Anything Photoshop or Photography

Archive for February, 2012

Abstract Feel Using the Motion Blur Filter

This image of bamboo shoots uses the Photoshop Motion Blur filter to get the interesting background. The basic idea came from a recent tutorial called “Creating an Abstract Landscape” by Curt Fleenor Photography. (A similar result was created in my blog called “Trying Out the Minimalist Look?” that uses a slightly different approach.) In this case, a gradient map, using an olive to mauve colored gradient, was added on top to give the interesting background colors instead of the really bright yellow and green from the original shot. The bamboo trees were selected with a layer mask just as the tutorial describes. A sun flare was painted on a layer using Obsidian Dawn’s light-beams burst 5 brush. The filter does give a nice abstract background. Anyway, it was just fun to do something a little creative…..Digital Lady Syd

Topaz Star Effects on a Wildflower?

I found these beautiful wildflowers on the side of an overlook just outside of Hilo on the Big Island in Hawaii. It was no larger than my thumbnail. For those of you who like to identify flowers, I believe this is called a Sensitive Briar, Littleleaf Sensitive-briar – Mimosa microphylla, a member of the pea family and the leaves will close up when touched. Here is a great description of these little flowers that I am not sure I was supposed to find in Hawaii.

To process this image, a Nik Color Recipe Detail + Vignette by Matt Kloskowski was used and a Classical Soft Focus filter was added at the bottom. Then it was processed in Viveza to sharpen the center and soften the green leaves in the background (move the Structure slider to the left to soften the edges). Next the image was taken into Topaz Star Effects where my SJ Small Stars preset was applied. (To create these tiny stars the following settings were used: Traditional Star Type; Main Adjustments – Threshold 0, Luminance 0.10, Size 0.20, Angle 75, Number of Points 12, and Spread 0.20; Color Adjustments – Saturation 0.80, Temperature 0.69 and others at 0; and Additional Effects – Glow 0.64 and others 0 – I like to start with effect a lot when using this plug-in.) The stars were hidden around everything but the flower tips. I was surprised how it really made the points of the flower pop. Finally OnOne PhotoFrame toner scratch 21 in a dark purple was added. Wow – once again I used many of my favorite plug-ins to get a really sharp pretty image!…..Digital Lady Syd

Where Am I?

Believe it or not, this is an image of Haleakala volcano popping through the clouds, which is on the Hawaiian Island of Maui approximately 30 miles away, but I am standing at the summit of Mauna Kea volcano on the Big Island. Two dozen telescopes including the large Keck Telescope are located to the right of this shot. The height is at 13,796 feet and the air is a little thin – had to take a 4-wheel drive jeep on a very bumpy and steep gravel road to get to the top. There is also snow on the banks behind me. I loved the way the clouds look so fluffy and light.

Very little processing was done with this image other than a Curves Adjustment Layer and the Nik Color Efex Pro 4 Diamond Head recipe  downloaded from Nik Presets and Recipes page.

Definitely try to get to this site if you are on the Big Island – the views are breathtaking and sometimes you do not have the cloud cover as shown above…..Digital Lady Syd

More Texture Fun!

I did a Fun Photoshop Blog called Tips for Flower Textures last week and I thought I would show another example. Yellow is a very powerful color and it is not different for this image. Once again the texture opacities and blend modes are varied to get this effect. Hover over the image to see how the photo looks with just a few Lightroom adjustments applied. To create this look, the following steps were followed:
1. Duplicate the original layer.
2. Select the background with the Quick Selection Tool and then click the layer mask icon to create a mask that will remove the background.
3. Next a texture by ShadowHouse Creations called In the Beginning was copies and placed under the selected flower layer to create a new background set to Normal Blend Mode at 100% opacity.
4. ShadowHouse Creations texture Photo-Tints Orange Overlay was moved on top of the flowers and was set to Vivid Light Blend Mode and 52% opacity. A Layer Mask was added and the center of the yellow flowers was softly painted out so the orange color is only on the tips.
5. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped (3rd icon at bottom of adjustment layer) to the layer and Master was set to Hue +22, Saturation -26 and Lightness +35 to soften the redness.
6. ShadowHouse Creations texture You’d Be Surprised was applied next and set to Color Dodge Blend Mode at 35% opacity. A Layer Mask was applied to the center of the front flower.
7. Sharpen Tool was used on the flowers only.
8. To get the grunge spots, Florabella’s Snow 3 (the link is to her Facebook page with the free download on the left side)was applied and set to Subtract Blend Mode at 37% opacity.
9. The last step involves adding OnOne’s PhotoFrame Taufer Texture 10 – link to OnOne software is on the right. They simply have the best frames!

I hope you will try to add some textures to your photos. As you can see, the original photo was not anything really exceptional, but with a few free downloadable textures, the whole look changes. And do not be afraid to try different blend modes – I love the way the snow texture turns into a more grunge look with the Subtract Blend Mode. Check out my related blogs below for more beautiful textures to download…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Tips for Flower Textures
Adding a Texture for Flair
Elements & CS5 Friday: Adding a Texture for a Totally New Look to an Image
Fixing Up a Boring Picture

I Didn’t Know That! Export Layers to Files in Photoshop

Every now and then I run into a situation where I want to take one of the layers I am working on in Photoshop and save it down as a separate file. Now it is possible to delete all the files and rename the file, etc., etc., etc. but this can take a while to do and it could cause you to lose the file you are working on if you get careless. This week I wanted one of the sky images I had imported into my image a while back to use again and to put in my Sky folder since I like it. (Hover over image to see sky image created from layer in psd file.) I found out there is a little known script sitting in Photoshop that will accomplish just what I wanted to do in just seconds.

Steps to Export Layer(s) to Files in Photoshop:

1.  In your image, turn off all layers you do not want to create images of by clicking on the eyeballs on the left of the each layer in the Layers Panel. (To do this quickly, you can highlight the layer you want to export to a file and ALT+Click on the eyeball – all the other layers are turned off immediately.)
2.  Go to File -> Scripts -> Export Layers to Files.
3. The Export Layers to Files dialog appears. Fill out as shown. Be sure to capture all the check boxes or you will get image files for each layer in your file.

4.  Click Run and that’s it – really quick and easy!

The image is of the Flagler Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine, Florida, where Henry Flagler and his family are buried. Topaz Adjust 5 and Topaz Black and White Effects were used on this image (see sidebar for website link). The sky is the one I moved in from an image I took on the International Coastal Waterway near St. Augustine while sailing.

Give this script a try next time you want to break apart an image…..Digital Lady Syd

Topaz Star Effects on a Nature Scene

A warm glow feel was created in Topaz Star Effects (see sidebar for website link) to give a very nice soft brightening in your image. If you hover over the image, you can see the difference adding the plug-in at these settings. Very subtle but nice. In this case the sun was setting and there was a soft glow on the tree and bird already but the Star Effects emphasized it by the star placement in the plug-in. A preset was created (I named it SJ Softening Effect) using these settings for this effect:  Star Settings – Traditional Star; Main Adjustments – Threshold 0, Luminosity 0, Size 0.12, Angle 75.00, Number of Points 12, and Spread 0.20; Color Adjustments – Saturation 0.80, Temperature 0.69, Rainbow Strength 0, and Rainbow Frequency 0; and Additional Effects – Secondary Points 0, Glow 0.64 and Ring Flare 0. If the effect seems too strong, adjust the Size down and be sure to brush out any stars that appear in the wrong places. A soft vignette was placed around the final image.

Give this new plug-in a try – it can give a nice soft feel to an image……Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Trying Out Topaz Star Effects
Combining Plug-ins for More Image Interest

The Macro Shot

Recently I have been working on my Macro photography, especially since I have had some beautiful flowers on my porch due to the warm winter we are having in Florida this year. One of my favorite blogs is by Mike Moats called Tiny Landscapes where he gives some great advice on taking and processing macro images. A few things I am starting to try and the above chrysanthemums are the result of one of my efforts. A 60 mm Nikkor macro lens was used at F/19 at 1/20 to 1/350 sec. A Bower 0.5 x High Resolution Digital Lens with Macro was added to the lens. I created an HDR image from five shots which is how I got the large dynamic range in the photo. After that the processing was in Nik Color Efex Pro 4 using Tonal Contrast, Detail Extractor and High Key filter effects and Viveza 2. This is the basic workflow Mike Moats uses and it works very well on macro photos. My original shot was taken with a white background but I just did not like the way it looked. Mike says if you do not like the background feel, crop tight, which is what I did. I hope to try out some of his other tips in the near future – it is a lot of fun to take those close up shots…..Digital Lady Syd

Happy Valentines from Digital Lady Syd

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

A little background information on this Valentine. To create the following card, these steps and resources were used:
1. Started on a New Layer with Spatter Heart Frame from PS Brushes. A Layer Style was added – Outer Glow set to a soft yellow and Linear Dodge (Add) at 75% and a Spread of 21; and a Gradient Overlay adjusting Graphix1 Muted 8 for a gold tone.
2. Next a background was added underneath using Colored Vintage Paper by Ciara Panacchia.
3. Another texture was added above this one – Vintage Valentine Paper by Aramisdream. It was set to 59% and a layer mask was used to brush out the center and to create a vignette effect around the edges.
4. A layer was placed on top that used Obsidian Dawn’s Glitter set-hearts-glitter brush in a soft beige at 43% opacity.
5. Glass Prism’s cupid brush was placed in the center on it’s own layer.
6. The red valentines were placed on their own layer – Hearts by King Billy was used. A Layer Style was added using a red Color Overlay and a small 1 pixel Stroke.
7. Two Text Layers were created using the font Precious, a perfect Valentine font. A Layer Style was added using: Inner Shadow set to Distance of 21 and Size of 21; Outer Glow set to Linear Dodge (Add) at 45% opacity and Size of 24 pixels with a light yellow color; and Bevel and Emboss set to Inner Bevel, Smooth, Depth 103, Size 10 and the rest default settings.

That is how I made my vintage look Valentine. It was a lot of fun to try out the different effects on the brushes – the layer styles really made a difference. When you have a minute, try a layer style on some of your brush strokes – you may get some surprising results!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Where To Get Those Free Valentine Templates
Create a Valentine

Just a Pretty Red Flower

I really liked how the background blurred in this photograph of a red carnation I took on my back porch. I used a 60 mm AF Nikkor Micro lens at F/3.2, 1/300 second, ISO 200 at -1 Exposure Compensation. It was processed in the new Lightroom 4 Beta version setting (Highlights to -100, Shadows +100, White +27, Blacks -29, and Clarity +100;  then the Exposure and Contrast) before taking the photo into Photoshop where  a Sharpen Tool layer, Curves Adjustment Layer, and OnOne PhotoFrame acid burn controlled 12 were applied. A Layer Style including a stroke and inner glow in gold was the last step. Very little processing and it turned out beautifully.

It just goes to prove that if you get a good shot, it does not take much post processing – the image looks great to begin with. It also is nice to have a good lens and this is one of my favorites……Digital Lady Syd

Creating Your Own Art (and Cards) While You Are At It!

More Valentine resources if you are feeling in that creative mood and want to make your own. Here is how I created this funny little valentine.

1. I created a New Document and then added a New Layer on top where a red circle was painted and then a yellow circle was painted inside it.
2. Next this layer was taken into Photoshop’s Liquify Filter and where I came up with this funny looking flower. This is a fun filter that can give some really interesting results if you take the time to learn what the various tools do. A Layer Style (double click on the layer in the Layers Palette) was added to create this nifty embossed heart look – by adding a Bevel and Emboss Layer Style and checking Texture. Now the trick is to double click on the word Texture on the left, and you get a new dialog where you can change the Pattern you use for the texture. In this case, the San Valentine Pattern by succo-design was used with the Scale set to 69% and Depth to +6. These are the same patterns you will see in the Pattern Overlay section, except they are embossed and have not color! This is really a great way to use patterns!
3. On a separate layer I painted a stem and a few leaves. Add a Layer Style to this layer and select Pattern Overlay from the left side. To show you the different from step 2, choose a pattern to add some texture to your stem. In this case I choose Obsidian Dawn’s Dirty Patterns-Texture 1 set to Scale 31% and Opacity 36%. Then an Inner Glow was set using a dark green color set to Size 125 pixels to add a little shading to the outside shape of the leaves and stem. You can see how this pattern was applied differently from the pattern in Step 2.
4. I was not really sure what to do next so I decided to add a colored background. I choose ShadowHouse Creations Raised Textured Effect 2 to give some interest to the background. All the textures in this group are beautiful.
5. On a New Layer ShadowHouse Creations Assorted Brush Pack 2 Soft Clouds-NewBrush 18 was used to for a soft white background.
6. On another New Layer, Obsidian Dawns Glitter Set-Random Swirls 2 was used for the slight yellow glow behind the flower.
7. Above that on another New Layer I used SJ Basic Star Scatter Brush to drop some large white flakes on the background for a bit of a wintry addition. (I set up a star scatter brush using the soft brush set to 30 pixels and spacing 1000%. In the Scatter dialog, set the Jitter to 1000% both axis and the Jitter Count to 100. I saved the settings to use the brush again. This brush is used in my Fun Photoshop Blog “Trying Out Topaz Star Effects” but it creates a nice snowing effect also.)
8. Above the flower, a New Layer was created and the little cupid painted in red (click twice to get dark enough) using Glass Prism CupidReq09 brush.
9. Under this layer, create a New Layer and paint all over image with Snow Drops by FrostBo to finish the snowy feel. You do not want snow on the cupid as it will blur the cupid so this is why the layer is under the snow drop one.
10. A Text Layer was created using the font MC Sweetie Hearts and a white Outer Glow Layer Style set to 21 pixels was used to make the letters stand out.
11. On top of the font a New Layer was created and small hearts using the Valentine Brush by digitalTouch with a white as foreground color and red as background color was painted along the bottom leaving a small heart trail along where the ground would be.
12. A composite layer was created on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and a Layer Style was created to frame the image Stroke set to a gray 4 pixels inside stroke, and a Inner Glow style set to light gray and 125 strokes.

Here is what the layer structure looks like in case you got lost.

It sounds like it is hard to do, but I wanted to show how easy it is to construct some very creative cards with nothing but Photoshop and some nice resources. The trick is to add each element on individual layers and make sure they re named so you know what you did. Much of  the home art you see in Wal-Mart or TJ Maxx is basically just doing exactly what I did here. Check out my blogs below for other ideas just using Photoshop. Take some time to play around with some of the resources available for download and see if you don’t get some really nice art…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Just Plain Fun Brush Effects!
Tree Brushes with a Little Grunge
Just a Tree
Brushing Up on Circles!

Some of My Favorite Plug-Ins

I am starting to sort through all the plug-ins that are out there and slowly figuring out what really works for my workflow. This is a really hard process since there are so many great plug-ins and some of them give very similar results. I have blogged on this many times showing how the same images look with the various plug-in effects.

I started working on this image – not one I was totally in love with, but the old Flagler Presbyterian Church is so beautiful to look at that I wanted to create that sensation in the image. I began by manipulating the file in Topaz Adjust 5 (see link to website in sidebar) and hit the “Get Lucky” button just for the heck of it – and this really cool illustrated look appeared that I was not sure what to do with it. (Hover over image to see the Topaz 5 illustrated image.) I decided it needed a new sky so I opened up OnOne’s Perfect Mask (see website link in sidebar) and added a sky I had placed below the image. This plug-in is the best one I have found for replacing skies quickly – check out the little holes in the trees where the sky peaks through. Next several different effects were tried but none made me go “Wow” — that is until I decided to go into the Topaz Black and White Effects plug-in (see link to website in sidebar). It took no time at all – in fact I started with the same settings from my “My Office Friend Ted” image which was a totally different type of image. A few things were adjusted but it still was not quite right. Back in Photoshop a Color Balance Adjustment Layer was added to bring out the blues in the sky a bit more to get the right look. Now it looks like I remember it – but it took some effort. Luckily, I had a plug-in that gave me a great start.

I guess I can honestly say I still love both Topaz Adjust and Black and White Effects – they do have that versatility to turn an okay image around. Definitely great plug-ins and reasonably priced too! And OnOne Perfect Mask is the best for skies – still figuring this plug-in out for other types of selections. I hope to have a page set up soon on which plug-ins have made it into my workflow……Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Topaz Plug-Ins – Same Image Trying Each!
Same Image – Different Plug-In

Another Pseudo HDR from Me!

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. NOTE: This download link is broken if you click the Download button, but by right clicking on the button and choosing “Save Link As,”  the file will download correctly.” 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

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!
Settings for Vivid Drawing Look ACR/Lightroom Preset and NIK Color Efex Pro 4 Pseudo HDR Recipe
Where Am I?

Combining Plug-ins for More Image Interest

Took this image of a red bloom from the hibiscus tree in my front yard – I love hibiscus flowers! A 60 mm Nikkor macro lens was used at F/6.7 for 1/60 sec. A Bower 0.5 x High Resolution Digital Lens with Macro was added to the lens. The camera raw shot was adjusted in Lightroom and brought into Photoshop. Some of the distracting background was cloned out, the image sharpened a bit, then Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4’s Darken/Lighten Center filter effect was applied. The image was taken into Nik’s Viveza 2 where the structure on the pistil and stamen was increased, and the background softened a little by setting the structure to -100. ShadowHouse Creations texture 5AT-2 was added and set to Soft Light at 62%. Next the new Topaz Star Effects plug-in was applied to the tips of the stigma to make it sparkle and a bit to the yellow anthers (see sidebar for Topaz’s website link). Finally OnOne PhotoFrame’s Taufer Texture 12 was applied to finish off the image (see sidebar for OnOne’s website link).

This is a good example of how several different effects can create more interest – it also helps to have a great color combination to work with too!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Trying Out Topaz Star Effects
Using NIK’s Color Efex 4 and Viveza Together