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Squirrel Resident at Universal Studios

Image of a squirrel and plants at Universal Studios Orlando
This was probably not the greatest image but I loved the way the squirrel’s tail looked so I had to do some processing on this photo. This shot was actually taken once again at Universal Studios Orlando. I wanted a painterly look, but I did not want to spend a lot of time painting it since it was not the best original image. Trey Radcliff‘s Gradient Endless Weekend Lightroom preset was applied. The photo was opened in Photoshop CC and the Shake Reduction Filter was used. Next Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail 3 was used to overall sharpen the image. A black layer mask was added and just the squirrel and the closer plants were painted back. A stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created and turned into a Smart Object where Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 was opened. I used a preset I had created in Snap Art 3 based on the Historic Oil Paint preset (settings were Background – Brush Size 14, Photorealism 23, Paint Thickness 77, Stroke Length 63, Color Variation 0, and Bristle Brush Brush Style; Detail Masking – on Squirrel, Effect Detail, Brush Size -10, Photorealism 100, Paint Thickness -40, Stroke Length -49, Color Variation 36 and Brush Style Bristle Brush; and on mid-back leaves, Effect Detail Brush Size 23, Photorealism -59, Paint Thickness 73, Stroke Length 79, Color Variation 85, and Brush Style Bristle Brush; and Colors Brightness -38, Contrast -14, Saturation 33, and Temperature 36; Lighting – Default; and no other settings used). Using Photoshop’s Flat Fan Single Bristle Wet Edge brush as a Mixer, the overly bright spots were blended in on a separate layer. Next Topaz ReStyle Rustic Red and Orange preset was used (the settings used are ReStyle Color Style Lum Third -0.48 and Fifth -0.39; Texture Strength 1.00; Basic Tone Black Level 0.11, Midtones -0.31, and White Level 0.30; and Detail Structure 0.11 and Sharpness 0.73). This turned the image color palette into a bit warmer feel. Nik Viveza 2 was added to add a little more tonality to just the squirrel and add some blue into the sky. The last step was to use Photoshop’s Radial Filter in Camera Raw on just the squirre to draw further attention to him. It was a lot of steps but always fun to do……Digital Lady Syd

Young Warrior

Image of a Young Warrior from the Native American Festival
I loved how this image turned out. The original was taken at the Native American Festival in Ormond Beach, Florida. Not going to go into all the details as it was a huge process – 27 layers and lots of hours but I will say it was all done in Photoshop, mainly with a Flat Fan Oil Brush I created. Must give a shout out to Melissa Gallo, a Corel Master, for her wonderful textures and her techniques in teaching how to do this type of image, including creating your own brushes! Check out her website and get the Painting in Photoshop Workshop if you want to learn some fabulous techniques and tips. (She also has a new one being released shortly called Painter for Photographers that I am so looking forward to taking!) This texture is her April Pastel texture. Also used Topaz (see sidebar for website link) ReStyle to get the color in the image exactly right. This plug-in is in my top three! Totally fabulous what it can do to an image!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz ReStyle

The Mighty Tulip

Image of a yellow tulip painted in Photoshop
Just another photo of a very colorful red and yellow tulip and some pink daisies from my local grocery store. Just practicing my painting. This time using my basic workflow. Add Seim’s (see sidebar for website link) Power Workflow 4 Magic Flat Light Fixer. Next Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail 3 to sharpen up the image a little, and Topaz Simplify to use as a base coat to paint above. On a New Layer above, used Photoshop’s Flat Fan Single Bristle Wet Brush as a regular brush to paint over the yellow tulip and some of the greenery. French Kiss (see sidebar for website link) Atelier GA Brush created in my blog was painted on the next layer. (See my How to Paint with a Texture Brush from Your Image blog for how to make this brush.) Melissa Gallo of Painted Textures Desert Sky Canvas texture was applied twice to create two texture layers, first set to Hard Light at 56% layer opacity, and then set to Color Burn at 24%. Created a Stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top and then copied the Topaz Detail 3 layer and placed underneath since I had some bad places on the petals. In the stamped layer, added a white layer mask and lightly painted back part of the tulip that were not sharp enough. Then on a New Layer above, used my Chalk 60 brush as a mixer to smooth over the tulip. I decided this image needed some pizazz – it was just too yellow and bright green. On yet another New Layer took my Chalk 60 brush with the texture turned on and painted some bright colored blotches all over it in oranges and yellows and greens and pinks – kind of went crazy. Set this layer to Pin Light. Added a Curves Adjustment Layer and a Levels Adjustment Layer to add contrast. On a stamped layer, Nik Viveza 2 was opened up and Control Points were added to the yellow tulip and the purple daisy in front. Topaz ReStyle was opened on another stamped layer above. (Here are the settings: SJ Very Muted Sepia preset. Changes to preset were: Restyle Opacity 88%; Lum Primary -0.58, Third -0.36, Fourth -0.45, and Fifth 0.30; Texture 1.00; Basic Opacity 23% set to Hard Light blend mode; Color Temperature -0.11; Tone White Level 0.25; and Detail Structure 0.06 and Sharpness 0.83.) The last step involved adding the beautiful Canvas Vignette border by the wonderful Corel Master John Derry – can be downloaded from this link. This is the final image. Okay – it is a bit of workflow, but sometimes it just takes a lot of manipulation to get the look you like!….Digital Lady Syd

The Most Delicious Caramel Apples!

Image of Rocky Road Caramel Applies from Universal Studios Orlando
The above is what happens if I am in Photoshop when I am hungry! These delicious Rocky Road Candy Apples were located at Snookers Candy Store in Seuss Land at Universal Studios Orlando. May be the most tasty looking candy apples I have ever seen! Wanted to use this image as an example of just a subtle painterly effect added to an image for just a little enhancement. This image was processed in Lightroom where cropping and Seim’s Workflow 4 (see sidebar for website link) Hill and Lucas preset was applied. Photoshop’s Shake Reduction Filter was applied and it actually sharpened up the image just a little. Did lots of clean up since this was shot through a plastic case. Finally I went into Photoshop CC (CS6 also has it and Pixel Bender still has it for CS5) Oil Paint Filter – I am really sad this filter has been eliminated in the new CC 2014 version – I thought the marshmallows and chocolate would look nice with this effect. (Settings used: Brush Stylization 10, Cleanliness 10, Scale 1.14, Bristle Detail 10, Lighting Angular Direction 300, and Shine 1.35.) A layer mask was added and with my Chalk 60 brush, some of the effect was painted out in areas that looked overdone. To really make the image pop, Nik Viveza was applied – both globally and with control points to add just the right amount of vignette and sharpness. This filter is still just incredible! A Curves Adjustment Layer was added to lighten up the whites just a little more and a layer was used to add some burning to define the marshmallows in the front apple from the one further back. (See my The Best Dodging and Burning Technique! blog.) This was really a fun image to work with and just adding a little painterly effect really made it stand out!…..Digital Lady Syd

The Archaeologist

Image of a gift shop display at Universal Studios Orlando
This is part of a really interesting display in one of the gift shops at Universal Studios Orlando. I shot the image up at a rather life-like mannequin and really liked the results. Seims (see sidebar for website link) Power Workflow 4 Magic Flat Light Fixer preset was used in Lightroom. In Photoshop the Shake Reduction Filter and Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail 3 was used to sharpen up the whole image. Kim Klassen‘s Autumn Burst was applied on top and a layer mask was added. Using my Chalk 60 brush in the mask at 30% brush opacity, the man and objects were lightly painted back so they show through the texture. Kim’s 1402 magic texture was placed on top and set to Soft Light at 32% layer opacity. Next 2 Lil’ Owls (see sidebar for website link) Ultimate Texture Collection’s Jewel Chalks was set to Divide at 33% layer opacity – this gives the bluish colors in the image. Next a Text layer was added using the font called A Charming Font Superexpanded at 70 pt. On a New Layer the Sharpen Tool was used on the person’s face. Nik’s Viveza 2 was used to sharpen up the face even a little more and to add a slight vignette effect in the corners of the image. That was about it. It turned out to be a really different image and the Difference blend mode turned an ordinary image into something quite interesting……Digital Lady Sydf

My Scottish “Secret Garden”

Image of some flowers growing by a stone fence in Scotland
This was a pretty ugly image to start with – very light green and hardly any contrast – it was a good challenge to get something I liked from it! It was taken in some little town in Scotland that was on the way to the highlands. I actually used Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Infocus to sharpen it up a little and it did a pretty good job. This plug-in seems to be a lot like the Sharpen Shake Reduction filter in Photoshop CC. Did some clean up. Created a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and applied Nik Viveza 2 to the image Helped me direct the attention to the center flowers. Next Topaz ReStyle was appliedĀ  TRS-Tangerine Gauze preset. (Settings were: no changes to ReStyle section; Basic Temperature 0.13, Tint -0.14, and Saturation 0.06; Tone Black Level -0.59, Midtones -0.12, and White Level 0.34; and Detail Structure -1.00. Masks paintd back the center flowers using Color Aware brush and sampling the green leaves in middle – paint with 1.00 strength and Hardness 0.62 just the center flowers, little pink flowers, and purple thistles.) On a new stamped layer Nik Color Efex Pro plug-in was opened and several filters were stacked. (The filters were: Detail Extractor with Detail set to 69%, Contrast 68% and Saturation 26% and a control point was set on just the center yellow plant; Darken/Lighten Center using Shape 1, Center Lum 39%, Border Lum -57%, and Center Size 44%; Midnight Color Set Neutral, Blur 35%, Contrast 36%, Brightness 65% and Color 77% and overall Opacity 81%; Film Efex Vintage using Film Type 16 and overall Opacity set to 31%; and Vignette Filter Shape 1, Adapt Edges 19%, Transition 38%, Size 27%, and Opacity 43% and the overall Opacity 67%.) On a New Layer did a little edge clean up using my Chalk 60 brush, a Curves Adjustment Layer to add some contrast back into the image, and the Sharpen Tool on the middle plant thistles to emphasize them a little more. This seemed to take a long time. Wanted to show you that with the Color Efex Pro filters, there is usually an overall Opacity slider after the control points section that can really help adjust the filter look the way you want it. Anyway, it was a little “Secret Garden” that I saw!…..Digital Lady Syd

Just Painting!

Image of painted fall trees in Jackson, Mississippi
Decided to practice some painting on these beautiful trees in Jackson, Mississippi. Basically just painted using the directions from my Fun Photoshop blog called How to Easily Create a Photoshop Brush for Painting but using a pastel brush instead of a watercolor brush. The principles are the same. Used Melissa Gallo of Painted Textures Yellow Dawn Texture setting it to Hue blend mode at 91% layer opacity – this gave it the fall looking colors – and then the second time it was set to Vivid Light at 26% layer opacity and in a black mask only the highlights were painted back. The top stamped layer was set to Multiply blend mode at 84% layer opacity to better bring out the colors and a Levels Adjustment Layer was used to add more contrast. That was it. It took a long time to paint, but the results are usually worth the time……Digital Lady Syd.

Red Carnations on a Bright Sunny Texture

Image of painted red carnations in a purple vase
Just doing a little painting on some beautiful red carnations my daughter-in-law got for her birthday. Used Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail 3 to do an overall sharpening up of the image. Used Photoshop’s default brush Pastel Medium Tip as both a mixer and regular brush on this image and loved the brush strokes. Stacked two of Melissa Gallo of Painted Textures textures – August Copper set to Hard Light at 76% layer opacity and Spring Sky at Hard Light 78%. Last step was using Nik Viveza 2 to highlight the flowers in the center where I wanted the focus to be. It is a little bright, but I kind of like it – that is what is fun about stacking textures, you get some unexpected results! …..Digital Lady Syd

A Little More Painting with a Texture Brush from Your Image

Image of the rooftops at Harry Potter Land
Wanted to show you how I completed the image that I began in my You Tube Texture Video for my Fun Photoshop Blog How to Paint with a Texture Brush from Your Image. By creating a different brush and changing up my technique just a little, a totally different feel was given to the same image. So what did I do to get this totally different result from the same image?

The brush I created in the video I did save down as a “New with my settings” brush – I forgot to remind everyone of this rather vital step. You need to resave and rename your brush to keep the additional slider changes made from the initial brush created. A New Layer was added above and this time it was converted to a Mixer Brush – in the Options Bar turn off the “Load the brush after each stroke” icon and in the drop down, choose Very Wet, Heavy Mix. Now just make sure Sample All Layers is checked and you are ready to paint using this same brush as a Mixer “Blender” brush (see my Photoshop Blog How to Easily Create a Photoshop Brush for Painting for more info on this.) On a couple of layers, I just smoothed out edges and dabbed and then would go back to the regular brush with the same settings. Just went back and forth smoothing and adding a little texture and color. By doing that on this brush, the texture effect is not so over-the-top as it looked in the video and the rough edges were softened with the Mixer Brush. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added to increase the brightness since the painting darkened it down some. If you look closely, the pattern is over the objects just like the background – by adding the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer on top and choosing this same texture set to 60% Scale, it blended beautifully with the texture – the layer opacity was set to just 26% for the blend. Then a Levels Adjustment Layer was added and the in the Output Levels, set the first number to 24 to take out the total black pixels which often darkens an image too much in paintings. I thought I was done but I tried a layer style called BMU_SSStyles_UltArtist_Watercolor-Dark from Scrap Girls packet which added a Pattern Overlay that resulted in the rather foggy spooky feel on the whole image – it felt so Harry Potterish! (See my Fun Photoshop Blog How to Get Painting Effects from Actions-Part 2 for info on this.) I was thinking I could have just used a fog brush at a low opacity and painted on a New Layer to get the same effect. I really liked how this version turned out – love the triangular shapes and still like my owl! Anyway wanted to show you how using this different texture, crop, and brush gives a totally different result! Hope you give this a try!…..Digital Lady Syd

An Oldie but Goodie!

Image of pink Hawaiian flowers.
Doing an oldie but goodie of some flowers taken in Hawaii. Image was opened in Nik Color Efex Pro 4 where three different filters were used – Bleach Bypass (Brightness 19%, Sat -41%, Contrast 48%, Local Contrast 62%, Shadows to 2/3 right, and Highlights 1/3 right); Pastel which turned the photo from the yellowish tone to this palette (Method 1, Diffusion 20%, Sat 62%, Contrast 31%, Shadows under d, and Highlights under i); and my favorite Color Efex Pro filter Midnight – Color Set Neutral, Blur 28%, Contrast 40%, Brightness 50%, Color 60%, Shadows 3/4 right), which gives the soft inky feel to the image. The really cool frame is from the now defunct OnOne PhotoFrames called film_35_emulsion_cool_decay_r2_3X5, just in case you still have it loaded – I can’t keep it going on Photoshop CS5 since I have their newer suite. OnOne (see sidebar for website link) Photo Effects 8.5 does still have many of the frames from PhotosFrames, but it is not the same. The last step was to open up the Camera Raw filter and created a Radial Filter around the just the lower tip of the pink flowers (settings Exposure +0.40, Contrast +44, Shadows +34, Clarity +35, Sat +100, and Sharpness +7)……Digital Lady Syd