Anything Photoshop or Photography

Lightroom

2017 January Calendar

January 2017 Calendar using 1902 colorized image
I just love this image of these two women eating by a window and it makes a perfect calendar image I think. This vintage image is from Shorpy.com, my favorite site for the old historical images, taken in 1902 at the National Cash Register Company‘s restaurant in Dayton, Ohio. In my How to Hand Tint a Vintage and Create a Brush To Do This blog, I show how I colorized this image. It was then put into the Calendar using the 8 1:2 X 11 1-month Lightroom template provided by Ed Weaver at Red Photographic – also used his January Calendar image. The calendar headers were set to matching colors in the Develop module so everything blends together nicely. Now that Lightroom 6 has a Reference Photo option in the Develop  module, it is easier to compare the calendar color with the image being added. The Split Tone section works nicely for changing the header colors as well as the Adjustment Brush using a Color sampled from the image and then adjusting all the other sliders. Check out my How To Create 2017 Calendars in Both Lightroom and Photoshop blog for more info on using these templates. Just remember that if the templates do not look right, check out your Page Setup Printer properties – see if you have it set to Landscape instead of Portrait or vice versa. Also if the background color does not fit quite right, check out the Print Job section, set to Print to JPEG File and check Custom File Dimensions to fill out. These are mistakes I have made. Lightroom templates can be a bit tricky, so keep at it as eventually they will line up. Enjoy making your calendars!…..Digital Lady Syd


Foggy Day on the ICW

Foggy day on the Halifax River in Ormond Beach, Florida
Can you tell whose Lightroom preset this is? It looks so classic Trey Ratcliff to me and yes, it is one of his new ones called Venice Canalman that came in a free December 2015 preset package he gave away with his newsletter. I bought some of his presets a couple years ago and have used them frequently. This image was taken in the park across the street of The Casements on the Halifax River (Intracoastal Waterway). In Photoshop a person was removed from the walkway on a separate layer. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Clarity was used to just sharpen the piers in the distance – layer mask filled with black and just the piers were painted back in white. Nik Viveza 2 was used to draw the focus to the far right boat cover. Anyway, I really loved the way this preset worked on this image……Digital Lady Syd


M&M’s Getting Their Last Breath of Air

Image of my M&M Christmas ornaments
Sunday it was time to take down the Christmas ornaments. These adorable M&M ornaments my sister got me a few years ago are some of my favorites. In Lightroom 2 Lil’ Owls (see sidebar for website link) Fresh Color 7 preset was applied and then a couple adjustment brushes were used, one with Clarity and Sharpness increased and painted in the faces, and one with a little yellow color to draw the eye more towards the yellow M&M. In Photoshop Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail 3 with my Little Med Large Details preset applied (Detail Overall Medium Details 0.38 and Large Details 0.16 and Tone Contrast 0.30 and Shadows -0.01). Back in Photoshop a black layer mask (CTRL+I in regular layer mask) was added and just faces were sharpened again. A stamped layer was created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and Topaz Adjust’s French Countryside preset (my favorite Adjust preset) was applied. This time a regular layer mask was added back in Photoshop and the bodies were slightly painted back with a 30% opacity black brush. The layer was set to Linear Burn blend mode at 40% layer opacity. I just wanted a touch of the Adjust in the image to soften the background area. Next R Gough’s Watercolour on Canvas Overlay was added. This overlay was in the a wonderful free holiday pack from Design Cut. A blue Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT+click between layers to clip) to add a pretty bluish vignette. The last step was a Curves Adjustment Layer. That was it. This was a lot of fun to do a very traditional treatment to the photo!…..Digital Lady Syd


The Boy in the Bubble

Image of boy floating in a giant bubble amusement ride
This looks like so much fun – wish I could try it! This boy is riding in one of 4 giant floating bubbles at the 2014 Native American Festival in Ormond Beach, Florida, this past weekend. The kids don’t get wet andhave a great time trying to stand up and run. Very little processing was done on this image, which is unbelievable since he is behind a thick piece of soft vinyl. In Lightroom, after some basic adjustments and cropping, Dave Delnea’s Forest Walks Look 3 preset was applied – but I used The Fader to reduce the preset effect to just 61%. Really brought out just the right amount of greens and blues. In Photoshop Topaz (see sidebar for website link) DeNoise 5 was set to an Overall Setting of 0.19. Some clean up was done where the water looked funny on his face. Nik Viveza 2 was used to slightly tone down the bright specular light in the upper left side of the image and to even out the face color. That was it. I like the natural texture the vinyl created. What a cool amusement – looks like he is really is floating!…..Digital Lady Syd


Where Can You Find the Cutest Lion?

Image of a Lion Topiary at Universal Studios Dr. Seuss Landing
This little guy that was standing on the side in Dr. Seuss Landing at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure has got to rank right up there for cuteness! I loved the topiaries in this area – Universal did a great job on them. Very little processing was done to this guy. In Lightroom just the Basic slider adjustments and cropping. Used an Adjustment Brush to even out some of the shadows on the lion’s body and Dave Delnea’s Backlight Horizontal Right preset was applied to even out the light a little. In Photoshop just a little basic clean up in the top corner where a branch was showing. Next the High Pass filter set to 6 and Overlay Blend Mode was used to sharpen just the face and edges of his red mane by adding a black layer mask to the filter and painting back those areas. A painted frame was added as a border and an Adjustment Layer to add just a little overall contrast. That was it! Just love this shot!…..Digital Lady Syd


Happy Veterans Day!

Beautiful US Flag hanging on street in Savannah, Georgia
Happy Veterans Day to all who served! While visiting Savannah, Georgia, recently, I was impressed by how patriotic the city is – US flags were everywhere. I found this image to be quite pretty on a beautiful Sunday morning! In Lightroom the NAPP preset called Hang Ten (the preset is referenced in Scott Kelby’s The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Book for Digital Photographers) and Dave Delnea’s Backlight 002 Vertical preset (which creates the beautiful lighting effect) were applied along with the basic sliders. This image used Topaz (see right side for website link) Simplify and Alien Skin’s Snap Art 3 in Photoshop. A couple Curves Adjustment Layers were used, one for targeting the flag and the other creating a light vignette effect…..Digital Lady Syd


A Beautiful Morning, I Think I’ll Go Outside for A While…..

Image of a side street with bikes in Savannah
This image was totally processed in Lightroom (could have been done completely in ACR) and it just reminded me of how this day really felt. It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Savannah, Georgia, USA, and could not have been more perfect! What a great city to spend a day in! This image actually looked great as a black and white, but I still liked the fall tones better in this image. Pretty much did a few basic tab slider changes and then found Jack Davis’ Wow-Antique 01 Lightroom preset. (Go to Jack Davis Wow Facebook page and Like his page to get 46 Lightroom presets in his Freebies section – it includes this beautiful preset.) Then the Aqua Luminance and Saturation was boosted to give a little more color into the bikes. To get the blown out look on the street, I used the Tone Curve TAT tool (located in upper left corner of panel) and dragged it into the center of the image until the slight High Key look was achieved. Then saved as a JPG in Lightroom to post. So simple but so lovely!…..Digital Lady Syd


More Butterflies Enjoying the World

Image of two Monarch butterflies in a plumbago bush

Can’t get over how many wonderful butterfly shots I got this year. I think they really liked out yard since we had so many blooming plants. These mating monarchs were dancing around my plumbago bushes in the back yard. They were moving so fast it was hard to get a shot where they were both in focus, but this one was pretty good. I actually had my ISO set to 800 in full light to get a quick enough shutter speed! In Lightroom I did just basic sliders and sharpened the butterflies using an Adjustment Brush on just them. Then I applied the Retro Vintage preset I created from Allen Mowery’s free preset (for download link and my preset settings, check out my Fun Photoshop Blog How To Add a Little Retro To Your Shots).  The Radial Filter was used to created to slightly darken and desaturate the edges. In Photoshop Alien Skin’s Snap Art 3 was opened and the Impasto Portrait (soft) preset was selected. Three layers were used – one to sharpen the butterflies a little, one for the white flower, and one for the leaves around the butterflies. Back in Photoshop a layer mask was added and a little more of the detail of the butterflies was painted back. The frame is my SJ Double Edge Frame layer style. The colors turned out so beautiful!…..Digital Lady Syd


Just a Little Flowing Water

Image of water flowing past a rock at Iao Valley in Maui
This is not a traditional image for me – I usually do not shoot flowing water, especially in close-ups, but with a little Photoshop help, I got a really nice look. The rock was in a stream at Iao Valley in Maui, Hawaii. Very little was done to this image – just basic changes in Lightroom which included using an Adjustment Brush set to 100 Clarity to smooth out the water areas. The thing that really made this image pop was opening up the Topaz (see sidebar for website link) ReStyle and selecting the Blue Dreams preset. The color combinations really changed a boring image into a beautiful image. I am amazed by what this plug-in can do! The Structure and Detail were increased on just the rocks and flowers using a Mask for this section inside the plug-in. I wanted the water to still look soft. Back in Photoshop a Levels Adjustment Layer was added where the Midtones tab was set to 0.82 and the Output Levels were set to 7/255. The last step was adding a Layer Style by double clicking a composite layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) that I created on top. A Pattern Overlay was added using Photoshop’s pattern called Dark Coarse Weave set to Overlay blend mode, 65% opacity and a Scale of 128%. These settings can change depending upon the size and resolution of your image. Anyway, pretty easy to do and I love the result!…..Digital Lady Syd


Light on the Plant

Image of large Canna MACtro Blooms
This is an image of the Canna MACtro flowers that grows in my crazy front yard – always has healthy blooms for me! It was mainly processed in Lightroom. The image in Lightroom was first turned to black and white by going to the HSL Saturation panel and setting all the colors to -100. Then the colored sliders were adjusted until I got a pleasing color balance. With an Adjustment Brush, the flowers were sharpened. I used a preset I made from David duChemin older Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom book (still a great read) that I call duChemin Classic India preset. Dave Delnea’s Backlight Horizontal Left preset was applied to light up the flowers and last free Matt Kloskowski’s Vignette (Strong) was applied. The image was now ready for Photoshop where Nik Viveza 2 was opened and control points placed on the flowers to sharpen a bit more, and on the background areas to further darken the distractions. My free SJ B&W Border Style was applied and the Inner Glow changed from white to a sampled color in the image. That was it!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Pop a Picture in Lightroom 5
How to Use Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) or Lightroom 4 Quickly
I Didn’t Know That! Converting Lightroom Preset to Adobe Camera Raw Preset


Fly Like a Butterfly!

Image of Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly flying over pink penta flowers
Just had to post this image of a beautiful Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly flying mid-air in my pink penta flowers. I love the soft effect I got in this image even though the colors are so bright. So how did I get this pretty image? First I added the Retro Vintage preset I created earlier (see my Fun Photoshop How to Add a Little Retro to Your Shots Blog under Create a Lightroom Preset For a Vintage Feel) at 145% Strength by using The Fader, a Lightroom plug-in that let’s you adjust the strength of the preset from 0% through 150% – major cool to use at times. A vignette was added and some colors were adjusted in the Saturation section of the HSL panel. Noise was removed and a little overall sharpening was applied. The butterfly was sharpened more using an Adjustment Brush. In Photoshop, Nik Viveza 2 was opened and three control points were placed – one on the butterfly and one each on the pink penta flowers to bring out exactly the correct detail and color. I love this plug-in! Next a Curves Adjustment Layer was opened to lighten up the butterfly and pentas. The Layer Mask was filled with black and a soft low opacity white brush was used to paint back the butterfly and flowers to get just the right amount of contrast. That was it. Very easy and I love the way this turned out!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Great Free Plug-in for Lightroom – The Fader!
A Little Hollywood for My Butterfly Model
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Feeling Butterflies!
Butterfly Season is Here!
Yellow Dogface Butterfly in her Glory!


Mushroom to “Mission Control”

Image of a large Meadow Mushroom with morning dew on it
Recently a few Meadow Mushrooms grew to a large size very quickly in my yard. (Here’s is another mushroom image I took.) They actually were quite pretty, especially when the morning dew was on them. It really reminded me of a strange moon’s terrestrial surface. This image used very little processing to get this final look. In Lightroom the most important step was the crop to bring in all the interesting dew drops – the image was cropped quite drastically! The White Balance was adjusted and it was opened in Photoshop. Next Nik’s Viveza 2 was selected from the Filters list and three control points were placed to emphasize the structure of the larger drops and also to brighten up the center of the mushroom. Back in Photoshop a Curves Adjustment Layer was added on top and a couple points added to the curve to get the contrast needed. The last step involved adding a Stroke Layer Style – used the Fill Type Gradient set to an angle of -60 degrees and Photoshop’s Rainforest gradient. The Size was set to 21 pixels. That was all the processing done. Love the results! (I guess it is a good thing that I like own work – LOL)…..Digital Lady Syd


Never Thought I Would Use a Wax Crayon Effect!

Yep, this image was processed using the wax crayon brush in Snap Art 3. I totally love the vintage feel to this image. I am adding the Lightroom image as brought into Photoshop so you can see the difference – just click on the image. I really liked the before image as it was processed  using one of my favorite presets, GA B&W Infrared 01 preset which gave it a little bit of a blown out look. Jack Davis’s Bluish Split Toning preset was applied after this (the presets use different settings so both can be applied – Jack’s preset can be downloaded from his Facebook Freebies section and selecting his Lightroom Wow 4 Presets.) White rounded corners were created in the Post-Crop Vignetting section using Style: Highlight Priority, Amount +100, Midpoint 32, Roundness -93 and Feather 0. Once in Photoshop the background layer was duplicated and made into a Smart Object. Alien Skin’s Snap Art 3 was opened and the Pastel (sketch) preset was selected. Three layers were used to adjust the parameters for the Wax Crayon I was using on the image – just basically played around with the settings until I liked them. Since it is a Smart Object, I can always go back and change anything I don’t like. Next 2 Lil’ Owls Studio Color Bokeh Grunge (see sidebar for website link) Sweetness overlay was added using the Subtract blend mode at 58% layer opacity. Curves, Levels and Hue/Sat Adjustment Layers were added to add more contrast and color into the image. The last step used Nik Viveza 2 with a control point on the front of the building to draw attention to this area. That was it – I really like the final result! Not at all what I had in mind, but love it just the same!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Alien Skin Snap Art 3
Get Great Results with Alien Skin Snap Art 3 and Topaz ReStyle Together!!
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Viveza 2 Does It Again!


This huge Barking Treefrog got thrown out of a Palm Tree frond that was being trimmed and ended up in my Cardboard Palm. The blooming plant in upper right is a Queen Emma Lily Crinum . The lawn guys said he was the biggest frog they had seen in Florida (he was at least 4 inches long). Anyway, the frong was gorgeous and very calm and let me take his photo. This image was processed a lot in Lightroom using a Jack Davis Bluish Split Toning preset. The frog was sharpened slightly using the Adjustment Brush. A Radial Gradient was added to darken down the outside edge and give a slight vignette. It was taken into Photoshop and a New Layer was created to clean up the leaves with the Spot Healing Tool. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added to add some tone to the image. The layer was duplicated and converted to a Smart Object. My favorite filter was applied – Nik Viveza 2 – to add highlights to the frog and the plant by adding control points to these areas. This really gave the image the final look it needed. In this case Viveza 2 really popped this image!…..Digital Lady Syd


Boring Image to Fabulous Image!


As you can see, this little pink flowers pix taken at the ICW (Halifax River) in Ormond Beach, Florida, was not that great to begin with, but by adding this gorgeous texture from Painted Textures, the image was totally turned around. In Lightroom 5, the image was desaturated using an Adjustment Brush and just leaving the flowers pink. Two Radial Gradients were applied – one for the outside where the Exposure slider was further darkened, and one for the inside area where the Clarity and Sharpness sliders were reduced to make the flowers appear softer and Shadows increased to 20 to give just a glimpse of the background details. Screenshot shows how image looked as a RAW file, and then after Lightroom adjustments right before taking it into Photoshop.

The image was taken into Photoshop CC where a clean up layer was added to get rid of the spots on the flower petals. Next Painted Texture’s beautiful August Sand Texture was added and set to Linear Light at 77% layer opacity. A Hue Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT+Click between the layers) and the Hue was set to -4 and Saturation -23. Then a Curves Adjustment Layer was added to increase contrast, which adding textures often requires, by dragging in the image with the little hand icon tool from the top of the panel and pulling down. A New Layer was added on top and set to Overlay – a burn layer was created using a black brush at 12% and following down the stems. (See my The Best Dodging and Burning Technique! blog ). It was also set to 44% layer opacity to keep it from being overdone. No layer masks or fancy selections or filters were used on this one – the texture totally made this image!……Digital Lady Syd


Image Saved With Shake Reduction Filter


Since horse images seem to be all the rage, I decided to post another one taken in Belarus at the Old Village of Ayaymku. This gal looks pretty scared as she was just caught after going for a romp around the place. See another image of the Horse I took on Flickr. If you like horse stories, you should check Shanna Rae’s (of Florabella Collection) personal blog called Velvet Willow – beautiful story and images of her horses.

In Lightroom the preset called GA B&W Infrared 01 was applied before bringing it into Photoshop. Since I wanted to try out the new Shake Reduction Filter in Photoshop CC, this filter was applied first. Wow – totally saved this image. It was soft and just a little off. Just one sample spot in a bad area and it was cleared up pretty nicely. Then just some clean up and eye sharpening using the Sharpen Tool was used. The last step added the Blending Frame from Tim in Ohio texture set to Linear Dodge at 100% layer opacity. That was all that was done. I think the black and white treatment really enhanced the mood of this image……Digital Lady Syd


Take the Time to Get the Fun Shots!


Going through my older photos I found this crazy image of an ostrich at The Old Village of Ayaymku outside Minsk in Belarus. (At this point I think I am the only person who has posted images on this charming place.) This was a totally fun place to visit – I am not sure they have had too many American tourists, but it is a very popular place for the locals, especial for bridal parties. In fact we saw two brides having photo-shoots while there! Here are a couple links to some of my other images posted on Flicker: The Old Village of Ayaymku and The Old Candy Shop at the Village. This is a replica of an old Belarusian village where there are many beautiful craft and food shops. And then they had this little zoo area with all kinds of animals, including this crazy guy! (Here is another Ostrich image from the Village.) He was mainly retouched in Lightroom 5 where David duChemin’s Toxic Warmth preset was applied. In Photoshop, Nik Viveza 2 was used to emphasize his eyes and tongue and downplay the background. Hope to present some more images from this Village in the future…..Digital Lady Syd

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How to Pop a Picture in Lightroom 5


This image of a pretty cupola taken in London uses several of the new Lightroom 5 features. In fact nothing was done in Photoshop to this image. First it was cropped down – only had the very top as shown but it needed to be composed. Then the basic sliders were set just like in previous versions of Photoshop (see my How to Use Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) or Lightroom 4 Quickly blog for tips on this). The HSL panel was used to set the color. Two Graduated Filters were added – one for the blue sky (Temp -22 and Exposure -1.18) and one to bring out the pretty sky and cloud effect (Exposure -0.42, Highlights -60, Shadows 87, Clarity 55 and a light orange color Hue 28/Sat 59). Some Sharpening was done with an Adjustment Brush (Sharpness 100, Shadows -68, and Clarity 100) and the detail painted over. A Radial Filter was applied to just the the cupola – used -1.18 Exposure with the Invert Mask checked. A Post-Crop Vignetting was added using Highlight Priority Style, Amount +100, Midpoint 18, Roundness -100, and Feather 0 – this gives the nice white frame. That was all that was done – a very plain image turned out to be quite striking!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Lightroom 5′s New Upright Adjustments Section
My Favorite Adobe Lightroom 5 Features


Meeting a Belarusian Horse!


This beautiful horse was in a field outside an old wooden windmill in Belarus. I had forgotten I had taken his pix. Since I did a blog called Can You Get a Painting Look With a Photoshop Action? Jack Davis Can!, this image was processed in Lightroom using his Wow! Antique 03 preset, which included the framing. Check out my other blog for downloading info of his Lightroom presets. The image was taken into Photoshop and the Burn and Dodge Tools were used directly on a duplicate copy of the background. I would never have tried this if I had not watched a short video on Lynda.com called Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop by Bryan Hughes O’Neill, Adobe Photoshop Senior Product Manager who really knows what all the sliders do in these programs. It was very interesting and I learned to use these tools. The main thing to remember is to keep Protect Tones checked. With the Dodge Tool set to Shadows at 50% Exposure, the horses eyes were painted over to make them pop. Burning Tool was used to separate his face from the field using Midtones and Highlights selected. A New Layer was created for the Sharpen Tool – therefore be sure to check Sample All Layers and Protect Detail in Options Bar. The Strength was set to 12% and the effect was built up slowly where sharpening needed to be added. It does not introduce a lot of artifacts this way. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added on top and dragged down in image to get a little more contrast. That was all that was done to get this lovely effect. What a beautiful creature!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
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Using Old Wallpaper for a Vintage Look


Just another pretty image of my zinnias growing in my front yard. In Lightroom a preset I created from Jack Davis’ video (see my Can You Get a Painting Look With a Photoshop Action? Jack Davis Can! blog for link) – this was another part of the video where he shows you how to make an Antique Looking preset in ACR, but it can be done as easily in Lightroom. (It is also in his Facebook link for Lightroom presets download.) Once brought into Photoshop, a New Layer was created and the Mixer Brush was pulled out to define the leaves more, especially the ones in front. Fay Sirkis Four Season Classic FX Highlilghts #1 was used along with her 03 Palette Knife Blender brush, downloaded from her webinars on the NAPP website. She just completed a series of four videos where she goes over each season – wonderful videos if you want to learn to paint! Eventually this layer was set to 82%. On top of the Mixer Brush layer, Caleb Kimbrough vintage wallpaper2 was added (he has several free wallpapers to download) and set to Darker Color blend mode at 39% opacity. A layer mask was added and the flowers painted back into the image. Next an Overlay created from Kim Klassen’s Cloth & Paper texture Touch was applied and set to Multiply blend mode. A medium green Color Fill Layer was added, clipped to the overlay, and set to 70% opacity to add a little green tint to the edges. A Selective Color Adjustment Layer was added to get just the right color of red/magenta in the image. Then a Vibrance Adjustment Layer was added and set to +100 to add back a little color. The last step involved sharpening using a High Pass Filter, setting the mask to black, and painting back just the center of the flower and little bit of the wallpaper. Really loved the final vintage feel to the image……Digital Lady Syd


Aliona’s Birthday


Thought I would do a quick Lightroom post of an image I did of my very photogenic daughter-in-law on her birthday. She does not love this image, but I really love the vintage treatment. To begin the process, Matt Kloskowsky’s That 70’s Look preset was applied (the new version for Lightroom 4 is in the NAPP preset group but I am not sure where I found it). Three Adjustment Brushes were used on her face: 1) on eye iris the Exposure, Clarity and Sharpness were increased to make them pop a little; 2) the whites of her eyes were painted and the Saturation set to -52 to whiten a little; and 3) her lip color was changed to match her dress by using a little clarity and sharpness and a sampled pink color. In Photoshop all that was done was a little Liquify filter was used to adjust the dress folds. That was it – quick and easy and a beautiful look!…..Digital Lady Syd


Lightroom 5’s New Upright Adjustment Feature


Hover over the above image of Westminster Cathedral to see what the original RAW image looked like or (here to see on flickr)- pretty awful! Wanted to show you what Lightroom 5 did with one click of the Lens Correction section’s new Auto button in the Basic Upright area. I was blown away! I did not adjust it any more – it is not perfect but much faster than anything I could get by using Photoshop’s Puppet Warp or filter tools. Check out a short blog by Julianne Kost, one of the Adobe Photoshop Evangelist, that gives some good info on when to use the Reanalyze button. In Photoshop a couple little items were cloned out on a separate New Layer. Nik’s Sharpener Pro 3’s Raw Presharpener was used at default values on a duplicate layer. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added to get rid of a little yellow cast the sharpener filter gave to the top of the tower – used a black layer mask and painted back the correct color where needed in white on the mask. Next Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 was used and the custom preset called Sepia Grain Border was applied. Just a few little changes were done on the sliders to make the image sharper, but that was all that was done. Pretty nice sepia tone image!…..Digital Lady Syd


What a Cute Little Alligator!


Thought I would post my wonderful recent golf experience – we were almost done playing – hole 18 – and then I shot the ball in the water. (That’s how good I am!) Almost clobbered this little sunning alligator, but he did not even move when we pulled the ball out of the water. First alligator I have seen this year, and I would not have gotten the shot if I did not have my cheap Kodak point-and-shoot camera. The image was processed very simply. First I used a Lightroom preset created a while back from a video called True Grit by Michael Rather. (Since I keep referencing it, here are the settings from the short video:  Basic Panel – Contrast  +100, Highlights  -80, Shadows  +100, Whites and Blacks sliders to taste, Clarity  +100, Vibrance  -82, and Saturation  -7; and Lens Correction Panel – in Manual tab set Lens Vignetting Amount to -76 and the Midpoint to +19. Use these settings as a starting point and adjust them to taste. My preset actually is set to Clarity of +67 and Vibrance of -82 and were used in the image above.) Next my favorite sharpening plug-in, Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Detail 3, was applied using the Soft and Dreamy II preset. In the Effect Mask section, the effect was removed from the alligator using the brush strength set to 1.00 and partially on the golf clubs and cart canvas top using a o.21 brush strength. The Overall Opacity was set to 0.87. Back in Photoshop a Levels Adjustment Layer was added setting the middle tab to 0.86. Next a Darken/Lighten layer was created (see my Best Dodging and Burning Technique! blog for info on how to do this). The last step involved adding my free SJ B&W Border Frame Layer Style – changed the black color to a sampled green color from the image. It was great to get outside after a pretty cold and ugly winter/early spring and it was fun to see this little guy, even though he was a little scary. …..Digital Lady Syd

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Fake Panoramic Effect

Taken the morning after Hurricane Sandy went past Ormond Beach in Florida, this image showed how strong the surf was and how gray the sky appeared even though the ferocious hurricane was not a direct hit. We were so fortunate that the storm did not hit Florida directly.

What I really like about the shot is how sharp the texture in the waves and beach surf is. To get this effect, the image was first processed in Lightroom where just basic slider corrections were made and a custom crop was created. I usually do not do this, but this image seemed to scream panorama to me as the sky was so plain and the main subject is the large expanse of water. Since everything was moving, a several shot panorama was out of the question, so it had to be faked. Click on image to see Lightroom version – it is very flat, not at all how I remember it. In Nik Color Efex Pro 4, a Cross Processing filter using Method C04 at 27% strength, Detail Extractor filter set to Normal (Detail Extractor at 64%, Contrast at 31%, and Saturation at16%) with 6 Control Points to restrict the filter effect to the sky area, and a Lens Vignette filter (Amount -9, toward Rectangle,Size 57% and Brightness -16%). In Nik Viveza 2 the Center was brightened. The Spot Healing Brush was used on a clean up layer, and Contrast was boosted with a Curves Adjustment Layer. The default preset in Imagenomics Noiseware was applied. When noiseware is applied, the image detail will usually get softer – therefore, in a white layer mask, I painted with a soft black brush the waves back so you can see the water mist detail. The last step was to apply my free SJ Thin Double Edge Frame layer style sampling colors from the image. Now I get the result I remember!…..Digital Lady Syd