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

Sharing some love

 Happy Valentine’s Day!

A perfect day to do something I love . . . get a little creative & share.

I found some hearts (it is Valentine’s Day after all) in my archives and thought I would try something a little different, so I’m checking out Topaz’s new Glow plug-in.

be-my-valentineOn first try, it’s a pretty simple and user friendly plug-in.  Below is the original (the subject, just one of the many characters you’ll see wandering around the  Cherry Blossom Festival in Philadelphia).  For the how to:  I imported from LR with a crop and white vignette to PS, and then went to play with Topaz Glow.  Love that hair…perfect for some Glow, and of course the heart eye-patch.  I would love to tell you which Glow I used, but, as usual, I click around so much, trying this one and that one… that by the time I settle on one, I forget what to name it in my layers palate.  Added some text and above is my quirky valentine… be-my-valentine_orig

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Next… what’s this?  Lot’s of green . . . no not St. Patty’s Day.   But there are some hearts, lots of them, which is why I probably took this in the first place.  I just didn’t know, until today, what to do with them.

green_heartsThis photo was a little more involved…   First up, isolate the hearts.  I masked them out in Topaz Remask 4.

sending-a-little-love-TR  after cleaning up the edges, I decided red would be more appropriate for the occasion.  In PS, I used Color Range (which you can find under Select in the menu bar), I selected, well, all the green, added a layers mask, and then a hue & saturation layer and adjusted the sliders until I got the perfect shade of red.

Color Range

It’s getting there, now for some Glow… ugg, again, forgot to make note of which one, but I think it may be one of the “soft blooms” and then messing with the sliders.  Again, just follow your heart when using these plug-ins…  sending-a-little-love_glow-and-cleanup…you just never know what you might discover

Glow left the edges a little rough, so using the smudge tool I was able to smooth them out, followed by just a plain white brush to tidy things up a little bit more.

Finally, time to turn this into the Valentine I imagined… a little text, finding the right font, and . . .

sending-a-little-love

Til next time,
Maria

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Change is in the air…  Time to get while the getting is still good.
autumn-feast
It’s been blustery and cold here today and I’m guessing there are only a few more days, maybe a week or so (she says optimistically), of the beautiful fall color we had this year.   Here’s a few more of my favorite fall finds
scratched-out

X-File

one-happy-dog

I’m not the only one that loves fall around here

mine-mine-mine

big-red-in-fall
and you just never know what you might find . . . with a little imagination 😉

Til next time,
Maria

 

Sample Compositing

Just turned in my first assignment for digital imaging. It was an exercise in using layers and extracting tools. I figured I would also use other tools at my disposal, such as Topaz remask 3, and the smudge, clone, and blur tools. Even though I have a pretty fair background in using these tools, I have decided to challenge myself for this class and try to be a little more creative and further hone in on my photoshop skills. So here’s Practice Assignment #1

The creative process behind the family Christmas Card

So it’s less than a week until Christmas and I still haven’t sent out my Christmas cards.  It’s been a long tradition of mine to make my own.  I start thinking of ideas earlier in the year, keeping my eyes out for possible photos to use, sayings I hear, but it is not until that creative process strikes does the Christmas card come together.  This year it seems to have hit a little later than usual.  Continue reading “The creative process behind the family Christmas Card”