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Posts tagged “plugins

Adding Texture to a Landscape

Usually I use my own images to alter, but I found this beautiful texture image of old buildings in Porto, Portugal, from Mayang’s Free Textures (scroll down a ways in link to see original) and it seemed like a good candidate to see what I could do with some more textures to enhance it some. Click their link to see the original image and lots of others that can be used for personal use.

This image was first processed using Topaz (see sidebar for website link) photoFXlab. First duplicated the layer. On top layer the Black & White Effects plug-in was opened and Hand Tinted Chiffon was selected with Transparency set to 1.00 and Vignette Strength to .45. After applying the plug-in, back in photoFXlab this layer was set to Linear Light at 100%. A +From Stamp layer was created and these Adjustment tab sliders set:  Tint  -8, Saturation 17, and Dynamics  -28. Next exited to Photoshop where some clean up was done and French Kiss Artiste Collection Fantasie texture was applied.  Two Hue/Saturation Adjustments Layers were added with black filled layer masks – the red-orange color needed to be adjusted and the greens above the buildings were off. These areas were painted back in the masks to create the correct tone in the image. An Ash texture (no long available – but Shadowhouse Creations has a very similar texture called ArtGrunge 5 which would give a very similar effect) and it was set to Hard Light blend mode at 45%. A hazy feel was added to the image by adding a Levels Adjustment Layer and just moving the Output Level black tab to 80. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added next to just slightly add contrast. This image had a very low resolution on it so I created a composite layer on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and went to Image -> Image Size and checked the Resample Image box and set the resolution to 240, leaving the size alone. The last step was adding my Mid Size Double Edge Frame layer style – sampled colors in the image for frame colors. I was really pleased with how painterly this image turned out. It is a little different from creating a flower type texture image, but you can really add some creative aspects with a little experimenting. And thank you Mayang.com for supplying such a interesting image to work with!….Digital Lady Syd


Christmas Wreaths at SeaWorld


For this wonderful holiday, thought I would show this pretty image of wreaths from SeaWorld Orlando. Just a little basic processing in Lightroom before taking the image into Photoshop. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Adjust 5′s High Key preset was applied with the Overall Transparency set to .24. Next Topaz Detail 3 was applied using the HDR Enhancement II preset. French Kiss’s Artiste Chamante texture was applied and set to Overlay at 100% opacity. My free Snow1 Overlay was next applied and set to 75% opacity. French Kiss’s Glorious Grunge Edging Overlay was applied next and a Solid Color Adjustment Layer set to a light pink was added. Since the edging did not seem to show up real well, it was duplicated along with the Adjustment Layer. That was all that was done and I love the final effect – the umbrella really added to the shot. Hope all are having a wonderful week!…..Digital Lady Syd


Little Red Corvette


Just felt like using a couple of my old standby favorite plug-ins to create a vintage feel to this image.  This old red corvette image was taken at the 39th Annual Daytona Turkey Run at the Daytona International Speedway infield. I love the way the raceway seats are in the background – it just seems to the be the right setting for this old girl – I love corvettes! It was processed first in Lightroom starting out with cropping and applying one of David duChemin’s Lightroom 4 presets called Warmer Sunset -.66 Grad – I was surprised it gave such a nice vintage feel for starting post-processing of the image. From there several adjustments basic Lightroom adjustments were done and the chrome was sharpened using an Adjustment Brush. In Photoshop Nik Viveza 2 was used with control points placed on the windshield to clean up some window glare (this plug-in does an amazing job with window glare) and on the detailing on the car. Then Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was applied and several of my favorite filters were stacked – Darken/Lighten Center, Detail Extractor, and my favorite for getting this vintage feel, Film Efex Vintage set to Film Type 14 with an overall opacity of 56%. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added and French Kiss free Glorious Grunge Edging Overlay with the lines inside removed was applied and set to a tan color. I wish I could fix up this car – she really was a beauty!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Yellow Dogface Butterfly in her Glory!
Soft and Sharp Image at the Same Time!


Hibiscus Flowers – I Love to Photograph Them!


These beautiful Red Chinese Hibiscus blooms appeared on Mothers Day last week so I had to take their picture! Used my favorite artistic plug-in – Topaz Black and White Effects (see sidebar for website link) – and applied a preset I had created earlier called Water Landscape Sunny (Adaptive Exposure section – Adaptive Exposure 0.18, Region as 26.10, Detail 1.11, and Detail Boost 1.09; Quad Tones which creates the interesting effect used Color 1 Region set to R1G1B12 and 9.60, Color 2 Region set to R63G78B85 and 95.97, Color 3 Region set to R216G211B129 at 141.2, and Color 4 Region set to R255G254B237 and 255.0; Edge Exposure set to Edge Size 0.19, Edge Exposure -0.43, and Edge Transition 0.27 for all sides; and Transparency set to 1.00.) While in the plug-in, the Detail brush was used to sharpen the center of the flowers and to go around the petal edges where they overlap each other. Next ShadowHouse Creations Marshmellow Skies texture set to Overlay at 100% opacity was added to give the soft green-turquoise feel to the background – a white layer mask and a soft black brush was used to take the texture effect off the flowers.  A Curves Adjustment Layer was added and OnOne PhotoFrame (see sidebar for website link) grunge 04 set to 75% opacity was also added. Not hard and once again a really beautiful effect. I love Black and White Effects! I could do this all day! As you can see by the number of related blogs below, this is definitely one of my favorite plug-ins – check them out for several other examples on how to use it!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Black and White Effects on Outside Art
Cleaning Up a Messed Up Photo
Topaz Black and White Effects Quad Tones Are Great!
Sunny Preset for Topaz Black and White Effects
My Office Friend Ted
Loving Both Filters!
The Art Corner: Painting and Sculpture by Tassaert
Quad Tones in Topaz Black and White Effects Plug-in
Get Rid of Those Power Lines Fast – with Paths and Spot Healing Tool!
Topaz B&W Effects vs. Nik’s Silver Efex Pro
Just Another Topaz Black and White Effect Example
Topaz B&W Effects Plug-In-A Real Winner!


Black and White Effects on Outside Art



I call this image “Who’s Looking at You?” I almost fell down taking this image and everybody at the Flagler College (old Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida) thought it was funny as the tour guide just said one of her rules was no one was allowed to fall down! Oh my! Anyway, I was totally struck by the beautiful face on this figure which is part of the Ladies Side Courtyard Entrance. I do not know who actually created the figure but it appears to be similar to the Lion Statues outside the entranceway (see my Tidbits Blog Loving Both Filters!) Used Topaz Black and White Effects on image selecting the Cyanatype Collection -> Cerulean Dynamic preset to get the color effect started. Also used a Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer using a Gorgeous Gradient Royal set to Linear Style, 90 degrees, and Reverse with layer set to Overlay blend mode and 62% opacity – painted out the face a little using a white layer mask and low opacity black brush. Sharpened the face and that was it. I loved the final result!…..Digital Lady Syd


Beautiful Soft Flowers



Just loved the pink hyacinths I bought – hope they will come back next year! This image was taken with my Micro Nikkor 60 mm f/2.8 lens at f/9.5. Used Mike Moats workflow (see info on this in related blogs below) with Color Efex Pro 4 (stacking Tonal Contrast, Darken/Lighten Center, and Vignette filters) added first and then Viveza 2 to make the details sharp. OnOne PhotoFrame napp_frame_12 (see website link in sidebar) was added. Final result – beautiful!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Using NIK’s Color Efex Pro 4 and Viveza Together
Nik’s Viveza 2 Plug-In – A Hidden Gem!
The Macro Shot


Cleaning Up a Messed Up Photo

Here is another before and after for you. The image of the KPC Seafood Restaurant at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island in Hawaii. At night it was wonderful to eat outside under the dark starlit sky with the ocean waves in the background. I wanted to add this image to a Hawaiian slideshow I am creating in Lightroom 4 and was really disappointed at how bad the original image appeared. I liked the tone in the wood and the sky was rally nice but otherwise, it was not too good an image. I tried several techniques, walked away from it for a day, and came back to it. I finally got the nice result shown above (hover over image to see the original). To get this result, I removed the palm tree going straight up to nowhere. Next I went into Nik’s Viveza 2 to get rid of the hazy feeling. I usually use this filter later in my workflow, but this image needed a quick tune-up before I could do anything else. Then I went into Topaz’s Black and White Effects (see sidebar for website link) and by playing with the Quad Tones, got this really nice result. (For settings, see below.) A Curves Adjustment Layer was added to enhance the contrast of the building, but the blue in the sky was painted black in the mask to keep it from being affected by the curve change – the blue of the sky competed too much with the blue tones in the restaurant. Noise was removed from the whole image (see Russell Brown ACR blog below to do this). Localized sharpening was done and Puppet Warp was used to straighten the vertical lines of the restaurant. I feel like I was able to save an otherwise very bad image by using these two plug-in filters, and I might add two of my very favorites.  For information on how to do some of my workflow steps, see my blog links below. …..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Nik’s Viveza 2 Plug-In – A Hidden Gem!
Quad Tones in Topaz Black and White Effects Plug-in
I Didn’t Know That! Curves Adjustment Layers
Edit Layers with ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) Script
Straightening with Puppet Warp!

A preset was created in Topaz Black and White Effects using these settings as shown on the final version of image above:  Conversion: Basic Exposure settings – Contrast 0.08, Brightness 0.05, Boost Blacks 0, and Boost Whites 0; Adaptive Exposure settings – Adaptive Exposure 0.56, Regions 7.06, Protect Highlights 0, Protect Shadows 0, Detail 2.17, and Detail Boost 1.04; and Color Sensitivity settings – Red (-0.15), Yellow (0.38), Green (-0.42), Cyan (0), Blue (-0.09), and Magenta (0).  Finishing Touches: Silver and Paper Tone settings – Tonal Strength 0.63, Balance 0, Silver 32.00, Silver Tone Strength 0.50, Paper Tone 32.00, and Paper Tone Strength 0; Quad Tone settings: Color 1 Region (Color R0G0B0), 24.68, Color 2 Region (Color R86G102B136) 69.92, Color 3 Region (Color R229G223B164) 154.9, and Color 4 Region (Color R255G252B206) 255.0; Vignette settings – Center (2796,1607), Vignette Strength (-0.09), Vignette Size 0.53, Vignette Transition (0.63), and Vignette Curvature 0.75; and Transparency settings – Overall Transparency 0.59)


Topaz Lens Effect Tilt & Shift with a Zoom!



These are a few of the kayaks that can be rented at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa on the Big Island in Hawaii. I was listening to a webinar presented by Nicole Paschal at Topaz Labs called “Isolating Subjects with Lens Effects” – this webinar should be posted soon at Topaz Labs-YouTube. She presented six or seven different ways to use selective focus on your images using this plug-in.

For this image Topaz Adjust (see sidebar for website link) was first applied just to brighten up the image a little – added the Spicify preset. Next Topaz Lens Effects was opened. Nicole really likes to use the Camera Tilt & Shift effect to selectively isolate her subjects. That is what is applied here. The Tilt Shift Adjustment were set to: Focus Area Width to 0.20, Transition to 0.59, Blur Amount to 0.08 and Angle to 0.89 so that the blur runs across the back of the kayaks. The Image Adjustments were set to Brightness 0.11, Contrast 0.15 and Saturation to 0.03. In the Distortion Adjustments section, Tangential was clicked, and a 1.89 Distortion Scale was applied – this cropped the image centering it on the Tilt Shift Adjustments Blur point in Focus Area section. Each time the blur point is moved, you get a different result. This image ended up with the Effect Position at 560, 612.

There are several other effects discussed in this webinar which are fun to try. Listen to the webinar for more good tips. The above effect may give some very interesting results on different types of images. I will definitely be checking this out…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Topaz Lens Effects Plug-In
Topaz Simplify and Lens Effects Saves an Image!
Combining Plug-ins – Double the Effect!
Topaz Lens Effect’s Artistic Flair!


Topaz Simplify and Topaz Detail Together

Recently I watched a video, this time for Topaz plug-ins (see sidebar for Topaz website and more blog links below), and learned a couple new things I thought I would share. If you have read my blogs before you know that I am a big fan of Topaz products  – they may not be the most sophisticated, but they do some very cool effects the other major companies can’t achieve. Scott Stulberg did a lengthy video called “Memorable Travel and Stock Photography” where he covers Topaz Adjust, Detail and Simplify. I tried to incorporate a few of these tips in this image of sun-lighted grass growing on the road to Waipi’o Valley on the Big Island in Hawaii. Gosh it is hard to take a bad picture in Hawaii!

To begin with, Topaz Simplify was used. Scott suggested this plug-in is great to use on a shot that is a bit soft from a gentle breeze or a not-so-great lens – this effect can save an image and turn it into something very nice. There are two color space choices – RGB (more vivid colors) or YCbCr color space (more muted colors). This image used the YCbCr color space. Scott mainly uses the BuzSim preset – the trick is to move the Simplify Size slider to the left from the default setting (0.33) and you will see the detail return but the color stays saturated. On this image the Simplify Size slider was set to 0.05, Details Boost slider set to 0.79 (default is 1.00), and Details Size set to 0.13 (default is 0.20). It is a very similar result to using Vibrance in Photoshop but Simplify has much better color saturation. In the Adjust section, the Saturation was toned down a bit to 0.96 (default 1.31) and Saturation Boost set to 1.00 (default 1.15). He is basically lowering or turning off all the artistic settings and leaving the saturation turned on. One small problem I seem to have with Topaz products is that sometimes I have trouble retrieving the settings when using a Smart Object layer, which is supposed to retrieve the plug-in settings used on the image. Therefore, create a preset and name it something that will remind you of the image if you liked the result.

Next Topaz Detail was used. Scott feels that this plug-in makes it appear you were using a better lens than you really were. Basically you want to move the Medium Detail slider, then the Small Detail and Large Detail sliders until you get a sharper feeling image. He does very little sharpening to his photos but uses Detail to do the sharpening – it is like using the Clarity slider in a realistic way. That is how the plug-in was used for this image.

The final touch I added was a Hue/Saturation slider boosting the yellow saturation up quite a bit. Then I filled the layer mask with black (CTRL+Backspace) and painted with a very low opacity soft brush in to give just a soft yellow tone. OnOne’s Dave Cross 14 frame (see sidebar for website link) was added using a color sampled from the shot.

Sometimes it feels like I harp on all these these plug-ins, but they really are fun to use and they can take your images to a new level…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Posts:
Simplifier and Simplify Filters
Topaz Plug-Ins – Same Image Trying Each! – this blog has many of my Topaz blog links at the bottom if you would like more information on any Topaz products


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


Where Am I?


This image was taken in London a few years back of The Royal Horseguards Hotel, a 5 star hotel that overlooks the River Thames near the London Eye. It is a beautiful old building that stands out from the treetops. Check out this virtual tour of the outside to see the size of the immense building!

The image was processed using OnOne’s Perfect Effects plug-in (see sidebar for website link) where a light blue-dark blue cross-processed layer was created. Next Nik’s Viveza was added to add more detail to the buildings since I cropped in pretty close from a much larger image. In Photoshop a Selective Color Adjustment Layer was next using only the Whites and adjusting the Yellow to +21 and the Black to -5 – this adds the sunny feel to the image. The Sharpen Tool was applied to the building tops and Curves Adjustment Layer to add contrast. Finally, one Florabella’s Snow Texture 3 (the link is to her Facebook page with the free download on the left side) was applied on top – the layer was set to Screen at 73% opacity. I am having so much fun playing with all the different looks you can get with the different plug-ins applied together. Try combining some of your plug-ins and see what great results you can get!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Digital Lady Syd’s Review of OnOne Perfect Effects
Another OnOne Perfect Effects Pix – Got To Love It!
Pseudo HDR in OnOne Perfect Effects
Using Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 and Viveza Together
Digital Landscape Effects with Nik Software


Daisies are Everywhere!


I wrote a Fun Photoshop Blog called “Using NIK’s Color Efex Pro 4 and Viveza Together” showing a great workflow using these plug-ins on the same Smart Object layer. Here are my daisies again shot at a different angle. (They were shot using  my 18-200 mm zoom lens at 75 mm, F5.0, 1/60 sec, and ISO 400.) Different CEP4 filters were stacked to give a totally different result. (See settings below.) I really liked the way the color of the flower was altered to give this softer feel. Lightroom and ACR will give a fairly close look as to what Viveza achieves, but not exactly the same as discussed in the other blog. Give this workflow a try – download the trials and see what you get if you do not already own the plug-ins. This can be very addictive! Have fun…..Digital Lady Syd

Plug-in Settings for this image: CEP4 filters: Cross Processing (Method T04, Strength 86%, three controls in the background to remove the effect), Tonal Contrast (Highlights -80%, Midtones -80%, Shadows -80%, Saturation 20%, Contrast Type Fine, one control point on pink background flower, and Opacity Slider set to 62%), Darken/Lighten Center (#1, Center Luminosity -36%, Border Luminosity -2%, and Center Size 57%), and Vignette (Vignette Color set to light yellow, Shape 2, Adapt Edges 0%, Transition 84%, Size 46%, Opacity 38%, and one control point set on pink background flower to remove effect). Viveza used seven control points to adjust background and bring out the center of the flower.


Pseudo HDR in OnOne Perfect Effects

Since I have tried this in other plug-ins, I thought I would give it a shot in OnOne’s new Perfect Effects plug-in (see sidebar for link to OnOne’s website) to see if I could get a similar effect. Just as I thought – no problemo!

This is a rather unremarkable image except I liked the carved eagle engraved on the building. Hover over the image to see the original. By using Perfect Effects, I was able to get that pseudo HDR effect easily. These are the effects used in this image stacked bottom to top: Black and White preset set to Roadie in Multiply Blend Mode at Strength 100; Color Enhancer (Open up Effect Options and select Color Enhancer) and Color Range Orange was chosen to bring out the Orange color by adjusting the Hue set to 37, Saturation set to 77 and Lightness set to 94 sliders; another Color Enhancer layer was added to adjust the Blue Color Range – Saturation to 92 and Lightness to -35; and another Color Enhancer layer set to Aqua Color Range – Saturation 46 and Lightness 18; next the Golden Hour Enhancer preset in the Landscape section at Strength 63; Vignette created in the Blending Options drop-down with Brightness set to -68, Midpoint 58, Feather 80 and Roundness 5 and Normal Mode; and finally Katy preset in Vintage section set to Strength 100. It sounds hard, but once done, just create a preset to recreate it anytime – very easy to apply. To finish up the image in Photoshop, on a New Layer the Sharpen Tool was used to selectively sharpen the Eagle and some of the window lines. Finally the OnOne’s PhotoFrames zoom_19 frame was applied.

NOTE:  After applying each layer preset or effects settings, be sure to click the Add button under the Strength slider to set the changes. To toggle the original and current views, press CTRL+P.

Well once again this was lots of fun and pretty easy to do. Give it a try and see if you like what you see. If you are interested in the pseudo HDR look, check some of my related posts below……Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd’s Related Blogs:
Digital Lady Syd’s Review of OnOne Perfect Effects
First Try – OnOne’s Perfect Effects 3!
Pseudo HDR Using NIK Color Efex Pro 4
Another Pseudo HDR Image with NIK CEP4 – Got to Love the Effect!
With One Good Photo – Try the Pseudo HDR Effect


First Try – OnOne’s Perfect Effects 3!

I love OnOne’s PhotoFrames (see sideboard to access OnOne’s site) – not sure anyone can beat this plug-in for its versatility and choices for adding borders onto an image. I use this plug-in probably 90% of the time. It surprised me how handy it is and how much I use it.

That said, I have not been as big a fan of PhotoTools 2.6 – still a very versatile plug-in but it was a lot harder for me to use than PhotoFrames. Therefore I did not use it near as much as many of the other plug-ins I have covered here in my Tidbits Blog and in my Fun Photoshop Blog. I have been waiting anxiously for the newer version of PhotoTools to be release and it is finally here in the form of a new name – Perfect Effects 3 – and interface. The whole suite of plug-ins (which these are two of the plug-ins in the Suite) has been re-engineered into an interface that can be opened from one place in the new OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 6.0.

The above image is of a beautiful clock in the historic district of St. Augustine. Not much was done with the sliders – I was just trying out the interface and getting around. This image has three effects stacked in this order: Texturizer section – Itchy preset; Vignette section – Grunge Vignette Dark; and Borders – Russell preset.  Before applying the first preset, the clock was masked with the Masking Brush (Show Mask set to Overlay and Painting Mode to Paint Out) so the texture would not cover it.

It is nice to see some interesting borders included with this plug-in. The interface is improved but I still am learning how to get around it completely yet. I have just done a longer review at my Fun Photoshop Blog “Digital Lady Syd’s Review of OnOne Perfect Effects.” Download a trial version yourself – there is a 30-day fully functional trial period.  Have fun experimenting…..Digital Lady Syd

Related Digital Lady Syd’s Blogs:
Same Image-Different Plug-in
Adding a Texture for Flair!
Dual Tone Plug-in Comparison


Another Pseudo HDR Image with NIK CEP4 – Got to Love the Effect!

I am loving this pseudo HDR effect with NIK Color Efex Pro 4 (CEP4). This image just about represents my look when I am processing a picture – just love the sharpness and color. Before it took a lot more manipulation to get to the same place but with CEP4, it just pops into place. The steps I used to process this image are as follows:

1. In Lightroom, I applied my Vivid Drawing Look ACR/Lightroom Preset (see below for my blog link where you can manually apply the settings or download the presets). The Exposure, Blacks and Fill Light were adjusted just a bit and it was opened up in Photoshop.

2. Open image up as a regular copy and do any clean up using Clone Stamp or Healing Brush.

3. Duplicate cleaned up image layer and Convert to a Smart Object by right clicking on the layer and selecting Convert to a Smart Object.

3. Go into CEP4 and use the following filter effects stacked top to bottom:

  • Apply Tonal Contrast, Darken/Lighten Center, Detail Extractor, (these three filters are contained in my Pseudo HDR1 recipe (see Settings for Vivid Drawing Look ACR/Lightroom Preset and NIK’s CEP4 Pseudo HDR Recipe to download or enter slider amounts manually);
  • Glamour Glow with 3 control points (each covering 20% of image) to remove most of the effect from clock face and center of porch (Glow 32%, Saturation -100%, and Glow Warmth -47%, Shadows 41%, and Highlights 44%);
  • Photo Stylizer adding a plus control point in center of image to place effect just there covering 42%  of image (Varitone, Style 6, Strength 67%); and
  • Vignette (Vignette Color whitish as sampled from image, Shape 2, Adapt Edges 0%, Transition 80%, Size 0%, and Opacity 43%).

3. After coming out of the plug-in and back into Photoshop, the image was sharpened with the Unsharp Mask filter although I now prefer the more localized use of the Sharpen Tool.

4. Added Inner Glow and Stroke Layer Styles.

5. Added a Curves Adjustment Layer to get that good final contrast.

6. One of the things I did do on this image was double-click on the right side of the Color Efex Pro 4 layer inside the Smart Object and reduced the effect to 75%.

I love the final result – it really looks like the old historic St. Augustine on the day I visited. Try this little recipe on one of your detailed images and see if you like what you see…..Digital Lady Syd

Related Digital Lady Syd blogs:
Pseudo HDR Using NIK Color Efex Pro 4
Where Am I?
With One Good Photo – Try the Pseudo HDR Effect
Why I Love Topaz Adjust!


Topaz Lens Effect’s Artistic Flair!


This is a real Tidbit – just playing around in Topaz Lens Effects. I have not used this plug-in as much as I thought I would so I decided to try some things on a so-so image. Overall I am really happy with the results from using this plug-in. Three Lens Effects were applied in this order: Vignette with a lighter dark edge centered on the blue cover over the door; Lens – Motion using Zoom in the Motion Blur section – centered again on the top of the door and the Motion Amount adjusted from there; and Filter – Dual Tone with the Region A having a fairly strong Yellow Cast and Region B using a small Magenta Cast (you can see this in the image),  and adjusting the image Contrast and Saturation sliders. Back in Photoshop, a layer mask was added to the Lens Effects layer and black painted in to bring back the clean lines of of the door area – the Sharpen Tool was then applied. The orange brick and blue canvas awning were brought out using a Selective Color Adjustment Layer and a Curves Adjustment Layer. An OnOne PhotoFrame was added (see sidebar for website link). A Shadowhouse Creations Used Canvas 4 texture was added to give it the darker canvas feel (check out the textures at this site – they are all free and great!). A final Curves Adjustment Layer was added and the layer mask converted to black (highlight mask and press CTRL + I) and white painted to increase contrast on the door area.

Here are the layers I used to create this image to help you see how it all goes together.

I really loved the final result – but definitely it has more of an artistic feel than realistic. Try this plug-in and see if you can get some interesting results too……Digital Lady Syd

See related Digital Lady Syd’s blogs on Topaz Lens Effects:
Little Nighttime Fun from Topaz!
Topaz Lens Effects Plug-in


Little Nighttime Fun from Topaz!



Just listened to another interesting video from Topaz Labs on “Creating Striking Night Images.” If you are using or trying any of their Photoshop plug-ins, Topaz always has some interesting videos for creative uses at their Topaz Lab site. I followed the referenced video steps for processing this nighttime image taken on the Las Vegas Strip of Margaritaville. The video suggests that you first use their DeNoise Filter (this image did not require it), Topaz Adjust where they suggest using the Photo Pop preset was used with Shadow slider setting changed to 0, contrast slider moved left a little, and checking Process details independent of exposure box; and finally Topaz Lens Effects using the Single Tone – Hint of Blue Light and then adding some yellow cast to the mix. (See sidebar to get to Topaz’s site to download trials of these products.) The video also discussed taking long exposure nighttime photos. Since this was not a true long exposure night image, I used my Rick Sammon Spicify Soft Artsy preset using settings from the Topaz video “Rick Sammon’s Top Topaz Tricks, Tips and Techniques.” An OnOne PhotoFrame was added to finish off the look.

This image was a lot of fun to work on and pretty easy to do! I am looking forward to trying this processing technique on a serious nighttime image. Give this video a listen if you want some great nighttime tips…..Digital Lady Syd


Loving Both Filters!

The above image is one of the beautiful Lion Posts outside Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, which used to be the Ponce de Leon Hotel built in 1887. Absolutely beautiful building. Cannot miss it if you go to this wonderful historic city.

Wow – all I can say is that I cannot decide which program I like best – NIK Color Efex 4 or Topaz Black and White Effects. So different and so much alike! I keep trying the same image in each program and get totally different looks but both are really nice! What to do, what to do!

The top image was processed with NIK Color Efex Pro 4 using the Film Efex: Vintage filter on Film Type 14; Detail Extractor filter; and Brilliance/Warmth filter. I used the Sharpening Tool in Photoshop to sharpen the eyes and mane of the Lion. Then Grunge 03 OnOne PhotoFrame was applied in a dark navy. I loved how it became very artsy and colorful. And the background detail is incredible!

Topaz Black and White Effect produced a very different feel that can be seen by hovering over the image. Same exact image from Lightroom except this time I wanted to see what how this image would look as a black and white. I used the new Platinum Collection – Platinum VI as a starting point. What really improved this image was using the Local Adjustment Dodge brush and Detail brush on the shadows in the face and the lamp. This really brought the eyes out very clearly. Using the Color brush, the lights was added back into the lamp. A black border, dark edge exposure, and dark vignette was added. In Photoshop the Sharpen Tool was used on the eyes a little more and the mane. Overall a very different feel to the same image.

I really love both filters and I do not believe I can recommend one over the other. Both totally great. Give the trials a try and see what you think!…..Digital Lady Syd

Related Digital Lady Syd Blog Links:
Topaz B&W Effects Plug-in – A Real Winner!
NIK Color Efex Pro 4.0 – First Try!
The New Film Efex-Vintage Filter from NIK CEP 4
Quad Tones in Topaz Black and White Effects Plug-in
Sunny Preset for Topaz Black and White Effects
NIK Color Efex Pro 4 – Digital Lady Syd’s Review!
The Art Corner: Painting and Sculpture by Tassaert
Pseudo HDR Using NIK Color Efex Pro 4


Tree Brushes and a Little Grunge

Having some Lightroom and Photoshop CS5 interface problems today so I am just going to post a little more tree fun I had a few days ago. I guess with the Fall coming upon us, I think about the trees losing their leaves and winter around the corner.

Both these images use tree brushes from Winter Trees by Melbrushes and Trees from c4grfx brushes. The first image used a texture from Shadow Creations Old Canvas 4 and the Glitter Brush Set by Obsidian Dawn. The bottom background was created using Paper Damaged brushes, Gorguss Grunge Again 3 and 9 (click upper right hand corner for link), my SJ-Basic Soft White Cloud Brush (for dark area behind trees), and the plug-ins: Topaz Effects Black and White plug-in (see sidebar for link) , a Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 Bi-color filter plug-in, and an OnOne PhotoFrame plug-in (see sidebar for link). Check out my Tidbits blog called “Just a Tree!” for another example.

Hopefully I will be back up and running with both my programs by next week.  Until then, try downloading some of these brushes and play around a bit. You can get some pretty interesting looks!…..Digital Lady Syd


Topaz B&W Effects vs. Nik’s Silver Efex Pro

I did a blog on my Fun Photoshop Blog called “Topaz B&W Effect Plug-in – A Real Winner!” that touched on some of the differences of Topaz’s new plug-in and the great black and white standard plug-in by Nik called Silver Efex Pro 2.0. I thought I would just mention a few other things I noticed that are definitely different about the two programs.

Below is one of my favorite images for trying out new effects (the original has some basic flaws so I can see if the product will correct it) and was taken from the London Eye. Topaz B&W Effects was applied (hover over or click on image to see the Nik version).

This is as close as I could get to making the two plug-ins look alike. The sky and some of the buildings’ contrast and detail are slightly different, but overall the results are pretty much the same. I am not sure which version I like best.

The image below I also used Topaz B&W Effects.

In this case, I could not duplicate the results in either NIK Silver Efex Pro 2.0 or Color Efex Pro 3.0. I liked the results and was surprised how nice the image turned out. By the way, I created for the Topaz plug-in a SJ-Cityscape preset for use in the Traditional Collection for both of the Topaz images – it can be downloaded here.

My final thought is to say that I think there is a place for both black and white plug-ins. Nik’s black and white plug-in is considered the best and I am not sure Topaz has created a better one, but it is very close. Topaz B&W Effects is definitely a great product since it does several things the other plug-in cannot do – and I really like that.

Well I hope you have fun (I sure am) trying out both of these excellent products. I plan on experimenting more with Topaz’s B&W Effects and will post more on it later……Digital Lady Syd

PS. Be sure to download the 30 day trial for Topaz B&W Effects – it is a fully functional trial to try out!