Let's take a rather blah image and spike it up a little. The inspiration for today's image comes from the work of Mike Calascibetta, an extremely talent photographer/Photoshop wizard from Burbank California. You can see a small sampling of his fine art photography here. Mike does a lot of flowers and they are true works of art. It appears Mike puts Layers and Layers over a base image and adds pops of color to create really interesting images. Today's image takes several Layers and plays with Blend Modes and big fuzzy brushes to make things more interesting. One of the attributes of Mike's work is the use of pastel colors. In his work it adds such depth that you can literarily look into his images and sees things in your imagination. Really outstanding stuff. In today's image there is only two different images. Two separate Layers with the flower and one with a smoke pattern from burning incense. To find out what became of the second flower Layer and how the smoke was used, hit the "Read More".
Friday, January 20, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Okay, anybody wanna guess what the elements in this image started out as? Would you believe (great, now I'm sounding like Maxwell Smart) a Tiger Lily, a glass of water with ice and the bare branches of a bush. Add in a couple of black Layers with a Fibers Filter (Filters/Render/Fibers) and a Clouds Filter (Filters/Render/Clouds). And, before I forget, one more black Layer with a Lens Flare Filter (Filters/Render/Lens Flare) to create the sun. Stir in a couple Blend Mode changes and you have today's image. Any resemblance to what the pieces started out as is pretty much a coincidence. Shows what can happen when you have too much time on your hands. I sort of like the way it came out. If you're interested in learning how it was done, hit the "Read More".
Monday, January 16, 2012
Today's image was processed using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Beta. All I have to say is: what an upgrade. The jump from version 2 to version 3 was big, but this is huge. What anyone thought about the way the sliders worked (in just about all panels) in LR3 is about to be blown away by the functionality of LR4. Instead of Recovery and Fill Light, we have Highlight and Shadow. It's more than just a name change. Where Recovery worked if you pushed it far enough, Highlight gives some fine control over what's going on in the highlights without affecting the mid-tones and shadows. Same thing with the Shadows Slider. Where Fill Light opened the shadows, but also brightened the overall image, Shadows opens the darkest areas (that have detail) and doesn't mess with anything higher. Today's image was sort of a test bed for both of these functions. The "lighting" on today's image is a flashlight. A friend and I were over at the Danbury Railway Museum experimenting with some "light painting". Playing with flashlights to act as a light source is imprecise at best. There's a lot of trial and error involved and having the light fill in all the nooks and crannies is a trick at best. So, what you end up with works right into LR4 Beta's lighting adjustments. There's a lot I like about LR4 and, being a Beta, a couple of things that still need work. To take a look at my thoughts, hit the "Read More".
Monday, January 9, 2012
I've done posts on panoramas and I've done posts on compositing and I've done posts on flipping back and forth from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 to Adobe Photoshop CS5, so I figured I'd do one combining all three. I thought the park scene had possibilities when I was flipping through LR3 this morning and decided to do the pano. CS5 makes it so easy and it's so forgiving that you can practically put the camera on a very short interval timer sequence, click the shutter and throw the camera in the air and still be able to come up with a pretty good pano. The days of needing to be on a tripod (doing daylight panos), with a lens null point mount, in manual exposure, with manual focus are over. Photoshop CS5 stitches, aligns, blends and spits out a 99.99% correct panorama, 100% of the time. About the only thing the photographer needs to do is overlap one frame to the next. Come to think of it, in the toss it up in the air scenario, you could probably do the same setup multiple times and get enough shots so CS5 would be able to sort them all out and build one coherent image. I'll put that on my "todo" list and report back. To find out more about today's image, hit the "Read More".
Friday, January 6, 2012
Click on today's image, check it out in its larger size. Look at the wisps of hair on his chin and the back of his head. If that "ain't" good enough for you, you can stop reading now. Adobe Photoshop CS5's Quick Selection Tool (W) and Refine Edge make it a piece of cake to take a piece of an image out of one shot and drop it in another shot. If you're a frequent reader of the Gallery you might recognize the guy in the image for the December 19, 2011 post. Same guy, same frame. Just took him out of his original shot (of the 19th) and put him in a new location. One thing that made the move easier was the fact that we were going from his head being surrounded by a contrasty background and being put on an equally contrasty background. Had I tried to put him in a scene with a nice blue sky with fluffy clouds it may have been a different story and this post might have included weeping and gnashing of teeth. Several friends have cried on my shoulder about how hard it is to get a good extraction out of any image that wasn't shot on a single color background. It could be a white or gray background (black and green backgrounds have their own set of problems). Today's image is an example of taking a person out of a complex background and moving said person to another complex background. The edge is "good enough", but not perfect. It doesn't have to be. It has to be "good enough" to get the job done. To find out how good is good enough, hit the "Read More".
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
An interesting search brought someone to the blog the other day from Cape Town, South Africa. The entire query was "how do I stop ACR opening my images in CS5 as smart object?" This is the second time in the past few weeks someone was asking about how to NOT do something in Adobe Photoshop CS5. The last one dovetails with today's question and the post of November 21, 2011 was titled "Wednesday Q&A - Getting Rid Of SmartObjects". It's interesting that folks want to not use this extremely helpful piece of Photoshop wizardry. Smart Objects are incredibly useful and there have been several posts dealing with them here at the Gallery. Back in July of last year I did a two part "Wednesday Q&A" (Part 1) (Part 2) about just why Smart Objects are so great. I use Smart Objects every day and can't imagine (anymore) working without them. Just the other day, while preparing the image of the motocross rider coming through a curve, Smart Objects saved a great deal of time for me. I'd gone through several steps, used Convert To Smart Object (select all the Layers you want to make a Smart Object, right click on any Layer and pick Convert To Smart Object) several times and then noticed a mistake I'd made back two or three nested Smart Objects ago. Had I used the older CTRL/ALT/Shift/E to make a composite on the top of the Layer Stack I would have been in big trouble when I saw my mistake. The only thing I would have been able to do would have been to scrap the Composite Layer and everything above it. That would have trashed a considerable amount of work. By using Smart Objects I was able to cycle back through the Smart Objects to the point of the problem, fix the problem and then Save and Close my way back to the point I had been at when I noticed my error. A two minute fix rather than a half hour rebuilding what had already been done. But, let's get to today's question. To learn the simple answer, hit the "Read More".
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I titled today's image "A Bicycle Built For Five". It's sort of an optical illusion. There are five riders on five bikes, but only six wheels total. In taking the series of shots, using high speed continuous, the rider managed to move one bicycle length (approximately) between each opening of the shutter. We could make a reasonable estimate of the distance between the front and back wheel. We can pick up the shutter speed from the Metadata associated with the frames in the sequence. We could actually make a high school level physics problem out of calculating the speed the cyclist was traveling. How about that. Photography really can be used for more than just making pretty pictures. When I started playing with today's image it was just a simple case of plunking an image down, creating a Layer Mask (the Add Layer Mask at the bottom of the Layers Panel) and painting (on the Layer Mask) with black to reveal the underlying Layer. No problem. As I went along I noticed that the handle bars of one bike sat just behind the seat of the bike in front of it. The Layers were aligned using the background elements, so all images are really in relation to one another. The background elements didn't move, so it was fairly easy to get every frame in register. To find out how that was done and why I used the Lasso Tool (L) in making this composite, hit the "Read More".