This week I thought I would just show a creative way to present your subjects if you get tired of just using a single image. The above image is of a beautiful Lioness at the Jacksonville Zoo. This was supposed to be a sepia tone but after a lot of iterations, the cool tones looked the best to me. By using two images, it displayed her different expressions. These kind of composites can be really beautiful and are fun to do, especially if you have a couple images that compliment each other.
Here are the steps to get the above look: This image was originally post processed in Lightroom as a color image and settings were pasted between the images so they looked similar in tone. Then in a New Document in Photoshop a black background layer was created and the images were added. For the top face, Topaz (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) ReMask was used to select the lion as a nice result could not be achieved with Photoshop’s Select and Mask command. For the foreground Lion, the Pen Tool was used to select her. I tried using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to convert this image to black and white, but it just did not work – the image looked degraded. Instead I used Topaz Studio’s Black and White filter – it has an Orange slider which really worked with a lion image (also Topaz has had the best color sliders since they started), Precision Detail, a Color Overlay using a charcoal blue color (#2e4e62), and Precision Contrast. Still needed something else, so Luminar (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Flex’s Image Radiance filter was added for the soft effect – it just popped this image. In the filter mask, the faces were painted back to retain the detail. A spotlight effect and rim lighting on the right side of both faces was added in Photoshop. Some Mixer Brush magic was used on the upper image to blend her neck into the background, and a Gradient Tool was used on a new layer to slightly darken the top face. This image took some manipulation to get the look I liked – luckily I like to play around with all the different filters! But I think the results can be quite outstanding.
For a slightly different look, these Day Lilies taken at the Harry P. Leu Gardens were put on a black background just like above, but this time a leaf image was added to the upper right edge to add a very subtle feel. (See my Beautiful Leaves Tidbits Blog for the original leaf image.) To get the flowers to light up so much, the Lighting Effects filter in Photoshop was used. A little spotlight effect also helped and some leaves were drawn in to fill them out a little. Next Viveza 2 was used to blend the two images together seamlessly. A Curves Adjustment Layer was used at the end to get the final look.
Here is an older image taken several years ago in Arizona with yet a different way of using this kind of effect. In this case a box was added on top of the image where another image could be inserted. A Color Lookup Adjustment Layer was used to give the background image a really darker feel.
The above is actually a really simple technique. It used to be more popular and was used a lot in wedding photography. It is still a nice way to achieve a different effect.
Well hope you give this one a try – it is a lot of fun and if you have several good shots of something you like, it might look really nice. Will chat at ya soon!…..Digital Lady Syd
This week turned out to be a little strange as my prepared blog needs some permission clarification before posting. Therefore, I decided to pay tribute to my kids and friends up north who were blanketed with over 20 inches of snow. I found this beautiful free stock image on pixabay (original image linked) and added my own touch to it. The deer that is photo bombing the image was supposed to go in the background, but he just so looked so natural in that spot, so that’s where he remains.
Here is a quick run down of how I achieved this sort of old-fashioned look. In Lightroom Trey’s Free Packs A Beautiful Release (from Jan 2015) preset was applied to the original downloaded image – an Adjustment Brush was used to paint the blue color out of the trees from the gradient in the preset. In Photoshop Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Clarity was opened where a Basic Tone Preset by Blake Rudis (here are the settings: Micro Contrast 0.13, Low Contrast 0.28, Medium Contrast 0.16, and High Contrast 0.26) was selected. A black layer mask was added once out of the plug-in and just the center area of the image where the creek turns was painted back for more detail. A New Layer set to Overlay blend mode and a soft round black brush set to 12% opacity was used to burn in a little contrast in the tops of the short trees in the middle. (See my The Best Dodging and Burning Technique! blog.) A Curves Adjustment Layer was put on top. A stamped layer was created on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and the Nik Viveza 2 plug-in was opened to adjust the color tone in the center and soften the outer trees. On another stamped layer Nik Color Efex Pro 4 filters were stacked: Midnight Neutral at 67% opacity, Reflector Efex Silver to add light from the left, and Vignette Blur using Shape 2 and Type 1. This is when I got the great idea to add a deer – this little beauty is an image from Tara Lesher that she graciously let people use. The deer was removed from it’s background using Topaz ReMask 5 and placed in this image. Two Exposure Adjustments Layers were used to sharpen the eyes and the nose. (See my How To Do a Quick Eye Sharpening in Photoshop blog.) Two free snow overlays were added: one by Shadowhouse Creations called Snow Overlay 11 set to Screen blend mode at 74% layer opacity, and one by me called SJ-Snow2-Overlay-slightly blurred, which is a png file, set to 20% layer opacity. Last step was to add Kim Klassen’s Downtown Collection Edith texture (unfortunately I do not believe her textures are available anymore, but 2 Lil’ Owls (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website) has some very similar vintage effect textures) on top set to Overlay at 50% layer opacity. And that is my winter wonderland image.
Here is another wonderful wintry landscape from pixabay. Just screamed HDR effect to me, although it really is more of an illustrative look. This image used another Trey Radcliff’s free Lightroom preset in the package linked above called Xmas Pants Asunder. That is about all that was done to the image in Lightroom. The background was duplicated (CTRL+J) and Photoshop’s Oil Paint Filter was applied. I usually do not use this filter as it looks so canned, but it does one thing really good – it makes snow look fabulous! Also always set as a Smart Object (Smart Filter) so you can go back in and adjust the settings if the effect gets “over-the-top.” (Here are the settings: Stylization 0.8, Cleanliness 8.3, Scale 0.99, Bristle Detail 9.5, Angular Direction -151, and Shine 1.5 – remember to adjust them if the resolution of you image is very high or low.) The trick is not to use too much Shine, but if you do need it stronger, just paint out the areas that have too much striping effect going on in the filter mask. In this image, some of the snow had a little strip-look going on and it was painted out with a black brush in the mask. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was opened up as a Smart Object and three filters were stacked: Tonal Contrast using Balanced Contrast Type, Darken/Lighten Center using Shape 2 and centering effect on the barn, and Vignette Filter using Shape 2 – sampled a whitish color from the image and set the Opacity slider to 81%. Nik Viveza 2 was used to draw focus to the main little building in the front. My SJ Snow1 Overlay from same link as above was added on top and set to 20% layer opacity.
These were just some very easy winter looks that can be added to give your winter shots a very unique feel. Do try out the Oil Paint Filter on snow – the settings I used worked pretty well on a couple of different images I did. Also check out pixabay if you need a new image to work with – they have a great assortment of free stock images. Stay warm until next time!…..Digital Lady Syd
Looks 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.
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
Thought I would share a trick using one of my favorite plug-ins, Topaz ReStyle (see Topaz website link on sidebar at my Tidbits Blog), and how I used it on my bird painting of a Snowy Egret taken at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery quite a while ago. First used Topaz ReMask to separate the bird from his busy background, and then placed one of my Corel Painter backgrounds behind him. Many layers of painting were created using both Fay Sirkis and Melissa Gallo Photoshop brushes – both are Corel Painter Master Elites who also make wonderful Photoshop brushes. See Related Blogs at end regarding these steps.
Since I love Topaz ReStyle, and use it often, it was opened to change the colors in my bird image by applying the colors from a previous image I had painted. So how can this be done.
RESTYLE TIP: If you only want to tweak the colors, but not change the actual color scheme of your image, it is very easy to create a preset of just the colors already in your image which can then be adjusted. ReStyle creates Color Style sliders that represent the 5 major colors in your image so the Hue, Luminosity and Saturation can be adjusted individually. Also Basic sliders for adjusting the Temperature and Tint, Tones, and Details including one of my favorite effects, the Structure slider, will be available to use on your image.
- Press RESET button located on bottom right corner to remove any of the old settings that may appear from the last time the plug-in was opened. You will see that the Hue, Sat and Lum sliders all “zero” out and at this point only make very subtle changes to the image, especially if set to a different blend mode. The Basic sliders will show the changes to the image.
- Next click the (+) button (on the bottom left) and save a preset in a Collection – I created one called Colors from Images.
- Now all the ReStyle and Basic sliders will be available to adjust along with blend modes and mask brushes for each section.
On the bird image above, I used the the ReStyle preset created from the dancer image shown below. You can see my other image presets in my collection on the left including the one used with this image, and on the right are the actual major color sliders that are in the dancer’s image. (Click on screenshot to see larger view in Flickr.) All the sliders are set to “0” so they can be adjusted independently. This is a really great way to use this program. I am finding that if I like the color scheme in one of my images, it is nice to create a preset from it to use on future images. ReStyle has lots of wonderful “canned” presets, but sometimes I like my own color schemes as much. I do not believe ReStyle had a preset with the exact beautiful yellow and greens that were pulled from the dancer’s image.
If you have Topaz ReStyle, try creating a preset next time you are not sure your colors or tones are looking quite right so they can be subtly tweaked. And when bringing another image into the program, be sure to check out some of your own presets created from your favorite images. I have done this several times when I have been unable to get the colors right, and as you can see from my bird picture, many times the color combinations work great on your other images. Lots of cool ways to work with your images with ReStyle. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd
Happy Holiday! Doing just a quick post this week. Thought I would show a beautiful Snowy Egret that required a rather complicated selection to show off his feathers appropriately. The bird was photographed at my favorite St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery where the egrets were in a frenzy looking for mates.
This was not an easy task to get a good selection, especially in the tail area. I created several files and trying out Photoshop CC2015’s Channel selections, Color Range Selection, and Refine Edge, OnOne’s (see sidebar of my Tidbits Blog for website link) Perfect Layers 9.5 and even OnOne’s Perfect Mask 8.0, and Topaz (see sidebar of my Tidbits Blog for website link) photoFXlabs and ReMask. I even combined some using the layer mask in Refine Edge after creating it another way. I can honestly say I spent several hours trying to get a good result, and for this image the winner was:………. Topaz ReMask. It took a little figuring out exactly how to get the tools to do what I wanted, but it by far gave the best results of the techniques tried. That does not mean that the others are not good selection tools, it just means that in this case ReMask ended up being the easier to use and giving the best final results with not a lot of additional tweaking to get the feathers selected. So do not get discouraged if you do not have this filter – OnOne does a great job on most selections, but I just had trouble when tried on this image. Usually Refine Edge will give me great results on hair, but not as good on the bird. Guess the bottom line is, try different selection tools before giving up. One may end up doing exactly what you want.
That being said, if you want to see the way I selected this image in ReMask, check out Darcy Wheeler’s Topaz blog called A Hair Masking Trick That’ll Blow Your Mind. Try adjusting the Color Recovery slider – I set mine close to 100 to get the best results. And check out the Mask Strength to get the best amount showing. Below is how my egret looked inside ReMask before any Brush cleanup, especially in the feather areas. By making your Magic Brush very tiny and zooming in on the image, you can remove some of the haze at the end of the feathers. You can see I added back some of leaves to give him something solid to be standing on.
Also, I should give credit to Jai Johnson textures – they are always wonderful on wildlife images and can be bought individually. This time I used her Soulful Sea Breeze texture under the bird set to 100% layer opacity and Normal blend mode. On top her Filly In the Field texture was set to Normal blend mode at 68% layer opacity which turned the texture into the lovely pinkish tones. The bird was the next layer, and then on top of that, her Soulful Sea Breeze texture was added again – set to Soft Light at 60%. A Color Balance Adjustment Layer was clipped to the texture to get the color adjustment just right – mainly added a little blue and cyan into Midtones and yellows into the Highlights. Some clean up on the foreground leaves and over the bright beak was done, and then Nik Viveza 2 was opened to adjust the strength of the feathers. Last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer to add back some contrast.
Hope this was helpful next time you got totally stumped on a hard selection. Have a great weekend!…..Digital Lady Syd
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.
These 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.
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.
This 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.
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.
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.
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.
This week I only have this one example using an image taken at Harry Potter Land in Universal Studios Orlando, but it works well for this very useful technique. Since I have been learning more about the brush engine in Photoshop, I discovered a rather useful way to link a part of the texture of the background to the brush being used to paint over the image.
Here are the beginning steps to making this image. First converted image to 8-bit (Image ->Mode->8-bit) so the brushes will paint faster. The sky was a very bland flat blue color so it just seemed to be begging for something to perk it up. Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits blog for website link) Detail 3 was applied for an overall image sharpening and then some basic spot cleaning was done since my camera sensor was a little dirty.
Owl Steps: Next an owl brush from a set called harry_potter_brushes_by_nyvelvet-d4qcowz was applied on a New Layer by clicking just once at 100% brush opacity to get a nice owl outline. On another New Layer underneath, some brown was painted in the owl wings and head, then on another New Layer white was painted in other parts of the owl to make it stand out and look painted – just used a regular soft brush at 100% opacity. These three layers were grouped (highlight the layers and press CTRL+G) and named Owl.
A stamped layer was created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top and this layer was opened up in Topaz Simplify where the BuzzSim III preset was applied to use as an underpainting. This broke up the image into a really nice color palette that can be used to sample colors for painting over the main objects. Note you do not have to use Simplify (or Detail above), these are just some ways I am experimenting. An underpainting could be created using different Photoshop filters or adjustments layers. I plan on covering this topic at a later date. Used Topaz ReMask to remove the sky and the selection was loaded as a layer mask from the plug-in (check ReMask settings at bottom to set this up) although Photoshop could easily have used for this as it was a very easy selection. Now a texture needed to be added underneath to fill up the sky and various ones were tried. I settled on French Kiss Atelier Georgia texture (see sidebar at my Tidbits blog for website link) which gave the image a nice painterly feel. Obviously the Simplify BuzzSim edges in the towers looked bad, but it is now time to make a brush to smooth these out.
Creating Brush Steps: A brush was made right in this image by turning off all the layers except the texture layer. Next use the Rectangular (or Elliptical) Marque Tool and select a small portion of the texture that represents an area that might make a nice brush. Press CTRL+J and it copies the brush selection up onto its own layer. Turn off the full texture layer and on top of the sample layer, add a Threshold Adjustment Layer to get a strong nice black and white look – all brushes have to be in black and white tones or it will not pick up the texture. I think my Threshold Level was set to 162. Highlight the brush layer under the adjustment layer and go to Edit -> Define Brush Preset. Down at the bottom of your Brush Presets Panel is your new brush. The new Brush now needs to be turned into a pattern, so on a New Layer a one stroke click was done with the new 208 pixel brush at 100% opacity in a black color. With the Marque Tool again just the brush stroke was selected and then go to Edit -> Define Pattern and name it the same as your brush. Deselect and highlight all three layers to put into another group and name brush and pattern.
Now the rest of the Brush in the Brush Panel must be set up. The Brush Tip Shape size was set 30 pixels and Spacing 56% – keep the Size small but play around with the Spacing watching the Preview area. Next in Shape Dynamics the Control was set to Off and the Angle Jitter to 4% – just enough to give a bit of variation. The last step involved adding the new brush pattern that was just created. By clicking on the down arrow next to the current texture, the last entry should be the new brush pattern just created – select it. Set the Scale to 131% – needs to be set over 100% so no obvious patterning is observed. If you are using the CC or CC 2014 versions of Photoshop, adjust the Brightness and Contrast sliders – I used Brightness -19 and Contrast 11. Make sure the Texture Each Tip is checked and change Mode to Multiply. Depth was set to 100% and Depth Jitter to 59%. All these settings can be manipulated until you get a stroke you like, but these are settings I used on this image. A new Brush Preset was created with these new settings by clicking on the Create New Brush icon at the bottom of the panel. A video going over these brush and pattern steps is below in case you got lost in the description.
Finalizing the Image: Several New Layers were painted using just this Regular Brush to paint over the objects – no mixer involved – and by sampling in the different colors that Simplify supplied, the image could be painted fairly quickly. Basically I like to sample a darker similar color and paint over a light one and vice versa to get a nice blend effect. Since the texture adds enough empty space in the stroke the colors blend nicely and it also looks somewhat like the added large sky texture. This does not have to be painted perfectly and it will give a totally painted look. It really was a lot of fun and did not take too long to complete. A Pattern Adjustment Layer with the new pattern set to 100% Scale was put on top. The layer opacity was set to Normal at just 3% layer opacity – just gave a little bit more of the overall texture. On a stamped layer, a Radial Filter was added in Camera Raw to help draw the focus to the top cupola.
Update: I just added a Tidbits Blogs called A Little More Painting with a Texture Brush where I finished up the image started in the video and got a very different result. Check it out for a couple more tips.
Hope you get a chance to try this – as you can see from the video, a different texture gives a very different brush – some are better and some are worse, but it is nice to be able to match the added texture to the paint brush strokes so the objects fit more smoothly into the texture. Have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd