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Soaring into Summer

Grunge image of a Bird soaring into summer over a Field
This image is a composite from a couple different photos and several textures. I have never tried any real grunge effect so this is quite a change for me. Basically lots of layering and adjustment layers to pull this together. The original image was taken across the street from my old home on Lake Wawasee (click to see the webcam) in Indiana and was a huge marsh of Pussy Willows at this time. Two 2 Lil Owls (see sidebar for website link) – Ancient 1 and Jewel Chalks 19. The font is  Nomah Script and was warped to fit the bird. The bird is from Photoshop Creative magazine No. 12, and the foreground contains  Midnightstouch Grasslands 3. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) ReStyle to get a better color adjustment. From Shorpy’s (my favorite vintage image site) an Abandoned Garage on Highway No. 2 in western North Dakota in October 1937. A layer mask was used to blend it in the background. A dark border was added and Nik Viveza 2 was used to adjust the final lighting effect. Lots of work on this one and I hope it conveys the effect I wanted of a bird soaring over the field and adding an element of warmth to the rather drab image……Digital Lady Syd

Teasing the Bird Paparazzi

Image of Snowy Egret flying at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery
This beautiful snowy egret looks like he is having a great time showing off in front of the large group of photographers trying to get him centered in the cameras. I thought this was one of the funniest images I have taken at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery. Added Gaussian Blur to the whole image at Radius 12.5 and painted back the bird. The whole background was just too busy and the photographers way too distinct. On just the bird a little Topaz Clarity was used to bring out the detail in the bird’s wings especially. Used an Exposure Adjustment Layer to sharpen the eye. Then Topaz ReStyle’s First Steps preset was applied. Used Nik Viveza 2 to balance out the color in the image and on the birds wings. A Red Channel Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer finished up the image. It was a little tricky to not over-sharpen the bird to keep it from looking like a composite. I had to spend a lot of time just toning down the edges to blend into the overall background. Still like the image…..Digital Lady Syd

Building a Nest for the Future

Image of a Roseate Spoonbill at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery
One of my favorite birds to photograph, partly because they are so funny. This Roseate Spoonbill had to work pretty hard to get the branch broken off the tree limb so his mate could add it to the nest at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery. The couples work very hard together getting it all just right. This guy was in such a busy background that I had to figure out a way to calm it down. Decided to go with a bit of a glamour look to soften the whole image down thanks to Sebastian Michael‘s action. (If you took his course, the link is in a recent e-mail.) I hope I get to find this guys nest and see the chicks that will be hatching soon. ….Digital Lady Syd

Have a Good Day!

Image of typography
Spent a good part of Sunday going through the wonderful videos by Sebastian Michaels on Typography. They are available when you buy the Somerset Digital Studio magazine for Spring 2017 and there is lots of info on this tricky subject. The above is what I created after listening to a couple hours on how to do this – lots of fun. The number of fonts is a bit excessive but many belong to a similar class of fonts. I was mainly practicing how to incorporate different fonts with different techniques. (Some of the fonts were free and a few I own and are as listed: CF Anarchy, Dancing Script OT, Mistral, Fuse, 1942 report, DomCasual BT, Angelic War, Naive Deco Sans, Blackoak Std, Catalina Avalon Sans, Blackboard, and Trajan Pro in case you might want to download one of them.) The tree on the side is Tree-169 brush by Midnightstouch. The really nice swirl is from missm-flourishes-sample brush 2/312 size. I believe there are 37 Layers and 5 Groups in this little creation using lots of layer styles, colors, and adjustments layers, and even Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Impression 2 (Cartoon Your Critter preset). The original background texture is one I created in Photoshop using a beautiful cross-hatching effect with a brush from Just Jamee Summertime 2012 Brush Sampler 4 brush and a Bevel & Emboss layer style and using two different colors, then smoothing out parts with Gruts FX Cloud Billoway brush. Most of the fonts were obtained for free on the internet. Overall a very interesting way to spend a day!…..Digital Lady Syd

St. Giles Cathedral Entranceway

Image of St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland
This image of St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland is of the West Doorway and contains many interesting carvings that were done by John Rhind in 1884. I am still trying to figure out who the sculptures are of – they represent historical people of Scotland – the middle guy is named Alexander, maybe the king who erected the first church at this location in 1120. Also the Gargoyle surprised me as he was rather prominent in the image (they are used as waterspouts and protect the church from evil spirits). I still wonder who all the people are that are just carved faces in the wall. The workflow is basically the same one used in the my Adding a Creating Painting Effect Fun Photoshop Blog. Lucis Pro was used to sharpen it up a bit. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Impression’s Abstract Settings Blake Rudis set to 63% layer opacity. A white layer with many parts painted out in a mask. A frame was added with a Pattern Adjustment Layer clipped to give the soft pink tones. Some clean up, a little dodging and burning, and Nik Viveza 2 to finish off. Would love to get back to Scotland and see who all these carvings are. ….. Digital Lady Syd

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Tiny Red Berries

Image of little Red Berries
These little red berries were found growing on a shrub in my yard – they appear after some tiny white flowers fall off of it. This strand was only about 1 inch long and the image was taken with my Lensbaby Composer at F/4 using a Macro +4 Lens. In Lightroom a Scott Kelby Trendy High Contrast Look preset was applied and a lot of time was spent to sharpen the berries using the Adjustment Brush. This image had a lot of noise in the image so the Detail Sharpening Amount and Noise Reduction Luminance sliders were set to 0 so it could be removed more effectively in Photoshop. Once in Photoshop Topaz (see sidebar for website link) DeNoise 6 using the Raw Moderate preset was applied and did a much better job of removing the noise.  This layer was duplicated and Topaz Texture Effects 2 was opened where the Fantasy Land II preset was added. A bokeh texture was inserted into the preset for the 2nd Texture section. In the Masking Enabled part of the Texture section, a black brush set to a Strength of 0.43 was used to lightly remove any bokeh effect from the berries. The Texture Effects layer opacity was set to 91%. On another duplicated layer, Topaz ReStyle was opened and the Swam and Sherpa Blue preset was applied and set to 50% opacity and Screen blend mode in the plug-in and once applied, the overall layer opacity was set to 85%. Just finished up with the Black & White Adjustment Layer set to 56% layer opacity pop the colors and set to Luminosity blend mode, a Red Channel Luminosity Curve Adjustment Layer to tone down highlights, and Nik Viveza 2 to adjust the focus and add a little vignetting. Pretty much my regular workflow. …..Digital Lady Syd

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Palm Frond

Palm Frond from Ormond Beach Memorial Art Museum and Gardens
This rather abstract-looking palm frond was taken at the Ormond Beach Memorial Art Museum and Gardens. I was unable to figure out what the actual string-like material is – whether it is part of the palm or some type of Spanish Moss. Lucis Pro was used to sharpen the image. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) ReStyle’s Blue Shades preset was applied to the image. Next on a New Layer the String was selected and an Outer Glow layer style was added to emphasize it. A Levels Adjustment Layer was added and a Red Channel Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer was applied. Nik Viveza 2 was applied on a stamped layer and then Matt K’s Vignette was applied. (See my Fun Photoshop How to Create a Subtle Vignette blog.) I am going to go back and see if I can find out more about this particular type of palm. ….. Digital Lady Syd

The Break Out

Image of a Malayan Tiger at the Palm Beach Zoo
The Malayan Tiger image above was taken at the Palm Beach Zoo in Florida and he really was not trying to get out of his enclosure. He was actually checking out the tortoise in the next enclosure – apparently tigers like to eat tortoises according to his keeper. This image took an excessive amount of painting to get rid of the fence in front of his body. Luckily the eyes, nose and mouth structures were very sharp so the tiger could be reconstructed. Several paint layers were needed. Also several stamped layers (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) were used for the following filters: Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Glow 2 did a great job adding a great effect on the tiger’s body using one of Blake Rudis’s wonderful presets called Room Glow set to Overlay blend mode. Topaz Impression 2 was applied at 82% layer opacity but I am not sure which preset was used to create a unique preset. Topaz ReStyle’s Tangerine Gauze preset, and Topaz Texture Effects 2 was used next. Finally Nik Viveza 2 was used to get the focal point correct. Lots of fun but lots of work……Digital Lady Syd

The King Entering his Domain

Western Lowland Gorilla image taken at the Jacksonville Zoo
I liked this image because of the expression of the Gorilla and texture on the wall beside him. I ended up with a vintage feel as opposed to a really sharp image as the texture looks much better with the vintage tones. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Impression 2 was opened and once again Jai Johnson’s Oil Glaze preset was used at 56% opacity (settings for preset in the video In the Digital Studio January 6, 2017). Nik Viveza 2 was used to drive focus to his face. A little spotlight effect was placed on his face. A Curves Adjustment Layer and Levels Adjustment (adjust the output tabs to get the matte feel) layer were added. That is about it since the original image did not have a lot of color in it the vintage effect could be achieved. ….. Digital Lady Syd

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Who Got into the Paint Pots?

Red Macaw at the Palm Beach Zoo
Just had a lot of fun playing with this image by following an older video by Aaron Nace called How to Turn a Portrait into Painting in Photoshop. It is sort of a crazy and long workflow, but I enjoyed making a few new brushes to just splash around with color. Lots of problems with the original macaw image taken at the Palm Beach Zoo. There were fence line shadows over the whole bird, then the bird had to be selected with Mask & Select in PS before adding the several PS filters shown in the video. Finally the fun began with lots of layers and brushes and some Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Glow and Nik Viveza 2 to sharpen him up a little. This took a while to do, but it really was a lot of “fun!”…..Digital Lady Syd