Just a great start to a fun day at SeaWorld-Orlando. This is what you see right after entering the theme park. The lovely red flowers are red Bougainvilleas. In Lightroom three images were used in PhotoMatix’s Merge to 32-bit HDR program. Then the resulting TIFF image also was processed in Lightroom 4.2 before it was opened up in Photoshop CS6. Nik Color Efex Pro 4 plug-in was applied stacking these filters: Film Efex: Vintage using Film Type 4, Glamour Glow, Midnight using an overall Opacity of 40%, and Image Border Type 4. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added to adjust contrast and the Sharpen Tool was used on the blooms. I really love the lighthouse with the whale image……Digital Lady Syd
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Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz DeNoise 5
Holoholkai Beach, a lava filled beach, on the Big Island in Hawaii. I just really like this image. It was a 3-shot HDR image processed in Photoshop CS6 Merge to HDR. This was done before the Lightroom upgrade to allow 32-bit processed Tiff images for processing. This image actually has 13 control points in my favorite plug-in ever, Nik’s Viveza 2, that sharpened some of the Lava rock and smoothed out the rough water to lead the eye through the image. Next Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 was used stacking Film Efex: Nostalgic filter using Film Type 4, Brilliance and Warmth using 34% warmth to warm up the image, and Glamour Glow which gives the image that soft look – a control point was placed at the focus point of the image to keep it sharp in that area. A Curves Adjustment Layer was used to for contrast and my Thin Layer Frame was applied (see DLS Free Layer Style Frames). Love the final result!…..Digital Lady Syd
This is a beautiful little town called Honomu is on the road to Akaka Falls on the Hilo side of the Big Island. I love how this image turned out – the original tonemapped file was totally flat. This image was processed as a 32-bit HDR image in Photoshop CS6′s Merge to HDR program, then brought back into Lightroom 4.1 as a TIFF file where it was adjusted using mainly the Basic sliders, then edited back in Photoshop CS6 as a 16-bit PSD file. From there, Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4‘s was opened and these filters stacked: Detail Extractor at 68%, Graduated Filters using Blue No.1 as the sky was an ugly gray color, and finally the Film Efex Vintage set to Film Type 21. Next Nik’s Viveza 2 was added and that is what really made the difference in this image – the detail was popped in the signage areas but smoothed in the sky. Imagenomics Noiseware was added to smooth out the roughness of the whole image. The frame I used is called SJ Thin Double Edge Frame and can be downloaded at my Tidbits Blog DLS Free Layer Style Frames. The colors for frame were sampled from the image. Once again an image that did not have too much going for it turned out really nice……Digital Lady Syd
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Every now and then I have to post another image from this wonderful resort! I know, a lot of people may consider it a little touristy, but I guess I am just a big tourist at heart and totally loved it!. This of course is the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island in Hawaii. A three shot HDR image was taken, processed in Photoshop’s Merge to HDR with no changes – just Remove Ghosting checked, then Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 (stacked these filters: Film Efex Vintage – Film Type 11, Detail Extractor using overall strength of filter to 86%, and Image Border – Type 11), and Nik’s Viveza to darken the corners a little and bring out the detail in the center of the image. Not very difficult but then when it is as beautiful as Hawaii, it is pretty easy to get great pictures!…..Digital Lady Syd
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Thought I would do another Before and After where I show what one of my favorite presets in Topaz Adjust 5 (see sidebar for website link) looks like when applied. This image was taken in full light and I really took the image as a test shot before visiting some of the wonderful historic sites in St. Augustine, Florida. I really love steeples and cupolas on buildings. I had a hard time deciding what to do with it – it was a hand-held three HDR image. I processed it in Photoshop’s Merge to HDR Pro, only checking the Remove ghosts box before exiting to Photoshop (hover over image to see the tone-mapped image). Some image clean up was done, and two curves adjustment layers, one for contrast and one for color tone, were added since the image was not processed in Lightroom or Camera Raw. After much experimentation, I finally settled on using Topaz Adjust 5 and the French Countryside preset. It seems to soften the image just enough, yet retains some detail in the image – the trick is to adjust the Detail tab’s Threshold slider to bring back some of the details. Then I added Caleb Kimbrough Summer 4 Texture – one of my favorite textures to add the red and green tones into the image for that warm feel. (Also check out his site for many other wonderful textures.) The image took on a totally different feel. Try this preset if you have Adjust…..Digital Lady Syd
The above image was taken at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island in Hawaii. They have a lot of unusual sculptures located throughout the whole resort and this one is full sized. I used Katrin Eisman’s workflow to process this image without using Silver Efex Pro (see my blog HDR Using Photoshop Merge to HDR and Nik HDR Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro? Wow!). This image used five images stacked in Merge to HDR in Photoshop. Then it was taken into Nik HDR Efex Pro and the Grannys Attic preset was used that gives a more cross processed vintage look. Viveza 2 was applied, then clean up and selective sharpening was done. I am starting to like this workflow a lot!
If you are interested in using HDR programs, check out RC Concepcion’s book called “The HDR Book: Unlocking the Pros’ Hottest Post-Processing Techniques” that covers them all and shows you how to get a similar look from each. I have found it to be the most helpful of all the books out there when it comes to understanding what each slider is doing – and he gives you some presets that are pretty nice too!
I love these photos I got from the London Eye a few years ago – they really look good with the pseudo-HDR look. Here I have applied my SJ-Vivid Drawing Look preset in Lightroom (for here for Adobe Camera Raw preset – note: change file extension to .xmp in zip folder to get file to work). I had to adjust the Exposure a bit after applying the preset. Then it was processed in Nik Color Efex Pro 4 using my SJ-Pseudo HDR1 recipe. Usually the Detail Extractor slider needs to be adjusted so the image is not overdone. Next it was taken into Viveza 2 to get rid of the muddy color water that is so common in the Thames River pictures. By setting control points in the water areas and adjusting the Hue and Brightness sliders, the color could be changed to more of a blue tone. There was distortion from the movement and the glass of The Eye so I added a layer set to Overlay blend mode and painted with a black brush at 10% opacity over these areas to get it evened out. (Click on the image to see the original – most of the distortion was in the lower front and on the train bridge in the middle.) Finally the Sharpen tool was used on a separate layer along with Curves Adjustment for contrast and Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers to desaturate a little. Loved the final result. This is very similar to what you would get with the Lucis Arts filter. Overall, loved the results! …..Digital Lady Syd
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Where Am I?
It is funny that I had just completed this image of Big Ben a few days ago and then it comes out that is has some tilting issues, 0.26 degrees NW or 18 inches off center at the top of the 314-foot tower. It will be thousands of years before Britain’s iconic landmark that houses the clock gets as bad as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. The rumor is Members of Parliament are meeting to discuss what to do including these two options: 1) Do costly repairs to both the Parliament Building and Big Ben, or 2) sell the entire complex to a rich foreign developer. Hum! For more information on this, check out The National Post article.
I tried to find an old famous painting of Big Ben but could not find one – can’t believe no one painted this gorgeous landmark in the 1800′s so my search is still on. In the meantime, I did find a site selling some very interesting Big Ben posters at Art.Com that I found very inspirational – give it a look to see some of the creative work others are doing (and for profit!).
How I processed this image? Believe it or not, this is just another pseudo HDR processed just like I do all my pseudo HDR’s. Used my SJ-Vivid Drawing Look preset in Lightroom 3 (download here if using Adobe Camera Raw) (note: change file extension to .xmp in zip folder to get file to work) and adjusted the Exposure, Blacks, Red Saturation (-45), Blue Saturation (+61), and Green Luminance (+3) sliders to make the image colors pop correctly. In fact the red bus was overpowering the image so the red saturation had to be reduced quite a bit. (Hover over image to see how it looked coming out of Lightroom.) I must say there was an amazing sky that day! Some clean up in Photoshop was done and the image was taken into Nik Color Efex Pro 4. All I did was add the SJ Pseudo HDR1 recipe – I had to tone down the Detail Extractor and Contrast a little and change the Effect Radius to Large to get rid of the over-exaggerated HDR look. In Nik’s Viveza 2 I added a point on the clockface to make it really sharp but this could easily have been done with the Sharpen Tool in Photoshop. The last step was to add a Curves Adjustment Layer to brighten the whole image just a little. I was surprised how much detail came in from only applying the Lightroom preset without the Photoshop plug-ins. You could actually see the people riding inside the bus! It’s great when it all comes together with the light and composition to create a great shot!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Pseudo HDR Using NIK Color Efex Pro 4
Another Pseudo HDR Image with NIK CEP4 – Got to Love the Effect!
Where Am I?
I had not done an HDR image or post in a long time so I pulled out NIK’s HDR Efex Pro, which usually gives me the look I want. Personally, I think it is a little harder to use than Photomatix Pro and Photoshop CS5′s Merge to HDR, but the results can be spectacular if done correctly. This image is of an Ice Cream Shop on St. George Street in St. Augustine, Florida. This is a great example of the typical Spanish home that was built back in the early 1800′s. The texture in the building came out really nice. What I like about this program is on the right side of the program, there is a drop-down menu called HDR Method where a lot of different looks can be tried out. The basic global adjustment sliders and the U-Point controls are still available so control points can be placed where needed and the strength adjusted to fit the location. In this case, the Fresco method was chosen at 70% strength. I did bring the image into Photoshop to clean up some of the distracting items and to sharpen the lettering in the signage with the Sharpen Tool. The edges were treated with OnOne’s PhotoFrame Taufer Texture 12 in dark black (see sidebar for link to website). Overall it gives a pretty convincing vintage look.
Another great program from NIK!…..Digital Lady Syd
Topaz Adjust 5 was just released and here is my first attempt at using it. Hover over the image to see the original HDR image. (Click on sidebar Topaz 4 to go to website.) The interface has been greatly expanded to look like their very popular new plug-in Topaz Black and White Effects. This is a big improvement and I really enjoyed working with the new version of the plug-in. If you own an earlier version of Topaz Adjust, you are entitled to a free upgrade. If not, try out the trial and see what you think. They have added over 100 new presets and also included all of the ones from Topaz Adjust 4. A histogram has been added along with a really nice new Local Adjustment brush called Brush Out where the effect can be removed and a small mask shows how much is being removed (similar to Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush). In the image above, it was created as a Photomatix 4 HDR using 3 images, then brought into Photoshop and processed in Topaz Adjust 5. Just a subtle sunlight feel was placed on the building. (See my blog “Quad Tones in Topaz Black and White Effects Plug-in” for colors used to create the soft sunlight effect in the Tone section.) There are so many choices and the image could be made to look more vivid and moody.
The image above is of the Lamar Life Insurance Building tower with beautiful gargoyles all around it in Jackson, Mississippi. It is a very striking looking building even in this day and age and the clock tower can be seen almost everywhere in the city. Below is a copy of a postcard from 1924 when it was built showing this beautiful building, thanks to Bill Badzo’s Flickr site. He states this about the building “…a close observation reveals it as nothing less than a scaled-down version of New York City’s Woolworth Building.” Interesting observation!
Give this new plug-in a try when you get a chance – you will not be disappointed. Lots of fun ahead of you…..Digital Lady Syd
The above image was processed using the my regular Vivid Drawing Look Lightroom preset and my HDR Recipe for NIK Color Efex Pro 4. (See Fun Photoshop Blog “Pseudo HDR in NIK Color Efex Pro 4” and “Settings for Vivid Drawing Look ACR and Lightroom Preset and NIK Color Efex Pro 4 Pseudo HDR Recipe.”) The pseudo HDR treatment worked very well since the lighting was all over the place.
This is one of the most unusual places I have ever seen – it is in St. Augustine, Florida, and used to be part of the Hotel Alcazar, a Henry Flagler hotel opened in 1887, that was built across the street from the more famous and elegant Ponce de Leon Hotel (now Flagler College). This old hotel currently houses the City Hall, several businesses and shops, and the Lightner Museum. The above image is of the Cafe Alcazar that is located on the floor of the old hotel’s Casino Swimming Pool and gets very good food reviews. The top balcony level is the Old Ballroom that runs around the edge of the hotel and in the warm evenings, the roof was removed to see the night sky for the dancers.
This image shows how the Casino Swimming Pool looked in a by photo by William Henry Jackson in 1889 and is from Shorpy Historical Photo Archive site, a really interesting blog on old images. The water stayed at a steady 80 degrees because it was spring fed but it smelled like rotten eggs due to the sulfur in the water. The pool was 120 feet long and 50 feet wide and was from 3.5 feet to 6 feet deep. The National Women’s Swimming Championship was held here in 1925, and there was evening “pool entertainment” such as high diving, trapeze shows, water polo and swim racing.
To see this restaurant view, you need to pay to enter the Lightner Museum, that contains a very nice collection of paintings, glassware, and other collectibles – mostly from the Victorian era along with the views of the ballroom and pool area. Also there is a Russian steamroom that patrons used when it was still a hotel. Very interesting place to visit and definitely worth the small amount to enter. Check it out if you are in the area!…..Digital Lady Syd
This image was processed as an HDR image in Photoshop CS5 using five images. I used Scott 5 preset (see my Fun Photoshop Blog “With One Good Photo – Try the Pseudo HDR Effect“) as a starting point and adjusted to my taste. I also changed out the sky as the day was very overcast when this image was taken and the HDR effect looked terrible in this area. The Puppet Warp Tool was used to straighten the left tower (see my Tidbits Blog “Straightening with Puppet Warp“).
So where am I?
If you have been to Washington, DC and spent any time on The Mall, you would have seen this very distinctive building called the Smithsonian Castle. I was interested in checking it out as the DC area experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23, 2011 and five decorative turrets on the east side of the Castle sustained damage. I did not take pictures on the east side of the building, but as far as I could tell, the building looked in good shape. The Castle was built and finished in 1855 by Mr. James Renwick, Jr. Apparently the museum did not expand beyond this building until the 1960s. I wish I could go back a 100 years in time for a few hours and see what was going on in this building. If you get a chance to visit this area, go check it out…..Digital Lady Syd
I am working on a new technique for the Pseudo HDR look I wrote about last week. (See my blog post called “With One Good Photo – Try the Pseudo HDR Effect“) that I will be posting on my Fun Photoshop Blog soon. Here is a preview of what I am working on – hover over image to see original image with just ACR adjustments made.
Check out my Fun Photoshop Blog shortly for more examples and instructions on how to do this….Digital Lady Syd
Below is a 7-image Camera Raw HDR file (using Merge to Photoshop Pro in CS5) where just one color was changed very quickly but created a big impact. Hover over the image to see the original image.
I used a little known tool, the Color Replacement Tool, which is hidden in the toolbox with the Brush Tool. It has been in Photoshop since CS but over the different versions, it has been placed with different tools. Not sure why it is not used more as I found it very easy to make this change.
Do your original clean up to the image. The last thing to do is use the Color Replacement Tool on the umbrella. Using the Color Replacement Tool, create a brush in the drop-down box. My settings were: Brush size 33 pixels, Hardness 0, Spacing 1%, Angle 0, Roundness 100%, and since I use a Wacom tablet, I set Size and Tolerance to pen pressure. Other settings in the Options Bar were Mode – Color, Sampling – Continuous icon pressed, Limits – Find Edges, Tolerance 30% and Anti-alias checked. Set Foreground color in the color picker to the new color and drag/paint away. Remember the brush only changes the pixels you drag over – try using a selection of the area you are changing to keep the brush from spilling over into other parts of the image if adjusting the Tolerance does notwork. It is amazing how it turns out!
I saved the brush settings as a Tool Preset (upper left icon on Options Bar) for the next time I want to replace a color quickly. (It is saved as a Tool Preset because of all the changes to be saved from the Options Bar that saving as a Brush preset will not retain.)
Try experimenting with some of the other settings. It is also used to get rid of red eye in images. I love it when I learn something new in Photoshop!…..Digital Lady Syd
Have you ever been driving around and found a place that was begging to have it’s picture taken? This happened to me last week. I love that HDR look anyway, and am still struggling with which software to use. I tried Photoshop CS5′s Merge to HDR, Photomatix Pro, and Nik HDR Efex Pro before settling on the NIK HDR Efex Pro version. I wish someone would put all the good stuff together so I do not have to keep going through several iterations to get the best look.
All right, so where was I when I took this image? Right in the middle of Mesa, Arizona at Main Street and Recker Road. (Click image to see location at my Flickr account.) It is an old mineral spring motel (circa. 1930′s) whose owner died a few months ago and it is in a bit of disrepair. I loved the sign and got several other shots you will probably be seeing eventually. If you are in the area, it is really easy to find and will give you a great HDR opportunity.
To quote an article called the National Organization Announces Ten Most Endangered Roadside Places, “…..in the 1930s, the owners discovered a mineral well on the property, and constructed Roman-style bathhouses and guesthouses for visitors. In the 1940s the baths played a role in bringing the New York Giants spring training camp to Mesa, leading to the eventual establishment of Mesa as a center for baseball spring training. The resort remained open and operated by its original owner until 1999.” Here is a link on the efforts to preserve this interesting motel …..Digital Lady Syd