Tuesday, 18 July 2017

How To Use Sepia Tone Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, you are going to learn how to make your photos have a sepia tone look. This really is one of the easiest effects to apply, and one of the most common effects that you see on photos that are meant to look old. You often times see this on photos that are taken of people that are dressed in old western clothing.

To start off, I just want to say that in order to complete this tutorial, you are going to need to know the basics of Photoshop. This is not a hard effect to do at all, but it can be if you don’t know how to get around Photoshop.

Okay, let’s get started with the sepia tone effect in Photoshop.

Step One. The very first thing that you need to do is to choose a photo that you want to apply the sepia effect to and open it in Photoshop. I like to apply the sepia tone effect to images that are meant to look like they were taken in the older western days, but this effect can be applied to any image, and look nice.

Step Two. Once you have your image open, you now need to create a new Adjustment Layer. The adjustment layer that you want is the Gradient Map. To create this new adjustment layer, click on the adjustment layer button at the bottom of the layers window (looks like a circle filled with half black and half white) and click on Gradient Map. This will open up the Gradient Map window.

Step Three. Once in the Gradient Map window, your goal is to make the image black and white. To do this, use the drop down beside of the long color bar, and choose the black to white gradient. It is usually on the top row, and the third to the right. Now you can click OK on the Gradient Map window.

Step Four. Now that you have a black and white image, the next step is to make another new adjustment layer. The adjustment layer that you want this time is the Solid Color adjustment layer. You can get to this one the same way that you did before, and choose Solid Color.

Step Five. Inside of the Solid Color window (called Color Picker) you want to choose a sepia color. You don’t need to be exact here. Just choose one that looks kind of close to the sepia color that you often see in photos. It is usually a yellow/orange type of color. We don’t need to be exact this time because you will be able to change the color later if you need to. Once you are satisfied with your color, click OK in the Color Picker window.

Step Six. Now that you have a solid color covering your image, you need to change the blending mode of your Solid Color layer that you just created to Color. You can do this by using the drop down on top of all of your layers and choosing Color as your blending option. Now you should see your image with that color applied.

Step Seven. You will notice that the color is way too harsh for the photo. To fix this, you need to take the opacity down on your solid color layer. Just play with it until it looks pretty good. I usually go pretty low so that I can get that good sepia effect. You are now done!

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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Tips for Finding New Photoshop Brushes and Patterns

Rather you’re new at photoshop or have been using the software for years, you can always benefit from various brushes and patterns for your work. The question is, where can you find such things that help you in numerous ways? There are tons of websites on the Internet that allow you to download free photoshop brushes and patterns for all versions of Photoshop. Before downloading a photoshop brush/pattern file, make certain that the brush/pattern is compatible with the version of Photoshop you have installed on your hard drive. Without first taking this step, your file will not recognize the brush/patterns, and you will not be able to use them. The best way I find to search for brushes and patterns for Photoshop is to simply search them on a search engine on the web. There will be countless websites appear that allow you unlimited brushes/patterns for you to download for your own personal use. To name a few:




Patterns can be great tools for various reasons. When you are working on a layout design of any sort, using the pattern tool can save loads of time. The pattern tool allows you to completely cover a background in any pattern of your choosing. If you wish to not cover an entire background, you can select what portion of the image you want to be covered in your desired pattern.

Brushes are just as easy to use and just as useful. Brushes have countless ways of using them. You can edit their size, along with enhancing them to any way you wish. You have to admit, not everyone is an excellent artist when it comes to drawing free-handed on a computer. How easy is it that someone has made all these designs and shapes for you? Brushes are indeed a wonderful and essential tool for Photoshop of any version.

Photoshop is an excellent program for anyone who wishes to design or just be artistic. Patterns and brushes for photoshop are needed to make your designs top notch. Not to mention, they’re easy to use and look great!

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Photoshop CS3 and ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) Guide

Photoshop CS3 and ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) Guide

Photoshop is a very powerful program! If you’re in the market to purchase photoshop, some things to consider when purchasing the version that will suit you are…

Photoshop Elements 4.0 or CS3 — if 
Elements 4.0 or CS3 — if you’re doing simple photo editing or graphic design work PSE4 will be enough program for you that you won’t feel like you’ve outgrown it anytime soon. If you’re planning on processing batches of photos at a time spend the extra money and go for CS3.

Photoshop Elements 6.0 is the most current version for PC, this will be perfect for you if you are doing simple photo editing or graphic design work. If you’re planning on processing batches of photos at a time spend the extra money and go for CS3.

Educational discounts are available for both versions if you look.

To the meat of the program.

Editing a JPEG or TIFF
Open up CS3 and when it’s fully loaded go to File>open and navigate to your photo on your hard drive and click open. When your photo comes up on the screen the first thing I do is adjust the Curves. Hold down your control (option on the MAC) M button and curves will come up. I like a slight S curve to my photos. Pull the curve up on the right-hand side and down a bit on the left. Make sure the preview button is clicked so you can watch the effects you are having on your photo. A little goes a long way, be gentle.

Next, I work with Levels. Contro (option on the MAC) L and Levels will come up. Make sure you click the preview button. Depending on your photo you will use this differently each time. I usually have to take the middle slider and push it to the right a bit but really this adjustment will all depend on the photo you have but 90% of the time I use Levels on my photos.

Now, you need to look at your photo, do you have any color casts? If so, now would be when I go to Image>adjustment>match color. Make sure you click the preview button. Now click the neutralize button and slide the FADE slider back until it looks better. I find 66 is the magic number usually but it will depend on your photo. On this menu, I also adjust the luminance slider to the right a tad.

Now, basic edits to my photo are done. Stay tuned to future articles by me on various tips and tricks for using CS3 and preparing your photos for print.

Melissa Roth Cherniske

Editing a RAW photo file
Open up CS3 and when it’s fully loaded go to File>open and navigate to your photo on your hard drive and click open. If you have more than one photo to edit (a batch) you can open them all up now. A number of files you are able to open will depend on your computer’s memory/RAM setup.

RAW files will trigger CS3 to open up a plugin called ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) if you get an error message at this point you may need to reinstall the latest version of ACR on your computer. This is NOT hard. Go to Adobe’s website and type ACR in the search and it will come up to the page that you need to download. The directions for this really are clear from Adobe…trust me.

OK, so if it worked and the files have opened in ACR you need to do a couple things the first time you edit to set some defaults. In the bottom center of your screen, it’s going to say something about RGB(1998) click that and switch it to SRGB. Unless you know about color modes you should work in SRGB. No matter what color mode your camera is set to, RAW files come in unassigned to an ICC profile, you need to assign it. SRGB is an industry standard for web viewing and also commercial photo printing. This may change in the future but for now, I use SRGB but you may want to check with your printer to see what “color mode” they print in. If they say they “CAN” print in any color mode verify that they aren’t converting your images to their ICC profiles, you want to control this yourself or else you’ll have pictures that won’t match your screen. 90% of the web browsers can only see SRGB colors so if people are using IE or one of the other browsers that aren’t color managed, they will be seeing your photo as SRGB even if you embed a different color mode.

SO…. my conclusion on this is to change the color mode here to avoid any problems in the long run. This setting only needs to be made once and then it will be the default.

OK, now to begin your RAW editing. If your editing one photo, select the photo on the left and click on the white balance dropper. You can click this dropper on a black portion of the photo, a white portion of the photo, or an 18% gray portion of the photo and it will adjust the White balance and temperature of the photo. Alternatively, you can look on the right-hand side of your screen and tell ACR to use the AUTO WB, AS SHOT, or one of the preset WB settings. If your editing multiple photos click on select all on the upper left-hand corner OR if you want to select just a couple from a large batch just hold your shift key down and select a couple and you can do this as many times as needed until you’ve gone through your entire batch. A nice thing that ACR has when doing batches is a +++++ rating system. You can rate your photos to mark which you like and dislike so if you are running a large batch and see pictures you just don’t want to take the next part of processing, mark them and you can ignore them in the future. This ++++ thing is below the thumbnail on each photo on the left-hand side of your screen.

On the top right of the screen above the histogram are to buttons that I push. One gives you indicators when your blacks are clipped, shadows are too extreme. The other gives you indicators when your highlights are clipped/blown. These indicators are both VERY useful and I leave them on all the time. Again this is a setting that you only have to do once and then it is set as your default next time you open up CS3.

Next thing I adjust here is exposure. I use the AUTO button here to get a baseline for where to start my editing on this next set of controls. If the WB is set correctly this AUTO seems to work fairly well for my style. I usually need to adjust very little. Exposure, brightness, fill, recovery, clarity in that order.

Exposure, Brightness, and fill really are self-explanatory. Sliding them gives you a really good idea of how they should be used and how far a little shift left or right changes things is important to note. The more you use exposure, the more grain you are introducing into your photo. When shooting in RAW I tend to overexpose ever so slightly since I find it is easier to SAVE a photo then if you were to severely underexpose or overexpose. Spot on exposure is ALWAYS ideal.

Recovery, this is a great tool. If you have blown highlights (indicated with the RED warnings) slide this to the right and you’ll gradually be able to bring some of the details back.

Clarity, I always set this at 5. I really like how that brig back a bit of shine back to the photo (removes a little haze) without any real loss of data.

At this point I don’t use any other controls in ACR, if I’m editing one photo I click OPEN here if I’m editing a batch, I click Select all in the upper left-hand corner and OPEN ALL.

Now the photos will all open in CS3. At this point, go up to my directions above on Editing a JPEG or TIFF and continue with my editing directions.

Stay tuned for future articles from me on Actions, Scripts, Batches and other tips and tricks of CS3.

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Sunday, 9 July 2017

Photoshop Tips and Tricks: Lighting with Magical Flakes and Sparks Effect

Light Creation Using Photoshop with a Professional Touch

If you’re wondering how they create these magical sparks with amazing lighting effects on some of the designs you see, then this is your time to know how they do it using Photoshop CS.

First create a new document, normally 400*400 pixels but you can open a design that you’re working on to add this effect to it or you can start with a blank document.

I started with a time-warped photo of a drop of water with some waves I added to it.

Step 1. Apply a Layer style to your background layer. Add a radial style gradient overlay with a smooth color to add depth to your design. (For complete specification to the style see the attached photo “GradntOvrly-2”)

Step 2. Create a new Layer. Select the Ellipse Tool and create a white rounded shape over the center of your design, or over the part you wanted to be the center of your magical lighting flakes.

Step 3. Apply a Gaussian Blur to your rounded shape (Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur) and use a radius of 20px. (if your design have a dark background you may use a bigger radius up to 30px)

Step 4. On you, layer panel, on top of your layers create a new folder named “Lighting”.

Step 5. Change the “Lighting” folder blending mode to Color Dodge, then move your rounded shape into this folder. (See “Light-cdodge-3”)

Step 6. On your “Lighting” folder, create a new layer and set you foreground/background colors to white.

Step 7. Select your Bruch tool, and go to the brush engine. Then follow setting exactly as shown on “BrushEngine-4, follow the steps in order”.

Step 8. Now using the brush tool and after selecting the brush engine settings throw off some sparks as needed to your design.

Step 9. Using layer styles, apply outer glowing to the sparks. (Feel free to use my settings for it “OtrGlw-9”)

Step 10. Now you can add your touch to finish your design, maybe some smoke around the flakes and some text beside it…

Extra Step, if you want to add some smoke behind and around your fakes: (Note that this step is only for dark color background designs)

Create a new/blank layer before your “Lighting” folder.

Change the blend mode to color dodge.

Select the lasso tool with a feather of 40px, add a selection around the space you add smoke in.

Set your foreground to white and the background to black.

Apply Filters > Render > clouds and repeat this step (Ctrl + F) until you get the best effect.

Take a look at my final product “Product-10” after adding some text and fewer sparks. You can apply this technique in many cases that could have clouds, smokes and flakes. It’s not too hard to create and it really gives your design a gleam of magic and a professional touch which is a huge plus to your final Photoshop product.

Hope my description was enough and easy to follow… Until next time, have fun!

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Thursday, 6 July 2017

How to Create Templates in Photoshop CS3

How to Create Templates in Photoshop CS3

Here’s a little tutorial on how to create card or collage templates using clipping masks in Photoshop CS3. Clipping masks are wonderful tools. Basically what they do is make a layer take on the shape of the one below it. So if you create a shape on one layer and then place an image on the layer above it and put a clipping mask on the image layer, the image will suddenly only show within the constraints of the shape! Then you can use the Transform tool (CTRL-T or Edit>Transform>Scale) to resize the image, effectively cropping it to fit the way you want it within that shape you created. It’s very cool


So here’s how you do it:

  1. Create a new document, preferably using one of my actions that include ¼” bleed guides. If not, manually add a ¼” guide on all 4 sides (View>New Guides) You need to keep that bleed area in mind when designing so that your elements don’t accidentally get cropped out when the card goes to the lab or the printers. A 1/4″ bleed is usually plenty of room. Just make sure your elements don’t fall outside of those guides. If you use my actions, you may need to rotate your image if you want it horizontal.
  2. Fill your background with the desired color.
  3. Add any textures or whatever you’d like to the background or on a new layer above the background. Here, I’m just leaving it plain for simplicity.
  4. Create a new layer to add the shape you want your image’s frame to be.
  5. Use the shape tool or pen tool to create your shape. Here, I’m going to use the custom shape tool, being sure to have the “fill pixels” box selected in the custom shape tool dialog. It doesn’t really matter what color I use to fill it since it will be covered by my inserted image.
  6. If you’d like to make a frame around your image, use the magic wand to select the shape, then create a new layer, and make a stroke (Edit>Stroke) around your shape. The reason you need to put this on a separate layer is so that the image will go underneath it. If you were to place it on the same layer as the shape, the image would cover the frame.

To keep the outside edges crisp, choose the stroke to be done inside. For rounded edges, choose outside. For the middle of the road with slightly rounded edges inside and out, choose center.

  1. Next, create a new layer to do whatever text and effects you want on there. At this point, once you get your layout adjusted the way you want it, you can add layer styles like drop shadows and strokes to your text layers and the shape layer too.
  2. Let’s do a quick “clean up” of our layers palette and group our layers according to what they do. Click the Shape layer, hold the CTRL key down and then click on the Stroke layer. This will select both. Now go to Layers>Create Group. This places those 2 layers in a new grouped folder. Rename this folder with what it contains like “Shape 1 & Stroke”. Do the same thing with the remaining layers, grouping them together logically and then renaming the group folders accordingly. Click on the little arrows next to the group folders to open or close them as you need to see the layers inside.
  3. Now we’re going to create the layer to insert your image. Click on the shape layer then create a new layer. This will place your new empty layer directly above the shape. Be sure it’s located there.
  4. With the new empty layer selected (I’ve already renamed it here), create a clipping mask by going to Layers>Create Clipping Mask. You will notice now there is a little bent arrow next to your empty layer pointing to the shape layer. In that empty layer, you can use the text tool to place instructional text. The user should place their image layer between the instructional text layer and the shape layer. Their image layer will take on that clipping command and will then conform to the shape below. Once it’s placed, they can either delete or turn off the text layer.

If you make a mistake and accidentally put the clipping mask on the wrong layer, highlight that layer then go to Layers>Release Clipping Mask

  1. That’s it…you can add more shapes with images or text or decoration as you like. Here I added more shapes with images. I also went back and renamed the group folders to make it more intuitive for the users.

Now, if you want to make your templates just that much better, here are some tips that might be worth trying out.

  • Use quarter inch bleed guides to keep your important elements from possibly being chopped off during printing. Not all printers have this issue but it makes sense to do it anyway. The last thing you want is to order 200-holiday cards and the family’s name is chopped off because it was too close to the edge! Plus, a little visual room on the edges makes the viewer more comfortable anyway.
  • I really suggest learning to use a clipping mask so it’s easy to insert the photos AND it gives a nice ability to be able to resize the inserted photo there in the template rather than having to copy and paste an already resized one. This allows you to adjust it to taste both in size and rotation.
  • Name your layers with what they do! This is an important one and it makes it much easier if you want to change an element, turn off its visibility or move it around.
  • GROUP your layers by what they do. For instance, put all the elements in the border in one group, textures in another, etc. Make sure you collapse the groups before you save the file. It helps keep your layers palette more organized and helps you know where things are. The tutorial linked above covers how to do this.
  • Make an instructional text layer (visible or not ) in one of the photo areas with directions on how to insert the photo and/or with what fonts you’re using. This helps people search for the fonts they may need to download and install if they don’t already own them.
  • Design tip – Color adjustability – – if you want to make your templates REALLY versatile, put all your colorful elements, especially the background, stripes, dots, whatever, in their own grouping so that a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer can be added. This allows the user to change colors simply by moving the sliders. You can either leave each element separate so people can come up with their own color schemes or you can flatten it and then the whole look is changed with the adjustment instead of each individual element. Guess it just depends on how big the file can be since leaving each element in its own layer does make the file size bigger. But it can be really neat to be able to change a color for a client in order to make the sale!
  • Keep photographic layers separate and above graphic elements. At least above the elements that may need adjustment layers. That way any Hue/Sat color adjustments are only applied to the graphic elements and not your photos.
  • Use descriptive file names! Put your studio name or username in the front of the file name. This makes it so people remember who created it and they can thank you and maybe even come back with something for you in return. Descriptive file names are also a huge help. If I were to make one, I’d do something like “TwilaDavisReed-5x7GreenStripeYellowDotsTwinsAnnouncement.psd” Yes, it’s long but 99% of computers can handle the long filenames. Just don’t put spaces because online hosting can’t handle that. If you need a “space” use an_underscore.

I could go on, but this is enough to digest for now. So now go forth, have fun creating and sharing these wonderful templates

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Monday, 3 July 2017

Photoshoping Pictures Can Have Negative Effects

It is not a mystery when it comes to photos for magazines that they are retouched to make celebrities look better or what they call better, then showing them in a natural light. Tyra Banks was one to admit that on Americas Next Top model that they had retouched the pictures of the contestants and even had a part on her talk show that she had shown the pictures that were not retouched and the ones that were because someone had made an error and released the wrong ones. Just recently his has shown again in the media that there was something wrong Demi Moore who was featured on the front page of W Magazine apparently missing part of her left hip and then again Emma Watson known for her role in Harry Potter was featured in a Blueberry ad with her brother, only to have part of her leg missing all the way up to her thigh. The fact remains that these little accidents can have a negative effect on women.

When seeing ads of girls that have rail thin bodies, you get an unrealistic idea of what your body is supposed to look like. This is what causes so many people to have eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia in the world today, they see something and it causes them to think that their body is not good enough. For someone with an eating disorder it is hard enough for them to ever think that they are thin, instead, they look at the magazines and television as a way to judge how their bodies should look. This only reinforces their bad eating habits to the point where it becomes unhealthy and even can cause death. We already as a society make judgments on people based on their weight as if someone is 160 pounds is called fat, how can that be? Maybe it is due to the fact that people are photoshopped into magazines as if they have no curves and weigh 80 pounds, this is just unrealistic but some people base their thoughts on what they see. The companies that do these things should really put out of business, but with so many people self-conscious about how they look this may never happen. People need to learn how to stand up for themselves and say this is the person that I am and I am going to be proud of it and not second guess their thoughts. No one has the perfect bodies and we all have our flaws, even celebrities.

Examples Of PhotoShoping:

Emma Watson Blueberry Ad

Demi Moore W Magazine Cover


Kim Kardashian Edit Mistake


Remember that nothing is real in the world of celebrities and that this is not the way a real person looks. Women have curves that they are not the bean poles that you see on the Magazine covers. No one should ever take into account that this is how anyone should really look. Until the Magazine Companies figure out that this type of thing can have a mind altering the effect of people there will be a steady incline of eating disorders in the world.

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Friday, 30 June 2017

Photoshop Tutorial: iPhone and iPod Touch Icons

Professional Icons

Everybody has heard about the iPhone, the phone that shook the world of mobile phones. The iPod Touch is the same device, but without the phone. These devices have an interface consisting largely of icons arrayed on panels, and a dock. Both default icons for applications and themed icons are a necessity. This tutorial covers the methods and theories behind the icon making process. It will also teach you to incorporate standard graphics design methods into your icons.

Be sure to check the attached images for an example of parts of the icon, some finished products, and an example of an icon set.

Step 1 – Basics.

We’re going to need a slate on which to create our icon!

– Create a new document in Photoshop, size 60x60px with a transparent background.
– Make a new layer, and select all (Ctrl+A).
– In order to achieve the standard rounded edges of an iPhone/iPod icon, press Select->Smooth, and use 5px.

Step 2 – Wallpaper the icon.

This is the back part of the icon, behind the symbol. This is typically what defines a theme, and stays the same throughout one (save perhaps for color).

– If you’ve deselected the layer, reselect its contents (Ctrl+Click on the layer preview on the left of the layer in the layers panel).
– Create the background of the icon, keeping the area you’re working in selected the whole time. The typical icon has a subtle gradient here (I use a three-color gradient that goes from one color to a lighter version, and back), but you can use any steps to make the icon. You can even act as though you are making a desktop wallpaper, with good results!
– If you’ve got a complex background, you may wish to darken, or lighten it a bit, in order to make a contrast with the rest of the icon. If you plan to have black text/symbol, lighten it, and vice versa.

Step 3 – Symbolism.

This part of the process defines what the icon is for. From a simple text to the most detailed image, all of these are symbols. The symbol of the icon should convey what the icon is for, whether it be a web browser, a picture viewer, what have you.

– Design your symbol – this can be a photo, a cutout from a photo, a mono color design made on the spot, or anything else you can imagine. The size of the symbol should leave at least 5-10px of padding space on every side of it.
– Position the symbol, either in the middle or one of the corners of the icon. To match most themes, including the default one, you’ll want it in the middle.

Step 4 – Reflection.

We’re going to create a professional reflectivity effect, to make the icon look crystallize, or glassy.

– Create a new layer (Ctrl+Shift+N).
– Select your icon background area again, on the first layer we made. This is done with a Ctrl+Click on the layer preview on the left of the layer in the layers panel.
– Fill the selection with white.
– Set the opacity to something between 5 and 50%, this is highly subjective and depends on the background. For the standard-style icons, I typically use 10%.
– Erase the layer to suit your needs. Almost no matter what you do, this will look good. Guidelines are to keep a solid chunk of the layer remaining, at the top of the layer. A good method is to use shape selections to delete the majority of the reflection layer. See below for the default-style reflection.

In order to create a reflection of the standard icon style (see the images for an example), follow these steps:

– Deselect anything you’ve got selected (Ctrl+D) and make sure you’re on the reflection layer.
– Choose the circle selection tool, in normal mode.
– Click and drag until the circle is very wide, and taller than you want the reflection to be (it helps to look at a completed icon while doing this, in order to mimic the angle of the curve and the positioning of the reflection).
– Position the circle so that it’s center lines up with the center of the icon.
– Invert the selection (Ctrl+Shift+I).
– Hit delete.

Step 5 – Templates and Glory.

Save the icon files and revel in your now-evident icon-creation skills.

– Save the PSD file. Most of you would do this anyway, but it’s especially important with icons. This way if you’d like to make matching icons, you can simply re-open this and replace the symbol layer(s).
– Save the icon as a PNG file. I use the File->Save As dialog, as it doesn’t do unnecessary compression (this image isn’t for the web).
– Enjoy the icon you made – post it on forums, use it on your iPhone/iPod, etc. People will appreciate icons posted for public use! If you especially enjoy making them, try making an icon request thread for ideas.
– Become an internet-renowned icon designer!

echo $variable;

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