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!

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!

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!

Tutorial Thursday + Topaz Update Aug. 29

This Blueberry Bush Bud was taken in my yard this past Spring. It was a grey day with blah skies, but I love the shape of the bud. So…of course I used textures to turn into my own “work of art”!

Here is the original RAW image:

Besides the grey skies, there were other branches and twigs in the background, so I selected the branch with the bud, deleted the background, and saved the file as a PNG to retain the transparent background. I also flipped the image horizontally.

I added a new layer beneath the branch layer and filled the layer with white. Make your foreground/background color picker the black and white default – hit the letter “D” on your keyboard. To make the white the foreground, click the letter “X” to switch. ALT + backspace will fill the layer with white. (Option + Delete on a Mac)I added a new layer beneath the branch layer and filled the layer with white.

Next, I selected the white layer to make it the active layer. I brought in the first texture – “Floral Bokeh 3”. I changed the blending mode to Darker Color and Opacity 78%. This added the texture behind the Bud. And by having the white layer underneath, I was able to lower the opacity of the texture without it becoming transparent.

Next I added the “Floral Bokeh 1” texture over the 1st texture. I decided to flip this texture horizontally so that the wave of color in the texture matched the angle of the Bud. Blending Mode = Darken; Opacity 74%

I then selected the Bud layer to make it active, and added three more textures over the whole image.

“Rusted Impression” – Blending Mode = Soft Light; Opacity 86%
“Flower Pot Texture 2” – Blending Mode = Soft Light; Opacity 86%
“Texture Effects Border” – Blending Mode = Multiple; Opacity 65%

And that’s my finished image!

The bokeh images I photographed at a rose garden on a breezy day. It was often too windy to get sharp images of the flowers, so I put on the extension tubes and went for total blur! When life throws you lemons…. !

Studio 2 was updated again last night to Version 2.0.11. Among some fixes, we can now access Adjust AI, DeNoise AI & Sharpen AI from within the program.

GIGAPIXEL SALE EXPIRES 8/30!

Topaz has released an update to Gigapixel AI – new Facial Recognition. I tested it out (I don’t really do portrait work) and it did a good job of reducing noise and sharpening both the image and the faces without adding weird artifacts.

My original image was sized to 4″ x 6″ to post on social media. I enlarged it 4x the size in Gigapixel AI.

ORIGINAL

Here is a close up of them side-by-side:

If you already own Gigapixel AI, the upgrade is free. If you’d like to purchase, it is on sale through August 30th. Regular $99.99, on sale for $79.99. AND if you use my affiliate link and the code MeredithImages at checkout, you can save an additional 15%, making the cost just $67.99! CLICK HERE to grab this deal!

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%)!

Tutorial Thursday + Topaz Update

Welcome to the first Thursday edition of my blog! This week I’m going to show you the process I used in Topaz Studio 2 to create this TN barn image.

Here is my original image – I did basic corrections in Lightroom:

The little bit of sky showing was kind of blah, so I replaced it with some clouds. I didn’t get too fussy about it as I knew I would be applying textures later on. I duplicated the background layer (turn off visibility of the bottom layer), then I used the Magic Wand tool to select the sky and expanded the selection by 2 pixels (Select > Modify > Expand). Once selected, hit the delete key to delete the old sky.

I then brought in my cloud image – this one happened to be taken on the same day! I opened the cloud image as you would a texture, then moved the cloud layer between the two barn layers and positioned like this:

My next step was to bring the image into Topaz Studio 2 to add a preset and some textures. First, I need to have both the sky and the barn on the same layer for Studio to “see” it all. I created a merged layer by the keyboard shortcut Control+Alt+Shift+E. This keeps the layers you already have, but gives you a merged layer above them.

In Studio 2, I used the preset Peeling Paint (one of my favorites!). This is the image after that preset:

With the way that the preset darkened the upper right where the clouds are, I probably could have not bothered replacing the sky!

Next I added two Meredith Images textures (included in Studio 2) to the image. Select the Category > Meredith Images to narrow down the texture selection. First I applied Frosted Almond, changing the blending mode to Soft Light and the opacity to 50%.

Next I applied Meredith Images Russet – blending mode Overlay and opacity 40%.

There are some white specular highlights on some of the blades of grass – I just used the healing tool in Photoshop to fix those.

And that’s our final image!

So, don’t be afraid to try different presets and then modify them further with additional textures or other filters! Have fun!

Topaz has released an update to Gigapixel AI – new Facial Recognition. I tested it out (I don’t really do portrait work) and it did a good job of reducing noise and sharpening both the image and the faces without adding weird artifacts.

My original image was sized to 4″ x 6″ to post on social media. I enlarged it 4x the size in Gigapixel AI.

ORIGINAL

Here is a close up of them side-by-side:

If you already own Gigapixel AI, the upgrade is free. If you’d like to purchase, it is on sale through August 30th. Regular $99.99, on sale for $79.99. AND if you use my affiliate link and the code MeredithImages at checkout, you can save an additional 15%, making the cost just $67.99! CLICK HERE to grab this deal!

Around the Web this Week

As mentioned in the Sunday Sampler, I’m going to be coming to your inbox a little more often (but not TOO often!). This is the first week of the new format and Tuesdays will feature items I found Around the Web – freebies, tutorials, sales and other helpful info.

FREE PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES

From WebDesignDev.com, a roundup of 20+ Free High Quality Photoshop Brushes Packs.

MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY TUTORIALS

LightStalking.com has 13 Extremely Useful Tutorials On Macro Photography.

PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES

Another cool resource from WebDesignDev.com, 350+ Free Handwriting Brushes for Photoshop. I love using writing in my composite designs. There are a ton of great resource links in this article.

SKY OVERLAYS

And over on MediaLoot.com, there is an article listing a bunch of resources for 16 Free Sky Overlays to Make Skies Pop. Sky overlays are great for those images taken with a dull grey sky, or to help add some color and “pop” to an ordinary sky.

REMOVE GLARE FROM GLASSES

Colin Smith over on Photoshop Cafe has a great tutorial on removing glare from glasses in a portrait! Check it out HERE on his YouTube Channel.

NEW PIXELO BUNDLE

My friends at Pixelo have a cool bundle for those of you who like to do scrapbooking, card making, graphic design, etc. The Gigantic Vector Graphics Bundle contains 9229 unique vectors for just $29.

Included:

  • 30 vector illustration sets with 287 unique elements;
  • 10 flat-lay vector clipart sets with 250 unique elements;
  • 8 watercolor vector clipart set with 85 unique elements;
  • 2 top notch t-shirt design sets with 151 designs;
  • 150 summer vector illustrations;
  • 9 vector mascot creation kits with 721 vectors;
  • 6 calligraphic ornaments & page decoration sets with 345 vectors;
  • 45 vector elements set with 7240 unique vectors;
  • Commercial License, check out more about the ;
  • Unlimited and quick response

CHECK OUT THIS BUNDLE HERE!

June 9 – Sunday Sampler

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

Sunday Sampler header

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

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

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

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

And the final image:

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

Survey – New Logo Design!

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

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

NUMBER 1

NUMBER 2

NUMBER 3

NUMBER 4

NUMBER 5

NUMBER 6

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

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week!

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.