Creating Lightning in an Image using Photoshop

Posted in Photography, Photoshop

Above, I have an image of the Portland Headlight that I already turned black and white in Photoshop. I think lightning shots look more dramatic in black and white. The first thing I do is drop the image into Photoshop. Next I go to the brush icon on the tools palette: Then I go to the top of the screen to the options bar. Click on the arrow that’s pointing down to open the brush menu: Here’s the open menu box: Next I’ll pick a lightning brush that I’ll give away at the end of this tutorial. The number of the brush is 445. Make sure that the color picker box is set to white in the foreground, so that the lighting will be white: The next thing you’ll need to do is to make a new layer. Just click on the layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette, and rename layer 1 to “Lightning” by clicking on the word “Layer 1”: The next step is to apply the brush. Hover the brush over the image without clicking. See where you want to put it. It will most likely start out to small. Make the brush larger using the [ ] bracket keys on your keyboard. When you’ve decided where to put the lightning, click once. Don’t move the mouse in case you’d like to give the brush a second click to make the lightning streaks a little stronger. I had to use it twice with two clicks of the mouse: Now that the lightning is on its own layer, you have the option to move the lightning. You might decide to move a little to the left or right, or even up and down. If you just used the lightning brush on the image without having it on its own layer you wouldn’t have the option of moving it around. Now that that lightning is on its own layer you can you can even transform the scale of the lightning. Let’s say you like the lightning the way it is, but you wish it was just a little longer or a little wider. It’s easy. Go to Edit, Transform, Scale: You’ll see the transform box appear around the lightning. Just grab the little square boxes and drag the mouse slowly to see how the lightning fits into your image: Then click the check to apply the transform: Here’s the finished image: Have fun trying this on your own and don’t forget to download the lightning brush here.

Replacing a Color in Photographs Using Photoshop

Posted in Photography, Photoshop

Below, I have a photograph of a tulip that I had taken not too long ago. I like the color of the tulip, but for this tutorial I’ll change the color of the tulip using the Replace Color tool from the Adjustments menu in Photoshop:


The first thing I’ll do is drop the image into Photoshop. Next I’ll go to Image, Adjustments, Replace Color:


Here the Replace Color dialog box comes up:


Let’s concentrate on the top part of the box for now. In my photograph I want to change the color of the tulip, which is the red part of the image. When I hover my mouse over the part of the flower I want to change, I can see an eyedropper appear in the box. This is telling me, pick the color I want to change.

Here I clicked the eyedropper once over the red part of the flower. It’s only capturing one specific shade of red. I want it to pick all of the red:


What I need to do is go to the top of the Replace Color dialog box and pick the eyedropper with the + next to it:


Once I have the positive eyedropper selected, I’ll go back to the highlighted tulip and click around. Take your time, one click at a time and see how much of the color is being selected. In this example I want to get all of the different shades of red. If I miss any, I won’t be changing all of the red in the flower. Notice how all of the red is selected. Compare the next image to the one above to see the difference:


I literally had to click around 14 times to get all of the different shades of red.

Now it’s time to do some color changing. The first slider I’ll go to is the Hue slider. Here I’ve decided to make the tulip blue:


I can see that the base of the tulip still has some red, and I want to get rid of it. If you want or need to get just a little more or a little less of the color you’re selecting, go to the Fuzziness slider. This is where the Fuzziness slider comes in handy:


So, I’ll go to the Fuzziness slider and bring it to the right until I’m happy with the results. Here I brought the slider to 134 and I like the way it looks:


Now I can go ahead and play with the Saturation and Lightness sliders. These sliders have nothing to do with changing the color. They just enhance the color being changed. These were my final settings:


Here is my end result:


This blog post is dedicated to Bobby.

Don’t Miss the PDN PhotoPlus Expo in New York City

Posted in Photography

It’s that time again when photographers from around the universe collect themselves and their photo gear, and head off to the PhotoPlus International Conference & Expo at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in NYC. The very first time I went to the show, it was call the “PhotoExpo”. That was in 1984. I’ve gone every year since then. Times have definitely changed. When I first started going, the expo was all about film cameras, enlargers, chemicals, film, etc. Now it’s all about digital cameras and software, along with all the digital accessories a person could want. They’ll be names like Nikon, Canon, Wacom, Photek, Inc, Lowepro, Adobe, B&H, NAPP, and so many more. The great thing about the expo is that when you go, you find out about what’s happening in photography. All the latest technology from the leading manufacturers to the hottest products you didn’t know existed, and have to have. Lots of people show up to see booth after booth of new products and galleries. Not only will there be booths to explore, but there are over 100 seminars given throughout the three days — October 23rd through October 25th. I look forward to it every year. When I go, I feel like I kid in a toy store. It always gets my imagination going, thinking about all the things I could do with photography over the coming months. And I always end up buying a couple of goodies while I’m there. It’s definitely worth the trip. I highly recommend it! Jacob K. Javits Convention Center 655 West 34th Street New York City, NY Don’t miss it.

How to Create Motion in an Image

Posted in Photography, Photoshop

Above is the finished product of this tutorial. Here I have an image of some children playing soccer. I used a fast shutter speed while taking this image, to freeze the action. At this point I think I’d like to put some motion into the image: The first thing I do is drop the image into Photoshop. I’ll make a selection around the boy who is ready to kick the ball. He’s the main focus of this image. To make the selection I’ll use the lasso tool in the tool bar: When I make the selection around the boy, I’ll make sure to feather the selection so that the boy doesn’t look selected with a hard edge. To feather the selection, I go to Select / Modify / Feather: For this image I think I’ll feather at 45 pixels. Then I click OK: The next thing I need to do is to inverse the selection. Right now the boy is selected. I need to have everything around the boy selected. This is why I’m going to inverse the selection. I’ll go to Select / Inverse: Then I’ll go to Filter / Blur / Motion Blur: This is where you have to decide how much motion blur you want. For this image I think I’ll use a motion blur of 171 pixels and keep the “Angle” at 0. I make sure the preview box is checked in the Motion Blur dialog box. Then I click OK: On my keyboard, I hit the keys CTRL-D to deselect the selection. For any reason you see something else in the image that you wish you didn’t blur, you can always go to the history brush and bring it back. Here I decided to bring back the ball, but not 100%. I’ll go to the history brush and I’ll also make sure the history is marked off (the little paintbrush next to the Open step in the image, below) in the History Palette to the point I want to go back:         Here I’m going to bring the opacity of the history brush to 35%. I brush the ball to see how I like how it comes out. If I want to see more of the soccer ball, then I just brush over it again: Here’s the finished image: Have fun!

Bringing Color Back into Black & White, from Original Color Photo

Posted in Photography, Photoshop

Above is the result of this tutorial. Here’s an image that I took of a horse at Muscoot Farm in Westchester. In this example I’m going to make the image black and white and then bring the horse back to color. Now I’m going to make a copy of the background layer. So I hit CTRL-J on the keyboard. Then the copy layer will say Layer 1. I always name the layers. This way when I have a lot of layers in a big project I won’t get confused. I’ll double click the word “Layer 1” to rename it. Here, I’ll name this layer “Horse”:     The next thing I’ll do is put a mask on this layer, so that I can paint the color right back into the horse easily. I’ll click on the mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette: Next, I’ll make sure that the image of the horse is selected in the layer to make the image black & white: Ok, now I’m ready to make the image black & white. I’ll go to Image on the menu at the top of the screen, and drop down the menu. I’ll then select Adjustments / Black & White: In this case, when I change the image to black and white I’m not going to worry about how the horse comes out. I’ll be bringing the horse back to color. I’m just going to concentrate on the background. I want to make the background as dark and dramatic as possible. Here are the settings I used, not worrying about the horse at all. Then I click OK: Now I’ll click on the mask to make it active: Here’s the image in process. I usually start at the center and work my way out. I take my time and zoom in to the outer edges of an object so that I can see the details when I work. Remember, painting with black reveals and painting with white conceals: Sometimes it helps to see exactly what the mask is doing. You can hold the ALT key on your keyboard and click on the mask at the same time to see the mask in action. Hold the ALT key and click on the mask icon again to bring it back to its original state: Here’s the finished image: Have fun!
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