#CreativeFriday – A practical use of the Difference Blending mode in Photoshop

One blending mode that I’ve started to use more and more is the Difference blending mode. Some times I need to see visual changes on a change,  especially when some precise control is needed.

For example. I am working with a precise curve at the moment and it needs to be adjusted slightly. The process behind the curve changes is a physical print and is extremely sensitive to any tonal changes on the image.

The curve below is opening up the shadow area (described in the upper most right area of the curve) and giving a separation of shadow tones.

The lower portion (lower left hand area of the curve) is controlling the opening of highlight values.

highlight-adjustmnet-curve-_beforeHowever, the highlights are not as open as I would like, but too much will flatten the image and reduce any contrast.

One option is to guess the change by duplicating the curve layer and turning on/off each curve adjustment and eyeballing the difference, but it’s very hard to be precise (as you can see below).

highlight-adjustment-curve-_change-copy

Or, I can take a quick screen shot of both curves and open them into another document. For this, I’m going to use the File / Place Linked command and add both screen shots of the curves in to a new document.

You can see, that the top layer is dominant and overriding the underlying layer. To see the difference between the two, just change the top most layer to be have a blending mode of ‘Difference’ (marked in Blue below).

(Close up image below)

You can also see the structure of both curves, relative to each other, it’s then easy to make more informed decisions on the shape of the curve (usually this type of adjustment won’t be noticeable (especially on the screen)), however, when printing to paper (especially with alternative processes), small adjustments can be the difference between a good image and an amazing image.

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-08-10-42The beauty of using the ‘Place Linked’ command is that when taking screen shots of subsequent curves, the appropriate layer can be updated, by using the re-link graphic on the properties panel of the linked layer

lso

This process can also works for graphics as well, when used within the canvas (as opposed to making a screen shot)

 

 

Share on Facebook

#CreativeFriday – Adobe Creative Cause and The Prince’s Trust

What is the Adobe Creative Cause
Adobe is a passionate supporter of The Prince’s Trust Charity, who are a charity that help transform the lives of thousands of disadvantage young people each year.  As an initiative to support this organisation, Adobe has created a “Digital Art Competition”, referred to as “ADOBE CREATIVE CAUSE“, to raise money and awareness to help them continue this empowering and important work.

What is the Competition (active from 20th October – 1st December, join in by following this link)

Bullying, poverty, disability and abuse are just some of the contributing factors that lead to a lack of confidence in a person’s ability to change their future.  These are just some of the triggers that stop our young people from developing to their full potential.  As part of the competition we want to highlight that this does not have to be the case, and that great organisations such as The Prince’s Trust exist to change and help empower people to believe that they can transform their own lives.

We are therefore looking for digital artist to help visualise the emotional journey many young people make through The Prince’s Trust and this can be anything that you see on their website or maybe a visualisation of your own transformation or empowerment from a difficult time in your life.

To start this visual journey and get you off to an amazing start, we have spoken with Josephine Johns, who’s is relatively new to the design/photographic/compositing world and who’s work really speaks out and defines the visual expression of these young people. You can see an example of Josephine’s work below.

Hi Josephine, thank you for your time in working with me on creating this blog post about your creativity. Would you be able to introduce yourself to the audience please.

My name is Josephine Johns. I’m a photographer and digital artist. I am a mum of four with only my youngest daughter of 11 at home now. I work in a school canteen which is hard manual work and hot too! I’ve had an interesting life, which, at times has been hard. I have always been the square peg but it makes me who I am!

Over the past couple of years your creativity has really blossomed, can we go back to the start and talk about what inspired you to start Photography?

I’ve always enjoyed taking photos, even from when I first started taking photos of my children. Photography lets me look at the world in a different light, giving me the opportunity to be creative.

Since you started Photography, your skills in Photoshop have come on a long way, what inspired you to start working with composites?

I’m rarely able capture the artistic vision that’s in my mind in one photo. Composites give me the freedom to bring in many different elements, which I can then assemble arrange and compose to produce the image exactly as I imagine it.

How did you learn Photoshop, what were your largest hurdles and what would you say to someone who is starting out that is keen to lean the product?

I had already begun using Photoshop with the Photography package. I was lucky enough to win a year’s subscription to the full Creative Cloud package. This gave me access to all the apps, which really inspired me to throw myself in and learn Photoshop. I was helped by my partner, David, and also spent time watching tutorials online, as well as books and magazines. The most important thing is practice. Practice. Practice!

What is your favourite 5 features in Photoshop CC for Creative Cloud?

This is a tough one! There are so many great features. I would say, for the work I do, Blend Modes are high on the list, as I use a lot of texture in my art. The latest selection refining tools and masking features are an absolute necessity for composites. Free Transform and Puppet Warp are great for making my ‘models’ do what I want them to! The Blur Gallery is a really powerful tool and really helps me to build my scenes. I also like the way third-party plugins can be seamlessly added to Photoshop panels; I use Paper Texture Pro and PixelSquid 3D a lot! The same goes for Adobe Stock, the ability to add a low-res asset in the early stages of my work and then licence the full size image later is fab!

What is your favourite innovation in the Creative Cloud

This has to be the way the mobile apps integrate with my Creative Cloud libraries and allow me to send composites I’ve started roughing out in Photoshop Mix straight to Photoshop to finish off!

Have you done anything with stories and used Adobe Spark Page,  if so are you able to share some and  tell the readers how your approach making stories to show your work off.

Hi yes, this is the first time that I have used Adobe Spark and I really enjoyed working with it.   It was so easy to use that at first I thought that I was doing it wrong as it seemed so easy!  The instructional tutorial was fab and easy to follow and I think I can safely say there was plenty of templates to choose from that I would most definitely use it again!

What advice would you give someone that is looking to learn more about Photoshop and enter the Creative Cause competition?

If you’re interested in learning Photoshop, there’s a wealth of information on  the Adobe channel on YouTube and sites like Phlearn, TipSquirrel, PhotoshopCafe to name just a few. I’ll say it again: Practice. Practice. Practice! There’s no right or wrong way to create an image and you can’t break Photoshop! Just let your ideas flow and everything else will come together.

If you were to pick some of your work that represented the brief of the Creative Cause Competition.  Which images would you pick and why?

The journey and transformation that people go through via The Prince’s Trust is truly amazing and after researching the stories on their website I felt deeply emotional about the experiences they went through.  I have selected some of my images below which I feel have a strong emotional link to some of these stories:

What does the future hold for Josephine

The future for me is to develop my photography and imaging skills so I can leave my current job and pursue a career in doing something I love; where work ceases to be work!

Josephine, we would like to thank you for your time today and we look forward to the next session which will give our audience a great starting point to create something for this amazing cause.

 

Solitude :   Sometimes we find ourselves in solitude and so this image depicts a veil reinforcing the feeling of Solitude but it is only a thin view meaning that if we open our eyes we can see through and see ahead.

One voice : One Voice amongst many, sometimes there are so many people giving you advice that you find it hard to find the one that can touch you, The red telephone shows that amongst many voices one will reach you and you will understand and find your way.
reveal
Reveal : Reveal: Sometimes we just need a glimpse of what lies beyond and this image feels to me that you can sometimes just need a little glimpse of what great things are out there for you.
in-the-begining
In the Beginning : This image is uplifting, It makes me feel inspired that from such a little glimmer of light (idea) you can shine and grow.
tranquility
Tranquillity : This represents my escapism, a place where all is tranquil and calm, a place to be alone and at peace.
sunset-ride
Sunset Ride: Dreams can come true and I wanted to illustrate myself riding off into the sunset riding a giraffe.  This makes me feel anything is possible with the golden sunset giving you that warm feeling inside and a feeling of contentment.

So, as you can see above, Josephine has a lovely way way of taking the emotion and transforming it into images/composites. So, don’t hesitate, why not give it a go, it’s all for a wonderful cause.

 

Don’t forget to join the competition visit, and/or Josephine’s Behance page, if you are struggling for inspiration! Good luck with your entry.

Share on Facebook

#CreativeFriday – Re-using Adobe Camera RAW settings for other images

Recently, I have had the need to re-use camera RAW settings and take them from one image to another, via Camera RAW.

Take this set of adjustments that I have made to an image, which I took in India a couple of years ago

The processing used allows me to create a consist look / feel and tone to any image. I’m always trying to find a way to link images together to tell the wider story.

The settings in Camera RAW cross almost every tab, from shadow/highlight recovery, split tone etc, and re-entering this each time is time consuming and can create errors in the processing.

Within ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) there is an option to save the current settings

Once “save setting” has been selected the following screen will be displayed

acr-settings-configuration

Here individual elements can be selected and turned on/off. Once the required items have been selected, clicking Save will save the .XMP file to the local disk (Personally, I’ll save this to my Creative Cloud folder so I can use it anywhere that I am editing).

When editing the next image that will use these settings, I’ll  just need to add the Camera RAW filter (at which ever point in your process from the Filter menu), then load the XMP saved file into ACR and the settings will be adjusted as appropriate.

 

 

Share on Facebook

#CreativeFriday – Blending masks in Photoshop CC

Masks in Photoshop CC are extremely handy, and will give you lots of control when applying controlled adjustments to your images. This post is set to address and give an example of how to re-use a mask within another mask.

Let us take this image. To get the “pop” in the image, I would like the monk’s robe on the right hand side to have the same colour and vibrancy/saturation as the monk on the left.

1.Initial imageTo do this, there are a few steps that we can make, this will also show off a way to re-use a masks selection.

First things are to make a selection of the monks robe on the right hand side. For this, I’ve just used the Quick selection brush.

2.intial selectionAs soon as this is complete, a new Layer Adjustment to adjust the Brightness/Contrast is added. This adjustment will bring the robes to the same luminosity as the monk’s robe on the left.

3.adjust brightness and contrastNow that the robe’s are up to the same luminance, we can look to increase the Vibrancy/Saturation and make sure they are at the same level, to give the maximum pop in the image. The monk’s robe on the left has been selected with the Quick selection brush.

4. vibrance selection

At this point, we can create an Adjustment layer for this robe and increase the Vibrancy/Saturation.

5. apply vibrance and saturation

You can see that the adjustment only affects the robe on the left. We now need to make this reflect in the robe on the right as well.

Rather than re-selecting the robe on the right, we might as well re-use the existing mask from the previous adjustment, then blend this into this adjustment. To do this, hold the CMD (Mac)/ CTRL (Pc) down and click on the mask of the layer that you would like to use, then hold down SHIFT+CMD(Mac)/CTRL(PC) down and click on the next mask (in this case, first click the right robe, then use Shift click the left robe). This will in effect create a selection from the mask and append a selection of the next mask to it.

At this point, you will see both selections appear on the image.

Because this new selection is newer than the one that we already have for the Vibrancy/Saturation Adjustment, which was copied last, this selection can be removed.

6. remove old mask

To do this, make sure the correct layer is selected (you can do this whilst the selection is active), then right click on the mask and choose “Delete Layer Mask” (this will remove the mask). Then click new layer mask (marked in red below)

7. New MaskNow the new mask will have the selection for the monk on the left, as well as the same selection used for the Monk on the right, but will match the mask which is being used for the Brightness and Contrast adjustment layer. Of course, the additional benefit is that both the vibrancy/saturation and the Brightness and contrast.

You can see that the red robes look great and really give the image “pop” against the light stone walls and grey steps.

image with pop

Share on Facebook

#CreativeFriday – Adobe UK’s Photography Jam

Last month on a sunny evening in Shoreditch, London, Adobe UK held it’s first Photography JAM. The idea of the event was to invite 10 local Photographers to take part in a challenge, as well as present and inspire to a live audience, the new and improved tools in Photoshop and Lightroom as part of the Creative Cloud Photography plan. We also engaged some local talent and had talks from a range of luminary speakers including photographer and director Sophie Ebrard, Photoshop expert Gavin Hoey, and fine art, fashion and conceptual artist Bella Kotak, all of whom shared their tips and tricks on how to make your photographs even better. To catch all the content on demand, head over to our YouTube channel.

While all the action unfolded, the contested challenge was taking place behind the scenes. We the 10 photographers to take to the streets of Shoreditch and capture shots that linked back to the following quote:

“What makes photography a strange invention is that it’s primary raw materials are light and time”

They then had just two hours to create a unique photo story using Adobe Spark.

After a nerve-wracking afternoon, London-based graphic designer Michael Goldrei and South African food photographer Brett Field were chosen as the finalists.

Michael’s work, entitled The Dark Green Line, looked at the painted green strip which leads from Old Street station to Moorfields Eye Hospital. Michael followed the line from the tube station to Moorfields, photographing both patients and staff along the way, asking them for their experiences of darkness and light and how changes to their sight has influenced the way they see the world.

You can check out Michael’s full entry here and see more of his work on his website.

Unfortunately, there could only be one winner and it was Brett Field took the crown. We were lucky enough to catch up with Brett to discuss his work, future plans and what winning the Photography Jam means to him.

Tell us about your submission – what was the inspiration behind it?

The manipulation of time and light. Time and light were the key aspects to the brief so I set out to distort reality by manipulating them. Using a glass prism held in front of my lens, I was able to refract and reflect images and/or light back into the lens and my shot.

This essentially placed components of reality into the final image that were not within the original frame resulting in a narrative of distorted reality. Having multiple images from the same moment in time in the same frame was a distortion of light and time.Image 2How did it feel to win the Photography Jam event?

The atmosphere was amazing. The contestant comradery and audience feedback was even better. To win such a unique competition when up against such an extraordinary array of talent was a career highlight.Image 3What are your career plans for the near future?

I am currently writing a food photography book due for release early 2017. I would also love to host an exhibition of my Fine Art photography.

Seeing my work printed and displayed vulnerably for anyone to see is what photography is all about. Exhibitions are the perfect forum to achieve this.

Are you planning to compete in more events like the Photography Jam?

Absolutely. I am competitive in nature and love creative challenges like Photography Jam bring.

I think competition forces you out of your comfort zone. My comfort zone makes me uncomfortable, as only when I am out of it am I truly progressing.

__

You can view Brett’s winning Spark page in its entirety here. You can also keep up to date on his latest work on Twitter and Instagram.

We also wanted to recognise the other participants as well, as there was some amazing work created in such a short period of time, far exceeding the expectation that we had envisaged.

You can check out all the other incredible Photography Jammer’s entries by clicking on their names below:

We look forward to hosting more events like this, so please keep an ear to the ground and maybe you can be part of the next exciting series.

 

 

 

Share on Facebook

#CreativeFriday – Upload and Edit your RAW images direct to Lightroom mobile (iOS)

We have been hearing from photographers, especially those out in the field when travelling, that it would be great to have the ability to take the SD card from the camera and edit RAW files, on the go with Lightroom mobile, without having to go back to the studio.

This remote workflow if finally here for iOS, and it’s great !

You will need to get a card reader, like the SD card reader to ightening adapter shown below.

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 11.14.04

All you need to do is to put the SD card into the adapter and plug into the iOS device. Upon doing so, iOS will recognise the card exists, and will ask if you would like to import images to the Camera Roll.

RAW Images on your card are displayed on the import screen. Images marked in Green already exist, the ones in Blue have been selected for import on this occasion and those images without any ticks are not imported.

Import from Card Reader

 

Once “Import” is clicked, Import All or just selected can be chosen.

Import Selected

 

Once the import has completed, the import will ask if you would like to keep or remove the images on the memory card. I personally keep the images, then, depending where I am, back up the images to a separate drive using Lightroom desktop on my computer (I always keep an additional back up at this point, then I’ll remove the images from my card).

Import Complete

In Lightroom mobile on the iOS device, I would typically create a new collection (which will sync to Lightroom desktop automatically, most likely when I next have a WiFi connection).

New Collection

Once the collection has been created, clicking the … (three dots) by the side of it, will allow you to “Add Photos”.

Add RAW Files

Add Photos will take you to the camera roll, where the RAW images will be waiting for you. To import them, just tap on each one (each image will have a blue edge to show it’s been selected), then choose import.

View RAW files in Cam Roll

Lightroom Mobile will import them into it’s database and then show them in the collection. Once imported, I tend to remove the images from the Camera Roll (for space reasons).

LR Mobile RAW

To edit the RAW image in Lightroom mobile, just select the image as you normally would do.

Single RAW Image

As soon as the edit has been completed, and you move to the next photo, the RAW file and any adjustments will be synced to Lightroom desktop.

 

Update

To determine where the images from Lightroom mobile are transferred to on your desktop, you can configure a folder on your destination catalog, under the Lightroom preferences / Lightroom mobile.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 13.10.37

Correct the Lens Profiles

The correction of lens profiles are also part of this update, and work the same way as on the desktop version of Lightroom. To turn these corrections on, you need to make sure it’s configured. Within Lightroom Mobile you can get to the app preferences by clicking the LR banner on the upper left hand corner.

Preferences

This will open the preferences panel, where you need to scroll down, then select import.

Corre Pref

Under import, you can then turn on the Lens Profile for RAW files.

Corrections

Ability to urn on/off the profile corrections on each image, is available from the “Edit” option, then selecting the Lens Profile icon in the adjustments list.

ProfileCorrection combo

 

 

Share on Facebook

#CreativeFriday – Face Aware Liquify – Photoshop 2015.5

You may have seen the great new Face Aware Liquify feature in the last update to Photoshop CC. It’s a wonderful tool, and designed to help with your image manipulation around the face and remove the complexities that existed around working with faces previsouly.

Let’s take this image. I met this father and son in Bhutan a few years ago and I thought would make a great image. The only issue is that, whilst taking the shot, the son is looking away from the camera.

The second and last shot that I have is the following

On this occasion, they are both looking at the camera, but not smiling.

This is a great real world usecase for the new Face Aware liquify in Photoshop CC 2015.5. Face Aware Liquify first made an appearance in the mobile application Photoshop Fix.

The Face Aware liquify is available under the Filter / Liquify menu option (i’m using this on a Smart Object, which gives me a way to apply the effect, then to change it if required, or to fine tune, all non destructively of course).

FixSmile-FaceAwareLiquifyOnce inside the Liquify tool, with the Face selected. Photoshop will automatically recognise all faces, and intelligently search and find the eyes, nose, mouth and face edges, then allow you to re-configure using the sliders on the right hand side.

Just a quick movement on the smile tool, either directly on the picture, or by using the slides on the right hand side panel, will correct this image and put a slight smile on the both people.

SmileFixedIt’s a very simple process and takes a couple of minutes. It’s worth an explore to see what else is achievable, you might event want to create something like the following.

Young handsome man in glasses smiling

Share on Facebook

#CreativeFriday – Photoshop 2015.5 – Match Font

Inside Photoshop CC 2015.5 a new feature for designers was introduced, Match Font. The idea of match font is to help and identify and find similar fonts from an image or any kind of capture that has no information about the font that was used, then to provide similar fonts for you to use in your own designs. This feature has the ability to save huge amounts of time to create your masterpiece. Let’s take this image below, which I grabbed from my phone camera.

 

To identify the font and provide a list of similar matched fonts, just place a marque around the font or letters required and let Photoshop CC 2015.5 do the work. In this case ‘ZOO’ is marked and the menu item Type / Match font is selected.

MatchFontMenuItem

Once ‘Match Font’ runs, the similar fonts will be shown. These fonts can be from Typekit, as well as fonts on your system. If the font that is similar is on Typekit, and it’s not been downloaded to your system yet, then click the cloud download icon and it will be installed on the fly, directly into the desktop applications (without the need to close anything down).

MatchFontMenuItem_List1

Once the font has been downloaded, it will be available without closing down Photoshop CC.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 21.18.39

This feature is a welcome addition to anyone that finds a font in the real world, but would otherwise be tricky to identify, saving you huge amounts of wasted time, and allowing you to get on with your creativity.

MatchFontMenuItem_List

Share on Facebook

#CreativeFriday – Adobe Stock Creative Cloud Update (2015.x)

You might not have noticed, but in the last Creative Cloud update, Adobe Stock received an update as well. Adobe Stock now has deeper integration from the outset, both in the desktop apps, as well as from the browser. This release really streamlines the Stock usage and licensing process.

1. If you are searching for Stock Assets, you might have noticed on the browser view the open in…

AdobeStockOpenIn

When engaging with the asset, you now you have “Open Preview in …” as well as “Open in..”. The top Open in is from the last session and will open the Stock asset (either Licensed or Preview) directly into the last application that used in the last session. The Open In at the bottom of the panel, will open the asset in an application of your choice. This means there is no more downloading to the desktop and manually placing into your canvas/timeline of the desktop app.

Also, you still have the ability to load the asset direct to the Creative Cloud Library from this panel as well.

2. If you prefer to use the save to Creative Cloud Library, the asset (either preview or licensed) will automatically sync to the Library that was selected on the browser, and into the library panel with the Desktop applications.

DownloadLicenseStockImagePreview

In previous release you had to license the asset from the Library panel itself. In this update, you can now right click on the layer that contains the preview/watermarked stock asset, and from within the pop-up menu, the asset can be licensed.

LicenseStockImage

Now licensing Adobe Stock imagery only takes a single step to license an image, regardless of if anything has been adjusted (using Layers, Effects, Adjustments etc). If lots of Stock imagery has been used across many layers to complete your composite or artwork , then this licensing feature will save you heaps of time.

Did you see the Make A Masterpiece series yet ?

 

Share on Facebook

#CreativeFriday – Content Aware Crop in Photoshop 2015.5

Well big news this week with the launch of the new update to Photoshop CC 2015.5 !

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 10.01.27

Content aware crop is a super feature that I think will save lots of time when working on crop correction with some of your images. Take this image below.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 10.06.37

This shot was taken in Mongolia at a Buzkashi, at one of the Nadaam’s outside of Ulgi (Western Mongolia). This event is fast paced and the scene is changing every second, so grabbing the perfect shot is challenging. I also shot this on a 90mm lens, so we were pretty close to the action.

One of my philosophies with photography is trying to fill the frame with activity and elements of the scene, in turn, my images tend to be quite tight to the edges (not to tight of course). In this case, the image horizon is not level, and neither are the horses. In this case I would normally leave the image alone and not do anything with it, as fixing it would take to long (probably more than 5 or 10 minutes, as well taking a few steps to correct the errors). However, with the new content aware crop tool, things now are managed for me and takes seconds, with just a single step.

When the image is rotated and the crop previewed (without the addition of content aware) the problem is evident.

The tail of the horse on the right hand side will be chopped off, as well as the nose of the left hand side horse. As soon as the Content-Aware check box is turned on, the canvas will be extended to accommodate the original aspect ratio and Photoshop CC will automatically manage any empty spaces that have been created.

ContentAwareCropOn

Also Photoshop CC 2015.5 comes with performance and quality improvements to the content aware family, so the results should be significantly superior than before.

ContentAwareCropDone

Final image, the crop is complete and the image is completely useable in just a few seconds of work.

Share on Facebook