May 5 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Cinco de Mayo! If the rain would ever stop it might actually feel like Spring! Pretty flowers are in bloom, however. Hope you have time to get out and do some photography!

Last weekend I was teaching at the CanAm Photo Expo in Buffalo. While we were driving to Buffalo the Wed. before, an inspection was being done on a house we were hoping to purchase in TN. Unfortunately, there were some structural issues and we decided not to proceed.

So…we decided to make a bonsai run to TN when we left Buffalo on Sunday! We got to Charleston, WV Sunday night. Then drove to Greeneville, TN on Monday morning arriving just before noon to meet up with our realtor. Spent about 3 hours looking at 3 properties, then hit the road to start home! Stayed in VA and got home early afternoon Tuesday! LOTS of driving for sure! We thought we had a property and then found out they don’t have access to high-speed internet — which, of course, is critical for me!

Sigh…the search continues!

Since there wasn’t a blog post or Sunday Sampler last week, this week we have six textures included – various types of surfaces I’ve been photographing over the past few weeks. Enjoy!

Thank You!

To all those who completed my survey! The results were clear on topics that you want covered – Topaz was a resounding first, with Textures & Overlays a close second. Photoshop techniques – compositing, layers & masks and using brushes were all pretty much tied for third.

The types of photography that you want to learn more about – Flowers/Gardens and Landscape/Nature were almost tied for first; Still Lifes and Abandoned Places 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The majority chose extended videos (10-30 minutes) as the preferred format, with live webinars a close 2nd.

So…stay tuned for some upcoming tutorials! I’ve decided to add a new column to the blog – “How I Did That” (or similar name) – starting in a week or two. I’ll take an image I’ve posted on social media and give you the details of how I did it!

I am also planning some upcoming videos, so you’ve all helped with the direction that those will take.

Just 2 Weeks Away!

May 18-19 is our 3rd Creative Photography Conference! Don’t miss out! Check out all the details on our website at:
https://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/

LOTS of great info for you this week. There are some Freebies and tutorials as well as some great bundle deals and new products.

1. From WebDesignDev.com – two articles. While there are tons of apps available for iPhones, it’s harder to find good editing apps for Androids. “20 Best Photography Android Apps to Create Awesome Photo Effects” gives you some good ideas. And “Create Awesome Photo Effects with these 20 Amazing Photoshop Tutorials” will get your creative juices flowing! Don’t forget to check out their “Freebies” tab as well!

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2. From PhotoshopSupply.com – a free “Photo to Line Art” conversion action.

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3. An awesome new bundle from Design Cuts – tailored to photographers! “The Totally Eclectic Photography Bundle” contains TONS of presets, overlays, textures, styles and more! A $900 value for just $29!

CLICK HERE to check out this great deal.
Expires in 8 days!

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4. And from my friends at ThinkTank/MindShift, a couple of new products.

The BackLight Elite 45L joins the BackLight line up as a larger backpack for those longer hikes into the back country.

Get deeper into the backcountry with the BackLight® Elite 45L backpack. 45 liters of available space provides ample room for both camera gear and adventure equipment, such as a length of rope, ice axe, snowboard/skis, laptop, tablet, and of course, a tripod.

Weather-resistant zippers and materials protect your gear when trekking in the elements. And like the other BackLight backpacks, rear-panel access adds security when traveling since your camera gear is protected behind your back.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Storm proof construction with YKK® AquaGuard® zippers and waterproof/tearproof Sailcloth
  • Superior Fit: Robust lumbar padding, hip-hugging waist belt, quick-dry back panel, and foam ridges for increased ventilation
  • Back and top panel access to all of your camera gear, allowing you to work out of your bag without getting your harness dirty or wet

CLICK HERE to check out this bag and the full line of BackLight products.

And for a smaller bag, the Stash Master 13L. A travel cube that enables you to expand the photo gear capacity of any large backpack/roller/duffel, or increase personal gear space in the MindShift® Backlight Elite 45L for multi-day excursions.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Padded insert allows you to use your own bag or increase personal gear space in the MindShift Backlight Elite 45L
  • Water resistant fabric and DWR coating keeps your gear protected
  • Sized to fit pro gear including a gripped body attached to a 70–200mm f/2.8

CLICK HERE to check out the Stash Master!

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5. And one more bundle offer! From Pixelo, “Mega Illustrator Brushes Bundle”.

NOTE: This bundle is ONLY for ILLUSTRATOR, NOT PHOTOSHOP!

But if you’re an Illustrator user, you can grab over 3200 brushes to help with your design work. Value $600 – for just $29!

CLICK HERE for this awesome bundle!

March 24 – Sunday Sampler

I think Mother Nature forgot to change the calendar to SPRING! It’s been chilly here in CT this week. Some areas had quite a bit of snow and tragic flooding in the mid-West. Stay safe everyone.

This week’s Sunday Sampler is an assortment of textures – a green grungy cracked wall, wet gravel on a trail, and wood grain door. Enjoy!

NEW TEXTURES – SALE ENDING TONIGHT!

Don’t forget to grab your copy of my 3 new texture sets – Bokeh 2; Galaxies 2; and Grunge 1! Reg. $6 per set – on sale till midnight tonight EDT for $4.50 per set! CLICK HERE to visit the Peacock Studio!

Design Cuts released a new bundle this week, the “All Purpose Creative’s Design Kit”. I started playing around with some of the new fonts and illustrations, and came up with the birthday card below. After I did one with the watercolor splashes in the background, I tried it with an old paper texture that I created – I think I like that one even better!

Check out the bundle HERE! It expires in just 8 days, so don’t miss out! Just $29 for $1510 worth of resources! See below for a preview of all the goodies!

Another cool bundle of goodies from Pixelo – the “Ageless Vintage Bundle: 55 fonts and 100+ Designs”.

Check out the goodies:

This bundle is also Just $29 (for $1299 worth of products). It expires in 27 days. Check it out HERE!

If you are a studio photographer who also shoots on location, you know what a pain it is to haul around light stands. ThinkTank has come up with a new bag just for you!

Think Tank Photo has just released their Stand Manager 52 rolling case, and it’s an ideal solution for storing and transporting stands of any kind. The case holds up to 4 turtle base C-stands, multiple traditional light stands, or modifiers up to 52” long. It features multiple tie-down straps to secure your stands inside, oversized, shock-absorbing wheels, and rear skid rails which allow you to load in and out of your vehicle with ease.

Click HERE to go to the website for all the details!

Freebies & Finds!

On WebDesignDev “20+ Free Design Goodies” includes fonts, textures, mock ups and more.

And from PictureCorrect.com, “7 Tips to Make Your Photos Stand Out”

Have a great week!

Jan. 20 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Winter Sunday from New England! Looks like we’ve lucked out with very little snow – now pouring rain – but the really messy part will be as the temperatures drop today and everything turns to ice! Ugh! Just keep reminding myself only 60 days till Spring!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of rock textures from the caverns of Ruby Falls in Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, TN. Remember, you can always modify the textures by using filters (Gaussian blur or others); Topaz products (Impression, Simplify, etc.), or if you have Smart Photo Editor you can create endless versions. Enjoy!

Today I’ll answer a few more questions from my webinar on Jan. 8th.

This first Q/A actually answers two different questions.

Q1: What is the difference between impression on the left and that of the right?

Q2: Why does my Impression panel (on the left) not show all the groups of presets?

A: Impression on the “right panel” – found under the ADJUSTMENT button – gives you the ability to use Impression the same way, but without all of the presets. You can select the stroke, settings, colors, etc. See screen shot below:

The full Impression plug-in is found on the left panel. Click the Icon at the top left (A) to see all of the plug-ins you have installed. It will look like this:

If you just click on the word Impression (B), you will see ALL of the Impression presets appear. However, if you first click the arrow (C in photo below), you will get the categories of presets like this (answer to Q2):

This question was asked on Facebook. Q: How did you assemble the 4 leaves in Photoshop to be in one image?

The composite I showed during the webinar.

A: This composite was done in Photoshop after the 4 versions of the leaves were created.

STEP 1: First we need to create a new blank file in Photoshop, so we need to know the size of one of the leaf images (6″ wide x 5.387″ high) – we need our new file to be a little more than twice the width and twice the height. So I made the new layer 28″ x 30″ with a white background.

File > New > Set size to 30″ wide, 28″ high, 300 dpi, background white.

Now we will bring in our 4 leaf images. Open all 4 files into Photoshop. We will add them to the blank file just as if we were dragging in a texture. Using the Move Tool, pull down on the tab of the leaf image so that you can see it as well as the blank image (see below). Click anywhere on the leaf image, hold down the mouse button, and “drag” the leaf over the white blank layer.

Once the leaf is over the white background, you can close the actual leaf file as we won’t need it anymore. Now still on the Move Tool, you can move the leaf into the position desired over the white layer, like this:

You will see that the leaf is a separate layer above the background.

Do the same process for the other 3 leaves, so you have this:

Now we’ll create our background. I didn’t want white for the background, so I selected one of my watercolor textures, Tan 3 (from the textures available in the Peacock Studio store on my website). I brought it in the same way we did with the leaves – open the file and drag it into the leaf composite. We want the texture layer above the white background and below the leaves, so you can drag the layer into position in the layers panel (the alternate way is to click on the white background layer before dragging the texture in, then it will automatically be above the white layer).

Hit Control + T to get the “handles” on the texture and drag it to cover the white background.

Now we’ll add the drop shadows to give the image some depth. To add “layer styles” or effects, double-click in the blank area of the top leaf layer (somewhere around the red “X” below:

This will open the Layer Effects Dialog Box. You will want to select “Drop Shadow” by checking the box AND then click on that layer (see red x below) to get the controls for Drop Shadows:

I used settings of Normal for blending mode, black as the color, Opacity 25%, Angle of light 135 degrees, Distance 36, Spread 49, Size 65.

We need to apply these settings to each of the 4 leaf layers. Instead of needing to repeat this process, you can right-click on the layer, select Copy Layer Style, then click on the other 3 layers, right-click and Paste Layer Style!

Your image is now complete. If you wish to trim any excess background to even it out, you can crop.

Always save a file like this as either a TIFF or PSD to retain the layers, then you can save as a jpg if desired.

If you are in the Long Island, NY, area and want to see a fabulous program, plan on attending the presentation by Canon Explorer of Light, Ken Sklute, Feb. 11th 5-9 p.m. in Bellmore, NY. Click here for details. I’ve seen this show and Ken is an amazing photographer and a very entertaining presenter!

If you’d like to add to your brush library, click HERE to go to InspirationFeed.com for TONS of free brush sets!

And for some free textures and PS actions, head over to the CoffeeshopBlog (they also have items for sale).

I have some students on board, but have a few slots available! Contact me for more info if you’d like to learn specific post-processing programs!

Whew, that was a long blog this week! Hope you enjoyed the tutorials!

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.

Jan. 6 – Sunday Sampler

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a joyous New Year! We had some quiet holiday time just the two of us at home. Nice to just relax a while. I made it to midnight on New Year’s Eve, but hubby did not! We got up early on the 31st and did a sunrise shoot with about 20 other photographers at the beach. It was a beautiful morning – great sunrise and not too cold either. Dave left to go off to work and I joined the group for breakfast. Good times!

For today’s Sunday Sampler I took the barn wood image from last week’s Sampler and ran it through some presets in Smart Photo Editor. This is a very cool little program (and inexpensive – just $29.95!). There are THOUSANDS of presets you can apply to your image, mostly contributed by users of the product. So everytime you log in there are new presets that get added to the library! I first saw this software at a seminar that macro photographer, Mike Moats did. He uses it all the time. Check it out at: https://www.smartphotoeditor.com

I’ve had several requests for private tutoring from those outside of my local area. However, I CAN tutor you ONLINE! We’ll use GoToMeeting and we can screen share so I can help you learn new techniques or assist with issues you may be having with software! Call or email me to discuss or if you’d like to review what you want to learn.

My next webinar is this Tuesday, January 8th at 5:00 Eastern time. Click HERE to sign up! I’ll be showing some various creative techniques using Studio, Texture Effects, Impression, and will do a short demo on AI Gigapixel and how I use it to enlarge my images. See you there!

Upcoming Seminars/Workshops

The new year starts a new schedule of seminars at camera clubs and conferences. If you’re in the area, join me at one of the following club seminars:

  • Feb. 13 – Milford Camera Club (CT) – “What’s New in Topaz”
  • March 5 – North Haven Camera Club (CT) – “Advanced Techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop.
  • April 1 – Greater Lynn Photographic Society (MA) – “Creativity with Textures”
  • April 12 – Westchester Photographic Society (NY) – “Topaz & Textures”
  • June 20 – Photographic Society of Chattanooga (TN) – “Topaz & Textures in Photoshop & Topaz Studio”

CONFERENCES:

  • April 26-28 – CanAm Photo Expo, Buffalo, NY – https://www.canamexpo.com/
  • And, of course, I will be a speaker at our Creative Photography Conference, Southbridge, MA, May 18-19. Join me and seven other talented speakers for a great weekend of creativity and learning! Details and sign-up on our website HERE.
  • July 26-28 – Southwestern Michigan Council of Camera Clubs Conference, Hope College, Holland, MI. https://www.swmccc.org/. They haven’t posted the 2019 info yet, but you can see what last year’s conference offered!
  • Oct. 19-20 – And speaking of Mike Moats, I’m pleased to say I will be one of the speakers for the 5th Macro Photo Conference, in Cleveland, OH. I was a speaker at the first conference in Seekonk, MA – it will be fun to visit a new location and meet some other speakers that I haven’t worked with before. There are seminars as well as lots of photo ops with all the speakers assisting. The conference is $199 and limited to 100 people. They always sell out early, so don’t delay signing up. Check it out HERE!

With the new year comes photo “challenges” – 365 days; 52 weeks, etc. While I don’t know that I will complete one myself, this article from the Photo Argus has a 52-week challenge with some great ideas and info even if you don’t do it weekly.

Photographing the moon can be tricky. Here’s a great article with helpful info from Light Stalking.

Have a great week!

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! 

Dec. 9 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of textures from two botanical gardens we visited in NY during Thanksgiving week. The “cracked paint” texture was on a birdhouse inside Lamberton Conservatory at Highland Park in Rochester, and the “Cracked Circle” of wood and “Rippled Design” – which is a plant – are from the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens in Buffalo.

Holiday Cards

You may already know that we have a Facebook group called “Textures: Turn Ho-Hum into a Work of Art”. We are inviting members to digitally share their holidays cards (you do not need to have used textures on these). If you would like to share your card, feel free to join the group and share! It is also an inspiring group for beautiful texture work. 

My next Topaz Webinar will be Tuesday, January 8th at 5:00 Eastern time! It’s always fun working with Topaz products and sharing techniques. If there is something you’d like to see me do in the webinar, feel free to email me at Hazel@MeredithImages.com. I will see what I can do to include suggestions in my projects. 

The questions that get sent in during the webinars are always good ones! Due to time constraints, we could never get them all answered in one webinar session, so here are a few more from my last webinar with my replies:

Q: How did she unlock the ratio?  
(In my last webinar I overlaid a second image and did not want to keep the same proportions as the original file.)

A: In Studio, you can add an image as a separate “layer”. In the right panel, click on “Image” – that will open the Image Layer dialogue box shown below. If you do not want to keep the original proportion of the layer, click on “No” next to Lock Aspect Ratio. This will let you stretch or shrink the image as needed. This comes in handy if you are doing compositing as I was in the last webinar.

Q: A question that is asked pretty much every webinar – “How do I import textures into Studio/Texture Effects?”

A: You can add your own textures (ones that you’ve created or ones that you purchase or download) into the Textures panel of Studio (which also adds them to Texture Effects if you have that plug-in). 

You need to have an image open in Studio, then choose “Texture” under Adjustments (this is one of the Pro Adjustments). Once the Texture layer is open, click on the icon next to “Category” (see below). 

That will take you to the Texture Manager (below) where you can 1) name a folder for your new textures, then 2) import them. 

Q: Do you ever get confused about when to stop?

A: Great question! It’s truly a matter of personal preference and if you like the image at a particular stage, then you’re done! I like to start playing with effects – sometimes I have a pre-conceived idea in my head and sometimes not – and start playing with Adjustments and presets. I very often apply more than one preset — I’ll be showing you some of that in the next webinar!

Some finds from this week!

PhotographyPla.net – If you do not already get their newsletters, sign up and get a Free Photography Bundle that includes PS actions, LR presets, photo overlays and print templates. They also have a set of Winter actions available. 

From ProBlogDesign, find 40 Extraordinary Photoshop Text Effects.

And from BrushLovers.com, 20 Soft Bokeh Photoshop Brushes. Be sure to look around on this site – TONS of brushes as well as patterns, textures and more! As always, be sure to read the Terms of Use before using on commercial products. 

Nov. 18 Sunday Sampler

Happy Thanksgiving week! I hope you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends. Let the shopping sales begin!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of a patterned sidewalk that I edited 3 ways in Topaz! You can further edit as desired and/or change colors with hue/saturation or Topaz ReStyle (which changes the color palette of the image).

eBook 2 is in Process

Pre-Order to save 40%!

My second eBook is under way! This will be a continuation of Book 1, with more projects than ever; more textures; and more brushes! 

In Book 1 I showed you the basics of working with textures – how to find them, photograph them, and create your own in Photoshop with brushes. You learned how blending modes make our textures work with our images and turn them into your own “Work of Art”.

In Book Two, we will delve further into projects that incorporate many textures and brush overlays (sometimes as many as 6 or more!). You will learn to composite several images and how to make them blend seamlessly. I promised in Book One that I would show you how I created the cover art “Vultures & Cosmos” – that is one of many projects you will do (minimum of ten projects). 

As in Book One, you get a PDF file of the actual eBook plus all the textures, brushes and photos to follow along with the projects. There will be several extra bonus sets of textures and brushes as well (I’m still adding to this group).

THIS PRE-ORDER IS AVAILABLE ONLY UNTIL MIDNIGHT EST, SUNDAY, NOV. 25th! SAVE 40% off the list price of $25 – Just $15!

It is available both as an electronic version or an actual CD. Shipping for CD’s in the U.S. is $5, outside the U.S. it’s $15.

Click HERE to go to the Peacock Studio store!

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Also new in the Peacock Studio are 3 new texture sets!

Just added today – 3 new computer-created texture sets – “Inky Leaks 1”; “Procreate 1”; and “Watercolor Designs 1”. 

These 3 sets as well as all of my texture sets and the first eBook are now 25% off until Sunday, Nov. 25th at midnight EST. 

These 3 texture sets are the first in 3 new series – more to be added soon!

These 3 sets are regular $6 – just $4.50 with the 25% sale. USE CODE HOLIDAY2018 AT CHECKOUT!

Click Peacock Studio to see all of our textures and products.

REMINDER…Early Bird Pricing for the 2019 Creative Photography Conference ends on Nov. 30th!

Save $61 and register for our great 2019 line up! No other discounts will be offered, so don’t miss the savings! CLICK HERE to read all the details and to register.

Registration includes all Sat. & Sun. seminars; photo-ops; lunch both days; coffee/tea & refreshments in the mornings; speaker notes on a flash drive; LOTS of door prizes; and a goody bag with discounts & freebies. There will also be vendor tables for your shopping pleasure!

New in 2019 are 2 pre-conference workshops on Friday afternoon (additional fee), as well as optional dinner buffet (save waiting!).  

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO AND REGISTRATION!

The Black Friday Sales will be in full swing this week from many of the vendors I do business with! I’ll be sending another post or two this week to keep you up-to-date with the best deals!

Topaz’s sale will run Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday (I can’t reveal what it is yet!).

StudioMagic is having a FABULOUS sale on all of their products (they have over 60 of them! You DON’T want to miss this one for sure!

And many of the companies that do “bundles” of products will be releasing info soon — stay tuned!

Gobble! Gobble!

Nov. 4 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday and a warm welcome to all of the new subscribers! Thank you for watching my Topaz webinar this past week. It was fun doing some Halloween-themed images! We had lots of great questions as well. I printed out the chat so I can answer more of the questions here in the Topaz Corner (see below). We try to cover a LOT of information during the webinars – I know for some people it seemed to go too fast – but that’s why they record the webinars so you can go back and watch again!

The “edited” webinar is not posted yet, but you can get to the unedited copy by clicking HERE. And if you haven’t gotten them yet, I have the notes for this webinar for sale in my online store for just $5! This gives you all of the images that I worked on during the webinar, the notes with the settings that I used, AND a bonus set of textures (these textures are not available anywhere else – they will be part of some upcoming sets in the store). Click HERE to go to the web store and then select “Topaz Notes” (the notes for my last webinar are also still available).

 

This week’s Sunday Sampler started with a shot of tree bark that I took on my jaunt this week to Southford Falls State Park in Southford, CT. I then did a couple of variations using AI ReMix in Studio.

The recent rains and pretty fall color made for some nice images:

After editing these leaves, I added a preset in Topaz Studio to give them some added “punch”.

I’ve been totally amazed with the quality of AI Clear. It really makes my images look great! I did mask it off of the water a little so that they wouldn’t be overly sharp.

NEW WEBINAR NOTE!

If you’d like to see some more of “What’s New with Topaz Labs”, I will be doing a webinar tonight at 7:00 pm Eastern Time, for NPEG (the National Photography Enthusiasts Group). They have allowed me to open up registration to you as well! Click HERE to sign up! I’ll be covering Topaz Studio and some of the Pro Adjustments that have been added since the Summer when I did my last webinar for them.

 

So as I mentioned above, I printed the chat log from Tuesday’s webinar so that I could answer questions we couldn’t get to during the presentation. I love reading all the “hello’s” when people log on and seeing where everyone is from (all over the world!).

A couple questions from the first project, the “haunted” house and graffiti overlay.

Q. How did she unlock the ratio?

A. After adding the 2nd image layer, you will see a “Lock Aspect Ratio  Yes  No” under the image – click on NO and you will be able to resize the image without maintaining the original aspect (see screen shot below)

 

Q. Where did she get the clip art? Where did she get the lightning?

A. The graffiti shot I used was from Layer Cake’s “Epic Location Sets” (Urban Chic set) and the lightning was from their Studio Magic plug-in program.

I recently did a webinar for them utilizing these new Location Sets. They are also the makers of Studio Magic, an awesome plug-in to Photoshop (I have done a webinar on this as well). You can save 90% and get Studio Magic, free sky overlays and the 1200 Epic Location Sets for just $125 HERE. Or just the 1200 Location Sets and Skies for $99 HERE.

The other clip art I showed (spider web, pumpkin, ghost), I downloaded from Brusheezy.com. They have TONS of free brushes, clip art and more (also Vecteezy.com for graphics).

Also watch the blog for “Around the Web” links to other great resources.

Q. How do I import textures into Studio?

A. I put together a tutorial sheet on how to do this with screen shots. Click – How to Add Textures to get the pdf file!

Q. How did she get two different textures to apply? When I do that, the second will override the first!

A. Once you have applied your first texture, you need to then click on Adjustment again and select texture to open a 2nd dialogue box and add a 2nd texture without deleting the first one. So you’re pallette will look like this:

 

I will answer some more questions next week!

 

Just a reminder…the Early Bird pricing for our 3rd Creative Photography Conference ends on November 30th!

Join us May 18-19, 2019 at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center in Southbridge, MA, and unleash your creative side!

Our fabulous speakers: John Barclay, Anne Belmont, Mark Bowie, Betty Wiley, Jane Driscoll, Loretta Paul-Goldin, Jan Doyle and me, will show you techniques including Topaz, textures, LensBaby, landscapes, Lightroom, Photoshop, Luminar, iPhoneography, creative projects with your photos, YouTube publicity and creating your own textures in PS and with alcohol inks. We’ll also have a photo ops room with set ups to photograph, and much, much more!

Go to our website at: https://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/ for all the details and to register!

Have a great week!