It’s not easy being green

Good Morning!  Thought I would share some links and a how-I-did-that today before all the holiday festivities set in…  This month’s photo group assignment was for everyone to try out a Topaz Remask tutorial.  Although I shared it with the group the previous month, I didn’t do a very good job explaining it…  Remask is one of those techniques where following along and actually doing it is much more useful in achieving a good result.   So I’m not going to try to explain it  here either, but if you need a little bit of help with removing your subject from the background give it a try {click}.   So what’s the purpose of this post then?  Well, it’s about the other things I learned while while working on this image.

So this is my original.  Remask_original I definitely did not pick it for it composition qualities.  I picked it solely for my model’s hair and to try out the Remask tutorial.  First, a good crop and a quick touch-up using the Portrait Professional plug-in.  Then I moved on Remask.

Following the tutorial Screenshot (2), I still wasn’t getting the result I was looking for.  I was left with a green halo –  backlash from using the green screen/background.     But not only did it leave a green halo in and around her hair, her complexion, the dress, and flowers all had a slightly green hue (i.e. color cast). Remask_Remask  I know my mistake now… not only was the backdrop behind her, but she was standing on it.  Did I mention I rarely do studio portraits?  Lets just say working with lights (other than natural) and backdrops is an education in progress for me.  To deal with the green color cast I tried a variety of methods from using levels, to color balance, to color selection and masking – all just falling short of the mark; whites may have gotten whiter, but skin tones and hair suffered or vise-versa.    After a few trial and errors, and a number of complete do-overs, I finally came across this You Tube color cast tutorial Screenshot (3)  using the hue blending mode.  Turns out not only is it a quick and simple technique, but very effective. Remask_colorcast Once satisfied that my model no longer looked like she was suffering from a bad case of seasickness, I could get to work on some finishing touches, although not 100% where I would like it to be, I’m a lot closer … and a lot less green.  Remask_final Screenshot (4)

So that’s my share.  I hope you like it… It’s a keeper for me.  I can already see it coming in handy when the trees and grass turn lush and green again…

Until next time,
Maria

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If I had to pick… just one

I-heart-summer
I ❤ (heart) summer

Who doesn’t love summer… right.  There’s nothing like a lazy summer afternoon, warm breeze blowing and a refreshing summer brew to help cool you off… perfect actually to sit and write a blog post 🙂 … if only it were always that easy ~ as that moment has passed and now two, now three days and what seems like a thousand (but only 11 last count) edits later 😉

That is probably because my thoughts for this post have been all over the place… hmm, maybe because so has my photography and all that goes with it.   On the plus side,  I’ve been taking a lot of photos, continuing to learn my camera, learning new techniques for both in camera and post processing ~ using new textures and filters, and experimenting…  So, finally picking at random, one topic out of that mish-mash of topics above to blog about, I thought I’d share how this DIY lightbox that diy-lightbox I found in my dad’s basement led me to a favorite new tool (for now) ~ an LED light pad.

A favorite technique/effect of mine has always been the result from back lighting flowers (or just about anything that is somewhat opaque)The-Little-Things and the lovely shapes, color and lighting that come with it.  Unfortunately, mother nature is not always very cooperative: too windy, too bright, too cloudy, too… well, you get the idea.  Trying different light sources (a flash or a window) in the “studio” has not been all that successful either… close, but just not quite.

So I dusted off the DIY light box.  Unfortunately, the bulb, which looks something like a doughnut, gave off only enough soft bright light in a very small portion of the frame.  But in this very small space, I saw the effect I wanted to achieve… getting closer. diy-lightbox-with-text

The next challenge, to get that light source to fill the entire frame.  Thinking I could just repurpose the box I had,  I asked Google, which turned up a couple DIY light boxes (too complicated/technical for me) and some manufactured ones (mainly used for viewing negatives and $$$) and a link to a photographer’s post (thank you Denise Ippolito) and how she used a light pad …and as it turns out, the key words in all of this were LED and pad.  There it was… an artist’s tool, something used mostly for tracing by tattoo and graphic artist.  This had so many pluses – adjustable brightness, super slim (i.e. super easy storage), maneuverable, and $ compared to $$$ – I chose the Litup (click on image for link) – and most important a continuous even bright white light that fills the frame.  I’ve only just started using it, but have so many ideas for this simple little device… and without all the too this or thats.

the-light-withinFlowers from my garden ~ the heart of flowers above and this trio are floating in water in a clear glass bowl on the light pad and processed with just a touch of Topaz glow.

Til next time,
Maria