Easy Photoshop Tip I Promised

If you liked the quick post I did on Garden Walk Garden Talk for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, here is how I did it. The only thing different is I did all the letters in one file, on different layers. Here we just look at one.

First we create a new blank file in Photoshop. My file is 10 inches by 10 inches at 300 ppi. I always start with the resolution higher than I prepare the resulting jpg. It is just a habit, but it is easier to work with. Our next step is to pick a large, bold font. I used Gil Sans Ultra Bold at 800 pt. None of the other character settings matter since you are typing only one capital letter in the text box. The color of the letter is white, so I added a stroke just to see the letter on the white background. The stroke can stay or be turned off after, your choice. I chose D for Donna….

The next step is selecting an image you want to see placed inside the letter. And I like lilies…..

Do whatever you need to the image to make it sharper and cleaner. I did much more than I had to, but wanted to show you in the history panel what I can do to clean up an image.  The next step will amaze you how simple it is.

Drag your photo into the Photoshop file with the letter. It will be automatically placed above your layer containing the letter D, and this is exactly where we want it. Enlarge the photo to completely cover the letter.

The next thing you do, is go to the layers palette drop down menu, and go to Create Clipping Mask or use the keyboard shortcut option (alt),command (control) G. The image is now clipped inside the layer below.

Since the layers are ‘separate’, you can still move the clipped layer and position it how you think works with your letter.  I chose the selection tool and moved it to the left. Now I prepare it for the web.

Remember, the resolution was 300 ppi. I reduce that to 96 and keep the same 10 inch size. You can reduce this if you are conserving on storage space in your blog .  Next I go to File>Save for Web & Devices, or the shortcut of Shift,Option (alt),Command (control) S. It brings up the options below. Choose a size and click Save.

We can stop here or add the plant name.If you choose to continue, I would add the word Asiatic Lily with the text tool on a curve to name the plant pictured. Do this before saving as a jpg like above. To add the name, I draw a simple curved path with the pen tool.

I select the text tool and click on the beginning of the path to set where the text will follow. I pick a font, here, Lucinda Calligraphy Italic, 30 pt. and type out Asiatic Lily.

Then save as a jpg and you are ready to post.

So darn easy and fast. If you have a word or date in a layer, it works the same way; drag, drop, clip. Just drag the handle bars of the image to size to cover the whole word.

Note in the image above I have the background color f1f1f1 of GWGT. I do this to float my images. If I ever decide to change from f1f1f1 as a background color on the blog, I would have a gray background on all these images. That is why if you look at past posts, images have white (ffffff) color against the gray background. I changed the CSS of my blog.

Anyway, you can do the same thing with shapes and text inside too. Let’s all do the Happy Dance. If it is raining in your locale, I bet you are doing just that.

The creative options are endless once you know this simple technique.

Lomo Transformation

This is a tutorial on how to make a photo look like it was taken with a Lomo LC-A camera or processed in E6 chemicals used for slide processing. Why you might want to do this is purely for artistic preference, but you can get some interesting effects.

First we start out with an image of our choosing. Here is a fly. I am not going to go through the steps precisely because there is a good and easy to follow tutorial on how to do this from Digital Photography School.

But you can pictorially follow my transformation of the fly and see what changes I made to the settings.

I used the Elliptical Marquee Tool rather than freehanding the selection with the Lasso tool.

I put the little guy in the spotlight with the vignette. I add a levels adjustment layer and move the middle slider to the right to achieve the above pictured vignette. Notice how much more the hydrangea leaf pops.

I flatten the image, then add a Curves adjustment layer. This brings the image additional contrast. I did not exaggerate the contrast though.

I then add a new layer and filled it with black. I lowered the opacity of the black layer to 20% and changed the blending mode to Hue.

Next is sharpening. Or over sharpening is what really occurs. This is where is gets a little different from what you are used to in sharpening, and it is a very useful procedure. The step involves going to Image>Mode>Lab Color, where you must be on a flattened layer. Your image becomes a Black and White by selecting the Channels Palette and deselecting all but the Lightness Channel.

Then you go to Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask and choose the desired settings.

The tutorial sharpens much more with a radius of 50%. You can also think about modifying the steps to end up with a pretty cool Black and White image.

Return to Modes by going to Image>Mode>RGB Color to get your color image back. Now you have a mock Lomo photo and a much more noticeable fly.

Here is a before and after subject that works much better. But anything with a shine seems to work well, even some flowers. See it done on a Monarda on Garden Walk Garden Talk on the post entitled The Monarda Speaks. As I promised there, I would explain the process here. Go to Digital Photography School for the easy to follow tutorial and the examples on their site. The ordinary orange car is just an image I shot in the Niagara Falls Parks parking lot.


After is much more interesting.

Let There Be Light

Sun piercing through the leaves? Real or Created?

Easy answer to this one if you are a reader of Green Apples. But we don’t stop here, the finished image is below.

The Original Image

And for those that use PHOTOSHOP….

Wanna know how, Photoshop friends? Good chance if you see an image like the first one here on GA, I did not shoot it with the pretty, warm light beams.  My rainbow shot light beams were real, but that is about as good as I can get it straight from the camera.  So….

Open your original image. It can be anything you like, but best to choose one with little directional light and good contrast of lights, darks and pattern. Mine above could have been a little better with a touch more sky.

Start by going to the Channels Palette and select the blue channel; duplicate the channel.

 Blue Channel copy

Still in the Channels palette, on the duplicate, go to the Image>Adjustment>Levels (Command or Control L) and push the dark slider over to the right to bring out the brightness of the sky and lose the foreground detail. Activate as a selection by holding down the Command or Control Key and click the Layer’s Icon in the Layers Palette. You will get the marching ants around the brightest portions of the image.

Shift back to the Layers Palette and make a new blank layer. On the new layer, with the selection still activated, fill the selection with white. Duplicate this layer and turn off the original layer. We will use it later.

Now for the fun part. Go to the Filter > Blur> Radial Blur. Make sure the Zoom radio button is activated and push the amount of blur to about 75%. Then move the position of the center of where you want the sun to appear on the image by moving the Blur Center. See in the box above how it is shifted over and up. It started in the center of the box. Your ‘sun’ radiates from this center point.

Hit Ok and watch your document get some light! But we need the light to have a little warmth. So…

Double click the layer to bring up Layer Styles so we can add an outer glow. Make sure it is a warm color, or use the default yellow. Click OK.

Duplicate this layer to intensify your light, and bring up control handles by selecting Control or Command T to get free transform to scale it a little larger. Move the center point (the little cross in the middle) to where you want it, and hold down the Shift Key and the Option or Alt Key so it radiates from the center point and click. Wallah…

Now change both layers Blending Modes to Soft Light to make it a little more realistic.

Now we go back to our first layer we duplicated, the Blue Channel. Activate the layer. We are going to create the sunlight hitting the ground. We go to Edit>Transform>Flip Vertical so we turn it upside down. Next, we grab the top, center transform handle and squish the layer down towards the ground so the light is in scale with and on the ground.

Squished, upside down layer

Hit return to accept the action and change the blending mode to Overlay. Duplicate the layer to simulate the harsher sunlight hitting the ground. I reduced opacity because I do not like it so bright. This is a Cory Barker tutorial on NAPP that I learned a while ago, so I believe it works in a few past editions of Photoshop also for those of you with Photoshop 7, CS1 and up.

Now we can add a little mood by affecting exposure, a curve adjustment and cropping. Here is the finished image. All in less than ten minutes.

A touch of the divine…just kidding.

  A little cooling water on a hot, humid day.