#CreativeFriday – Choosing Which Creative Cloud Shared Folders to Desktop Sync

A powerful features of the creative cloud, is to synchronise content from your desktop directly to the Creative Cloud and visa versa. This also means you are able to share this synchronised content with others, for collaboration or for sharing. This feature is available in the Creative Cloud Desktop version Version (October 2014), and the File Sync must be turned on in the properties panel of the Creative Cloud Desktop App.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 17.49.04The initial synchronise is easy to set up. When you install the Creative Cloud Desktop App a folder called ‘Creative Cloud Files’ is created, and most likely will appear in your Windows explorer window (Windows) or on the side bar on the Mac (as shown below).

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 16.32.09 copy

This folder will automatically be synchronised by the Creative Cloud Desktop App to your online Creative Cloud account. You can get access to the desktop folders or the web view direct from the Creative Cloud Desktop Application as shown below.

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You can also see the folder on the web view.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 16.44.11Once content is placed in the desktop folder or in the web view folder, the content will be synced in both ways. The screen shot below shows the content placed into the desktop folder.

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On the Creative Cloud view you will see the same image (once the sync has completed)

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From the desktop or the web view, the folder can be shared with another user, by right clicking on the synced folder.

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Or from the web view using the collaboration option

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The desktop view will take you to the web view and open the collaborate with users window

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At this point the folder can be shared with other users that have an Adobe ID, also, other users can share with you as well.

When the folders are shared, the invited user(s) will receive a notification to let them know that they have been invited. Once they accept the invitation the new folder will appear in their Creative Cloud folder, both on the web, and if the Creative Cloud Desktop App is running, to the desktop as well.

Sometimes, the invited user, or if you have been invited, may not want to have everything synchronised as this will take up additional local storage.

A feature has been added which allows you or the invited user to control which folders are synced to the local desktop folder (N.B. Creative Cloud Desktop app must be running)

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 17.10.11

The way to find the option is by navigating to the root folder of the ‘Creative Cloud Files’ folder. In the case above it’s at the user account level. Once you can see the ‘Creative Cloud Files folder’, a right click will show the context window, which will then show ‘Select Shared Folders to Sync’.

To stop the sync, remove the desktop folder and it’s contents, but to leave the content available for future use on the web. The folder can be un-ticked.

As long as the Creative Cloud Desktop App is running, it will start to work, remove the files and folder, then inform you using the notifications.

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This is a great way to take control over which folders and content will be sync to your desktop so as to aid file organisation. When the shared folder and or it’s content is required, it can be just be turned on again.

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Once the Creative Cloud Desktop App has finished it’s work, the folder and it’s contents will be added to your local desktop Creative Cloud folder.


The original blog is available here .

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Food Photographer of the year 2015..calling for your photos


Hi Folks, the end date for submitting entires to the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the year 2015 is almost here. It’s your last chance to have your Food Photography judged by Michel Roux Jnr.

Why not use or try the Creative Cloud Photography plan?

It’s an ideal opportunity to put the Creative Cloud Photography plan to work and make your photographs look incredible. If you are not currently subscribed to the Creative Cloud Photography plan, then it’s a good time to try and also enter this great competition. Subscribing to the Creative Cloud plan is easy, just follow this link, If you are not sure about subscribing, then you can try both Lightroom and Photoshop by following the links at the bottom of the associated pages. There are some quick and easy ways to get started with these programs. My Lightroom essentials workflow playlist is on Youtube, as well as the Adobe Photoshop YouTube  and Lightroom YouTube channels.

The closing date for entries is 8th February, so it’s time to get snapping for Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2015, a thrilling celebration of all that is special and significant about food photography.

The competition is open to everyone, professionals and amateurs, young to old, across the world, with a prize of £5000 for the overall winner. As a finalist you will also receive an invitation to attend the exclusive VIP awards ceremony in London in May 2015.

The awards cover fourteen categories, ranging from Food in Action, Food in the Field, Food for Sale and Food Portraiture, also three sub- categories for the Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year, a documentary and non-documentary category for the unearthed® Food in Film award and of course our three young categories.

New judges for 2015 include, Anglo-French culinary legend Michel Roux Jr, Emily Luchetti, Chair of the James Beard Foundation, USA, and George Motz, Founder and Director, Food Film Festival NYC, who are joining luminaries such as Jay Rayner, Chair, (The Guardian, Observer, BBC’s The One Show), Sanjeev Kapoor, India’s culinary superstar and Chris Beetles, of Beetles & Huxley, one of the world’s leading galleries specialising in photography.


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The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers annual convention update.

The weekend just gone saw the return of the Societies (SWPP) annual convention held at the London Hilton Edgware road Hotel. It was a another well attended and informative event with some amazing photography, as well as winners for the annual awards.

Adobe sponsored some of the awards, one of which was the Overall 3rd place, which was won by Trev Wilson. We would like to congratulation Trev on this award and pay tribute to his amazing photograph of this Kingfisher.



Trev Wilson

I started photographing Wildlife purely as a hobby about 10 years ago then accidentally fell into equestrian events and set up quite a successful company covering events all over the North West as a result of this I was asked if Id shoot a couple of weddings and the lure of being fed, getting paid more and actually socialising whilst I worked got me hooked.  So no more standing in the rain for 12 hours shooting horses.  Since then Ive mentored by Damian Mcgillicuddy  for 4 years and run a successful portrait studio in Wallasey Merseyside.  The people side of my photography is pretty much self generating now so 18 months ago I decided to go back to where it started for me and shoot wildlife for me again.  Ambitions / future Id love to spend extended time photographing African wildlife and phase out the weddings & people completely. 

You can see more of Trev Wilson’s work at his website here.

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Adobe ‘Hidden Gems’ Demo Feed from the Societies Convention

Adobe UK were at the Societies Convention in the UK this week with our colourful seminar room. We had many sessions running all day, covering lots of different aspects of Lightroom, Photoshop, 3D, 3D Printing and Behance. Whilst we were presenting the sessions, Sandy Puc asked me to demo the ‘Photoshop Hidden Gems’ presentation on the live feed. The video is available to watch below.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

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#CreativeFriday – Lightroom Mobile Deep Dive

Lightroom mobile, now available for Android Phone!

Lightroom mobile has been designed for both amateur and professional Image makers. Lightroom mobile has been designed to be a companion application and works seamlessly with Lightroom on the desktop and allow changes made on mobile devices to sync back to the desktop. Lightroom mobile supports a new, and more relaxed way of editing and managing photographs.

Lightroom mobile is included with the Adobe Creative Cloud and is available in the complete Creative Cloud as well as the Create Cloud for Teams and the Photography bundle. Users will be able to use it as part of their active subscription or as a 30 day trial. Lightroom mobile is currently available on both the iPad and iPhone as a free download from the Apple App Store.

Download Lightroom mobile

Visit the Google Play store and download Lightroom mobile.  Once you login with the same Creative Cloud account, you’ll see all of your synced Collections.

(Original Lightroom for Android phone Blog post from the Lightroom team).

The Mobile workflow 

The rise of the iPad and other mobile/tablet devices, created a shift in the way that people consume and access information. Recently this has been over taken, and the way that people consume and create content has also changed. Lightroom mobile is an application that embraces this change and allows photographers to adjust and enhance their images non destructively (i.e. original files are not physically changed), and have these changes and edits sync back to the originals on the desktop, including RAW, JPG, TIFF, PSD and PNG.

What is Lightroom Mobile designed to do

Lightroom mobile embraces the creative cloud to make sure that images from Lightroom desktop are synchronised to Lightroom mobile and vica versa, including photographs taken on the mobile device. Lightroom mobile can be used to select photographs for editing (using pick/reject flags and star ratings).  Images can be enhanced including exposure, white balance, shadows, highlights, clarity etc. Lightroom mobile also provides presets and the ability to crop your images. Lightroom mobile and the creative cloud makes sure that when an internet connection is available, any image enhancements that are made, either on the desktop or the mobile application will be reflected everywhere.

To use Lightroom mobile you will need to log in on the device using your Adobe ID. The Adobe ID will provide access to Lightroom mobile features, as well as any collections and images that have been synced from Lightroom on the desktop.  When any changes are made to synced collections on the desktop, including adding new photographs or removing them, or any adjustments have been made to the image(s) on the desktop or within Lightroom mobile, then Lightroom mobile and the creative cloud will ensure that they are synced to your devices/desktop as soon as an internet connection is established.

N.B. You will need to be running Lightroom Desktop 5.4 (5.4 is Mobile enabled), to have your images available on your iPad/iPhone and Android Phone via Lightroom mobile, and will also need an Internet connect for synchronising images. Lightroom 5.4 is available as an update to both Creative Cloud and to the box version of Lightroom 5.

Setting up Lightroom mobile is easy and is done from within the Lightroom preferences menu item.


Lightroom preferences mobile tab allows you to login using your Adobe ID, once logged in it will provide information about your subscription status, along with the number of photographs that you have synced.


Photographs are synchronised with Lightroom mobile using Collections. Collections are a way to define a set of photographs, and can be added to or removed from at any time. Collections can be created on the mobile app as well.

A Lightroom Collection can be created by clicking on the ‘+’ icon next to the Collections tab in Lightroom desktop, and selecting ‘Create Collection’.


The Collection can be configured at this point and can include any already selected photographs. A Collection can be marked as being a target collection, which means that images can be added or removed from it by pressing the ‘B’ key on an image. To enable the Collection to sync with Lightroom mobile, the ‘Sync with Lightroom mobile’ option needs to be checked.


Once the collection has been created, it will show the images that are contained within it. Once the Collection has been marked for sync and an Internet connection exists, the contents will be synced to Lightroom mobile.


Any content that has been synced with Lightroom mobile is available via the Adobe.com website (www.adobe.com), which is your Creative Identity. Synced Collections can be found under the LR Photos menu item.


Selecting ‘LR Photos’ will show any synchronised Collections within the web view.


Clicking on each Collection will show the photos that have been synced.


Then clicking on each thumbnail will show a much larger image. Slide shows can also be stared from here.


Adding more photographs to Lightroom mobile can be done by selecting the ones that need to be included, and, either manually them to the collection in Lightroom desktop or by pressing the ‘B’ key if the collection has been configured to be a target Collection.




A Lightroom Collection can also be viewed publicly by clicking on the up arrow (top left of the screen below). As you can see, the shared URL can be copied and sent to others (clicking on the ‘view’ option will show what the viewer will see).



Clicking on the Collection name at the top of the screen, will allow you to filter the contents. There are more options available in the list, allowing you to also apply different sorting options to the pictures, as well as showing Badge Overlays.



Navigating over to the iPad or iPhone and opening up Lightroom mobile (once downloaded), will also show the synced Collections.



Initially the Collections are synced to the mobile device (iPad / iPhone) with thumbnails of the pictures. Editing these images will require an Internet connection, so that a larger resolution version can be downloaded when required. Larger resolution files (i.e. the RAW version), requires you to enable offline editing for the Collection.  The offline edit version is controlled by touching the ‘Offline Editing’ option, which can be found under the ‘…’ (Three dots), on the Collections thumbnail.



Control of which method is used to sync content and adjustments from Lightroom mobile can be managed by touching the Lightroom icon. Using this panel, you can force Lightroom mobile to only sync over Wi-Fi, rather than use your 3G/4G data plan.


Lightroom mobile can be used to choose pictures that need work or are part of a selected edit. There are two options to do this, the Pick system and the Star system. When the Pick system is in use, a flag will appear at the lower left of the screen, when the Star system is in use, a Star will be shown. When either system is in use, sliding your finger up and down the screen will show the other options that are available.

Example of the Pick system.


Example of the Star system


Swiping across the screen controls moving to the next or previous picture. Photographs can also be selected by touching the first icon in the group at the bottom of the screen, which will show the filmstrip. Photographs can be selected by touching them, or you can swipe the filmstrip to see more photographs in the Collection.


The next icon in the group at the bottom of the screen, allows non-destructive adjustments to be made to the photograph. An adjustment can be selected by touching it with your finger, then swiping with your finger to the left and right to reach the appropriate value. The values on elements such as white balance, temperature, exposure, white, black point, shadow, highlight etc. can all be modified.


When changing the exposure, white point, black point, shadows and highlights, two fingers can be used to show the clipping mask. The clipping mask can be useful to allow precise adjustments when altering these values on the image.


Once adjustments have been made, two fingers can be used to zoom into the image.


The third option in the group is the ability to apply presets, presets range from creative, colour, detail and effect etc.



The last option in the group allows you to make a crop. Crop enables In-built aspect ratios that are selectable from the bottom of the screen and will stay fixed while the lock icon is closed. Free form aspect ratio cropping is also available by unlocking the lock on the right hand side of the screen.


When adjustments are being made to the photograph, the synchronisation between Lightroom mobile and Lightroom desktop will be paused until the next image is selected. Once the next image is selected, the adjustments will be synced to Lightroom desktop (an internet connection will be required during the sync).

Touching the up arrow, when it is displayed, will allow you to share the image over different channels.


Below the email operation is shown. Lightroom mobile will create the image for the email, as well as allow an option to enter the TO/CC and BCC email addresses.


Adjustments from Lightroom mobile can be seen inside Lightroom on the desktop, once the sync has finished.


Lightroom mobile is also available on the iPhone and works in the same way as the iPad.




Lightroom on the iPhone or the iPad is also a great way to take photographs and sync back to Lightroom on the desktop. Photographs can be stored in any collection on the device, including ones that are created within Lightroom mobile. A Collection can be created on the device by touching the ‘+’ on the top right of the screen. This Collection will appear automatically in Lightroom on the desktop as soon as the sync completed.



Once a Collection has been created, its behavior can be configured. Under the ‘…’ three dots, you can ‘Enable Auto Import’, this option will bring Photo’s in from the camera roll automatically when Lightroom is open. Pictures can also be added manually to the Collection by using the ‘Add from Camera Roll’ option.


You can see one picture has been imported from the camera roll in the following screen shot.


Images from the iPhone can be adjusted and enhanced in the same way as they can from the iPad.


Once Lightroom mobile has completed the sync, photographs and changes will appear in Lightroom desktop.




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Adobe Shared Cloud Now SOC2- Security Type 1 Compliant

In December 2014 Adobe’s Shared Cloud became SOC2 – Security Type 1 Compliant. The Shared Cloud is the infrastructure component that supports the Adobe Creative Cloud.

What does this mean to you, essentially SOC 2 reports specifically address one or more of the following five key system attributes:

• Security
• Availability
• Processing Integrity
• Confidentiality
• Privacy

Source (Aicpa SOC20 Whitepaper).

An excerpt from the same Whitepaper about SOC2 describes the following :-

SOC 2 Report: What is it?

Reports on Controls at a Service Organization Relevant to Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality and Privacy: Many entities outsource tasks or entire functions to service organizations that operate, collect, process, transmit, store, organize, maintain and dispose of information for user entities. SOC 2 engagements use the predefined criteria in Trust Services Principles, Criteria and Illustrations, as well as the requirements and guidance in AT Section 101, Attest Engagements (AICPA, Professional Standards, Vol. 1). A SOC 2 report is similar to a SOC 1 report. Either a type 1 or type 2 report may be issued and the report provides a description of the service organization’s system. For a type 2 report, it also includes a description of the tests performed by the service auditor and the results of those tests. SOC 2 reports specifically address one or more of the following five key system attributes:

• Security — The system is protected against unauthorised access (both physical and logical).
• Availability — The system is available for operation and use as committed or agreed.
• Processing integrity — System processing is complete, accurate, timely and authorised.
• Confidentiality — Information designated as confidential is protected as committed or agreed.
• Privacy — Personal information is collected, used, retained, disclosed and disposed of in conformity with the commitments in the entity’s privacy notice, and with criteria set forth in Generally Accepted Privacy Principles (GAPP) issued by the AICPA and Canadian
Institute of Chartered Accountants.


Putting a SOC 2 Report to Work

A Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or Cloud Service Organisation that offers virtualised computing environments or services for user entities and wishes to assure its customers that the service organisation maintains the confidentiality of its customers’ information in a secure manner and that the information will be available when it is needed. A SOC 2 report addressing security, availability and confidentiality provides user entities with a description of the service organisation’s system and the controls that help achieve those objectives. A type 2 report also helps user entities perform their evaluation of the effectiveness of controls that may be required by their governance process. Another example is a medical claims processing service organisation that processes claims for health insurers (user entities) and wishes to assure those users that its controls over the processing of claims will protect the information in those claims, which is subject to privacy laws.


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#CreativeFriday – Adobe UK November 2014 Create Now Event – On Demand

In November 2014, Adobe UK brought another Create Now online show to life. You can now watch the Imaging part of the show, on demand direct from the links below, or at the main page here.

The links below will give you direct access to each segment of the show, so you can focus on the areas that you are interested in watching.








(There is a full screen mode available within each video, just scroll on the video to the right (space is limited due to the width of the recordings and available space on the blog), then click on the full screen icon.

If you would like to join the Creative Cloud or the Creative Cloud Photography Plan, then all plans, options and descriptions are available by using this link.

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Merry Christmas from Adobe – Dissecting the Lightroom and Photoshop Workflow.

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for visiting my Adobe Blog and I hope you have found it interesting and informative thought 2014. We are looking forward to creating and sharing lots of new content in 2015 and very much looking forward to your comments and feedback.

Until then, I would like to leave you with this video that Richard West (DataColour) and myself made in December on Dissecting the Lightroom and Photoshop workflow.

‘In this joint Webinar from Datacolor and Adobe Richard Curtis (Adobe) and Richard West (Datacolor) will look at the Photographic editing process from start to finish when using Adobe Lightroom. We will dissect key points in the workflow and look how they affect each stage of the editing process. From key considerations when importing images, such as capture options to which options make the biggest difference in the development module.’


Finally, I would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas from all of us at Adobe and a very happy new year.
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#CreativeFriday – Photoshop and Lightroom Workflows, Smart Objects and Compositing Images

The Creative Cloud Photography bundle offers the Photographer even more flexibility when it comes to editing their photographs and opportunities to make their images look even more amazing. Integration between the two products is a key benefit and is re-enforced with this bundle. The integration is not new and has been in place some time now, however, with the release of the Photography bundle and the ongoing updates to the Creative Cloud, this integration has become much stronger and offers even more possibilities to make images look even more beautiful.

The typical workflow between the two solutions is to let Lightroom render it’s adjustments and take the results into Photoshop. This is a great and well defined workflow, however, it does not offer an option to re-edit the Lightroom adjustments from within Photoshop. The integration between Lightroom and Photoshop in the Photography bundle has become much more flexible, by making use of Photoshop Smart Objects. The ability to open a Smart Object from Lightroom into Photoshop is not unique to the Photography bundle, but, there has been a number of significant improvements to the workflow and the ability to use more Photoshop Filters in a non destructive way on Smart Objects as well as the traditional adjustment layers.

With traditional Photoshop workflows, any Lightroom / Photoshop adjustment(s) had to be rasterised early in the workflow and reduced the options for any non destructive work. There are classic ways of editing images in Photoshop and work arounds to try create a non destructive process, however, this can result in workflows with a large number of layers and committing to adjustments early in the workflow with no way to re-edit previous enhancements.

The Creative Cloud Photography bundle, offers new workflows for the photographer to embrace a true non destructive workflow, without having to commit to adjustments early in the process. Images now can be saved with all of their Lightroom or Camera RAW adjustments in tact, with supported ways to re-edit the original RAW adjustments from Camera RAW or from Lightroom. This new workflow is a saviour for anybody that is wanting to tweak, enhance and re-tweak their pictures to get the best result at any time in the process.This new workflow can also be used when compositing images when using Lightroom or Camera RAW as a source.

To demonstrate this, here are two pictures that I took in Bhutan. I like the crowd image, and as well as helping to tell a story about the event, it might make a great replacement background on another image. The second image is of a chap in a mask used at the ritual, but the background could be improved.

One of the most common tasks in Photoshop is to cut something out of a photograph and then replace the background with another image. In the following example we will use Photoshop to extract the person in the mask from the it’s original scene, then replace it’s background with the crowd scene. The example will demonstrate how Smart Objects can be used in the compositing process, as well a new tool in the 2014 release of Photoshop CC, called the Focus Area. The Focus Area tool is used to make a selection based on the depth of field, rather than edge contrast, this enables a fast and accurate way to select in-focus parts of a scene.

The example will also show the workflow and integration of image editing between Lightroom and Photoshop and another way to open and process photographs. It will also show how to keep the Lightroom adjustments active and improve the non destructive editing process between the two applications, allowing you to tweak, review and re-tweak any enhancements at any time.

Any of these images can have Initial adjustments made in the Development module of Lightroom, there is no need need to worry if the initial results are not exactly what we are looking for, as we can modify them later once our editing process moves into Photoshop, and we have more information about how the composite will look once we see it.



Below is the first image that will be used as a background, this image of the crowd is located in the Lightroom catalog.



To open this image with a non-destructive editing workflow in mind, it will need to be opened as a Smart Object into Photoshop from Lightroom. The open as a Smart Object is available under the menu item ‘Photo / Edit in / Smart Object in Photoshop’ or by right clicking on the image in the filmstrip or in the middle view.



The image that has the person in the mask (with a not very interesting background), is also found in Lightroom. To show the integration, initial adjustments are made inside Lightroom before the image is taken into Photoshop for compositing.



Lightroom adjustments are made at this stage (setting the white and black points in the image) and highlight and shadow recovery mostly. These adjustments will be modified later, once the composite has started to take shape. The white point and black point adjustments are controlled from the Basic panel in Lightroom. In Lightroom, there is a very precise way to choose which elements of the image are clipped. Whilst either the white point or black point, shadow/highlight recovery settings are modified, the ALT key can be pressed. The ALT key will reveal the mask and show the areas that are being clipped to white/black.



the file is opened the same way as the background image, as a Smart Object into Photoshop.



Once inside Photoshop, the two Smart Object enabled layers, will be opened as two canvases. The two canvases will need to be merged into one to allow the composite to take effect. This can be done by un-docking one canvas, selecting its contents using CMD (Mac)+A or CTRL (Pc)+A, then using the move tool (selectable using the V key) and dragging it across to the other canvas. The SHIFT key may also be used to center the image on to the receiving canvas. If the SHIFT key is not used, the new image will need to be moved into position by dragging the layer into the correct position (by using the move tool). The crowd scene will need to be placed under the person with the mask, if it’s to be used as a background. To do this, grab the layer and move it to bottom of the layer stack.



Even though the canvases have been merged, the contents of them can still be opened, in this case, the original RAW file and the Lightroom Edits can be adjusted using Camera RAW inside Photoshop CC. Any adjustments here will then be re-applied to the RAW file and the results will be shown in the Smart Object layer in Photoshop.



The person in the mask is mostly in focus (expect just behind the head), to extract this object quickly and accurately from it’s background, the new Focus Area tool can be used. Selecting objects from a scene can be a tricky and time consuming business, this new feature is able to save huge amounts of time, and make an initial selections based on the depth of field of the image. If parts of the selected area are not in focus and not picked up by the ‘Focus Area’ tool, then modifications to the initial selection can be made by using tools within the Focus Area tool. The tool is available from the menu item ‘Select / Focus Area’.



Once the tool is selected it will start to work straight away. Focus Area will start to look for parts of the scene that are in focus and reveal appropriate parts of the mask (The mask is shown in red below, the mask options are configured in the view option of the tool).



If other areas of the image need selecting, and are not within the initial depth of field range, they can be added or removed from the initial selection by using the +/- brush tools and marking the area to include manually. In this example the + brush tool is used to include parts of the person costume and shoulders (parts of the person are slightly out of focus due to the aperture used when the picture was taken). Both of these tools are on the Focus area dialog box and are shown below (as seen on the image below). Including a new depth of field range is as simple as drawing a line on the red section of the mask.



The output of the Focus Area can be modified and different options are available, in the example below, the Layer Mask is used. This will return the mask selection as a layer mask, which will be added to the Smart Object layer, and essentially hide the background in this case. If the mask needs to be refined (i.e. fine element selections, such as hair can be made more accurate by using the refine edge tool), Refine Edge can be opened from the Focus Area tool, by clicking the Refine Edge button. (Don’t forget when using masks, non of the original layer is destroyed, it’s only hidden by the mask).



Once the mask has been applied, it will hide certain parts of the Smart Object and will allow the crowd scene to be seen.



At any time, the mask can be re-worked by selecting it on the appropriate layer, then choosing ‘Mask Edge’ on the properties panel. The Refine Mask dialog will be shown and the existing mask will be loaded into it for more refinement. As mentioned above, selection of fine elements like grass, hair etc can sometimes be improved with the refine edge option.



Once the selection has been made and the mask is working correctly, there can sometimes be a hard edge that, if not worked on can make the composite look fake. To get around this and make the blend look more natural, the edge of the mask can have a Gaussian blur applied to it. This can be achieved by selecting the mask by clicking on it with the mouse, then choosing Gaussian Blur Filter option. Gaussian blur filter can be found from the menu ‘Filter / Blur / Gaussian blur’. A large pixel radius won’t be required, as it’s just used to smooth the edge (but please try other values, and experiment with any of the settings in this guide).



Once the Gaussian blur has been applied, there might still be a white glow around the edges of the cut out/selection. In this case the mask/Gaussian blur effect will need shrinking. This can be achieved by using the levels command directly on the mask. To do this, select the mask by clicking on it from the Smart Object layer, then press the ALT key and click on the mask. The mask should be shown in black and white. The black areas are hiding parts of the Smart Object; the white is revealing areas of it. To apply the levels command to the mask, it will need to be selected from the menu item Image / Adjustments / Levels and not by using an adjustment layer. The levels command needs to be used in a destructive way directly on the mask.



Taking a closer look at the composite will show that there are now areas that are in focus areas and out of focus, all over the image. To the eye this won’t look very real, as it expects a gradual depth of field effect started by the body of the person with the mask. To make all elements of the image look realistic, the crowd will need to follow on from the out out focus areas from the persons body, especially the far shoulder.

Smart Objects and the use of filters have been significantly improved in Photoshop for Creative Cloud. Almost all of the filters under the Filters menu can now be used on a Smart Object and be used in a non-destructive workflow. This essentially means that once the Filter has been applied, it can be re-edited at any time (as long as the layer stays as a Smart Object and is not rasterized (or flattened)).

The Filter options can be found under the menu item ‘Filter’ and the Filter that will be used to apply blur (as if the camera/lens created it), can be found under ‘Filter / Blur Gallery / Field Blur’).



Once the Field Blur option has been selected, a dialog with an on screen widget will be shown. The amount of blur that will be applied to the Smart Object can be controlled by either using the on screen widget, or by using the sliders or value box on the right hand side of the screen. The blur effect will be applied to the Smart Object, which allows the blur to be added non-destructively, It’s not critical that the blur is exact at this time as it can be adjusted and refined at any time in the future.



Once the blur has been applied, the results will be added to the Smart Object layer and will be shown underneath it. This allows this effect or any Filter effect that is applied in this way to be re-edited; also, the eye icons will turn the effect on or off.



The rectangular white object on the effect (as shown above), is the mask, this mask will be used to hide/show parts of the effect, as required. Multiple effects can be applied to any one Smart Object and they will be added to the Filters list. The mask will be applied to all Filters that applied to a Smart Object. I suggest, that if multiple filters are required and each one requires a different mask or no mask even, then the appropriate layers are selected and wrapped up as a Smart Object. To wrap layers as a Smart Object, select the layers to be included (see below). To do this, open the layers fly out menu and choose ‘Convert to Smart Object’.



The two layers have been wrapped into a new Smart Object, it’s contents can be edited at any time by double clicking on the Smart Object layer.

Composite images can sometimes have different lighting, colours etc, which can result in an image that is not colour consistent. A quick way to achieve an aggregated colour effect, is to add a Blur Average effect (available from the menu item Filter / Blur / Average). This filter will essentially average out of the the colours in the composite image and create a single colour. The result will be added to this Smart Object and can be edited at an point in time.



Once the effect has been applied, the strength of the filter and blending mode can be adjusted. There is an icon on the Filter (this is shown to the right hand side of the Average Filter text (represented at two arrows separated by two lines). When this icon is double clicked, then the properties dialog will be displayed. To use the colour information only for the blend, choose colour blending mode.



The colour is too strong for the result and is overriding the natural colours, the opacity of the effect can be modified using the opacity controller. In the example 12% has been used, but is open to the effect that is required and suits the final image.



it may be required to adjust final values of the image (as would have been achieved in Lightroom or Camera RAW when working on a single image). This can be achieved on the composite by using the Camera RAW Filter on the Smart Object. The Camera RAW Filter is available on the menu item ‘Filter / Camera RAW Filter’. The Camera RAW Filter is added to the Average filter in this case, because the mask is not used on any of the filters. If it was, then I would wrap these adjustments into another Smart Object.



All of the usual controls that are expected in Camera RAW or in Lightroom are available for adjustment in this Filter. This includes controls such as the radial filter, spot healing brush, white point, black point, lens corrections etc. All of these adjustments can be added to this final composite using this non-destructive approach and cane be re-edited at any point in time.



In the following example a few tools in Camera RAW have been used to enhance the image, including the use of the Upright tool to straighten out any verticals and horizontal lines that occur in the photograph, as well as the radial filter to darken the crown and give the person in the mask more impact.



Once the Camera RAW adjustment has been applied, it will be added to the Smart Object, as shown below.



The original Lightroom adjustments are still available by double clicking into the Smart Object, then double clicking on the original Smart Object that is storing the Original RAW file and the Lightroom adjustments.



The Original Lightroom adjustments and the original RAW file are show below.



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Learn about Photoshop Painting from Real Digital Painters

One YouTube channel that I keep my eye one is the one created by the guys at Level Up. Ok, these videos are hangouts, and may not be the best edited and produced films out there and they are longer than the usual YouTube video (over 2 hours most of the time). However, what I really like about these videos is that the organisers interview and talk with guest speakers who let you into their Photoshop Digital Painting world, and they talk about their workflow and processes. I think this is a great way to learn about other processes that Photoshop does, as well as some great nugets of information that only Digital Painters know. There are lots of them to watch and are great to have on just in the background, enjoy the shows here.

Here is one to get you started, Colour Theory


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