This week I thought I would give a few examples of how to use the Auto-Align command in Photoshop – it is really handy once you know how to use it. I have given you a couple standard examples, and also an example on how to go the other direction and use it to add people. Check out a great video on YouTube presented by B&H Photo called Scott Kelby’s Photoshop for Travel Photographers – lots of good tips here including this one. He explains how to do this very clearly.
There actually were two people walking in front of the hubcap exhibit (from the 39th Annual Turkey Run at the Daytona International Speedway), but since I had two slightly different shots, I was able to auto-align the layers in Photoshop and paint them out. If you are on a trip or at a busy place, just keep snapping photos a few seconds apart – eventually you will be able to get a totally clean image by stacking and aligning them in Photoshop. The tych below shows the two original images I stacked to get this image. Just highlight the two images you want to stack in Photoshop. In Lightroom, right click and select Edit In -> Open as Layers in Photoshop. If using Bridge, go to the Menu bar and select Tools -> Photoshop -> Load Files into Photoshop Layers. Once in Photoshop, highlight both layers and go to Edit -> Auto-Align Layers and leave Auto checked and click OK. Now images are lined up perfectly, although a crop will probably be necessary if you did stand perfectly still or did not shoot using a tripod. A layer mask is added to the top layer and a soft black brush was used at 100% opacity to paint out what I did not want seen. Pretty simple and pretty cool! This is a great way to get rid of tourists when taking a photo of a famous place – just take several pictures over several seconds (or it could take minutes) and let people move in and out of the frame. Eventually you will be able to create a very clean image with no people! Oh yes – you should not be shooting in a programmable mode as the focus may change between shots. I shoot in Aperture mode most of the time.
…..Had some fun with this image – reversed the process from above. This time, instead of removing people, I decided to add this young lady in using six images I had taken – two sets for HDR taken at Ormond Beach, Florida, right after Hurricane Sandy had passed by. Basically all that was done was to first, in Lightroom (or ACR), made sure all the exposures were set to 0. That means if the image was shot at -1 for an HDR image, the Exposure slider was set to 0 for that image only, so that it matched the middle exposed image. Then all six images were opened as stacked layers in Photoshop. First I had to decide which image was the overall best for the beach surf since not only was the girl moving, so was the water – it was then placed as the bottom layer. After that, it was pretty easy going. A black layer mask was added to each of the other five layers and just the girl was closely painted back in.
Here is a final pix of my local Lowe’s Home Improvement Store that had a few people wandering around in the background. I took this with my cheap point-and-shoot Kodak (with just an auto-focus so I was lucky it was the same for each shot) and still got good results by taking two images of the same area a couple minutes apart. I was able to just stack two layers in Photoshop and paint out the intruders!
This is a really nice technique to have in your Photoshop bag-of-tricks as it can get you that image you really want when on a trip or at the beach or crowded place. I am starting to use it a lot more now that I know about it. Hope you get a chance to try this out when you are in a busy place and want a nice clean image……Digital Lady Syd
Post-Processing Details of Images:
Image 1: I got this really cool chrome look by applying Topaz (see sidebar for website link at my Tidbits Blog) Adjust 5’s Liquid Chrome preset, then applied another preset of mine I call Some Detail (changed Mild Detail’s preset slider: Details section – Strength to 1.41, Detail Boost to 1.36, Radius to 10.20; and Color section – Color Saturation to 1.24 and Saturation Boost to .79). The layer was set to Hard Light blend mode. Now this is the tricky part – on this layer a Layer Style (double click on thumbnail to open) was added and the Blend If: Gray This Layer tabs set to: black tab – split (hold ALT and they drag apart) to 42 and 92. This keeps the shiny appearance on the hub caps. Not sure why I tried this technique, but it worked! Next a composite layer was added (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was added on top and a Bevel and Emboss Layer style added to it – a Texture was added here called Laid Vertical which is really a pattern added to the whole layer to get that canvas feel. Need to uncheck Use Global Light, change your Highlight Mode opacity (19% in this case) and Shadow Mode opacity (30% in this case) to get this to work right. Also in the Texture area, need to play around with the Scale and Depth – I used 100% at +167. These settings will vary for each image you and with the different textures you use. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added for some needed contrast. Next Kim Klassen Cafe‘s free textures Revolution set to Linear Burn at 59% opacity and then her Papertrio-stampedright2 texture set to Vivid Light blend mode and 50% opacity with Fill set to 62% (not sure why I did this). The last step involved adding a white PNG frame to the whole image and adding the same Bevel and Emboss layer style (ALT+drag Fx layer icon to layer you want to add it to). I really did like the way the image turned out – much more interesting than the originals.
Image 2: Created a tych using the information provided in my blog Using a Tych Panel to Show Off Your Images.
Image 3: I actually duplicated a couple of the cutout layer mask layers, applied the layer masks by right clicking on them and applying, and moved them. Next they were warped using the Free Transform tool to make them look a little different from the others. That way I have 8 girls instead of 6. Topaz Adjust 5 French Countryside preset (my favorite) with a Detail Strength increased to 1.16 was added. French Kiss Tableaux Texture Collection Sponged Overlay is added as a border and set to a cream color sampled from the image.
Image 4: This image was post-processed using two applications of Topaz Simplify 4 – the first application I created using these settings if you are interested (Simplify Section: Simplify Size 0.29, Feature Boost 2, Details Strength 0.73, Details Boost .61, Details Size 0.23, Remove Small 0.00, and Remove Weak 0.10; Adjust Section: Brightness 0.00, Contrast 1.00, Saturation 1.22, ration Boost 1.24, Dynamics 0.43, Structure 0.47, and Structure Boost 0.69; Tone: Color 1 Region Black Color – 0.00, Color 2 Region R54/G27/B9 – 100.0, Color 3 Region R170/G135/B136 – 180.0, Color 4 Region White Color – 255.0, and Tone Strength 0.57; and Overall Transparency 0.41). The layer was duplicated and the Sketch – Pastel II preset was applied with the Overall Transparency set to 0.34. A New Layer was created above and Fay Sirkis‘s Signature Watercolor Smooth Blender Watercolor Mixer Brush was used to add some detail back into the white flowers which were blown out. A little border was added last.
Thought I would keep it simple this week so here are some nice templates that can be created in Adobe Lightroom 3 and 4. This image is basically a 4-image triptych. It was a lot of fun playing with the different flower effects but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the images after I finished them – as it turned out, this Lightroom template created a nice way to show them off! If you have ever played around in the Print Module of Lightroom, then you can see it is not too hard to create this type of template and then save the resulting image in the Print Job section as a “Print to JPEG File.” And this is one of the reasons I like processing my images in Lightroom over just using Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) in Photoshop.
For processing of the yellow dahlias in Photoshop:
1st image: Just lightened up the image and applied two Flypaper Textures – Chatsworth Taster and Apple Blush Taster using Russel Brown Texture Panel. (See my blog Russell Brown’s Paper Texture Panel Updated!)
2nd image: Topaz Black and White Effects. See side panel of my Tidbits Blog for website link.
3rd image: Used Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 and stacked these filters – Film Efex Vintage using Film Type 8, Colorize using Method 6 and a light blue color, and Vignette Blur using Type 3. I loved the dreamy look these filters created.
4th image: Used two different Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers and two Curves Adjustments Layers and with their layer masks, selectively painted out areas to get the effect I wanted.
This group of images was put together in Lightroom 3 a couple years ago – these signs are from the Jacksonville Landing along the St. Johns River in Florida during one of Scott Kelby’s PhotoWalks (if you get a chance, go do one – they are free and a great way to meet local photo types like yourself). Photoshop Guy Matt Kloskowski, who runs the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips website and blog (it is the best one on Lightroom you will find), offered a free Lightroom Print Preset – Multi-Photo Portrait Grid. I used it here although I had some trouble lining up all the photos the way he did since I use a Canon printer and not an Epson (it uses a page set up which makes it line up different). Still I was able to get this result which I think turned out rather nice.
Here is another example of using the above preset from Matt to create a little different appearance. A trick to adjusting your image inside the cell once placed is to remember to hold down the CTRL key so the cursor turns into the Hand Tool. You can send unused cells to the back by right clicking in the cell. Also, it is best to create a Quick Collection of the images you think you might want to use (click the little circle in the upper right corner in the Library module) so that they are all in one place for adding to the template. All these images are from previous posts – all but the boat image were done using just Photoshop brushes creatively. (See my blogs Brushing up on Circles!, Create a Winter Scene with Photoshop Brushes and Textures and Tree Brushes and a Little Grunge.
The instructions on how to do the above template are in Scott Kelby’s The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers where he takes you through the process step by step. He also shows you how to make the top template along with several others. His Lightroom books are the best!
I did a Tidbits Blog a while back called Five Image Template Creates Beautiful Collection! that shows another way to do this with templates in Photoshop.
Also I did a free download timeline template for Facebook a couple weeks ago that uses Photoshop to add seven photos as your header – see
Free Timeline Cover Template for Seven of Your Images. An example of how this turns out is shown below.
Lightroom and even Photoshop makes it really fun to show off your images and both use very similar techniques. Sometimes just printing the one image does not look quite right, but putting several in a template as shown in these examples can get some really nice results…..Digital Lady Syd
I worked some more on the calendar template creating one for your use. As stated in the last blog, download the free PDF calendar templates from Printrunner. Choose the first one listed. Click here to download the PSD file to use for your calendar. I created the template using Scott Kelby’s tutorial, “Templates with Multiple Images,” which was a bonus section from his book “7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3.”
Follow these steps to create a monthly calendar:
1. Open template file in Photoshop and highlight the Background Layer.
2. Go to File – Place and highlight the month you want to insert from the downloaded Printrunner PDF file and click OK. (Must do this from within Photoshop; I could not get the Bridge to open the PDF files into Photoshop.) Hold SHIFT to constrain size and adjust to fit the bottom opening of template, making sure the corner lines are hidden. The file comes in as a Smart Object. Click Enter. (To go back and readjust, just highlight the layer and Free Transform or CTRL+T.)
3. Highlight Curves Adjustment layer, go to File – Place, and select the image you want to be on the top of your calendar. Hold SHIFT to constrain size and adjust to fit the top opening of template. The image also comes in as a Smart Object.
4. The final step is to change the color of the template, probably back to white, by double clicking on the left icon in the Color Fill 2 layer. This brings up the color picker and you can choose your color.
5. Save your calendar for the month you made and reuse the original downloaded template file for the next month. If you do not want the Smart Objects, just right click on the layers with the Smart Objects and select Rasterize Layer from menu.
This simplifies the process from what I had presented in my 12/26/10 blog. I hope you will like it……Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Create Calendar Photoshop Templates
Colorful Blown Out Look Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw Preset
UPDATE: I was able to create a PSD file for download to do what I listed below. Please refer to my next post called “Free Calendar Template” from 12/30/10 for steps to use. Hope you enjoy the template.
This takes a minute to figure out, but once you do, it is really easy to make a calendar for each month of the year. To begin with, you need to download the free PSD templates from Printrunner. Just go down a ways and you find calendar templates. Choose the first 11″ x 8 1/2″ one. This is a very basic calendar but it perfect to bring into Photoshop and use to make your own template. Here is an example of the January 2011 calendar I made. (The newer 2013 monthly calendar looks slightly different from the one below.) Ed Weaver of RED Photographic also provides 2013 Calendar.zip monthly files at his site.
You need to create your first month to use as the template to line up all your other months and photos. Here are the basic steps I followed to create this first page. At the end are instruction on how to create the rest of the year’s calendars.
1. In Photoshop create a New Document 8 1/2″ by 11″ at 300 resolution so it can be printed.
2. Duplicate the background layer (CTRL + J).
3. Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, create a selection. I used a Fixed Ratio of Width 6 and Height 4 in the Options Bar. Create a box where you want the calendar to appear.
4. On top layer, click layer mask icon at bottom of Layers Panel. A white mask is created where your selection was placed in the above step.
5. Highlight layer mask and CTRL + I to invert the mask so that the black is where the calendar PDF will go.
6. Go to File – Place and select the January 2011 calendar.
7. Add a Curves Adjustment Layer to make the numbers darker in the calendar portion. I put Points at Input 165/Output 90 and Input 225/Output 169.
8. I did a composite of these three layers (background, Jan. calendar layer, and Curves Adj Layer) by doing a CMD + ALT + SHIFT + E and name it “Composite.”
6. Duplicate the Layer (CTRL + J)
7. Using the Rectangular Marquee Too, create a selection. I again used a Fixed Ratio of Width 6 and Height 4 in the Options Bar. Adjust where you want images to appear over your calendar.
8. Click the Layer Mask – a white mask is created where your selection was placed in the above step.
9. Highlight mask and CTRL + I to invert the mask so that the black is where your image will show through.
10. Add a Stroke Layer Style to this mask by clicking on Fx at bottom of layers palette and selecting Stroke. Use 4 Pixels for Size, Inside Position and 72% opacity.
11. Now go to File – Place – and explore to photo you want to insert.
12. Image comes in as a Smart Object. Move this layer under the Layer Mask layer. Use the Move Tool to adjust image in window. Use CTRL + T to adjust your image and be sure to constrain the image holding SHIFT + ALT to keep your proportions.
13. Save image as January Calendar.
You now have a basic template to use for the next 11 months (or you can download the one referred to above).
To change the date part of the image:
1. Go to this file and delete the Jan 2011 layer and the Composite layer you created in Step 8 above.
2. Turn off top layer.
3. Highlight the Background Layer.
4. Go to File – Place – Feb 2011 file.
5. Highlight Curves layer and do a Composite layer (CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + E).
6. Drag down the layer mask and layer style from inactive layer on top.
7. Delete top layer.
8. Highlight Curves Layer and go to File – Place – File for February calendar. Adjust image in box. Use CTRL + T to adjust your image and be sure to constrain the image holding SHIFT + ALT to keep your proportions.
9. Save as February Calendar.
This is really not as hard as it sounds. I am thinking about how this can be put in an action and it would be much easier. I will add to this blog if I can figure this out in the next few days. Oh yes, I might add I learned to use Smart Objects as templates from Matt Kloskowski’s Killer Photoshop Tips called “Creating Reuseable Templates” and Scott Kelby’s book “7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3” Bonus Segment on Showing Your Work Using Templates.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial – calendars really are fun to make!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd’s Related Blogs:
Free Calendar Template
Colorful Blown Out Look Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw Preset