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An Army Tortoise

Image of a Galapagos Tortoise at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm
I have visited the St. Augustine Alligator Farm many times over the past few years and for some reason, these huge Galapagos Tortoises always catch my eye. They always look the same and are not particularly colorful, but for some reason this image caught my attention as it looks like he is wearing an Army camouflage helmet on his back. I just could not pass up the chance to try it out, so here my Army Tortoise – I think he really has a bit of a military expression on his face.

Just my basic workflow using Topaz Clarity to sharpen him up a bit, Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Simplify using a preset created from Serge Ramelli’s video called How To Turn a Photo into a Cartoon with Topaz Simplify 4.0, a Selective Color Adjustment Layer to turn the blue tones in his shell to green, Nik Viveza 2 to even out the edges, a Lighten and Darken Curves Adjustment Layer to slightly dodge and burn the image. 2 Lil Owls (see sidebar for website link) Mosaic Set Benoit textures was added and set to Multiply blend mode, and her Mosaic Set darcy grunge texture was set to Screen blend mode. For this texture the Blend If This Layer white tab slider was split and set to 90/128 to give the pattern effect just on the outside of the image. On a New Layer set to Overlay, a couple large round soft strokes were made to act as a spotlight on his face and part of his shell. A little clean up was done to finish up. I really think he looks so much more interesting now!….Digital Lady Syd


Poising for a Portrait

Image of a Tricolored Heron from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery
This beautiful Tricolored Heron is waiting for her mate to return to the nest with more nest ingredients. I could not believe how beautiful her eyes were! And where is her neck – how does she do this? The image had lots of shadows on her feathers that had to be removed – used both Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush set with the Saturation way down and clarity up to retain the feather structure, and then in Photoshop used a little cloning on the feathers. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Clarity was applied to pull out the feather details more – the background was painted out in a layer mask. (For Clarity settings, see below.) On another stamped layer Topaz Impression 2’s Jai Johnson’s Oil Glaze Light Original Color for noise removal preset was applied. (Need to try this preset if you shoot bird and wildlife photography – see her preset settings in her video In the Digital Studio January 6, 2017). Darken and Lighten Curves Adjustment Layers were created and the layer masks were filled with black. (See my How to Use Curves Adjustment Layers to Dodge and Burn an Image blog.) Areas that needed either adjustment were painted back. A Red Channel Luminosity Curve Adjustment Layer was created. (See my How to Use a Red Channel to Create a Nice Blended Image Effect blog.) Then an orange Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer was applied at 19% layer opacity to warm up the image slightly using the mask to remove areas that were too warm. Finished up with Nik Viveza 2 to add a little vignette and drive focus to the bird’s eye. I just love the expression of this lovely lady…..Digital Lady Syd

Here are the basic Clarity settings used for my SJ Scottish Landscape:  Clarity Section – Dynamics: Micro Contrast 0.73, Low Contrast 0.33, Medium Contrast 0; and High Contrast -0.34; Tone: Black Level 0.69, Midtones 0.02, and White Level -0.34; Hue/Sat/Lum Section – Hue Red 0.13, Orange 0.11, Green 0.33, and Aqua -0.36; Sat Red 0.19, Orange 0.14, Green -0.31, and Blue -0.19; and Lum Red 0.59, Orange 0.16, Yellow -0.02, and Green -0.37; all not listed colors were set to 0. For this image, changed Medium Contrast to 0.70, set all Hues to 0, and changed these Lum settings to: Orange 0.39 and Yellow -0.87.


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


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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Finding the Shade

Jaguar at the Jackonsville Zoo
This jaguar started off as not a very pretty image at all – his lower foot was cut off, but the wood fence looked really good so I decided to process it. The image was taken at the Jacksonville Zoo behind a chain-linked fence where light shadow lines were throughout the image. In Lightroom Dave Delnea’s Backlight _Vertical_Left preset was applied and the settings adjusted. Used the Adjustment Brush to add a little Clarity and Sharpness to the just the face and ears. In Photoshop first the canvas had to be extended at the bottom and on the right side – filled some of the area using the Rectangular Marquee Tool and with Content-Aware Fill. Then the back foot was selected and copied (CTRL+J) to put on its own layer. The Free Transform Tool (CTRL+T) was used to add the bottom of this front leg and the spot Healing Brush was used to blend it all together. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Impression 2 was used to blend some of the dark chain-linked fence shadows out and the spot Healing Brush was also used to remove them. Jai Johnson’s Oil Glaze preset (see video to create) was used and most of the jaguar was painted out on a layer mask. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Lucis Pro was opened and the Detail was set to 113. Then just parts of the jaguar were painted back in the mask to add more detail to the face. A Red Channel Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer was added next. On another stamped layer, Nik Color Efex Pro was opened and the Pro Contrast filter with the Dynamic Contrast set to 41% and the Darken/Lighten Filter were applied. It took a bit of time to work out the problems in this image, but the results were worth it!…..Digital Lady Syd


Keeping an Eye Open

Image of a Red Flanked Lorikeet at the Jacksonville Zoo
This is an image of a male Red Flanked Lorikeet found at the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida. These birds are so colorful and very active! He actually posted for several pictures which surprised me. There were a lot of layers with this guy as I could not decide what to do with him. I finally settled on adding a pretty heavy texture to his image. French Kiss’s Solstice Puissance (see sidebar for website link) was selected and the color changed to match the bird. The bird was painted in several places using my SJ Pastel 3 brush. A little Exposure Adjustment Layer eye sharpening and Nik Viveza 2 to get the light in the background correct finished up the photo. These birds are so beautiful!…..Digital Lady Syd


A Cowboy in Montana

Image from Shorpy.com of a Cowboy in Montana
This image is from Shorpy.com, my favorite old image site, and was called Cowboy at Quarter Circle U Roundup in Montana in June 1939. Just had to try to add the hand-tinting and see if I could get that old West look that was so popular in the 60’s. This image was really not that hard to do – just followed the steps in my How to Colorize an Old Photo Fun Photoshop Blog using several Color Fill Adjustment Layers. On a stamped layer (CTRL++SHIFT+ALT+E) on top, used a Sunset Gradient 5 from Oilha Kozacheenko to get the beautiful sunset effect. The map was created by just going into one of the Map Apps and copying down a selection of Montana, removing all the roads, drawing a line around the state lines to thicken them, and removing the white in the map using Color Range. Then it was brought into the cowboy image. 2 Lil Owls (see sidebar for website link) Mosaic Set beneit grunge texture was applied and set to Linear Light blend mode at 25% layer opacity. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Texture Effects 2’s Urban Grit preset was applied and then Topaz ReStyle’s Natural Brown Shades. It took a little bit of tweaking to get the final result, but it was a lot of fun! I like to hand-tint a good black and white image for a change of pace…..Digital Lady Syd


The Road to Hana

Image from Hana Highway in Maui, Hawaii
This Maui image of a little water inlet on the Hana Highway is another example of the poster look that was in my Getting That Poster Effect Fun Photoshop Blog. Used a similar workflow with Lucis Pro 6.0.9 (any sharpening filter would work), Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Impression 2 using one of my presets (I do not use the same preset for each image) – just have to use a little trial and error to find the right painting look. A layer mask was added and parts were painted out that did not look so good. The RGB luminosity layer and the brighten whites layer were also created. PS’s Poster Edges Filter was used with the same settings as my original blog. PS’s Stylized Filter using the same settings from the original blog was added. Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was opened and these filters were stacked: Glamour Glow, Reflector Efex, Film Efex Vintage using Film Type 14, and Cross Processing using Method B02 at 17% Strength – this really added to the painterly effect. On a New Layer and using my SJ Pastel Brush, some clean up and colors were added in parts of the image to create a more painterly look. A Red Channel Luminosity Curve was used to further even out the tone of the image. A Color Balance Adjustment Layer was used to get the exact warmth into the image. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Lens Effects Diffusion filter was opened and just a little diffusion and softness was added to the image to smooth some of the strokes. My favorite texture group from 2 Lil’ Owls (see sidebar for website link) Color Bokeh Grunge Set (these are .png files) number 3 was added to the image and set to Overlay blend mode. Last step involved taking another composite layer into Nik Viveza 2 (still my favorite plug-in ever and now it is free) and added a little vignette and lightened the focal point, which is the point at waters edge and the tree almost in the center. It did take a while to do this image, but I am always surprised at how good these poster effects come out! Each time I try it I feel I am getting a better result…..Digital Lady Syd


Tree on Fire

Image of Tree in Maui
This image is from the beautiful drive on Maui called the Hana Highway. The tree was basically sitting alone on a hillside enjoying the wonderful weather, but somehow it turned into a rather dramatic image mainly due to the added texture. In Lightroom after watching a video by Serge Ramelli called Amazing Free Lightroom Presets!, his AA Drama Radial Circle Middle preset was selected. The Graduated Filter and Radial Filter settings were adjusted and moved. In Photoshop, the Background layer was duplicated and the PS Lighting Effects filter was used to add a little light in the top of the tree – was just trying it out. Think I like the Camera Raw Radial Filter better for this. Added the Flypaper Bird Brush Set-Albatross Fly Birds to the sky on a separate layer. Jai Johnson’s Daily Textures Explorations Texture 9 was used to create this rather glowing background effect. The layer was set to Multiply blend mode. A Red Channel Curves Adjustment Layer was added to modify the highlights. Nik Viveza 2 was opened and 7 control points were used to drive the eye toward the focal point and to give a slight vignetting effect. Also a little light could be scattered on the hill with this filter. A hoe-hum image has been turned into something rather spectacular!…..Digital Lady Syd


Castillo de San Marcos

Image taken inside the Castillo de San Marcos Fort in St. Augustine
Loved how this image of the Castillo de San Marcos has such a soft feel inside the fort. The sharpness in the outside area where the kids was created using Lucis Pro 6.0.9 (no longer available, but I keep watching for everyone). The original image has the inside area looking much brighter. This was darkened down a little using Nik Viveza 2. Then to bring out the softening effect, Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Glow 2 and a preset called Room Glow by Blake Rudis was applied and set to Overlay blend mode. This preset was created using Glow 1 but works fine in Glow 2 and can be created by downloading the Topaz Labs Glow Webinar PDF file from Blake, who is a Photoshop and Topaz genius. In fact all 4 of the presets in this PDF are very useful in Glow. A Layer Mask was added to paint out the outside area in the door. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top, Topaz Impression 2 was opened and the Fine Brush Scumble II preset was applied as is. To further add a little softness Topaz Lens Effects was opened and the Slight Diffusion preset was applied. Layer Masks were also added to these layers to keep the outside area tack sharp. Try out these filters for this soft effect…..Digital Lady Syd


Rainbow over Arizona

Image of a rainbow at a storm in Arizona
This was a snapshot taken with an old camera several years ago when in Arizona. Just had some fun with it as I loved the way the trees looked and wanted to see if I could get a nice effect with them. Applied Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Impression 2 and used a preset created from watching Jai Johnson’s Topaz Impression Oil Glaze Preset for Noise Removal video – adjusted the Red, Orange and Yellow colors in the plug-in and added a Vignette to it. The preset was not used for noise removal – just liked the effect on the image. Some clean up was done on a layer. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top, applied Topaz Texture Effects 2 – started a new preset with the Diffusion section (set Diffusion Strength to 1.00, Softness 0.49 and Blur 0.27); Basic Adjustments section to adjust the color in the rainbow with Enabled Mask turned and inverted the mask to just paint back the rainbow; Light Leaks section using the first leak to add a little foreground color; and finally the Masking section using the Brush tab to paint out some of the effect on the foreground tree. On a new stamped layer a little Nik Viveza 2 magic was used to drive the eye to the focal point. That was it!…..Digital Lady Syd


A Surreal New York New York Hotel

Image of the New York New York Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada
Not sure what possessed me to create this, but it was a lot of fun. This is not really a hard effect to achieve. Just made some basic Lightroom adjustments so my image had nice tones and detail. In Photoshop, added a little Lucis Pro (no longer available) to sharpen it just a little more – could have used Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail or Clarity to do this. Had to do quite a bit of clean up since there is there is a roller coaster running in front of the New York New York Hotel in Las Vegas. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), added a pretty severe motion blur by going to Filter -> Blur -> Motion Bur and setting the Angle to -90 (vertical effect for this image) and the Distance to 687. Added a duplicate layer of the Lucis Pro layer on top of the blur layer and a Black Layer Mask – the buildings were lightly painted back to give some building effect but still left it really vague. Another stamped layer was used and the now free Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 was opened. Started with a preset and tweaked the sliders to get a pleasing effect. On a duplicate layer, the Flaming Pear Flood filter was added that gave a bit more of an eerie look – the lines in the bottom foreground came by selecting a Glue called spin light – thought it was an interesting effect. On another stamped layer used Topaz Texture Effects 2 using the Crisp Morning Run – did a lot of adjustments and used the Spot Mask a couple times, once on the Texture section and another in the Masking section. Added a Red Channel Luminosity Curve Adjustment Layer. On another stamped layer above used Nik Viveza 2 to add focus to the guitar on the building. Used a Selective Color Adjustment Layer to give that final color look to get the sort of soft abstract effect. This was a lot of fun to try something different……Digital Lady Syd


Magic Kingdom Snow

Image of a pair of lanterns from the Ghost House at the Magic Kingdom
This image is of a pair of lanterns taken at the Magic Kingdom although they look like they are from Hogwarts and the Harry Potter movies. Most processing was done with Lucis Pro (which is no longer available), Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Glow 2 and Nik Viveza 2. Many painting snow layers as shown in my How to Paint in a Snow Storm blog. It is really fun to add snow into images to get a little different look……Digital Lady Syd


The Valentine Trees

Painted Valentine Trees
Happy Valentines Day! Just had some fun painting my Valentine Trees – started in Corel Painted and ended up in Photoshop. Lots of layers here a few filters – used Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Impression (true – used after painting the image), Topaz ReStyle, Topaz Lens Effects Reflector, and Nik Viveza 2. Lots of layers for the grass and valentines added. Overall lots of fun to do. Have a great day!…..Digital Lady Syd


An Interesting Pink Flower

Pink Petaled flower from Belarus
This image is of an interesting pink flower that was growing in the countryside of Belarus. Update: Someone on my Flickr account told me it is a Cleome Flower native to South America. The original image is beautiful, but this time I decided to add some new filter effects to get a totally different look. Lucis Pro (no longer available) was used to sharpen the actual petals, a Mixer brush by David Belliveau of Paintable was used to smooth the background and remove distracting items (this is the best brush for smoothing large areas and it can downloaded at the link), 2 Lil’ Owls’s Color Bokeh Grunge Set Texture 2 (see sidebar for website link) was applied and set to Luminosity blend mode, the free Nik Viveza 2 plug-in was used to adjust the focal point, a darken/lighten layer was applied to dodge and burn some of the edges, and finally Topaz (see sidebar for website link) was applied using the Charcoal I Slight Color preset (only adjusted the Color Magenta, Green and Orange Lightness sliders). On a New Layer did a final clean up with the same Mixer on the background. I really like the different result from the original…..Digital Lady Syd


The Spring in the Desert

Painted image of the Arizona Desert in the Spring
Image of what I imagine the Arizona desert looks like in the Spring after a bit of rain and before the sun gets too hot during the day for flowers to bloom on the plants. Painted the basic layout in Corel Painter and 4 layers for this. The clouds were blocked in and the plants and a few flowers using mainly Karen Bonaker’s brushes. In Photoshop created several different layers to add more plant details. Tried out the new inexpensive Flypaper Bird Brush set in this image – used the bush with the three birds on it, a single bird sitting on the cactus and the birds flying in the background. Grut 50 Photoshop Cloud brushes were used to embellish the sky more. Topaz (see sidebar) ReStyle’s silver and ivory cloak preset was added to adjust out the color a little. Nik Viveza 2 was used to add focal point emphasis. Topaz Lens Effects Graduated Neutral Density filter set to Bottom Quarter 2 stops was applied. On a New Layer above John Derry’s Impasto Smooth Light layer style was applied and with the Fill set to 0, used Grut’s OI Gypsum Slate brush painted over plants. French Kiss (see sidebar for website link) Atelier Canvas texture was added on top. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to the texture and Saturation was set to -100. Then on the texture layer, the blend mode was changed to Multiply and the layer opacity was set to 73%. A Levels Adjustment Layer was added on top to bring back the contrast. That was it……Digital Lady Syd


Bamboo Trees

Image of bamboo trees
These beautiful trees are part of the Ormond Beach Memorial Art Museum and Gardens here in Florida. The blue sky was a perfect match for the colors in the tree trunks. I really wanted an oriental feel to the image. The first step was working on the RAW file in Lightroom. A free preset obtained from Allen Mowrery called Allen’s Vintage Retro achieved a bit of a sketch feel to the image and really softened the image. In Photoshop Lucis Pro (unfortunately no longer available) was applied using both the Enhance Detail and Smooth Detail sliders on all three channels to get a slight painterly effect in the image. Then Levels, Color Balance, and Selective Color Adjustment Layers were applied. On a stamped layer, Topaz Texture Effects 2 was opened and this is were the bluish texture became more obvious on the background. The texture used is one of the Topaz pinkish textures with darker edges. (Settings used:  In Texture Section, selected texture that is a pinkish color with darken edges (in my All, 6th row down and first column), Size 1.00 and Rotation 0 – Keep Aspect Ration; Brightness -0.43, Contrast -0.14, Detail 0.79, Saturation -0.49, Color Strength 0; Opacity 0.33 set to Normal blend mode; and Enabled Masking and set the Color tab to Hue 0.12 and Range 0.09, which blacked out most of the trees and leaves leaving the white sky for the area the texture would be applied. Next Vignette section Strength 0.40, Size 0.70, Transition 0.53, Roundness 0.61, Color Black and center in middle, Opacity 0.90 set to Normal. Basic Adjustments Brightness -0.08, Shadow 0.11, Highlight 0.12, Clarity 0.24, Saturation -0.12, Temp -0.10, Tint 0, Opacity 0.43 set to Soft Light. Overall Opacity set to 0.62 and Luminosity blend mode.) My regular workflow was done next with a Black and White Adjustment Layer set to Luminosity blend mode, Nik Viveza 2 to emphasize the focal point, and a Red Channel Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer. (Search on my Fun Photoshop Blog for info on these techniques.) The last step involved adding a Layer Style for a little Impasto texture effect on the tree bark. Used John Derry’s Impasto Smooth Light layer style and Grut’s IO (Impasto Oil) Gypsum Slate brush to paint in some of the tree trunks on a New Layer with a Fill set to 0. In areas that still needed a little texture, used the same brush on a New Layer just sampling nearby colors. Grut’s Impasto Oil brushes are great for just adding a bit of texture and depth here and there without going to the trouble of using a layer style. This was a lot of fun to do and I like the oriental color palette which bamboo always reminds of using……Digital Lady Syd


Window Flowers

Flowers at the Ormond Beach Art Museum and Gardens
These pretty flowers were snuggling up against the window and enjoying a nice sunny January morning at the Ormond Beach Memorial Art Museum and Gardens. Just having some fun here with Topaz (see sidebar for website link)K Impression and Topaz Texture Effects. Lots of masking and painting in areas with Regular brushes and Mixers. Could have worked on this image for hours! Love the colors!…..Digital Lady Syd


Colorful Leaves

Digitally painted image of colorful leaves
These colorful leaves were taken a year ago at the Jacksonville Zoo – near the entry way. I could not believe how colorful they were in January! Cropped in close to really emphasize the colors and not so much the details. In Photoshop Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail 3 was opened – used one of my presets (SJ Ldsp Underpaint2 preset:  Detail Overall Small Details -1.00, Medium Details -1.00, and Large Details -1.00: Tone – Exposure 0.10, Contrast 0.24, Highlights 0.76, Blacks 0.31, Cyan-Red -0.61, Magenta-Green 0.11, and Yellow-Blue -0.16; Color – Temperature 0.16, Tint 0.21, Sat -0.27, and Sat Boost 0.19.) Instead of adding detail, the edges are all softened and the colors dominate the image for painting. Topaz Impression 2 was opened and a preset called Abstract Settings-Blake Rudis was applied as is. Back in PS the layer was set to Overlay blend mode and 50% layer opacity. The original background layer was duplicated and placed on top.  A black layer mask was added (hold down ALT and click icon to add mask at bottom of Layer Panel to make black) and some of the leave’s details were painted back in. Both the Regular brushes and Mixer brushes were used to paint over all the leaves on lots of different layers – paint colors were sampled from the image. I like to use individual layers for each brush and color. Nik Viveza 2 was opened and control points were placed on  the two main leaves where the focal points are. Still a few more clean up layers and that was it. I loved the abstract feel and bright colors of these leaves!…..Digital Lady Syd

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