This week I am presenting a little tutorial on how to add an interesting an painterly or artistic effect to your images. This technique goes hand-in-hand with the use of other creative filters, but is a great way to add a personal touch to those canned filters results. The image above is from Stirling Castle (completion date cc 1542) where the face of the palace is lined with statues. This statue is thought to be King James V of Scotland in yeoman attire as he wandered incognito among his subjects and calling himself the Gudeman of Ballengeich (tenant farmer of Ballengeich, a place near Stirling).
This technique comes from a really nice tutorial by Sebastian Michaels who is a total genius when it comes to using Photoshop. Several years ago he created a video called Custom Brush Technique at Light Stalking where he discussed several different ways of creating brushes. He made a grunge brush that he used to paint in an effect similar to the above. I took a little liberty here and downloaded similar brushes to create some of my effects.
What is shown here is how to add a white layer with a layer mask – by painting with black in the layer mask with unique and textured brushes, a very artistic result can be achieved. The steps are as follows:
- Adjust photo and on a duplicate layer (CTRL+J), add in any special effects such as filters.
- To add even more variety to the image, copy the duplicated layer from Step 1 and add adjustments layers, filters such as Topaz (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Impression or ReStyle, or go to Image ->Adjustment->Hue/Saturation (not an Adjustment Layer) set to colorize to change the overall color of the image. My image was turned into a bluish colorized look on the original filter layer, but could have been done on another duplicated copy.
- Add a New Layer on top and fill it with white (can go into Edit->Fill and Content: White (SHIFT+F5), or just change the color swatches to default Black/White (D) and press CTRL+BACKSPACE to fill with white (FYI: ALT+BACKSPACE fills with black).
- Add a Layer Mask to this layer (2nd icon from left at bottom of Layers Panel).
- Using several different brushes in the layer mask, build up the effect. Set the brushes to 20-30% only and change the rotation of the brush with each tap down. It is easiest to do if the Brush Panel is opened and set to the Brush Tip Shape section. Flip the little circle around to set the stroke so edges appear different when painted in the mask. Also, can right click in the Options Bar the Brush Preset Picker (2nd icon) to change the rotation and size quickly. Start by adding a bit of vignette feel on the edges. If you want the brush to rotate randomly with each stroke, can ago into the Shape Dynamics section and set the Angle Jitter to some amount – I use 19% on many of my brushes. Look at the Preview field to see what the effect will be when changes are made in the Brush Panel.
- If the layer was duplicated and more than one filter or effect was created (as in Step 2), also add a layer mask to all these layers and paint out parts so the original color of the image shows through. This gives a nice split tone look.
To get an interesting effect, try grunge brushes, splatter brushes for the edges, and soft round or smaller sized textured brushes to paint back any important details. Different sizes, rotations and opacities of brushes really vary the effect. And remember the Properties Panel can be used to adjust the layer mask opacity if the final result is too strong. The actual layer blend mode and opacity can be adjusted also. Lots of flexibility can be found here.
The above followed Sebastion’s steps from his video pretty closely including using Photoshop’s Filter Gallery to create a watercolor effect (Watercolor filter – Brush Detail 9, Shadow Intensity 1, Texure 2; and Crosshatch filter – Stroke Length 9, Sharpness 6, Strength 1). This was added to the layer first before the Hue/Saturation Colorize effect was applied. Then the White Layer was placed on top. Three different types of brushes were used on both layer masks: a grunge brush (Shadowhouse Creations’ Grunge Brush Set 2-G4 brush), a grunge brush made using a texture somewhat like Sebastian’s, and Grut FX IL Ratatatsplat brush (from his wonderful Inky Leaks Splatter set) was used for the edge effect. Finished up with Nik Viveza 2 to just pull the eye into the statue area and lightly lighten the face.
This blueberry image used the same workflow. It does not seem as if adding a white layer on top would make much of a difference here, but it actually did. It lightened the image overall before bringing in the color from the layers below and can add some beautiful texture with the right brushes. For this image, Topaz Impression was opened and one of my presets was applied called SJ WC like effect on bldgs (see end of blog for settings). On a duplicate layer, an Image->Adjustments>Hue/Sat-Colorize was set to Hue 46/Sat 27/Lightness +2 – a gold sepia tone. The color did not look right so a Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer was clipped to the layer (ALT+click between the layers) and changed to a more pink color. This layer was set to 33% layer opacity. Brushes used in white top layer mask and the Impression and Colorized layer masks were: SJ 1 Color-Paint Fur-AD Sketch Splatter (see end of blog on how to create this brush-one of my favorites as it adds just a touch of texture to the stroke at a small size and nice splatter brush at larger size) at 25% br opa and 502 px and rotated around edges; Shadowhouse Grunge GB-4 again at 1200 px and rotated around center; and ABlaise-Canvas Texture Br 46 32-350px (this brush added some nice texture into the image). The brush sizes and rotation were varied in each mask. Topaz ReStyle’s Zambezi Zest preset was used to get the French vineyard colors in the image. (Settings: ReStyle Opacity 62% and Soft Light blend mode; Color Style Primary 0.58; and Lum Primary 0.47; Texture Strength 1.00; Basic Temp 0.22, Tint 0.34, and Sat 0.08; Tone Black Level -0.14, Midtones 0.03, and White Level -0.39; and Detail Structure -1.00 and Sharpness 0.63; and Masking – with Strength set to 0.36, painted out the green leaf at bottom and the berries to give more detail in just those areas.) Finished up with the standard Red Channel Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer, Black and White Adjustment Layer set to Luminosity blend mode, and Nik Viveza 2 to bring out the focal points.
Here is another example of how this technique could be used. This is an image of Urquhart Castle in Scotland on a very rainy day. Topaz ReStyle was applied using the exact same preset and settings from the blueberry image. Then a white layer was added on top with a mask. The Castle image was painted back in using the same brushes as above or the newly created Grunge Brush, the SJ 1 Color-Paint fur-AD Sketch Splatter brush (settings below) and once again Aaron Blaise’s Texture brush – his textured brushes really help with this effect when used in a layer mask. The layer was set to 35% layer opacity. On the ReStyle layer, a layer mask was added and parts of the trees and castle were painted out so the original image color showed through. At the top a New Layer was added and filled with a light gold-yellow color. A layer mask was added and once again the image was painted back using the same Grut-FX IL Ratatatsplat for the edges and my SJ 1 Color-Paint Fur brush at a small size for the detail areas. This layer was set to Linear Dodge (Add). To get the final effect, the Layer Style was opened by double clicking on the layer. In the Blend If sliders, the Underlying Layer black tab was split (by holding ALT and pulling the tab apart) and setting it to 10/70. This does not always work, but it definitely worth trying out to see what happens. In this case it brought out the structure more clearly. Nik Viveza 2 was used to pinpoint the focal point which is where the red umbrella is located. Anyway, just note that you are not limited to a white color top layer or using just one color layer. With a little experimenting, a very nice image can be produced. I believe I will use the above image on note cards.
Hope this gives you another little trick to try in your artistic endeavors and maybe it will give your images that extra level of interest it needs. And try out my brush – I am finding it is very useful in lot of different types of images. Have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd
Topaz Impression’s SJ WC like effect on bldgs Settings: Thought I would share the preset settings as it really does give some interesting results sometimes with a little masking when looking for creative effects. The preset was made in Topaz Impression 1: 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. These changes were made to the preset in Topaz Impression 2 for the blueberry image: Number of Strokes High; Color Aqua Sat 0.25 and Lightness 0.51; Lighting Highlight 0.40, Shadow -0.39; and Texture Strength 0.
SJ 1 Color-Paint Fur-AD Sketch Splatter brush has become a favorite brush for all kinds of things. With these brush settings, it is great to paint animal skin but it works great wherever a little soft edge with subtle texture is needed. It is my go-to clean up brush when color needs to be added to fill in some rough spots. Here are the settings: First download these free brushes from Alex Dukal – Adobe Sketch Brushes and select AD Sketch Splatter – 143 px brush. This brush had the brush tip I liked but most of the brush settings were changed. Here are the Brush Panel settings as I use the brush: Brush Tip Shape – Size 9 px, Angle 13 degrees, Roundness 100% and spacing 120%; Shape Dynamics – only the Control field was set to Pen Pressure (for tablet use); Scattering – check Both Axes, Scatter 149%, Count 9, and Count Jitter 54%; Transfer – only the Opacity Control field was set to Pen Pressure, and Smoothing checked. Be sure to create a Brush Preset and a Brush Tool Preset (1st icon on the Options Bar – open the drop down and click the Create New Preset icon – this saves the Options Bar settings). Adjust and paint with different sizes. Can add Texture and Color Dynamics for different look. Also Dual Brush can be interesting. I use this brush sometimes as small as 4 px to clean parts of an image by sampling adjacent colors. Try out the original brush provided as it is a really nice splatter brush.
Thought I would do a short post of my favorite images from the last year – have not done this in a while. For more info on photo adjustments, click on the image to go to Flickr where links to the original blogs are available. Hope you enjoy my favs!Image above is from the Viera Wetlands in Brevard County and used the Orton Effect.
This beautiful Malayan Tiger was post-processed using the fabulous Topaz (for website link, go to my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Impression 2 filter. This is one of my favorite images created using Impression.
Image of this peach rose is one that was painted in Photoshop with the mixer brushes, and the background was created in Corel Painter – then the layers were stacked in PS.
The original image was taken in Washington, DC, around 1922 was cropped and hand-tinted in Photoshop. I find it is really fun to hand-tint old images found at Shorpy.com.
This is the Flagler Kenan Pavillion at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Florida. It is one of the lightest, brightest rooms I have seen and is on the IntraCoastal Waterway. This effect was created with the no longer available Lucis Pro 6.0.9 Photoshop plug-in – too bad that in 2016 it finally became a reasonable purchase and then it discontinued.
Image is of St. Trinity Church as seen from the Mir Castle in Belarus. This image was painted in Photoshop using Jack Davis’s painting action.
These three painted Florida birds are presented in a Lightroom template with the background added in Photoshop. The birds were all painted in Photoshop and the bird backgrounds painted in Corel Painter.
This image is an example of a composite that integrated several elements into a story.
Image taken with a LensBaby Composer on my camera which gives a very lovely soft effect.
These flowers were painted in Paintstorm Studio, a really nice painting program.
Next week I plan to continue presenting all the Fun Tips and Tricks that can be done in Photoshop with a little painting mixed in!…..Digital Lady Syd
This week I am going to do a quick post on the Corel ParticleShop plug-in for Photoshop. Lots of ParticleShop info is on YouTube about how to use this plug-in, so this blog is just a quick introduction. Thought I would show the before and after applying the filter to the images to give a feel for what these brushes can do. The tree image above was taken in Florida and there was absolutely nothing that great about it. Below is the original image after coming out of Lightroom where just the basic sliders were adjusted.
The plug-in is now accessed from the Filter menu in Photoshop so it is really easy to open up once the program has been loaded. The Exclusive Pack of brushes are loaded when the basic plug-in software is purchased. It consists of 10 different brushes that represent some of the various brush sets you can buy at Corel. This image used three brushes – the Cluster Brush, the Fur Brush and the Flame Brush. The brushes do have a bit of a Painter brush feel to them, as there are several extra variations for the some of the brushes that PS does not offer. All the brushes offer Size and Opacity and the option to turn on pressure sensitivity for both. The Fur Brush also offers a Value Variability – set to 0 and the brush paints with 100% selected color. When set to the max 50%, 50% of the Color Picker Triangle values are added into the stroke. Somewhat like PS Brush Panel’s Color Dynamics Brightness Jitter slider. The Color Picker can be pinned to the interface and there is a Glow checkbox that can be added to your strokes. Set Glow to a darker color to get a full range from dark to light on your stroke. In this case, the tree leaves were brightened using the Cluster Brush to give that special effect to the little tree and the red tree branches. There is also an Eraser brush to remove unwanted strokes and soften areas and Mixer brush to blend the effects. Several people recommended using the Eraser at a very low opacity to smooth as opposed to using the Mixer which tends to smear a little. What I really like about this program is that you have the option to save just the brush strokes made on the image to its own layer in PS where you can further manipulate the results.
I was very skeptical when Corel came out with these brushes since I use Painter and the Particle Brushes are not ones I use much. Therefore, why would I want to use them in PS? After experimenting with them, I found these brushes can be useful for getting a special effect to finish off an image. I really liked the effect in the image above. Adding them in at the end of the workflow seems to work best for me. As far as I am concerned, the only problem with these filters is the cost – by the time you buy most of the packs, it gets very expensive. I have been having trouble figuring out which extra packs are the best for doing the enhancements I like without getting them all.
Here is another image that used the ParticleShop filter brushes – this time just the Cluster brush was used on the individual stalks using purple and darker brown colors. It can be seen how much more color is in the image by just adding a few colorful strokes onto the stalks. In Photoshop, this layer was set to Overlay blend mode at 80% layer opacity. To finish up the image, Topaz (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Texture Effects 2’s 90s Cloud preset was applied, and next Topaz Impression 2. The original color from the Cluster Brush strokes layer gave the other filters more colors to work with to get the overall final image. Below is the image as it looked coming from Lightroom with just basic slider adjustments.
My final example is of my crazy dancing diva Snowy Egret that I painted a while back. To see the original image, click this link. This image is a little over-the-top, but I wanted to see what I could get for fun. This time the Fabric brush was used to create the long light lines surrounding the bird, the Cluster Brush (I seem to like this one a lot) was used on some of the feathers in the bird body, and the Wild Grain brush (which includes Count and Grain settings) was used in parts of the ground and background areas.
Basically these brushes are a lot of fun. As far as I can tell, there is no free download to try them out. I would love to be able to afford all the brushes, but the basic pack that comes with the plug-in is pretty good. It might make a nice extra Christmas present for the the die-hard Photoshop person. Hope everyone is enjoying the start of the holiday season. Have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd
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Since I am a big fan of Topaz products and Impression 2 is one of my favorite plug-ins, I had to share this effect I learned from a Topaz Labs webinar this week. An artist named Bobbie Goodrich presented a webinar called RAW to Envisioned (will add link once it is posted). She used a leopard in a tree image to create a similar effect to the one above. My image was taken of a Hobby Lobby’s Thanksgiving display showing some of their wonderful objects for sale. I might add Bobbie had several other great tips, this one just stood out to me as so creative!
Here is how Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Impression was used to create this image. The other post-processing steps are listed at the end of the blog under Image 1 Info. On a Stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), Topaz Impression 2 was opened. The preset named Le Modern was downloaded from the Community and Bobbie’s settings were then applied as listed: Stroke Section – No. of Brush Strokes Low, Paint Volume 1.00, Stroke Rotation 1.00, Rotation Variation 1.00, Stroke Color Variation 1.00, Stroke Width 0.80, Stroke Length 1.00, Spill 0.03, and Smudge 0.12. What really helps create the effect is the Coverage slider – set to a low amount like 0.01, it will show the smallest amount of image; set to a large amount, the whole image will appear. The Coverage Transition slider adjusts the way the edges blend out. Bobbie used a Coverage of 0.01 and a Transition Amount of 0.08. The Coverage can be repositioned to adjust exactly where the effect shows up by either using the little center icon to the left of the Coverage Center or dragging the white dot in the box. She did not include any changes to the Lighting, Color and Texture sections. I used these settings to make a preset named SJ Leopard Preset by Bobbie Goodrich so I could remember how I use it. She apparently is going to upload her actual preset to the Topaz Impression2 Community, but it was not available when I last checked – will add link if I find it. Otherwise the settings above are from the webinar and are a good starting point.
Now these are the changes I made to the created preset above on the holiday image: Stroke Coverage 0.00, Coverage Transition 0.14, Coverage Center X 0.09/Y 0.03; Lighting Brightness -0.55, Contrast 0.00, Highlight -0.56, Shadow 0.80 and Light Position X -0.90/Y 0.77, Vignette 0.53, Vignette Strength 0.76, Vignette Transition 0.52, Vignette Roundness 0, and Vignette Center x 0.00/y 0.00. The Masking was set to Spot Transition 1.00 and Color Aware 0.71. At the bottom of the panel the Opacity was set to 1.00 Opacity and Lighter Color Blend Mode. The Masking section can be crucial as to how the effect fits into the image. Also the Vignette color can be adjusted to get some nice additional effect on the image.
This image of Holyrood Abbey illustrates more of the artistic feel I think Bobbie was going after. This time the Color section was also used with the above preset and the reds and yellows were adjusted. Also the Lighting section was used to add Brightness, Contrast and a white Vignette. Definitely need to play around with these settings as they can make a big difference in how the final effect looks. The vignette adds to the white space around the image (these settings were used: Vignette 0.71, Vignette Strength 1.00, Vignette Transition 0.72, Vignette Roundness 0.66 and white color). For more image info, check Image 2 Info below. Once you get to this point, it is time to go into the Mask section – and once again I used the Spot Tool. Bobbie used the Luminosity and Brush tabs in her examples, but for this technique, I prefer the Spot Tool (which I could never find a good use for before, so this is nice). The screen capture below shows what the mask looks like – by moving the Edge Aware slider to the right, a more precise selection appears. Adjust the circle into an oval to make the selection fit the image properly.
Another example of using the same Topaz Impression2 preset, this time turning the result into a black and white. This image was taken at the Jacksonville Zoo where these beautiful lions were resting in the sun on a Spring day. This time Topaz Glow2 was used to get a nice lighting effect-used Blake Rudis’s Animal preset. On a stamped layer, Topaz Impression 2 was opened and the same SJ Leopard Preset by Bobbie Goodrich was used with these setting changes: Spill -0.61, Smudge 0.12, Coverage 0, Coverage Transition 0.03, Coverage Center X-0.25/Y0.26; Color Red Hue 0.03 and Sat -1.00; Lighting Brightness -0.21, Contrast 0.12, Highlight 0.52, and Shadow 0.67; and Masking Spot Transition 0.87 and Color Aware 0.65 – centered just on the faces. For more info on image, check out Image 3 Info below.
This effect was a lot of fun to do – give it a try if you want a pretty card or gift label. You definitely have to experiment with the Coverage sliders, Vignette sliders and the Masking tabs to get different looks. Changing the Stroke number from Low to Med or High gives very different looks. Even if the colors do not look just right, they can be adjusted back in PS with the Color Balance or Selective Color Adjustments Layers. I want to try some further experimentation with it, but this is definitely an effect I like. Until next week, have a good one!…..Digital Lady Syd
IMAGE 1 INFO: This image was actually taken with my Android – just did the normal Basic Panel adjustments in Lightroom. In Photoshop it took a lot of clone stamping to get rid of the price tags. Luckily they were all pretty small. On a stamped layer on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Lucis Pro (no longer available) was used to sharpen the overall image (any sharpening filter could be used, it just needed some sharpening at this point). On a duplicate layer, Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits blog for website link) ReStyle was used to get a nice color palette – used Ash Gray and Eggshell preset with minor changes. On another duplicate layer, Topaz Glow was opened and My Bliss preset was downloaded from the Community – while in the plug-in, the preset was set to Multiply blend mode at 50% opacity. On another stamped layer, the Topaz Impression 2 preset from above was applied. Last step was to add a little Nik Viveza 2 to the image to really sharpen up the focal point.
IMAGE 2 INFO: Topaz Adjust was used to add contrast to the overall image using the Adaptive Exposure and Adaptive Regions sliders. On a stamped layer Topaz Clarity was used to add contrast (check out Topaz Labs webinar Creative Essentials with Topaz Plug-ins Plus the Official Introduction to Glow 2 by Joel Wolfson for more info on this.) Then Topaz Impression 2 was applied with the above info on a stamped layer. Back in PS, the image was cropped to balance the image. Nik Viveza 2 was used to adjust the focal point. Since I was not quite happy with the color effect, a Color Balance Adjustment Layer was used to add a little blue to the shadows and yellow to the highlights.
IMAGE 3 INFO: After adding Topaz Glow 2 and Impression 2, a stamped layer was created and Nik Silver Efex Pro2 was opened and the Fine Art (High Key) preset was applied. On another stamped layer, believe it or not, Topaz Black & White Effects’s Tone II was applied with the Red filter chosen and Transparency set to 0.28. It was set to 52% layer opacity. Two Exposure Adjustment Layers were added for the female eyes and nose. Topaz Texture Effects 2 was opened and the Soft Grunge Mauve Fog – Basic Adjustment Brightness 0.29, Shadow 0.18, Highlight -0.22, Clarity 0, Sat -0.20, Temp 0.08, Tint -0.02 and Enable Masking-Mask Luminosity 0.45 and Range 0.75; Texture Brightness -0.12, Contrast 0.26, Detail 0.45, Sat 0.37, Color Strength 0.36, and Color 0.28; Color Overlay #71595c (R113/G89/B92), 0.39 Opacity, and Soft Light blend mode; and Masking section painted just a little back to the face using a Strength of 0.34.
Just getting back into the swing of Photoshop. Decided to try and get a fine art feel from my images taken at the Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden – a monotone feel was needed since the greenery around the sculpture was overwhelming the beauty of the actual sculptures.
For the above image, first on a duplicate layer the Refine and Place panel was used to select the sculpture and remove it from the background. It was added as a layer mask to the layer. Then two texture were stacked underneath the texture.
Texture: The first one was one of my textures and was actually made in Photoshop using Just Jaimee 2012 Summer Brush Sampler Freebie – painted with her Texture Brush using a light gold color, on New Layer another Texture Brush layer used a light grayish blue around the sides a little, and on a third layer the Misty Brush created an upper right lighter goldish area. Then on another New Layer, blended around the edges with a mixer. Once saved as a JPG, it was brought into the image set to Normal blend mode at 100% layer opacity. Very simple to create. The second texture was by Kim Klassen called Pinit 11, which was a white and slightly gray cement texture – very easy to do photograph a similar texture yourself. It was set to Pin Light blend mode at 55% layer opacity.
Google (Nik) Silver Efex Pro 2: On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top, applied the now free Silver Efex Pro 2 to the image using the High Structure (harsh) preset which really emphasized the texture in the background. Global Adjustment Structure section was changed to 33% and the Midtones to 27%. The only other change from the original preset was to change to Toning to No. 13, which give the beautiful color in the image.
Did a little Dodging and Burning using Curves Adjustment Layers to emphasize the sculpture properly. (See my How To Use Curves Adjustment Layers to Dodge and Burn and Image blog.) Last step involved creating a Red Channel Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer to just blend the whole image together by pulling slightly down. (See my How To Use a Red Channel to Create a Nice Blended Image Effect blog.) Used Photoshop’s Lighting Effect Filter with a Spot light to slightly lighten up behind the sculpture – set to 63% layer opacity. The font is called Gadugi from Microsoft. That is all that was done other than cleaning a few areas that did not blend correctly including the sculpture stand. I really enjoyed working on this image!
The palm trees above reminded me of nature’s sculptures versus the beautiful Gardens sculptures. I wanted a dreamy effect and it turned out to look a little like an infrared shot. The sculpture is called Forgotten World III by Norman Sunshine. Lucis Pro 6.0.9 (no long available) was used to sharpen up the image first. Silver Efex Pro2 was used again but this time the Fine Art High Key preset was applied without the frame and some contrast adjustments to start getting that dreamy feel – played with the Soft Contrast to get that feel. On a stamped layer Topaz (for website, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Lens Effects and applied the Moderate Diffusion filter as is. Topaz Impression 2’s Cave Dweller I was applied as is on another stamped layer. Used On1 Effects 10’s (for website, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Strong Vignette as is and set it to 62% layer opacity in PS. Did a little dodging and burning around the palm trees to differentiate them from the background. (See my The Best Dodging and Burning Technique! blog.) Some clean up was done and that was it!
If you have an image that is just overwhelming your subject, try going to a monochromatic effect to help isolate your subject better. It works really well with the green and yellow images. Hope you have a wonderful week!…..Digital Lady Syd
Totally psyched that Topaz (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Impression updated their plug-in to Version 2. Know you will see lots about this on the internet, but I am enjoying using it so much I wanted to share some of my initial responses to the program. I am surprised how much more they added to what I considered already a fabulous program! The image above used the a Watercolor II preset with some changes created in version 1 and still works great in the newer version. I call it SJ WC Like Effect-modified preset and can be downloaded in the Community Library. (For more info on post-processing on all images, check out the end of blog – this will give you a feel how many different filters and plug-ins can work together to get these effects.) If you own Topaz Impression version 1, this update is free!!! Best deal around – all of Topaz Labs’s plug-in updates are always free once you own it!
- It is now much more similar to Topaz Texture Effects, which started out with this new interface that includes a Community where you can download presets when something different is needed. This has totally hooked me on Texture Effects, so the possibilities are endless as the Impression Community of presets are added.
- According to Denise over at the Topaz Labs blog, there are now over 30 new loaded presets plus those that will be available in the Community library. And the layers can now be set to all the Blend Modes inside the plug-in.
- New sliders and buttons have been added to the Stroke section – Number of strokes, Large Brush Volume to adjust large areas of color, and Rotation Variation to add randomness to the stroke effects; and in the Lighting section – new Highlight and Shadow sliders.
- My favorite new feature is the Masking section where there are four different masks with different sliders to make your image totally unique. According to Topaz Labs:
- The Spot Mask – Create a soft vignette effect, a subtle transition. It is somewhat like the Radial Filter in Lightroom or the Camera Raw filter.
- The Color Mask – Uses color value differences to create a mask that is great for images clearly defined by color edges.
- The Luminosity Mask – Uses luminosity values to determine edges for the mask and create it. It create detailed effects on light sources and glowing parts of image.
- The Brush Mask – Can brush the effect in and out, and touch up edges around your subject. Use the Color Aware tool to create a clean mask along edges of your subject. This is a wonderful way to add detail to your Focal Point of your image.
It appears that only one Mask can be used for each Impression layer. I particularly like this Brush tab to remove the painterly effect and enhance the detail in your focal point. The large Mask window is very useful to see what is being affected in your image. Wonderful effects can be achieved in this section!
This image of a restaurant located in the Cityplace shopping area of West Palm Beach used the Modern Urban Street Art III preset to get this very modern sketchy feel. (Changed the texture to Grass Patchy set to Texture Strength 0.89, Texture Size 1.00, and Texture Color of Red 255/Green 238/Blue 174).) In this case once the preset was applied, the layer was duplicated. The first layer was set to Color Dodge at 100% opacity and the second layer was set to Divide at 77% layer opacity. Layer masks were added and a few areas that did not look correct were lightly painted out with a soft black brush. This combination worked nicely on this image to give a real Florida look to the image. See Image 2 below for more post-processing info.
Another example of using this updated plug-in. This was a bird topiary of flowers at Cityplace in West Palm Beach – this was actually a fountain where suds had been introduced to the water. For some reason it felt right to add a slight painterly effect to give a wintry cool feeling. This image used one of Impression’s new presets, one which I really like, called Chalk Smudge. In the Masking section, painted out parts of bird so they showed up sharper – then tried to add back a little bit of effect by using the Erase tool (white droplet) to remove areas looking too sharp (set to lower Strength). Opacity slider for all settings was set to 0.74 and to Normal blend mode. See Image 3 for more info.
As you can see, this update contains a lot of new things – some I have not fully explored. All-in-all, very nice update! For my version 1 review, check out my Digital Lady Syd Speaks Out on Topaz Impression blog. Once again the Topaz Labs group has done a wonderful job on their plug-in! I am sure I will be playing with this plug-in for days to come as the original was one of my favorite – now it is even better! Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd
POST PROCESSING INFO ON ABOVE IMAGES:
Image 1: Duplicated the layer and entered the Topaz Impression 2 plug-in. Went to the Community tab and downloaded my SJ WC Like Effect-modified preset to apply this result. In a layer mask back in Photoshop, lightly painted back just the two foreground flamingos to bring back a little bit of detail to the birds. Next used a blender brush on a New Layer to clean up a little bit of the messiness caused by the painterly preset from Impression 2. Used another New Layer to add a little line delineation on the trees. Created a stamped layer on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and took the layer into Topaz Black & White Effects. (Used my SJ Old Fountain preset. Settings included: Conversion Basic Exposure: Contrast 0.02, Brightness 0, Boost Blacks 0.06, Boost Whites 0.00; Adaptive Exposure: 0.30, Regions 8, Protect Highlights -0.05, Protect Shadows 0.00, Detail 2.00, Detail Boost 1.00, and check Process Details Independently; Finishing Touches: Silver and Paper Tone: Tonal Strength 0.20, Balance 0, Silver Hue 32.00, Silver Tone Strength 0.50, Paper Hue 32.00, and Paper Tone Strength 0.15; Quad Tone: Color 1 Region 0.00 set to R0/G0/B0, Color 2 Region 142.5 set to R75/G78/B96, Color 3 Region 228.0 set to R222/G220/B172; and Color Region 4 255.0 set to R255/G255/B255; Border – Type Solid Black Size 0.46; Edge Exposure Left and Right Edge Size 0.20, Edge Exposure 0.17, and Edge Transition 0.20; and Top and Bottom Edge Size 0.20, Edge Exposure 0.40, and Edge Transition 0.20; Vignette: Strength -0.47, Size 0.85, Transition 0.61, and Curvature 0.54; and Transparency to 1.00; and in Local Adjustment used the Burn tool to darken the background, Color on the Bird, and Dodge on the trees to enhance where the lines of the trees were.) On a new stamped layer opened Topaz Texture Effects (Used SJ Crisp Morning Run Modified preset – Texture: changed to bright turquoise texture (halfway down on right column) with Opacity set to 0.29; Vignette – Strength 0.60 and Size 0.53 with Color centered on between bird and trees; in Mask painted back the bird and a little bit of light in trees and background behind bird – used Strength of 39 and Hardness of 20 using black.) In a layer mask and the Gradient Tool selected, a black to white gradient was created from top to bottom to darken the upper edges a little. Image 1 is the final result.
Image 2: This image was difficult to clean up – first the Adaptive Wide Angle filter was used in PS to straighten the walls somewhat. Then the open areas that resulted were cleaned up with the the clone brush. Next the Topaz Impression 2’s Modern Urban Street Art III preset was applied and the plug-in was exited. The layer was duplicated and said before, the first layer was set to Color Dodge blend mode at 100% layer opacity and the second layer was set to Divide blend mode at 77% layer mode. A little clean up was done on another layer and finally on a stamped layer, Nik Viveza 2 (now free) was used to bring in the focal area a little – located where the foreground grouping of chairs on the sidewalk. On another stamped layer a Camera Raw filter Radial filter was used to lighten the left side of the image and darkening the right side a little. A little painting was done on a New Layer and the last step was to use a Curves Adjustment Layer to average out the tone.
Image 3: So what was done in this image to get a really surreal effect? First Topaz Detail 3 was used to sharpen up the flowers only (used black mask and painted back only flowers). One of my Corel Painter textures called SJ Beach Scene was used to add a brownish foreground and a light bluish sky. Another one of my textures called SJ Forest and Plains was placed on top to add the wave or outer space feel in the upper left corner especially – it was set to Luminosity blend mode at 79% layer opacity. The background was copied and placed on top – the top part of image was selected and placed in a layer mask so the people and cars in the area were removed. Then several layers were about used to clone out and clean up image areas. On another New Layer, a basic small snow brush was used to add the wintry feel to the sky. A stamped layer was created and Topaz Lens Effects was opened where the Graduated Neutral Filter was selected and set to the Graduated bottom half 2 stops preset. On another stamped layer, Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was used to – Flypapers Fly Book & Skull Preset was applied (this contained the Glamour Glow, Reflector Efex, Film Efex: Vintage, and Cross Processing filters). Another stamped layer was created and finally Topaz Impression 2 was opened where the Chalk Smudge Preset was used. In the Masking section, painted out parts of bird so they showed up sharper – then tried to add back a little bit of effect by using the Erase tool to remove areas looking too sharp (set Eraser brush to lower Strength). Opacity slider was set to 0.74 to Normal blend mode. The birds floral eye was worked on next. The Liquify Tool was used to increase the size of the eye and an Exposure Adjustment Layer was used to make it stand out a little. (See my How To Do a Quick Eye Sharpening in Photoshop blog.) A Red Channel Curves Adjustment Layer was added to blend image a little better. (See my How To Use a Red Channel To Create a Nice Blended Image Effect blog.) On a stamped layer Lucis Pro was used to further blend the sky in a little nicer. (Settings used are Enhance Red Channel 175/Green Channel 195/Blue Channel 149 and Assign Original Image Color set to (0% Processed /100% Original.) (See my Digital Lady Syd Reviews Lucis Pro 6.0.9 (Now Affordable!) blog.) On a New Layer Grut’s FX Cloud Gumbo 01a brush was used to fill in the water to look like built up snow. (These brushes are terrific and very handy for image clean up!) A Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer was added on top and set to a light beige – it was set to Color Blend Mode at 57%. It made the statue look a little better and the red flowers less saturated – painted out the sky so it was not affected. Last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer to reduce the overall tone just a little. This was a huge workflow, but you can see how the Impression plug-in works very nicely with many of the filters from both Topaz and other vendors.