I started playing around with the small image below that was taken of the ruins at St. Andrews Cathedral in Scotland. I loved the composition and feel of the image before I ever did any adjustments to it. This image shows what it typically looks like in Scotland.
The original appears pretty flat but overall it has a lot of interest and the details are very sharp in this shot.
- First I tried processing the image in Lightroom and applied my Vivid Drawing Look preset, a preset from a previous blog (Great Free Plug-in for Lightroom – The Fader!) and is available for download here. Then only an adjustment to the Luminance slider to get rid of a little noise and the Detail slider to add detail back to the overall image was done. (This can also be done after loading image into Photoshop by using Russell Brown’s script – see my blog called Edit Layers with ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) Script.) I also created this preset for people that use Camera Raw from Photoshop and it may be downloaded here (I just realized it has the wrong extension on the file in the Zip folder – change it to .xmp to get it to work). Just download and load into ACR using the pop-out panel in Presets tab.
- The next effect is from a blog by Rick A. Brown at Moose’s Photography Site called Technique for Dramatic Low Saturation Images (does not appear to be available anymore).
I modified his technique to make it faster and I will give you a quick recap of how to do this here:
- Open image and duplicate the background layer.
- Turn off top layer (click on layer eyeball in Layers Palette to remove) and highlight the original Background layer.
- Create a black and white image using any method you feel gives a really contrasty high key (washed out or over-highlighted) look. He used Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 which is a great program but very expensive. I think the Black and White Adjustment Layer does a fine job and if you own Lightroom, there are many really nice Black and White presets for that program that can be downloaded for free.
- Make a composite of these two layers by highlighting the Adjustment Layer and going to CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E (keeps image intact so you can adjust later if need be by deleting this layer).
- Turn on the top layer (click where eyeball should be and it turn ons) and change blend mode to Soft Light.
- This may be all it needs for corrections. If not, create another composite image as in Step 4, duplicate it and set the blend mode to Screen. Add Layer Mask and paint in area to brighten up image.
- Now this next image really changed up the feeling – it surprised me how good it looks in a monochrome. Nik Silver Efex Pro2 was used but any black and white conversion method that gives a really contrasty appearance can be used. Then a Hue/Sat Adjustment level was added and Colorize was checked. I found a really spooky inky blue color (Hue set to 242) and dropped the Saturation to 25 and this is what you get!
- Below a totally different look was created in Lightroom and used a preset called whoiswolf_cross_retro – there are several nice free presets in this group that can be downloaded here. Only this preset and then the Luminance and Color sliders in the Noise Reduction panel were used.
- For this next iteration, Gavin Hoey’s Blast From the Past actions set called Lomo effect Style 1 was applied to create this soft look. This is a very inexpensive set of actions that are great for creating some new effects.
- In this image below, first the Imaging Factory’s Graduated Fog Filter was applied using a dark blue color for the foggy feel (could just use the Fogs and Mists brush set by BB Brushes to create you own effect – see my Foggy Weather! blog for more on this) ; then a Curves Adjustment Layer to get a vivid blue on top and bright green color on the ground; next a Gradient Map adjustment layer with a tan color (c4b190) to a light blue color (c2d0d8) for the gradient (try different gradients – get some really interesting results doing this) and set layer Blend Mode to Color Dodge at 82%; a Levels Adjustment Layer to wash out the results to get more of a foggy look; added a New Layer and painted on Wycked – birds-sm brush from the Tranquility brush set (this is a fabulous set to own); and finished off with a PhotoFrame from OnOne Software (simply the best!). This image is presented to show what a very different look you can get with just a little experimentation.
- The next picture was created using an action I created in my blog “Create Postage Stamps with Your Images” blog under Method Two called Vintage Effect from Cloudy Text Effect (here is the download link). I am presenting it here, even though it has a similar feel to other effects like the Lomo action above, because the action is free and it gives a very nice look on many types of landscape images.
- My last image is for my son, Metal Chris at DC Heavy Metal (a great music blog with some fabulous musician photography for DC folks), who likes it when I do something different with my photos. The Mirror Filter (Kaleidoscope vertical) was applied from the Plugin Galaxy 2.0 (see my blog Instant Mirror and Quick Mirror for Photoshop for more on this great plug-in), along with the Imaging Factory’s Graduated Fog filter and a Gradient Map adjustment layer. Gives a whole new perspective to the picture.
That should about wrap up the blog for this time. I think I could just keep doing effects – this image lends itself well to that. As I have said before, if you can get a good picture in your camera, you have lots of post-processing options – the image makes the processing easy.
Hope this inspired a few people to try different effects with the same image – it is a lot of fun to see how different the image ends up!…..Digital Lady Syd
There is a lot of excitement in the Lightroom community this week about this new plug-in from OnOne software (see Digital Lady Syd’s Tidbits Blog sidebar to access website). If you love Lightroom, like I do, you need to try it out. Not unlike my “Fader” blog from a few weeks ago, this plug-in is accessed from the Plug-In Extras under the File menu. Below is a version I created solely in Lightroom (even OnOne’s PhotoFrame can be accessed from Lightroom) except for my signature layer. The following three images are all of Urquhart Castle in Scotland – a wonderful place to take photos!
I spent a few hours looking at the various short videos (most about 2 minutes long) on the OnOne site that were very helpful. When I first installed the program, I had some problems and had to reinstall it. It worked fine after that. Check out both Matt Kloskowski’s and Scott Kelby’s videos (on the same page as the download) for great explanations on how to use this add on. For the above image, I just used the original image and a Virtual Copy with a preset I created called Emphasize Purple (you may download here). A layer mask made inside Perfect Layers masked out the drab sky from the one image and added the beautiful virtual copy sky layer. which was set to Darken Blend Mode at 100% opacity. Very easy and very clean! Most of the Photoshop shortcuts work so it does not have that large a learning curve. Please note that in this version of Perfect Layer, the following Photoshop options are not supported – text layers, vector masks, layer styles, adjustment layers, paths, alpha channels, smart objects, layer groups, and clipping masks. These options will be flattened into a new psd file copy and rendered as a single layer in Perfect Layers. Simple psd files containing basic layers and masks will open correctly. Your original version with all your original layers is always left untouched.
The image above uses the original image and a virtual copy that was converted to black and white – no preset used. Both copies of the image were selected and loaded into Perfect Layers with the B&W image on top. A Darken Blend Mode at 84% opacity was added along with a “Painted Out” Layer Mask so that the castle itself would retain its color and detail. The B&W layer was copied so the background water and hill could be emphasized even more – this new layer was set to Multiply Blend Mode at 100% opacity with the Layer Mask painted to hide the castle and foreground. An OnOne PhotoFrame was added to finish.
Below, two virtual copies were created and the Fader plug-in applied with a setting of 150% for each preset: the Blue and Gray preset (one I created to correct the water color) and Lightroom’s packaged preset called Direct Positive (for the castle and foliage). Both virtual copies were selected and loaded into Perfect Layers with the Blue and Gray preset layer on the bottom. The Direct Positive preset layer on top was put into an Overlay Blend Mode. A Layer Mask was “Painted Out” using the Brush Tool at 75% opacity over the water on the bottom edge. An OnOne PhotoFrame was added last. I am glad the two plug-ins both work together in Lightroom.
Texture and image blending can easily be handled. In the image below, after bringing a Maui landscape into Perfect Layers, the sky was stretched and cropped to become the whole image. One of Caleb Kimbrough‘s beautiful free grunge textures (that can be downloaded here) is not in my Lightroom catalog but was added by going to File and selecting Add Layer(s) From File. Really sweet!
I have not tried all the ideas suggested in the videos and hope to try them soon. Once again, this has been a fun week of trying out something new – that is what is so great about Photoshop and Lightroom – there are always new things to explore! Hope you try out this new plug-in – I believe it is worth the time to do so!…..Digital Lady Syd
This week I was reading Matt Kloskowski’s Lightroom Killer Tips blog (the best blog around for Lightroom fans) about a new plug-in called “The Fader.” In Matt’s words, “….it does exactly what it says. It fades presets. If you’ve ever applied a preset and like the effect, but just think it’s a little “too much” then that’s where The Fader comes in (insert deep echoed breathing here). You pick a preset and then move the slider to tone it down a bit. That’s it.” I decided to give it a try. I found out that sometimes it is better to apply the effect even more than what the basic preset allows. Since this turned out to be a major cool plug-in, I wanted to share some of my results using the program. Here is The Fader link to download the plug-in or download it from Adobe Lightroom Extension. So lets get started.
To find The Fader in Lightroom, you must go to File > Plug-in Extras > The Fader. The plug-in has a slider that allows you to set the preset strength anywhere between (-50) and +150. The preset is actually applied from within the plug-in first by selecting the file folder containing the preset in one field, and then choosing the preset from a drop-down list of the folder presets in the next field. Any number of presets can be tried (just like looking at the Navigator in Lightroom) before you decide on a preset. Below I am showing just a simple example for comparison of what results you get with no preset applied, the regular preset applied at 100%, and the preset applied using The Fader set to 85%. For the last two images, I used a preset that comes with Lightroom when purchased called Color Creative – Yesteryear 1. For all images in this blog I did basically no processing of the images except for the presets shown and a bit of vignetting in some cases.
With the last image at 85% strength, there is a little less of that fake turquoise look but still has a bit of that old-fashioned feel in the image.
Next are three images which show, once again the original image first, then one with 100% strength of the preset applied, and finally one with 150% strength applied (the maximum that can be applied). I used a preset called Vivid Drawing Look that I created and can be downloaded here.
In this case, the image at 150% strength has a better look in my opinion. The photos below are of Wrecker’s Bar in the Bahamas. First the original, then one at 100% preset strength, 121% preset strength, and one at (-31) preset strength. I used the preset from Presets Heaven called YoshkiWarmGold. This site has fabulous presets for free download and may be the second best site next to Matt’s for Lightroom.
The negative setting created really stong blue and green tones – it seems the negative numbers bring out some very different results depending on the preset. I am not sure I like the blue but this is a good example of how different the same preset can make an image look at various strengths.
The final images are just a reiteration of what is above, but the effect is really nice in all cases. It just goes to show that if the image is photographed correctly, it is hard to make it look bad no matter what you do to it! This is an image of the Bank of Scotland’s dome in Edinburgh, Scotland. The first image is as shot in raw, the second used 100% strength of Matt’s 70’s Look, and the final image is of the same preset at 150%. This preset was created in Episode 227 of Photoshop User TV and is slightly different from the Vintage presets he has on his site. I really like this preset and use it often – if you want a copy, I have it posted here.
I believe I will use this plug-in all the time – it opens up a whole lot of new possibilities for effects in images. I hope the Adobe people will consider doing just what The Fader does in their next version of Lightroom. I would recommend you download and try this program for yourself. I think you will be surprised at how easy it is to use and how interesting the effects can become. Enjoy!…..Digital Lady Syd