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
Was looking at some of my older work and came across one of my first texture images from three years ago. I really liked the treatment of this image so I thought I would try to reconstruct how I did it. A very different workflow was used. When the Lightroom adjusted image was opened in Photoshop, I did some clean up to remove some tourist heads. Then Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Adjust’s Spicify preset was applied. Next Nik Silver Efex Pro Antique Plate preset (pretty close to SEP2′s Antique Plate II) was added and set to 42% opacity. Ash Texture 25 was added (it’s a shame but they are no longer available, but Isabelle Lafrance free Decemberpack1 texture 1 has a very similar look) and set to Overlay at 100% opacity. Back into Silver Efex Pro where the Neutral preset was applied – layer was set to Screen at 51%. Next a Curves Adjustment Layer was added using a slight S curve to enhance contrast. Topaz Simplify was applied using the basic BuzSim preset. The last step used OnOne’s (see sidebar for website link) PhotoFrame Dave Cross 15 set to 72% opacity - the PhotoFrames are no long available in the newest release but many are incorporated in the new Perfect Effects 4 module. The final result is really nice – I am going to experiment some more using these plug-ins to enhance my texture effects…..Digital Lady Syd
This image is of the area above an entryway onto a courtyard at Flagler College (it actually was the ladies entryway to the courtyard at the old Ponce de Leon Hotel) in St. Augustine, Florida. In Photoshop I added a texture created from a shot of the corner of a large oil painting of a beautiful white cat in my living room to use on this image. (It can be downloaded here.) It is medium gray with lots of paint stroke texture that I find I am using quite often. Try going around your home to see if you have some interesting textures that could spice up an image. I took some of the lace in my dining room curtains and even my living room couch material. The kitchen countertop also made a nice dark texture.
The bricks throughout the college are colored that beautiful brick red-orange tone. This image definitely needed to be put into a sepia tone to see the detail so it was converted into black and white using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and the High Structure (Harsh) preset used as a starting point. Back in Photoshop my Cat Painting Canvas texture was applied and the layer set to Color Burn blend mode at 50% opacity. Next a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added and clipped to the texture (CTRL+Click between the layers to do this) so changes only apply to the texture and not the whole image. Colorize was checked and the Saturation set to 10 which gave a little more of a deep red sepia feel. Next a New Layer was added on top and Nakatoni’s Amazing Texture 2 brush (does not appear to be available anymore but any smooth grunge brush would do) was selected to paint with a dark brown color sampled from the image. By filling this layer with grungy strokes, and then setting the layer to Subtract blend mode at 90% opacity, the bluish almost duotone feel was created and also more texture was added. By double-clicking on the middle of the layer, the Layer Style dialog was opened and the Blend If Gray – This Layer white tab was split (ALT+click and drag to get a smooth transition) and set to 56/89 and the Blend If Red – This Layer white tab was split and set to 91/211 that really changed the red tone. It surprised me how nice it looked! A Curves Adjustment Layer was applied to add a little more blue by adjusting the Blue channel curve. A composite (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created on top, and my Thin Double Edge Frame layer style was used (can download here), keeping the default colors. Once again, this produced a totally different image and I created the textures myself very quickly and inexpensively! Have fun exploring!…..Digital Lady Syd
The Jazze Rose Frost Alstroemeria flower is one of the prettiest perennials that you will find. This one resides in my front yard now. The same workflow with Nik products that really make your landscapes pop was applied to this macro. Silver Efex Pro 2 (same High Structure-Harsh preset with Color Filter set to Green), Color Efex Pro 4 (Darken/Lighter Center and Graduated Neutral Density filters stacked), and Viveza 2 to bring out details in the stamen structure were applied. That was it! Check out my Fun Photoshop blog “Use NIK Color Efex Pro 4 and Silver Efex Pro 2 Together to Create Fabulous Landscapes!” for more information.
Give this a try next time you want a different look for your macros!…..Digital Lady Syd
This image is of the beautiful cut glass display at the Lightner Museum located in the old Alcazar Hotel in St. Augustine. As you can see it is a very nice collection and I wanted to find out if the color in the image was distracting from actually seeing the ornate cut glass. See the black and white conversion by hovering over the color image. As I discovered, this image turned out to be a difficult choice to process no matter which effect you want.
The top image was processed using the NIK Color Efex Pro 4 (CEP4) plug-in on a Smart Object layer (right click image and select “Convert to a Smart Object” since CEP4 will keep your settings and control points in case you want to adjust the results later) and stacking several filters including from top to bottom: Tonal Contrast, Darker/Lighten Center, Vignette, Glamour Glow, and Pro Contrast. Various control points were added to selectively choose areas for some of these effects. In Photoshop the cut glass edges were selectively sharpened using the Sharpen Tool on it own layer, and a final Curves Adjustment layer was added to get the correct contrast. Overall, this image is attractive since the blue-green sets off the glassware nicely.
Since there are some bright colors in the background that might be distracting from the main focus point, and the museum walls and columns have what I consider to be a rather bland creamy color to it, a black and white conversion might be appropriate to tone down some of the distraction and get rid of the creamy tones.
Black and White Version
I duplicated the cleaned up image layer and turned it into a Smart Object as above. Once in the NIK silver Efex Pro 2 (SEP2} plug-in, from the side preset panel the o14 Grad ND (EV -2) preset was selected and it really made the glass pop out clearly. In Photoshop the Sharpen Tool was used to bring out some of the glass edges (again, do this on a New Layer above the image) and the opacity of this layer is reduced so artifacts are not viewed. A final Adjustment Curve is added to give just the right amount of contrast. The items on the back wall initially appear to be more distracting than in the color image but the creamy tones did convert to the white tones nicely.
The image may not work as a black and white and the only way to figure this out is to try it. In this case SEP2 was used to convert the image to black and white, but the conversion can be done in lots of ways – in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom using a preset, or in Photoshop using a Black and White Adjustment Layer or Channels, as just a couple examples. NIK’s SEP2 is an excellent way to find out quickly since the presets allow you to glance over many black and white variations – if the image is really not going to look good as a black and white, you will know it.!
I am on the fence about which version I like best. The image was not the best choice to process to begin with and the glass creates a huge challenge just to get enough contrast to make the it stand out. Still it was good practice and I like the picture because I liked the cut glass collection. Just remember sometimes the image you want to process is not that great and does not work – but at least try a couple different effects including black and white and maybe there is a good shot hidden in there!…..Digital Lady Syd