Digital Photo Help

Post Production

3 Photoshop Elements Tutorials to Help You Correct and Enhance Your Images

by on Dec.10, 2016, under Post Production

We’ve noticed on our current reader survey (if you haven’t filled it out already, please do so here) that many of you are using Photoshop Elements. So I rounded up some video tutorials to help you use Elements (15 or any older version) to help you make corrections and enhancements to your images.

#1 How to brighten and improve a dull photo

George Peirson from How To Gurus walks you through several steps you can apply to make a dull photo more exciting. He covers things like working with adjustment layers so you can work non-destructively, adding more color in certain areas, layer blending modes, and more.

#2 How to remove people using the clone stamp tool

Sometimes you can get unwanted people in your shots. In this video you can learn how to remove them using just the clone stamp tool in Photoshop Elements.

#3 How to create a motion blur effect using Elements

In this final video learn the steps to add motion to an image using different blur effects in Photoshop Elements. The example used is a race car that was frozen with a fast shutter speed.

If you use Photoshop Elements I hope these videos have helped you out, and you have learned a couple new things. Many things that you can do in Photoshop, can also be done in Elements. Some of the tools and menus are a bit different but many of the features are similar. Elements also offers a “guided” user experience to help you walk through doing some common things.

If you want to learn more try the Adobe website where they have more tutorials and articles on Elements.

For more Photoshop help try these dPS articles:

The post 3 Photoshop Elements Tutorials to Help You Correct and Enhance Your Images by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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How to Create and Import Custom Adjustment Brush Presets for Lightroom

by on Dec.06, 2016, under Post Production

Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush tool allows you to make precise local adjustments to your photos. You can use the brush to simply lighten or darken an area of your image – the digital equivalent to burning and dodging in the darkroom – or adjust contrast, saturation, clarity and a host of other settings. You can also combine any number of settings on the same brush.

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Benefit of using Adjustment Brush presets

Along with its custom settings, the brush tool offers a range of presets. These are loaded with all the adjustments needed for specific purposes such as teeth whitening, iris enhancement, and so on. Presets can save you an infinite amount of time if you edit the same genre of photos frequently. If you are a portrait photographer, having brushes pre-loaded with all the adjustments to soften skin, brighten eyes and lighten teeth saves you having to fiddle around with the sliders every time you edit a portrait. You simply click on the brush preset you want, and you’re good to go.

Problems with the factory installed ones

The problem with factory installed presets is that they tend to be heavy-handed. The skin softening preset, for example, takes the clarity slider all the way down to -100. This irons out every imperfection, resulting in luminous, plastic-looking skin. While it might be tempting to give your subjects a virtual facelift, you’ll end up with a portrait that no-one believes, because it bears little resemblance to the real person. Ditto with the iris enhancement – the preset responsible for those bright, over-saturated alien eyes.

The good news is that you can create your own custom presets either from scratch or based on the existing presets. You can also import Adjustment Brush presets, which you can use as they are, or tweak to suit you.

Option #1: Adapt an existing preset

The Skin Soften brush is one I use on most of my portraits. I have a different brush for each of: mature skin, youthful skin, and men’s skin.

Why soften skin at all?

image showing custom brush presets

This is the photograph with global adjustments only.

Some people question the need to soften skin at all in post-production. Of course, it is an entirely personal decision, but here’s my take on it. I am often surprised at how much older people look when I upload their photos to Lightroom than how they looked in the flesh. While the naked eye sees a far greater range of shadow and light than the camera does, it sends messages to the brain to makes adjustments. So, the way we perceive an animated face in the flesh is quite different to what appears in a high-resolution image. Digital cameras are brutal. They pick up every tiny imperfection and hold it in a static image to be scrutinized.

That said, one of my pet peeves is over-softened skin. We’ve all seen portraits of mature people with their skin softened to try and emulate a twenty-year-old. It looks ridiculous! A greater shame, I believe, is to over-soften young skin. There is already too much pressure on young people to fit unattainable stereotypes, we don’t need to make the problem worse by creating unrealistic images of them.

This is a photo of my daughter, shot in natural light at dusk. I have made global adjustments following my workflow for basic portrait editing in Lightroom, now to the local adjustments.

Adding local adjustments

In the DEVELOP module, enlarge the image so you get a close-up look at the skin. Now click the Adjustment Brush tool in the right-hand panel (or click K on the keyboard).

Image showing Lightroom custom brush presets

Zoom in to get a close-up view of the skin and select your brush tool.

With the Adjustment Brush tool selected, take a look at the sliders in the adjustments panel. You’ll see two little arrows next to the word Custom. Click on the arrows to open the pull-down menu, showing all of Lightroom’s standard brush presets. Select on the Soften Skin preset, and brush it all over the face.

image showing Lightroom custom brush presets

Click on the arrows next to ‘custom’ and this panel will appear.

As you can see, Lightroom’s default settings have turned my lovely teenage daughter into a Barbie doll, with the clarity slider sitting at -100, and the sharpness at +20.

IMage showing Lightroom custom brush presets

Lightroom’s Soften Skin brush preset has made her skin look unnatural.

Tweak the settings

With the brush tool still selected, move the clarity slider until you achieve a look you are happy with. You will be able to see the effect live as you move the slider. With reduced clarity, you also get reduced contrast, so increase the contrast slider a bit too. You can also increase shadows and decrease highlights, although with this particular image I don’t feel I needed to.

Image showing import create custom Lightroom brush presets

Move the adjustment sliders until you are happy with the effect.

Save and name your own custom preset

When you have achieved an effect you’re happy with, click on the arrows next to Custom again to open the brush presets menu. Select Save Current Settings as New Preset. Another box will open, prompting you to name your new preset. Choose a name you’ll be able to identify quickly (in this case I called it “Skin soften youth”), and click Create.

Next time you open the custom brush presets menu, your own preset will appear in the list.

Image showing Lightroom custom brush presets

When you’re happy with your adjustments, save them as a new preset.

Option #2: Creating a brush preset from scratch

The process for creating a brush preset from scratch is almost identical to the steps outlined above. The only difference is, rather than using Lightroom’s brush preset as a starting point, you create your own from scratch.

Select the Adjustment Brush tool. Adjust the sliders to achieve the desired effect. In this example, I have created an “iris enhance” brush preset. The exposure, saturation, and clarity were all increased.

image showing Lightroom custom brush presets

As you move the adjustment sliders, you’ll see the effect each one has on your image.

As with the previous process, click on the arrows next to the word Custom, then Save Current Settings as  a New Preset. Name your preset, and you’ll see it listed among the brush presets next time you want to edit a portrait.

image showing Lightroom custom brush presets

Select ‘save current settings as a new preset’ and name your preset.

Image showing Lightroom custom brush presets

The final image, with local and global adjustments.

Option #3: Import Adjustment Brush presets

You can buy brush presets online, and many sites offer free downloads in exchange for your email address. If you decide to download free brush presets, be sure it is from a reputable site.

Once you’ve downloaded the presets, you’ll need to import them into Lightroom. To import your presets, you first need to locate the folder where Lightroom stores your brush presets. From your top menu, go to: Lightroom > Preferences > Presets, and then click Show Lightroom Preferences Folder.

lr-presets-location

You should then see something like this (I use a Mac if you use PC you will see your Windows Explorer window):

Image showing Lightroom custom brush presets

Double-click on the Lightroom folder, and inside you’ll see the one named “Local Adjustment Presets”. This is where your brush presets are stored.

Image showing Lightroom custom brush presets

Inside the Lightroom folder, locate the Local Adjustment Presets folder

Once you have located the Local Adjustment Presets folder, simply drag and drop your newly downloaded preset files into this folder. You should only drag and drop individual preset files here, not folders or zipped files.

IMPORTANT STEP: Restart LightroomImage showing import Lightroom brush presets

When you re-open Lightroom, you’ll see your new brush presets in the drop-down list of brush presets. Our editor, Darlene, sent me some brush presets to try, and I have imported her “glamor skin brush” preset. You can see it has appeared in my presets list now.

If you find the imported presets are not quite to your liking, you can go back to step #1, adjust them to suit your tastes, and make them your own.

Over to you

Brush presets are such wonderful time-savers. As your editing style evolves, you can adjust and delete your brush presets as you go, or add new ones.

I hope you’ve found the information in this article useful. Please share any tips and ideas you’ve discovered about Lightroom brush presets with the rest of the dPS community in the comments section below.

The post How to Create and Import Custom Adjustment Brush Presets for Lightroom by Karen Quist appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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How to Turn Your Images into Kaleidoscope Patterns

by on Nov.24, 2016, under Post Production

This tutorial is a lot of fun, transforming photographs into kaleidoscopic wonders, often with surprising results. The resulting kaleidoscope patterns make fantastic desktop backgrounds and wallpapers too.

Remember kaleidoscopes? Those curious tubes with an array of mirrors and colorful beads inside? As a kid, I would while away sunny weekends straining my eye against the viewing aperture, hypnotized by the endless combination of shapes, patterns, and colors. Although I now spend most of my time looking through the viewfinder of a camera, the magic of the kaleidoscope remains in my mind as an early foray into image making.

Step 1 – Setting up the canvas

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First, select a photograph. I’ve chosen this photograph of some fungi growing on an old tree stump. From my own experimentation I’ve found images with bold, contrasting colors and negative space result in the best kaleidoscopic images.

Once you have selected an image and opened it in Photoshop, right click on the image in the layers panel and select Convert to Smart Object. This will enable you to move the image around the canvas.

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Now we need to add some space around the image. Go to Image > Canvas Size and a window will pop up with the dimensions of your current image.

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To calculate the dimensions of the canvas, look at the largest side of the image, double that figure and add four. For example, the image I selected was originally 59.44 x 39.62cm so I multiplied 59 by 2 to get 118m then added 4 to get 122. Add the same value to the smaller side of the image so that the canvas will be square. Click OK.

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Step 2- Creating the template

Zoom out so you can view see the entire canvas and select the Move Tool located at the top of the left toolbar.

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Click on your photograph on the canvas, and with the left mouse button depressed, drag the image to a corner of the canvas. Leave a few centimeters between the image and the edge of the canvas. Don’t worry about making this too exact as we will crop it to more exact proportions later. Now, duplicate this layer by right clicking it in the layers panel and selecting Duplicate Layer (or use the keyboard shortcut Cmd/Ctrl+J).

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In the Duplicate Layer prompt, rename this layer as “Layer 1” as we will be duplicating a number of layers over the next few steps. Click OK and a new layer will appear in the layers panel.

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Rename the original image layer as “Background” by double clicking on the name “Layer 0” in the layers panel. This will help avoid confusion later.

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At the moment, both layers will be in the same spot on the canvas, with Layer 1 sitting on top of Background. With the Move Tool selected, click on the top layer, and with the left mouse button depressed, drag Layer 1 next to the Background image.

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Keeping Layer 1 selected, click Edit on the main toolbar and then Transform > Flip Horizontal. Layer 1 will flip to create a mirrored image of the Background.

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Your image should look something like this now.

Just two more to go!

Duplicate the Background layer again, and when the prompt window appears, rename it “Layer 2”.

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With the Move Tool selected, click on the newly created Layer 2 (which will be over Background). Keep the left mouse button depressed, and drag Layer 2 underneath Background.

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With Layer 2 selected, click Edit on the main toolbar and then Transform > Flip Vertical. Layer 2 will flip vertically to create a mirrored image of Background from below.

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Duplicate Background one more time, this time naming the layer “Layer 3”. With the Move Tool selected, click on the newly created Layer 3 (which will be over Background) and with the left mouse button depressed, drag Layer 3 into the remaining slot to complete the rectangle.

With Layer 3 selected, click Edit on the main toolbar and then Transform > Flip Horizontal. To complete the pattern, keep Layer 3 selected click Edit on the main toolbar and then Transform > Flip Vertical.

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The next step is to merge the layers of the rectangle you have made so that it can be moved around as one layer. To do this, right-click on the layer titled Background in the layers panel and select Merge Visible.

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If it hasn’t done so automatically, it is a good idea to rename this merged layer as “Background” so it will be easier to keep track of which layers are where. You now have the template for your kaleidoscopic image!

Step 3 – Creating the kaleidoscope

Select the Background layer, and with the Move tool selected, drag the layer into the center of the canvas. Right-click on Background in the layers panel and select Duplicate Layer. Rename this layer as “Layer 1”.

With Layer 1 selected, click Edit > Transform > Rotate.

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In the Transform settings panel, there is a text box next to the symbol of an angle. In this text box, type 45 and press enter. Layer 1 will be rotated to a 45-degree angle.

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Duplicate Background again, this time renaming the layer “Layer 2”. With Layer 2 selected in the layers panel, click Edit > Transform > Rotate. In the Transform settings panel, in the text box next to the angle symbol, enter -45 and press enter.

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Duplicate the Background layer one last time, renaming the layer “Layer 3”. With Layer 3 selected in the layers panel, click Edit > Transform > Rotate. In the Transform settings panel, in the text box next to the angle symbol, enter 90 and press enter. The layer will be rotated 90 degrees.

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Step 4 – Blending Modes

Select the top three layers in the layers panel by holding down the shift key and clicking on Layers 1, 2, and 3. With the layers selected, click on the Blending Mode drop down menu (red arrow below) and select the Lighten option. The selected layers will blend to form a kaleidoscope pattern.

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Crop it

To neaten up the image you can crop the edges of the kaleidoscope down to a square or rectangle. With the Crop Tool selected, hold the shift key on your keyboard and drag the corners of the Crop Tool over the image to create a square or rectangle. When you are happy, press enter and save the image via File > Save As.

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Step 5 – Making a desktop background

To make a wallpaper effect, open a new Photoshop document by selecting File > New and entering the dimensions 3000 pixels by 2000 pixels in the text boxes. Make sure the resolution set to at least 300 pixels/inch, so it will look nice on a large monitor screen.

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Select File > Place… and select your new kaleidoscope file.

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Once placed in the Photoshop canvas, you can choose to duplicate the image any number of times to create an interesting pattern, or add layers on top of one another and have fun experimenting with more Blending Modes. The possibilities are endless! Here are a few ideas.

Have you done this technique before to make a kaleidoscope pattern? Please share your results in the comments section below.

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The post How to Turn Your Images into Kaleidoscope Patterns by Megan Kennedy appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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