Just outside the Assagio’s at the Ala Moana Shopping in Honolulu is a 12 foot tall water sculpture. I took pics of it a few months back but didn’t think too highly of what I got. The picture bottom left was the best of the lot. Images like this are candidates for Lightroom presets. Presets range from a simple Black and White to a very funky looking infrared treatment. I’ve posted numerous images on the blog utilizing presets. Creating a preset is just a matter of changing the different settings in the Develop Module and then saving a group of settings you like. Then click on that preset and your image will instantly change to reflect those settings. If you like it, print it or export it to your photo sharing site, and whatever changes you make have no effect on the original image.
Here I am with an “EH” photo looking for inspiration in a preset and I stop at the Point Curve Presets. These are presets which manipulate the Tone Curve.
This one makes the curve look like an “M” as you can see here. Presets are not set in stone. You can play with it if the initial look isn’t what you wanted. Which is what I did here. Moving the Dark slider back and forth, I liked the different results but didn’t think the individual images were as interesting as the kaleidoscopic result I created from moving the slider back and forth! How to recreate that effect? An animated GIF file!!! The first step is to create a series of virtual images with incremental changes to the image. In this case, I moved the dark slider over ten points at a time starting from –100 ending at +100 resulting in 22 different virtual images. To create the GIF, I had Lightroom export the images into separate layers in Photoshop with the “Edit in” command.
In Photoshop I select all the layers then open the animation palette by choosing “Window” from the menu bar and selecting “Animation“. With the animation palette open, ( it’s a long strip at the bottom of the window) I needed to convert each layer to it’s own frame in the animation palette. With all the layers selected, I clicked the flyout menu in the upper right hand corner of the animation palette and choose “Make frames from layers”. The animation palette will be populated by frames of each image. Then I needed to choose how long each image will display in the GIF with the frame delay option. For this, I picked .05 sec. Finally, I saved it with “ Save for Web and Devices (.gif under this option)” in the File menu.
There is one caveat to this. Make sure you reduce the images to a manageable size!!! Assuming you’re working with images from a DSLR as I was, you can’t work with the original size in Photoshop. Especially since I had 22 versions of the image. Photoshop will choke and die when you save for the web. I could have used a smaller number of images but I liked the effect with 22. I exported the different versions as JPEG’s resizing on the long edge at 1024 and a quality setting of 25. Then I Imported those images back into Lightroom and used them to create the GIF in Photoshop.
From a plain Jane to a Kaleidoscope of Color! (click on the image to see it change)
A friend of mine had a party recently with half of them being musicians who spend the evening playing Rock and Roll, Blues, Jazz and whatever else catches their fancy. While they played I took pictures. I don’t use my add on flash as much as I’d like and this provided a great opportunity. The basic setup is shutter priority with your shutter set to a 60th sec. I haven’t liked the results because the aperture is usually wide open resulting in a shallow depth of field. I’ve found that’s okay if you have one subject in the image. With more subjects in the image and a shallow depth of field, one subject will look fine but the other subjects will be less sharp and that annoys the heck outta me. So I set the aperture priority to f8.
I got a lot of nice shots but I was looking to do a little more with a few of them. I’ve got a lot of Presets in Lightroom but none of them really caught my fancy. Then I viewed Episode 247 of Photoshop User TV. Scott Kelby explained a tutorial creating a bleached bypass effect in Photoshop. Duplicate the background layer twice. Then desaturate the middle layer and change it’s opacity to 80%. Switch to the top layer and change the blend mode to Overlay. Quick and easy and a nice effect. Bringing the image back into Lightroom, I did some minor adjustments and then used a Develop Preset that mimics the look from the movie “300” and I was done.
For the first time in several months we finally had a weekend of good weather for Hang Gliding. I’ve been going back to hang glider launches I’ve photographed previously looking for candidates for creating a sequence shot. It’s a technique of shooting a series of images combined into one image to show the subject captured in successive motion. When I took launch shots I hadn’t done it with the intent of creating a sequence image. Here was a chance to do it from scratch. To take the images you need a tripod and a photo editing program to combine the images. If you’d like to learn how to create one, the SanDisk Extreme Team has a video describing the process on their Facebook page.
I made the leap to a DSLR in 2005 with the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D. The photo ops that pushed the limits of my 7D and lens combination were lowlight with alot of movement. I took a bunch of pictures that I knew weren’t great but they had potential if I knew how to work with them. Surfing subjects within an hour of sunset were a challenge. I could push the ISO up to 1600 but I wasn’t happy with those results. The highest I would go was ISO 800 with my 28-200 Sigma at full zoom. With the lens as wide as it would go the best shutter speeds I could get were 45th or 60th of a sec. After my initial post processing I set those pics aside to wait for a better day. Today is the day for one of them. With recent upgrades in both hardware and software plus additional skill with the software (Lightroom and Photoshop), I’m revisiting those early efforts. What ya think?
No, this post isn’t about the virtues of taking a nap. Although I heartily recommend you take one on a regular basis. This is about the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.
Being a bit of a computer geek since the mid 80’s I knew about Photoshop and it’s reputation as the top graphics and image editing tool. Since my needs in that area were decidedly modest I had no need or desire to spend the considerable amount to get the program. Then digital photography came on the scene along with a timely discount offer for Photoshop 7. Talk about serendipity.
Using Photoshop for the first time is like getting thrown into the deep end of the pool, without getting swimming lessons first. I quickly came to realize the Photoshop motto should be “Why do it just one way, when a half dozen different ways will do.”
This is where NAPP comes into the story. I bought several books to help me but NAPP had short bite size tutorials designed to show you how to create a specific effect in Photoshop. Learn by doing. What’s more the website had video tutorials that you could watch! Neat!
I created the border around the picture you see below by watching a video by R.C. Concepcion on the website. Thank you R.C.
While I’ve found Photoshop useful in my photography, Lightroom really greased the wheels of my pursuit of improvement. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts. NAPP has plenty of resources to help you with Lightroom as well.
There’s a lot more available to you so take a look and if you like what you see click on this link to sign up.
Refer a Friend You’ll get “The Best of Photoshop User: The Tenth Year” DVD as a bonus gift.
One more thing, I realize it’s called National Association of Photoshop Professionals. Therefore, you need to be making a living using Photoshop. Nope. You just need the desire to improve. NAPP will help you do that.