This is an image of San Francisco taken at night in February in a brisk and cold breeze. I just listened to another interesting webinar by Nichole Paschale from Topaz (see sidebar for website link) called Night Photography Enhanced with Adjust, Black and White Effects and Star Effects. I am always surprised how much I learn from these short videos – there were several good tips in this one, even though I know these programs pretty well. My image was not that great, but I needed a nighttime image to try some of the techniques on. Now I rather like the effect. Of course it uses one of my favorite plug-ins, Black and White Effects, so I am not surprised I like the results. The preset was set to my Old Vintage Effect (see Quad Tones in Topaz Black and White Effects Plug-in to create), one I use on a lot of my images. Next the Star Effects plug-in was used to enhance the streetlight using Sun Flare 1 preset. A Flypaper Texture Lemoncello Taster texture layer was added using the Multiply blend mode at 35% opacity. It still did not have the feel I wanted, so I added a Black and White Adjustment layer and mainly lowered the yellow and added some reds and greens and blues. The opacity was set to 26%. A layer style was added to frame the image. I can honestly say this is exactly how the street looked to me as I was walking to dinner on that cold dark night. If you have not tried out some of Topaz’s videos, give them a listen. Lots of cool things to try in them!…..Digital Lady Syd
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
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
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