July 14 – Sunday Sampler

Just back from the 74th Annual NECCC (New England Camera Club Council) Conference! Always a busy weekend full of learning, friendship and exhaustion!! My brain is on overload, so this week’s Sampler is a little “short”!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of “old” things – a stacked stone wall, wicker basket, and old barn board. Enjoy!

FREEBIE! High Resolution Photoshop Splatter Brushes.

And this week I have an exclusive coupon code from Pixelo just for my readers! They have a new bundle, the “Ultimate Photoshop Add-Ons Bundle” with 72 Artistic Photoshop Scripts (actions).

It has a value of $195 – regular bundle price is $29 – SAVE 25% with the code meredith25 at checkout!

This bundle is only available for two weeks, so don’t miss out! CLICK HERE to check it out! See the photo below for some of the effects.

What’s included in this bundle?
– 60 Pencil and Mood Effects for Photoshop;
– 12 Artistic Color Caricature & Rough Drawings Photoshop Scripts;
– Sketches and Moods Styles;
– Pencil and Illustrate Styles;
– Commercial license;

Features & Tech Specs for 12 Caricature Photoshop Scripts
– Applicable to Photoshop (versions: CS5 through Creative Cloud 2019) and Adobe Elements (versions: Versions 13 and 14)
– Operating systems: Mac OS X and Windows
– Can be used with different image types
– Compatible with Mac OS and Windows

Grab your special deal HERE!

July 7 – Sunday Sampler

I hope you all had a happy Independence Day! I know I will be seeing some of you this coming week at the NECCC Conference at UMASS (New England Camera Club Council)!

This week’s Sunday Sampler is an assortment of textures from another recent hotel stay! Enjoy!

Last week I mentioned I would show you how to combine several firework bursts into one shot – it’s really a very simple process!

I typically edit each shot first – upping the saturation; doing any healing or cloning to remove spots, etc. You can also use the Hue/Saturation tool to change the color of your fireworks if desired!

Let’s take image #1. I have not cropped this at all yet, and won’t until I get all of my images put together so I can see where the best crop will be. I also want to be sure that there is room to add the other bursts.

IMAGE #1:

Now we will “drag” in Image #2 just as if it were a texture. Have both images open and use the Move Tool to drag Image #2 over Image #1 so they are in the same file on separate layers (like this):

To make the images work together, we’ll change the Blending Mode of Image #2 (the top layer) to Lighten. We can then position the second firework burst like this:

The Lighten Blend Mode makes the background “disappear” and keeps the brighter area of the image. If needed, you can also add a layer mask to get rid of any other distracting areas around the burst.

Now we’ll bring in the third burst the same way, with the Move Tool. Change the Blending Mode to Lighten and move it into position. I also reduced the size of this burst to better fit with the other two:

Now we can crop the image.

I typically save my images first as a TIFF or PSD file to keep the layers, then flatten and save as a JPEG.

Finished Image:

Hopefully you got some great fireworks images this week – go ahead and play!

I was pleased to be interviewed by Haley Salyer of Topaz for their blog post this past week. I contributed a preset (Painterly) that was included with the recent release of the new Adjust AI.

If you didn’t read it, check it out HERE!

And, if you haven’t grabbed your copy of Adjust AI yet, it’s still on sale for $59.99 HERE! Sale ends Monday midnight Central time, so don’t wait!

Also announced on their Facebook pages this week (it hasn’t been “officially released on the website yet), there is now a version of Gigapixel AI that is WEB-based! So if you were/are having issues with the download of the software, now you don’t need to download it! You can upload your image to the site, submit, and within a couple minutes get a link to your enlarged image that you can then download to your computer. I tried it a few times – works great – very fast! Works just like the software installed on your computer. So, if you have Gigapixel AI, try it out HERE!

To save 15% on any Topaz product, use THIS LINK and the code MeredithImages at checkout.

July Sales from Meredith Images

Don’t miss out! One-on-one training special pricing until July 31st (sessions do not have to be completed in July, just purchased prior to the 31st).

Sign up in the Peacock Studio HERE!

AND…

Don’t miss out on the sale on Sunday Sampler Groups. These bundle the older Sunday Samplers into groups ranging from 75-90 textures each! Or, you can grab all six at an extra special discount – 468 Textures for just $60!

No coupon code needed! On sale until July 31st in the Peacock Studio HERE!

June 30 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Half the year is over already – Yikes! Our Tennessee plans are shaping up – we have closed on both pieces of land – just about ready to order our modular – land work to start soon! Can’t wait till we head South to stay!

This week’s Sunday Sampler has six textures (since we didn’t post last week). I started with an image of wallpaper that had a nice texture to it, and created five more variations with adjustments in Topaz. Enjoy!

At then end of every six months, I create a new bundle of Sunday Sampler Textures (you can still download Jan. 2019 to current). I posted the new bundle in the Peacock Studio today! This bundle of 88 textures originally appeared in blog posts from July-Dec. 2018.

The Sunday Sampler Bundles are Regularly $15. But you can grab Bundle 6 – or any of the other five bundles – on sale for 25% off ($12 each) until July 31st.

AND if you are new to the blog and wish to get all six bundles (a total of 468 Textures & Overlays), there is an extra special discount – Reg. $80 for the 6 bundles, now on sale for just $60 until July 31st! SAVE 33% off the price of individual bundles!

CLICK HERE to go to the Peacock Studio and check them out!

My friends at Pixelo have set up a special discount just for my readers! You can save an extra 10% off the already hugely discounted bundles with the code meredith10 at checkout.

Their current bundle is the beautiful “Incredible Watercolor Designs Bundle” that contains 100+ design sets with over 2500 unique elements – watercolor illustrations, clip-arts, patterns, textures, brushes & more!

These are great for business cards and invitations, scrapbooking, web design and so much more. Check it out HERE – Value $2655 – now just $29 – and don’t forget to use the discount code meredith10 to save an extra 10%!

Just in time for July 4th fireworks shows, is an article on PictureCorrect.com on “How to Photograph Fireworks”.

This is a photo of 3 individual bursts combined in Photoshop. These 3 images were also part of the Sunday Sampler last July. Next weekend I will do an “Inside the Peacock Studio” tutorial on how I merged these in PS.

This is another merged shot of mine:

The folks at ThinkTank Photo have released a new holster bag – the Digital Holster 150.

This bag can handle your BIG lenses. It’s designed to offer quick access and transport for your super telephoto zoom lenses. With the versatility of a 150–600mm, you don’t need a backpack full of lenses to shoot wildlife or sports photography. Instead, a camera holster dedicated to a single DSLR body with a 150–600mm attached is an ideal solution.

The Digital Holster 150 is a top-loading solution that minimizes the weight and bulk of bigger bags so you can focus on the action. Wear the holster comfortably on a belt or over the shoulder, so you’re ready to shoot at a moment’s notice.

Visit their website HERE! AND, get free gear and free shipping (on orders over $50) when you use my code 141200.b44092 in the Affiliate Box at checkout!

Topaz Adjust AI Released!

Joining Topaz Labs’ line-up of AI-powered photo editing applications, Adjust AI helps users achieve brilliant photo contrast, clarity, detail, and color through artificial intelligence.

Topaz Labs released today a major new product to its AI-powered photo editing offerings, introducing Adjust AI. This new application is available as a standalone solution, as well as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, and Topaz Studio.

After months of training and testing, Adjust AI leverages machine learning to analyze and transform ordinary photos into lively, vivacious images that would normally require time-consuming, manual adjustments. Adjust AI is the fastest way to achieve ultimate clarity, detail, contrast, and an eye-catching aesthetic with minimal user input.

Application Details

With Adjust AI, users can:

  • Utilize two AI-powered modes (Standard and HDR Style buttons in the right panel) to automatically bring out colors, shadows, details, and more to make photos as vivid as intended–all in one click.
  • Utilize advanced shadow & highlight recovery that reveals lost detail.
  • Utilize Topaz Clarity’s intelligent, proprietary technology to manipulate macro, midrange, and overall contrast without halos or noise, all while maintaining a natural feeling and tonality in your image.
  • Move Topaz Detail sliders to independently adjust small, medium, and large amounts of detail inside the shadows and highlights of your image.
  • Apply new & modern presets for versatile effects.
  • Create and save custom presets for a faster workflow. 

Adjust AI caters to professionals and enthusiasts alike. Users can utilize the output of the AI to speed up workflow as well as take advantage of a range of new, modern presets. Adjust AI also includes the ability to create and save your own variations in order to create presets bespoke to you.

“With Adjust AI, we hope our users will be impressed by the versatility and depth of the effects possible with this single application,” said Albert Yang, CTO of Topaz Labs. “In our first development meeting for Adjust AI, our mission was clear: Let’s develop an intelligent application to take photos from dull to dynamic in less than 10 clicks. We wanted to create a solution that offers stunning image enhancement, but doesn’t consume all of the user’s time. Adjust AI harnesses really powerful AI processing, but also allows for light, masterful finishing touches, so you can truly transform a lackluster image into an eye-catching photo that doesn’t look over-processed.”

Recommended Workflow

To achieve the best results with Adjust AI, Topaz Labs recommends the following workflow:

1. Import photo. Use JPEG to RAW AI to restore RAW editing capabilities if needed.

2. Apply noise reduction with DeNoise AI.

3. Make any composition, cropping, or straightening adjustments desired in Topaz Studio.

4. Apply Adjust AI and make any further tweaks.

Adjust AI Pricing and Availability

Adjust AI is available now for an introductory price of $59.99 until July 8, 2019. Following July 8, Adjust AI will be available for $79.99.

Users owning the original Topaz Adjust, Topaz Clarity and/or Detail will receive a complimentary copy of Adjust AI.

Adjust AI is also a part of the Topaz AI Bundle, which includes Sharpen AI, Gigapixel AI, DeNoise AI, and JPEG to RAW AI. Users with one or more of the applications can still take advantage of savings with a prorated discount for just the applications desired. Like all Topaz applications, users can always download a free 30-day trial of Adjust AI before purchasing the application.

CLICK HERE to take advantage of the release sale!

Here’s a video with more info:  https://youtu.be/PMJu56YK3Q4

June 16 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! Enjoy your day.

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of textures from Buffalo, NY! An old window that I did a Topaz technique on, plus some cool old brick and stucco walls. Enjoy!

Survey Results!

Thank you to all who voted on my new logo design. It was very close between two of them (the ones that were my choices too!).

And the winner is #6! While I really liked the script font of the other one too, I thought this one was more of a “casual” script and less frilly! The peacock feather ties in the logo with the Peacock Studio (no the peacock is not going away!).

I will begin using this soon – I’m creating a vector version – and will be using with the new website design as well. Thanks for your input!

UPCOMING EVENTS

This coming week I will be teaching at the Photographic Society of Chattanooga (“Alternative Visual Artistry: Topaz Plug-Ins & Textures”) on Thursday evening, and then also doing a half-day hands-on workshop on “Topaz” next Saturday, June 22nd. There are a couple spots available for the workshop if you’re in the area! You can sign up on my website HERE.

In July I will head to Michigan for the SWMCCC (Southwestern Michigan Council of Camera Clubs) Weekend of Photography & Digital Imaging. I will be doing two seminars: “HDR – the Natural Look” and “Creativity with Topaz & Textures”. It’s a very fun weekend with many speakers, sessions, hands-on photo-ops and more. Check it out at: SWMCCC.org

And speaking of the peacock, read Pete’s latest adventure “Tour of Buffalo”, on the blog, The Traveling Peacock. Sign up to get the latest posts! And follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Design Cuts has released another fabulous new font bundle – “The Eclectic Font Collection”. I had a chance to play around with it this week, and I created this word art with the beautiful script font included:

The bundle includes all of the following font families:

Available now for just $29! CLICK HERE to check out all the details!

AND…If you’re like me and just can’t get enough fonts, Pixelo also has a new bundle – “Fontastic Bundle” with 99 fonts for $29! CLICK HERE to check it all out!

There won’t be a Sunday Sampler next Sunday – I’ll catch up on Monday or Tuesday when I get back from Chattanooga! But…there may be another post this week on some other news…Stay tuned!

June 9 – Sunday Sampler

Our Tennessee journey continues! Purchasing 2nd piece of property attached to the first for a total of 2.1 acres! Put a deposit on a modular yesterday – great deal on one that someone ordered with lots of upgrades then didn’t like the outside color! Good for us! Will be heading back down in a couple weeks on the way to Chattanooga where I will be presenting on Thursday, June 20th at the Photographic Society of Chattanooga. On Saturday the 22nd I will then do a half-day hands-on workshop for them on Topaz. Just a few spots left if you are in the area!

Sunday Sampler header

Some soft floral bokeh images are this week’s Sunday Sampler. I didn’t blur these TOO much – you can use a Gaussian Blur to soften them even more. Great for replacing the background behind a nice flower shot!

Here’s how I used one of these in a quick edit. I had this rose shot with a fairly plain green background (which isn’t a bad thing, but I want to show you how to use the bokeh backgrounds!).

I selected the rose and feathered the edges 3 pixels. Delete the old background. Save the rose with the transparent background as a PNG file.

Open Floral Bokeh 3 and drag the rose into the background (just as you would drag in a texture). I used Neutral Density gradients to darken the background, and a Hue/Saturation Adjustment to make the flowers a little more pink. I also used a Layer Style to add a slight drop shadow to the rose (very subtle). Here’s the final screen shot:

And the final image:

Needs a stem of some type so that it doesn’t look like it’s floating on the background, but you get the idea!

Survey – New Logo Design!

I am beginning an update of the Meredith Images website and decided it was time for a new logo to tie in with the “Peacock” theme. I’ve come up with a few versions – I need you to vote for your favorite!

Here are the versions numbered. The link to vote is at the end of this article! Thanks for your feedback!

NUMBER 1

NUMBER 2

NUMBER 3

NUMBER 4

NUMBER 5

NUMBER 6

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QZ79DH9

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!

If you like to create the look of pencil sketches and other art from your images, you’ll love this bundle from Pixelo – “The Ultimate Photoshop Add-Ons Bundle”!

It contains 72 Artistic Scripts to create a world of effects with just a click! Check it out HERE! Just $29!

And if you didn’t grab the Design Cuts “Totally Vibrant Textures & Patterns Collection” yet, it expires Monday midnight UK time! Don’t miss this huge collection for just $29! Click HERE to check it out!

And from WeGraphics, a cool little tutorial on how to make a “soundwave” in Photoshop! I followed the tutorial and did this less than 5 minutes!

And finally, from Light Stalking, an article of “The Coolest Photography Links of the Week” including tutorials and some great photographs!

Have a great week!

June 2 – Sunday Sampler

Happy June! May was such a busy month that it totally flew by! The good news is that we’ve purchased property in Tennessee – 1.3 acres of heaven! Now the real fun of purging, packing, etc. We’ll be putting a modular home on the land – plus a workshop/studio for the Peacock Studio! Hopefully move by Fall.

Our property is the “unmowed” area – all the way down the hill to the tree line on the right, then over in front of the little pond and back up the hill. We’ll be putting our house about even with the one in the distance toward the left of the frame.

This week’s Sunday Sampler is “bricks”! An original image plus three variations created in Smart Photo Editor. Enjoy!

New Column!

Welcome to “Inside the Peacock Studio”! In this column (once or twice a month), I will show you the “before” and “after” of an image and explain how I got to the final result. These demos will be processed with some of my own textures from groups that are available in the Peacock Studio online store. There will be a sale on the group(s) used for the upcoming week.

For this first column, I am using an image I took a few weeks ago in my kitchen with some lilacs from our yard.

FINISHED IMAGE

I started with a trifold background (the kind that kids use for class projects). I put the cup on top of a piece of wood-looking scrapbook paper, and sat that on top of some old books to raise it up and make it easier to shoot. You can see in this original below, that the wood paper curved down slightly – I fixed that in Photoshop.

Before fixing the “floor”, I cropped my image. Then I made a selection of the right hand “board” with the Polygonal Lasso Tool. Control + J duplicated that selection to a separate layer where I could rotate it slightly to make the floor appear straight.

I then cloned out the leaf design showing beneath the cup handle. Then I started adding textures – 4 textures and a border.

First texture is from the Bokeh 2 Collection > Pale Tan. Used at Soft Light blending mode and 50% opacity. This texture brightened up the lilacs and made the overall lighting/color more uniform.

The second texture is also from the Bokeh 2 Collection > Blue-Gray. Used at Multiply Blending mode and 100% opacity. I only wanted this texture on the background and not the lilacs or cup, so I used a layer mask.

The Layer & Mask

Our next texture is from the Watercolor Collection – Nature’s Pastels > Lilacs in Bloom (figured the name made sense!). Blending Mode Soft Light at 67% opacity.

Our fourth texture is from the Enchanted Collection – Tans & Vignettes 2 > Peacock Blend > Bygone Dreams. I also wanted to mask this texture from the lilacs and cup/saucer. Here’s an easy way to copy a layer mask so you don’t have to create a new one.

Click on the layer mask from the Bokeh Blue-Gray layer — IMPORTANTE: Make sure you click the actual mask icon so it is highlighted. RIGHT click on the layer mask and choose > Add Mask to Selection. You will see the “marching ants” appear.

Now select the layer of the new texture and click on the Add Layer Mask Icon (the square with a circle in the middle). The new mask will be applied.

I changed the Blending mode of this layer to Multiply and opacity to 88%. Because I reduced the opacity of this layer, you will see the mask is now more grey than solid black:

For the last step I “burned in” the edges a bit more. I selected a Soft Round Brush around 175 px at 25% opacity and darkened the edges a bit. It’s very subtle, but helped to direct the viewer’s eye to the subject.

You can save 33% on the collections used in this project – reg. $6, on Sale for just $4!
Bokeh 2
Watercolor Nature’s Pastels
Enchanted Collection Tans & Vignettes 2
until Midnight EDT Sat., June 8th
No coupon code needed!

CLICK HERE to go to the Peacock Studio store!

The folks at DESIGN CUTS have a great new texture bundle for you! The “Totally Vibrant Textures & Patterns Bundle”! Value $4082 for just $29! I just downloaded all of the goodies yesterday – can’t wait to try some out! This bundle is only available for the next 8 days, so don’t wait! It comes with their full personal & commercial license. CHECK IT OUT HERE!

From the folks at Creative Bloq, a collection of 66 FREE Photoshop Actions. And the Best Sans Serif Fonts of 2019.

And from Pixelo, several new bundles of goodies, – The “Magical Summer Designs Bundle” for just $29; The “Splendid Spring Fonts Bundle” for $39; and the “Ageless Vintage Bundle” for $29. Click each title to visit the website and check ’em out!

Special Post – Topaz AI Bundle Updated!

Apologies for the 2nd post in 2 days, but I just found out today that the Topaz AI Bundle (Gigapixel AI; DeNoise AI; Sharpen AI; and JPEG to RAW AI) were all updated — AND the bundle is on sale for the next week for just $199 ($50 off).

If you already own one or more of the products in the bundle, you can complete your AI group with special pricing based on what you already own.

Go to: https://Topazlabs.com/ref/55/ and select Products > AI Bundle. Be sure to also log in to your account to get your special pricing.

And, if you already own any of these products, don’t forget to download the free updates!

Enjoy!

May 21 – Sunday Sampler (2 weeks combined!)

Our 3rd Creative Photography Conference is in the books! What a great weekend of inspiration, creativity, learning, friends, food and fun! Here are a couple of comments from our attendees:

“The Conference was “Over The Top Good”! You two (and helpers) made it the Best. Met many fine people, learned from Best In The Business, Great Meals & Fantastic Discounts… (Hunts came through for me)…..Best To You Both for doing so much for so many.” ~ P.M.

“Thank you, it was a wonderful workshop, well organized, great lecturers and photographers.   I learned a lot and was inspired by the Creative theme. Being there with like minded folks was so much fun.” ~ E.S.

“Just wanted to say thank you for a great conference! I really enjoyed the Friday workshop and all of the presenters. Having known nothing about textures, I finally have a good starting point after your class.” ~ K.C.

Due to the Conference last weekend and a trip to TN this coming weekend (yes, we finally found some property that we are purchasing!!), I’m doing a combined blog post with six textures!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of textures from hotel rooms!! Five of them were taken this past weekend at the Southbridge during our Conference stay. The “Geometric” is the lampshade; “Marble Simplified” is the bathroom counter; “Rug Geometric B&W” is the rug; “Swirls with Spatter” is the drapery; and “Wallpaper leaf print B&W” is the wallpaper in the bathroom!! The “Abstract Circle” was modified from a framed print in another hotel. Textures are EVERYWHERE!! Enjoy!

From PSD-Dude.com, a free tutorial “How to Make a Photo Look Old and Scratched in Photoshop”

Grab “50 New Adobe Photoshop Tutorials from 2019” over on Graphic Design Junction.

From Pixelo – the “Spring Font Bundle”. 100 Font Families with 200+ Unique Fonts. Check it out HERE!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend! Please also remember the meaning of the day and give thanks to those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

We should be back on schedule with the June 2nd “Sunday Sampler” and the debut of our new feature column, “Inside the Peacock Studio”!

May 12 – Sunday Sampler

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the Moms, Step-Moms, Grandmoms, or any kind of Mom! Whether you have children or fur-babies, have a great day!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some scrapbook papers I photographed. These are great as backgrounds or overlays! Enjoy!

Less than one week till our 3rd Creative Photography Conference! It’s crunch time preparing all the info, badges, goody bags and more for our attendees!

It’s not too late – join us for a wonderful weekend of friendship, creativity, learning and fun!

Visit the website for details, schedule and sign up info!
https://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/

The new “Inside the Peacock Studio” column will begin soon (after I’m done with Conference craziness!). Watch for tutorials/videos on “how I did it”! The teacups & lilacs image above will be one I will be demonstrating.

Freebie! From WebDesignDev.com – 20+ Free High Quality Photoshop Brush Packs