Feb. 17 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday & Daytona 500 Day if you like auto racing as we do! Looks like some Winter weather finally moving into our area this week. In Southern CT we’ve been pretty lucky so far. Most storms were rain or a mixture. Not much snow (which is fine by me!). Stay safe out there.

This week’s Sunday Sampler is some nice bokeh images of morning dew on grasses. I took these a couple of years ago when I was in Florida teaching at the Spacecoast Birding Festival. These were taken near this Great Blue Heron who was fishing for his breakfast! There were some razor sharp teeth on the alligator gar fish he caught! Taken hand-held with my Canon 70D and Sigma 150-500 at just over 400mm. 800 ISO helped as did Topaz AI Clear!

Organizing Design Assets

A comment and question was posted on last week’s blog about using all of the fabulous resources that are available in the bundles that I mention here. Mainly, how to utilize them, and even more importantly, how to organize and find all of the items! It’s definitely something I’ve been trying to work on.

I’ve started some new files by category for all of the Illustrations-Vector Art. These are mostly items I have downloaded from various web sources. This is what I’ve come up with:

I still have many “Zip” files to open up and save in appropriate folders. I add folders as needed.

My textures folder needs some work! Right now I have a main Textures & Backgrounds folder, then some are by the company purchased from (like Design Cuts, 2 Lil Owls, French Kiss, etc.). Other miscellaneous textures are filed by style (Bokeh, Chalboard, Concrete, Metal, Grain, etc.) like this:

My biggest issue right now is I’m not sure if I want to keep, say, Design Cuts all in that folder, or separate the items into easier-to-find folders! I may keep the original folders and copy items into other folders by subject. It is a hugely time consuming project since I have so many assets and have not kept up with sorting as I purchase more. So if you are in the same boat, you’re not alone! It will be an ongoing project for sure.

Upcoming Event

I’ve been invited to speak at several conferences around the U.S. this year. First up is the CanAm Photo Expo in Buffalo, NY, April 26-28. The event will be held at the Buffalo Grand Hotel, which is completing renovations and will be a beautiful new facility.

They are keeping me very busy that weekend. I will be doing two sessions on “HDR-The Natural Look”, two sessions of “Creativity with Topaz & Textures” plus a Topaz lecture in the Macro Lab on Friday afternoon as well as some hands-on photo ops in the Macro Lab on Sunday morning. Whew!

They have various options for registration – you can check the details on their website at: https://www.canamexpo.com/

I mentioned above about filing your design assets. Here’s another big bundle that you’ll need to file!

From PIXELO, the Mighty Design Bundle, 4900+ Design Resources! Value $2521 if purchased individually, just $39 for the bundle!

What’s included in this bundle?
* 51 font families with 87 unique fonts
* 67 mind-blowing Photoshop actions;
* 19 Photoshop mockups; 9 Photoshop tutorials;
* 500 premium backgrounds;
* 2987 unique vectors; 70 beautiful text styles;
* 512 textures; 681 Photoshop brushes;
* Commercial License;
* Lifetime download access;
* Unlimited and quick response.

Check out the details of all the cool products included HERE on the website.

And from Light Stalking, “Our 113 Most Useful Links for Photographers”

They have a really good list of all kinds of topics. Tutorials, Magazines, eBooks, Software, Buying Gear Online, Social Media sites to follow, and much, much more.

Have a great week!

Feb. 10 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday!

This week’s Sunday Sampler is crumpled paper that has a subtle pattern on it. There’s the original and three versions – one creates a nice background bokeh, one is grungy and one is painterly with a light green color. Enjoy! And remember to share your creations in our Facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/texturesturnhohumintoaworkofart/

Don’t Miss Out! Last New England Conference!

May 18-19, 2019
at the
Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center
Southbridge, MA

Join us for the 3rd Creative Photography Conference!
We have EIGHT wonderful speakers
covering a variety of creative topics:

Anne Belmont (Chicago) – Lensbaby Specialist
John Barclay (PA) – “Creativity with Topaz” & “Dream, Believe, Create”
Mark Bowie (MA) – “Envision: The Art of Seeing Creatively” &
“Multiple Exposures for Maximum Landscapes”
Betty Wiley (Cape Cod) – “Get Creative with LR”, “Creative PS” & “Luminar”
Hazel Meredith (CT) – “Textures: Turn Ho-Hum Into a Work of Art” &
“Creating Your Own Textures in PS with Brushes featuring Grut Brushes”
Jane Driscoll (CT) – “iPhoneography + Apps” & “iColorama”
Loretta Paul-Goldin (CT) – “Create Your Own Textures with Alcohol Inks”
Jan Doyle (CT) – “Creative Projects with Your Photos” &
“Get Your Name Out – Free Publicity with YouTube”

ADDED FOR 2019…

Friday – 2 Pre-Conference Hands-On Workshops
Join either John Barclay or myself for an afternoon of hands-on learning. Bring your laptop (or follow along if you prefer) and work along with John (Topaz) or me (Textures). We will provide images so we can work together. These sessions are limited 24 people each. $69 for either session. (You must be registered for the Conference to attend these sessions.)

Friday & Saturday Nights – Optional Dinner Buffet
Southbridge is a small town – why wait somewhere for dinner? Join our speakers and other attendees for an expansive dinner buffet. Sit, relax and chat a while! $20

Special Offer! 

While our Early Bird pricing was the best deal for our Conference – and we did say there would be no further discounts – we added a special code for students and friends of each of our speakers (including me). Save $25 on your registration with the code meredith25. This code expires on March 31st and will be your last chance to save $$ on registration.

GO TO OUR WEBSITE TO SIGN UP!
https://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/

Workshop Sign-Ups Continue

I still have some spots available for the upcoming new Hands-On Workshops that begin in March on Sunday afternoons. They will be held at a local spot here in Stratford and limited to a maximum of 6 people.

They will feature training on Photoshop, PS Elements, Lightroom, Topaz, Textures and possibly more. There will be PS & Elements sessions for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced levels (each of these is a separate subject/class). Watch for a schedule to be posted in next week’s blog!

And, if you’re not in CT, remember I have online training available as well! We screen share and can work on any subject you wish – Photoshop; Elements; Topaz; layers/masks; whatever you need help with! You can do a couple of hours or if a package of 10 hours. Email me for more info or go to my website to sign up: https://www.meredithimages.com/product-category/tutoring-sessions/

I’m always on the lookout for freebies and great deals to share with my readers. Here’s what I’ve found this week:

The “original” Bundle Company – Design Cuts – has some great things going on! Their new offering is “The Designer’s Textures & Patterns Collection” – value $2436 – for JUST $29! Check it out below:

CLICK HERE to grab this great deal (Expires in 8 days)!

Design Cuts also has some great tutorials on their site like this – “How to Demystify the Photoshop Mixer Brush”. Check the “Learn” tab for lots more!

And if you work with Procreate on an iPad, they also have an all-new section with Procreate products! CLICK HERE!

Note: Some links above contain affiliate links. Thanks!

Have a great week!

New Workshops Announced!

Today I posted six new hands-on workshops to be held here in Stratford, CT.

* Elements Beginner
* Elements Intermediate
* Photoshop Beginner
* Photoshop Intermediate
* Creativity with Topaz
* Textures and Composites

They will be held on Sunday afternoons 1-4:30 pm beginning in March. Each workshop is just $69 per person. LIMIT 6 Students per session!

Bring your laptop and work along with me! Details on each workshop and registration links can be found on the website: https://www.meredithimages.com/product-category/workshops/

New eBook “Working with Textures & Overlays: Turn Ho-Hum Into a Work of Art – Book 2”

The new book is progressing on time for an April 1st release! Thank you to those who have already pre-ordered their copy!

If you haven’t pre-ordered yet, take advantage of this opportunity to SAVE $5 when ordering the CD or Electronic version of the new book.

Use code PREORDER5 at checkout. Expires midnight 2/15/19 EST.

Head to: https://www.meredithimages.com/product-category/ebooks/ to place your order.

This eBook has lots of useful information for working with textures, overlays, compositing and more. Review blending modes; learn to create your own brushes then create textures of your own; composite several images into one new project; and twelve projects to practice your skills. Included are all of the images, textures, and brushes to complete all of the projects as well as some bonus goodies!

Don’t miss the last Conference in New England!
Join us May 18-19, 2019
at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center in Southbridge, MA,
for the 3rd Creative Photography Conference!

Join me and 7 other creative photographers to learn creative landscapes & multiple exposures; post-processing with PS, LR, Topaz & textures; iPhoneography/Apps; Lens Babies; plus: loaner lenses; shopping with Hunt’s Photo; hands-on photo-ops; lots of door prizes; a goody bag and MUCH more!

JUST ADDED – On Sunday we will have two photo walks with one of fabulous Tamron Tech Reps! Borrow a Tamron lens and do some shooting around the beautiful hotel grounds.

New for 2019 are two options for pre-conference hands-on workshops (John Barclay teaching Topaz and me teaching Textures); and optional Fri. and/or Sat. night buffet dinners.

Visit: https://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/ for all the details and to sign up! We’re over half-full already!

Feb. 3 – Sunday Sampler

Happy February! Hope you’re staying warm through the cold spell that has been gripping the nation! Last week in CT we were in negative numbers – Tuesday will be mid-50’s!! Crazy!

For this week’s Sunday Sampler I took a texture of Rust and made five additional versions of it using Topaz and Smart Photo Editor. You can create even more versions of your own with various software. Enjoy!

Last Monday Topaz announced the new JPEG to RAW AI. I’ve seen some questions online about how/what it can do. Here’s some more info for you.

“What is the difference between AI Gigapixel and JPEG to RAW AI? What is the appropriate workflow?”  

“Gigapixel is trained to fill in believable pixels for enlarging photos. If you think about the actual process of creating 6x the amount of pixels from an image, the main problem the software needs to solve is how those pixels should look. The format, color space, dynamic range, etc. will generally not change when you use Gigapixel. Generally you’d want to use Gigapixel as the last step before printing (or as the first step as you’re importing stock photos or similar). JPEG to RAW is trained to improve the format of the image by expanding color space/depth, improving dynamic range, and recovering detail. Sometimes it won’t even explicitly improve how the image looks immediately and might look the same! However, you’ll really notice the difference when you edit the photo – you’ll see less banding and artifacts. You would typically use JPEG to RAW before doing anything else with your JPEG.

“Here is the recommended workflow: First, run your JPEG photo through JPEG to RAW AI. Take the resulting .TIFF or .DNG into Topaz Studio and edit it in Topaz Studio or your preferred photo editing platform. Then, take your final product into AI Gigapixel for enlargement! The resulting image will be massively improved from the compressed JPEG you started with! “

There is also a great blog post on PetaPixel by Dr. Yang (founder of Topaz) that goes into great detail of the “how” of JPEG to RAW AI – CLICK HERE

I’ve tried it on several older photos (back when I was shooting in JPG) and I am quite impressed with what the software does. I get much better color and detail throughout. In the pics below, the first one is what I previously edited in Photoshop:

Photoshop Edit

For this copy, I took the original JPG file, ran it through JPEG to RAW, then processed in Studio using AI Clear to sharpen. A much better result in my opinion.

After editing with JPEG to RAW

What I also love about AI Clear is that it intelligently sharpens what needs sharpening but smooths out the background (as in this image) and gets rid of any noise. No masking of the background needed as I did when sharpening in Photoshop.

Until Feb. 8th you can save $20 on this new software – regular $99.99, now $79.99. Click HERE to go to the Topaz site and save!

One other Topaz note. Most of you know Heath Robinson of Topaz from listening to webinars or talking to him online. Unfortunately, he has left Topaz and moved to Colorado for his wife to take a great new job.

Earlier this week there was a fire at his family’s home in Texas. They’ve set up a GoFundMe page. If you are so inclined, they are grateful for any assistance you can give. Check it out HERE. Thank you.

Workshops to begin in March

I am setting up some new Hands-On Workshops to begin in March on Sunday afternoons. They will be held at a local spot here in Stratford and limited to a maximum of 6 people.

They will feature training on Photoshop, PS Elements, Lightroom, Topaz, Textures and possibly more. There will be PS & Elements sessions for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced levels (each of these is a separate subject/class). Watch for a schedule to be posted in next week’s blog!

And, if you’re not in CT, remember I have online training available as well! We screen share and can work on any subject you wish – Photoshop; Elements; Topaz; layers/masks; whatever you need help with! You can do a couple of hours or if a package of 10 hours. Email me for more info or go to my website to sign up: https://www.meredithimages.com/product-category/tutoring-sessions/

I’m always on the lookout for freebies and great deals to share with my readers. Here’s what I’ve found this week:

From Pixelo – a very cool bundle for photographers, the “Unique Photoshop Plug-Ins Bundle”. This bundle includes: PS Plug-Ins; Actions; Add-Ons; Layer Styles: 643 Brushes; Swatches; Overlays and more! A total of 5500 unique products, and it comes with a commercial license so you can use it in images you sell. Value $2370 – now just $29 (expires in 15 days). CLICK HERE for this great deal and check out their other bundles too!

A good article on PictureCorrect.com – “Tips for Flower Photography”

And on Pixel Surplus, some other great bundle deals to expand your font library and freebies too! Check them all out HERE!

Note: Some links above contain affilate links. Thanks!

Have a great week!

New Topaz Release Unveiled!

Introducing JPEG to RAW AI

Edit JPEG as if you shot it in RAW.

Use machine learning to convert JPEG to high-quality RAW for better editing. Prevent banding, remove compression artifacts, recover detail, and enhance dynamic range.

Fix artifacts, restore dynamic range, and recover detail

JPEG to RAW AI is highly effective at removing compression artifacts and recovering color detail. Note the additional fine detail in the top right and bottom of the image.

There’s also enhanced dynamic range as shown by deeper shadows and enhanced highlights.

Great for those older digital images shot in JPEG on a smaller megapixel camera – like this one that I took from my old Canon 20D shot in JPEG. I re-edited with JPEG to RAW and was able to pull more detail and better color.

Original edit from an 8mpx JPEG file.

Edited with JPEG to RAW then re-processed. Better color, less noise, more detail.

Special Release Pricing!

Regular $99.99 – Release Sale pricing of $79.99 until Feb. 8th! (You can download a free trial.)

Have a question about JPEG to RAW AI?

You’re in luck! Tomorrow, we’re heading to Reddit. At 10 a.m. CST, the Topaz Team is going live on the /r/photography Reddit community with an AMA (Ask Me Anything) about our newest software, JPEG to RAW AI. Until 5 p.m., we’ll be answering all of your questions about this product – from product strategy and photography workflow, to the technical specs and how-to’s. We can’t wait to talk to you! Check us out tomorrow at 10 a.m. CST at Reddit.com/r/Photography.

CLICK HERE to get all the details and system requirements on this new fascinating software! I’m glad to have it in my toolbox for all those older images!

Jan. 27 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! The first month of 2019 is almost over! Less than two months to Spring – Yippee!

This week’s Sunday Sampler will show you how something so “ordinary” can become a texture! Last year we did a photo shoot at an abandoned brewery. Near the end of the day I found this pile of broken plastic pieces, and of course, I photographed it! I took the image into Topaz Studio and created several versions of the image which brought out amazing color! Shots 3a and 3b are the same except that for 3b I applied a layer of white over the image and lowered the opacity to give it a more pastel look. Remember, you can always create new textures from any image by applying various filters and effects – have fun!

On Thursday Topaz released an update to A.I. Gigapixel, improving an already amazing piece of software.

“With the latest update to A.I.Gigapixel™, the first and only intelligent image resizer for your computer just became even better. The latest update includes a brand new interface, a redesigned user experience, and many under-the-hood improvements!

“Your lives are fast-paced and busier than ever, so there’s never been a better time to get image enlargements handled for good. Let A.I. Gigapixel help you save time while giving you more detail in your images for a sharper and more impressive result.”

If you haven’t yet purchased, you can go to the store HERE and grab it for $99.99. Use my code MeredithImages at checkout and SAVE 15%, making it just $85! If you already own AI Gigapixel, download the update by logging in to your account and going directly to the downloads page.

Other Topaz News!

Shhh….I can’t reveal it yet, but stay tuned for a special blog post Monday afternoon revealing a NEW PRODUCT!

Do You Need a Logo?

Some of you may know that my previous background was as a graphic designer and typesetter (in the pre-desktop days). Since I am now working Meredith Images as my full-time job, I’ve started doing some designing again. I recently completed a logo for a gal I met at the travel writer’s workshop I attended in September. She needed a logo for her upcoming website and blog – The Seasonsed Sojourner. Check it out:

I am taking on new jobs, so if you need a logo designed for your photography biz – or any other business venture – I’d be happy to work with you! I have some simple templates for watermark signatures or can create a new look from scratch as I did with the above. Email me and we can figure out the best look for your business!

And my travel blog…

I’ve started my travel writing blog as well – The Traveling Peacock! Follow Pete the Peacock and me as we travel and review places to visit, eat and rest your tired bones! Yesterday we visited a new-to-us restaurant that I reviewed. Check it out HERE – and sign up for our blog updates! And yes, I also designed this logo to tie in with my Peacock Studio theme and logo.

Freebies! Pixelo is one of my affiliate companies that offers some great deals – but they also have some Freebies available! Click HERE to check them out – fonts, templates, text effects and more!

And I found some cool “60-Second Photoshop Tutorials” as well as “99 Best Advanced Photoshop Tutorials” over on TutsPlus.

Have a great afternoon – don’t forget to watch for a special blog post tomorrow on the new Topaz product!

Jan. 13 – Sunday Sampler

This week’s Sunday Sampler are some “grassy” shots to make us thing of Spring! The original image was taken in Savannah, GA, as we walked around Fort Pulaski. I suppose it could have been taken anywhere, but this was where I happened to take this shot! I modified it three ways in Topaz Impression. These will make great backdrops to other images. Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who watched my Topaz webinar on Tuesday. I appreciate the kind words through email and Facebook. If you missed the webinar, the recording is posted on the Topaz YouTube channel HERE. You can also find it on the TopazLabs.com site under the “Learn” tab > Webinars. Just scroll down to the recordings.

And, if you’d like my notes from the webinar PLUS all the images I used, PLUS some bonus textures, you can find them for just $5 in the Peacock Studio store HERE.

Topaz also has a 20% discount code for the webinar – hazelweb14 – good until midnight tomorrow, Monday, on anything in the Topaz store. I also have a code on my eBooks and textures (also in the Peacock Studio) for 25% off until midnight Tuesday 1/15 EST.

We always have so many questions during a webinar that we can’t get to answer all of them, so I’ll be answering some here in the “Topaz Corner” over the next few weeks. If you have a question on Topaz that you’d like answered, email me at Hazel@MeredithImages.com and I will try to include it.

Q: In several of my projects I used a border texture rather than a regular vignette and someone asked why.

A: It’s truly a matter of personal preference, however, I often use the borders instead of a vignette if I want a more subtle edge-darkening. The borders also tend to be “irregular” shaped, and I often like that look.

Q: Do you always work in jpg when editing in Topaz?

A: No, usually I’m importing a RAW or tiff file. I use jpgs for the webinars because they are smaller and process faster.

Q: Where can I find more of Hazel’s work with tutorials and how long has she been working with layers and textures and creating such amazing works?

A: Thank you for your kind words! I’ve been working with textures and such for about 9 years. I’m not positive how I really started – I’m sure I saw something online or at a camera club and just started playing around! You can find more of my images on my website http://www.MeredithImages.com or on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MeredithImages/

I’ll be answering a few more questions next week.

A few items I found this week:

From Light Stalking, “The Coolest Photography Links of the Week”.

Design Cuts has a FABULOUS Vintage Bundle (I’m going to be getting this one myself)! $1780 worth of delicious vintage goodies for just $29! Check it out HERE! Retro fonts, beautifully preserved illustrations, vintage papers, effects, textures and so much more!

Ending with some sad news…

Some of you may know Joe LeFevre, a fabulous photographer, gifted teacher and gentle, sweet man, who taught at many camera clubs and conferences around the country. Sadly, Joe passed away this week. He will be missed by so many in our photographic circle. Godspeed, dear Joe.

The Adirondack Photography Institute, where he taught many workshops, posted this on Facebook yesterday.

It is with deep sorrow that we relay the news of API instructor Joe LeFevre’s passing, on Thursday, January 10th. Joe was a beloved and gifted photographer, consummate teacher, public speaker, and our great friend. He was a devoted family man and a man of great faith. We will miss him dearly. Joe is survived by his immediate family, wife Linda, sons Robert and David, and daughter Joanna. We offer them our continued love and prayers.

As a photographer, Joe was renowned for his compositional skills, and for readily incorporating cutting-edge digital technologies in his imagery. He had a special affinity for creating panoramas, and shooting time-lapse sequences and video. He created instructional DVD’s on numerous photographic topics and a DVD showcasing the Adirondacks.

Joe also cherished sharing his love and knowledge of nature photography through workshops. We know he felt blessed by the many friendships he made through them, and the wonderful experiences shared. To all those he touched, our sincere condolences. One aspect of his enduring legacy will be that he not only made us better photographers, but better people.

We love you Joe.

Dec. 30 – Sunday Sampler

Goodbye 2018 – Hello 2019! Just one more day till we ring in the new year! Time sure does fly, doesn’t it? I have lots of plans for photography projects this coming year – the 2nd eBook is progressing (release by 4/1 or sooner); some online tutorials (written and videos); more textures, of course; and a few other projects I am contemplating! The Creative Photography Conference will be heading out to new locations – working on something for Fall of 2019. We’re planning on two conferences a year – one in Spring and one in the Fall.

This was taken along the Skyline Drive in VA in Spring of 2017. A thunderstorm had just passed by. I accented the shafts of sunlight with Studio Magic.

And, of course, you may know that we are planning a move this year to Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains! Still looking for our new place – I’m sure we’ll find it when the time is right!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some textures taken from that same trip to Virginia. Rocks, rust and some old barn wood. Enjoy!

AND…I’ve just posted “Sunday Sampler Group 5” for sale in the Peacock Studio! This consists of all of the textures from the Sunday Samplers from Jan – June 2018. Every six months I group the textures and post in the store in case you’re new to the blog and/or missed them previously. There is always AT LEAST six months worth that you can scroll back through the old blog posts and download.

The Sunday Sampler Groups normally sell for $15 each, but I’m doing a SALE on ALL FIVE GROUPS till next Sunday for JUST $10 per group! Each group has at least 70 large textures (4500 px x 3000 px). These can be used for both personal and commercial work, but they cannot be shared, sold or redistributed in any way. CHECK OUT THE SALE HERE!

NOTE: Because these are such large files (300-600MB), I will send you a direct link after purchase. Thanks!

My next Topaz webinar will be Tuesday, January 8th at 5:00 pm Eastern time. Registration will go live later this week.

Join me for some new creative techniques in Topaz Studio, where I’ll use the Pro Adjustments, Impression and, of course, Topaz Texture Effects! I’ll give you some insight on my thought process and why I select the effects that I do, as well as how to modify presets to your taste and layer multiple presets.

Watch me take this simple leaf shot and create four versions (below) by layering presets in Topaz Studio and Texture Effects.

PIXELO has been having some great deals lately! This one expires in just 24 Hours (9 am Eastern time on Monday). THE CHRISTMAS & WINTER BUNDLE consists of:

  • 66 Ready Christmas Photo Overlays
  • 700+ Christmas Lightroom Presets
  • 456 Fog and Rain Photo Overlays
  • 180+ Abstract Snowflakes
  • 130+ Christmas Bokeh Photo Overlays
  • 120+ Christmas Light Leaks Photo Overlays
  • 110+ Christmas Sparks Photo Overlays
  • 100 Professional Lens Flare Overlays
  • 100 Fairy Light Overlays
  • 94 Firefly Photo Overlays
  • 80 Snowflake Photo Overlays
  • 77 Abstract Lines Photo Overlays
  • 60 Galaxy Stars Photo Overlays
  • 60 Confetti Photo Overlays
  • 50 Winter Frames
  • 50 Frozen Photo Overlays
  • 28 Christmas clip art Overlays
  • 15 Glitter Effect Photo Overlays
  • 15 Fireworks Photo Overlays
  • Commercial License
  • Lifetime download access

CLICK HERE TO GRAB IT NOW BEFORE IT EXPIRES – JUST $9

AND…check back every day this week for the 7 days of Sizzling Offers!

Here’s a good article on a project for a Winter day when you want to say inside…“How to Photograph Smoke” from PictureCorrect.com.

Dec. 23 – Sunday Sampler

Merry Christmas to my readers who are celebrating this week! This week’s Sunday Sampler will take us to warmer days with some patterns in the sand! We have the original plus two variations I created in Topaz Studio. Remember you can always change the colors with a hue/saturation adjustment or a color overlay (changing the blending mode too). Enjoy!

I created this digital card last night in Photoshop. The original image from Cades Cove (in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) was taken a few years ago when we there in March – thus no leaves on the trees yet. But…there wasn’t snow on the ground either!

First I added the deer from another image taken in Cades Cove on a different day/trip, then I turned it into a Winter scene with Studio Magic II. I also used Studio Magic II to add the softly falling snow.

I used one of my own crop shapes to create the edges, then added a texture of mine behind it. 2 TIPS: If you want to lighten a texture in the background so that it’s more subtle, there are two ways you can do this (which one you use depends on the look you want and the texture itself). Method one: add a blank layer beneath the texture and fill it with white. Then you can lower the opacity of the texture layer and it will get lighter.

The second way is to apply a white (or colored) layer OVER the texture and lower the opacity of the color layer. In my image above I first tried the white layer under my texture, but didn’t really like the result (looked too pale). So I tried adding the white layer OVER the texture layer and lowered the opacity to 32% – bingo! I liked that look!

Here is the screen shot of the layers for this project and the details of all my steps below:

  1. I edited the original image.
  2. Added the deer and resized it to look realistic.
  3. Used Studio Magic II to create a Winter Scene in “Season Shifter”.
  4. At this point I thought the deer was too washed out from the Winter effect, so I duplicated the deer layer and brought it above the Winter Season layer. Lowered the opacity to 87% to blend it better.
  5. I’ll need a layer that contains the original, the deer and the Winter scene in one layer. I could flatten my image at this point OR what I did here is created a merged layer above the other layers. To do this hit Control+Alt+Shift+E. Yep, it takes a lot of fingers to do this (it’s nicknamed the “claw” for good reason)!
  6. Apply the snow in Studio Magic II – Snow Maker.
  7. Now I brought in the crop shape (from my collection in the Peacock Studio). We want the crop shape layer beneath the merged layer.
  8. Click on the merged layer and click Control+Alt+G to clip that layer to the shape (you can turn off the visibility of the lower layers and you will see that you have a transparent border around the shape). The little down pointing arrow next to the layer image shows that it is clipped or grouped with the shape layer below.
  9. Now we’ll add the texture beneath the crop shape. Used a texture from one of my new collections, “Computer Collections – Inky Leaks 1”. As mentioned above, I didn’t want the colors to be so bold, so I added a blank layer above the texture, filled it with white and lowered the opacity to 32%.
  10. Added my Type layer at the top. Used a stroke outline and drop shadow.
  11. Complete!

And speaking of Studio Magic…They’ve given me an exclusive holiday discount for my readers! Save 60% of any product on their website with the code hazel60 now through Dec. 31st! CLICK HERE to go to their website and check out all the fabulous products! Example of the savings: Studio Magic I and II normally is on the site for $179 – save $107.40 and grab it for just $71.60 with this discount! OR…grab their Epic Location Sets for $139.60 (Reg. $349). OR…get both Studio Magic I & II plus the Epic Location Sets combo for just $159.60 (reg. $399.00)!!! There are also lots of other sets of backgrounds, actions and more…poke around the site!

Last Minute Holiday Gift Idea!

If you need a gift for that special photographer in your life – or yourself – sign up for the 3rd Creative Photography Conference – and here’s an easy way to do it!

Take advantage of our Holiday Easy Payment Plan! Pay 1/2 of the registration fee by Dec. 31st ($175), and pay the balance by Feb. 28th ($175). If you are giving as a gift, let me know and I will send you a gift certificate that you can print and put under the tree!

You can add on pre-conference workshops now or later – but the workshops are they’re filling up, so you may want to add them now! You can also add the optional dinner buffet for Fri. or Sat. with either payment.

Contact me with any questions at Hazel@MeredithImages.com and CLICK HERE to go to the Peacock Studio Store to sign up!

Other last minute holiday deals…

From PIXELO – a fabulous special deal – the entire current shop of bundles for just $99!

CLICK HERE for this Pixelo deal!

Another great resource for bundles is Pixel Surplus – and they also have lots of FREEBIES on their website HERE!

Dec. 16 Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! This week’s Sunday Sampler has 4 textures – 2 glittery and 2 mosaic (well, 1 mosaic that was also edited in Topaz Impression – would make a good background for garden shots – you could blur it even more if you wanted!). Enjoy! And don’t forget to share your creations in our Facebook group, “Textures: Turn Ho-Hum Into a Work of Art”. 

Topaz Holiday Sale continues through 12/26!

If you missed my post on Friday, Topaz has their biggest sale of the year now through midnight (CST) December 26th. Click HERE for Friday’s Blog Post and all the details! Also in that post is a great deal on font bundles from Pixelo and some freebies!

More Q&A from October webinar

This question is more about Photoshop than Topaz, but I thought it might be something handy to know!

Q: The question was on the image of the pumpkins that I edited. I mentioned I had copied a pumpkin and added it to the foreground to fill an empty space. Someone asked how I did that, so, here we go!

A: Here are the steps I did.

  • Above is the original image. The first thing I did was use the Healing Brush to get rid of the little bits of pumpkin along the right edge as well as the dark bit in the very lower right of the image. So now we have a clean image (below).
  • The second step is to use the Quick Selection Tool and select the pumpkin in the middle foreground (see below). I also selected the shadow. Once you have your selection perfected, click Control+J to copy that pumpkin onto a separate layer. (Command+J on a Mac)
Pumpkin Selection
Pumpkin Selected
  • Now we’ll select the layer with the new pumpkin and using the Move tool we can move it into position. I didn’t want it to look exactly like the original pumpkin, so I did a few steps to change it. First, I “flipped” it horizontally – Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal (that will flip just that one layer and not the whole image). Next, with the Move tool active, move the pumpkin into position and using the “handles” (the little squares around the edges) I made it slightly larger and stretched it slightly wider than the original. That’s it – we now have an additional pumpkin filling in that empty space in the original image!
Using Move Tool to move and resize new pumpkin.
Using Move Tool to move and resize new pumpkin.

If you are unsure how to make selections or transform the selection, do a quick Google search – there are TONS of tutorials on all things Photoshop!

A handy article from PhotographyPla.net on Storm Photography.

And from CreativeBloq, an article with 6 Free Alternatives to Photoshop, Illustrator and more!