Tips



Hey everyone,

Heres our first tip ever for the blog, hope it helps, enjoy.

The tip for today is a simple layer masking technique in order to put some color into a black and white photo.

  1. Open photo in Photoshop
  2. Duplicate the photo (control click, duplicate)
  3. Select the duplicated photo, go to Image–> adjustments, choose Black & White, then select OK.
  4. Add layer mask (bottom right hand corner) to the black and white layer.
  5. With the black and white layer still selected, simply choose the paint brush (foreground color black, background white) and paint over area you wish to bring original color back into.

After perfecting this technique and a few tweaks here an there you can achieve a nice original looking photo.

Perhaps something similar to this photo here

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More tips to come! If you have any requests, or any tips of your own feel free to post.

ADJUSTING LEVELS

Here is a very basic and easy Tip, but don’t be fooled as it is almost always needed on most photos. This is one of the first things you should do to the photo before you start working on it.

  1. Drop photo into Photoshop
  2. Click, Image–> Adjustments–> Levels
  3. Stay in the RGB channel
  4. Drag Black arrow in, drag the arrow to the base of the first Peak in the graph, do the same with the white arrow on the opposite side. (this is like cropping out the flat part of the graph)
  5. click OK
  6. You should notice a Nice Color adjustment to the photo afterwards
  7. If the Levels are already adjusted and the arrows are pulled in nicely, then do not change it.

USING THE HIGH PASS FILTER IN PHOTOSHOP

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The High Pass Filter in Photoshop allows you to create some very dramatic effects. Let’s use it in combination with some other effects and tweaks to create an epic Photoshop Action.

Creating the Action

1.

With your photo open in photoshop, open the Actions Menu (Windows>Action). Click the “Create New Action” Button.

2.

Name Your Action and Click Record.

3.

Duplicate The Background Layer. On the top layer apply the High Pass filter (Filter>Other>High Pass). Set the radius to 3.0 pixels.

4.

Set the top layer’s blending mode to Overlay.

.5

Create a new Gradient Map Adjustment Layer (Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map). Set the Gradient to Black, White as seen below.

6.

Duplicate the Background Layer one more time and move it to the top of the layer stack. With the top layer selected, choose Image>Adjustment>Shadow/Highlight and make the following adjustments.

7.

Finally, set the blending mode of this layer to Overlay and adjust the opacity to 80%.

8.

Open the Actions menu again and hit “Stop” to complete the action.

Now you have one-click action to add some epic drama to any of your photos.

Color modes , luminosity, and printing basics

Light is the basis of photography, therefore it’s the part one has to master in order to produce consistent pics, but it is also the toughest part.From correcting the colors, the exposition, painting the highlights and shadows, and/or reflections, handling glossiness, light should be the center of your preocupations.

This photo was quickly enhanced : the overlay mode lets you emphasize every aspect of the pic, and is very usefull to add definition and to raise the overall contrast, but it also tends to saturate/flatten the colors.

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The first thing to notice in a pic is the nature of the lights it contains: is it a direct light (a bulb or spotlight), an ambient light ( like in a very foggy weather), or a sunlight, or a non dirct light ( when an object receives the light from another object, by reflection, ie a person receives light from a white wall, or a gobo).Each type of light has its own ways to diffuse colors, create highlights and shadows, etc.

Important: you have to be aware that all these enhancements are made without taking care of the printing process, and especially shadows and highlights need adjustment to be printed properly.Using the overlay mode often saturates the colors, which may not be visible on a monitor, but will give horrible results on paper: ie, a saturated highlight will give a white, unprinted stain on the paper.

Anyway you have to make the luminosity of the shadows/highlights match the one of the pic you work on.A pic with low contrast, but highly contrasted shadows/highlights will suck, try to abuse the levels on a random pic to have an idea of the result.

Photoshop was invented before web graphics , and was develloped in order to fullfill the needs of prepress operators; the web graphic designers do not have to deal with other color modes than RGB and web color modes, which means they handle Photoshop in the easiest way they can, unless they have to submit a printed project before they start working.In this case, they need to handle CMYK, and alter the colors in their pic so they are printed correctly :A job in itself, ask Jerry717.

Each work space has uses its own color mode:

-The monitor uses additive color, composed of combinations of red, green and blue, emited from the monitor.

-A printer uses substractive colors, composed of combinations of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, which are the colors of the inks used by the printers.the range of colors they can produce (gamut) is narrower than the one of RGB.This is why some colors produced on a monitor in RGB mode will not be printed at all.

-Photoshop uses the LAB mode, which contains all the other existing modes.It means that the LAB mode has the widest gamut, containing all the colors available.L stands for luminosity, A is the green/red value, and B is the blue/yellow value.The programm uses this mode every time you convert a pic from a color mode to another, so it has absolute values.

Having to handle these modes will make you use photoshop commands and options you may have never heard of, though they exist for sure.Let’s try something: imagine you have chopped a nice pic for an ad that will be printed in a magazine.You’ve been working as usually in RGB, and you convert it to CMYK before you send it to the printer.If you think your work is over you have 90% of chances not to get paid.For the example I took a pic I made some time ago, no showoff intended, just an example…

I saturated the colors a bit so what I want to demonstrate becomes obvious.the original is pic 3.Pic 4 is what you get when you set the proof colors options on, with for example the japan 2001 coated profile, and gamut warning on.

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pic3

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pic4

Now you see how the pic that looked so nice on your monitor would end up once printed on a japanese printer.The gamut warning shows you that some colors just wont even be printed, flattening highlights and shadows.Here, the usual RGB tricks don’t work.You have to correct each color channel to desaturate it, so its luminosity can be printed: you can do it in so many possible ways that I’ll only mention a few; you can use the replace color command, or the levels/curves/hue commands on a selected color, or channel, you can paint over the unmatching color, use some blending modes tricks…The best solution would have been to start working on the pic in the proper mode, with the proof color and gamut warning options on.

Whatever the calibration device you use, you’ll always have to proof your pic by printing it on the printer’s device, because the way printers handle colors is different from one printer to another, even if the printer’s model is the same.That’s why I say that amateurish and professionnal photoshopping are totally different: working in RGB, 72 ppi, allows one to make technically sharp pics, but having to work in CMYK 300 ppi (at least), having to prepare, correct and enhance the colors, and proof them wont let one a single second for creative research.The fact is there are thousands of good photoshoppers on the market, considering themselves as “above the rest”, or avant-garde, but there are no jobs for them, unless they are asked to produce graphics that will only be displayed on a monitor.Using 50% of the program doesn’t make them professionnal choppers, and they wont be allowed to express their creativity unless they can make their pics look good on paper (try view/proof setup/simulate paper black/ink black to have an idea of the result).

Also , for PC users, try ctrl+shift+K, and set the working space to rgb Apple, to see how your pics look on a Mac monitor…surprise ! 😀


Creating Custom Brushes in Photoshop.

More fun with Photoshop: this tip will cover how (and why!) to create custom brushes in Photoshop.

Photoshop has a reputation of being an excellent graphics production tool and photo manipulation tool, but these next tips will focus on how to use Photoshop as a creative tool, too.

Back in art school, I knew people who mixed their own paints, starting by purchasing the raw pigments, then grinding the pigments to a fine powder, then mixing it with the appropriate medium. Messy, potentially toxic, and expensive, but some people want that degree of control over their tools. You can create custom brushes in Photoshop with no fuss, no mess, and it may just spur you into becoming more creative.

1. Creating a custom brush is simple in Photoshop. Open a new file, and make sure the Brush Palette is open on screen. If the Brush Palette is not open, double-click on the brush icon on the toolbar, or select Windows > Palettes > Open Brushes.

Adobe says that you can create a brush up to 999 by 999 by pixels, which would be the digital equivalent of painting with a mop. You’ll want to keep your brushes on the smaller side, especially if you’ll be using them to create web graphics.

 

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2. For this example, I opened a small file, 100 pixels by 100 pixels, and selected Filter > Add Noise, using the Monochrome setting. I repeated the Noise filter (ctrl+f) several times.

3. Through trial and error, I found that brushes with soft edges were much more useful than brushes with hard edges. To soften the edges of the brush, select an area of the image (about a quarter of the way in from all of the edges), then select Select > Feather, then Select > Inverse. Fill the selected area with white.

 

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4. Select the area of the image that you want to use as a brush. Next, from the flyout menu from the Brush Palette, select Define Brush. A new icon will appear on the brush palette for your new brush. You can save your new set of brushes by selecting Save Brushes from the palette.

Some general notes about creating brushes: I’ve found that it helps to add to the default brush palette, rather than create an entirely new brush palette. I use the regular default brushes so much that it’s just easier to add to the existing brushes, rather than having to load a new set. Also, it helps to test out the brush to see if it does what you think it should before you save it. You can always delete a brush from the palette by selecting the icon for the brush, then selecting Delete Brush from the flyout menu on the Brush Palette.

You can use the Brush Options on that same flyout menu to set the way the brush tracks. The default setting is 25: that’s a percentage of the size of the brush, so the brush shape will repeat that often (depending on your settings in the Options palette). For some of the texture brushes I created I set the Brush Options to 80 or 90. That way, the brush acts more like a rubber stamp for a texture.

 

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3 Responses to Tips

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Tips | photofixtips -- Topsy.com

  2. maks says:

    good stuff man, keepem coming

  3. Pingback: New Tip! | photofixtips

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