June 16 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! Enjoy your day.

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of textures from Buffalo, NY! An old window that I did a Topaz technique on, plus some cool old brick and stucco walls. Enjoy!

Survey Results!

Thank you to all who voted on my new logo design. It was very close between two of them (the ones that were my choices too!).

And the winner is #6! While I really liked the script font of the other one too, I thought this one was more of a “casual” script and less frilly! The peacock feather ties in the logo with the Peacock Studio (no the peacock is not going away!).

I will begin using this soon – I’m creating a vector version – and will be using with the new website design as well. Thanks for your input!

UPCOMING EVENTS

This coming week I will be teaching at the Photographic Society of Chattanooga (“Alternative Visual Artistry: Topaz Plug-Ins & Textures”) on Thursday evening, and then also doing a half-day hands-on workshop on “Topaz” next Saturday, June 22nd. There are a couple spots available for the workshop if you’re in the area! You can sign up on my website HERE.

In July I will head to Michigan for the SWMCCC (Southwestern Michigan Council of Camera Clubs) Weekend of Photography & Digital Imaging. I will be doing two seminars: “HDR – the Natural Look” and “Creativity with Topaz & Textures”. It’s a very fun weekend with many speakers, sessions, hands-on photo-ops and more. Check it out at: SWMCCC.org

And speaking of the peacock, read Pete’s latest adventure “Tour of Buffalo”, on the blog, The Traveling Peacock. Sign up to get the latest posts! And follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Design Cuts has released another fabulous new font bundle – “The Eclectic Font Collection”. I had a chance to play around with it this week, and I created this word art with the beautiful script font included:

The bundle includes all of the following font families:

Available now for just $29! CLICK HERE to check out all the details!

AND…If you’re like me and just can’t get enough fonts, Pixelo also has a new bundle – “Fontastic Bundle” with 99 fonts for $29! CLICK HERE to check it all out!

There won’t be a Sunday Sampler next Sunday – I’ll catch up on Monday or Tuesday when I get back from Chattanooga! But…there may be another post this week on some other news…Stay tuned!

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!

Holiday Gift Idea!

Need a gift idea for that hard-to-buy-for photographer (or a treat for yourself)?

Meredith Images offers tutoring for individuals and small groups on Basic Photography; Photoshop Elements (beginner, intermediate or advanced); Creating Photographic Art with Textures; and HDR photography. Buy a single session or a package tailored to the photographer’s needs.

We also have two Photographic Workshops planned for 2014 – March 22-26 “Bird & Wildlife Photography in Florida” and May 14-18 “Western New York” (HDR; macro; landscape; animals; waterfalls). Details on workshops are available on our website (www.MeredithImages.com) or e-mail me atHazel@MeredithImages.com for more info.

2012 – A New BEGINNING!

Hi friends,

Happy New Year to you and yours. Wishing for a healthy and prosperous year for everyone.

Don’t forget to register for one of my Adult Ed classes. I am also available for private tutoring. E-mail me for details!

Enjoy! Hazel