This image is of a beautiful, but unfortunately vandalized, Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree in Maui, Hawaii. Why people would do such a thing is hard to understand! It is a very unusual tree that only grow in frost-free zones. This image a preset in Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Adjust as seen in a Topaz Webinar by by Joel Wolfson called Creative Essential with Topaz Plug-ins Plus the Official Introduction Glow 2. Topaz Glow was used to brighten up the rainbow on the trunk. The last step was using Topaz Texture Effects 2 and the Breaking Down preset. I have never seen this type of tree anywhere else!…..Digital Lady Syd
This image definitely represents that so recognizable Lucis Pro look. Loved all the expressions on the riders – the older group on the top row and youngsters having a blast below! This was taken a few years ago of the Manta Roller Coaster at SeaWorld, Orlando, Florida – short video of actual ride. Lots of filters here – Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Adjust on just the sky edge, Topaz Clarity on the people, Lucis Pro 6.0.9 for overall sharpness, Topaz Detail for a final sharpening, and the now free Nik Viveza 2 to reinforce the focal point. Lots of fun here!…..Digital Lady Syd
Took this image at the Jacksonville Zoo a couple days ago – the original is totally unremarkable and I did not think it would turn out nice at all. Just thought it would be a good challenge to see what I could do with it. I will actually post some much better pictures of these beautiful cats later. Normally I would give you step-by-step, but this was a pretty heavy workflow so I will just tell you what all it took. The biggest problem was the chain-length fence that went through his body. Since I could not get close enough to the fence to get rid of the distortion, I had to paint it away. The fence was selected and a Curves Adjustment Layer was used to reduce the effect. Then three more Curves Adjustment Layers before I was ready to paint him. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Adjust using French Countryside (my favorite) preset and several slider adjustments to get the color in the cat that I liked. Then I went into Corel Painter and painted a background that matched his colors. Put the background on top of the cat and painted the cat in with a layer mask. Next painted using 7 layers and both mixers and regular brushes (my SJ Pastel 3 painting brush mainly – do a search at my Fun Photoshop Blog for settings). Used Nik Viveza 2 to emphasize his face. Used Blur Gallery to soften the foreground, Liquify Filter to make his eye a little larger, Topaz Lens Effects for some special reflector and graduated filter effects, and Camera Raw Filter to bring out the orange effect just a bit more. Last step, Topaz Restyle using the Tawny Tint. That about did it but it was a pretty big process. I just love painting the big cats!…..Digital Lady Syd
This image of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at Universal Studios-Orlando was used to show how to get a bit of an illustrative look to an image using Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Adjust and Clarity and a Watercolor Texture for the sky. I actually just followed a really great tutorial by Leslie Nicole at French Kiss Textures (see sidebar for website link) that gave the exact steps and layers used. See her Before and After – Using a Watercolor Texture to see how it was done. (And check out her textures while visiting.) Both birds were by Midnights Touch – To the Bat Cave collection and Who Gives a Hoot collection to add a little holiday effect. I also added a watercolor border painted using my SJ WC Salt Brush set to 69 px to create. Lot of fun here and I really like the results!…..Digital Lady Syd
This beautiful image of a Bengal Tiger is a stock image from FreeImages.com. Wish I had taken the image. This image had lots of green leaves behind him. Topaz (see sidebar for website link) DeNoise 5 was used to remove lots of grain and color noise in this image. I used a texture I had created in Corel Painter with oil brushes. It was Free Transformed to make it fit the way I wanted it to look. Topaz Adjust and several mixer brush layers were used to paint the image. Nik Viveza 2 was used on just his face to get the nice sharp effect. That was it. This took probably around 4 hours to complete. Good thing I like to paint!…..Digital Lady Syd
This is a sleepy Tricolored Heron reluctantly taking a step into the water on a beautiful hazy morning. Okay, he was really in a very cluttered background and I had to use Topaz (see sidebar for website link) ReMask 5 to cut him out. Then he was placed on one of my Corel Painter textures whose colors were changed using Topaz ReStyle’s Ice Cool and Fresh preset to match the bird colors and Free Transformed (CTRL+T) to fit the bird perfectly. I then proceeded to paint the bird with a Mixer brush to smooth out the grainy feathers. A duplicated copy of the texture was added on top and set to Multiply blend mode at 50% layer opacity. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top, Topaz Lens Effects Fog (Fog Ground Fog IV preset – Amount 0.20, Region Size 0.10, Transition 0.20, Angle 138.1, and Diffusion 0.40) was added to give a sort of early morning mist in the water. Next the Reflector filter was applied (Golden Left, then Strength 0.20, Transition 0.40, Position 0.59, and Angle 76.63) before going back into PS. The eyes and beak were sharpened using the Exposure Adjustment Layer. On another stamped layer, Topaz Adjust’s Brilliant Warm preset was applied to get the nice gray color back on the bird. A little Curves Adjustment Layer was added and he was done! Still loving my birds!…..Digital Lady Syd
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
Finally got to see Universal Studios Islands of Adventure section in Orlando, Florida. This image of a Fire Brigade bicycle was one of the first things I saw – very unusual item so had to take a picture. Had to get a little creative though since that is what I do! This time Trey Radcliff’s Biting Icecream preset was applied in Lightroom along with some basic slider adjustments. In Photoshop Topaz (see sidebar for website link) Adjust 5’s Photo Pop preset was added next. Then just a bit of sharpening using Topaz Detail 3 was. Probably did not need it since next I went into Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 and added the Factory Default settings from Snap Art 3 (which I manually created) and added a little more saturation – no mask layers. Back in Photoshop Topaz ReStyle was opened up and the bright oranges and reds were swapped out for blues and darker reds. I just liked theses colors better so that is what you see. Last step added a slight dark vignette around image using a Curves Adjustment Layer. This was such a nice colorful picture and the nice thing – no people around! Anyway, lots of fun to process using my favorite plug-ins…..Digital Lady Syd
Here is an image of the Cafe Alcazar that is located in the old swimming pool area of the current Lightner Museum (old Hotel Alcazar) in St. Augustine, Florida – one of the best places to grab lunch if you are in the city. I did very little to this image but apply a Topaz Adjust preset called Daylight to Tungsten II which gave the browns the rich tones, sharpened using my LAB sharpening method and added a Curves Adjustment Layer to increase contrast. Topaz Labs did a nice video on their Film and Vintage Effects with Adjust, B&W Effects and Lens Effects that does a good job of explaining how to get this look. I really love the feel of this image – gives a little of that vintage effect the historic location instills……Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Where Am I? (Cafe Alcazar)
Unsharp Mask Filter In LAB Mode
I Didn’t Know That! Curves Adjustment Layers
Quad Tones in Topaz Black and White Effects Plug-in
This whale came to visit the catamaran while I was whale watching (through Hawaii Ocean Sports) – I guess this is unheard of that a whale would come so close to the boat and hang out for 5 minutes like this guy did. Everybody on the boat including the boat personnel were going crazy as the whale would swim under the boat to the opposite side and then swim back under to the other side. He was so close you could almost touch him! He came up at the back of the boat and then turned around and raised his tail at the boat as he left. What a trip! Using my Sony Handycam HDR-XR500V video camera, I was able to get some nice video of the whale although it was hard to be at the right place at the right time with so many people around. What is really nice is that now Lightroom 4 has a limited video editing function. You can actually scrub through your video and select a frame that can be saved as a JPEG (click to open the square to the right of the video timeline and select Capture Frame) which can then be edited in both Lightroom and Photoshop. That is how I got this image.
The Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, and Blacks sliders all had to be reduced and the Contrast was increased to get a good image of his face. In Photoshop Topaz Adjust was opened using the Film Collection Effect Vintage Grunge IV preset. The Detail Strength was lessened a bit, the Warmth slider moved warmer a little, Grain and Vignette turned off, and Transparency slider set to o.25. Back in Photoshop a Hue Saturation Adjustment Layer was added to slightly desaturate and change the Hue in the Red tones on the whale. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added to improve contrast. Not bad for a fairly low resolution image. If you like Lightroom and have some video clips, you should take a look and see if you can use some of the frames you captured to add to your photo collection…..Digital Lady Syd
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
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
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