Being a Photoshop User

The advantage of being a member of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals ) is their great web site, not to mention their monthly magazine. Most of all it’s the Photoshop User web site that has me hooked. There is a wide variety of tutorials, with video and instructional tutorials. There are always new tutorials to learn from, and they don’t miss a beat:

The best part is if you don’t understand something in the tutorials, there is always someone to ask:

Another feature is the H.E.L.P. Center, which you can only access if you join. Here you can use “keywords” to search for something specific. Let’s use the example “selection”. If I enter the word “selection” into the search, it would come up with a menu of topics that has to do with the selection process. If I then pick “Filling a Layer or selection”, a video tutorial opens up and answers my question:

The tutorials cover everything from simple cloning to all the newest and most popular subjects like HDR:

Not only is there a place to ask Photoshop questions, but you can also ask about Lightroom,camera gear and computers. Just click on the Contact Us link and ask your question:

There are a few ways you can ask a question. You can email them, call them or even write a snail mail. The Photoshop user web site also has a cool feature called Photoshop TV. This is where they have episodes on just about everything from tips and tricks in Photoshop to upcoming events and seminars:

I’ve gone to a few seminars in NYC at the Jacob Javits Center. I enjoyed them all. I know there is a lot of information on the Internet that you can get for free, but I like being a Photoshop member because the information is accurate and there are a lot of perks and discounts, and everything from A to Z is consolidated on this one site.

Making a Simple Border/Frame Around an Image

Sometimes you want to add a finishing touch to an image by adding a border or frame around it. In this example, I have an image that has a black background. If I do a slideshow of some of my flowers that have a black background the image will bleed into the background.

In the above image, you can see where the branch ends into blackness; in this case a border/frame is necessary.

Here are the simple steps:

  1. Bring the image into Photoshop.
  2. Go to the eye dropper tool on the tool bar:
  3. Hover the eye dropper tool over a color in the image or pick a color from the color picker palate. I prefer to pick a color from the image that will blend well. In this case I picked the color pink so that it’s easily visible for this tutorial. You can see the color you’ve chosen in the box on the tool bar:
  4. Next go to the top of the page and click on Select. When the menu drops down, click on All. Then you’ll be able to see that the border of your image is selected.
  5. Go to the top of the page and click Edit. When the menu drops down, click on Stroke.
  6. In the Stroke box you can see the width in pixels. If you want a thin border, then choose a small number. If you want a thick border then choose a large number. In this image I’ll choose 25px. Then click OK:

Here is the image with the border/frame:

Example images:

HDR and the Purple Fringe

Have you noticed that after you process an HDR image you get a purple fringe around parts of your image? Sometimes it’s more noticeable than other times, but either way it’s annoying.

Well, there’s no reason to be annoyed anymore, thanks to a Photoshop action called the Purple Fringe Killer. I found this action for free on the Internet. I wish I knew who to credit, but it’s just been floating around. I definitely have found that it’s made a difference in some of my images.

Here is an image straight out of Photomatix and untouched in Photoshop yet. In this image, you can’t really see the purple fringe. You’ll need to zoom in close. In some images it’s obvious even before you zoom in, depending on the colors in the image.

Here I’ve zoomed into the top of the lighthouse where you can definitely see the purple fringe.

Here is the Photoshop action I was mentioning. All I have to do is run the action, and it gets rid of the purple fringe.

Halfway through the action, it asks you to “Press continue if there is red-tinged fringing left”. I always click continue.

Here, the action has finished doing its work. It doesn’t get rid of the purple 100%. But it does do a very good job of getting rid of 95% of the fringing.

I definitely recommend the “Purple Fringe Killer”.

Here are the “before” and “after” images.

Click here to download the action.You should copy the action into the \Presets\Actions folder where Photoshop is installed on your computer.

Enjoy, and have fun with photography!

Don’t be Afraid to Take Pictures in Bad Lighting

It was a very overcast day.  It was actually pretty dark, and it was getting ready to rain.  I saw a nuthatch on a branch, so I decided to shoot, anyway.

I put my camera on a high ISO of 640, and the F stop was 5.6.  I had nothing to lose.  Either I would get an acceptable shot, or I wouldn’t.  If I decided not to shoot because of the bad lighting, I wouldn’t have anything.

This image is straight out of the camera.  I dropped it into Photoshop for some corrections.  The first thing I usually do is some simple cleanups.  In this image, I want to remove the white speck on the beak, and maybe a few dust spots here and there:

The next thing I do when I look at an image in Photoshop is to open up the levels pallete (Image / Adjustments / Levels).  See the right side of the levels box where the black line stops?  This is where I’m going to push the white triangle slider to the left to meet the black line, in order to increase the brightness:

This is how it looks after I made that level adjustment.  Already the image looks brighter:

The next thing I do is go into selective color (Image / Adjustments / Selective Color).  Because of the lighting conditions with this image, and the darkness of the image, there was a green cast.  Play with the sliders, because every image is different.  In this image, I want to get rid of the green cast.  I’ll pick green from the drop down color selection.  I did the same thing with white.  Because each image is different, you’ll have to experiment with these settings to get it looking the way you want:

Next, I go into brightness / contrast (Image / Adjustments / Brightness/Contrast).  For this image I added a +24 brightness and +7 contrast:

This setting added brightness and contrast to the whole image.  I wanted to make the bird a little brighter, and keep the background a little on the dark side, to emphasise the bird, so I took the history brush at 50% opacity, and just brushed around the outer edges of the image:

Here are the before and after images.  Not bad for bad lighting on a crappy, rainy day!

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