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Posts tagged “Topaz Glow

HOW TO DO A DOUBLE-EXPOSURE FOR FUN EFFECTS

Double-exposure of a Queen Emma Lily and Cardboard PalmThis week I decided to try a little in-camera photo effect and then post-process in Photoshop. In my mind, this is the best of both worlds when trying to put an artistic feel into an image. The above was first shot with my Nikon D-300 camera (I dearly love this camera and can’t seem to part with it!) and shot the image in multiple-exposure mode using just 2 shots. I am not really sure how this type of exposure is supposed to look, but this method seems to fit floral or plant images quite well. This image was taken in my front yard of a Queen Emma Lily in front of a Cardboard Palm. I see this as a very creative blend of the two exposures but it did take some finishing work in Photoshop to get the final interesting feel.

So first the basic workflow for taking a multiple- or double-exposure shot will be covered. It is not that difficult but do consult your camera manual to get the exact menu settings to do this. I will be using the Nikon D-300 menus, which due to its older age, should be similar to what is available on most newer cameras.

1 First set your camera to Manual Focus. To do this on my camera, looking at the front of the camera the Focus Mode Selector dial is located to the lower right of the lens. The dial should be set to M for manual (as opposed to C for continuous auto focus or S for single auto focus).  Note: For my camera, if either the Camera body or the Lens is set to Manual focus, then it must be focused  manually. Many of the lenses will have a Manual focus setting also (usually the lens is set to M/A – switch to M to make it focus manually). I am using the Camera Body setting for this.

2. On the back of the camera, press the Menu button and select the Shooting Menu. Then Scroll down to the Multiple Exposure choice.

  • Select the number of exposures to shoot – the above was just a double exposure so it was set to 2. Up to 10 are allowed.
  • Select whether to turn on Auto Gain. The difference is that when it is on, the exposure time is divided by the number of exposures chosen for the image, and when off, each exposure is exposed for the full amount of time (meaning shutter speed). I had it turned off, but try both to see which looks best.

3. In my camera I need to turn on the Multiple Exposure setting each time an image is to be taken.

It sounds a lot harder than it is. Just have to get familiar with where the settings are. Now you can try different camera settings to get different results. For the above, both of the in-camera exposures were shot using the basic Nikon 18-200 mm zoom lens set to 105 mm at F/5.6. Below is what the original out of camera image looks like. First the palm exposure was taken, then moved the camera and took the lily.

Original image of Queen Emma Lily and Cardboard Palm

Post-processing: In Lightroom a Trey Radcliff free preset called Sunday Alone Time was applied and then the Vibrance was lowered (-65) so it was not so colorful. In Photoshop the layer was duplicated and Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Glow was opened and my SJ Inter Web Variation was applied. (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.) The Layer was set to Overlay Blend Mode at 96% layer opacity. A black layer mask (CTRL+click on layer mask icon at bottom of Layers Panel) was added and just the areas I wanted lines to show through were painted back. The Layer Style was opened (double-click on the layer) and on the Underlying Layer slide, the white tab was split (ALT+click) and set to 178/255 before exiting the menu. A stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created above and the now free Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was opened. Three filters were used: Midnight with no Blur added, and overall opacity of 73%; Reflector Efex set to Gold with the light coming from bottom up; and Vignette Filter using a darkish brown color and centering on the focal point. Next the also free Nik Viveza 2 (downloads with the above plug-in) was opened and just one control point was placed in the center area to add a little more structure and whitening to the focal point. Last step involved using a New Layer to clean up lines – Grut’s – MI Swish Mini Mixer brush was used to break up the edges of some lines that were too sharp – I love this brush! Check out his other brushes too – so many wonderful ones! This image turned out to be a lot of fun and created a very different type image!

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Double Exposure image of some flowersAnother double-exposure image – used the same Nikon 18-200 mm zoom lens sets 150 mm and F/5.6. This was shot with white blinds behind the flowers in a vase and sunlight strong outside. This time for the first exposure just the focus was set to a very soft blur, then the second focused in on the flower to get this soft effect. The double-exposure created an almost translucent feel in the flower petals by shooting into the lighter background. In Lightroom just a few adjustments were made before going into Photoshop. On a duplicate layer, Topaz Lens Effects Diffusion filter was added. Then Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was opened and the Glamour Glow filter and Film Efex Vintage filter (Film Type 13) were stacked. A pink pastel texture of mine was added on top and set to Darker Color blend mode with a layer opacity of 55% – a layer mask was added and the texture was gently painted off the flowers.

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Double exposure image of dandelionsThese dandelions were shot using the same lens at 170 mm and F/5.6. Once again, the background was really defocused for the first exposure and then brought the foreground dandelions into focus for the second. My first thought was to convert this to a black and white so it was brought into Photoshop and the free Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 (downloads with the other Nik plug-ins) was opened. The Fine Art (high key, framed) preset was selected and the frame removed. Then a Finishing Adjustment using Toning 22 was used to give a warm tone to the overall image. There are lots of really great sliders in this plug-in so give them a try! It was set to 75% layer opacity and actually gives a really nice look at this point. But to get an artistic feel in the image, first 2 Lil’ Owl’s (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Stained Plaster Collection 17 texture was added to the image and on a layer mask, the foreground dandelions were painted back without the texture. On a stamped layer, Topaz ReStyle was opened and the Brandeis Blue preset was applied. Next another 2 Lil’ Owls texture called After the Rain 14 was added and set to Multiply blend mode at 85% opacity. Another one of her textures was added called Grunge 27 and it was set to Color Dodge blend mode. This added some texture in the bottom foreground – a black layer mask was used to remove all of the texture except this area. That is what was done to get the final image.

I hope this was not over everyone’s head – it really is just a way to change up an image and possibly get a different result. Many people go to much more extremes on shooting the double-exposure adding very different items, more like the first image. And many people are into creating silhouettes for the first exposure and then shooting small flowers for the second exposure for some incredible results. Since I am rather new at this, I stayed pretty basic with this. It does sound like it would be fun so I may have to try that for second go-round on this topic. Therefore if you just want to try something new, give this a try. It is a lot of fun and the final effects can be quite dramatic!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO HAND TINT A VINTAGE IMAGE AND CREATE A BRUSH TO DO THIS

Vintage image of ladies chatting at lunchLoved this vintage image from Shorpy.com, my favorite site for the old historical images, taken in 1902 at the National Cash Register Company‘s restaurant in Dayton, Ohio. I wonder what they are talking about? I found an older tutorial on hand-painting a vintage image and decided to share the technique. Previously I created a blog called How to Colorize an Old Photo blog using Solid Color Adjustments Layers, but this blog technique produces a more subtle hand-painting result. I guess this is why I have a hard time getting rid of my old resources – you never know when something will catch your eye!

Below are the basic steps to create this effect:

1.     This technique was found in a book called Special Effects – Restouching and Restoration by Tim Daly in the Chapter Restoring Hand Tints. Basically he suggest you scan your image, or in my case I downloaded an image from Shorpy’s – select an image that is more light-toned rather than dark-toned. As you can see in the original below, this fits the criteria. To lighten your image a little more, use a Levels Adjustment Layer and move the center tab called the Midtone slider so image is lighter.
Original Vintage Image of women from 1902Also, be sure to go to Image -> Image Size and check out the size and resolution of the image – the B&W above was set to a Resolution of 980 ppi and a Width of 0.837 inches and Height of 1.521 inches. The image was changed to a Width of 8 inches and a Height of 6.627 at a Resolution of 300 ppi.

2.     Next need to create a brush to use for adding the color tint. Open the Brush Engine (Windows -> Brush). Select a 45 px soft round brush. Down the side check the Buildup section – this turns on the Airbrush effect in the Options bar (or can just turn on the Airbrush icon in the Option Bar itself). Smoothing should be on in the Brush Panel. In the Options Bar, set the Mode to Color – this preserves the underlying image detail while painting. Set Opacity to 40% and Flow to 100% to start. At this point, I would definitely save the brush by clicking on the Create New Brush at the bottom of the brush Panel (it looks like a piece of paper with a bottom corner folded up). Since there are changes in the Options Bar, I also saved the brush as a Tool Preset – just go to the first (Brush) icon in the Options Bar, click on the down arrow next to it, and select Create New Tool Preset Icon and name it. The brush will now appear at the bottom of your list with the correct settings for both the Brush Panel and the Options Bar.

3.    Now the image should be turned to a sepia color, or whatever overall tint that is pleasing. For me a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was opened and the Colorize box was checked – the Hue was set to 27, Saturation 18, and Lightness +9. A stamped layer was created on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) to incorporate the two adjustment layers, and the layer blend mode was changed to Color and the Layer Opacity can be lowered to taste.

4.   Time to paint using using the new brush. Open the Swatch Panel, select a color, and paint in your image – I painted directly on the image above, but individual layers for each color is a much better way to control the color shades (as done in the tint image below). If the color is too bold, reduce the Opacity and the Flow sliders of the brush in the Options Bar. Tim Daly recommended starting to tint with the smaller areas with similar colors first. In my image above, only the focal point area was painted.

That is all there is to it! Very fun and relaxing. To finish up, add your own effects to the image. In the above, on a New Layer a hatch texture was set added to the brush in the Brush Engine and it was set to Multiply blend mode. The table cloth was then painted to give it a little subtle pattern effect. This is where you can add some of your own creative ideas into the image. A Color Fill Adjustment Layer set to white was used to make the hatched brush texture really white. Adjustments Layers can add all kinds of interesting effects to these tinted images. This image also used Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Texture Effects – based upon their Crisp Morning Run preset. Just added the oval Border and a white Color Overlay with a low 0.31 opacity.

TIP FOR WORKING WITH VINTAGE GRANULATED IMAGES: You might notice that some of the vintage images have a lot of grain in them, especially in the shadows. A great way to remove this problem is to use a Noise Reduction filter, then add a black layer mask and paint back over just the really obvious areas where the noise is bad. In the above, the faces had a lot of noise. Topaz DeNoise 6 was used, but Nik’s Dfine plug-in which is now free, or Photoshop’s Camera Raw filter-the Detail Section could be as effective. Just adjust to where the really noisy areas look good even if the whole image gets blurry. By adding a black mask (CTRL+I in the white mask) to this layer and using a very low opacity regular soft round brush, paint with white back in the really noisy areas.
Color Tinted Image of the Raleigh Hotel, Miami, FL in 1941Thought I would show you what a landscape type image looks like color-tinted. This image is of the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida on March 4, 1941. I think one of the reasons I am enjoying this technique is that it gives me a chance to really look at the image and see a story in it. To me this is really fun – and it gives a vintage postcard effect to the image. I look at all the people at this resort back during WWII and wonder who these people are – and this hotel is still very popular. What is also interesting about this image is that it is not all hand tinted – mainly just the foreground area has been painted in. Below is the original image so you can see what can be done with this type of image.

Original Raleigh Hotel image from Shorpy

Instead of a sepia tone image to begin the process, this one used a cyan-toned tint. Since the image detail is rather obscure the further back one looks, it is not so noticeable that the color is missing. In fact, the palm trees in the center back were actually lightened a little by clipping a New Layer on their layers where the color was applied and light dots of white were applied to softly blend them into the background just a little. Also after painting this image, Topaz Glow was used to make the tint colors stronger in the image – the cyan was to be the main color since it reminds me of resorts and warm water. Topaz Lens Effects was used to add a slight Golden Reflector effect from the right side to play on the palm tree fronds and a very soft cyan vignette was placed around the image as a last step. This image used 22 layers for the different colors and objects. Several mistakes were made using the wrong color and it was easy to just clip (ALT+click between the layers or click on the first icon at the bottom of the panel) a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to the layer and change the color to match perfectly. Therefore I would recommend using separate layers for colors. And do create the brush – it is very useful for this technique!

Hope you give this a try on one of your scanned black and white images or an old vintage image. Lots of fun here!  Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

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HOW TO USE THE FREE SPECTREL ART PLUG-IN

Image of Sandals taken at City Place in West Palm Beach, Florida
Had a blog glitch but finally got this one up. I have to thank Corel Master Elite Karen Bonaker for this wonderful find – a really fun free plug-in called Spectrel Art from JixiPix.  My initial impression was this can’t be that good if it is free. I was pleasantly surprised. What is really cool about this plug-in is that it uses a brush where you can either localize the effect by brushing it in or erasing it.

This is very similar in effect to Topaz Glow which is one of my favorite special effects plug-ins. Both plug-ins usually need a blend mode change. Once in Photoshop, the above Spectrel Art layer was set to Luminosity Blend Mode at 44% layer opacity. In the Topaz Glow image below, the layer was set to Soft Light blend mode at 50% layer opacity. The effect can be way too strong if left at 100% layer opacity – add layer masks if you want to further localize the effect in Spectrel Art. Topaz Glow does not have a brush to localize the effect in the plug-in so a layer mask must be used in Photoshop to do this. Below it can be seen how similar the results were with Topaz Glow using the same vignette and spotlight effects.

Image of shoes using Topaz Glow

This is not to say this plug-in will replace Topaz Glow – Glow has a lot more sliders and presets for a lot more choices (see my Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz Glow blog) , but for a free plug-in, Spectrel Arts does a pretty nice job. For comparison, below is the original show image after doing basic changes in Adobe Camera Raw.

Original Show image

To finish up this image, a white spotlight layer was placed on all the flowers (see my How to Add a Soft Spotlight Light blog) on the shoes and a soft vignette was placed around the outside of the image.

Spectrel Art has 27 presets that seem to be a really nice assortment of settings. There are also several sliders that can adjust the effect. In the top image and the screenshot below, the preset 18 Dark Lines was selected and the Detail Style changed to Soft.

Screenshot of Spectrel Art interfaceAccording to JixiPix’s website:

  • The Detail slider increases the amount of intersecting lines and Colorize Detail adds color to the lines. The Detail Style buttons deal with the amount of glow color and light applied to the image.
  • Taper Length creates an abstract style to the longer intersecting lines. Use Light Taper Style for white highlights and outlines effect – can use Lighten slider to illuminate the whole scene and Brighten to illuminate the outlines; and use Dark for stark contrast of black intersecting lines – can use Blacken to strengthen the overall dark areas and Blacken to increase the dark outlines.
  • Edge Sharpen defines and emphasizes the lines.
  • Color Boost enhances overall color.
  • Contrast darkens shaded areas and brightens the light ones.
  • Smoothing softens the curves in the lines.

That about sums up all the controls – very easy to use. Below the image of a white orchid butterfly taken at the West Palm Beach Zoo is another example using this plug-in. (Here are the settings used: Detail 64-just press the dot on the slider to get the amount, Colorize Detail 81, Detail Style Soft, Taper Length 50, Taper Style Light with Lighten set to 50 and Brighten 40, Edge Sharpen 98, Color Boost 21, Contrast 60, and Smoothing 68.) The layer was set to Color Burn at 51% layer opacity. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was placed on top and Greens was set to Hue -31/Sat -70/Lightness -61 to reduce the really bright green in the background. On a New Layer a Mixer Brush was used to smooth over the sharp edges of the colors. Topaz Lens Effects was opened and a dark olive green vignette was used. That was it. The Spectrel Art plug-in made the butterfly really pop!

Image of a White Peacock ButterflyHope you will try out this plug-in – it is a lot of fun and you can’t beat the price! I hope to have time to really see what it will do. JixiPix seems to have a lot of other plug-ins that I might try out as they look interesting. Anyway, have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

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A NEW LOOK AT CHROMATIC ABERRATION

Image of the Carousel at Jacksonville ZooThought I would share a tip that can really improve your photos, especially landscapes. Wikipedia says “Chromatic aberration manifests itself as “fringes” of color along boundaries that separate dark and bright parts of the image.” This seems to be very apparent in blue skies in landscapes with lots of trees. The above image was taken at the Jacksonville Zoo of a vintage-looking carousel (see my Only in Florida! Tidbits Blog for a closer look). Just a few Basic panel adjustments Lens Corrections (checking just the Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration boxes) were done in Lightroom before opening up Photoshop.

This technique was passed along by one of my favorite Photoshop people, Blake Rudis (who says he learned it from Steve Perry), at his f64 Academy in a video called The Color Blend Mode – there is a free downloadable action here to do this technique. The image had some empty branches against the blue sky along with was some real blue-cyan chromatic aberration. In Lightroom the Remove Chromatic Aberration checkbox did not remove this and to be honest, I did not  notice it until I was in Photoshop since only the upper corners were affected. Below it can be seen what a subtle difference the technique makes – you can definitely see the cyan color shift due to the Chromatic Aberration in the sky. It is hard to see, but the branches on the right side image look a bit darker and sharper, especially where the larger branches are present. This was also true on the upper left side of the image.

Image showing with and without Chromatic Aberration

So here are my steps to get rid of this ugly blue edging in this case but it will work on any color of chromatic aberration.

  1. Duplicate the Background layer (CTRL+J) and turn it into a Smart Object by right clicking on the layer text area and selecting Convert to Smart Object. A stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) could be used and duplicated if in the middle of post-processing.
  2. Go to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur and set the Radius somewhere between 6 and 20. I used 6.8 for this image.
  3. Change the layer blend mode to Color – now the whole image is blurred.
  4. Click in the Smart Filter layer mask and CTRL+I to turn it black. With a regular soft round brush, paint with white just in the areas you want the blur to correct the chromatic aberration.

Blake does not use a Smart Object, just applies the filter and adds a black layer mask – then paints back areas that need correction. This technique also works if the chromatic aberration is not completely removed when using the Camera Raw filter. What is really useful is that this is a localized correction and only affects the part of the image that needs the correction. The Blur does not affect the whole image! I find this gives a very subtle and sharp result to the bad areas. Here is a link to one of my Tidbits Blogs called  Defringe that Nasty Blue Edge from Trees On a Bright Blue Sky! done a while ago where 4 other ways to remove Chromatic Aberration are presented if you would like to try out some other techniques.

There were lots of steps used for final processing in this image – Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Glow, Topaz DeNoise, Photo Filter Adjustment Layer, Vignette, and clean up layers. Overall I was pretty happy with the final results.

Give this Chromatic Aberration trick a go, especially if you have cyan blue going around those branches in trees. It works really great! Also check out Blake’s f64 Academy website as he has lots of great ideas on improving pictures. Well, back to my organizing until next week…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO USE THE MATCH COLOR COMMAND

Image of a Hidden Gazebo at Jacksonville Zoo This week I am going back to something a little more fun than what was done the last two weeks on organizing your brushes. The Match Color Command is one I have not used often, but it can help when you need a slightly different color scheme for your image. By finding an older picture that had colors you liked, it is pretty easy to apply to a new one. The shot above attracted me because of the rather hidden feel of the gazebo – it was taken at the Jacksonville Zoo and is along the Trout River. See the end of blog for more info on the rest of the post-processing and settings for this image.

The Match Color Command has been around for a while. Basically you are selecting a layer that shows your current image and by going to to Image -> Adjustments -> Match Color to open dialog, another Source image can be selected in the drop-down. Luminance, Color Intensity and Fade sliders can be used to make the current image look correct. For this to work, you need to have the other image that you want to use as a Source opened in Photoshop.  Below is a screenshot showing the image before Match Color was applied.

Screenshot of image before Match Color Command appliedI used a very different color scheme from an image created a while back as the Source file. (See my Little White Convertible in my Tidbits Blog.) It can be seen in the little preview box below. There are 3 sliders that can be used to adjust how the image looks since just applying the colors as is does not usually look great. In this case the Luminance (lightness) slider was set to 55, Color Intensity (saturation) set to 130, and Fade (amount the Source image colors are used – set to 100 will have no Match Color effect at all) set to 44. The Neutralize check box is used to neutralize any color cast in the image – I find it does not usually help my image.

Screenshot of Image with Color Match dialogThere are a a few other choices at the bottom of the dialog. The Layer drop-d0wn lets you select any layer in the Source image to use as the color samples. It defaults to None when opened. You have an option to choose Merged to merge layers together to create one layer. See the list in the Layer drop-down below for the Source image layers that could be used. The screenshot shows what the image would look like if the original Source background layer was used – quite a different effect! I made sure I was using a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top to apply the effect so I did not have to worry about this. It is also worth noting that a different image does not have to be used to apply Match Color if there are several layers in the original image. I could have selected this image (Target image) and also select it as a Source and choose the Background layer, for example, to this layer. It will give yet a different effect! Definitely worth experimenting with this.
Image of Match Color Dialog featuring Layer drop-down fieldUnfortunately this command does not work as a Smart Object. The two check boxes in the Image Statistics section can be used if you have an active selection when you enter the dialog. There is a pretty handy feature listed here and I would not have know what it was without Lesa Snider’s wonderful Photoshop CS6 – the missing manual that is my constant resource. She says in the Tip Box that you can save your settings as a preset by clicking on the Save Statistics button and give the preset a name. Next time you want to use these settings, you do not have to open the Source image but can just click the Load Statistics button and select your preset.

Screenshot of Load Statistics buttonAbove is a screenshot showing how the preset made from the White Car Source in the first image was used on a second image (see original image at my Tidbits Blog Desolate Roller Coaster) without opening the image. I did discover that the slider settings do not save in the preset so they have to be adjusted for each image after the preset is applied. This is an important feature to have if you want to carry the same color effects across several images, like for a photo book or triptych. I made a folder called Match Color presets in my Adobe CC Roaming folder to store them.

Well I hope you found this informative. It is a command I have not used much, but I can actually see some uses for it. Give is a spin and see what you think. Stay warm until next time…..Digital Lady Syd

Image 1: As you can see, the final image is not what the Match Color Command result looked like. That is because I decided to set my Match Color layer to Divide at 65% layer opacity which turned it a major yellow. Topaz Glow using TG SJ Mysterious II Water preset and just changed colors to these amounts – Orange Sat 0.56 and Lightness -0.43; Yellow Sat 0.93 and Lightness -0.29; and Green Sat 0.17 and Lightness 0.69; Set layer to Soft Light. (Here are the other slider settings: Primary Glow:  Glow Type Dark, Glow Strength 0.30, Effect Sharpness 0.63, Electrify 0.14, Simplify Details 0.17, Edge Color 0.28, Detail Strength -0.06, Detail Size 0.20, Brightness -0.56, Contrast 0.44, Saturation 0.00, Line Rotation 0.00, and Glow Spread 0.00; and Secondary Glow:  Glow Type Light, Glow Strength 0.00, Effect Sharpness 0.22, Electrify 0.03, Simplify Details 0.00, Brightness 0.45, and Contrast 0.64.) Set this layer to Soft Light blend mode. On a stamped layer Topaz Impression’s Blake Rudis Abstract Settings was applied as is (this may come with Impressions as I cannot find where I got the settings.) Nik Viveza 2 was used to direct the eye to the gazebo. Several adjustment layers were added along the way like Color Balance, Curves, and Levels. The last step was to create another stamped layer and open Photoshop’s Texturizer Filter (Filter -> Texture -> Texturizer) and these settings were used: Texture Canvas, Scaling 151, and Relief 4.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR WITH SOME TOPAZ TRICKS!

Image of Edinburgh Castle in ScotlandLooks like I am back up and running with my new computer and Windows 10. Hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year. Since I have not had a lot of time to come up with new tips, I am presenting a couple images that I used to see how my programs were working on the new set up.

The image above is one taken at Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle a while ago. What I really liked is how the colors “popped” with Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Glow. I keep forgetting how nice an effect this filter will give. Need to take a few minutes and try making a few of your own presets. Most of my presets look terrible at Normal blend mode, so do not let that stop you – the blend mode must almost always be changed. I tend to start with Soft Light, which is what this image used. (My SJ Mysterious II desat was applied – here are the settings: Primary Glow:  Glow Type Dark, Glow Strength 0.30, Effect Sharpness 0.63, Electrify 0.14, Simplify Details 0.17, Edge Color 0.28, Detail Strength -0.06, Detail Size 0.20, Brightness -0.56, Contrast 0.44, Saturation 0.00, Line Rotation 0.00, and Glow Spread 0.00; Secondary Glow:  Glow Type Light, Glow Strength 0.00, Effect Sharpness 0.22, Electrify 0.03, Simplify Details 0.00, Brightness 0.45, and Contrast 0.64; Color: Overall Saturation -0.54, Red Saturation 0.18, Orange Hue 0.68, Saturation -0.47, and Lightness 0.41, and Yellow Saturation 0.79; Finished Touches – all set to 0.00.) Instead of changing the blend mode in the Glow filter, the preset is applied when it looks crazy and it is adjusted back in Photoshop. It will create exactly the same effect no matter where the blend mode is added, so use PS as there are a lot more blend mode choices (Glow only has Normal and 5 other blend modes). This image used Soft Light at 79% layer opacity. The sky looked really bad with the Glow effect on it, so the layer was duplicated and taken into Topaz ReMask 5 where just the sky was removed very quickly. For me ReMask is still the best place to get a good selection. The filter created a layer mask that allowed the original sky to be used. The last step used Nik Viveza 2 to drive the focus of the image toward the Scott Monument in the center background. I would suggest trying out Glow on architectural type images – it gives a very nice effect to the lines of buildings.

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View from Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

This image was a happy accident as I was reinstalling the various Topaz Filters. I was using just one of my favorite basic images to make sure they were running correctly, and the above was the result of combining Topaz Adjust and Topaz Black and White Effects! There was very little work done on this image. (To see original image, check out View from Edinburgh Castle on Flickr.) Just duplicated the background layer (CTRL+J) and opened Topaz Adjust. A preset created from a Topaz video on “Rick Sammon’s Top Topaz Tricks, Tips, and Techniques” that used the Spicify preset to create a soft artsy effect was applied. (Settings used: Adaptive Exposure section: Adaptive Exposure 0.50, Regions 25, Contrast -0.56, Brightness -0.13, Protect Highlights 0.03, and Protect Shadows 0.03; Details section: Strength 0.87, Detail Boost 1.15, Threshold 0.12, Radius 25.00, and Sharpen 1.01; Color section: Adaptive Saturation 0.33, Color Regions 10, Saturation 1.00, Saturation Boost 1.00, and Hue 0.00; and Noise section: Suppression 3.24, Amount 0.51, and check Use Topaz DeNoise.) In PS the layer remained set to Normal at 100% layer opacity. This layer was duplicated and Topaz Black & White Effects was opened and my SJ Poolside preset was applied. Now this looked not too good, but when flipped to a Multiply blend mode at 77% layer opacity, these beautiful warm colors popped out! (Here are the settings for SJ Poolside preset: Conversion:  Basic Exposure – Contrast -0.01, Brightness 0.04, Boost Blacks 0.24, and Boost Whties -0.03; Adaptive Exposure – Adaptive Exposure 0.28, Regions 26, Detail 1.10, Detail Boost 0.98, and check Process Details Independently; and Color Sensitivity Yellow 0.19 and Blue -0.06; Color Filter – Hue 32.90 and Strength 0.60; Creative Effects: Diffusion Softness 0.39, Diffusion 0.57, and Diffusion Transition 0.55; and Finishing Touches: Quad Tone Color 1 Region 15.08 and color R1/G1/B12; Color 2 Region 143.9 and color R63/G78/B85; Color 3 Region 227.5 color R216/G211/B129; and Color 4 Region 255.0 and color R255/G254/B237; Vignette -0.42, Vignette Size 0.88, Vignette Transition 0.80, and Vignette Curvature 0.83; and Transparency Overall 0.65.) A layer mask was added and with a brush set to 30% layer opacity, a little bit of the sides of the buildings were painted over to brighten up just a bit as in the layer below – this is a way to guide the eye through the image.

Well, hopefully you got a few Topaz tricks since I have not had much time to see what new is out there. If you have a few different Topaz filters, try applying them and then using different blend modes on the layers and adding layer masks to drive the eye through the image. I am going to try and find some different filter combinations to get that unique feel to an image. Also listening to those Topaz Labs videos on their website can give you some great ideas for presets. Hopefully I am able to get some final tweaks on my computer and be back and running as before!  And once again – Happy New Year Everyone!…..Digital Lady Syd


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


HAVE SOME FUN WITH YOUR PHOTOS

Image of a painted Snowy Egret Still taking it easy with blogging, but thought I would discuss a topic I sometimes forget to do. While having a little break here, I am having a lot of fun adding a little, should I say “personality” to my images. As you can see in the image above called the “The Ballet Diva Making a Grand Entrance,” this Snowy Egret bird image (taken at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery) seemed to lend itself to some mild “ridicule” as I developed the painted version. I think I was inspired by an old Bob Ross Joy of Painting TV show I watched the other day, where he said that he gets to know each item he adds to his paintings. He was actually talking about one of the shrubs he was painting, but the point is that he was giving each item personal attention, not just painting in a bunch of shrubs. That sort of struck me as something I probably do not do, especially when digitally painting (and that is probably another whole blog topic). But it got me thinking – and I actually feel like I know these birds when working on one of their shots. Maybe that is why I enjoy painting them so much. So this brings me  to the point that even though most photography and painting is supposed to tell a story, maybe the story is just the crazy way you look at an image. It seems to be really rewarding to post-process or paint an image “just for the fun of it” so that is what I have done here. Check out my Tidbits Blog links below for more funny bird examples. Hope you are all enjoying your summer – I know I am!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Here’s Looking At You
Singing Spoonbill Duet Takes Rookery by Storm!
I See You! Checking Out a Snowy Egret
Storytelling with Your Images

Image Info: This image took a while to put together. It needed Photoshop’s Shake Reduction filter. Then lots of blending with Fay Sirkis’s Precious Oil Diamond Blender Mixer Brush which I find works well on feathers. (Her brushes are hard to find unless you are a KelbyOne subscriber – this one is a very creamy & oily brush which pulls out the feathers to points nicely.)  Little eye sharpening and leg clean up. Finally got to a stamped version. Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Impression Watercolor IV preset was first applied, then Topaz ReStyle using the Lavender Gray preset with some tweaks, then another layer of painting with Fay’s mixer brush and PS Flat Angle Mixer, before adding a texture by Jai Johnson called Spring Blush canvas on page 6. Thought I was done so added Nik’s Viveza 2 to finish and then I thought, hum, I wonder what Topaz Glow would do for this image. So I added Abstract Settings-Blake Rudis preset and set it to Soft Light at 45% layer opacity. On another stamped layer, Topaz Impression was once again opened and the Degas Dancers I preset was applied. On a layer mask in PS, the bird was painted back somewhat but the background and foreground retained the painted effect. Phew!


HOW TO CREATE A MAGICAL FEEL IN PHOTOSHOP

Image of a field of flowers and a butterflyRecently I have been enjoying taking images and creating something a little different with them – I like to think of it as giving the image a “little magical” feel. This is probably because of the various new brushes recently bought or downloaded. Last week’s blog was on some new brushes I discovered and a new technique for adding some variable color to those brushes. Since the brushes seem to be a major factor to getting this magical feel, I thought I would explore some other techniques using Photoshop brushes. The image above is just a quick phone snap of some beautiful pink agapanthus (Tulbaghia violacea) growing in my neighborhood. I have to be honest and say I added the Monarch butterfly to the image to add interest – I do not believe Monarch likes this particular flower. To start my workflow, below is the original image from Lightroom and the image before adding Topaz Impression filter at the end.
Original and Image Before Topaz Impression Filter appliedAs you can see, the original image is not exactly a beautiful shot, but for some reason it just had a look that I liked. I worked with this image a long time in both Lightroom and Photoshop, and almost gave up on it – just did not work as a realistic photographic image. For the final result not much was done in Lightroom, just a little Basic slider adjusting and a little sharpening with the Adjustment Brush. In Photoshop Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Clarity was applied and then on a duplicated layer, Topaz Glow was applied and the layer set to Overlay blend mode. (See Image 1 below for settings of the these filters.) Remember these are great filters, but similar results can always be obtained in other ways like using Photoshop sharpening techniques and adjustment layers. Now a few New Layers were added on top and some different brushes were selected to fill in and add color. The image on the right shows what results were obtained by adding in different brushes in different colors and using a Topaz Glow layer. I still really like Aaron Blaise’s Foliage Brushes so several layers used his weed and reed brushes to fill in the front brown areas. Several soft strokes were also added in the mid ground and background just to add some color that was sorely missing. With his brushes, not many changes were made in the brush engine as he has done a wonderful job of setting them up to give good results.

Also used several of Deviant Art’s Frostbo Grass Set 2 brushes. (Be sure to read his usage rules for use.) Frostbo is one of my very favorite brush people and his brushes are all free – check out his other brush sets too. These 11 grass brushes were very basic and  created in an older version of Photoshop, but that makes them very easy to manipulate with the Brush Engine. Two of his brushes were manipulated and added to this image. Brush 010 was selected, and in the Brush Engine, changes were made to Frostbo’s settings: Brush Tip Shape Spacing from 25 to 1000, Size 137 to 800; Shape Dynamics Size Jitter from 51 to 0, Control Pressure Off, Min Diameter 0, Angle Jitter 2, Roundness 0, Min Roundness 0, checked Brush Projection; Scatter not used; Color Dynamics Control changed from Pen Pressure to none, Hue Jitter from 19 to 4, and Saturation Jitter from 20 to 8; and checked Wet Edges. These changes created a slightly different brush that worked better for this image. A similar change was done to Frostbo’s Brush 004. There are no additional settings applied his original brush other than the Brush Tip Shape settings of Size 154 pixels and Spacing 25%. The changes I made to this brush are: Brush Tip Shape Size 700 pixels and Spacing 331%; Shape Dynamics just Angle 4 and Check Brush Projection; Texture Scale 78% with a really obvious light and dark watercolor pattern selected, Brightness 9, Contrast 5, check Texture Each Tip, Mode Color Dodge, Depth 100%, and Depth Jitter 0; Color Dynamics check Apply Per Tip; Foreground/Background Jitter 100, no Control on, Hue Jitter 3 and all the rest o; Transfer Opacity Jitter 8% and Flow Jitter 71%; Wet Edges check on, Build-up checked on, and Smoothing checked on. This created a very different effect. Below are what the brushes looked like before changes and after changes.
Example of Frostbo brushes used in photoThe After brushes look different – not a lot different, but different. One reason is that the Brush Projection is checked in my variants so the brush stroke can be stretched or squished depending upon how you tilt and move your stylus. The bottom row shows several variations of the same brush stroke with it turned on. It can add that additional variety needed to give the random look to the brush. Just uncheck it in the Shape Dynamics section if you do not like the effect.

The Monarch butterfly (an object I had cut out of another image) was added and a layer using Kyles Real Watercolor Salt Medium brush was used to add some of the little dots throughout the middle part of the image. Any splatter brush can do this, I just liked his. A stamped layer was created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and Nik Viveza 2 was used to bring in the butterfly as the focal point. Next more Frostbo brush strokes were added on a New Layer and set to 56% layer opacity. On another New Layer above, the feel of small blooming flowers was achieved by using Kyle’s Real Watercolor Spatter Spread Brush set to 22% layer opacity and a Bevel & Emboss Layer Style added to give a little depth to the back area. A New Layer with Kyle’s Real Watercolor Spatter Mixed brush was used to add in the circles that I just liked and set to 80% layer opacity. This is where I was at in the right image above. Not a bad look, but it still needed something. That is when Topaz Impression was added – again using one of my own presets. These settings are also listed below if you would like them. Finally a Curves Adjustment Layer was added to correct overall contrast and another one to light the middle of the image a bit more. By filling the second Curves Adjustment Layer mask to black (CTRL+I in mask), then painting back the areas to brighten with a 30% brush opacity, the effect could be localized. That was it. The image was transformed into a magical colorful field of color.

Image of Tinkerbell and a composite magical imageHere is another example that actually is very similar to the first image. This time three images were composited to get this magical effect. They are all of weeds on my back porch (no comments please) and the base image is of the center weed in front of a step up. The pretty wild flowers and the front right green were masked from their backgrounds and Refine Edge was used to clean them up. It did an amazing job as it was difficult getting all the stems in the flower looking nice. They were then arranged in the original image and just a lot of exactly the same brushes used above were used to fill in the area. Tinkerbell brush was from Camilak3 on Deviant Art and on a layer below, her skin and clothes were painted in using a watercolor brush. To get the final feel, three four filters were applied as I just could not get it looking the way I wanted. They were Topaz Glow, Nik Viveza 2, Topaz photoFXlab and Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4. I will give the preset settings below under Image 2.

One of the things I am starting to understand is that you can take any brush and basically “own it” by going into the Brush Engine and start playing. Once you like a brush, be sure to save it down as either a Brush Preset by clicking at the bottom of the Brush Panel or Brush Preset Panel, or as a Tool Preset by going to the top left of the options bar and clicking on the tiny arrow to open-click on the Tool Preset icon on right. That way your own version is ready to use over and over. There is no limitation on what you can do with a good basic brush. I have always loved my basic Chalk 60 brush – it just works for me. But now I have been experimenting with more object type brushes and they are turning out to be quite flexible when settings are changed also.

This week I just wanted to let you see how this can be done – it did take several hours to do each image, but they were a lot of fun to do. Since that is what I like to do, it was just perfect. Hope you enjoyed some of the tips and try out a little “magical look” to your images. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Image 1:  The Topaz Clarity preset is one I created called SJ White Tulip and here are the settings:  Clarity Dynamics-Micro Contrast -1.00, Low Contrast 0.05, Medium Contrast -1.00, and High Contrast 0; No Tone Levels or Hue/Sat/; and Lum Red 0.09, Yellow 0.42, Green -0.08, Blue 0.38 and all others 0.00; and Tone Level Black Level 0.11, Midtones 0.22, and White Level -0.33; and Sat Yellow 0.22, Green 0.08, Purple 1.00, and Magenta 1.00. Topaz Glow setting is also one I call SJ Mysterious II Water and here are the settings used for it: Primary Glow:  Glow Type Dark, Glow Strength 0.30, Effect Sharpness 0.63, Electrify 0.14, Simplify Details 0.17, Edge Color 0.28, Detail Strength -0.06, Detail Size 0.20, Brightness -0.56, Contrast 0.44, Saturation 0.00, Line Rotation 0.00, and Glow Spread 0.00; Secondary Glow:  Glow Type Light, Glow Strength 0.00, Effect Sharpness 0.22, Electrify 0.03, Simplify Details 0.00, Brightness 0.45, and Contrast 0.64; Color Overall – all set to 0; Red Sat 0.34; Orange Sat 0.33; Yellow Sat 0.03 and Lightness -0.29; Blue Sat 0.42 and Lightness -0.43; and Magenta Sat 0.75 and Lightness -0.35.  Topaz Impression preset is one I call SJ WC like effect on bldgs – here are the settings: started with Watercolor II preset and these were the final settings: Stroke Type 04, Brush Size 0.91, Paint Volume 0.42, Paint Opacity 0.87, Stroke Width 0.33, Stroke Length 0.89, Spill 0.23, Smudge 26, Coverage 1.00, Color Overall Hue 0.15, Saturation -0.20 and Lightness 0.06; Red Sat 0.47 and 0.14; Orange Sat 0.60 and Lightness -0.42; Yellow Sat -0.33 and Lightness 0.13; Green Sat 0.20 and Lightness -0.32; and Blue Sat 0.36; Lighting Brightness -0.04, Contrast 0.39, Vignette 0, and Light Direction X0.33 and Y0.06; and Texture Strength 0.78, Size 0.30, Canvas IV, Background Type solid white, and Background color used #d38967 – all other settings not listed at 0.) Adjust your color swatches to get other color tones.

Image 2: Topaz Glow preset used is called Room Glow by Blake Rudis. (See my blog How To Get the Soft Glow in Topaz Glow for info on creating this setting.) Topaz photoFXlabs is a plug-in that does not support Photoshop CC2014, but can still be used with Photoshop CC which is what I usually use. I love the InstaTone setting in it and it was used for this image. Here are the steps and settings used just in case you own it:  First set Dyanmics slider on duplicate layer to -30; In Brushes, painted in burning around Tinkerbell and then used Detail brush to sharpen her and the line behind her; then set to Smooth to soften the lines in foreground.  Instatone Photo Library using
last image top row to get a nice tone to the image.  Then Adjustments Temp -9, and Dynamics 64. This time Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 was used to apply just a gentle painterly feel to the final image. Here are the settings used to get the final result of the image: Oil Paint Detail preset modified:  Background Brush Size 14, Photorealism 62, Piant Thickness 84, Stroke Length 11, Color Variation 18 and Brush Style Default Brush, and Random Seed 7556; Detail Masking Effect on Mask 1 – Brush Size -30, Photorealism 80, Paint Thickness -40, Stroke Length 0, Color Variatino -29, and Brush Style -29 painted over Tinkerbell and some of the splatters and the front two flowers; Mask 2 – Brush Size 23, Photorealism 43, Paint Thickness -40, Stroke Length 0, Color Variation -29, and Brush Style Default Brush and painted in some of the center weed; and Mask 3 – same settings as Mask 2 and painted over the line at top; the Mask Tool was set to Size 11, Feather 50 and Amuont 85. Color Brightness 10, Contrast 12, Saturation 14 and Temp 0; Lighting Highlight Brightness 30, Highlight Size 35, Direction 280 and Angle 66, Highlight Color White, Vignette None; and Canvas No Texture.


JUST HAVING FUN!

Image of Somewhere in ScotlandCould not resist blogging just a little bit on what I did recently in my favorite programs, even though I am taking a vacation from blogging. The above image was post-processed in Photoshop – an image in Scotland that I overlooked. Won’t go into great detail as this was pretty basic – each was done on a duplicate layer – Shake Reduction filter, Topaz (see sidebar in my Tidbits Blog for website link) Clarity Clouds 1 preset, then Clarity Color and Contrast III preset, Topaz Glow using the Room Glow Blake Rudis preset created in blog link below, a couple Selective Color Adjustments Layers, one for the clouds in particular, and Nik Viveza 2 to adjust vignetting.
Landscape image painted in Corel PainterJust created a little impressionistic painting following the basic steps from Thomas Churchwell’s video called Turner Style Painting in Corel Painter using Marilyn Sholin Brushes. I did have to add the my image in as a Source in the Clone Panel for me to get it all the brushes to clone correctly. And a pretty rough paper texture worked best on the canvas for the effect. Love the free cloner brushes from Marilyn (see bottom blog link below for site).

Well that is it – have a good week!

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Get the Soft Glow in Topaz Glow
Corel Painter’s Auto-Painting Results – Not Bad!


HOW TO GET THE SOFT GLOW IN TOPAZ GLOW

Image of Pink Hibiscus Well, now that the holidays are over, I have had a chance to get reacquainted with Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Glow and start to understand this little gem of a plug-in a little bit more. I watched a Topaz Webinar by Blake Rudis’s (Integrating Topaz Glow into Your Workflow) and then another shorter video (Topaz Glow A Closer Look with Blending Options), and the program actually makes a lot more sense to me. I thought I would show you a few more examples of how Blake is using Glow to get some absolutely beautiful soft glow effects. Click on the Webinar link above for a download button that links to a Glow PDF file showing how to make his presets and several of his actions – I refer to the PDF file all the time now.

For me it seems Topaz Impression works great as the second step once Glow has been applied. The image of the two pink hibiscus has both filters applied. If you would like the detailed steps and plug-in settings used, check Image 1 info below. Two things were done differently from the usual application of this filter: 1. A black layer mask was added to the Glow layer and just the parts where I wanted the Glow to show up were painted back in the layer mask. Since the original image was pretty nice for starters, Glow was used to just add detail and highlights to just the flower centers and leaves – the rest of the image looked way over-the-top with the settings used. 2. Then the layer opacity of the Impression layer was reduced so you can still see some of those preserved Glow strokes. This image resulted in a pretty natural final look, which is what I wanted.

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Image of Pink Flowers taken at Epcot Disney WorldThese flowers were taken at Disney World Epcot Center last year. I could not get this image to post-process correctly so I had skipped it. Then Glow came out and it has actually turned it into a rather unique feeling image. Glow added the light to the foreground colors but by using Topaz ReMask, it did not affect the reflection and sky in the background. Then Topaz Impression was applied using one of my presets at 82% Strength. All the steps and settings are below under Image 2.

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Image of White Tree In this image of a leafless tree taken from above on my phone, a different workflow was used. First some texture and Topaz ReStyle was applied before Topaz Glow was used. That is because I felt the image needed that beautiful light effect that Blake discusses in his videos. His Room Glow preset was applied at 66% Strength and set to Hard Light blend mode before going back into Photoshop – it basically popped the picture! See Image 3 info for settings.

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Image of bottles at Takeya Steak House in Ormond Beach, FloridaThis image is from my favorite eating place in the Daytona Beach area, Takeya Steak House – just the best! I could not resist taking this image while waiting of a table recently. It seemed to be begging for a Glow application, so here it is, but it definitely also shows the fractal side of the plug-in. Not much was done this image other than adding Glow and clean up. See Image 4 for the complete workflow and plug-in settings. I like this sort of illustrative feel that Glow can give to an image.

I decided to give you a small look at the original images as it is really hard to tell what effect this plug-in had on the images without them. So below are the images as they appeared after Lightroom but before Photoshop.
Originals for image shown

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This last example is for all of us animal lovers – wanted to show how this plug-in does a great job with lighting on animal images. The image is from MorgueFile Free Photos – this site is loaded with fabulous pictures. The beautiful dog image was taken by GaborfromHungary, and I wish I had taken it. I wanted to try out Blake’s Animal Glow preset. It did not work well with this image, but my Graphic III Beach preset looked real great on the image. You need to try different settings for different types of images. The presets Blake gave us and the ones I am providing are just nice starting places. Once you find one you like, make a few changes for the specific image – you will get a real feel for what the sliders do and what effects you like. For all the settings on the dog image, check out Image 5 below.

Image of a beautiful Huskie dog I hope this blog has shown you how to get some gorgeous lighting effects with this plug-in. One of Blake’s workflow steps when using Glow is t0 set the Overall Saturation to -1.00 so you can see what is going on with the luminance and not the color. Then adjust your saturation back. I find this very helpful to do when adjusting the sliders for each image – you are just looking at the black and white tones and not the vivid colors, which can sometimes get in the way. You really need to at least look at his PDF and try his settings to see how the light effect changes in your images. It really is an incredible result and I am so happy I tried out the presets. Maybe this info will make you look at what can be done with this plug-in from a little different point-of-view – I know it changed how I am using it. Blake has really found a new way to use Topaz Glow that makes this plug-in much more useful and interesting. Hope you give it a try at least! Until next week, stay warm and have a good one!…..Digital Lady Syd.

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz Glow
Simply Glowing!
On the Beach
Using Topaz Glow to Add Color
HDR Tree

Workflow Steps and Plug-in Settings:

Image 1: This is a very basic image taken with my Android phone camera, then in Lightroom 2 Lil’ Owl (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Hazy Days 22 preset was applied to get a bit of a Tuscany feel to the image. Once opened in Photoshop, some clean up was done on a New Layer, a stamped layers created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), and Topaz Glow opened. If you watch Blake’s videos, you will find he uses the plug-in to add a beautiful soft light effect to almost all his images. That is is exactly what I did with this image. A preset I created was used to get some very nice lines in the leaves and flowers and some nice lighting. Then once back in Photoshop, a black layer mask was added (CTRL while clicking on layer mask icon at bottom of Layers Panel) was added – just the flowers and leaves were painted back into the mask. Next Topaz Impression was opened and a preset following the instructions in Blake’s free download PDF (see first paragraph above) was used to create a preset I call Abstract Settings-Blake Rudis. (Here are the settings if you would like them: 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. In this image I set the Primary Glow Saturation to -0.41.) Since I did not want too much applied, the layer was set to 55% opacity. A New Layer was created above and I just painted using my Chalk 60 Brush (just the Shape Dynamics Angle Jitter is set to 19%) to clean up some of the painted areas that need to be smoothed out – here your own touch can be added. Last step was to add a Curves Adjustment Layer to add a little contrast back into the image.

Image 2: Just basic changes were made to this image in Lightroom, no preset. This time Topaz Clarity was applied using the settings Blake suggested in his Webinar (here are his basic settings and they usually are a pretty good starting point for the image: Micro Contrast 0.13, Low Contrast 0.33, and Medium Contrast 0.52 – than can look at histogram and black tone – I did not adjust that here). Next Topaz Remask was used to separate the foreground from the background so Topaz Glow would only be applied to the foreground. In Glow, Blake’s Abstract setting was applied as shown with no changes and no blend mode changed in the plug-in. Back in Photoshop, the blend mode was changed to Pin Light at 100% layer opacity. On a stamped layer (CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+E) above, Topaz Impression was applied using my Abstraction preset set to 82% Strength (Stroke Type 12, Brush Size 1.00, Paint Opacity 0.38, Stroke Rotation 0, Stroke Color Variation 0, Stroke Width 0.85, Stroke Length -0.50, Spill 0.72, Smudge 0, and Coverage 1.00; Color Overall Hue 0.14, Sat 0.23, and Lightness 0.06; Red Lightness 0.14, Yellow Sat -0.11, and Green Lightness -0.36; Lighting Brightness 0.13, Contrast -0.23, and Vignette 0, Light direction X 0.34 and Y 0.05; and Texture Strength 0.19, Size -0.43, and Canvas I, Background type white solid and Background White). Now the painterly effect was added to the whole image, not just the foreground. A little clean up was done and that was it.

Image 3: In Lightroom used 2 Little Owls’ Fresh Color 1 preset. In Photoshop Topaz Clarity was used, but this time John Barclay’s settings were used (check out his Topaz Webinar called Creating Your Images with Topaz Plugins (not posted yet but is from 12/23/14) for another good video and some good Clarity info here.) The settings used for this image are: Micro Contrast 0.36, Low Contrast 0.20, Medium Contrast -0.11, and High Contrast -0.23 (see the stair stepping effect of the sliders) – then he looks at the histogram to adjust the Tone Levels – I usually do this in Photoshop but Clarity does a great job with the tones and colors. I am finding I like these basic settings a lot for this plug-in. Next Painted Textures Thanksgiving Winter Marsh was added twice – once set to Multiply at 64% layer opacity and Blend If This Layer white tab split (ALT+drag) was set to 96/130 and the top texture set to Linear Light at 22% layer opacity. Then Kim Klassen’s Deep Sigh texture was added and set to Hard Light at 74% layer opacity and the layer style Blend If sliders were set to: This layer white tab split and set to 149/196, and Underlying Layer black tab split and set to 14/42. This lightened up the background some. Next on a New Layer I used a brush I created using a portion of French Kiss’s Atelier Georgia texture set to 1600 px and just painted some green texture over the tree and everything –  set layer to Soft Light blend mode. Created stamped layer and applied Topaz ReStyle Regal Blue Shades (settings changed here: Restyle Opacity 50% and Color blend mode; Basic Opacity 22% and Multiply blend mode; Detail Structure 0.50 and Sharpness 1.00. Mask for Basic painted to bring back some of the white in the tree – Brush Strength 0.77, Brush Size 0.05, and Hardness 0.30 using Edge Aware and Color Aware sampling tree branch). On a New Layer above, the Sharpen Tool was used to sharpen up the tree branches – it did a pretty good job on this image. Next Topaz Glow was applied using the setting in Blake’s PDF for his Room Glow preset – the Strength was set to 66% and blend mode was Hard Light before returning back to Photoshop. This one really took a while to complete and ended up very different from the start. Totally fun to do!

Image 4: In Lightroom 2 Lil’ Owls’ At the Vineyard 7 preset was applied. In Photoshop John Barclay’s Topaz Clarity preset was applied with same settings as Image 3. In Topaz Glow I used these settings for my Inter Web Variation preset (Here are the settings: Primary Glow Type Dark, Glow Strength 1.00, Effect Sharpness 0.12, Electify 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.) On a New Layer above, the Sharpen Tool was used on the lettering in the bottles and hats. A little vignetting on the sides was applied with a Brown Solid Color Fill Layer with the mask filled with black (CTRL+I in white layer mask) and the edges painted back.

Image 5: First the image was duplicated and taken into Topaz Clarity (John Barclay Basic Settings from Image 3 was used, then Tone Level Black Level 0.13, Midtones -0.16, and White Level 0.30; HSL Filter Sat Red 0.45, Aqua 0.69, and Blue 0.33 were added). The Spot Healing Brush Tool was used to get rid of areas. Then in Topaz Glow my Graphic III Beach preset was applied ( (Here are the adjusted settings I used:  Secondary Glow: Glow Type Light, Glow Strength 0.23, Effect Sharpness 0.47, Electrify 0.17, Simplify Details 0, Brightness 0.36, Contrast 0.62, and the other two 0; Color: Red Sat 1.00, Orange Sat 0.27, Yellow Sat 0.20 and Lightness 0.09, Aqua Sat 0.78 and Lightness -0.26, and Blue Sat 0.49). The Blend Mode and Strength is the same as the blend mode and layer opacity in Photoshop, so usually I do not apply them until I go out of the plug-in so they can be readjusted easily. This time the Overlay blend mode was used and set to 67% layer opacity. A black layer mask was added, and the dog was painted back in. In the Properties Panel, the Density was set to 85% and the Feather 31.6. The last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer that was used to add back just a little contrast and the Blue/Yellow curve was used to move the image to a more cool look. That was it.


HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM DIGITAL LADY SYD!

Image of a red rose and some pretty little flowersTaking a break this week to enjoy the holiday season. Hope everyone is having a great time. This has been a really fun year with my blog and I hope next year has as much in store. So see you next year – Happy New Year!…..Digital Lady Syd

(Okay – I will tell you quickly what I did here. This is just a snap taken at the local grocery of some beautiful flowers they were selling for the holidays – I would have bought them, but I am allergic to cut flowers. Next OnOne (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Perfect Effects 9 Smart Filter Old Man’s Chair preset was applied – my very favorite preset in this plug-in. Painted Textures Pink Impasto texture was added on top and set to Hard Light at 100% layer opacity. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Glow’s Fantasy preset was applied and set to Soft Light at 47% layer opacity. Nik’s Viveza 2 was used to emphasize the rose, and the font is Jokerman. The last step involved adding one of John Derry’s Impasto Layer Styles – these are major cool for a quick painterly look in Photoshop. That was it!)


DIGITAL LADY SYD REVIEWS TOPAZ GLOW

Image of a little Native American Girl with headressThis week Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) released their newest plug-in, Glow, and it is once again so fun and unique! I will say right from the start that if you like plug-ins and filter effects in Photoshop, Topaz has the best selection to chose from. They are raising the bar with their new innovative effects to be used in your images. Topaz Glow is so unusual and I did not think I would like it that much – what can I do with it? But after using it for awhile and combining it with some of their other plug-ins, it is becoming one of my favorites. It brings out detail, color and lighting to get some very nice results. So lets see what we have here.

On the image above, of a beautiful little Native American child, is a good example of the use of color and lighting effects to get a lovely result, especially in the headdress area. First used Topaz Clarity’s Skin Smooth and Brighten II preset (these settings were adjusted: Dynamics Micro Contrast -0.36, Low Contrast -0.41, Medium Contrast -0.09, and High Contrast 0.19; Tone Level – Black Level 0.05, Midtones 0.06, and White Level 0.28) for a more natural skin look that this plug-in does so well. Next Topaz Glow was applied using one of my favorite presets, Mysterious I (these settings were adjusted: Overall Saturation 0.22; Red Saturation -0.63 and Red Lightness 0.23; Orange Hue 0.24 and Orange Saturation 0.62; Yellow Saturation 0.46; Blue 0.66; and Purple Saturation 0.68. Set to Multiply Blend Mode at 100% strength). This preset makes the image very dark as it uses a Dark Glow Type. By setting the blend mode to Multiply, the beautiful color and sharpening in the feathers of the headdress is achieved. A layer mask was added and with a soft round black brush, the face was lightly painted back so the filter did not apply to the face.  Several clean up layers were used and a Curves Adjustment Layer was applied to create a black vignette effect by just dragging the top right dot straight down to the .25 line. The face was lightened just a little bit more using the Camera Raw Radial Filter. That was it. There was not really much manipulation to get this nice result. And what is really nice is that the effect is apparent just in the rather straight lines of the image, but it does not look like just a neon application or over-sharpening of the image. Since there was such a drastic change done on this image, the original is shown below for comparison.

I am finding that using images with lines in the objects work well with this program. Glow can really bring out the details that you did not realize were present. I seem to prefer the effect on flowers and grasses,

Image of trees that were painted and taken into Topaz GlowThis image was done just a little differently. It was first painted in Corel Painter using oil brushes where several sources of this same image were used to get a very colorful and illustrative final result. In Photoshop Topaz Glow was added and the Mysterious II preset selected with a few changes. (Changed Secondary Glow to Dark and set Fractal Strength to 0.20, Red Lightness to -1.00, and Sharpness 0.27. Strength 0.82 and Multiply blend mode.) By using the Secondary Glow, the effect could be emphasized even more to create this rather illustrative effect. On a stamped layer Topaz ReStyle’s Dark Goldenrod Sunset preset (Detail Structure 0.50 and Sharpness 1.00) was applied. I was really please how Painter worked with Glow.

What I Like About Topaz Glow

1. Love the totally unique effects this plug-in creates! Like I said, at first I was not sure how I would use it, but once I got the feel for what the different collections (6 collections and 50 presets) are doing, it became much easier to figure out and get the subtle looks I like.

2. I have an older computer and this plug-in zipped along really nicely when adjusting the large number of sliders (over 70) that were required to get the effects I liked.

3. The results actually work very nicely with several other plug-ins I like to use a lot, especially Topaz Impression and Topaz ReStyle. Below are examples of each of these being used with Glow.

4. Having a duplicate set of sliders to use as a Secondary Glow makes it very useful to fine-tune an effect. I am using this more as I get used to what the slider do.

What I Don’t Like About Topaz Glow

1. There is not an undo function. It makes it a little hard to compare the old setting to the new setting. The company is promising this will be in the update for the program – which by the way, is always free to people who have purchased the program. Maybe this should go under What I Like…… hum! Also you have to go back to the preset list, click on a different preset, and and then go back in to the original preset and start over if you do not like some of your changes.

2. Wish Glow had a mask so the effect could be removed from parts of the image and remain on other parts. Right now you have to apply the effect, then add a layer mask in Photoshop and paint out the effect with a black brush in the mask, to localize the result.

3. Wish we had a few more blend modes to chose from – currently just Normal, Multiply, Screen, Overlay, Soft Light and Hard Light are available.

Image of my miniature mums and Boston Fern on my porchThese are my miniature mums that bloomed on my porch a month ago – they are my very favorite mums! What worked in this image are the lines in the flowers and fern that Glow emphasized. To create this effect, first in Lightroom Seim’s (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) PowerWorkflow Magic Portrait preset and Dave Delnea’s Backlight 002 vertical preset.  (If you want some spectacular lighting effects in Lightroom, you need to check out Dave’s inexpensive presets. These may be the best ones I have ever downloaded.) I like the effect of Glow and Impression used together, which is what this image did. The basic steps are as follows: On a duplicate layer, Topaz Detail 3 was applied using my preset (Medium Details 0.38, Large Details 0.16, and Contrast 0.30). Some clean up was done on a New Layer. Created a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and Topaz Glow was opened – Wonderland preset was applied and set to Multiply blend mode at 66% opacity while still in the plug-in. Now you start to see the magical effect this plug-in can creates. Next Topaz Impression was applied on another stamped layer using the Monet II preset as is. A layer mask was added and some of the Glow detail in the flowers was painted back. One again a Radial filter was used to dial in the center right flowers which is the focal point of the image. A Curves Adjustment Layer was used to add contrast back into the image. Remember that when you apply lots of filters from these plug-in, you almost always need to add a Curves Adjustment Layer or Levels Adjustment Layer to bring back the contrast that gets lost.

Image of Disney Parking Lot Tram Another example of some of the effects you can get on an image. I created this preset and cannot figure out what preset I started using – even my settings are off a bit so I will try to reconstruct this and present another example. The nice webbing effect in the sky and the sleek colors in the front tram area are apparent. To me, this is the way it should look at Disney. The original of this is one is also shown below to give you a comparison. Also Smart Photo Editor using Burton’s frame and lowered effect so some color came through, and Violet Dream effect was used for the border.
Original Images before Topaz Glow appliedTopaz has included their really great color sliders which gives a lot of flexibility to making the image colors look correct. I almost always adjust these sliders in both Glow and Impression. Also I seem to prefer the Multiply blend mode, but discovered that by reducing the Brightness slider some of the other Overlay, Soft Light and Hard Light blend modes will work nicely. I also discovered that the Electrify slider can give some really crazy results so sometimes it needs to be reduced. Still exploring how all these sliders work together – lots of fun here!

There are a couple of things that can be done to make using this program a lot easier. First, check out the manual that does a pretty decent job of explaining all the sliders and what they do. (Go to Help -> User’s Manual) And what I consider is the best resource is to go to Topaz’s webinars website and watch their wonderful videos. UPDATE: Topaz has now posted a really good video called Introduction to Topaz Glow. I find it extremely helpful to know what the software designers were thinking when the program was designed and how others use the plug-in. For example, I learned that in the Neon Collection, if you do not like the non-natural colors in the preset, reduce the Edge Color slider by moving it left to get a more natural look. Or that the Heavy Metal presets look good on cars! Still working on that one. I believe Topaz does have some of the best instructional videos.

Bottom Line

If you love the special effects that so many of Topaz’s filters create, this is a definite “Yes” for you! It creates some very different results and works nicely with their other creative plug-ins. I have been having a lot of fun working on different types of images and will present more as the holidays get past. This is not just a neon filter, but lots of different effects that use the neon-type effect as a starting place. Topaz has once again created something totally different and for that I am grateful – no one else seems interested in doing this. It definitely adds something new in the “artistic” area to give more of a creative style to an image. Thank you Topaz!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Simply Glowing!