Anything Photoshop or Photography


Total Eclipse of the Moon!

Image at Totality of the Total Eclipse of the Moon from Florida
Image of lunar eclipse taken on April 15, 2014 at 03:45:37 AM from northeastern Florida showing what was considered totality according to Astronomy Magazine. Image was shot with my AF-S Nikkor 70-300 mm 1:4.5-5.6 G lens set to aperture priority mode at F/5.6, 300 mm focal length (with crop factor 450 mm), and ISO 1600, with a resulting shutter speed of 2.0 sec. My Nikon D300 was set up on a tripod with a shutter release cord to get the sharpest results. Unfortunately the sky  was not all that clear when the photos were being shot and my equipment is not the latest, but all in all, I think it did a fair job of getting a beautiful lunar eclipse shot. No post-processing in Lightroom – just did not help. Took image into Photoshop and used Topaz (see sidebar for website link) DeNoise (Overall 10, Shadows 34), then applied a black layer mask and just painted in a few areas that really needed it – really not too much adjustment here even though my camera does not handle ISO 1600 real well. Topaz Detail 3 was applied (here are the settings: Small Details 0.28, Small Details Boost -0.02, Medium Details 0.55, Medium Details Boost 0.15, Large Details 0.61, and Large Details Boost -0.29 – best plug-in around for this type of detail work) and once again a black layer mask was applied and just a few areas were added back to get more detail in the moon surface. The text font is Monotype Corsive at 38 points. That was it! It was so much fun to go out and shoot at night. Also check out my blog of a lunar eclipse taken on 12/21/10 called Shooting a Lunar Eclipse for more info. Have a great day!…..Digital Lady Syd

Painting Scotland!

Painted image of the Scottish Highlands
This image was painted from a shot I took while in Scotland several years ago – just can’t get enough of this beautiful country! This is where I am at with my painting journey. The basic image was painted in Corel Painter with some brushes I created after reading an older book by David Cole called Complete Digital Painting Techniques. Even though it uses an older software edition, I was able to follow his workflow for creating an oil painting and to create the brushes he was using in his example. I still had to supplement with a couple oil brushes from Fay Sirtis, a Corel Master who makes wonderful Painter and Photoshop brushes. After completing what I could in Painter, the image was brought into Photoshop and a Solid Fill Layer was added under the painted layer to add just a little different color in the areas that were not covered with paint, just to give a little interest. Come clean up was done to smooth out some rough edges, and a couple Radial Filters were applied using the Camera Raw filter. That was it and is where I am with my Painter journey, and oh yes, it was lots of fun to do!…..Digital Lady Syd

Lantern at Stetson

Image of a large lantern at Stetson Univesity
This beautiful large lantern was sitting on top of a large brick wall introducing Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, where my son goes to school. This was an easy image to post-process – just a little detail sharpening using Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail 3 so the glass etching could be seen better. Used a black layer mask and just painted back the glass areas. Next I used Mellisa Gallo (one of my favorite texture people) of Painted Textures November Twilight texture set to Linear Light blend mode at 100% layer opacity and April Impasto texture set to Multiply at 52% layer opacity – these were both from great deals she runs on her website each month. The lantern was painted back softly in a layer mask on each texture so the etchings still show up nicely. Now to get the lantern to light up just a little, I tried several different things and it just did not look right. My last attempt was using Nik’s Viveza 2 and setting a Control Point in the lantern. Then the Warmth was set to 44%, Brightness 36%, Contrast -32%, Saturation 52%, and Shadow Adjustments 100% to get the soft glow in the lantern. This filter never lets me down! Anyway, this image is just the way I wanted it!…..Digital Lady Syd

Smudging Those Petals!

Image of some pretty spring flowers
Last week I did a blog on using the smudge tool on my Fun Photoshop Blog (see How to Use the Smudge Tool). Thought I would post another example of the some of the nice results you can get when using it. In Lightroom Jared Platt‘s Pops Image preset was applied from one of his Presets, Presets, Presets! CreativeLive classes – this particular preset uses a Linear Tone Curve. In Photoshop some clean up was done, and Topaz (see sidebar for image website) Detail 3 was used to sharpen my focal point area. Next Topaz Simplify 4 was set to BuzSim preset with the Edge Strength set to 1.54. Once applied, a layer mask was used so just the center of the focal point has the plug-in applied. On a New Layer the Smudge Brush was used at 80% Strength to give the painterly effect to the petals. Just painted to give different opacities to each petal. Jai Johnson‘s Intenseblue-Canvas texture was applied and the flowers painted back softly in a layer mask using my chalk brush. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) the Camera Raw filter was applied as a Smart Object and the Radial Filter was used to create the soft vignette. The last step involved using a mask created by Studio Viva Artistry on Studio Girls Scrapbookgraphics called Viva_Pennmanship_mask3 to add some additional interest. I really like the effect the Smudge Brush gives!…..Digital Lady Syd

The Red-Roofed Barn

Image of an old barn with a red roof in Jackson, Mississippi
Here is a good example of what not to do – I have no real idea how I post-processed this image of a red-roofed barn in Jackson, Mississippi, last week on my laptop, as it got saved accidentally as a flattened .psd file. I really like the results so I am going to guess. I believe that I placed a sepia version on top of a regular version by bring in two versions from Lightroom. With the sepia layer on top, I lowered the opacity a little on the sepia toned layer, and then back more of the the beautiful red roof and light green foreground. Usually I w0uld have removed all the wires, signs, and telephone lines, but in this case, it seems to really be how to the image actually looked. A stamped version (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created on top of the layers, and a fairly strong vignette was added in OnOne (see sidebar for website link) Perfect Effects 8 along with some sharpening. This software does a really nice job on landscapes like this. Anyway, I liked the photo so I thought I would post it……Digital Lady Syd

Heathcliff in Toon Lagoon

Image of Heathcliff the Cat at Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida
Just a funny picture comic character Heathcliff the Cat from Toon Lagoon at Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida. Just had fun doing this one. Actually used Topaz (see sidebar for website link) photoFXlab’s Instatone tool to get the really pretty sunset looking sky – it was really a bright blue sky and the middle of a sunny day. Created a watercolor border frame by painting around the edges of a New Layer on top and with a light purple color Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer, the color was clipped to the frame (ALT+click between the two layers to clip). The Camera Raw Filter’s Radial filter was applied to try to draw the focus of the image to Heathcliff. Overall a pretty striking image that I would never have gotten without Instatone. Lots of fun to do!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
InstaTone in photoFXlabs – Great Fun and Great Results!
Digital Lady Syd’s Review of Topaz photoFXlab v1.1
InstaTone Sunset

Harry Potter World

Image of Harry Potter Land at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida
Having some fun here with two of my favorite filters in Photoshop. This is just an image of the tops of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studio in Orlando, Florida. Did basic slider adjustments in Lightroom, then in Photoshop applied Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail 3 to sharpen. Added a couple clouds from my free Cloud Brush Set, and applied Nik’s Analog Efex Pro plug-in to get the real vintage feel. Used Puppet Warp twice to try and straighten the towers which are not straight no matter what, but I wanted the big one in the middle straight looking. (See my Straightening with Puppet Warp! blog.) Added a layer style to create the framing. That was it……Digital Lady Syd

Where Am I?

Image of Lost Continent Building at Universal Studios in Orlando
Loved the result of this interesting structure taken at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, that houses a The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show. This image originally had a really ugly sky in it, so I added one of my skies I took over the Intracoastal Waterway when sailing – much nicer looking with clouds! The birds were actually in the photo. Refine Edge was used to get a nice demarcation between the new sky and the rocks. Topaz (see sidebar for website) Detail 3, Topaz ReStyle using Orange Orchard preset, and Topaz Adjust using French Countryside preset were all applied. In Photoshop the Camera Raw Radial Filter was used to direct to the dome as the focal point. That was it. One of my favorite images from the day!…..Digital Lady Syd

A Splash of Color

Image of an orange silk flower with texture applied
Love the texture on this flower. Lightroom basic changes, Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail 3 for sharpening the focal point, Mixer Brush painting on flower – Fays Signature Pastel Blender 02 on image above, Curves Adjust Layer for contrast, Painted Texture‘s Dark Naples Yellow texture twice using Linear Light and Multiply blend modes. A composite layer (CTRL+SHIFTS+ALT+E) was created and turned into a Smart Object. In the Smart Object the blend if This Layer dark tab was adjusted so I could let a little color through. A turquoise blue Color Fill Layer was added underneath the Smart Object so the color shows through. High Pass Sharpening was the last step. I love the colors in this texture!….Digital Lady Syd

Driftwood Eagle

Image of an eagle cut out of driftwood
I loved this beautiful piece of art that one of the vendors was selling at the 2014 Native American Festival in Ormond Beach, Florida, recently. The image just seemed to say Nik Analog Efex Pro to me, so this filter was applied as a Smart Object. In the filter the Basic Adjustments, Lens Distortion, Zoom & Rotate Blur, Lens Vignette, and Film Type were selected. Then back in Photoshop, the actual face and part of the wood body were painted back in the filter mask. A Curves Adjustment Layer with a slight S-curve was added on top and that was it. Love the color in this image – really reminds me of the festival……Digital Lady Syd