2017/08/01

Lightroom & Photoshop Workflows: Start to Finish Studies on Lynda.com and LinkedIn Learning

I’m excited to announce that my new “Lightroom & Photoshop Workflows: Start to Finish Studies” course is now live on Lynda.com and LinkedIn Learning!

 

Learn Lightroom and Photoshop workflow and image editing techniques by watching a pro. In this project-oriented course, Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost takes five images from start to finish, beginning in Lightroom and ending in Photoshop. As Julieanne walks through each workflow, she helps you understand which image editing techniques you’d apply to your photos in Lightroom, and when you’d want to switch to Photoshop to make further changes. She demonstrates how to adjust tone and enhance images in Lightroom using more traditional tools and techniques, and then proceed to Photoshop for more elaborate manipulations. Plus, she explains how to use retouching tools to remove distracting elements, and unify the color and tone of multiple images.

Topics include:

  • Selecting Lightroom or Photoshop to edit images
  • Optimizing in Lightroom, and then proceeding to Photoshop
  • Retouching to remove distracting elements
  • Using multiple photographs to quickly replace unwanted elements
  • Unifying multiple images using color and tone
5:09 AM Permalink
2017/07/26

MAKE IT – Adobe’s premiere creativity conference in Asia Pacific

I’m super excited to be speaking at MAKE IT, Adobe’s premiere creativity conference in Asia Pacific  3 August, 2017 in Sydney, Australia!

If you’re local, join over 2,000 fellow designers, artists, filmmakers and innovative thinkers will gather for an afternoon of learning and inspiration from local and international speakers. If you can’t make the event in person, you can follow all of the action from the comfort of your desk or sofa by logging into the Livestream here https://adobe.ly/2thkYS5

Check out the lineup of international industry pioneers who will be sure to challenge, educate, and inspire you including: Mike Alderson, Co-Founder & Creative Director for ManvsMachine, photographer Nicole Tung, Craft-based designer Kitiya Palaskas, designer and illustrator Timothy Goodman and James Noble, Founder, Director of Experience at Carter Digital. You an learn more about them here: https://adobe.ly/2thkYS5

Hope to see you there!

P.S. the live streaming begins at 1pm on the 3rd of August, 2017 (in Sydney) which means that the live stream begins at 8 pm on the 2nd of August here in California (PST).  If that time doesn’t work, videos of the event will be available online after the fact…

11:58 AM Permalink
2017/07/25

Photoshop Automation: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

I’m excited to announce that my new Photoshop Automation: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques course is now live on Lynda.com and on LinkedIn Learning!If you’re like most creative pros, you probably spend a lot of time in Photoshop. And if you’re like a lot of Photoshop users, you probably spend an undue amount of time performing the same tasks. In this course, learn how to automate repetitive tasks in Photoshop, so that you can accomplish more in less time. Join Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost as she discusses a variety of productivity-boosting techniques for Photoshop automation. She shares tips for working with actions, using the Batch command, scripting, and more.

Topics include:

  • Quickly saving images as different file types
  • Creating single and multi-step actions
  • Saving and loading actions
  • Inserting stops, menu items, and conditionals
  • Tips for working with layers
  • Using the Batch command
  • Creating droplets
  • Automatically creating graphics from layers using generators
  • Working with variables and scripts
5:12 AM Permalink
2017/07/20

Lightroom Web Getting Started Series

Did you know that if you subscribe to the Creative Cloud for Photography program or Creative Cloud, you can access the photographs that you synchronize form Lightroom CC on the desktop or Lightroom mobile from any device from within a browser? This means that you’re no longer tied to a specific device – log on to lightroom.adobe.com and sign in using your adobe ID to upload, view, edit, and share your images from anywhere.

For example, if you’re with friends or family – or even with a client, and want to show them your photographs on their computer screen (because it’s much larger than  your mobile device), you can now use Lightroom web.  And, if you make any changes to those photos, all of the changes will be synchronized to Lightroom on your desktop and across your mobile devices. In addition, you can use Lightroom web to quickly share collections of images and Lightroom web galleries.

Following is a “Getting Started” series for Lightroom web that walks you through the workflow:

In this video we’ll discover how to use Lightroom web to access, edit, and share synced photos using a browser.
In this video we’ll cover the Dashboard, All Photos view, image navigation, rating and flagging images  in Lightroom web.
In this video we’ll learn how to organize our photographs using collections in Lightroom web.
In this video we’ll discover how to add (upload) photographs to Lightroom web on any device and see how they’re synchronized with Lightroom CC on the desktop.
In this video we’ll quickly crop and straighten a photograph using Lightroom web.
In this video we’ll learn how to set White Balance and make tonal and color changes to photographs using Lightroom web.
In this video we’ll convert an image to Black and White and add color toning effects using Lightroom web.
In this video we’ll add special effects including Dehaze, Post-Crop vignettes, and Grain to photographs using Lightroom web.
In this video, we’ll share collections of photographs and then view comments made by family and clients in Lightroom CC.
In this video, we’ll create a Lightroom Web Gallery and combine photos and text in a customizable layout.
In this video, we’ll look at how Lightroom web’s Search (technology preview) can help us to quickly find out photographs.
5:03 AM Permalink
2017/07/18

Lightroom Mobile Updates for iOS and Android

I’m excited to announce updates to Lightroom Mobile: iOS has a new selective Brush, the Linear and Radial adjustment tools have an eraser, and a new Details tab enables global sharpening and noise reduction. Android has a new interface which is much more Android-ish.

First, the new selective Brush for iOS: now you can paint anywhere in your photograph and then dial in the enhancements that you want to apply. On the more recent phones that support 3D touch, your “brush” strokes are pressure sensitive allowing you to control the intensity of the effect.

First, tap the Selective edit stack in the lower left, then, tap the plus icon in the upper left.

 

Tap to select the Brush. To change brush parameters, tap-drag up/down on the icons (on the left) to change brush size, feather, and flow (flow is similar to opacity in Photoshop).

 

Painting in the image displays red overlay as a visual indicator of the area that will be modified. To remove any unwanted areas, tap the eraser and paint. Note: use two fingers to zoom and pan when using the selective adjustment tools.

Once you’re finished painting the area to be modified, tap one of the edit stacks to make changes (the red overlay is automatically hidden order to see the changes). Note: you can continue to paint and erase in the image after making the adjustments. 

In this example, both the exposure (Light edit stack) and white balance (Color edit stack) were modified. Tap the check in the lower right to apply the edits. Note: when working with the selective adjustments, tap the three dots in the upper right to access masking overlay options, duplicate, or remove a selective adjustment.

In addition, the Linear and Radial adjustment tools now have an Eraser tool to remove adjustments from unwanted areas.

After creating a Radial or Linear adjustment, tap the Eraser icon and paint in the image area to hide adjustments in unwanted areas.  

There’s a new details Details edit stack to apply global Sharpening and Noise Reduction to an image.

Use the Details tab to apply global Sharpening and Noise Reduction.

The interface for Lightroom mobile on the  iPad Pro has been redesigned specifically for the larger screen and the Apple Pencil is pressure sensitive when using the selective Brush tool.

For Android customers, the team has been hard at work making a completely new version which is much more Android-ish! Be sure to download the update to experience the new look and feel.

If you’re looking for additional training on Lightroom Mobile, I posted a Getting Started Series on youtube. Below is the first video in the series, all of my other videos can be found here: Lightroom mobile video tutorials.

 

8:25 AM Permalink
2017/07/13

Viewing the Unseen with the Help of a Camera

One of my favorite things to do it make photographs of things that are invisible to the naked eye. Whether it’s capturing a split-second, or compressing multiple seconds into a single photograph, the camera can help us to see what, under normal circumstances, we can not observe.

Last week, I was driving over Independence Pass in Colorado,when I pulled over at a little spot in the road to stretch my legs and have a picnic. Here is a short clip I took to document the “reality” of the river.

While the video certainly portrays the power and frenzie of the recent snow-melt, my internal experience was a sense of calm. To capture an image that was more in tune with my feelings, I set up a tripod and put on my neutral density filters in order to slow my shutter speed  and capture the “cotton candy” images below.

Camera settings: shutter speed 1/3 of a second, F/11, ISO 100

Camera settings: shutter speed 1/2 of a second, F/11, ISO 100

In situations such as this, I will typically capture several exposure of the same scene using slightly different shutter speeds in order to select the one that best recreates my experience. Below are three examples of different shutter speeds. The images on the left were captured with relatively faster shutter speeds (revealing a bit more turbulent motion) than the images on the right.

Once I decide on my camera settings, I will be sure to take multiple exposures as the volume of water and path of the river will make each capture unique. As you can see in the images below, even though my camera settings were the same for the pairs of images, the results are quite different.

Because I tend to crop my photographs tight (in an attempt to minimize the chaos),  I also try to remind myself to include images with a wider field of view in order to show context.

Because its not possible to accurately predict what the final image will look like, I often photograph scenes just to make sure that the camera isn’t able to see thing that I can’t. In the images below for example, as the slow shutter speed smooths the water,  the positive and negative space in the image becomes more pronounced making the rocks and water more interesting than how my eyes interpreted them.

Finally, I made sure to capture a few vertical images and even played with shadows when the sun would peak out from behind the clouds.

 


Each of us is an ongoing product of the world within us, the world between us, and the world around us—and their hidden capacity to shape our every thought, feeling, and behavior. —Adam Alter, Drunk Tank Pink


 

5:30 AM Permalink
2017/07/11

Five Reasons to use Smart Filters in Photoshop

In order to apply Smart Filters in Photoshop, first turn the layer(s) into a Smart Object using one of the following methods:

  • Select the layer(s) and choose Layer > Smart Object > Convert to Smart Object.
  • Select the layer(s) and choose Filter > Convert for Smart Filters.
  • Control -click (Mac) | Right -click (Win) on the layer (s) in the Layers panel and choose Convert to Smart Object.

1) Smart Filters are non-destructive and re-editable

  • Double click the name of the Smart Filter (on the Layers panel) to change the Smart Filter parameters.
  • Double click the Filter Blending icon to change Opacity and/or Blend mode of the Smart Filter.

Double click the Smart Filter name or Filter Blending icon to edit.

2) Multiple Smart Filters can be added to a Smart Object

  • You can apply multiple Smart Filters to a Smart Object. If needed, drag the filter name (in the Layers panel) to change the order in which the filters are applied.

3) Smart Filters can be selectively applied using the Smart Filter Mask

  • Painting with black in the Smart filter mask will hide the filter. Painting with white will reveal the filter. This is an excellent way to apply selective sharpening to an image.

4) Each Smart Filter can have it’s own mask

  • To use a different filter mask for each Smart Filter, nest the Smart Objects/Filters:
    • Apply the first Smart Filter and paint in the mask as desired.
    • Then, choose Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object (essentially “nesting” the smart filter and the mask).
    • Apply another Smart Filter and paint in the mask as needed.

This video demonstrates this technique:

5) Smart Filter can easily be moved or duplicated to other Smart Objects

  • Drag the name of the Smart Filter to move it from one layer to another.
  • Option -dragging (Mac) | Alt  -dragging (Win) a Smart Filter from one layer to another will behave differently based on where you click and drag:
    •  Dragging the “Smart Filters” text (next to the mask) will duplicate the Smart Filter and it’s layer mask.

2014_10_29SOmask

    • Dragging the name of the Smart Filter (Blur Gallery in this example) duplicates the Smart filter without copying the mask.

2014_10_29SOnomask

5:16 AM Permalink
2017/06/27

The Fill Command in Photoshop CC

While I expect that many of you already know the shortcuts to fill with the Foreground and background colors, did you also know that your can fill with History, fill non-transparent areas, and a combination of both?

01) Fill with the Foreground/Background Color

  • Option + Delete (Mac) | Alt + Backspace (Win) fills with the foreground color.
  • Command + Delete (Mac) | Control + Backspace (Win) fills with the background color.
  • Note: these shortcuts work with several types of layers including Type and Shape layers.

02) The Fill Dialog Box

  • Shift + Delete (Mac) | Shift + Backspace (Win) displays the fill dialog.

03) Fill with History

  • Option + Command + Delete (Mac) | Alt + Control + Backspace (Win) fills with the currently selected history state. (This can be really useful when retouching and you need to “revert” only a portion of an image.)

04) Fill Content Only

  • Option + Shift + Delete (Mac) | Alt +Shift +Backspace (Win)  will fill with the foreground color and temporarily turn on the Lock Transparency option (so that only those pixels that have information in them are filled).

05) Fill Content with History

  • Option + Command + Shift + Delete (Mac) | Alt + Control + Shift +Backspace (Win) will fill with the currently selected history state and preserve transparency (so that only those pixels that have information in them are filled).

 

5:02 AM Permalink
2017/06/22

Photography, the Best Kind of Project Creep

Project creep gets me every time.

1) I broke a pot that had a succulent in it.

2) I went to the nursery to replace the pot.

3) I ended up buying 12 more succulents (I mean seriously, how do you decide on just one, when they’re all so unique!)

4) I decided that they were so beautiful that I had to photograph them before I planted them.

5) So I did.

See what I did there? I took a 30 minute project and turned it into an all day event. But it was worth it. Ha!

I used my Canon 5Ds with a 45mm tilt-shift lens with a closeup filter on it. Because I wanted a very shallow depth of filed, I shot tethered, directly into Lightroom CC in order to quickly check focus. It was fun to use my tripod/lights etc. and shoot in the studio – well, ok, in the enclosed porch, I don’t have a studio — we do what we can with what we have, right?

I pulled one of the images into Photoshop and added a texture.

If you want to know how to add a texture like this, here is a free video (Adding a texture to a photo) from Photoshop CC 2017 Essential Training: Photography on Lynda.com.

I hope to do more with the individual photos at some point, but with all of my other project creep, well, I don’t know when that might happen. : )

5:02 AM Permalink
2017/06/20

Fundamental Layers Panel Tips and Techniques

The Background Layer

  • Clicking the lock icon next to the Background layer on the Layers panel converts the Background to a layer enabling transparency, repositioning  in the image area and changing the stacking order.
  • Double click the Background layer to display the New Layer dialog for additional options (renaming, color coding etc.).

Renaming Layers

  • To rename a single layer, double click the layer’s name in the Layers panel.
  • To rename multiple layers, rename one and then, without pressing the enter key to apply the new name, press the Tab key to move to the layer below. Shift + Tab moves to the layer (above).

Adding New Layers to a Document in Photoshop

  • Command + Shift + N (Mac) | Control + Shift + N (Win) will add a new layer and display the New Layer dialog for additional options (layer name, blend mode etc.).
  • Command + Option + Shift + N (Mac) | Control + Alt + Shift + N (Win) adds a new layer bypassing the New Layer dialog.
  • By default, new layers are added above the currently selected layer. Command -click (Mac) | Control -click (Win) the New Layer icon (on the Layers panel) to create a new layer below the currently selected layer. This shortcut is helpful for example, when adding a layer that you don’t want to be included in a Clipping Group.

Deleting Layers

  • To delete a layer(s), select it in the Layers panel and tap the delete key.
  • To delete hidden layers from the Layers panel, use the fly-out and select Delete Hidden Layers.

Duplicating Layers

  • With the Move tool selected, Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) a layer in the image area to duplicate (copy) the selected  layer(s).
  • To duplicate a layer using the Layers panel, select the layer(s) and Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the layer until a solid line between the layers appears and release.
  • Command + J (Mac) | Control + J (Win) duplicates the selected layer(s). Note: this shortcut works for Layer Groups as well.
  • To prevent Photoshop from adding “copy” and a sequence number to a duplicated file name, use the Layers panel fly-out menu to select Panel Options and uncheck Add “copy” to Copied Layers and Groups.

Drag and Drop Between Open Documents

  • To duplicate layers from one document to another, select the layers in the Layers panel and drag from one document window to another. When the “destination” document becomes highlighted, release to “drop” the layers.
  • Holding the Shift key while dragging and dropping a layer(s) between two documents will place the “dropped” layer(s) into the center of the destination document. If there is a selection in the destination document, holding the Shift key while dragging and dropping an image will drop it into the center of the selection.
  • When working with tabbed documents, use the Move tool to drag layers from the image area or the Layers panel, on top of the “destination” document’s tab. When the “destination” document pops forward, position the cursor over the image area and release to “drop” the layers.

Changing the Blend mode of a Layer

  • To quickly cycle through a the Blend Modes select the Move tool (or any tool that does not have Blend Mode options), hold the Shift key and press “+” (plus) or “-” (minus) to move forward or backwards through the list.
  • In addition, each blend mode has a unique keyboard shortcut.  They all begin with Option + Shift (Mac) | Alt + Shift (Win) then a single letter.
    • Normal + N
    • Dissolve + I
    • Behind + Q
    • Clear + R
    • Darken + K
    • Multiply + M
    • Color Burn + B
    • Linear Burn + A,
    • Lighten + G
    • Screen + S
    • Color Dodge + D
    • Linear Dodge + W
    • Overlay + O
    • Soft Light + F
    • Hard Light + H
    • Vivid Light + V
    • Linear Light + J
    • Pin Light + Z
    • Hard Mix + L
    • Difference + E
    • Exclusion + X
    • Hue+ U
    • Saturation+ T
    • Color  + C,
    • Luminosity + Y

Changing the Opacity of a Layer(s)

  • To change the Opacity of a layer(s), select the Move tool (or any tool that does not have Opacity options), and press a numeric key to add the percentage of the pressed number. (1 = 10%, 2= 20% etc. and 0 = 100%).
  • Pressing two numbers quickly will give you that exact amount (5 + 4 = 54%).
  • Pressing 00 (zero-zero) decreases the opacity to 0%.
  • Adding the Shift key will change the Fill amount.

Toggling Layer Visibility in Photoshop

  • Clicking the eye icon next to any layer on the Layers panel will hide/show the layer.
  • Option -click (Mac) |  Alt -click  (Win) the eye icon in the Layers panel to toggle visibility of all other layers.
  • Command + “,” (comma) (Mac) | Control + “,” (comma) (Win) toggles the visibility of the currently selected layer(s).
  • Command + Option +  “,” (comma)  (Mac) | Control + Alt +  “,” (comma)  (Win) shows all layers (regardless of which layers are selected).
  • Control -click (Mac) | right -click (Win) the eye icon and select “Show/Hide all other layers” to make all layers visible (regardless of which layers  were previously visible).

Merging Layers

  • Command + E (Mac) | Control + E (Win) will merge selected layers.
The three selected layers are merged into a single layer.

The three selected layers are merged into a single layer.

  • Command + Shift + E (Mac) | Control + Shift + E (Win) will merge all visible layers (hidden layers will remain untouched).
The top two Layers aren't merged because they are not visible.

The top two Layers aren’t merged because they are hidden.

  • Command + Option + E (Mac) | Control + Alt + E (Win) creates a new layer and pastes a “flattened” version of the selected layers on it (the key to this shortcut is that you have to have multiple layers selected)!
The information from the two selected layers are copied to an new layer and merged.

A flattened copy of the two selected layers are merged onto a new layer.

  • Command + Option + Shift + E  (Mac) | Control + Alt + Shift + E  (Win) does one of two things:
    •  If the top most layer in the Layers panel is an empty (blank) layer, Photoshop will create a flattened copy of all visible layers and place the merged/flattened information onto the top layer. 
    • If the top layer  in the Layers panel has content (is not empty/blank), then Photoshop will create a new layer and merge a copy of all visible layers onto the newly created layer. 
A flattened copy of all visible layers is pasted onto a new layer.

A flattened copy of all visible layers is merged onto a new layer (regardless of what layer(s) is selected).

  • When Merging layers, if any of the layers that are going to be merged have been manually renamed (i.e. you renamed them), Photoshop will keep that custom layer name and use it as the new merged layer name. If you have created custom names for multiple layers that are all being merged together, then Photoshop will take the top-most custom named layer.

Copying Merged Layers (and Groups)

  • Command + Shift + C (Mac) | Control + Shift + C (Win) with an active selection in the image, copies a merged view of all visible layers onto the clipboard.

Color Coding Layers

  • Control -click (Mac) | Right -click (Win) on a selected layer(s) and choose a highlight color from the context sensitive menu. Note: the Background must be converted to a layer to color-code.

Layer Thumbnail Preview Options

  • To change Layer thumbnail size, from the Layers panel fly-out choose Panel Options. Choose a large size to more easily see the contents of the layer. Choose a small size to see more layers in a complicated document. Note: if your image is wider than it is high, selecting the smaller thumbnail sizes might display the generic icon for Adjustment layers).
  • Change Thumbnail Contents – select  “Layer Bounds” to display a preview image of only the area in the layer that contains content – this option typically provides a larger preview of layers containing minimal content, Select “Entire Document” to display the layer content in relationship to the entire document (this option typically provides a smaller preview of layers containing significant areas of content.

Thumbnail Content set to Entire Document.

Thumbnail Content set to Layer Bounds.

Locking and Unlocking Layers

  • Several layer attributes can be locked including Transparent Pixels, Image Pixels, and/or Position
    • Locking Transparency enables editing of image information but not transparent areas. 
    • Locking the Image Pixels prohibits any pixel editing (painting etc.).
    • Locking Position prevents the layer from being moved.
  • Command + / (Mac) | Control + / (Win) toggles between locking and unlocking all selected layers.
  • Command + Option +/ (Mac) | Control + Alt +  / (Win) unlocks all layers (except the Background layer), regardless of which layers are selected.
  • If a layer has locked attributes, pressing the “/” key will toggle the lock for those attributes (instead of toggling the lock for all attributes). If the layer was unlocked to begin with, then all attributes will be locked.

Linking Layers

  • When layers are linked together, commands applied to one layer will also be applied to linked layers (when possible). Linking can be helpful when working with complex documents in eliminating the need to have to reselect layers again and again when multiple layers require identical changes.
  • To link two or more layers, select them in the Layer’s panel and click the Link icon.
  • For increased efficiency,  assign a custom keyboard shortcut to Link/Unlink Layers (Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. In Shortcuts For, select Panels, Menus. Then under Layers, scroll down to Link/Unlink Layers.)
  • Shift-click on the link icon to temporarily disable linking of a given layer.
  • The rules for linking layers are a bit complex because Layers can only belong to one link set at a time. They are as follows:
    • Selecting a layer that is linked will show the link icon on all the other layers to which it is linked. 
    • To unlink a single layer from a link set, simply select the layer and click the link icon. If there were other linked layers, they remain linked. 
    • If none of the layers selected contain linked and you click the link icon, all layers become linked – creating a new link set.
    • If the layers selected contain only linked layers, regardless of whether they’re all in the same link sets, clicking the link icon unlinks everything selected. 
    • If the layers selected contain at least some linked layers within the selection, plus any number of unlinked layers, clicking the link icon extends the link set to include the unlinked layers in the selection.
    • If the layers selected contains linked layers from two or more link sets plus at least one unlinked layer, everything in the selection gets put into a “new” linked set.
5:16 AM Permalink
2017/06/19

Adobe Launches Lightroom Instagram Channel

Hey, hey! The Lightroom team just launched their own Instagram channel and I’m thrilled they included three of my images as part of their #BeBoundless series!

Photo by @jkost || During my first time in Antarctica, we were silently gliding past a larger iceberg. I noticed that there was a hole that I could see through so I focused on that spot and waited to see if we passed by anything interesting. It just so happened that there was a larger iceberg on the other side, and I was fortunate enough to capture an image as it appeared in the “window”. #BeBoundless

 

Photo by @jkost || This entire effect was captured in-camera. I love the idea of using the camera to capture things you can’t see with the naked eye – like black and white, or motion blur as seen here. Photography can be a way to explore new senses and see the world in a different way. #BeBoundless

 

Photo by @jkost || This was my first time using a small airplane for photography… and I’m afraid of flying. There were no doors on the plane and I was strapped in with one of those harnesses you can get at Home Depot. Fear aside, it was an incredible way to change my perspective. #BeBoundless

10:00 AM Permalink
2017/06/15

Make a lot of Photographs, and Make them Often

I often hear people complain that photographers with digital cameras tend to overshoot their subjects. While that might be true if you’re taking fifty image of the same subject without changing anything, I’ve always been one to make a lot of photographs, and make them often.

If you’ve seen my instagram feed, then you know that I enjoy posting triptychs – and for good reason. Posting more than one image forces me to explore my subject (rather than simply capturing the first “grab-shot” and walking away), while the constraint of posting three related images, limits the possibilities yet somehow, simultaneously increases my creativity.

Some days I choose a specific subject like the corner of the convention center or the sunflowers in the images below and change my perspective to create three unique images of that subject.

Other times, I choose a theme, concept, or word and then make images based on that idea.  In the images below I chose “texture” and “architecture”. My goals is to make the images work well together so I look for visual similarities such as quality and direction of light, color, and tone.

I also look for graphic shapes or lines. In the first set of examples below, the “parking” theme as well as my angle of view helps tie the images together whereas the strong lines and reflections in the buildings help tie the second set together.

I often use techniques such as long exposures/slow shutter speeds with the camera on a tripod or panning the camera while in a moving car to explore what is invisible to the naked eye.

I find photographing through an object (the window of a plane or a car for example), is another interesting way to create a relationship between images that might otherwise be of differing subject matter.

And, knowing what’s possible when processing images in Lightroom and Photoshop can also help unify a series of images. Processing the photographs of the wires below as high-key, black and white images enabled me to match the sky across the images while refining white balance helped strengthen the color palette across the aerial images.

So while it’s true that it might take more time to edit the larger number of photographs that I make, the freedom to explore the subject and increase my skills (at such little cost), is just too good of an opportunity to pass up. I can almost guaranty that without making a lot of images (and making them often), I would never have seen – nor made – the last image of the Golden Gate Bridge below.

Have a great weekend!

5:20 AM Permalink
2017/06/13

Tips for Working with Blur Gallery in Photoshop CC

The Blur Gallery filters (Field Blur, Iris, Tilt-Shift, Path, and Spin) are incredibly powerful features that can help selectively blur a photograph in order to remove distracting elements, help direct the viewers eye through an image, or just add creative effects! To apply these filters in a nondestructive manner, I would recommend that you first convert the layer(s) to Smart Objects before applying the filter so that you can:

  • Re-edit the parameters of the filter at any time (by double clicking the name of the filter in the Layers panel).
  • Paint in the Smart Filter mask to selectively hide and show the filter.
  • Apply a Smart Filter to an entire video clip (not just the first frame).

01) Common shortcuts across Blur Gallery filters

  • Press and hold “H” to temporarily hide the Blur interface (pins etc.).
  • Press “P” to toggle the preview on and off.
  • Press and hold “M” to display the mask.

02) The Tilt-Shift Blur

Discover how to create a Tilt-Shift effect using Blur Gallery in this free video (Creating a Tilt-Shift Effect in Photoshop CC 2017), from Photoshop CC 2017 Essential Training: Photography on Lynda.com.

Additional features of the Tilt-Shift Blur filter (not covered in the video) include:

  • Option -drag  (Mac) | Alt -drag  (Win) the dotted line causes the opposite side to mirror the change by repositioning it by the same number of pixels.  This means that if the two dotted lined were symmetric before dragging with the keyboard modifier, they will remain symmetric, but if they were previously repositioned (one line was moved 20 pixels and the other was moved 50), then using the modifier will change them both by the same number of  pixels.
  • When rotating the filter, press the Shift key to constrain the rotation to 15 degree increments.
  • Rotate the blur to add distortion to the foreground or background of the image. Or, select Distort Symmetrically to apply distortion to both sides of the blur.

03) The Effects Panel in Blur Gallery

The Effects Panel can apply a bokeh to Field, Iris, and Tilt-Shift blurs.

  • Light Bokeh controls the amount of highlights in the blur.
  • Bokeh Color increases/decreases saturation.
  • Light Range controls the range of light where the bokeh appears.

The original image, Tilt-Shift filter applied (blurring the flower on the left), and bokeh added to create circles from highlight areas.

04) The Path Blur Filter

Discover how to add motion blur to images in this free video (Creative Blurring Along a Path in Photoshop CC 2017), from Photoshop CC 2017 Essential Training: Photography on Lynda.com.   

Additional features of the Path Blur filter (not covered in the video) include:.

  • Increase the Taper amount to allow the blur to gradually trail off.
  • Enable the Center Blur option to produce a more “stable” looking motion blur (the blur is created using pixels on both sides of the blur).  Uncheck to create a more fluid blur (the blur is created from the pixels on one side of the blur).
  • Use the End point slider to change the amount of blur independently on each end of the path
  • Command -click (Mac) | Control -click (Win) the end of a path to set the End Point blur to 0.
  • Add more than one path in an image to selectively blur areas.
  • Click on the path to add a point. Click on a point to select it and tap the delete key to delete it.
  • Command -click (Mac) | Control -click (Win) on the path (or points) to reposition.
  • Option + Command -drag (Mac) | Alt + Control -drag (Win)  to copy the path.
  • Shift -drag on the Blur Shape path to simultaneously change the direction of both Blur Shapes.
  • Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) an anchor point (on the path) to convert it to a corner point (and vise versa). Pressing “C” also toggles an anchor point between corner and non-corner. (Corner points can be useful for blocking off parts of an image and for creating a sharp motion blur transition: make a path that is straight then add corner point and curve the second line.)
  • Select from Basic Blur or Rear Sync Flash (Rear Sync Flash sets the Path Blur settings to: Speed = 100%, Taper = 20% and Centered Blur = Off and the Motion Effects to: Strobe strength = 25%, Strobe flashes = 1).

Below is an additional video demonstrating how to use the Path Blur to create motion effects in an image. Note: the video was recorded before the Noise Panel was added to path Blur – in the current version of Photoshop CC, it would be easier to apply noise in the Blur Gallery.

05) Restoring Noise in Blur Gallery

When applying the blur gallery filters, you have the option to add Uniform, Gaussian, or Grain noise back into the blurred areas in order to closely match the restored noise with the original image.

  • Noise – this checkbox turns the Noise on/off. It’s not just a preview, if you turn it off, the noise will not be applied to the result.
  • Type – select between Uniform, Gaussian, and Grain (this is the same Grain that is found in Camera Raw).
  • Amount – the amount of contrast added to the noise.
  • Size –  controls particle size for Grain (this is the same control as found in Camera Raw and is not available for Gaussian or Uniform).
  • Roughness –  controls the regularity of the grain. A negative value makes the grain more uniform, a positive value makes the noise more uneven (this is the same control as found in Camera Raw and is not available for Gaussian or Uniform).
  • Color – controls how much color appears in the grain (from monochromatic to highly saturated).
  • Highlight – suppresses the application of noise in the highlight areas (for better highlight/shadow matching).

06) Spin Blur

The new Spin Blur filter creates non-destructive, realistic, motion effects including the ability to spin an object at variable angles, as well emulate traditional strobe effects. This video will show you how:

Shortcuts for the Spin Blur filter:

  • Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the center pin to reposition the Rotation point (the center of the spin).
  • Command + Option -drag (Mac) | Control + Alt -drag (Win) the pin to duplicate the pin.

07) The Motion Effects Panel in Blur Gallery

Use the Motion Effects panel to emulate traditional strobe effects (including the ability to define the strength, number of flashes and duration)on Path and Spin Blur filters.

  • Strobe Strength: determine how much blur will show between flash exposures. (0% Strength = no strobe effect. 100% Strength = high strobe effect, little blur shown between exposures). This simulates the control of balance between strobe light and ambient light.
  • Strobe Flashes: Set the number of exposures.
  • Strobe Flash Duration: Measured in degrees (º), this allows the user to set the “length” of the flash by setting how much distance on the circumference the blur.

Strobe strength is set to 100% in all three illustrations.

08) Field Blur

Unfortunately, Field blur is one of the least used of the Blur Gallery filters because once a pin is added, it blurs the entire image and at that point, most people dismiss it’s value. However, you can set down additional pins and set each pin’s blur value independently to create differing levels of blur throughout an image.

Original image (left), and multiple Field Blur pins set to varying blur amounts (right).

09) Iris Blur  

  • From the center pin to the “free-floating” solid white dots, no blur is applied. Between the solid dots and the solid white circle is the “transitional” area where the blur is applied over the length of the transition. Beyond the solid white circle, the blur is fully applied.
  • Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win)  the free-floating dots to move independently (thus making the transitional area asymmetrical).
  • Drag the large square on the solid circle outwards to create a rectangular shape Iris blur.
  • Drag the small white dots on the outer circle to rotate and/or to distort the circle to an oval.

Original image (left), Iris Blur added to soften background and emphasize hand (right).

10) Additional Blur Gallery features

  • When working with selections, use the Vary the Selection Bleed to expand the blur into the selection (This feature is disabled when using Smart Objects/Filters and, the selection must be created before selecting the filter).
  • Decrease the Focus amount to blur the center of the Iris and Tilt-Shift blurs if you want the image to start slightly out of focus.
  • Enable Save Mask to Channel in the Options bar to create an alpha channel when applying the filter. (If the blurs are the same type, or a combination of Tilt-Shift, Iris and Field blurs, Photoshop will create a single unified, intersecting mask.)
  • Enable High Quality for smoother rendering when applying bokeh (this feature might decrease performance).
  • If you use the Blur Gallery filters often, assign a custom keyboard shortcut (Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts) to the one you use most (this give easy access to the others as well).
  • Neither the Blend Mode nor Opacity settings for Blur Gallery can be changed (like you can for other Smart Filters), but you can duplicate the Smart Object before applying the filter and then use the Blend Mode and Opacity settings to blend the filtered / non-filtered layers together.
  • When applying Blur Gallery on a multi-layered document, you can see other layers while applying the filter. In addition, you can choose to show your Layers panel while in the Blur Gallery (Window > Layers) to change Opacity, Fill and Blend modes on layer that is being filtered. When finished interacting with your layers, you can choose to hide the Layers panel by selecting “Reset Workspace” from the Blur Gallery workspace (in the upper right of the interface).
5:15 AM Permalink
2017/06/08

Joshua Tree – An Afternoon in Solitude

I have finally embraced the fact that I’m an introvert. Not only do I like spending time alone, I need to spend time alone. If you surround me with people day after day, eventually, I will run out of “nice”.

I enjoy nature. And silence. Put the two together and that’s when I do my best creative work. So, when I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon driving through a national park by myself, I packed my camera gear, jumped in the car, and off I went.

I used Adobe Spark Page to assemble my favorite images from the afternoon and limited my editing to the “more traditional” photographic editing/toning workflow in Lightroom. (I find that setting limitations (as well as deadlines) enables me to actually publish the work in a timely manner!)

“I believe loneliness is a door you have to go through—a passage leading you to solitude. Solitude is what I’m after. The kind of tranquility that allows you access to your own imagination. Solitude helps you differentiate, define the borders of the self. Solitude helps you figure out where everybody else stops and you begin. Solitude is quite different from being alone. Solitude is the state of being alone without losing your mind.” ­­—Jeanne Marie Laskas

 

Below are some images from the project. The original, raw captures are on the left and the toned images are on the right. I used the Basic panel to set white balance, black and white points, increase shadows, decrease highlights, and increase Clarity. I used the Targeted Adjustment tool (in the HSL panel) to desaturate and darken the luminance of the sky.

In the next set of images, I used the Adjustment Brush to selectively dodge and burn the tips of the cacti and the pink flowers, and the Radial Filter to lighten the edges in the image of the cacti and darken the edges of the flower image.

For this last group of images (top images are original captures, bottom images are edited), working in Reference View (in the Develop module) made it much easier to compare images while adjusting HSL to unify the sky across the images. I really appreciate that I can create a collection in Lightroom CC, sync it to the cloud, and then access those files to quickly assemble my Spark Page.  Click here for a video that demonstrates how to create your own Adobe Spark Page.

5:20 AM Permalink
2017/06/06

10 Tips for Working with Filters in Photoshop CC

Here are 10 of my favorite tips, techniques and shortcuts  for working with filters in Photoshop CC.

01) Apply the Last Used Filter

  • Command  + Control + F (Mac) | Command + Alt  + F (Win) executes the last used filter.

02) Display the Last Used Filter

  • Command + Option + F (Mac) displays the dialog box for the last used filter. (Note: there is no default keyboard shortcut for Windows, however you can make your own by customizing the shortcut for Filter > Last Filter and then adding the alt key when using that custom shortcut!)

03) Filter Gallery

  • Filter Gallery can only be applied to 8 bit images.
  • While in the Filter Galley dialog:
    • Option -click  (Mac) | Alt  -click (Win) a filter’s preview icon to add it as a new filter (instead of replacing the current filter).
    • Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the disclosure triangle to the left of a Filter Category to expand/collapse all categories.
  • If you prefer to view the artistic filters listed under Filter Gallery in the filter menu, select Preferences > Plug-ins > Show All Filter Gallery Groups and Names.

04) Quickly Find and Apply a Filter

  • If you know the name of the filter that you are trying to run, but don’t want to waste time finding it in the menus, use Command + F and type the filter name into the search dialog.
  • If you often use the same filters, assign a keyboard shortcut to them using the Keyboard shortcut editor (Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts)

05) PDF with Examples of Photoshop Filters

I created this PDF (JKost_ArtisticFilters) for my Photoshop CC 2017 Essential Training course on Lynda.com | LinkedIn Learning.  The examples are pretty straight forward, (meaning that I didn’t combine any filters to make “complicated” effects), but I think it’s a good resource especially for anyone that is teaching Photoshop.

06) Non-destructive Filtering of Layer(s)

  • Any filter applied to a Smart Object automatically becomes a “Smart Filter”. (Choose Layer > Smart Object > Convert to Smart Object to convert the selected layer(s) into a Smart Object before adding the filter).
  • Change the filter parameters of a Smart Filter at any time by double clicking on the name of the filter in the Layers panel (that’s what makes them smart, they’re nondestructive and re-editable at any time).
  • Change the Opacity and Blend Mode of the Smart Filter by double clicking the Filter Blending Option (two small lines with triangles under then to the right of the filter name in the Layers panel.)
  • Paint in the Smart Filter mask just as you would any layer mask (black to hide the filter, white to show).
  • When working with video in Photoshop, converting a layer into a Smart Object and then adding a filter applies the filter to all frames in a video layer (not just the first frame).

07) Moving Smart Filters

  • In the Layers panel, drag the name of the Smart Filter to copy it from one layer to another.

08) Duplicating Smart Filters

  • Option -drag (Mac) | Alt  -drag (Win) a Smart Filter from one layer to another will behave differently based on where you click and drag:
    • Dragging the name of the Smart Filter duplicates without copying the mask.
    • Dragging the “Smart Filters” text (next to the mask) will duplicate the Smart Filter including the layer mask.

09) Making a Selection on a Layer with a Smart Filter
If you use a Smart Filter’s mask to hide the effects of a Smart Filter, Photoshop will still make selections based on the filtered content – even though it is hidden.

Here is the original photo of an Iceberg, converted to a Smart Object ignorer to add the Path Blur filter as a Smart Filter.

10_16_01_so

The illustration below shows after adding the Path Blur (listed as Blur Gallery on the Layers panel) as a Smart Filter. Notice that the entire layer is blurred.

10_16_01_blur

Drawing a linear gradient in the Smart Filters mask reveals the Path Blur in the water, but hides it from the iceberg.

10_16_01_filtermask

Using the Quick Select tool, I expected Photoshop to easily select only the sky, but it selected the iceberg as well (because Photoshop applies the Path Blur to the entire layer – the mask is only  hiding the filter).

10_16_01_selection

Hiding the Path Blur (by toggling off the eye icon next to Blur Gallery), enabled the Quick Select tool to easily select the sky.

10_16_01_hideblur

In the final image below, I added the new sky layer (adding a mask based on the selection so that they sky wouldn’t overlap the iceberg), and toggled on the visibility of the Blur Gallery Smart Filter (to display the Path Blur filter in the water).

10_16_01_sky

10) Fading Filters

Command + Shift + F (Mac) | Control + Shift + F (Win) displays the Fade options to change Opacity and Blend Mode of the fade last filter applied. Note: the Fade command can only be applied directly after running the filter and can not be used on a Smart Object (because Smart Objects are non-distructive and can be changed at any time using the Layers panel).

4:48 AM Permalink