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.

Share on Facebook

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

Share on Facebook

#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 website (, 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.




Share on Facebook

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.


Share on Facebook

#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.

Share on Facebook

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.
Share on Facebook

#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.



Share on Facebook

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


Share on Facebook

#CreativeFriday – Lightroom and Photoshop Workflows, Smart Objects and Camera RAW filter

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.

With traditional Photoshop workflows, any Lightroom / Photoshop adjustment(s) are rasterised early in the workflow and this reduces the options for any non-destructive work later in the process. There are classic ways of editing images in Photoshop and work arounds to try create a non destructive processes, 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.

Photoshop CC has now been enhanced to include the Camera RAW engine as a Filter as well as numerous additions to the already powerful Blur Gallery.


The Camera RAW filter will allow you to make adjustments to your photographs, as you would have done in the Lightroom development module. However, the Camera RAW filter in Photoshop, is not just restricted to RAW files, it can be used on almost any layer inside Photoshop, including video clips, groups, layers and smart objects.


The Blur Gallery Filters enable in-camera motion effects to be applied in the post process. For example, previously in CS6 you could add field blur, iris blur and tilt shift blur, now Photoshop CC adds the ability to add spinning blur and motion blur to an image, just as you are able to create in the camera.


Both of the above filters, as well as most of the other filters in Photoshop CC are now useable on a Smart Objects, which means that any modifications can be re-edited at any time even after the Photoshop file has been saved. This workflow will allow images to be fine tuned at any time and will save a huge amount of time during the refinement process. The filters in Photoshop are now even more powerful and will allow you to make even better, creative images, and most importantly, they will naturally fit into your workflow.


The following example will show how images can be brought into Photoshop from Lightroom, and keep any adjustments editable using Camera RAW and a combination of Smart Objects. This example will also show how unwanted parts of an image can removed and repaired whilst at the same time improving performance in Photoshop, and keeping the modifications editable for the future. New Blur Gallery Filters will be used to simulate movement that may have been lost when the picture was taken, or if the image needs it for creative effect.



The image below was taken at a festival in Bhutan, to be critical about the original picture from the camera, I feel the dancer in the foreground is an important part of the story, however, there are additional elements in the background, like the chair and the additional person, which I feel does not help the picture and will be tricky to fix in Lightroom alone, but where Photoshop really excels.


N.B. This example is using the 2014 version of Photoshop CC.



Keeping Lightroom adjustments editable inside Photoshop CC


The traditional workflow from Lightroom to Photoshop is to let Lightroom apply the adjustments and send a rasterized image into Photoshop. This can be easily achieved using the CTRL (PC)+E or CMD (Mac)+E. There is nothing wrong with this workflow and has been tried an tested for a long time, however, when the adjusted file is then sent to Photoshop there is no way to go back and re-edit any Lightroom adjustments. If changes are required, then the process will need to re-start and any Photoshop edits will need to re-apply.


An alternative way of working is to open the file into Photoshop from Lightroom as a Smart Object. This will send both the RAW file as well as any Lightroom adjustments into Photoshop and keep the edits alive and re-editable into the future. To do this, right click on the picture in the filmstrip, or from the menu bar Photo / Edit in / Photoshop as a Smart Object.



Inside Photoshop CC only a single layer will be shown in the layers palette. This layer is the Smart Object and will hold both the RAW file as any adjustments from Lightroom. Smart Objects can hold anything inside Photoshop (not just RAW files and meta data), it can also store video files/clips, groups of layers, other smart objects, Layer Adjustments etc etc, and in any combination.



At any point in time, the Smart Object layer can be double clicked and the contents will be opened. In this example, the RAW file will be opened using Camera RAW, as well as any Lightroom adjustments that are found (If the file came from Bridge into Photoshop via Camera RAW, then the same screen will be displayed). The RAW file and Lightroom adjustments will be available even after the file has been saved (as long as the layer stays as a Smart Object and is not rasterised inside Photoshop).



Using Photoshop to make complex image edits. 


Sudden activities inside the frame are a classic occurrence that regularly happens when a photo is taken. These additional elements sometimes, don’t help convey the story. In the example, there is a green chair as well as an additional person walking in the background. A few extra seconds and a move to the right would have eliminated them, but the position of the dancer might have been sacrificed.  Elements like these are easy to removed in Photoshop using many of its tools, the one that will be used here is the Content aware patch tool.


The traditional workflow for removing anything in an image (including spotting), is to duplicate the background layer and work on this new layer. It’s a tried and tested route and works very well, but, one of the issues with this approach is that duplicating layers can drastically increase the number of pixels and in turn increase the physical document size. It’s also difficult to look at what was changed at a future time. A different way to achieve exactly the same thing, and not radically increase the file size, as well as improving the workflow, is to create a new empty layer above the background and use this to store any changes.



Content Aware Patch provides a fast and accurate way of fixing/replacing the areas that need to be modified, as well as showing a preview of what will be changed. When using an empty layer (is in this approach), it’s important to have the ’Sample all Layers’ icon turned on, as this will allow the tool to sample all layers in the stack and place the processed result into the empty layer (this option in the following screen shot is depicted using the multiple layers icon in the tool bar).


When working with the Content Aware Patch tool and where there is a defined line (below there is a hard line between the crowd and the floor), try to make sure that the source and destinations are lined up on the preview.



Once applied, the replacement patch can sometimes have colour issues, especially when there is a gradient involved. In the above image there is a gradient on the floor, therefore the blend is not a seamless as it could be. Photoshop CC 2014 has the ability to control the colour values on the patch to make a consistent colour blend; this is available on the adaption tool bar options (Colour has a range of 1 to 10). This value can be changed even whilst the selection and patched area are still active.



At this point in a traditional workflow, the Photoshop user might create a new layer that is a merge of the two layers, and place it above the modification (sometimes called a lock off layer, and will contain the results of the fix). However, this will commit the modifications and would make it much harder to modify the patch (if required), in the future.


A new workflow is to wrap this adjustment into a Smart Object, which will allow the re-editing of the patch in the future. To do this, select the layers that need to be converted then choose Convert to Smart Object. Once the conversion has completed, a single layer will be shown, and any adjustments to the image can be made using this as a base image.



Once the Smart Object has been created, it can be used to hold for any Filter adjustments or any Layer adjustments. Using this method will keep any image edits non destructive for much longer time in the editing process.


In this example, the dancer was taken with a high shutter speed, resulting in freezing of any motion. It’s not until the editing process, where other pictures that were taken can be seen, that the creative decision may be to add some motion to help tell the story to this particular photograph. A new tool in Photoshop CC, called the Path Blur filter can be used to re-create motion in the scene (this motion can usually be created in camera, using a slower shutter speed). This filter will be applied to the results of the Smart Object, therefore, not changing its contents, and is re-editable in the future.



Once the Path blur window is open, a Bezier like curve/path can be drawn. This curve/path can be used to show the motion of some areas of the scene or the entire scene. Once a curve/path has been drawn, the speed of the motion can be controlled by either using the on screen widget, or by using the controls on the right hand side of the screen.




The curve/path can be moved or bent into position by dragging any point including the center point. Other points and curves/paths can also be created to create fluid motion in the scene if required.




Only the dancer needs the movement, but the result of the single curve/path will affect the whole scene. In this case more lines can be created to stop motion in other parts of the picture. In the example below, another straight line is created to the left of the dancer. Stopping the motion will help convince the viewer that the dancer is the only part of the scene that is moving (Motion like this can be controlled in the camera by using a slower shutter speed and a tripod).


Slowing the motion in this part of the scene is controlled at either end of the curve/path. Each end of the curve/path has a speed value that can be reduced. These values are controlled by turning on the Edit Blur Shapes (right hand properties panel below), this action will show two red arrows at either end of the curve/path. Changing the End Point speed at each end will slow the motion down. A zero value at each end should work just fine.


 Once the effect has been applied, Photoshop will add the effect to the Smart Object, and provide a free mask. The mask can be used to mask out specific areas of the effect on the rest of the photograph. The effect can be re-edited at any point in time by double clicking on the Blur Gallery Filter on the Smart Object. The effect can also be temporarily removed by clicking on the eye icon next to the mask (will turn off all effects) or the eye icon next to the Filter (in this case the Blur Gallery Filter). Turning off individual Filters is useful to turn off filters when more than once filter is used on the Smart Object.



The white mask can be painted using the Photoshop Brush tool (B key). Painting in black will hide the effect and painting in white will reveal the effect. Once the Brush has been selected, the D key can be used to reset the foreground and background colours (black and white). This reset is useful if other colours have been used in a process before this step. The X key can be used to quickly switch the foreground and background colours around when painting.  The mask can be accessed at any time by selecting it with the mouse and holding the ALT key down whilst double clicking it. This is a good place to see what the mask looks like and to refine it further if required.




If a mask has been used on the layer, it will affect filters that are applied. If any new Filter adjustments are required and they don’t require the mask, to keep the edits non destructive and re-editable in the future, this adjustment to the Smart Object can be wrapped up into another Smart Object. This option is available by selecting the layer(s) that need to be converted, and using the right click on the layer, or by opening the layers fly out menu (top right hand side of the layers panel) and choosing ‘Convert to Smart Object’.



The result will be a single layer that contains all of the previous adjustments. This method will also increase Photoshop performance when working with layers and complex edits, the resulting layer size will be smaller and Photoshop will be faster.




Now that a single Smart Object layer has been created and it contains all of the adjustments, the edit can continue. In this case, the Camera RAW filter can be used to further enhance the image.



The Camera RAW filter will open up the Camera RAW dialog screen and provide comprehensive adjustments of this powerful filter. Any adjustments available in this dialog box can be performed at this stage (i.e. Split tone, radial filter, clone/heal, lens corrections etc. etc.).




To further enhance the viewers experience and to keep the viewer in the picture much longer, we can use traditional dark room techniques to guide the eyes into where we need the viewer to focus. Dark areas of a picture will repel the eyes and bright areas will attract the eyes. In the dark room, master printers would use this technique and create something called an edge burn (which is similar to a vignette). Essentially this keeps the viewer in the photograph and will keep the view from ‘falling out of the frame’. This effect can be achieved in Lightroom or Camera RAW by using the Post Crop Vignette, but sometimes we might need a more impactful way of doing this. The Position of the Post Crop Vignette cannot be modified and will be applied from the center outward, this is heavily dependent on the final crop of the image. The Radial Filter in Lightroom and Camera RAW will allow a customised area to be created, and then apply adjustments outside or inside of it. In this example, the exposure can be reduced outside to give a much more controlled effect (this is also a great tool to use on portraits or anything that needs focused impact).


The radial filter can be selected and drawn on to the image at the desired location. The radial filter’s size and shape can be changed at will by dragging it or by expanding/contracting the handles on the ellipse. The image below is showing the area covered by the radial filter by having the mask turned on.




The initial round/elliptical shape of the Radial Filter isn’t quite correct and a part of the dancer is affected. The Radial Filter in Camera RAW now includes a brush that is used to customise its shape. To turn the brush on, select it in the radial filter options panel (or press SHIFT+K), then choose + or – to add or subtract the mask area.




Once the Camera RAW filter adjustments have been completed, press OK and commit the results. The results are then added to the Smart Object. The Camera RAW settings can be modified at any point in time by double clicking on the Camera RAW filter option. Also, the layer mask can be used to further refine the filter(s) adjustments.





Once the edit has been completed, it can be saved from Photoshop CC using the CMD (Mac)+S or CTRL (Pc)+S, the file will automatically be saved next to the original RAW file and will be available inside Lightroom.


If the file needs to be worked on further (now or in the future), it’s best to edit the original and don’t make any additional adjustments in Lightroom to the Photoshop (PSD) file. To open the file quickly into Photoshop from Lightroom the CTRL (PC)+E or CMD (Mac)+E combination can be used This will keep the workflow simple and not add any complexities. If Lightroom adjustments are required, then they can be made using the Camera RAW filter and Smart Objects inside Photoshop CC.




Once re-opened inside Photoshop. All Smart Objects and adjustments are available. This means that the PSD file doesn’t have to be flattened once the Photoshop Edits have been initially made. Other adjustments / enhancements can be made to your picture in the future, as your Photoshop editing skills become stronger and more refined.




Share on Facebook

The Times UK – 3D Printing Article.

Are you interested in 3D Printing? There was a great supplement in the UK Times magazine today (December 11th 2014). It looks to provide an overview of the current state of 3D Printing. There are also micro sections and one happens to be about Desktop 3D Printers in the home. There are more articles, but just wanted to focus on this one as there is a great section on what Adobe is doing in this space to make 3D printing more accessible to all.

Share on Facebook