Tutorial Thursday Sept. 19

FORSYTHIA

Even though we are heading into Autumn, I’m still working with some images from the Spring! Here is the original image:

A pretty “blah” background for sure! After doing basic edits to color, contrast, etc. in Lightroom, I took this into Photoshop. Duplicate the background layer and open Filter > Topaz Studio 2.

I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do with this image, so I started scrolling through the Looks menu. First I applied “Line & Ink“. I liked the preset on the flowers, but not what it did to the background:

Line & Ink Preset

So I added a layer mask in Studio 2 and masked the Look off of the background, leaving it only on the flowers:

Line & Ink Masked off background.

I began looking for another Look to add – possibly with a border of some sort. I found “Filed Negative Holder“. I left the blending mode at Normal but changed the opacity to 50% to bring back some color to the flowers.

I decided to add a texture (or two)! First I found Cornfield; changed the blending mode to Overlay and the opacity to 59%.

To add a little more yellow, I added another texture > Meredith Images > Golden Sunrise. Blending mode Soft Light; Opacity 40%. I also flipped the texture vertically to put the darker color at the top.

I accepted these changes in Studio to send it back to Photoshop. For one last effect, I used a brush to add some additional texture.

I added a new blank layer; selected a brush from my eBook #1 – Scratched 1 – color #564f3a and rotated the brush 90 degrees. I made the brush bigger (the vertical size of the image) and clicked ONCE. Hit Control + T to transform and make the brush cover the image. I decided I didn’t want the brush outside of the border, so I added a layer mask. Then changed the blending mode to Hard Light and opacity to 52%.

Final layers.

And this is the final image:

Have a good day!

Around the Web – Sept. 17

PHOTOSHOP

From Spoon Graphics, “The Extra Features of Adobe CC You Might Not Be Aware Of”.

And from Adobe.com – did you know that there are more brushes available than just what is programmed in to Photoshop? There are a bunch more available here in the “Summer 2019 Release”.

GENERAL INFO

From PictureCorrect.com – “10 Things Successful Photographer’s Don’t Do”

On PhotoFocus – “Why a Great Tripod Can Make a Great Image”

Over on DigitalCameraWorld.com – “What is Depth of Field in Photography?”

BACKGROUNDS

From MediaLoot.com – “Abstract Geometic Vector Backgrounds”. (Free, but attribution required or you can purchase for full license.)

Sunday Sampler Sept. 15

Happy Sunday! As you read this I’m on my way to TN to check on our new house! Dave is holding down the fort in CT and working on packing. Our target moving date is end of October.

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some lovely cloud images courtesy of Steve Watson. He went out hoping for another stunning Florida sunrise, but even though it turned out cloudy, he was able to get some nice shots that he is sharing with my readers. Thank you Steve!!

These can be used for those “grey sky” days when you don’t have much going on in the sky. You can either delete the old sky and put the new sky on a layer beneath the image, or just overlay the new sky and mask away where you do not want it on your subject. Here’s an example. I took this ordinary image of the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston….

And overlaid Clouds 3. I masked it off of the bridge, trees and water – giving me a much more interesting sky and image. While the original image did have some clouds, they just weren’t very dramatic.

REMINDER!

My special promotion from Design Cuts is still available! I selected five texture packs that I think you will love, and Design Cuts created a special deal on the bundle just for my readers.

The five packs are:
– 94 Vintage Leather Paper Textures by Vector Hut
– Abstract Textures by Offset
– Herbarium Watercolor Textures by Alex Green Art
– Just Good Textures v2 Distress Edges by Graphic Monkee
– Prairie Girl Soft Grunge Textures by Greta Ivy

So….”How do I get these cool textures?”

CLICK HERE

to go to the special page for Meredith Images readers and grab this deal for just $40 – which is half off the regular price!
You will get 190 beautiful, creative textures with full commercial license for all your projects!

Tutorial Thursday Sept. 12

MAGNOLIA BLOSSOM

For this week’s tutorial, I took a very ordinary snapshot – taken on my cell phone – and turned it into something “respectable” (even if it isn’t a “work of art”)! Here is the original image:

The background is MUCH too busy, and a few of the petals are definitely not at their prime. So first, I did a clean up of the petals in the middle (see the circled areas):

Next I needed to clean up the background. I didn’t mind the greenery in the lower left, but the rest had to go! I used the eraser tool (yes, it would be better to mask it, but sometimes I use the quick way). I then added a new layer beneath the image and filled it by sampling the sky color near the top (almost white but not quite):

Now I wanted to take this into Topaz Studio 2 to add some effects. Instead of flattening the layer and then duplicating it (one option), I like to create a “merged” layer above the current layers. To do this it is Control+Alt+Shift+E (Command+Option+Shift+E on a Mac).

Now I launched Studio 2 from Photoshop. First I decided I wanted a watercolor look, so I used the preset “Summer of 68”. I did not make any changes to this preset.

Next I added Filter > Impression > Brush 05 > Paint volume .05 > texture Canvas III (texture strength .23 and size .15).

Then Filter > Texture > Group > Borders > Fade 6 > Blending Mode = Multiply > Opacity = 65%

Then one more Filter > Texture > Storms End > Blending Mode = Multiply > Opacity = 45%.

And this is the result:

So take those cell phone shots and make ’em pretty!! Have a great day!

Around the Web – Sept. 10

Sunday Sampler Update

For some reason, Dropbox seemed to have a hiccup this week! It was asking people to sign in, which you do not need to do in order to access the Sunday Sampler files!! I’ve left the old folder in place (I think it worked for most people), but I’ve also created a new folder with the same textures HERE! Hopefully this will work like they normally do!!! Gotta love technology!

BRUSHES

From CreativeBloq, “All the Best Free Photoshop Brushes”. I love using brushes to create my own textures as well as over an image as a texture. Watch for a tutorial on Thursday.

And if you love Grunge like I do, I found this cool website for grunge brushes! Sign up for their newsletter for freebies! TrueGritTextureSupply.com

FONTS

From CreativeBloq, a list of “42 Best Handwriting Fonts”

RESOURCES

If you have an iPad, most likely you have Procreate! Over on the Designest is an interesting article and interview with the founder of Procreate, James Cuda.

On Lightroom Killer Tips by Kelby One are several articles about Lightroom Mobile.

A great YouTube Channel for Photoshop Tutorials by Jesus Ramirez. This week is “How to Cut Fur from Busy Backgrounds in PS”.

Sunday Sampler Sept. 8

Happy Sunday! Today is Open House for our CT home! Fingers crossed for a quick sale. Hoping our TN home will be on site early this week – delayed again!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of “glows”. The original yellow-orange one was taken on my cell phone (not sure what I was actually shooting!!). I then changed the colors with a Hue/Saturation adjustment. This can be used to tone a background or other texture. You could rotate this texture so that the brighter area reflects where the actual light is coming from in your image.

Here’s an example with a before and after. An image of dogwoods in the fog in Cade’s Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I added the Glow Blue-Green, flipped the layer horizontally (so the brighter area is in the upper right), changed the blending mode to Soft Light and the Opacity to 16%. Adds a little bit of subtle color to the image.

ORIGINAL
WITH “GLOW BLUE-GREEN”

IN CASE YOU MISSED THIS ON THURSDAY!

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was working on a special promotion from Design Cuts for my readers. I selected five texture packs that I think you will love, and Design Cuts created a special deal on the bundle just for my readers.

The five packs are:
– 94 Vintage Leather Paper Textures by Vector Hut
– Abstract Textures by Offset
– Herbarium Watercolor Textures by Alex Green Art
– Just Good Textures v2 Distress Edges by Graphic Monkee
– Prairie Girl Soft Grunge Textures by Greta Ivy

Check out Thursday’s “Tutorial Thursday” post HERE to see the examples!

So….”How do I get these cool textures?”

CLICK HERE

to go to the special page for Meredith Images readers and grab this deal for just $40 – which is half off the regular price!
You will get 190 beautiful, creative textures with full commercial license for all your projects!

Tutorial Thursday Sept. 4 – Special Promo!

Happy Thursday! I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was working on a special promotion from Design Cuts for my readers. I selected five texture packs that I think you will love, and Design Cuts created a special deal on the bundle just for my readers.

The five packs are:
– 94 Vintage Leather Paper Textures by Vector Hut
– Abstract Textures by Offset
– Herbarium Watercolor Textures by Alex Green Art
– Just Good Textures v2 Distress Edges by Graphic Monkee
– Prairie Girl Soft Grunge Textures by Greta Ivy

I have used items from these packs in the two tutorials below, so you can get an idea of how to utilize them in your own work.

YELLOW ROSE

For this first project I started with a background from the Herbarium Watercolor Textures pack. This pack gives you both vector images (for use in Illustrator) and JPG images (for use in Photoshop and other photo editing programs). I selected Paper18.

I planned to put a rose over this image, so I cropped some of the left side to make the image more square.

Next I added a texture from the Prairie Girl pack – Texture 16 (this pack gives you both JPG and TIF files). I changed the blending mode to Multiply.

Next we’ll add more dimension and depth to the background with a couple of images from the Vintage Leather Paper Textures pack. First I used Paper Texture 13. I flipped this image horizontally so the darker edge was on the left. Changed the blending mode to Overlay and the Opacity to 90%. I also left the texture larger than the image so it would cover the area I wanted (see “handles” of the image in the screen shot below). This pack gives you JPG files and PNG files that have transparent backgrounds.

From the same set I added Paper Texture 19, again sizing to what I felt worked with this image. I also rotated this texture 90 degrees clockwise.

For the rose, I ended up using parts from two rose images. I thought the flower in the first image was too big and too bright a yellow, but I liked the stem and leaves. So I masked out the flower and then added another rose bud.

I tied the colors together with another Prairie Girl texture, #11. Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 65%.

Lastly I finished it off with a border from the Vintage Leather Paper Textures Pack – Paper Texture 36. Blending Mode Overlay; Opacity 80%. Since this texture was only along the left and right sides, I duplicated the layer and rotated it 90 degrees clockwise. Blending mode Overlay; Opacity 60%. And that’s our finished image!

BOTTLE ON BREWERY LINE

I had previously processing this image as a 3-shot HDR and some grungy presets from Topaz. I want to REALLY grunge it up, so I used some of the cool items in the Abstract Textures Offset pack.

This pack gives you lots of versions – PNG’s in Black and in White; TIFF’s and a PS Template that has all of the various textures in layers. This file makes it easy to turn each file on and off to see which ones you want to use. There is also a reference guide with this pack that shows what each texture looks like.

I started with my previously edited photo:

I used 4 of the textures –
#03 = Overlay @ 55% opacity
#08 = Overlay @ 100% opacity
#28 = Overlay @ 100% opacity
#09 = Overlay @ 84% opacity

I changed the color of each layer from Black to #482b16. To change the color of a layer with a transparent background, select the layer > click on the Lock icon at the top of the layers palette > change the foreground color > Alt + Backspace will fill the layer with color but since I locked the layer, it will only put color on the pixels that hold color.

I used a layer mask on #08 to take the texture off the bottle, then copied the mask to the next layer (right click on the 1st layer mask > Add Mask to Selection > highlight next layer > click on the layer mask icon and it will duplicate the mask).

Finished image:

So….I’m sure you are asking,
“How do I get these cool textures?”

CLICK HERE

to go to the special page for Meredith Images readers and grab this deal for just $40 – which is half off the regular price!
You will get 190 beautiful, creative textures with full commercial license for all your projects!

Around the Web – Sept. 3

PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

Three tutorials from PictureCorrect.com, “How to Blur Water in Landscape Photos”. Also “How to Make Your Travel Photography Your Own”, and “Stray Light and Lens Flares in Photography”

LIGHTROOM

From fStoppers.com, “Maybe You Should Be Using Lightroom for That!” and from PictureCorrect.com, “How to Use Lightroom’s Graduated Filter to Improve Landscapes”.

RESOURCES

There is a HUGE amount of resources in this article from A Better Lemonade Stand, “200+ Curated Graphic and Brand Design Resources”. Everything from stock photography, image editing programs, fonts, color palettes and more!

And from idevie.com, “50+ Free Photoshop Brushes to Download Now”

And over on webdesigndev.com, “20 Outstanding Free Photoshop Text Effects”

SOFTWARE HOW TO

“How to Install Patterns, Layer Styles, Brushes and Gradients in PS and LR”.

PIXELO – NEW BUNDLE

Pixelo’s newest bundle is “The Artistic Abstract Design Bundle” with over 2900 Abstract Designs.

This bundle contains:
– 44 design packs;
– 2900+ abstract designs including backgrounds, textures, patterns, shapes, overlays and more;
– Commercial License, check out more about the ;
– Unlimited and quick response.

If you purchased all of these bundles individually, it would cost $885 – grab this bundle for just $29!

CLICK HERE TO GRAB THIS DEAL!

And scroll through the web page to see the detail of each included pack!

Sunday Sampler Sept. 1

September already? How did THAT happen? The summer flew by for sure! Hoping house will be placed on site by Tuesday or Wednesday, then I’ll head to TN on Thursday! They needed to bring in truckloads of dirt to make a wider landing area for getting the house on site (the left side of the property was a bit of a drop off).

This week’s Sunday Sampler is thanks to my hubby, Dave! These textures are an old baking sheet that he used as a drip pan in his bbq smoker! I was getting ready to throw it out, but of course, had to take some pics first of that lovely grunge!!

Photography Organizations

I recently became aware of the group, “Nature First”. Their principles are things I have already been practicing.

Nature photographers are increasingly becoming a liability for the beautiful environments they cherish and photograph.

Nature First is built on seven core principles that help communicate how each of us can enjoy nature photography responsibly. The Seven Principles of Nature First Photography were developed to help educate and guide both professional and recreational photographers in sustainable, minimal impact practices that will help preserve nature’s beautiful locations.

THE NATURE FIRST PRINCIPLES

  1. Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.
  2. Educate yourself about the places you photograph.
  3. Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.
  4. Use discretion if sharing locations.
  5. Know and follow rules and regulations.
  6. Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.
  7. Actively promote and educate others about these principles.

Membership is free. Check them out at: naturefirstphotography.org

If you are a USA-based photographer (any skill level) and you are looking for a group of like minded photography enthusiasts to TEACH, LEARN, SHARE and SOCIALIZE, then NPEG is for you!

The founder of the group, Mark Perry, is holding a free, informative webinar on “What is NPEG” on September 15th 8 pm EDT. Sign up HERE!

And on November 10th, I will be doing a webinar for NPEG, “Topaz Studio 2 – Navigating Your Way Through”.

BOOKING FOR THE 2019-2020 CAMERA CLUB SEASON

I have already scheduled several clubs for the upcoming season (most clubs meet Sept.-June).

I will be doing a program at my own club – the Greater Bridgeport Camera Club – on our first meeting night of the season on Sept. 4.

Oct. 5 or 12 (TBD) – Westchester Photographic Society 1/2 day workshop on Topaz.

Jan. 23, 2020 – Webinar for the Charlotte (NC) Camera Club

March 7th – Hands-on seminars for the Greater Lynn Photographic Society (Lynn, MA). Morning – PS Elements; Afternoon – Topaz. And possibly a program Mon., March 9th at their club meeting (tentative).

IF YOU ARE A CLUB IN NEW ENGLAND, I’D BE HAPPY TO DO A PROGRAM DURING THE WEEK BEFORE OR AFTER MARCH 7TH WHILE I’M IN THE AREA! Email me at Hazel@MeredithImages.com.

Around the Web – Aug. 27

FREE PHOTOSHOP ACTIONS

From DesignYourWay.net, a roundup of “Free Photoshop Actions for Photographers”. Some actions worth in both Photoshop and Elements and some are PS only – be sure to check if an action will work in your software.

PHOTOSHOP TUTORIALS

Pixel2PixelDesign.com has “80+ Best Photo Manipulation Tutorials in Photoshop”. There are a wide variety of techniques and levels of difficulty in these! Give some a try!

PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUE

PictureCorrect.com has great tutorials on many subjects. This one is “How to Blur Water in Landscape Photos: Essential Tips”.

NEW FROM DEAL JUMBO

The folks at DealJumbo have put together a great deal on 20 premium Photoshop Actions – the “Amazing Artistic Photo Effects” bundle! You get 20 Photoshop Actions (For CS3 through CC); 5 PSD templates; and extended licensing. They also supply help files and tutorials! Reg. $250, now just $24! Act fast – this deal ends in 4 DAYS! CLICK HERE to grab your copy!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

In the Sunday Sampler I posted a new product from the guys at LayerCake!

Meredith Images and Layercake teamed up to introduce you to the New! Photoshop Grafix Brushes. All FUN – No Mess!

The Grafix brushes load your photo into the custom brush. You can create unlimited photo designs. Works great for all types of photos. You can use the brushes as a clever framing effect or for photo edges. Also great for creating unique greeting card designs.

Over 700 custom brushes which have been carefully organized for you. Concise movie tutorial included!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT!

Grab this huge package of 700 brushes (includes 10 sets) – Reg. $190; on sale for just $47!

Or get the Brush Set PLUS 50 LR & PS presets PLUS 200 textures for just $10 more = $57 (save 80%)!