Category Archives: Photoshop

Tips and tricks for better Photoshop work.

Smoke And Mirrors

Not only can you use the straight white-on-black smoke shots I took yesterday, but with a bit of work in Photoshop, you can create some other-worldly abstracts.

First of all, take your white on black image and Invert (CTL-I). This gives you a brown/grey pattern on white. Make a new Adjustment layer and choose Hue/Saturation. Click OK, and at the next dialogue box, tick the “colorize” box at the bottom RHS. You can then move the hue and saturation sliders about to give your smoke the colour of your choice.

If you want to mirror or duplicate some layers, use the Multiply blending mode to make each show through the one below. Flip, clone, rotate, have some fun!

Cobra Standoff
Cobra Standoff
Smoke And Mirrors
Smoke And Mirrors
Alien Invasion
Alien Invasion
Teddy Boy
Teddy Boy

The Making Of… Wipeout

I thought I’d tell you how I managed to create the montage called Wipeout, which made the cut as Day #195‘s image.

I was at the South Bank for my 366 Flickr Group’s meeting. We had spent a pleasant couple of hours at the pub enjoying a pint and watching the world go by, then we took a stroll towards the QEII hall. There’s a section under the concrete walkway which is popular with skateboarders and roller blade fans, and their antics always draw a crowd.

The weekly theme was “motion”, so I decided to switch to motordrive for a sequence of the skateboarders riding a block of concrete. This was what I ended up with:

Having loaded all four images into Photoshop, I copied the last three images as new layers into the first. Then, selecting all 4 layers, I used the Edit -> Auto Align Layers option and Photoshop tweaked them all so that the concrete block and background appeared in the same place in each. Then, it was a case of using Layer Masking for each of the top layers, so as just to show the skater and board from each, while the background remained from the original image.

The main background picture (below) gives us the first skater and most of the background:

The next frame moved the skater and board along a bit, with the rest of the background masked off:

Then frame 3 shows us another view as he’s running off to the right:

Finally, the skater disappears out of the frame.

With all four layers turned on, the final montage is quite effective. All hand-held, with not a tripod in sight!

Making Of: It's All Gone Pear-Shaped

I don’t often do much processing on my images, but sometimes they really do suit a radical treatment. I did a few a while back in Cooking Up Some Interest. Then the other day, I wanted to illustrate my day, which had gone pretty pear-shaped, but the straight shot really wasn’t cutting it:

The pear looked a bit sad and the lines on the chopping board were distracting from the main point of the picture. So I tried fiddling with some filers. I chose Photoshop CS3’s “Cutout” filter from the Filter Gallery. This gave me:

Better, although it still needed a bit of tidying up. So I set to work with the clone brush to rid the background of all the distracting bits, ending up with the final, much more pear-shaped image:

This is the one which appeared as Day #178 on my Photo-a-Day blog.

Cooking Up Some Interest

I was idly fiddling with Photoshop CS3 this afternoon and thought I would have a little play with the Filter Gallery. I’m not normally one for over-using filters with my images, but I wondered if some shots could be improved with a little creativity. Here are three quick recipes for cooking up some interest in your pictures, even when they might seem pretty uninspiring to begin with.

Delicious Apple Tart

I started with this:
[Rather stodgy Apple Pie – two halves of an apple on a wooden chopping board]

Slightly dull, not much punch in the lighting. Here’s how I cooked it up:

  • Levels – setting the black and white points gave the image more contrast
  • Filter Gallery – Watercolour

And the end result was a much better picture:
[Apple Tart – I like this much better, especially the edge of the cut half]

Accompanied by Sweet Music

I started with this:
[Discordant – the purple background isn’t helping]

I liked the close up composition, but that background bothered me. Here’s how I cooked it up:

  • Levels – setting the black and white points gave the image more contrast
  • Black & White – using the Maximum White option for more punch
  • Filter Gallery – Glowing Edges

This is how it turned out:
[Sweet Music – a much more graphic shot, enhancing the shiny chrome]

Makes Perfect Dining Al Fresco

I started with this:
[Misty Morning – the village pond through the fog, in Histon]

It was atmospheric to a certain extent, (I used another from the same shoot for Day #44). But I wasn’t so convinced about this one without some cooking:

  • Levels – setting the black and white points gave the image more contrast
  • Filter Gallery – Fresco

Which gave me:
[Al Fresco – an intriguing painterly effect]

I hope you liked my recipes. How did I choose the filter for each? Really, just by trying them out, looking at the preview and deciding whether they suited the images. That’s the tricky part!

I shall be having a go at some other images in due course. You might like to keep an eye on my Flickr set, Fun With Filters, to see the results of my experiments.