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How to Create a Double Exposure Action in Adobe Photoshop via Psdtuts+

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Double exposure is a classic photographic technique whose popularity has skyrocketed. Thanks to current software, you don’t need to be a photographer to achieve spectacular and creative double exposure effects.

There are many methods to make this effect using Adobe Photoshop. I will show you a simple way which can be recorded by creating an action for multiple uses without repeating the same process every time.

The Easy Way

If you want to create double exposure effects in a single click and you do not have time or do not want to create your own actions, you may be interested in this double exposure action from my portfolio on GraphicRiver. With it, you can add an awesome double exposure effect to your own image in just a few seconds.

Double_Exposure_Action_Banner1

1. Gather Your Resources

Step 1

To make this action we need two pictures, one base image and another one that will be overlaid. For the main image, we will use the following picture by Léa Dubedout which you can find at Unsplash.

You can use any photo, but for an optimal result, it is preferable that the image has a light and neutral background. Therefore, backlit images work very well for double exposure.

Double_Exposure_Action_Background

Step 2

For the fill image, we can use any kind of picture, such as natural landscapes, skylines, abstract shapes, patterns, etc. In our case, we are going to use this photo of a New York City street by Life of Pix, which you can find on Pixabay.

Double_Exposure_Action_Fill_Image

Step 3

Place the New York picture above the main image; for our action, the names of the layers don’t matter. To place the New York image in the right place, we can change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

Double_Exposure_Action_Placing

2. How to Record an Action in Photoshop

Once our images are placed, we are ready to start recording our action.

Step 1

Open the Actions panel using Window > Actions (Alt-F9) and click the “Create new action” button at the bottom of the panel. Name the action as you wish, for instance: "Double Exposure". Immediately, we will start recording the action, so do not do anything you do not want to be recorded in your action.

Double_Exposure_Action_New_Action

Step 2

First of all, we change the Blend Mode to Screen and add a mask to the layer by pressing the Add layer mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel. Later, we will use this mask for final touches.

Double_Exposure_Action_Layer1

Step 3

Secondly, create a copy of the current layer using Layer > Duplicate Layer (Control-J). For this new layer we change the Blend Mode to Normal; select its mask and reverse (Control-I).

Double_Exposure_Action_Layer2

Step 4

Now we are going to add more brightness and contrast to our image. Therefore, go to Image > Adjustments > Levels (Control-L) and type the following values: 8 for shadows, 1.15 for midtones, and 197 for highlights. Click the OK button to apply.

Double_Exposure_Action_Levels

Step 5

To add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and raise the contrast to 100.

Double_Exposure_Action_Contrast

Step 6

Finally, we already have our action finished. Hence, in the Actions panel, hit the Stop button to stop the recording.

Double_Exposure_Action_Stop

3. Add the Final Touches

After applying our new action to one of our images, we may want to reveal parts of our background image, which were covered by the fill image. To facilitate this, previously we left aside the aforementioned prepared masks.

Step 1

Firstly, select the mask of our fill image layer and the Brush Tool (B) (black color), and then select the proper size for your image. Finally, paint on the mask to erase any areas from the fill image.

Double_Exposure_Action_Painting_Layer1

Step 2

If what we need is to reveal more areas from the fill image, select the mask that we inverted and paint with the Brush Tool (B) in white.

You’re Done!

Now that you have your own double exposure action, you can easily create stunning images in seconds.

I hope that you’ve learned something useful for your future projects.

Double_Exposure_Action_Example

Repeating this effect manually every time can be very time-consuming and boring. If you are looking for a quicker way to create a double exposure effect using Photoshop, then check out my Double Exposure Action from my portfolio on GraphicRiver.

Double_Exposure_Action_Banner2

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5 Advanced Techniques to Show Every Detail in Your Landscape Photos via Fstoppers

So how do you make that mountain appear as large to the viewer as it does to you? How do you get rid of noise in your nightscape images? And how can you get everything in perfect focus, front to back? This might as well be titled “5 Things you can’t do in one shot,” since each technique in this essay relies heavily on layering multiple exposures of a given landscape scene. I’ll show you the techniques I often use to translate my vision to the image. Let’s go.

1. Perfect Focus Through Focus Stacking

Kicking things off is a technique that originated in macro photography to capture a sharp subject and still have that creamy background. But what if you wanted to also capture a sharp background? That’s where we shift our attention to landscape photography. With focus stacking, you’ll need to fix everything in place throughout multiple exposures. Making sure you’re using a solid tripod and shoot with a cable release takes care of the physical movement of the camera. For the best results every setting on the camera should also be exactly the same: White balance (fixable in post when shooting raw), shutter speed, ISO and aperture.

The one difference is the focus distance. Start by adjusting focus to the closest object in the scene and wait for the wind to die down for a bit. Hit the cable release and adjust to focus a little further into the scene. Repeat this process until you’ve reached infinity.

Note that you will need more exposures at shorter distance intervals when you use a larger aperture like f/5.6 and less at smaller apertures like f/11.

These are the raw files that have been used, with the green outlines showing you the parts that made it into the final image below.

Can we do without?

Sure you can. Dial in f/22 on your wide angle, set it to its hyperfocal distance and everything should be tack sharp. Right?

Well, it’s not that straightforward. Closing up the aperture has some nasty side effects. For starters, you will let less light in. At the same ISO, this will lengthen the exposure time (shutter speed). Even with the slightest breeze, delicate foreground elements like flowers, grass and ferns will for sure sway and actually make the foreground look less sharp than say f/7.1.

Ever heard of the sweet spot of the lens? That’s the aperture at which your lens produces the least amount of aberrations while keeping diffraction to a minimum; usually one to two stops down from wide open. At f/22 though, diffraction plays a detrimental role in the sharpness of your image.

Why is this useful?

As focus stacking will be very useful at your lens’ sweet spot, even the cheapest lens will appear to shoot razor sharp images, rivaling the single shots of the pricey contenders at smaller apertures. But because diffraction is a physical property attributed to the way light hits the sensor, even the sharpest lenses out there will not be as sharp at their minimum apertures.

2. Everything Exposed As Seen with the Human Eye with HDR

A more familiar exposure blending technique is of course high dynamic range imagery. Whether you run Photomatix, HDR Expose, or use Lightroom to blend your images together, I’m sure you’ve heard of expanding the dynamic range of your images.

Most often, the idea is that you capture a series of exposures where every setting on the camera is the same, save for the shutter speed. This theoretically makes it possible to properly expose the highlights as well as the shadows in the harshest contrasts. It’s where the name of high dynamic range imagery finds its origin: If one photo doesn’t contain all the information of either shadows or highlights, the dynamic range of the device it’s captured with, isn’t enough for the scene you try to photograph.

In practice, just about every photographer has his or her own approach to expanding the dynamic range of a given camera. There’s the dedicated software I mentioned earlier, but there are photographers, including myself that do it all by hand. The trick is to make a selection of an exposure, based on that exposure’s luminosity. You then mask out the over- and underexposed areas to reveal the better exposures for those areas.

It’s a time consuming process, but with enough practice, your images start to feel more natural than when a computer decides how the blend will end up looking. And all without those unsightly haloes of automated tone mapping.

Can we do without?

There was a time in the late 2000’s when HDR photos were all the buzz. Everyone wanted over-the-top processed images for that grungy feel and these images won prizes and popularity contests. However, you can create more natural looking results with the same techniques, or images that are just as grungy with one shot. But style changes. In most cases, modern cameras (especially those fitted with a full-frame sensor) don’t even need the expanded range of multiple exposures to take it all in.

We can as well shoot silhouettes. Especially against a bright red setting sun, there’s nothing wrong with pure blacks in a given photograph. Lower dynamic range images can actually look more graphic and expressive as a result.

But don’t forget that we can’t actually look directly into the sun. Overexposed images where the highlights are clipped, can only work well if you can’t discern any detail with your own eyes.

Pro tip: Keep the sun the brightest part of the image and your reflections darker than what they are reflecting to achieve natural looking HDRs; whether you automate the blending or use luminosity masks.

Why is this useful?

Personally, I only use multiple shutter speeds when the sun is out and overexposes a large area of the sky. In this example though, the sun only pierced through a small hole in a heavy bank of clouds in the distance, shining directly on a snow-capped mountain. If I had exposed for those highlights, my foreground would be very dark. Brightening that foreground would have introduced noise in the shadows, and that’s something I don’t want in my work. Speaking of which…

Opportunity by Daniel Laan via 500px

3. No Noise in Your Nightscapes by Stacking Them

No, we’re not discussing focus stacking again. This is entirely different. The technique only works when every parameter is the same: Camera settings, focal length; the whole enchilada. Even the temperature of the camera should be the same for the best results. Stacking works by calculating a difference between two or more images and comes directly from the field of astrophotography. Of course there isn’t just one method out there. That would make things easy…

The easiest method is averaging. After aligning the stars or foreground, depending on where you want your noise reduced, you could set the bottom layer to 100% opacity. The next would be set to 50%, the third to 33% and the fourth to 25%. So that’s 100 divided by your layer number, rounded to whole numbers.

There’s also the Kappa-Sigma Clipping method, the Median method, and a couple of methods that use more complex algorithms, but they all work to achieve the best result of a given set of images.

Here are the raw files that have been used and the parts that made it into the final image below.

Can we do without?

During the day, yes. I’ve tested noise reduction methods before in this comparison on Fstoppers, including two methods for stacking images. But there’s simply no alternative to the results of stacking if you’re an avid night photographer. As you are increasing the signal-to-noise ratio with each subsequent image you add to the stack, you can extract more detail from highly diffuse areas of an image. Say for example the Milky Way or our neighboring Andromeda galaxy. That’s different from how noise reduction works in Lightroom or Noise Ninja, as they get rid of the smallest pixels, based on what’s in the area around them.

Can’t we just extend the shutter speed to a couple of minutes instead? Well, the Earth is rotating, so your stars will appear to trail. Also, a longer shutter speed will warm the electronics of your camera more. That results in a different kind of noise known as thermal noise, which is even more difficult to correct.

Why is this useful?

Less noisy images have the ability to tell more compelling stories. And less noise also means that you can print larger before random noise becomes an eyesore.

4. Large Backgrounds Through Focal Length Blending

When you venture off into the wilderness (or go to Iceland), it’s the sheer majesty you want to capture. Sprawling foregrounds and epic mountains. It’s the scale of a given landscape that we all would like to tell everyone about.

This technique is best used with a single zoom lens such as the fabled Nikon 14-24 mm. I use the slightly sharper (and cheaper) Tamron 15-30 mm for this.

  • First, you shoot at the lens’ widest focal length for the foreground. Expose as you wish.
  • Then shoot for the most distant subject, and let it fill the frame by zooming in. Think of where you want to blend the fore- and background before you do and make sure there’s enough overlap to accommodate this.
  • Shoot an extra shot for the sky if you want. It’s an easier blend at the same focal length, but you can go crazy and shoot wide again. A lot of work in post though.
     

Can we do without?

That’s entirely up to you. I can imagine that this one is taking two steps too far for your taste. Our eyes aren’t cameras. The visual cortex of our brain builds up an image as we scan the landscape, piece by piece. This is just to show you that you can recreate the scene and capture its splendor in 2D.

Why is this useful?

It’s mostly beginners who have trouble with selecting the best part of the landscape. It’s the reason why I teach to use a longer lens. Call me a hypocrite, but I can’t choose either. I love that enormous foreground when I take an ultra-wide and move it close to the ground. But as soon as I do; gone is the giant mountain or glacier in the background.

5. Dramatic Mountains with Perspective Blending

Ever heard of the tilt-shift lens? That’s the perfect tool for the same results as before, at the same focal length. But don’t go spending money just yet, because you could even perform this next one with a single prime lens.

I brought up the tilt-shift, because large format photographers like “Uncle” Ansel would have been all too familiar with what I’m about to tell you. You wouldn’t want to do portraiture with an ultra-wide-angle lens because faces look stretched, right? That’s a good thing considering this technique. In perspective blending, we’re using the distortion at the edges of the frame to recreate large mountains, while still having a bit of sky above them.

Dave Morrow explains it beautifully in this video tutorial:

Can we do without?

With a tilt-shift, you could do this in one shot, but the resulting foreground would not be as wide. You could compensate by tilting the lens upward and shifting it down, but then the mountain looks smaller again.

Why is this useful?

Again, perspective blending is one of those techniques that uses multiple shots to capture a three-dimensional space in two dimensions. It’s useful because you can do this with a 14mm or 18mm prime, without busting the bank.

Bonus: Doing it All

When you’ve learned all of these advanced techniques individually, you can combine them to make spectacular images. Ryan Dyar and Ted Gore for example are adept at combining multiple exposures with stunning results.

Personally, I only take multiple shots when the results are more than worth the effort. There is this one instance in which I could not have shown you the same image, would I have exposed it just once.

Because the northern lights are a dynamic display (especially during active conditions or geomagnetic storms), it’s best not to drag the shutter speed. Longer shutter speeds than 10 seconds just smear out the structure of the aurora.

I did have the benefit of stormy conditions, so the foreground lit up nice and green. No need to go higher than ISO 3200. That cut the amount of shots to reduce noise in half, compared to the usual ISO 6400 before I learned that those ISO values should not be used.

So we’ve got an ISO of 3200 and a shutter speed of around 10 seconds. That calculated to an aperture of f/2.8: Wide open. It suddenly became quite the challenge to get the foreground sharp enough, so I focus stacked the foreground, while stacking the night sky to reduce noise, using the average method.

As for the perspective; I finally threw in a shot that was more zoomed in to make the snow-capped mountain in the distance appear as large as it did in the field.

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How to Create an Apocalypse Angel Photo Manipulation Scene With Adobe Photoshop via Psdtuts+

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create an apocalypse scene with a dark angel. You’ll learn how to create a decay/destruction scene by combining several stock images, make dark wings, create a sublime sword, adjust color, enhance the light/shadow, and more.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:

Some of the images are from 3D renders on Envato Elements and you’ll need to download specific angles:

Specific 3D angles

1. How to Build the Background

Step 1

Create a new 1500 x 1333 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:

new file

Step 2

Open the sky image. Drag this image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V) and place it in the upper half.

add sky

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and reduce the Saturation value to -62:

sky hue saturation

Step 4

Make a Curves adjustment layer and decrease the lightness.

sky curves

Step 5

Open the background image. Isolate the landscape with the dead trees only using the Magic Wand Tool (W) and place it in the lower half of the
canvas.

add background

Step 6

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and bring the Saturation value down to -95.

background hue saturation

Step 7

The trees look too obvious, so duplicate the sky layer and move it on top
of the other layers. Lower the Opacity of this layer to 50% and move it downward a bit.

create mist using sky

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to
this layer. Use a soft round brush with black color (soft black brush) to erase the top and leave the misty effect visible on the bottom half, covering the trees on the right.

mist masking

2. How to Make the Decayed Ground

Step 1

Cut out the scrap 1 from the background and add it to the lower half of the image.

add scrap 1

Step 2

Duplicate this layer and move it a bit to the right.

duplicate scrap 1

Add a mask to this layer and use a hard black brush to erase the lower area and leave the top middle visible only. The aim is to create a proper standing location for the angel in the next stages.

duplication masking

Step 3

To make a shadow for one of the iron sticks on the ground, create a new layer above the scrap layers. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to select
that stick and fill it with black (no need to be so precise).

select iron stick

Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to rotate it toward the right side (to fit the light source—the bright area in the sky) and lower its Opacity to 40%.

stick shadow

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 2 px to soften the shadow.

stick shadow gaussian blur

Step 4

Select all the scrap layers and hit Control-G to make a group for them. Change this group mode to Normal 100%. Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and bring the Saturation value down to -86.

scrap 1 hue saturation

Step 5

Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the lower part of the ground. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the upper part where it should be brighter.

scrap1 curves

Step 6

Open the scrap 2 image. Use the Lasso Tool to select the scrap only and place it over the ground. Use a layer mask to blend it with the existing
scrap area.

add scrap 2
scrap 2 masking

Step 7

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation value to -87:

scrap 2 hue saturation

Step 8

Use a Curves adjustment layer and decrease the lightness. Now it looks completely blended with the existing ground.

scrap 2 curves

Step 9

Open
the rubble 1 and 2 images. Drag the areas of rubble into the ground area using the Move Tool. Place one on the left and another on the right, remembering to position their bright side towards the light source.

add rubbles

Add a mask to each of these layers and use a soft black brush to soften their edges.

rubbles masking

Step 10

Make a group for the rubble layers and use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate them.

rubbles hue saturation

Step 11

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the rubble. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush with the Opacity about 30-35% to reduce the
effect on the left piece of rubble as it’s in the higher position and towards the light.

rubbles curves

3. How to Create the Ruined Buildings

Step 1

Open the building images. Use the Move Tool to place building 1 on the left side of the ground and building 2 on the right. Use Control-T to make them lean.

add buildings

 Use a layer mask to blend the buildings with the decayed ground.

buildings masking

Step 2

Make a group for the building layers and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Change the Saturation value to -69:

buildings hue saturation

Step 3

Isolate scrap 3 from the background and add it to the right building.

add scrap 3

Use a layer mask to remove the part outside the building and leave it visible mostly on the upper section.

scrap 3 masking

Step 4

Duplicate this layer and move it to the left. Flip it horizontally by choosing Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal, and make it smaller using Control-T.

duplicate scrap 3

Use a layer mask to blend the scrap with the building.

scrap 3 duplication masking

Step 5

Create a group for the scrap layers and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.

scrap 3 hue saturation

Step 6

Use a Curves adjustment layer to match the lightness of the scrap with the buildings.

scrap 3 curves

4. How to Add the Model

Step 1

Cut out the model from the background and place her in the top middle of the ground.

add model

Step 2

The bottom of the model does not really fit the ground. To fix this, go to
Edit > Puppet Warp and add points to the bottom to drag the foot and the tail of the dress upward a little.

model puppet warp

Step 3

Make a shadow for the model the same way as you did with the iron stick.

model shadow

Step 4

Make a new layer and use a hard brush with the color #be9b6a, the size about 2-3 px to paint more hair for the model.

paint model hair

Step 5

Make a group for the model and the hair ones. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation value to -78:

model hue saturation

Step 6

Create a Curves adjustment layer and increase the lightness. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the bright side (right) of the model. This step is to brighten the left and reduce the contrast on both sides.

model curves

5. How to Import the Wings

Step 1

Cut
out the right wing from the eagle image and place it on the right side of the model. Use Control-T with Warp mode to bend the wing, especially dragging down the bottom feathers to give it a dark feel. Place this layer under the model’s group.

add right wing

Step 2

Duplicate this layer and move it to the left after flipping it horizontally. Use Control-T to make it shorter and a bit higher to fit the model’s perspective.

add left wing

Step 3

Make a group for the wing layers and use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Bring the Saturation value down to -83:

wings hue saturation

Step 4

Create a Curves adjustment layer and increase the contrast of the wings.
Paint on the upper areas to keep them brighter than the lower ones.

wings curves

Step 5

Use another Curves adjustment layer to brighten the upper part to fit the light source. Paint on the lower part so it will not be affected by this adjustment layer.

wings curves 2

6. How to Make the Sublime Sword

Step 1

Cut out the sword with a curvy blade and add it to the darker arm of the model. Use Control-T to fix its perspective a bit. Use a layer mask to erase a part of the grip to make it look as if it’s in the model’s hand.

add sword
sword masking

Step 2

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and change the Saturation values:

sword hue saturation

Step 3

Create a Curves adjustment layer and reduce the lightness.

sword curves

Step 4

Make a new layer, and load the sword’s selection by holding Control and clicking its thumbnail layer. Fill this selection with the color #fd83df.

sword fill 1

Use a layer mask to soften the edges and change this layer mode to Overlay 100%.

sword fill 1 masking

Step 5

Double click this layer, and choose Outer Glow. Pick the color of glow to #fd83df. Name this layer "light 1".

sword fill 1 outer glow
fill 1 outer glow result

Step 6

Make a new layer under the light 1 one. Load the sword’s selection again
and expand the selection by going to Select > Modify > Expand. Set Expand By to 1 and then fill the selection with the color
#c2f1f2
. Activate Control-T with Warp mode to bend the sword a bit. Use a layer mask to make the effect visible very subtly on the lower part of the blade.

expand sword selection
sword fill 2
fill 2 bending
fill 2 masking

Step 7

Apply the Outer Glow effect and set the color of the glow to #f5bbe3.

fill 2 outer glow
fill 2 outer glow result

Step 8

Create a new layer under these two light layers. Use a soft brush with the color #fd83df and the Opacity and Flow about 10% to paint a subtle pink
glow around the middle of the sword. You can use a layer mask if there are any overdone details.

glowing light 1

Step 9

Make a new layer and change the mode to Soft Light 100%. Use a soft brush with the color #c2f1f2 to paint a more glowing effect for the sword.

glowing light 2

7. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

Create a Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of the layers and pick the
colors #e10019 and #00601b. Lower the Opacity of this layer to 20%.

whole scene gradient map

Step 2

Add a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones and Highlights settings:

whole scene color balance 1 midtones
whole scene color balance 1 highlights

Step 3

Make a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color #009cec:

whole scene photo filter 1

Step 4

Create a Curves adjustment layer and reduce the lightness a bit. On this
layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the ground, the left building, and the long feathers of the wings.

whole scene curves 1

Step 5

Use another Curves adjustment layer to reduce the lightness considerably. Paint on the bright area of the sky and the front of some details on the top of the ground and the buildings to make some light reflections on there.

whole scene curves 2

Step 6

In this step we’ll add light to the area around the sword. Make a new layer and use a medium-hard brush with the color #d6bcd6 to paint on the
lower dark area of the model, the left wing, and the front of some sticks and other details. Change this layer mode to Overlay 100%.

reflected light 1

Step 7

On a new layer, use a lighter brush (#ffeaff) to paint highlight for the
indicated details in the previous step. Use a layer mask if there are any overdone details.

reflected light 2

Step 8

Create a Selective Color adjustment layer and change the Cyans and Magentas values.

whole scene selective color cyans
whole scene selective color magentas

Step 9

Make a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color #000bec.

whole scene photo filter 2

Step 10

Add a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones settings. On this layer mask, paint around the sword area so it will not become so blue.

whole scene color balance 2

Step 11

Use a Vibrance adjustment layer to enhance the final effect.

whole scene vibrance

Congratulations, You’re Done!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my tutorial and learned something new. Feel free to share your ideas or comments in the box below—I’d love to see them. Enjoy Photoshopping!

final result

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How to Create a Sketch Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop via Psdtuts+

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In this tutorial you will learn how to turn your photos into amazing, advanced sketches. I will try to explain everything in so much detail that everyone can create it, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time.

The effect shown on the left is the one I will show you how to create here in this tutorial. If you would like to create the effect shown on the right, a sketch with a paint effect, and just using a single click, then check out my TechnicalArt Photoshop Action.

Action final results

What You’ll Need

To recreate the design above, you will need the following photo:

1. Let’s Get Started

First, open the photo that you want to work with. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open. Now, before we get started, just check a couple of things:

  1. Your photo should be in RGB Color mode, 8 Bits/Channel. To check this, go to Image > Mode.
  2. For best results, your photo size should be between 1500–4000 px wide/high. To check this, go to Image > Image Size.
  3. Your photo should be the Background layer. If it is not, go to Layer > New > Background from Layer.
  4. To make some auto-corrections to your photo tone, contrast, and color, go to Image > Auto Tone, Image > Auto Contrast and then Image > Auto Color.

Checking image size mode and making auto corrections

2. How to Create the Background

For the background we are going to use a solid color fill. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it ‘Background Color‘ and enter the settings below:

Creating new solid color fill layer

3. How to Create the Base Sketch

Step 1

Now we are going to create the base sketch. Select Background layer and go to Layer > New > Layer Via Copy to duplicate the Background layer and then drag that new layer to the top of the layers in the Layers panel. Press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches and go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Sketch > Photocopy and choose the settings below:

Adding the sketch photocopy filter

Step 2

Name this layer Base Sketch and change its blending mode to Multiply.

Renaming layer to Base Sketch and changing its blending mode

4. How to Create a Draft Sketch

Step 1

Now we are going to create a draft sketch. Go to Layer > New > Layer Via Copy to duplicate the Base Sketch layer. Pick the Lasso Tool (L), click anywhere inside the canvas, choose Free Transform, and increase the width and height to 105% as shown below:

Transforming draft sketch layer

Step 2

Name this layer Large Draft Sketch and set its Opacity to 14%.

Renaming layer to Large Draft Sketch and changing its opacity

Step 3

Select the Base Sketch layer and go to Layer > New > Layer Via Copy to duplicate the Base Sketch layer again. Pick the Lasso Tool (L), click anywhere inside the canvas, choose Free Transform, and decrease the width and height to 95% as shown below:

Transforming draft sketch layer

Step 4

Name this layer Small Draft Sketch and set its opacity to 14%.

Renaming layer to Small Draft Sketch and changing its opacity

5. How to Create a Rough Sketch

Step 1

Now we are going to create a rough sketch. Select the Background layer and go to Layer > New > Layer Via Copy to duplicate the Background layer, and then drag that new layer to the top of the layers in the Layers panel. Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Artistic > Cutout and choose the settings below:

Adding the artistic cutout filter

Step 2

Go to Filter > Stylize > Find Edges and then go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate.

Stylizing and desaturating layer

Step 3

Name this layer RS_1, change its blending mode to Color Burn, and drop its Opacity to 30%.

Renaming layer to RS_1 and changing its blending mode and opacity

Step 4

Now we are going to create more rough sketch layers using the same method. So repeat Step 1 and Step 2 in this section, but in Step 1 instead of using the settings we used the previous time, use the new settings below:

Adding the artistic cutout filter

Step 5

Name this layer RS_2, change its blending mode to Color Burn, drop its Opacity to 25%, and drag it under the RS_1 layer to keep the proper layer order.

Renaming layer to RS_2 and changing its blending mode opacity and order

Step 6

Repeat again Step 1 and Step 2 in this chapter, but in Step 1 instead of using the settings we used previously, use the new settings below:

Adding the artistic cutout filter

Step 7

Name this layer RS_3, change its blending mode to Color Burn, drop its Opacity to 20%, and drag it under the RS_2 layer to keep the proper layer order.

Renaming layer to RS_3 and changing its blending mode opacity and order

Step 8

Repeat again Step 1 and Step 2 in this chapter, but in Step 1 instead of using the settings we used previously, use the new settings below:

Adding the artistic cutout filter

Step 9

Name this layer RS_4, change its blending mode to Color Burn, drop its Opacity to 20%, and drag it under the RS_3 layer to keep the proper layer order.

Renaming layer to RS_4 and changing its blending mode opacity and order

Step 10

Repeat again Step 1 and Step 2 in this chapter, but in Step 1 instead of using the settings we used previously, use the new settings below:

Adding the artistic cutout filter

Step 11

Name this layer RS_5, change its blending mode to Color Burn, drop its Opacity to 18%, and drag it under the RS_4 layer to keep the proper layer order.

Step 12

Repeat again for the last time Step 1 and Step 2 in this chapter, but in Step 1 instead of using the settings we used previously, use the new settings below:

Adding the artistic cutout filter

Step 13

Name this layer RS_6, change its blending mode to Color Burn, drop its Opacity to 7%, and drag it under the RS_54 layer to keep the proper layer order.

Renaming layer to RS_6 and changing its blending mode opacity and order

Step 14

Now we are going to group all these rough sketch layers. While the layer RS_6 is selected, Shift-click on the RS_1 layer to select these two layers and all other layers between them. Then go to Layer > New > Group from Layers to create a new group from the selected layers and name it Rough Sketch.

Creating new group from selected layers named Rough Sketch

6. How to Create Shading

Step 1

Now we are going to create some subtle shading. Select the Background layer and go to Layer > New > Layer Via Copy to duplicate the Background layer, and then drag that new layer to the top of the layers in the Layers panel. Go to Filter > Stylize > Find Edges and then go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate.

Stylizing and desaturating layer

Step 2

Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Brush Strokes > Angled Strokes and select the settings below:

Adding the brush strokes angled strokes filter

Step 3

Name this layer Shading_1, change its blending mode to Multiply, and drop its Opacity to 12%.

Renaming layer to Shading_1 and changing its blending mode and opacity

Step 4

Now repeat Step 1 in this chapter, and then go to Filter > Brush Strokes > Crosshatch and enter the settings below:

Adding the brush strokes crosshatch filter

Step 5

Name this layer Shading_2, change its blending mode to Multiply, drop its Opacity to 5%, and drag it under the Shading_1 layer to keep the proper layer order.

Renaming layer to Shading_2 and changing its blending mode and opacity

7. How to Add Noise

Step 1

In this step we are going to add some noise to our sketch. Select the Shading_1 layer and go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer and name it Noise.

Creating new layer named Noise

Step 2

Now press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches, go to Edit > Fill and enter the settings below:

Filling Noise layer with foreground color

Step 3

Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and choose the settings below:

Adding noise filter to the noise layer

Step 4

Now change this layer blending mode to Screen and drop its Opacity to 64%.

Changing Noise layer blending mode and opacity

8. How to Create the Color Look

Step 1

Now we are going to add a nice color look to our sketch. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves to create a new curves adjustment layer and name it Color Look.

Creating new curves adjustment layer

Step 2

Double click on this layer thumbnail and enter the following settings:

Changing settings of Color Look layer

9. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

Now we are going to make final adjustments to our sketch. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter to create a new photo filter adjustment layer and name it Photo Tint.

Creating new photo filter adjustment layer

Step 2

Double click on this layer thumbnail and select the following settings:

Changing settings of Photo Tint layer

Step 3

Now we are going to add contrast. Press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches and go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to create a new gradient map adjustment layer and name it Overall Contrast.

Creating new gradient map adjustment layer

Step 4

Change this layer blending mode to Soft Light and drop the Opacity to 18%.

Changing overall contrast layer blending mode and opacity

Step 5

Now we are going to add vibrance and saturation. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance to create a new vibrance adjustment layer and name it Overall Vibrance/Saturation.

Creating new vibrance adjustment layer

Step 6

Double click on this layer thumbnail and choose the following settings:

Changing settings of Overall VibranceSaturation layer

Step 7

Now we are going to boost the highlights slightly. Go to Layer > New > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer and name it Overall Brightness.

Creating new levels adjustment layer

Step 8

Double click on this layer thumbnail and choose the following settings:

Changing settings of Overall Brightnes layer

Step 9

Now we are going to add sharpening. Press Control-Alt-Shift-E on your keyboard to make a snapshot. Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and enter the settings below:

Adding high pass filter

Step 10

Name this layer Overall Sharpening, change its blending mode to Hard Light, and drop the Opacity to 76%.

Renaming layer to overall sharpening and changing its blending mode and opacity

You Made It!

Congratulations, you have succeeded! Here is our final result:

Final result

Customize Your Results

You can now customize the final effect. I will give you a few tips:

  • Select the Background Color layer, double-click on its thumbnail, and inside the Color Picker panel choose some other color. Click OK.
  • Select some of the sketch layers and play with their opacities to create different sketch effects.
  • Select the Color Look layer, double-click on its thumbnail, and inside the Properties panel change the settings for a different color look.
  • Select the Photo Tint layer, double-click on its thumbnail, and inside the Properties panel change the settings for a different color look.
  • Select the layer Overall Contrast and change its opacity to adjust the contrast.
  • Select the layer Overall Vibrance/Saturation, double-click on its thumbnail, and inside the Properties panel play with the Vibrance and Saturation values to create different results.
  • Select the layer Overall Brightness, double-click on its thumbnail, and change the settings to adjust the brightness.
  • Select the layer Overall Sharpening, and change its opacity to adjust the amount of sharpening.

Here is what I got:

Customized final result

Awesome Work!

If you would like to create an even more advanced sketch with a paint effect as shown below, and just by using a single click, then check out my TechnicalArt Photoshop Action.

Action final result

The action works so that you just brush over the areas that you want to remain in paint, play the action, and the action will do everything for you, giving you fully layered and customizable results. 

Every time you run the action, you will get a unique paint variation even if you use the same brushed area. The action will create 15 preset color looks for you, as well as canvas, halftone, and grid textures. It comes with a detailed video tutorial that demonstrates how to use and customize the look of your action to get the most out of the effect.

Action final results

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Retouching with the Mixer Brush Tool in Photoshop via Fstoppers

The mixing brush tool is one of the most underutilized tools in portrait retouching. When used correctly, the mixing brush tool can be used to blend blotchy skin together, fix makeup in areas where a makeup artist may have missed applying makeup, etc. Here is a quick introduction to using the mixing brush as a portrait photographer.

In order to use the mixer brush tool correctly, you’ll want to separate the skin texture from the skin color so that you’re not distorting skin texture. Because the mixer brush tool is used to blend colors together, you’ll loose all skin detail if you do not separate those two elements onto two separate layers, with the frequency separation technique. If you still don’t know how to do that, fear not, here’s a quick introduction on the frequency separation technique that I created a year ago:

If you would rather skip replicating that process all together, I have a couple of free retouching actions available HERE.

Here’s a before and after:

 

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Sources for Stock Photos via Photofocus

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about stock photography.  This article is less for photographers and more for designers and out clients.  With that said, I’ve heard many people use the wrong terms when describing stock usage rights. Royalty-free Does Not Equal Free Let’s tackle the biggest misunderstanding. Don’t confuse royalty-free and free. A royalty-free image…

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Silhouette Simple Photoshop Manipulation tutorial via Tutorials – PSD Box

easy photoshop manipulation tutorialIn this manipulation tutorial we will create a nice silhouette  scene with a huge moon. You can use any Photoshop version to create this manipulation. It’s very easy to create because there are no advanced photoshop techniques used on this tutorial. Resources needed Moon Tree brushes Car Couple Manipulation tutorial final result Step 1 – Create background […]

The post Silhouette Simple Photoshop Manipulation tutorial appeared first on PSD Box.

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Pouring rain is your shot at spectacular portraits via DIYPhotography.net -DIY Photography and Studio Lighting

Pouring rain is your shot at spectacular portraits

Ilko Allexandroff (interview) is maybe the master of shooting stunning portraits in the rain. You know what, it only takes perseverance and some knowledge to turn a rainy night into your playground.

Ilko uses a very consistent 2 lights setup, a soft(ish) front light and a hard backlight. The front light – a Nissin MG8000 with a 60×60 foldable softbox – lights the model, while the backlight – another Nissin – does a double duty. It freezes the rain drops and provides a kicker light. Both lights are triggered using a Cactus V6 trigger.

rain-photos-ilko-10

Here is where the clevers comes in, it only takes two small battery powered lights. This makes the entire setup relatively light, portable and waterproof. Two simple nylon bags protect both strobes. Ilko, the Canon 1Dx and the 135mm f/2 glass are protected by an assistant with an umbrella. Moving is easy, repositioning is easy and there are no high voltage power strobes that can shock you.

rain-photos-ilko-01

Think that a simple nylon bag is not enough? think again, look at the abuse those strobes are taking and totally surviving it

rain-photos-ilko-08rain-photos-ilko-07

This “fast to build” setup help focusing on what’s important, directing the model, and asking her to change pose or jump, or move a bit.

rain-photos-ilko-04

A two lights setup combined with heavy rain, is also enough to create several different rain-inspired moods.

One thing you can do is play with the position of the back flash: it can be outside of the photo (see two photos above), slightly off to the side or directly behind the model (see above).

You can also get the back light for a more colorized look:

rain-photos-ilko-03

Ilko does a great job of documenting his shoots and you can see the two videos below to see how both he and his models brave the rain

to see more of Ilko’s work you can subscribe to his youtube channel, facebook page or site.

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How to Create a Queen of Hearts Photo Manipulation With Adobe Photoshop via Psdtuts+

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a Queen of Hearts photo manipulation. 

First we’ll build the background with an ornament image and a rock one. After that we’ll import the frame and create the effect inside it with the Clouds filter and a nebula image. Later we’ll add the model and the crown and blend them together using adjustment layers, masking, and brushes. 

We’ll create the cards with different hearts and arrange them to create a dynamic scene. Then we’ll use several adjustment layers and paint the red light to complete the final effect.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:

1. Build the Environment

Step 1

Create a new 2000 x 2000 px document in Photoshop with the settings below:

new file

Step 2

Open the background image. Drag this image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V):

add background

Step 3

There are some unwanted details on the background, and they might mess up
the final effect. To fix it, make a new layer and set it as Clipping
Mask
. Use the Clone Tool (S) to remove the indicated details.

background clone
cloning result

Step 4

Add a Color Balance adjustment layer to make the background color red. Change the Shadows settings:

background color balance

Step 5

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the background. On this layer
mask, use a soft black brush to reduce the effect around the middle
where the main model will be added.

background curves
background curves result

Step 6

Use another Curves adjustment layer to make the background darker. Paint around the middle to reveal the light there:

background curves 2
background curves 2 result

Step 7

Open
the rock image. Use the Move Tool to place it in the bottom of the
document and use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to narrow it as
shown below.

add floor

Step 8

Use a Curves adjustment layer to darken the rock floor. On this layer
mask, use a soft black brush to reveal some light in the middle:

floor curves

Step 9

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer to add red to the floor:

floor color balance

Step 10

The floor doesn’t look well blended with the background. Create a new
layer and use a soft black brush to paint the shadow on both sides of
the floor to fit the shadow on the lower background.

floor shade

2. Add the Frame

Step 1

Isolate the heart frame and add it to the top center of the background. Use Control-T with Warp mode to bend the heart a little.

add frame

Step 2

Double click the frame layer, and choose Drop Shadow:

frame shadow

Step 3

Make a Curves adjustment layer to match the lightness of the frame with the background:

frame curves

Step 4

Make
a new layer and set the foreground and background to #5c0301 and
#fd0000. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to grab a square and go
to Filter > Render > Clouds:

clouds filter

Move it onto the frame area and use a layer mask to make it fit inside the frame:

clouds masking

Step 5

Use a Curves adjustment layer to darken the effect, making it appear more subtle:

clouds curves

Step 6

Open the nebula image. Drag it onto the cloud effect and change its mode
to Overlay 100%. Use a layer mask to erase the part outside the frame:

add nebula
nebula overlay mode

Step 7

Use a Curves adjustment layer to make the effect more visible. Paint on the left side so that it’s not affected by this adjustment layer.

nebula curves

3. Add the Model

Step 1

Open the model images pack. Choose the first image and Control-click the mask to load the selection. Hit Control-Shift-I to
invert the selection. Still keep the selection, choose the main image
(not mask), and use the Move Tool to place the isolated model in the
middle of the scene. Reduce her size using Control-T.

add model

Step 2

Add a mask to the model layer and use a hard black brush to remove some remaining white edges:

model masking

Step 3

Go to Edit > Puppet Warp and change the pose of the pointing arm following the eyes’ direction:

model puppet warp

Step 4

Go back to the model original image. Select the head only and add this head to the existing model, making it much bigger than the body.

add big head

Use a layer mask to blend the head with the body:

big head masking

Step 5

Make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill it with 50% gray:

Burn Tool new layer

Select the Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about 15-20% to
darken the model’s cheeks a bit. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and
the result with Overlay mode:

burn tool result

Step 6

Hit U to activate the Custom Shape Tool. Choose the Heart shape and set
the foreground to #dc1c17. Draw a shape onto the lips area and change
the mode to Multiply 100%:

add lips heart

Step 7

Duplicate this layer twice and move them to the eyes area. Use a layer
mask on each of these layers to remove the part covering the eyes.

lips heart multiply mode

Step 8

Make a new layer and use a medium-hard black brush with the color #d03733 to paint more hair for the model.

add eyes hearts

Step 9

Select the model layer and the related ones and press Control-G to
make a group for them. Change this group mode to Normal 100%. Use a
Curves adjustment layer to darken the model, and then on its layer mask,
use a soft black brush to show some light on the body and dress.

model curves

Step 10

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones values. On
this layer mask, use a soft black brush to remove the red effect on the
model head and lower body, leave it visible on the middle dress part.

model color balance
model color balance result

Step 11

Create a new layer under the model one and paint her shadow on the floor with a soft black brush.

model shadow

4. Add the Crown

Step 1

Isolate the crown and add it to the top middle of the model head, making it a lot smaller than the head.

add crown

Step 2

Use a Curves adjustment layer to darken the crown:

crown curves

Step 3

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to change the crown color:

crown color balance

Step 4

To make the red light from the frame reflected on the crown, make a new
layer and use a medium-soft brush with red color and a small size
(about 3-4 px) to paint along the crown contour. Set this layer as Clipping Mask to make this step easier.

crown red light

5. Add the Cards

Step 1

Open the cards image and isolate the 8 of hearts card from the background.

isolate hearts card

Step 2

We’re aiming to create cards with different numbers of hearts. To do it, first
create a new layer above the isolated card one. Use a medium-soft brush
with the color #d5d1c6 (picked from the card) to paint on the card and
hide the unwanted hearts. Name it "painting".

hearts card painting

Use the Heart shape with red color to draw different shapes of heart on
the separate layers. I’ve made the card with one, two, three, four or
six hearts. With the card with one big heart in the center, select the
isolated card, the painting layer and the heart one and use the Move
Tool
to drag these three layers into our main canvas. Merge them into a
new one and use Control-T to tweak it, making it curvy and bendy.

add big heart
import big heart card

Step 3

Use the same method to
create the cards with different hearts. You can mix the handmade hearts
with the original card to add to the scene. Make them fly around the
model, and arrange some on the floor. The Warp mode is very useful
in this case, so don’t be afraid to go wild with it! Apply a Gaussian Blur
of 6 px (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) to some of the cards on the edges to create depth of field.

add more cards

Step 4

Make a group for the cards and add a Curves adjustment layer to darken these layers.

cards curves

Use a soft black brush to reveal the light on the cards, especially on the middle ones.

cards curves result

Step 5

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer to match the cards’ color with the background.

cards color balance

6. The Final Adjustment

Step 1

Create a Gradient Map adjustment layer and pick the colors #e10019 and #00601b. Lower the Opacity of this layer to 20%.

gradient map

Step 2

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones and Highlights settings:

whole scene color balance
whole scene color balance result

Step 3

Use a Curves adjustment layer to change the color and contrast of the whole scene.

whole scene curves

Step 4

Create a new layer and use a hard brush with a red color (I’ve chosen
#fd0000) to paint red light on the model’s body and on the cards near
the frame. The nearer the card, the stronger the light. Also paint red hair strands on top of the model’s head.

red light effect

Step 5

Make a new layer and change the mode to Overlay 100%. Use the same brush
to paint glowing red light on the cards around the frame.

glowing red light

Congratulations, You’re Done!

I hope that you’ve learned something useful for your future projects.
Feel free to leave your comments in the box below—I’d love to see them.
Enjoy Photoshopping!

final result

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