Software – SmartPhotoEffects

_4010070rainIMG_3629_3310399_4030357 edit_moody 074OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIMG_3621I have been using SmartPhotoEditor for about a month now. This software can be used as a standalone for $29.99 or a Photoshop plugin for a higher fee. The program is built on special effects from normal processing features to vignettes and textures to really far out stuff. It also has watercolor, oils and other painterly options. It has about 7,000 effects and contributors add to this all the time.

The interface offers category breakdowns that help find what you are looking for and the ability to save any effect as a favorite so you don’t have to look for it each time. You can also create your own effects in the Effects Editor for others to use.

As a digital photo artist I am really excited with this software and encourage you to use the 30 day free trial. (cannot save images until you buy the program)

For greeting cards the vignettes are amazing.. leaving nice white edges that help with printers that leave 1/4″ edge.

Go have some fun!!!

(except for the iris image all were from a recent trip to Charleston, SC)

SmartPhotoEditor

_4010070rainIMG_3629_3310399_4030357 edit_moody 074OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIMG_3621I have been using SmartPhotoEditor for about a month now. This software can be used as a standalone for $29.99 or a Photoshop plugin for a higher fee. The program is built on special effects from normal processing features to vignettes and textures to really far out stuff. It also has watercolor, oils and other painterly options. It has about 7,000 effects and contributors add to this all the time.

The interface offers category breakdowns that help find what you are looking for and the ability to save any effect as a favorite so you don’t have to look for it each time. You can also create your own effects in the Effects Editor for others to use.

As a digital photo artist I am really excited with this software and encourage you to use the 30 day free trial. (cannot save images until you buy the program)

For greeting cards the vignettes are amazing.. leaving nice white edges that help with printers that leave 1/4″ edge.

Go have some fun!!!

(except for the iris image all were from a recent trip to Charleston, SC)

Gradients

I took the center photo with my IPhone on Burst Mode using 10 images stacked together of a sago palm looking into the center.

The image on the left is the original photo converted to black and white followed by an added layer set to COLOR blend mode and a gradient applied. COLOR blend mode lays the color on top of your image but not as a solid, so you can see the details through the color.

The image on the right is the original image with an added layer and gradient set to MULTIPLY which darkens the colors.

Focus Stacking in PS

focus-stackI didn’t realize how good Photoshop had gotten with focus stacking. I use Photoshop CC but you may be able to do this with other versions.

  1. Take a series of photos of the same subject focusing on different points each time. By using f/8 or wider you will get even sharper focus than f/22 in one shot. Plus, you can really tweak the areas.
  2. In Photoshop, File > Scripts > Load files in layers – you will need to select the images at this point  (this will open all your pix in one file, each on its own layer
  3. Select all layers and Edit > Auto Align layers
  4. Keep them all selected and Edit > Auto Blend layers
  5. Voila!

Three initial images:

Some uses:

1.macro for greater depth of field

2. You may have a subject that calls for great depth of field like a big bush, but something behind it is really distracting and you want it blurred.  So, if you use a setting like f/16 you will often get the back ground blurred too.  By using focus stacking you can use f/6.3 for example and get each part of the bush in focus but the background will stay nicely blurred.

3.In low light you may not want to have a really slow shutter speed. Using this method you can use a wider opening with faster shutter speed and take multiple images to blend later.

NOTE: Photoshop does a good job at aligning your layers in case you are off tripod.

 

Spektral Art

I’ve been having fun with software called Spektral Art. It has many variations with their own sliders to customize. It’s very easy to use and is a standalone piece of software. Here are some examples. It is made by JixiPix and costs $19.99 at the present time.

Top left original – top right light Spektral – right center dark Spektral – bottom blended of the two with soft light.

Original and Spektral

Original and Spektral Bright Detail

And a flower for good measure!

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Polka Dots Oh My!

 

I have had an idea in my mind for awhile about using polka dots as a background. I found a good YouTube for creating your own polka dot patterns.  It is quite involved so I will give you the link if you want to try it rather than repeating all the steps.

For greeting cards, they are fantastic but with images a little trickier to get a good match.  Having Fun!

Backgrounds on Foamcore

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There are many ways to change backgrounds in your images, or add textures in Photoshop. But one of the easiest for small subjects like flowers is to make your own and use in the garden. I use 11×14 foamcore to mount these, one on each side, and then carry into the garden. You can cut your own foamcore or order. Amazon has offerings, here is just one available today for reference: https://www.amazon.com/Pack-11×14-White-Foam-Backings/dp/B0072ZH97S

My favorite backgrounds are mainly in one color family, like greens or yellows or browns.

  1. In Photoshop click on Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur.  You will need to take the slider almost completely to the right to get rid of all detail.
  2. You can adjust levels and color balance or use hue/saturation. If you create a nice mottled look, you can use that repeatedly by coloring it differently.
  3. Print out your image. You want to keep reflections at a minimum so I find matte is the best finish. Lustre sometimes works fine depending on the lighting.
  4. Mount on the foamcore. One piece can have two backgrounds, one on each side as I mentioned.
  5. You can have a plamp hold this in place or often you can hold it yourself if close enough or use a timer on your camera.
  6. Below I have added a third option – select a highly feathered circle on your texture and brighten slightly so an individual flower is really showcased with the effect of a vignette built in!

background-2-orgbackground-2-finalbackground-2-center

Warp Text

warp-textI love creating greeting cards and often add text to my photos. There are so many fonts to work with and special effects. Thought I would pass along a clever and easy technique in Photoshop.

  1. Type your text, pick a font and color.
  2. Double click your type layer.
  3. Edit > Transform > Warp.
  4. On the toolbar you will see a dropdown with None. Click on this to discover many warp varieties. You can customize each one on the toolbar.

I have included the font and warp style for each of these examples.

Winter Flower Photos

final

This time of year can be challenging for those of us who love lush gardens and lots of beautiful color. I decided to see what I could do with my Lensbaby Velvet 56 on my Canon 5D Mark II indoors.

original

The flowers are artificial held by a plamp. The softness was created by wrapping light pink tulle around the lens leaving just the very middle clear.  ISO 200 f/8 @ .6 seconds.  I set the 2 second timer and then swooshed a colorful scarf behind the flowers while the shutter was open. (otherwise it was a plain neutral wall)  I used one Alien Bees light with softbox as my light, but did not trigger the flash.

After bringing into Photoshop, I added a French Kiss texture called Tea Bag.  I made the texture black and white and used a Soft Light blend mode. Then I reduced the effect on the flowers by using a layer mask and painting light grey to reduce some of the effect.

I found the frame in a Google Images search.

Texture Tip

Belle Fleur Textures has beautiful collections of textures but also a couple of very nice tutorials. She offers a great way of reducing the texture on your main subject but still leaving the color tint so the image goes together nicely.  Check it out!

Go to http://www.bellefleurtextures.com/ and click on FREE Tutorials – The Blur Method. Check out all Cheryl’s textures too… love the Fairy Garden collection!