Friday, March 7, 2014

Adding Details In Photoshop

I don't know why, but a lot of posts sort of start out with "I was talking to a friend..." lately.  Guess I must have more friends than I thought.  Well, I was talking to a friend the other day and showed him the deconstructed restoration of the baseball umpire from the 1880's (?).  At first he was suitably impressed by the work, but then said "wait a minute, there's detail in the "fixed" image that isn't available in the "original".  You can't add detail if it's not there to start with".  I sort of cocked my head, dropped my chin to look over the rim of my glasses and came back with "of course you can".  Where's nothing added to today's image that wasn't there to start, but you can see the detail a lot better by emphasizing it.  Today's image actually has two very separate techniques applied.  Since she was portraying an Anime character she was wearing very little makeup.  Since I was giving my spin to the image, I did her makeup for her.  I didn't want to turn her into something from Ringling Brothers, but thought some nice subtle makeup might be nice.  The other technique was something I saw Scott Kelby do.  Kind of a Dodging and Burning using Curves Adjustment Layers.  The interesting thing about this method of Dodging and Burning is that you use the color information already in the image.  This would be unlike using the technique of using a 50% gray Layer, changing the Layer Blend Mode to Overlay and painting White or Black to get highlights and shadows.  To find out a little about both techniques used on today's image, hit the "Read More".

Read more!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lightroom and Layers and Masks, Oh My

If you're a frequent reader of The Kayview Gallery you know I typically have a problem with HDR'd skies.  Seems no matter how "realistic" you make an HDR scenic image the skies still come out unnatural. In today's image I sort of took the long way around to get to the finished image.  It went from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR) to Adobe Photoshop (PS), back to LR for tone mapping, and once again to PS to replace the HDR sky and back to LR for storage.  There's two reasons for the trips over to PS.  The first was to create the HDR image.  The second was to replace the sky.  Other than that, everything was done in LR.  I tried going to Nik's HDR Efex Pro, but didn't like the result.  (I know, Blasphemy.) Sometimes the HDR Pro that comes with PS is more than "good enough".  Sometimes it gives a better representation of what I'm looking for as a starting point.  There's a couple things that were done that are a little "out of the ordinary".  To find out what those things are, hit the "Read More".

Read more!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Twenty First Century Use Of The Pen Tool

I was talking to a friend the other day and he said he was getting into using the Pen Tool (P) in Adobe Photoshop (PS).  I must have had a quizzical expression on my face, because he said "What!".  I told him I didn't think anyone, who didn't already know how to use the Pen Tool (P), had bothered to learn how to use the it in this century.  I asked him to give me a little demonstration of how he was using the tool.  He's been known to develop his own hard way to do some simple things in PS.  Just in case you've come to PS during this century, let me give a short explanation on using the Pen Tool (P) in PS.  You place a dot to start.  Place another dot somewhere else on your blank page.  You'll see two handles come out from the second point.  You can pull them, stretch them, spin 'em around in circles or let them sit.  Put a third dot on your document and another two handles appear.  Pull one, twist one, do something to one of the handles.  You'll see that the straight line between point two and point three deforms depending on how you move the handle.  The line between point  one and point two remains fixed.  (As long as you didn't move the handles.)  What's happening between points two and three is called a Bezier Curve.  Back in the day (probably around PS 5 (not CS5 - just plain PS 5) it was essential that you learn to use the Pen Tool (P) to make a Selection.  Today there is a large variety of methods to make Selections.  The Pen Tool (P) is almost dead.  The Quick Selection Tool (W) with its Refine Edge feature just about eliminates the need for the Pen Tool (P) or reduces its functionality to touching up hard lines.  The way my friend was using it is another one of his "let's make something harder than it should be" tricks.  His method consisted of laying out a point, cutting off the leading handle and making his next point.  There is a valid reason for cutting off the leading handle, but it's to be able to make hard point turns (i.e. a 90 degree turn) in the direction you're plotting, not just going to the next point on a curve.  Basically what he's done is find the hardest way imaginable to use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L).  I used the Pen Tool (P) on today's image, but only for experimentational reasons.  To find out what I found and how I used the Pen Tool (P), hit the "Read More".

Read more!