In Photoshop with the sketch layer on top (after removing background), 13 layers were added underneath to paint the flowers and text. Watercolor and Smudge brushes were used to create the painted effect in the flowers. Adding texture in the items will give more interest to the items. Several splatter brushes were also used on some of the flowers. The background texture is from Kim Klassen called MarchDuo_soTrue. This was fun to create.

It was pretty easy to do this and I was quite surprised that I could draw anything at all. Give it a try and see if you can come up with some nice items to use in your composites. Have a Happy Week!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO CREATE LIGHT LEAKS TO USE OVER AGAIN

Image of the Waterfall at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and GardensMany people are selling some beautiful light leaks to add as overlays to your images. It occurred to me that is this is just not that difficult a thing to accomplish so this blog is about making your own light leaks quickly. Besides being great for vintage looks, many digital artists use light leaks to add more light into an image. By making the final light leak layer a PNG file, it can then be easily adjusted and placed over your other images to get a quick and perfect light leak effect. The above image of the waterfall at the entrance to the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens used two light leaks – an orange one on the left side of the image and a pink color sampled from the bright colored flowers for the upper right side.

The workflow to create a light leak is pretty easy – just follow the steps below. Once a few have been tried, it is not that hard to make several colored light leaks in the same image (as above) or add subtle pattern effects to the light leak. Even some of the regular gradients that are supplied by Photoshop or downloaded from others can be turned into light leaks with a little more manipulation. In Photoshop I started with a very basic image where the different light leak effects could be seen clearly and then added and deleted after saving.

1. First click on the foreground color swatch to open the Color Picker. Choose a foreground color that would make a nice color light leak. Reds, Yellows and Oranges look very good. Also Blues and Purples can look great too with the right image.

2. Next a Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer is opened. To find it, click on the half-moon icon (4th over) at the bottom of the Layer Panel. (Alternatively go to Layers -> New Fill Layer -> Gradient Fill.) In most cases the Linear Style gradient is used. Click on the Gradient strip in the Gradient Fill Panel to open the Gradient Editor panel – select the 2nd Gradient over, the color to transparent gradient, and click OK. Don’t worry that the color may look way overdone at this point.

  • The Angle determines how the gradient lines up on the image.
  • Change the Scale to make the leak appear larger or thinner. For example, set Scale to 385% and it looks very soft and stretched out – no defined edge; set to 25% and there is a very sharp gradient edge. There is definitely an opacity change associated with the Scale setting. The default is 100%.
  • Use the Move Tool (V) to move the gradient around in the image so it can just fill up the very low edges or cover most of the image.

By adjusting the Angle and the moving the gradient in the image, it can be placed exactly where you want it. This workflow only creates light leaks with one edge in the image instead of being a strip effect.

3. If the light leak effect is too strong, set the Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer to Screen Blend Mode in the Layers Panel.

4. To save the light leak as a PNG file, turn off the all other layers and select the Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer. There are two ways to do this. I prefer the first way as the color is more brilliant and can be adjusted easier, but it does save the light leak as a much larger file.

  • Go to Save -> Export -> Export As and set Format: PNG. Be sure Transparency box is checked. Click Export All and save file in a light leaks folder on your computer. Now the PNG file can be applied to any of your other images! I usually name mine something like SJ Orange Lower Left Light Leak.png. This choice is not available for Photoshop CS6 users.
  • Go to Save -> Export -> Layers to Files. In the dialog set the Destination to the light leaks folder, File Name Prefix should be the light leak name, check Visible Layers Only box (this is important or all the image layers will be converted to files), File Type PNG-24, and check the Transparency and Trim Layers boxes. It would be easy to combine two light leak Gradient Fill layers or one with a Pattern Fill Layer clipped by turning both layers in the Layers Panel. Fort CS6 users, go to File -> Scripts -> Export Layers to Files and the same dialog box appears as discussed in this paragraph.
  • Can always double click on the gradient strip in the Gradient Fill Panel and when the Gradient Editor Panel opens, Name the gradient and click the New button – then the gradient will appear at the end of the Presets for use on another image as a gradient but it is not a PNG file.

*****
Coleus Plant at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and GardensAs noted above in Step 2 of the Basic Workflow, the light leak only has one side to it. There is a more complicated process and it is shown above on the Coleus Plant image also taken at the Gardens. To get a strip effect, it is fully explained in James Abbot’s How to Create Realistic Light Leaks in Photoshop short Tipsquirrel video. The major trick is to adjust the actual gradient strip tabs in the Gradient Editor panel. By moving the little tabs on both the upper and lower sides of the strip, clear spaces in the gradient can be created so a strip effect can be created. Then a second Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer is clipped to the original Gradient Fill Layer to set the color. I suggest you watch the video for a good explanation on how to create this effect. To me it seems like it would be easier to adjust the Light Leak in the Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer’s mask to paint with a black soft edged brush and remove parts of the leak or use the Gradient Tool on the mask to create a straight soft line.

*****
Vintage image of the Traveler Circle Swing at Coney Island in 1905To create very simple light leaks, a Fog Brush (download the one used above at Plearn) can be used to paint a color on a New Layer where the light leak would look good. Then try different blend modes and adjust the layer opacity, or add a layer mask and paint out areas that are too strong. Very easy. Then the color layer can be saved down as a light leak layer by using Step 4 in the workflow. The Traver Circle Swing at Coney Island in 1905 (the price was 10 cents for adults and 5 cents for children) historic image from Shorpy.com used a layer where an orange color was painted around the sides and top of the image and set to Vivid Light blend mode. Again this layer could have been saved as a PNG document as in Step 4 above. A border I had created a while back was added to give a little texture in the light leak areas.

I hope this info will give you an opportunity to create some of your own light leaks. These saved light leaks can be loaded into Topaz (for website link see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Texture Effects’s Light Leaks section to use in this plug-in. Give it a try and see if you like the results. Until next week…..Digital Lady Syd

Save

Save

Save


HOW TO USE A PATTERN FILL ADJUSTMENT LAYER

Digitally painted image of the Last Snow before Spring
This is a pretty basic post on how to use a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer to add some subtle detail to image objects. This may be something you are already doing, but if not, give my short workflow below a try. A Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer was used on the flying birds in the digital painting above. The birds are a free download from Cheryl Tarrant – for download link and more image details, see Image 1 info at end of blog. Bird objects work well with Pattern Fills, but any painted strokes, text or objects placed on a layer by themselves will work. Below is the quick workflow and the rest of the blog goes into more detail regarding Patterns.

Workflow for Adding a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer

  1. Open up a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer above image by going to the bottom of Layers Panel and clicking on the Black & White circle icon (fourth one over) and select Pattern (third one down). By default the last pattern in your Pattern Picker list will be selected.
  2. Clip the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer to the one below by ALT+clicking between the two layers. (See below for more options.)
  3. Double click on the pattern to open the Pattern Fill Dialog and choose your pattern. (To add more patterns, click on cog wheel in the upper right corner – PS has packaged several sets that can be clicked on or add your own. See below.)
  4. Adjust the Scale slider and drag on pattern in image to get the location and size of pattern for the effect required.
  5. Set the blend mode and opacities for both the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer and the object layer below.

Difference Between Textures and Patterns and Where Patterns Are Used

A little background material here so you understand what a pattern is much less how to use it in a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer. In PS, a pattern is a fairly small file, often times repeated without edges (lots of tutorials out there on this), that can be added to an image in various ways. A texture is a much larger file usually using the .JPG file format. Textures are added in as a layer that goes over the whole image – can alter them with a layer mask and/or different blend modes and layer opacities. Since Patterns are much smaller in size, they are added to an image with PS tools, commands, layer styles or a Pattern Fill adjustment layer. Several tools have an option to add a Pattern like the Regular Brush Tool (and Stamp Tool, Smudge Tool, Dodge Tool, Burn Tool, and Sponge Tool) in the Brushes Panel Texture Section, the Spot Healing Tool, Pattern Stamp Tool, and the Paint Bucket Tool (who knew?). (Note: In the Brush Panel, the Texture section is really adding a Pattern from the Pattern Picker to add texture to the stroke.) Also the Rectangular Tool and all the tools grouped with it can use a Pattern when set to Shape – look in the Stroke drop down. The Edit -> Fill dialog with the contents set to Pattern gets some very cool pattern effects with the Script drop-down box. Layer styles using patterns are the Bevel & Emboss Texture subsection, Stroke Fill Type, and Pattern Overlay sections. Oddly enough, the PS filters do not appear to use .PAT pattern files (they use regular texture .PSD files instead). Just wanted everyone to know patterns are located in many places, and sometimes quite hidden places (and I might have missed a few), just in case a need arises and a different technique could be used.

Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer Dialog

My favorite method for using a Pattern is with the Fill Adjustment Layer. It does not have a lot of adjustment sliders (only the Scale can be adjusted but since it is its own layer, the blend mode and layer opacity can be adjusted. There is also a layer mask so the effect can be locally masked in or out. Very easy way to adjust the results. And perhaps best of all, it can be clipped (see next paragraph) to an object layer so only what is on the layer is affected by the pattern effect. That is how the birds above look like a natural brownish color instead of the original black silhouette object. Below is a screenshot of the Pattern Fill dialog that was used on the birds above.Screenshot of a Pattern Fill Adjustment LayerIt can be seen that first Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped (the indented layer) to the birds layer. There are several ways to clip a layer, but my preferred way is to hold down the ALT key and click between the two layers to link them together. Can right click on adjustment layer and select Create Clipping Mask; or go to the Menu and choose Layer -> Create Clipping Mask; or just press CTRL+ALT+G on the highlighted layer – all work equally well.

From the latest Photoshop Manual (can download as .PDF file) search for Pattern: “Click the pattern, and choose a pattern from the pop-up panel. Click Scale, and enter a value or drag the slider. Click Snap To Origin (button) to make the origin of the pattern the same as the origin of the document (pattern opens up set to upper left corner). Select Link With Layer if you want the pattern to move along with the layer as the layer moves (moves with object layer as it is moved in the Layers Panel). When Link With Layer is selected, you can drag in the image to position the pattern while the Pattern Fill dialog box is open.” I usually just select the pattern and set the scale here. The really important thing to know is that by dragging in the image, the pattern can be moved to make it look correct on your objects if the Link with Layer box is checked. The Create a New Preset seem useless since all the patterns are already loaded.

Any color of patterns can be used (although all patterns are added turned to black and whites for the Brush Tools Texture section since brushes only use black to white tones). Using the colorful patterns can give really nice results on objects like birds or rocks or text. The one used above was included in a free Obsidian Dawn’s Grungy Dirty Patterns set which I use all the time.  Some other patterns I use a lot are 10 Splatters Patterns by Idealhut and  Vintage Floral Patterns by flashtuchka. I tend to like patterns that show bright colors and contrast. Also watercolor patterns are very useful. Try some of the loaded PS patterns, but I do not use them much. To add the patterns into your list, open up the Pattern Picker and select the little pop-out wheel where it says Load. Now just go to where the patterns were saved and open them up. They will appear at the end of your pattern list. Click on Preset Manager to add, remove or change the order (just drag to move) of the patterns loaded. With the Pattern Picker open, the different patterns can be clicked on and a live preview on the image will be seen. For the above the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer Scale slider was set to 155%, then back on the actual layer, it was set to Normal blend mode at 67% layer opacity. The birds underneath were set to Normal blend mode at 45% layer opacity. The combination gave a really nice subtle bird effect.

Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer or Pattern Overlay Layer Style

There are a couple major reasons I like the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer. The Pattern Overlay Layer Style can do pretty much everything the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer does. But it is easy to run into problems with the other Layer Style sections that are applied on top of this section. It can block out the whole section being added. One advantage of the Layer Style is that the blend mode and opacity can be set for the actual dialog, then the adjustment layer’ blend mode and opacity can also be set. I find the Pattern Overlay section works well with text layer especially since strokes and glows can be added in easily. Note that you can use both a clipped Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer and a Layer Style on the bird layer to get extra effects. There is so much that can be done! Just remember that if you want to add a layer mask to the bird layer with a Layer Style on, be sure to check in the Blending Options section “Layer Mask Hides Effects.” Otherwise the masking will look bad.

Painted image of fauna for birdsI created this image to show how both Pattern Fill Layers and Pattern Overlay Layer Styles can be combined to get a really nice effect. Several of the plant layers used Pattern Overlay Layer Styles and many have Pattern Fill Adjustments Layers clipped to them. For example, the text layer applied both a Pattern Overlay and Drop Shadow Layer Style sections and a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer clipped to the text layer. For more info on this painting, check out Image 2 below.

How to Create a Pattern from Your Own Textures

This is probably the easiest part of this blog. I had several great textures I created and bought that would make good patterns. To convert them from a .PSD file or .JPG file to a .PAT file, go to Edit -> Define Pattern. Then name the pattern and it is placed at the bottom of your pattern list to use the next time the Pattern Picker is opened. If you are using PS CS5 or older, there is a Pattern Maker filter in the Other category that can be used to make patterns – not sure why Adobe removed it.

I hope you try this technique on your images. Adding a pattern to just a few strokes on a layer can add some real interest in an image – it does not have to be an object. I am finding I am using patterns more and more to get that extra level of creativity and blending that seems to be lacking in a lot of the original images I am seeing. Know this was a little long, but I hope this helps a little about how to do this!…..Digital Lady Syd

Image Info:

Image 1: This started out as a spring image but finished up as the Last Snow before Spring. That is what I love about Photoshop, sometimes major surprises result! Most of this image was painted in Corel Painter, but many details were completed in Photoshop. This seems to be the only way I can paint. In Painter, mainly used John Lowther’s Landscape Collection brushes along with various Karen Bonaker and Melissa Gallo brushes – all three of these people are incredible digital painters! In Photoshop, 37 layers were created so lots of different brushes went into this image. Several of Grut’s FX Cloud brushes were used along with Seishido Biz Favytunic’s brushes (can’t seem to locate them now-older brushes) and Frostbo’s Grass Set2 brushes. Also used several of Melissa Gallo’s Photoshop brushes from her video class (incredible class BTW). The snow was added using a brush created by following Corey Barker’s Corey’s Universal Particle Brush video which teaches how to make a terrific snow brush. (See my How to Paint in a Snow Storm blog.) The snow appears a lot more natural to me now. Also the birds are from Cheryl Tarrant’s Distressed+Seasonal+Flock+Birds+Brushes set – Brush 05 – some of the nicest bird brushes around. The texture used was by Kim Klassen called Cool Grunge (not sure this texture is still available) and was set to Multiply at 29% layer opacity. My basic PS workflow was followed after creating all the detail layers. Used Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) ReStyle’s White Swan Feathers preset. Nik Viveza 2 to draw in focus, and some Curves Adjustment Layers to restore contrast.

Image 2: The Birds of a Feather image was first painted in Paintstorm Studio with each type of brush painted on individual layers –  the image was eventually saved as a .PSD file for more adjusting in PS. In this case 13 different Paintstorm layers were created using several of my own brushes, some Double Brushes, Pens, and Multi Brushes and opened in PS. The bottom layer was one of my watercolor textures and two Pattern Fill Adjustment Layers were clipped to it – the first a light beige watercolor pattern set to 417% Scale and Normal blend mode at 91% layer opacity, and the second a Bobby Chiu Colored Paint Texture which was created from his video Building My Favorite Photoshop Custom Brush – it was set to 1000% Scale and Vivid Light blend mode at 25% layer opacity. The birds are on their own layer from Lisa Glanz called Flying Geese (could not find the download link) with a brown watercolor Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer attached. The text layer was added with a Pattern Overlay Layer Style using a bright watercolor pattern set to 265% scale and 39% opacity and a simple drop shadow. Then a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped to this layer using a small yellow/orange/green small print pattern set to 417% scale and a layer opacity of 78%. The last step in this image used a Kyle T. Webster layer style called Fresh Fun set to 0 Fill and painted over the plants and birds to give a little extra texture effect.


SOME OF MY FAVS FROM 2016

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

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


HOW TO CREATE 2017 CALENDARS IN BOTH LIGHTROOM AND PHOTOSHOP

2017 January Calendar example This week I thought I would give you a quick tutorial on how to create basic calendars using your own photos. A calendar can be so personal and might be the perfect last-minute gift. Recently I blogged about how to use templates in both Lightroom and Photoshop, and these techniques use very similar steps to create calendars. (See my How to Use Lightroom’s Print Templates to Display Your Images blog and How to Use a Photoshop Template blog.)

The first thing that needs to be done is to download the free calendars. First Ed Weaver at Red Photographic site distributes the calendars every year along with the wonderful Lightroom Print templates. Also Calendar Labs.com has different formats that can be downloaded as Word documents – see the Photoshop Calendars section below on how to convert these to JPEG files. Either site’s calendars can be used in both programs.

LIGHTROOM CALENDARS

Matt Kloskowski (a former Photoshop Guy) created a recent blog that basically covers how to get the templates into your program  – check out his Free Lightroom Calendar Preset and Templates blog. It is important to understand that the JPG calendars are just that – JPGs and need to be Imported into Lightroom just like any other image. Therefore, they need to be placed in a folder probably with your images so you know where to find them. The templates also need to be imported into Lightroom – the files have an extension of .Irtemplate. In the Lightroom Print module’s Template Browser, create a new category called 2017 Calendar Templates – then right click on the folder and import these templates. There are 11 being imported.

The image above used the Calendar 8 1:2 X 11 1 month template. Matt suggests creating a New Collection called 2017 Calendar Templates. From the Develop module, select all the 2017 Calendar JPGs and drag them into this collection. Now go through your images and choose ones you would like to include in your calendar. The collection makes is very easy to add the images and the calendars into the templates once back in the Print module. Highlight the new Calendar collection  and the Film Strip at the bottom will show all the items in the collection. Click on a template in the Template Browser to chose one. Just drag images into the openings of the template you have selected. To adjust the images inside the openings, must CTRL+drag image to fit – this is because the template is a Custom Package. My 12-month calendar did not look right when selected. If this happens, click on the Page Setup button and go into your printer’s Properties. You probably need to set the paper size to the size in shown in the template description – my printer does not have all the sizes shown so the standard 8 1/2 inches X 11 inches was used for the these examples and set to Borderless Printing to get the template openings to look correct. A background color or Inner Stroke can be added. Instead of printing right from Lightroom, I like to go to the Print Job section and choose Print to: JPEG file. Press the Print to File and save the file as a JPEG. Now more adjustments can be made in Photoshop if needed.
Image of a 12-month 2017 CalendarBelow is a different example of how to use the templates in Lightroom. This calendar used the Custom Center template in Lightroom Templates folder. Note that the heading colors are different from the gray tones in the original calendar JPEGs – this can be done by first selecting the calendar needed, then enter the Develop module, create a Virtual Copy (by right clicking on the image) and changing the color – this time the Split Toning panel was used to do this. The Virtual Copy can be dragged onto the template just like the original image. I just kept going back to the Print module and seeing if the resulting color matched nicely. Also, on the Calendars, I removed the bottom lines by just adjusting the cells – then used the CTRL+drag inside to further adjust calendar in the cell.
Image of a January/February 2017 Calendar

PHOTOSHOP CALENDAR

It is actually easier and there is more creative license to do calendars in Photoshop. First create a document that is the size you want the calendar to be – I used 8.5 inches X 11 inches again. Now bring in the calendar. The calendars from Ed Weaver are fine or download from Calendar Labs.com for some different formats. If using the Word document calendar, just open it up in Word, right click on the calendar itself, and choose Copy. Go into the Photoshop file and right click or CTRL+V to Paste the calendar into the document. Now Free Transform (CTRL+T) to adjust size and to position. If Copy is not one of the options in Word (as in the 12-month calendar which is in a table format), need to right click and choose Select -> Table – then right click once calendar is highlighted and click on Copy. It will now Paste into Photoshop. Next place an image for the top of the calendar – or just paint in a New Layer above the calendar. New Layers can be placed above the Background layer and fancy brushes can be used to paint behind it. There are now all kinds of possibilities for creating beautiful calendars for each month or for yearly ones.

Image of a January 2017 Calendar with Lions showcasedAbove the background was painted behind and above the image to give the whole month a snowy feeling – this might be a little hard to read, but it was fun to create. These are just my lion buddies that look so good wherever I put them. Used the Pretty Action”s Magic Dust brush again, some of Aaron Blaise Canvas Texture brushes, and a couple of Grut’s FX Cloud brushes (they don’t have to be used for clouds!). The image below is another example of creating the Calendar in PS and just dragging in the calendars and images. A layer mask was placed on the calendar and using one of the canvas texture brushes again, parts were lightly painted out in the calendar. Then the calendar was duplicated and taken into Color Range where the white was removed – press CTRL+J and just the numbers were shown on the layer – a Layer Styles stroke was placed around it. Then the layer was set to Color Burn at 64% so it shows up, but is slightly transparent. The flower image was taken in the Bahamas – Corel Particleshop was applied using the Cluster Brush to add some bright lights. Also the Magic Dust brush was used to add more of a magical feel. Really fun!January 2017 Calendar Hope this was easy to understand. It is a lot of fun to create your own calendars – I like to do this every year. Just experiment around and you should be able to get the hang of it. Enjoy the holidays!…..Digital Lady Syd


2016 INEXPENSIVE GIFTS FOR THE PHOTOSHOP LOVER ON YOUR LIST

I have not done one of these in a few years, but I thought I would share some of my favorite inexpensive items that any Photoshop Lover would want. So without further delay:

1.  Grut Brushes

($1.00 to $20)

Nicholai has some of the best brushes around using all kinds of media. He gives away a Free Photoshop Brush of the Week  – it is so much fun to get a new brush to try out each week – remember, you can never have too many brushes! My favorite brushes are his Cloud FX set – best variety of cloud types I have seen from any brush providers and they can make such a difference in a landscapes. A close second is his Inky Leaks Splatter FX set which are really great too! I have a hard time choosing between all these brushes. He also has some great Impasto brushes that do not require a layer style to work. Check his site out for some fun browsing!  The image below is one that used several of the Inky Leaks Splatter FX brushes for the background texture and his mixer brushes to paint the goose. (For post-processing info, check out my A Little Brush Fun blog.)

Image of a painted goose from the Palm Beach Zoo

2. Corel Particle Shop Plug-in

($49.99 but check site for sale price/$29.99 for additional sets)

I never thought I would like this plug-in since I use Corel Painter a lot. I was totally surprised when I found out what it will do. See my Intro to Corel ParticleShop Plugin for Photoshop blog for several other examples usng just the basic brush pack. ParticleShop comes with 11 brushes to get you started – Debris, Fabric, Fine Art, Flame, Fur, Hair, Light, Space, Smoke, Storm and Superhero.  I seem to be doing fine with these, but plan on getting a few additional packs in the future. A couple things to remember is that it only works on 8 bit images and it applies just the changes to its own layer, which is major handy for adding other effects in Photoshop. (For post-processing info, check out my Feeling Fancy blog.)

Image of a Gray Heron all dressed up

3. Creative Live Videos

(Price varies depending on length of videos – and watch for sales)

Creative Live has been on the air for several years now – usually 5 or 6 classes run 24/7 around the clock covering all kinds of subjects (click their On Air button to see what is currently playing), but they do an especially great job on Photoshop and Photography classes. Each daily program is run for 24 hours so you can decide if would like to purchase it – the videos can then be downloaded or run from their website anytime. These programs always have at least 6 hours of training and experts from all over the world are showcased. I think it is an excellent way to learn. Recently I watched a Kathleen Clemons class called Creating Painterly Photographs where she discussed macro and Lensbaby photography on flowers and then how to process them in PS (see my How To use Motion Blur for Artistic Effect blog for info on flower below.) I also loved Karen Alsop’s Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World – her work is wonderful and she does a great job of teaching how to do this in her videos. There are also wonderful classes by Ben Wilmore, Dave Cross, Brooke Shaden, Art Wolfe, just to name a few. Lots of great inspiration and technique here!

Image of a Gardenia

4. Jai’s Jewels Daily Textures

($10 to $80 depending on size of collection)

For several years I have been buying Jai Johnson’s beautiful textures. She is a marvelous wildlife and bird photographer and her textures look especially good with this type of image. She has several beautiful textures that are free so I would recommend trying these out. Recently I bought one of her new collections called Unpredictable Texture Collection (see image below for an example that uses one of these textures). Sign up for her newsletter to get  her sale announcements. (For post-processing info, check out my Tiger in Snooze Mode Tidbits Blog.)

Image of a Snoozing Tiger at the Jacksonville Zoo

5. Argus Preset Viewer

($10.00)

I always like to promote this little program which I have found so helpful when searching for specific brushes or gradients, layer styles, fonts, shapes, patterns, color swatches, just about everything except preset tools, which I wish it had. It is still a very handy item that is added to your Windows Explorer – and it is a major time saver! Below is how the Argus Preset Viewer shows my free Cloud Brushes from my Deviant Art site when highlighted in the Windows Explorer.

Image of screenshot of how Tumasoft Argus preset viewer looks

6. Lori Jill’s Udemy Classes on Painting your Images in Photoshop

($40 – $100, but Udemy does give some large discounts on their classes)

The past few years I have been trying to improve my digital painting ability in both Photoshop and Painter. I always keep coming back to Photoshop to do this as I feel a lot more comfortable with the its brush engine. Part of the reason is that Lori Jill teaches this topic very clearly in her videos. In her Turn Photographs into Digital Paintings Using Photoshop videos, she uses an action that comes with PS. This class was made in 2014, but it is still one of the best I have seen on basic painting in Photoshop using this complicated action. The class supplies brushes and jpg files to learn her techniques. Lori has two other videos that are also very good, but a little more advanced – Digital Pet Paintings Using Photoshop and Create Vintage Style Pin-up Portraits from a Photograph. All these classes do not allow you to download the videos, but you always have access to them on-line once purchased. Below is an example of following Lori’s workflow .

Painted image of the Japanese Restaurant at the Hilton Wikaloa Resort

7.  Coolorus  2 Color Wheel

($14.99)

I watched a video recently where the presenter was using this handy color picker that is based on the one in Corel Painter. I now find I cannot live without it. It is so handy to have open on my desktop when I am painting and want to change a shade or a color just slightly. It also shows the complementary colors and two tabs: Mixer has several strips that can be left open when needed (Color History, Swatches, Scheme, Shadows and Tone, and Blender); and Sliders which shows the selected mode (RGB, HSV, LAB, CMYK or B/W) corresponding color sliders (keep them all open by holding CTRL when selecting). Definitely check this out if you like to have a picker open all the time. Below is what Coolorus 2.5 and the Mixer tab looks like in CC2017 when opened. It is another great time-saver!

Image of Coolorus in PS

8. Topaz Texture Effects

($70 – watch a Topaz Labs live webinar and get a good discount on their products)

I can’t say enough good things about Topaz Labs (for website, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) and all their products. I do not think I could choose my favorite plug-in from the collection if I had to – therefore, I am going with their latest and one I use a lot. Topaz Texture Effects is just a fabulous product! Lots of nice presets come with this program and many more can be downloaded from the Topaz Community. Your own textures, light leaks, and double exposure images can be added into the program which makes it very useful. You do not have to use a preset, just use the program to add just your own textures (more than one can be added – just keep adding a Texture section) where many different sliders can be selected to adjust it the way you like. Also love the Masking tabs in this program (both individual section masks – open by clicking Yes on Enable Masking – or the overall Masking section are the same)  – use them all the time! If you love textures, you need to at least download and try this one out. It is really a class program (I know, Topaz Impression is fabulous and so is ReStyle for creative endeavors, but Texture Effects is right up there!).  See my Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz Texture Effects Blog for more examples. The image below actually used the Corel Particleshop along with Texture Effects.  (See my Bird of Paradise Tidbits Blog for more image info.)
Image of a Bird of Paradise

I hope this blog gave you few ideas for your Photoshop lover or possibly yourself. These are all items I use a lot and would not recommend if I did not think they were great. Let me know how you like them if you decide to purchase or try them out. Have fun shopping!…..Digital Lady Syd

Save

Save

Save

Save