Anything Photoshop or Photography

Posts tagged “Free Action

Getting that High-Fashion Desaturated Look

The technique involved in the three images of Aliona followed a blog entry called “Pure White Portrait Retouch” which was quite easy to follow and created a beautiful result – of course it helps to have a beautiful model too! This is a look that you will see in almost any fashion magazine. Basically the workflow involves creating several adjustment layers – a Photo Filter, Hue/Saturation and one or two Curves, depending on your image. I do not do people photography very often, but it is nice to try every now and then. This is a very simple but effective technique to use on portrait images.

I created SJ-Light Desat Portrait action that can be downloaded – it will take you through the workflow pretty quick. You will have to make your own brushes but they are nothing special – just low opacity and a 10% hardness in most cases. The action tells you what brush you need to use where for each step. Hit Stop and do the the step and then click the Play button on the Action Panel to continue the action.

This is a sculpture by an unknown artist at the Lightner Museum in the old historic Alcazar Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida. I applied this action to the image but set the Saturation to -59 in the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. Otherwise the default settings were used to get this look. I was surprised how nice it turned out.

The St. Augustine Greeting Center has just a bare hint of color except in the palm tree fronds. The action was run on this image and then in the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, the Master Saturation was set to -47, Greens Saturation set to +50, Blues Saturation set to -100 and Cyan Saturation -100. That was it – a very clean desaturated look with a selected color only showing.

Definitely try this look. I was surprised by the versatility of the action – not just for portraits! I will keep this one in my arsenal of Photoshop tricks! Enjoy the Action!…..Digital Lady Syd


The Soft, Dreamy Look

Have you ever just wanted to try a different look on your images? I wanted to try this type of look for a while, so this week I began experimenting. The technique seems to be very popular right now and involves adding a very soft fill layer to get the effect. Most of the time it works best on floral, nature or still life images. It can be effective with some landscape images, especially with the help of textures which I did not address in this blog.

I found that LPDragonfly at Deviant Art has described the steps very well in some wonderful tutorials. Her Background tutorial and the Soft Bright Colors tutorial were used (see linked .jpg tutorial images that can be downloaded). Frames from OnOne Software (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) were used on all the images.

To summarize her two tutorials and adding a bit of my own ideas, here is the basic workflow (see my action link further down in blog):

  1. For shooting flowers, her basic premise is to put the flowers in the shade and allow the background to be in the sun, preferably with a floral background. I did not do this for my images, but will try to do this on future flower shots. Also use the widest aperture your lens will allow and focus on just one flower or group of flowers.
  2. First clean up image such as removing any objects and getting rid of noise.
  3. Add a Color Fill Adjustment layer set to Soft Light blend mode and adjust the opacity. Try different colors – will give very different looks
  4. Create a Curves Adjustment Layer adjusting the Blue Channel (Try Input 0, Output 64; Input 255, Output 201 – and adjust the curve to taste). May want to use a different channel depending upon the image you are using.
  5. Add a Selective Color Adjustment Layer (be careful not to adjust the black sliders – this increases the contrast) and/or a Color Balance Adjustment Layer. May not need all of these adjustment layers.
  6. Create a composite on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), set layer to Screen,  add a Gaussian Blur with a Radius set to +10 pixels, and adjust  layer opacity.
  7. Add a final Levels Adjustment layer and move the middle tab to get the best look.
  8. Try using the mixer brushes in Photoshop and paint on some of the flowers or objects on a separate New Layer to get a more painterly look. (See my blog “Adobe CS5’s Mixer Brushes.”)
  9. Now would be a nice time to add a texture for further emphasis.
  10. Try using a cream colored vignette (used NIK Efex Pro 3.0 Vignette preset but this can be created easily in Photoshop using a color instead of white for the vignette) as shown on the orange and yellow flowers below to get a different feel to the softness.

This same basic technique was used on all the images.

The same soft feel can be obtained by using some of Florabella’s Actions which are much more extensive and she has many more varieties than the simple one I created. They are fairly reasonably priced, so if you like the look, you may want to check out this website and buy one. She has a nice article on how she creates her look at this link, where she states she is doing basically what LPDragonfly outlined in her tutorial.

Obviously the easiest way to do this is to create an action with these different Adjustment Layers set up in it. OK – I did it for you and it can be downloaded here. You do not have to be on a Background Layer to get this to work and most of the Adjustment Layers do not have any settings in them – the Action stops so that you can adjust them as you go along. I tested it on several images – it contains the workflow from above.


I am sure with a bit more exploring, this effect can be achieved using some of the great Photoshop plug-ins such as AutoFX Software‘s Dream Suite or Mystical Suite. Hopefully I will be able to look into this at a later date.

That about wraps up my efforts for achieving the soft, dreamy look. I do believe adding some textures at low percentages and different blend modes, and using layer masks to mask out where the texture should not be in an image, would really add to the look. I hope you will get a chance to try out this look – it can be quite lovely!…..Digital Lady Syd