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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 applied  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

Painting Away in Photoshop!

Image of triptych showing my new brushes strokes
Can you believe this started out as a scratch pad for the new brushes I made for my How to Easily Create a Photoshop Brush for Painting blog, and came up with this? That’s how much fun it can be playing around with brushes in Photoshop. Five New Layers were created with different colors and brush strokes on each – I was just dabbing away trying to get some nice results when creating my brushes. Noticed immediately when done that these were some of my favorite colors. Hum… Anyway, on one of the Facebook groups I follow, someone started talking about these triptych actions they bought and it started me thinking that this might look kind of cool with that effect. I have no idea where I got this particular triptych but it was created in 2007 and I downloaded it in 2011. Here is a link to Gavin Hoey’s (one of my favorite British Photoshop gurus) free Instant Tryptych Action and the set he has for sale. Anyway, the basic steps included adding a layer style to both the original image and the triptych using Pattern Overlays in both cases. Oh well, hope you enjoy the results – keep experimenting with those brushes – never know what you will get!…..Digital Lady Syd

What Happened to My Yellow Rose?

Image of a painted rose
This is an alternate image of the yellow rose posted last week – see Mid-Year – Painting Project Progressing! I just wanted to let you see what using the wonderful Topaz (see sidebar for website link) ReStyle can do to an image – not sure which image I like best since I love the pink tones. Basically the yellow rose was opened into ReStyle and the Cream and Plum preset was selected. I use this preset a lot since it does have the color palette I love. The changed settings were: Hue Secondary -0.44 and Third -0.28; Sat Fifth -0.25; and Lum Primary 0.15, Third 0.03, Fourth 0.41, and Fifth -0.53; Basic Tone Black Level 0.03, Midtones -0.12, and White Level 0.41; and Detail Structure 0.45 and Sharpness 0.56. In Basic Mask painted in this effect in a black mask at the top of flower with Brush Strength 0.42, Brush Size 0.10 and Hardness 0.30. A New Layer was added above and the Mixer Brush was used to clean up the petals, but I did not like the way it looked, so I turned it off. The grungy look seems appropriate with this image and the blue specs look nice. The last step was adding a Curves Adjustment Layer to add more contrast. Not sure but I think I like it better than the yellow one. Decisions! Decisions!…..Digital Lady Syd

Scottish Waterway

Beautiful image of a large Scottish landscape
I so love the images I got from Scotland several years ago and I just felt like doing a regular post-processing on an image. This image is probably not the best, but I actually like the total feel of the image so I decided to work on it anyway. The sky in this image is just awesome! So what did I do, well just the basic changes in Lightroom – no presets. In Photoshop the Blur Filter Shake Reduction was used and help a little bit. Also Nik Viveza 2 was used to tone up the foreground rocks. A stamped version (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created on top. Next Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 was opened and Flypaper Textures Fly Shell Collection preset was applied (it contains the Cross Processing and High Key filters) – I am enjoying these presets as Flypaper Textures has created some very nice filter combinations in this set. A couple layers of clean up were done to add some contrast in the background mountains. Then my biggest problem in this image was a little bit of chromatic aberration with red edges around the rocks. I could not get Lightroom to remove them so I still had this issue. This time I added a Black and White Adjustment Layer, filled the mask with black, zoomed way in, and with a small 4 pixel white brush set to 70% brush opacity, painted out the red so it became desaturated. It took a bit of time but it did the trick and now there is no more edge color issues. The last step was to add in a slight pinkish Color Fill Adjustment Layer set to Color blend mode at 20% layer opacity to the whole image – just wanted a little warmer feel to the image. Now I have the view I want to remember!…..Digital Lady Syd