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Dec
13

Switching from Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Post Production Tips

Let’s be honest – over the past couple of months, more than enough has been said about Adobe’s recent change in policy regarding how the latest versions (yes, all two of them) of Lightroom are to be purchased and used. Articles have been written, disappointment expressed in some volume, silver linings spotted where there seemed to be none.

There’s also a good chance that you have made up your mind regarding the change to do one of the following:

  • To stick with CC and Classic.
  • To start the fairly painful process of moving on to a different piece of software.
  • Or to put off the decision for as long as the already-purchased version of Lightroom supports RAW files from your camera.

From Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

Thus, we are not here to discuss Adobe’s brilliant decisions or lack thereof. This article is meant for those who chose the second option. Specifically, for those, who have decided to switch from Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate. Hopefully, the last article I wrote on ACDSee Photo Studio has helped you make up your mind whether or not this software is suitable for your needs. If it is, I will try to help make the transition as painless as possible.

An important disclaimer: as before, the license for this copy of ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate has been provided by ACD Systems. Having said that, even though ACD Systems has asked me to write this article, it has not been dictated by the company in the slightest. My words are always my own, as are your reasons for switching or otherwise. More than that, ACD Systems never implied they expect anything but integrity.

Direct transfer from Lightroom

I am afraid I will have to start with some disappointment, so I will try to rip off the bandage as quickly as possible. As of today, there is absolutely no way to transfer editing data from Lightroom to any other post-processing software or vice versa. It’s the result of closed-standard tools and database format that each software developer uses – not even sharpening is equivalent, let alone tonal adjustments.

So, the progress you have made with Lightroom is bound to remain accessible via Lightroom only, at least as far as RAW files themselves are concerned. For all the convenience catalog systems provide, this is one of the downsides – switching to a new RAW converter can really be a hassle.

From Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

It may not be possible to transfer edits from LR to ACDSee, but Photo Studio sure has a lot of tools to cover most post-processing tasks.

But if you are here, I am guessing you have decided to push through the process now rather than become even more tied-in with the system Adobe is sticking to, and have even more to deal with at a later date. One solution you are left with is exporting full-size JPEG images from your Lightroom Catalog for any future needs (uploads to social media or websites, for example). But should you ever need to tweak a setting or two, you will either have to go back to Lightroom, or start from zero using ACDSee or an alternative tool.

Mind you, this caveat is only really valid for two or three years at the most, since there is a good chance that after a couple of years your taste in post-processing – as well as your skill – will have changed noticeably. I know mine has. Still, it is something that you will need to accept as an unavoidable result of having been part of such a closed system.

It is my hope that, over time, software developers such as ACD Systems will work out a way to read Adobe’s (and other) databases and interpret adjustments in an equivalent manner so that none of the edits – at least not those most prominent – would be lost when switching.

Now that the bandage is off, let’s go through what can be achieved with Photo Studio Ultimate.

Importing Lightroom Catalog Data

As I have mentioned in the previous article, culling and adding metadata information is an enormous pain for me. I am sure I am not the only one who just wants to get on with post-processing. Having to assign ratings and keywords all over again for images that have been organized in Lightroom would be insufferable. It is an enormous relief that this is something ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate can greatly help you with.

Photo Studio has the functionality to import ratings, color labels, keywords, and collections from any Lightroom Catalog, thus preserving the major image organizing-structure of your portfolio. The process of importing this data is very easy to initiate and requires minimal effort.

1. Find the Adobe Lightroom Database Import tool

While in Manage Mode, select the Tools menu at the very top of the screen. There, navigate to Database > Import > Lightroom Database, which is located at the very bottom of the Import submenu. This will open the Lightroom Database Import Guide.

From Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

2. Select Data and Catalog to Import

As soon as you launch the Lightroom Database Importer, a dialog with a short introduction to the tool’s functionality will pop up. Click Next, and you will be given options to specify which database entries you want to be imported, as well as the location of the Lightroom Catalog itself.

From Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

2.1 Ratings

This is the star-based filter assigned with numeric keys (1 through 5) in Lightroom. ACDSee does not have stars as such, but it provides a numeric rating that is equivalent for all intents and purposes. If you check this option, ACDSee will interpret the ratings you have assigned with Lightroom and apply the same values.

2.2 Labels

This specifically refers to color labels that both Lightroom and ACDSee support. Again, by default, the labels that ACDSee provides are exactly the same as those found in Lightroom, so files marked with a Red label in a Lightroom Catalog will be marked with the same color in ACDSee after the data from the Catalog is imported.

2.3 Collections

These are a bit more complicated than Labels and Ratings and not something Photo Studio promotes as a means to managing your files, at least not by default. But if you were using Collections in Lightroom to sort your images, ACDSee will readily take over.

Simply select the Panes menu and enable Collections there and a new navigational tab will become available. Located right next to the Folders tab in Manage mode, it will list all the Collections that the imported Catalogs contained, along with the images assigned to those Collections.

It has been a couple of years since I last used Collections in Lightroom, preferring to stick with simple filters now, but it is nice to know this option is available and neatly integrated.

From Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

2.4 Keywords

These are perhaps self-explanatory. Any keywords that you applied in Lightroom to any given RAW file will be seen by ACDSee too. This is useful for when you want to find images of specific locations, events, or people, provided you specified those keywords in Lightroom in the first place. Obviously, if you have not, ACDSee offers enough image management tools to have you covered.

2.5 Location

ACDSee will navigate to the default Lightroom Catalog in the Pictures folder on your computer, so keep in mind you may need to change the location. There is no way to select several Catalogs at once, so if you have more than one (which is very likely), the Catalog Import process will need to be repeated once for each one.

From Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

Make sure Lightroom is not running while attempting to Import a Catalog.

Depending on the size of the Catalog being imported and your computer hardware specifications, the process might take up to a few minutes to finish. In fact, it took ACDSee over 30 minutes to process my Catalog. More than enough time to take a break from work and have a cup of coffee (you will have to wait for the Import to finish before you can use Photo Studio for anything else).

Admittedly, the Catalog was quite large, with a year’s worth of RAW files, and stored on an external hard drive on top of that. And not the fastest sort either. Be that as it may, importing will certainly be quicker than having to apply the filters and ratings manually, and nowhere near as tedious.

From Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

Once the process is finished, you will find (upon navigating to the corresponding folder) your RAW files to contain the same labels, ratings, and metadata entries as applied in Lightroom. Honestly, this is great. The only omission that I can think of is that ACDSee does not seem to take Flags into account, so any images you may have marked with Pick or Reject Flag in Lightroom will not have the filter imported.

Part of the reason is that ACDSee simply has no Reject Flag equivalent, even if marking a file with backslash key tags it in a similar fashion to how Pick Flag works in Lightroom. Something to improve upon perhaps.

From Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

The ratings and labels Lightroom is showing…

From Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

…are now transferred to ACDSee. And it gives you a good before-after glimpse too/

Plugins are added

Here is something that’s as unexpected as it is brilliant; ACDSee supports plugins designed for Adobe Photoshop. If you have been using Lightroom, this may be of relevance to you, too, as so many of these plugins are also meant for Adobe’s standalone RAW converter and image management software.

I have no idea how much work had to go into this little trick, but it is a massive attraction for anyone who is not fully satisfied with the extent of default ACDSee tools.

From Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

Long time no see, Silver Efex. Fancy finding you here.

While I have not done any extensive testing – I rarely, if ever, use plugins anymore – I was able to verify this with one of the most well-regarded plugin packs by Nik Software (now owned by DxO after being nearly killed-off by Google). Color Efex worked like a charm. I encountered an occasional error here and there, but often to no direct effect on the functionality of the software or the plugin, so while annoying, it was rarely terminal.

I also tried a couple of plugins by Topaz some time ago and they worked without issue. The full list of officially supported tools can be found here.

From Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

It is necessary to path the location of the already-installed plugins. To make sure ACDSee can locate the plugins correctly, first go to Edit mode. Then, select Options from the Tools menu at the top of the screen, or simply hit Alt + O. Once the Options panel is displayed, choose Edit Mode from the list on the left. There, you will be able to select the GPU that ACDSee will use to speed up processing, among other things.

What we need is the bottom-most field called Adobe Photoshop Plugin Paths. A couple of directories will be listed by default, but in some cases (as with Nik), they won’t be enough. You need to specify where the plugins are located. Since I am interested in using Nik Software, I added (click the Add button) a new path that leads to C:\Program Files\Nik Collection. The destination of your plugins might be different, so make sure you set the path correctly. Once you’re done, click OK.

From Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy

If the plugins are supported and the path has been specified accurately, you will find the plugins listed in the Photoshop Plugins section of the Tools menu (still in Edit Mode).

I won’t claim there is no chance of errors happening – after all, those plugins were never really intended for anything but Adobe. Yet the fact that they work so well despite that is an impressive and convenient achievement no matter how you look at it.

Just keep in mind that not everything might work as expected every single time, or it may take time for some plugins to be properly supported.

Final Words

Breaking and rearranging an established workflow is not a pleasant experience. Especially if the previous routine worked well and it is the company’s decisions, rather than the quality of the tool, that has become an issue. With that in mind, it is good to know that less-dominant software developers are going out of their way to show how welcoming they can be.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate attempts to make the transition from Lightroom as simple and straightforward as possible, not only by offering a plethora of powerful (and often similar) post-processing tools but by also taking steps towards preserving any image organizing you may have already done with Lightroom.

It’s not perfect and there is certainly room for improvement (perhaps edit transfers are not as far-fetched as they might seem?), but what has been done is by no means a small feat and will save any new user hours of rating and filtering what has already been done before.

Whichever software you will find yourself choosing next (or sticking with), there is plenty for the giant developers to learn from such attention to detail.

Disclaimer: ACDsee is a paid partner of dPS

The post Switching from Lightroom to ACDSee Photo Studio: Making the Jump Easy by Romanas Naryškin appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Dec
12

How to Quickly Process Your Holiday Photos with Luminar’s Accent AI Filter

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Post Production Tips

The holiday season is upon us, and suddenly everyone seems to be in a rush. We all have a million things to accomplish in just a few short weeks. At this time of year, I’m always scrambling to get my Christmas photos processed and ready for viewing. Feeling overwhelmed once again this year I decided to turn to Luminar by Macphun, soon to be Skylum, and try out their unique Accent AI Filter. It’s supposed to be a super simple and quick way to get beautiful images.

What is the Accent AI Filter?

AI stands for Artificial Intelligence and this filter is designed to do all the hard work for you. It uses artificial intelligence to assess the image and then applies the required adjustments to the image. This means that each image is processed according to the individual shadows, highlights, and colors present within the photo. The Accent AI Filter allows you to make quick, impactful adjustments with just one slider.

Locate the Accent AI filter in Luminar by clicking on the “add filter” button or by selecting the workspace called “Quick and Awesome”. This workspace combines the Accent AI filter plus the Clarity and Saturation filters to create a dynamic combo of super quick adjustments.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

Find the Accent AI filter quickly using the “add filter” button.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

The Quick and Awesome Workspace is easy to use for super simple adjustments.

Time to edit some photos

Each holiday season I have to process a large number of images. The first set of images usually belongs to the commercial realm. I’m often shooting photographs that are used to promote various Christmas art sales. When I’m staring at a collection of 300 images and a rushed timeline, a quick post-processing workflow is so important. I need to download, tweak, and upload and deliver digital images to clients for their social media campaigns. It’s fun, but it can be overwhelming when it needs to be completed in such a short frame of time.

Using Accent AI with commercial images

It’s time to test the Accent AI filter on these commercial images and see how it handles the varied lighting conditions at these venues. These images of a Christmas craft sale located here in Canada were shot in a heritage building.

The lighting was pretty terrible, and on this particular day, it was cloudy, so I was challenged by these factors along with the fact that many of the pieces were quite shiny. It was a challenging situation, especially when I had to photograph the items during gallery hours and I couldn’t set up any lights. I had to use what was available.

Image #1 –Only one adjustment

For the following images, I had to use fairly high ISO settings and a wide aperture of f/2.8 to f/4. In the case of the image below, I moved the slider on the Accent AI Filter over to the right and was able to quickly and easily adjust the image without making any other tweaks. The item in the image is clear and easy for customers to view. It only took me a few seconds to prepare this image for upload.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

I quickly applied the filter to this image. The result is certainly good given the lighting and conditions in the art gallery.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

Here’s the full image after processing.

Image #2 – Applied as a mask

In this second image, I found that the Accent AI filter created too much of a yellow tone that took away from the beauty of the color of the red hat. The wall looked yellow, and I didn’t like this effect. However, I really liked the way the filter treated the hat itself, and I think it brought out its details and rich color.

So I applied the Accent AI Filter as a mask. I added a second layer (just click the + sign next to the word “Layers”) and painted in the filter over the hat. The resulting image took just a few minutes to create.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

When I applied the Accent AI filter to this entire image it made the wall quite yellow.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

Here I used a mask to apply to filter to just the hat so that the wall remained white.

The Accent AI Filter helped me to edit my photos for clients quickly. It handled the editing of images taken under some fairly challenging lighting circumstances with high ISO settings. I think this speaks to the capabilities of the filter to assess each image and adjust it accordingly.

It should also be noted that you can have too much of a good thing. In some instances, the filter created too much of an unnatural HDR look. It’s important to adjust the slider accordingly and subtly. In this case, I didn’t want a heavy HDR look, and I had to be careful just how much of a boost I applied to each image.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

Here I purposely applied the filter to illustrate the point that the Accent AI filter can become too “heavy-handed” if you take it too far.

Using the Accent AI Filter for art images

I also tested out the Accent AI Filter on some images I created for use on Art Cards. The following image was shot with the purpose of being used as a Christmas card. I usually make a collection of 10 images that are all winter or Christmas themed. In years past I’ve slaved for hours, carefully editing the work. This year I decided to see if the Accent AI Filter could handle my art photos as well.

In the image below of an ice-crusted coniferous tree, I was struggling with a very hazy atmosphere. I wanted the yellowish tree to stand out from the green of the trees behind. I also wanted to define the ice and create an image that showed the unique nature of that moment in time. Remember I said to be careful in applying the filter too heavily, but in this case, I cranked it all the way to the right.

The brown of the tree branches stood out from the yellow of the tree needles, which is good. I also like how defined the ice became on the strands of dried grass below. There was no banding present, and the image still had a fairly natural look. In this case, the heavily applied filter worked perfectly.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

Here’s the unprocessed image.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

Here you can see the Accent AI Filter at 100 percent.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

The changes made to this image are considerable with the filter at full strength.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

Here’s the completed image.

Using the Accent AI Filter to adjust family snaps

Annually, I take a quick photo of the family to document the year. These images are not spectacular. They are family photos that are cherished on a personal level and document the changes each year brings. But they have to be shot quickly as my family isn’t overly patient when it comes to photography. I decided to see how the Accent AI filter would handle the editing of these photos.

Again the lighting is often challenging as they are usually shot on Christmas Eve. I wanted to see if the filter could enhance these memories and also help to fulfill my obsessive photographer tendency to want to take professional quality images all the time. In this case, I messed around a little and wanted to see how the filter affected the portrait.  This time I used Luminar as a plugin for Lightroom.

So I made a few adjustments in Lightroom first. I straightened the image and cloned out the cat’s tail. Then I moved over to Luminar and applied the Accent AI Filter. I like the resulting image. The filter helped to put a little bit of definition into the boys faces and balanced out the light. All in all, it worked pretty well.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

With the filter to almost 50% strength, the image is still pleasing.

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

Here you can see the subtle difference the filter made in this image. Look closely at the detail in the blue t-shirt (after image the right of the line)

How to Process Your Holiday Photos with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar

Here you can see the changes in a side by side back in Lightroom. The image on the left shows the Luminar adjustments.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Accent AI Filter in Luminar is an effective tool that can help you to adjust a large range of images. The filter is highly “intelligent”. It saves several steps in post-processing. If I were to edit these images without using the Accent AI Filter, I would have had to apply several different filters and spend time carefully adjusting their effect on the image. The Accent AI filter streamlined the process for me.

Also read: Speed up Your Workflow with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar and Batch Processing for more on how to apply this handy filter as a batch to a whole set of images at once. 

Here’s another image finished with slight adjustments using the Accent AI Filter.

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.

The post How to Quickly Process Your Holiday Photos with Luminar’s Accent AI Filter by Erin Fitzgibbon appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Dec
9

How to Clone Yourself – Step by Step Tutorial

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Post Production Tips

You have probably seen photos on the internet where the same person appears in multiple spots in a single photo. At first sight, you might not have believed it, and later you must have gone berserk looking for ways that effect can be achieved. Well, who does not want that superhero feeling where you can appear in 2-3 different places doing 2-3 different things as well in a single photo.

Let me tell you, it is not at all complicated or difficult to clone yourself multiple times in a single frame. You can achieve this effect by going through two simple stages, the execution stage (shooting) and the post-processing stage. By the end of this tutorial, I am sure you will be able to create pretty awesome clone photos, feel free to share them in the comments section.

How to Clone Yourself - Step by Step Tutorial

Part One – How to Clone Yourself – Execution

In the execution stage all you need is a:

  • A digital camera
  • A tripod
  • Shutter release remote or use the built-in self-timer

Step 1:

Mount your digital camera on a tripod. As you will be taking multiple photos you need to make sure that the frame in each photo remains the same and the camera doesn’t move.

Step 2:

Make sure that Manual Mode is selected as you do not want any aperture, shutter speed, or white balance variations in your multiple photos. This is to make sure that all your photos are consistent in exposure, depth of field and color temperature.

How to Clone Yourself - Step by Step Tutorial

Step 3:

Now focus on the point where you will be standing or sitting and switch the focusing mode to Manual as well. This is again to ensure that each photo is consistent in terms of depth of field and sharpness. An important suggestion is to use an aperture which is not too wide, something around f/5.6 – f/8 would be ideal to get good depth of field.

Step 4:

Switch on the 10-second timer on your digital camera so that you have enough time to position yourself in the frame and get ready for the photo. If you have one, you can also use a wired/wireless shutter release remote to click photos once you are ready and in position.

That’s it, now you are ready to take as many photos you as want to by positioning yourself at different spots in the frame.

How to Clone Yourself - Step by Step Tutorial

Here you can see the four shots I took. It’s important to take one of just the scene without you in it as well as you’ll need it for the next stage.

Note: It’s important to take one of just the scene without you in it as well as you’ll need it for the next stage!

Part Two – How to Clone Yourself – Post-Processing

Now comes the interesting part of this tutorial where you get to learn how you can clone yourself multiple times in a photo using software such as Adobe Photoshop. Let me take you through a step-by-step explanation of how I achieved this photo.

Note: you need an image editing software that works with layers to do this. Lightroom cannot do this.

Step 1:

Import all the photos into Adobe Photoshop and get them to a single workspace by going to individual photos, pressing CTRL/CMD + A (select all) and again pressing CTRL/CMD + C (copy). Now go to the photo where you want all other photos to be brought together and press CTRL/CMD + V (paste). Do this for all the other photos until you have all the photos in one workspace as layers.

Make sure the image without you is the bottom layer. If it is not, drag it there now.

Note: Alternatively you can open Adobe Bridge and find your images. Select all the ones you want to use (CMD+click on each to select more than one) and go to Tools > Photoshop > Load files into Photoshop layers. This will achieve the same thing as copy and pasting each image. If you work in Lightroom you can select them all, right-click and select Open as Layers in PS as well. 

How to Clone Yourself - Step by Step Tutorial

Step 2:

Now add a black layer mask (press and hold ALT and then click on Add vector mask icon as shown in the photo below) in order to start the editing process. Select the Paintbrush tool and make sure that black is selected as the foreground color, and then click once on the mask of the layer you want to work on first.

Note: Make sure the mask is selected not the layer. See the white bracket corners on the mask? That means it is selected. 

How to Clone Yourself - Step by Step Tutorial

Step 3:

Layer by layer, start painting (at 100% brush opacity)_ over the area where you are located in that frame to make yourself visible in the photo. Do this with all the layers in order to make yourself appear in the photo at multiple spots as shown in the image below.

How to Clone Yourself - Step by Step Tutorial

While bringing back one of yourself in the frame, if by mistake you erase your previous photo (your clone) you can bring it back by selecting the foreground color as white and painting back over it on the mask. So basically, painting with black lets you make the elements of the current layer visible, and the white color erases the elements of that current layer if you by mistake overdo it.

Black reveals – white conceals

How to Clone Yourself - Step by Step Tutorial

Finish up

Once you are done cloning all your photos proof check the final photo carefully, there is a chance that you might have erased a part of one of your clones by accident. Make sure you aren’t missing any toes or limbs.

So once you are satisfied with the final result, export it and start flaunting it on your social media channels and please share in the comments below.

The post How to Clone Yourself – Step by Step Tutorial by Kunal Malhotra appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Dec
7

How to Enhance Colors Using Photoshop’s Color Range Tool

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Post Production Tips

Luminosity Masks have become a go-to technique for many photographers wanting to make selective adjustments on their images. While it’s a great way to create precise masks, it’s a mask solely based on the luminosity of a pixel and it may not be ideal when you only want to make adjustments to a specific color. Perhaps you want to enhance that beautiful sunset you photographed last night or maybe you want to change the color of your subject’s eyes. Regardless of what color based adjustment you want to make, there’s a simple and quick method of creating a precise selection based on the color value using Photoshop’s Color Range Tool.

Why Use Selective Adjustments

Before we jump into how you can create a precise selection based on a color, I quickly want to talk about why you should be using selective adjustments in your post-processing.

My area of expertise is landscape photography but this topic is important no matter what type of images you capture or your ambitions. If you have a desire to make your images look better, you need to be making some selective (local) adjustments to them.

It doesn’t need to be anything super-advanced, but start by at least making some selective color adjustments. The main reason you’d want to do this is to get rid of the unwanted color cast. The color cast can come as a result of your previous post-processing or it can come straight from the camera and it’s something that sticks out as a negative when viewing the image (the exception is when it’s a deliberate color cast that serves a purpose).

How to Enhance Colors Using Photoshop's Color Range Tool

I used Selective Adjustments to keep the shadows cold in this image.

It’s also quite common that you’ll want to make an adjustment only to a specific area of an image (known as a local adjustment). A normal adjustment will affect the entire image (known as a global adjustment). Instead, create a mask that selects only the part of the image you want to affect (for example the highlights, a color, or maybe just a specific subject) and make your adjustment. Now, you’ve kept the majority of the image untouched but have made a visible adjustment to that particular area – no global color cast and no unwanted effects.

Create a Mask Based on Color

Okay, let’s jump into it and start making a few adjustments based on a color. In the example below, I want to increase the saturation and brightness of the yellow flowers in the foreground. A typical way of making a similar adjustment would be to use the Hue/Saturation adjustment and increase the saturation of the yellows. Yes, the flowers are saturated and brighter now but so are the cliffs, areas in the sky, and even some of the water.

How to Enhance Colors Using Photoshop's Color Range Tool

First of all, make sure that you’re on a Stamp layer – in other words, one which is all the layers below it merged into one (you can delete this layer later but you’ll need it for the next step). Now, go to Select > Color Range… A new box should now appear and it’s here that you’re going to create the mask.

How to Enhance Colors Using Photoshop's Color Range Tool

For the best results, make sure that Sampled Colors is selected in the top drop-down menu. It’s possible to work with the other options as well but I find the mask to be much more accurate by manually sampling the colors you want. Next, with the Eyedropper Tool selected, click on the color in your image that you want to select. For me, that’s one of the yellow flowers in the foreground. Notice that the image within the Color Range box now has changed and it’s mostly black. This represents the selection we’re making (only the white parts of the mask will be affected).

Refine the mask

The Fuzziness slider is a useful tool to make the selection more or less refined. By pulling the slider towards the left, you’re creating a more restricted mask and it affects less of the similar colors to what you’ve selected. Pulling it towards the right has the opposite effect and the mask starts including similar colors. I prefer to use a fuzziness of approximately 70-80 but I recommend you play around with it for each shot.

How to Enhance Colors Using Photoshop's Color Range Tool

That’s it! Click OK and you’ve created a precise mask based on that color. Now, you choose the adjustment you want to use – I’ll use the Hue/Saturation slider for now.

Adding Colors to the Selection

Before we continue and start enhancing the image, I want to show you how you can add more colors to the mask. Let’s say that I also wanted to make the same adjustment to the bright parts of the sky. Before clicking OK and creating the selection, I would simply hold shift (or select the second Eyedropper Tool named “Add to Sample) and click on the sun. You’ll see that the mask has changed and the area around the setting sun is also whited out.

How to Enhance Colors Using Photoshop's Color Range Tool

Unfortunately, this step also included some of the cliffs in the lower right corner which I don’t want to be affected. The best way to remove that from your mask is to paint directly on the mask with a black brush after creating an adjustment layer.

Making the Adjustment

The last thing I’m going to do is to increase the saturation and brightness of the flowers. With the mask we created active (you know it’s an active mask when you see the marching ants around your selection), create a new Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. Since we’ve already created a mask that targets only the yellow flowers, we don’t need to go into the yellow channel, instead, we continue using the Master channel.

Now just drag the Saturation slider towards the left until the colors are saturated to your taste. I also increased the Lightness slightly to make the flowers pop even more.

Before

How to Enhance Colors Using Photoshop's Color Range Tool

After

This technique of creating a precise mask can be used with any adjustment layer that you want. I often combine it with any color-based adjustments such as Hue/Saturation, the Photo Filter, and Color Balance. For adjustments that affect the brightness and contrast of the image, I prefer using Luminosity Masks.

The post How to Enhance Colors Using Photoshop’s Color Range Tool by Christian Hoiberg appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Dec
5

How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Post Production Tips

When it comes to food photography, photo editing is at least half of the battle. Sure, there’s an art to styling and shooting food so that it looks yummy right out of the camera. But more often than not, it pays to spend a little time sprucing up that photo in post-production. There are lots of popular photo editing tools out there, but lately, I’ve been preferring Luminar by Macphun, soon to be Skylum.

Simple and straightforward to use, you can enhance any food photo in Luminar right out of the box. Here’s how to get started. I should be clear that this is my personal food photography editing workflow. Feel free to make adjustments and edits to your own taste (pun intended) and preferences.

How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

The final image, edited in Luminar.

Get Started

First, open a photo in Luminar. You can open an image three ways; by clicking the blue Open Image button on the welcome screen, by going to File > Open, or by dragging and dropping an image on the welcome screen.After your image is open, take a look around at the software’s interface.

The top bar contains a variety of useful tools such as crop, transform, and undo, plus unique features like clone and stamp, erase, and a handy history menu which lets you scroll back through every edit you’ve made to an image. There’s also a button to give a quick preview of changes made to your image, and even a compare slider showing the image before and after editing.

1. Apply a Luminar Preset

On the bottom row of Luminar, you’ll find a menu of presets, which are essentially filters, with predetermined settings. (Note: if the presets are not showing click the icon third from the right in the top toolbar.) There are dozens of presets to choose from and they’re sorted by category. In the default version of the software, there’s not a specific category for food photos, but the Basic presets will do just fine (and as you go, you can create your own custom presets).

Selecting a preset automatically applies the edits intended by the designer of the preset. In the sandwich image below, the Fix Dark Photos preset has been applied. Directly over the preset is a slider that allows you to adjust the intensity of that preset. On the right side, a panel opens up showing what aspects of the photo have been edited. You can go in and fine-tune the adjustments to taste using the sliders.

Luminar Apply Preset - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

2. Open up the Filters Catalog

Applying a preset will get your photo off to a great start, but you’ll often need to make a few micro adjustments to your image.

To do this, click on the Add Filters button in the right-hand corner. This will open up the Filters Catalog, offering you tons more editing tools. Hovering your mouse over a filter will result in a pop-up window that explains the filter’s effect and shows an example thumbnail image (as seen below).

Luminar Add Filters - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

Here I’m adding the Dodge & Burn Filter.

Finding and Sorting Filters

There several tools in the catalog that will help you find the filters you need. First is the search bar where you can type in a filter name. Below that is a drop-down menu that lets you see filters according to their usage, such as Issue Fixers, Essential, and Creative. Finally, you can star or favorite your most-used filters to make them easier to find. For food photos, I stick to pretty basic filters that add minor adjustments.

Below, I’ve applied a Dodge and Burn filter to darken (burn) some of the sandwich bread. I also added a Denoise filter to reduce some of the grain in the black background.

Luminar Dodge and Burn - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

3. Crop the Image

After applying a preset and fine-tuning with filters, I’m feeling pretty good about the color and lighting of my image. All that remains is cropping the image. To do this, click on the Tools menu in the top bar and select Crop. This will reveal a cropping interface with guidelines, a collection of crop preset,s and the ability to rotate the image if you like.

In this case, I cropped in just a bit to put more emphasis on the sandwich and remove the bit of food on the right.

Luminar Crop - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

The Crop tool in Luminar.

4. Clone and Stamp

Almost there! Now that I’ve cropped the image to my liking, there are a few messy spots that I want to erase. Time to clone and stamp! This feature is also in the Tools drop-down menu where you found Crop.

In this workspace, Clone & Stamp works very similarly to other image editors such as Photoshop and Lightroom. Simply hold down the Option key and click on an area you want to copy pixels from. Then click (paint) over the object you want to remove or replace. In the photo below, a few messy spots on the bread have been clone stamped, as well as part of the black shirt background.

Luminar Clone Stamp food editing - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

Clone tool for fixing a few messy bits.

5. Save, Export, Share, or Open Image in another platform

When you’re done editing your food photos in Luminar, you have several options for saving and sharing images.

One option is to go to File –> Save As. Just note that this will save your image in a Luminar 2018 native format (.lmnr) so that you can continue to fully edit and adjust the same image later. If you choose you can save all the layers and the history for this image in the .lmnr file.

Luminar Save As - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

Saving as a .lmnr file.

If you want to save in another file format such as a JPG, you’ll have to Export. This brings up a dialogue box where you can specify file size, format, quality, and the location of the saved image.

Luminar Save - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

Your final option for saving images is to share them directly to online platforms such as Facebook or 500px. It’s necessary to sign into your individual accounts to connect them to Luminar, but once you do so, sharing them directly to other websites is a snap.

You can also open the image in another image editing platform such as one of Macphun’s many other programs (i.e. Aurora HDR).

Luminar Social Media - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

In Conclusion

Whether you’re trying to fix or spruce up a food photo, Luminar by Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a great photo editing platform. Not only does it have a wide range of adjustable presets, but it also has basic and advanced tools that both amateur and pro photographers will appreciate.

Download a free trial of Luminar and give it a go! Post your food photo results in the comments below.

Luminar Food Photo Editing - edited

Final, edited photo.

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.

The post How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar by Suzi Pratt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Dec
2

How to Create a Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Post Production Tips

Ever seen those flowy, innocuous desktop backgrounds that to show up on default computer screens? That’s the exact image I thought of when I messing around with Photoshop for this tutorial. Though they aren’t exact, these simple gradients and shapes come together to spur on a little nostalgia.

This project is pretty straightforward – but it introduced me to a couple techniques I had never come across before. Photoshop has opened up worlds of image-making technology. But when you boil it all down, the culmination of a photographer’s work is in shades of light dispersed within shapes.

I had a good time putting together this tutorial  – I even tried out a few on my own desktop. It’s a great way to get familiar with Photoshop operations. But it’s just as fun for a pro, with a bit of photographic downtime on their hands. So let’s dig in.

Getting Started

First, open a new document in Photoshop. Change the dimensions of the canvas to the average desktop background size – 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels, as shown below.How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Add a Gradient

Select Layer via the Layers tab on the top toolbar and click on New Fill Layer and then Gradient.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

In the pop-up Gradient panel, click on the drop-down arrow and select Simple Gradients.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Select a color from the swatches in the Simple tab.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Choose a color that appeals to you most – whichever one you like best!

Click directly on the panel for the gradient color and a new panel will pop up. This will allow you to further customize your color scheme.  Click on the white node below the gradient bar. A color picker will pop up, allowing you to change the white parts of our original gradient to another shade.

At this stage, I would recommend a color similar in shade to your original color. I’m a big fan of pink, so I went with subtle, light shade of pink to complement my overall color scheme. But It’s totally up to you!

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Accept the color of the gradient. Select Radial as the style and the scale as 150.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Clicking the Radial setting makes the lighter shade emanate from the center of your image.

Add Another Layer

Next, create a new layer via the layers tab at the top of the screen. Select New in the drop-down menu and select Layer… Click OK at the prompt.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Add a Shape

Click on the Elliptical Marquee Tool. This may be obscured by the Rectangular Marquee Tool, so click and hold the mouse over the tool for a moment to reveal the other options.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

With the Elliptical Marquee Tool selected, draw a circle that intersects with the top corner of your image. To keep the elliptical tool even on all sides (in other words, a circle), hold down the Shift key as you drag part of the shape over the top corner.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Open the paintbrush tool and select a nice, soft-edged brush. Set the brush size between 200 to 400 pixels and the hardness level to zero. Select a color in a slightly darker shade. I selected a peachy color.

With the Elliptical Tool still selected, brush around the very outer rim of the quarter-circle with the paintbrush, relying on the softness of the brush to dust the inner rim.

paintbrush - How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Use a slightly different shade to emphasize the edge of the circle you created.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Duplicate the shape layer as many times as you would like to create an interesting pattern.

Add Dimension

Next, we’ll add a new dimension to the image by using the Rectangular Marquee Tool rather than the Ellipse Tool.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Create a New Layer and then select the Rectangular Marquee tool from the panel. Stretch the Rectangular Marquee Tool across your image so that about half of it is selected, as shown below.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Rectangular selection.

With the same technique and color you used on the ellipse, brush along the perimeter of the shape, leaving only the slightest shadow.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

With the rectangle still selected, click on Edit > Transform > Warp.  Slowly drag the different points of the rectangular selection to adjust the whole shape of the layer. Try to make gradual edits at first, to keep the line free of sharp angles.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

Transform the rectangle.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop

How to Create Minimal Desktop Backgrounds Using Photoshop

The edge of the rectangle after transforming.

Blend Modes

Now to add a little more depth to the image, you can apply blending modes to bring out highlights in the background. Select a layer and click on Blending Modes usually located above the Layers panel. Select a setting from the list of Blending Modes available. I usually use the Color Burn option, but feel free to experiment!

How to Create Minimal Desktop Backgrounds Using Photoshop

Blend modes.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Backgrounds Using Photoshop

And there you have it! Not bad huh? Amazing what you can do with a few circles and shadows.

Liquify

If you like, try experimenting with the Liquefy tool. It’s found in the Filter tab on the top tools panel.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Backgrounds Using Photoshop

How to Create Minimal Desktop Backgrounds Using Photoshop

Before using the liquify tool on an image I constructed using the steps above.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Backgrounds Using Photoshop

After using the Liquefy tool. You can see that the shapes are now a little more organic.

Over to you!

Here are a few more of my creations. I’d love you see how your desktop background has turned out, please share in the comments below.

How to Create Minimal Desktop Backgrounds Using Photoshop

How to Create Minimal Desktop Backgrounds Using Photoshop

How to Create Minimal Desktop Backgrounds Using Photoshop

How to Create Minimal Desktop Backgrounds Using Photoshop

A minimalist approach created by twisting a rectangular edge with the Warp Tool.

Now it’s your turn! Show me how it went in the comments.

The post How to Create a Minimal Desktop Background Using Photoshop by Megan Kennedy appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Nov
30

Lightroom Mobile – The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Post Production Tips

Why use Lightroom Mobile

Many people don’t realize the benefits of using Lightroom Mobile with your Adobe Lightroom Subscription. When you subscribe to Adobe’s Photographer’s plan, not only will you receive Adobe Lightroom Classic, but you also get access to Lightroom Mobile.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Lightroom Mobile is a cloud-based program which originates from your Lightroom Classic desktop. It’s easy to set up, and Adobe’s help desk is there to quickly assist if you have any questions. You not only have the ability to share your images across multiple devices, but you can also shoot and edit quality RAW images right from your phone or tablet.

 Setting up Lightroom Mobile

The first thing you need to do is enable Lightroom Mobile from within your desktop version of Lightroom. This will signal Lightroom to sync the files that you select. Below is a screenshot of Lightroom’s Activity Screen that shows the status of Lightroom mobile. The activity screen is located in the upper left-hand corner of your Lightroom desktop page.
Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Creating Collections

The secret to working with Lightroom Mobile is to create collections within your Lightroom desktop version that you want to sync with Mobile. It will not automatically sync everything in your Lightroom catalog, you have to tell it which images you want to show on your devices and this is done through collections. I wouldn’t recommend syncing all your images to Lightroom Mobile. Leave this for special collections and your portfolio.

Select a group of images you would like to include in a collection and navigate to the collection module on the left panel of the Lightroom desktop app. Click the + sign in the collections pane to create a new collection.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Create a new collection.

Once you have created the collections and added images to them, you need to be sure that these collections will sync. When you first create them, there is a box to tick to enable Lightroom Mobile and syncing between devices – make sure that is checked off.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Enable Lightroom Mobile

If you don’t enable Lightroom Mobile upon import or when you create a new collection, you can always enable it after the fact by making sure the firebolt is enabled located to the left of the collection name. Just tick the box next to the collection you want to sync and the firebolt will show.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Firebolt Icon is Located to the Left of the Collection Title

To stop a Collection from syncing with your device, do one of the following in the Collections panel:

  • Click the firebolt sync icon next to the name of the Collection to turn it off.
  • Right-click a Collection and deselect Sync With Lightroom Mobile from the sync menu.

Viewing Images on Your Device

If your Lightroom Mobile is enabled correctly, you will need to sign into the Adobe Creative Cloud with your password. The mobile version should start filling up with the collections you enabled on your Lightroom desktop. You can also enable Lightroom Mobile to automatically pull images that you take from your Mobile device. Make sure you create a special collection of those images only.

Creating Images with Lightroom Mobile

With the current version of Lightroom mobile, you can create images on your Smartphone with the app. It gives you the option of either shooting in JPG or DNG. You can also shoot in automatic or professional mode and use a variety of presets. I prefer to shoot an image without any preset adjustments made to it and apply any edits afterward. That way you will always have the un-retouched original image.

The automatic shooting mode on Lightroom mobile works really well. It gives you separate focus and exposure points as well as overexposure indicators that show up as a series of parallel lines indicating highlight clipping. These three tools are the keys to getting a good shot on your mobile device. If you scrub left or right on the screen, the highlight clipping indicators will go away when the exposure becomes balanced. If portions of the image are overexposed, it will show up as you see in the image of my white dog below.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Automatic Shooting Mode with Over Exposure Highlights

The beauty of using Lightroom Mobile is you can edit images on your Mobile device or from your main computer. They can be located in a collection taken with your DSLR, or they can be images taken with your cell phone and located in your Lightroom Mobil collection.

Note: if you have your monitor calibrated, the colors may come out differently on your pad or phone if you decide to edit from there. No editing is permanent within Lightroom, so it’s an easy fix if it doesn’t look right on your main desktop computer.

One of the keys to success in mobile photography is to get it right in the camera just like a DSLR. Using these tools with this intuitive mobile app will help you accomplish that goal.

Please keep in mind, your phone or tablet is not a DSLR, so know that the images will not be of the same quality as a high megapixel DSLR. However, the Lightroom Mobile camera app gives you some great tools to create some really nice Smartphone images.

Editing in Lightroom Mobile

Once you have created your images and imported them to Lightroom Mobile (either from your desktop or from your smartphone), you have almost as many options for editing on your device as you do on your desktop.

If you tap on the edit screen in the top left corner, it will open up a menu of several different editing options.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Select the Edit Tool

On the edit screen, you can choose to edit the image globally or choose selections and edit specific areas individually. This is how to start a post-processing workflow, whether you’re using Lightroom Classic CC desktop version or Lightroom Mobile.

Then you can go through the different options for post-processing, starting with light, color, effects and finishing off with detail. You can also make a selection in your image and go through all of those same adjustments, just affecting the selected areas.

Local Adjustments

By tapping on the selective icon on the bottom left, it will bring up a menu with a paintbrush. Tap on the brush, and then select the middle brush size and paint with your finger over the area you would like to edit. If you overdo it, you can use the eraser tool to clean up your selection. After you make the selection, then you can make any number of adjustments on just that area. Once you have made all the necessary adjustments, save your edits.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Using this technique will give you the most interesting effects by truly painting with light and not just adding random light adjustments for the whole image.

Give Lightroom Mobile a try and make it a part of your everyday photo organizing and editing. Give some of these selective tools a try and let me know how it goes in the comments area below.

The post Lightroom Mobile – The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone by Holly Higbee-Jansen appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Nov
28

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Post Production Tips

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Layers of fun

One advantage that Luminar has over the average Raw processor is the ability to work with Layers. “What is a layer?” I hear you ask.

Well, your basic image is a single layer, like a sheet of paper on a table. Adding another layer is akin to adding another sheet of paper on top. With layers, you get the benefit of being able to control the layer opacity (the transparency effectively) as well as what parts of the layer are shown – a bit like choosing tracing paper or cutting holes out of the paper.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Think of layers like a stack of paper. By cutting out parts of the sheet you can see the one below, or like with tracing paper, you can see through to the layer before.

Originally you’d need to erase the bits of the layer you didn’t want showing, which could be messy if you made a mistake erasing. These days you’d use a layer mask instead. A layer mask is a greyscale map running from white, where everything is visible, to black, where everything on the layer is hidden. Varying shades of gray indicate how visible a part of the layer is or the mask opacity. Lighter is more visible.

There’s a mantra I learned many years ago that helps you remember. “White reveals, and black conceals”.

The beauty of Luminar (by Macphun, soon to be Skylum) is that it hides some of the mechanics of this because rather than painting in black or white, you have a brush that either paints in, or erases the mask. It’s really great!

When you have a few layers together, the combined set of layers is called the layer stack. Working in layers allows you to apply effects to only certain parts of your photo, or to combine more than one photo into a more interesting composition.

Beginning

Let’s open Luminar and choose a photo. Click Open Image to begin.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Luminar opening screen.

Navigate to your photo and select it. This process will be easier when the new DAM (Digital Asset Management) module for Luminar 2018 comes next year. I’m going to work with this shot of an old cottage.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Original image.

Making a Layer

Luminar provides a few options for creating new layers. In the right panel, you have the Layers panel. To make a new layer, click the + icon in the panel header and select one of the following options:

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Layers: click the plus symbol to make a new layer.

  • New Adjustment layer; which creates a layer that contains only the filters that you add.
  • Create Stamped Visible Layer; which copies the results of all the underlying layers (combining them) to a new flattened layer.
  • New Original Layer; which copies the base layer on top of the currently selected layer.
  • Add New Image Layer; which allows you to add any other image to the layer stack. This is the one that allows you to add texture and other files!

Add a texture file

Luminar doesn’t store textures, but you can use any texture file you like. Personally, I keep my favorite textures in a folder on Dropbox for easy access from anywhere, but you can use any cloud service you like for this.

From the Layer options, choose Add New Image Layer and navigate to your textures folder. Choose the texture you want to add to the current photo. Viola. It’s loaded.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Texture image.

Now obviously the texture file will load over your original image. This is fine, you’ll fix this shortly. But first, you should check that the file fits how you like. By default, Luminar will make it fit over the layer below, but you’re not stuck with it.

You have three options in the Layers menu for this. Right-click on the layer and from the Image Mapping option in the menu, choose from Fill, Scale to Fit, or Fit (as seen below). If you don’t like how these look, you have another option:  the Transform tool.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

You can pull and drag your textures file into shape as required. It doesn’t have to retain its original aspect ratio as it’s adding to your original image and isn’t the actual focus of the final composition. In my case, the texture looks fine for now in regards to size.

Blending Modes

The next step is to go through the different blending modes to find one that suits the images best. Different ones work for different images, so it’s best to experiment. Overlay and Soft Light tend to get used a lot, but often Multiply or Screen can work too. Even Hard Light can be perfect sometimes.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Overlay Blend Mode.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Soft Light Blend Mode.

Whichever one you use, you’ll probably find that the effect is really strong. That’s fine because you’re working with layers, you can just reduce the opacity until the texture looks good.

For this image, I thought both Multiply and Color Burn looked great. I loved the saturation that Color Burn gave to the photo, but reducing the opacity to bring back some shadow detail removed too much of that. For that reason, I went with Multiply.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Multiply Blend Mode.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Color Burn Blend Mode.

Masking

You may not want the texture to appear on all parts of the photo. So you’ve got two options. Paint in the texture, or just paint out where you don’t want it. To access the masking functions, click on the brush icon on your texture layer. This opens a menu allowing you to choose the type of local adjustment you want to apply. Your options are Brush, Radial Mask, or Gradient Mask. You can also go with a Luminosity mask. For this image, the brush is the best option.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Access the masking tools.

Once the brush is selected, the options appear at the top. I’m going to remove the texture from the house. If you want to remove (hide) part of a layer, click the Erase option on the Brush settings menu. Set Size, Softness and Opacity to taste as you paint.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

You will see this menu at the top of your screen when you active the Brush tool. Choose Erase to paint away effects, choose Paint to add it in. This allows you to make corrections if you go too far with your painting as well.

Once you’re finished, click Done on the end of the brush options bar.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Adjusting the Texture

One good thing about Add Image is that the layer you’ve created has full access to all the Filters in Luminar. Let’s say you’re using either the Overlay or Soft Light blend mode. Any part of the image that’s mid-grey will be unaffected by the texture.

If your texture is dark, or light, the image will reflect this. You can easily change this by adding a Tone filter and adjusting the exposure. If the color from the texture is too strong, you can use Saturation to reduce this or use Hue Shift to change it.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Apply filters to the texture layer to fine tune it.

Finishing the image

Of course, you can also apply filters to the original image. Being a landscape, this would be a good time for you to try the Landscape workspace. When you click on the original image, layer Luminar hides the layers above it. To get to the workspaces, click on Clear Workspace and choose Landscape from the menu.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Landscape workspace.

Using the suggested filters in the workspace, it’s easy to add back the saturation I saw when I used Color Burn blending mode on the texture.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

To activate the texture again, simply click on the texture layer.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Saving the file

Once you’re done, you’ve got a few options for saving your image. Using Save will create a .lmnr file, which is Luminar’s native editing file format – this will retain all layers and filters you’ve applied (similar to a PSD file in Photoshop).

By using Export instead, you can choose a range of other options, like JPEG, PSD or TIFF.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Export options.

Using Filters to add Texture

You’re not forced to use a layer to add textures with Luminar though. They also have a handy new filter called Texture Overlay. Pretty much everything you can do on a layer can be done with this filter. The only thing you can’t really do is rotate the texture at a random angle via Transform, but it’s very rare that you’d ever need to do this.

Start with the image you want the texture on again. Click the blue Add Filter button. Use the Search Bar in the Filters Catalog menu that appears to find the “Texture Overlay” filter. Click to add it.

The Texture Overlay filter added. These are the options and sliders for this filter.

To add your texture file, click “Load Texture…” This will open your file on top of the background photo. The default amount of 50, means you can see the mix of the original image and the texture at 50% opacity; it’s also in Normal blend mode.

The texture added at the defaults – 50% and Normal blend mode.

The Amount control can also run to negative figures, so you can add an inverse version of the texture, which is a cool feature. Here’s how -20 on the Amount slider looks.

If your texture is a different aspect ratio to your original image, you can use Keep Aspect Ratio to force it to fit the image. The two buttons below this allow you to flip the texture file horizontally, or vertically, or both (they appear blue when applied so you know if it’s been flipped).

Zoom will let you scale the texture file to fit the features of your underlying photo. Below Zoom is the Blend mode menu. From here choose the blend mode that suits in the same way as with our first method. Again Color Burn looks great at 100 Amount.

The effect is still a little strong, so you could pull it back by reducing the Filters Amount slider. Here 67 looks great.

Amount = 100, Filters amount = 67

Masking the Filter

Filter masking is really straightforward with this method too. You simply hover over the panel header to reveal the brush icon. Click on this to choose the mask type: Brush, Radial or Gradient. Choose Brush to apply your mask in a specific area.

Filter masks are useful and are applied the same way as a layer mask.

If you’re only looking to remove a small area of texture, switch to the Erase Brush in the brush toolbar that appears above the photo.

In this photo, I’ve brushed the texture away from the cottage.

You can add as many texture overlay filters as you like, just remember that the Filters Amount affects the whole filter set.

Getting Texture files

You can get plenty of commercial texture packs to get you started, but there are free ones out there too. When you’re out and about, consider capturing any textures you find interesting to try out yourself!

Please share your finished textured masterpieces created with Luminar in the comments below. We’d love to see what you make.

Disclaimer: Macphun is a dPS advertising partner.

The post How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar by Sean McCormack appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Nov
25

How to Blur the Background of a Portrait Using the Magnetic Lasso Tool in Photoshop

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Post Production Tips

Have you ever taken a portrait and wished that the background were just a little bit more blurry? You can address background blur in-camera by changing either your aperture or the distance of your subject from the background. However, there’s also a relatively quick way to make slight adjustments to background blur in post-processing. In this article, we’ll be walking through how to use the Magnetic Lasso tool in Photoshop to slightly blur the background of your portraits and people photography.

Getting started

First, open your desired image in Photoshop, and duplicate your background layer (Layer > Duplicate Layer). Next, select the Magnetic Lasso tool. If you’ve not used this tool recently, you may need to right-click on the original lasso tool and then click on the magnetic lasso tool from the fly-out menu.

How to Blur the Background of a Portrait Using the Magnetic Lasso Tool in Photoshop

Selecting the subject

Using the Magnetic Lasso tool, begin by clicking at any point right next to your subject. You’ll notice that the magnetic lasso tool begins to “stick” to what it thinks is the outline of your subject. Continue to click your mouse to create anchor points periodically all around your subject.

If the magnetic lasso tool jumps somewhere you don’t want it to go, press the delete button on your keyboard to return to your last anchor point.

How to Blur the Background of a Portrait Using the Magnetic Lasso Tool in Photoshop

Definitely be aware that once you’ve started using the Magnetic Lasso tool, you’re pretty committed! You won’t be able to do much else with Photoshop until you’ve either completed the lasso loop by connecting your endpoint to your starting anchor point or until you hit “Esc” on your keyboard to delete all your anchor points.

Once you’ve closed your lasso loop, navigate to Select > Modify > Feather (or Shift + F6) and feather your selection by 5-10 pixels.

How to Blur the Background of a Portrait Using the Magnetic Lasso Tool in Photoshop

Feather your new selection 5-10 pixels.

Invert to select the background

Next, you’ll want to invert your selection so that you’ll be blurring the background rather than your subject. To do that, navigate to Select > Inverse (or Ctrl + Shift + I). If you see a dashed outline appear around the border of your image, then you’ve correctly inverted your selection.

How to Blur the Background of a Portrait Using the Magnetic Lasso Tool in Photoshop

Notice where the marching ants are – if they appear like this around the outside of the image you’ve correctly inverted the selection.

Adding the blur effect

After you’ve inverted your selection, it’s time to blur the background of your image. Click on Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Next, play with the radius slider a bit.

Please keep in mind that this technique isn’t designed to take a tack sharp background and transform it to the creamy bokeh of an 85mm lens. Rather, it’s designed to slightly enhance the bokeh that you’ve already got going on in your image. As such, I usually select a radius of 5-10 pixels for the blur filter.

Don’t be afraid to play around with this a bit. Utilize the preview check box, and see what your image looks like when using different amounts for the radius!

How to Blur the Background of a Portrait Using the Magnetic Lasso Tool in Photoshop

Gaussian blur added.

Finishing up

Once you’ve run the Gaussian Blur filter, press Ctrl + D to deselect your image, and you’re about finished! If there are any parts of your image that are blurry and shouldn’t be, go ahead and add a layer mask to your top layer, and mask off any of those blurry areas, and then you’re finished!

How to Blur the Background of a Portrait Using the Magnetic Lasso Tool in Photoshop

Original image on top; image blurred with magnetic lasso tool on the bottom.

As you can see, this technique is subtle, and helps to soften (but not eliminate) slightly distracting elements from the background of your image. I most often find myself using this technique on one or two person portraits, including newborns. It’s a really simple trick to have in your tool bag!

Have you ever utilized the magnetic lasso tool for people photography? What’s your favorite way to use it? Chime in below and tell us in the comments section.

The post How to Blur the Background of a Portrait Using the Magnetic Lasso Tool in Photoshop by Meredith Clark appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Nov
23

Why Lightroom Keywords and Star Ratings are Important for Your Photography Workflow

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Post Production Tips

Lightroom has long been the “go-to” program for organizing images and has come into its own as an editing powerhouse as well. If you haven’t been using Lightroom for organizing your images, you are missing a big part of the digital photography pie. The secret to your organization success in Lightroom is using keywords and star ratings effectively.

Why Lightroom KeyWords and Star Ratings are Important for Your Photography Workflow

That doesn’t mean that you need to keyword every last image you import into Lightroom. But you can label batches of images and then eventually cull down the keywords to easily find your best images. With over 30,000 images in my Lightroom catalog, I’m pretty happy about being able to find an image in a matter of seconds with the use of this simple system. It’s well-suited for beginners and combines keywords and star ratings.

Set up a consistent naming system for your folders and images

For example, a file name could be; “Iceland_2015_03”.

Many people name their folders by date or location. I prefer location, then date, as it’s much easier for me to remember that way. Whatever naming system you use, just be sure that it’s consistent, and makes sense to you. If you decide “Location_Year_Month” is the best way for you to set it up, make sure that every folder is done the same way.

For example, these folder titles could fall into the Iceland_2015_03 category. Don’t make the mistake of creating random titles like this: Winter 2015, Iceland 2015, Iceland March 2015, Reykjavik 03_2015.

When you first import your images into Lightroom, you can rename the whole set of images, or rename them after import. It is much faster and easier to rename them upon import. Follow the import prompts and enter as much information as you can when you first are bringing images into Lightroom. It will save you loads of time later on.

keywords upon Lightroom Import - Why Lightroom Keywords and Star Ratings are Important for Your Photography Workflow

I usually keep the original file number of the image assigned in-camera and then add the location or another identifying label to the front end of the name. You can batch rename and keyword a series of images in the import module. You don’t have to keyword each image individually, but keyword in batches to make it easier.

My other secret tool is the star rating tool. When the images are first imported, I cull through the images quickly and add a one-star rating to the images that I would like to come back and edit. At this point, I don’t try and add any more stars than just a simple one-star.

Use the Paint Can Tool in Develop

Another easy way to add ratings to an image after import is to use the “Paint Can tool”. With this tool, you can set a parameter (like a star rating, keyword, or set of keywords) to “spray” on to an image or a collection of images. If you would like to “spray” a star to your favorite images, this is a fast way to do it.

The Paint Can tool is located on the bottom left of the grid view and it looks like a spray can. Click on it and you will see a selective panel, choose “rating”. After you select “rating”, on the right side of that panel is a series of dots. Click on one of those dots, and it will turn into a star.

Why Lightroom KeyWords and Star Ratings are Important for Your Photography Workflow

Paint Can Tool

Then you can quickly go through your images in the grid view and “spray” a one-star rating on all of the images that you like. At this point, don’t apply any more than a rating.

If something really merits a better star rating, go back and review the images again. Once you do your second pass of the images, set the spray can to a 2-star rating. Then repeat the same method for those images that you might like to go in and apply Lightroom adjustments.

Paint-Tool-Label

You can also use it to paint in a color label, flat, metadata or any of these things.

Reserve the 3-star ratings for those images that you might use for an article or blog post and the 4-star ratings are only reserved for the best of the best which you would put in your portfolio. Keep your star ratings consistent, so you know that if an image has a 4-star rating, that it reflects your best work.

Now that you have set up the keywords and star ratings to your images, you have the ability to search or filter images in your catalog. In the Filter Bar in the Grid View, choose the Text option and the drop down box to select keywords, and start entering specific keywords.

Using the Spray Can tool to add metadata

The Spray Can tool can be used for a variety of options to add information to your images. You can “spray” not only star ratings but keywords, metadata information, labels, presets, or assign target collection images.

The next option is to add a series of keywords to your images. We already know that the files you are importing will be from Iceland. Use that as the keyword that applies to all of these images. Then consider where you were on your trip to Iceland. Are your images from the North Coast or the South Coast? Do you have pictures from Reykjavik? Do you have images from Vik? Who is in the images?

The idea here is to start out broad and then narrow your focus. Perhaps your whole shoot is from Iceland. Perhaps another broad category would be winter, ice, or arctic.

Select the Spray Can tool and go to the drop-down menu to the right of the icon. Select “keyword” and enter the word or words you would like to apply. “Spray” your series of images that are from the North Coast and apply that keyword. Change your keyword, and then spray your series of images that are from the South Coast. Continue to narrow down your focus. Then spray just those images from the South Coast that were taken in Vik and so on.

What Keywords Should You Use?

The keywords you should apply will depend on what you would like to use your images for in the future. Are you submitting to a stock agency? Are these images for personal use only? When will you use the images?

The best plan for creating keywords would be to apply basic information that will remind you about the subject, in order to help with locating images later. Start your keywording upon import and use the broadest subject that will apply to all of the images, and then narrow down your keyword focus.

Once you have started to create keywords, Lightroom will suggest keywords that might work with the current set of images in the Keywording panel. The suggested keywords help you to create cohesive words that can be used on multiple sets of images.

Notice at the bottom of the Keywording panel, there is an area with keyword sets. Lightroom automatically gives you some presets to use in this module. Click on the keyword set for “outdoor photography” and see the keywords that are suggested. If there are keywords you would rather use, right-click on the down arrow of the keyword set and you will see the option to “edit set” where you can add and remove words from that set.

The list of keywords from the preset will come up and you can add or subtract those keywords that apply to your images. Then, when you are keywording a certain genre of photography, you can select your keyword set of “outdoor photography” or “portrait photography” and rapidly choose from those sets of keywords. This will also prevent you from creating multiple keywords that mean the same thing. This is useful when you are using specific keywords to search for an image.

Use the Filter Bar to find images

Why Lightroom KeyWords and Star Ratings are Important for Your Photography Workflow

Then you will see Lightroom begin to sort images based on the keywords you entered. You can then add another dimension to the search, and a star rating.

This is when you can go back into your Lightroom catalog of 30,000 pictures to find the 4-star rated image in “Iceland” that has a keyword “Eagle Rock”, and find it in a second. Then you’ll see how great this system works. You can also limit your search to specific folders or collections when those are selected in the left-hand column of the Library Module.

Have you tried to organize your images in Lightroom? What kind of naming system works for you? What kind of challenges are you experiencing? Feel free to share your comments below.

The post Why Lightroom Keywords and Star Ratings are Important for Your Photography Workflow by Holly Higbee-Jansen appeared first on Digital Photography School.