Friday, December 28, 2012

Making Fancy Paper With Photoshop CSS

Have you ever received (or sent) an end of the year recap to friends and relatives?  We get several each year.  Some from folks we like to keep up with and others from people who we'd just as soon not keep up with, but we get it anyway.  You probably know the type.  You casually know the adults, but they detail the goings on of each child (who you've never met) and every time they've stepped out the door to either go on vacation or to the grocery store.  Many come snail mail and a few are now arriving in our inboxes.  In most cases they look pretty drab, setting the mood for what's to come.  The other evening I watched the +NAPP NAPP NAPP-A-Thon and saw +Scott Kelby  (the head Photoshop Guy) do a neat trick using Adobe Photoshop CS6's new Iris Blur filter.  He used it to produce some Bokeh that could be used as a background in a composited image.  It got me to thinking about where else someone could use the technique and today's image is one of the things I came up with.  To find out where the the background comes from and my take on Mr. Kelby's method of producing it, hit the "Read More".

The typical EOY missive we get has a picture or two along with the tales of what went on during the year.  The background for today's images comes from the "picture" included on the page.  I figured it went from graffiti to sort of a holiday feel and you certainly can't tell one came from the other.  Blurred backgrounds can be made from just about any image you have on your hard drive.  It just depends on what type of background you're looking for.   Kelby takes it one (or two) steps further and comes up with some very cool effects.

Okay, here's how easy it is to do the basic switch from a sharp image to a blurred background.  Open the image you're going to use.  Do an ALT/Double click on the strip in the Layers Panel.  That'll unlock the Background Layer and make it a "normal" Layer.  Go to Filter/Blur/Iris Blur.  Make the targeted area very small.  (Pull in the dots along the outside ring.)  Now (and here's the trick) move the targeted area (Click and drag the center dot) off the image.  The rest is just playing.  The dialog box that comes up with the new CS6 Blur Tools has a couple of sliders.  Bring up the Blur Slider.  Bring up the Light Bokeh and the Bokeh Color.  Play with the Light Range Sliders. When you get something you like, stop.  That's it. 
Looking at today's image, one thing I might do  (if I were actually going to send out a communiqué ) is put a New Layer under the blurred background and fill it with white.  Then I'd play with the Blend Modes or lower the Opacity to make the background a little more subtle. 
Like I said, Kelby took it another couple steps and I'd recommend you go checkout the NAPP-A-Thon show.  If you're not a NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) member, you should be.  I know my yearly membership fee more than pays for itself in the discounts they offer.  IN fact. a couple years ago I saved enough in one shot to have paid for that year's membership.  I ordered a 105" paper backdrop roll from B&H Photo and the shipping would have been just about the price of the membership fee.  Because I was a NAPP member, the shipping was free.

I hope everyone has a great 2013, even if you got (or sent) a yearly recap newsletter. ;-)