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!

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!

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. 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. 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! 

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. 

Dec. 2 – Sunday Sampler

For me, December is the beginning of the Holiday season (I’ll be decorating today). I like to wait until December for our Christmas decorations. Happy Hannukkah to those celebrating. Wishing you a joyous season whichever holiday to celebrate!

This week’s Sunday Sampler takes a palm frond from our visit during Thanksgiving Week to the Buffalo & Erie Botanical Garden, and works it several ways in Topaz Studio (using ReMix and Texture Effects). This beautiful greenhouse was designed to replicate the one at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. It’s great to wander from room to room and see the different styles of gardens and flowers

Another great site for some FREE brushes is BrushLovers.com. Click HERE to get some great bokeh brushes. Then scroll down and start searching for TONS more! They also have tabs at the top for textures, styles, patterns and vector art. As always, be sure to check the Terms of Use if you plan to use in commercial works.

If you are into mobile photography, there is a great site for reviews of software, tutorials, and more – theAppWhisperer.com. A great resource!

Heath has been busy editing webinars, and with the exception of John Barclay’s double session last week, all the rest are now posted on their site. Click here to learn some great info from all the Topaz presenters!

Last Call…Black Friday Deals!

Today is the last day to get in on Early Bird Registration for the May 18-19, 2019 Creative Photography Conference! Save $61 when you register by midnight tonight (EST). 

Held at the beautiful Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center in Southbridge, MA. Two days of creativity including: Creative photography techniques – landscapes & multiple exposures; Post-Processing (PS, LR, Topaz, Textures); iPhoneography/Apps; Lens Babies, hands-on photo ops, and much more!

Our Creative Speaker Lineup:
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”

And new in 2019!

Pre-Conference Hands-On Workshops

$69 (max. 24 people in each class)
Work along with our Pros!
Choice of “Creative Editing with Topaz” or “Creativity with Textures”
Bring your laptop (or follow along if you wish). Friday 1:00-4:30 pm
(You must be registered for the Creative Photography Conference to attend pre-conference workshops)

AND…There will be a Dinner Buffet available in the Visions Restaurant
both Friday and Saturday nights (similar to lunch with different entrees).
No waiting for food in a restaurant!
Relax, chat and socialize with friends and our speakers! $20 per person

We also have a block of rooms reserved at $139 (+ tax) per night. This year, the Brimfield Antiques weekend is the same time as our Conference, so this price is way below what the going rates will be. Don’t wait to book your room. Call 1-508-765-8000 and tell them you’re with the Meredith Images group.

REGISTER AT:  https://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/

Also expiring at midnight…

Pre-Order special on my 2nd eBook, “Working with Textures & Overlays: Turn Ho-Hum into a Work of Art, Book 2”.

A continuation of Book 1 with even more projects, textures, brushes and much more! Learn some advanced techniques on compositing images as well as applying textures. 

Will retail for $25 – pre-order special just $15 for electronic, $20 with shipping for the CD. 

Grab your copy in the Peacock Studio HERE!

And, you can also get 25% off of Book 1 and all texture sets through midnight with the coupon code HOLIDAY2018. Click HERE!

Sales Extended thru Sunday!

I know it’s not Sunday, but I wanted to share some timely news!

The Early Bird Registration for the 3rd Creative Photography Conference and the pre-order and sales on my eBooks and textures were scheduled to end tonight.

Well…tomorrow is Dave’s birthday (Happy Birthday Dear!), and he wanted to give a gift to our followers and extend all deals until midnight Sunday! This will be it, so don’t miss your chance for some great savings!

Our 3rd Creative Photography Conference is filling up! We’ve had quite a few people take advantage of the chance to save $61 on their Registration! Just $289 until midnight Sunday, Dec. 2nd.  There will be no other discounts of registration, so don’t miss out! 

You can also sign up for the dinner buffet on Fri. and/or Sat. nights – no waiting in restaurants and you’ll get to spend more time with our speakers and other attendees. You can also choose one of the Friday afternoon pre-conference sessions with either John Barclay (Topaz) or me (textures). Just $69 to work along on your laptop with us.

Go to: https://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/ for all the details and to sign up!

WOW! The response has been amazing! Thank you to all who already pre-ordered my second eBook, “Working with Textures & Overlays: Turn Ho-Hum into a Work of Art, Book 2”! 

This pre-order special is also extended through midnight Sunday, Dec. 2nd. Regular price will be $25 – pre-order special just $15! And if you haven’t gotten the first eBook, you can save 25% with the code HOLIDAY2018 at checkout (reg. $20, on sale for $15). Available as either a CD (+$5 shipping) or as an electronic download. Either way you get all the same goodies – a PDF eBook, all the images, textures and brushes to follow along with the projects, plus some bonus textures and brushes! 

All texture sets are also 25% off with the code HOLIDAY2018 through Sunday. There are 3 new sets available, plus many others. You can also grab copies of my Topaz webinar notes for the past 2 webinars (stay tuned for the date for the next one!).

You can find all the eBooks, textures and notes in the Peacock Studio at: https://www.meredithimages.com/products/