Category Archives Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks

Yes, it’s me again! Dave Williams, the #TravelTuesday blogger here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, and freshly appointed editor at LayersMagazine.com. I’ve kicked off a new series of #MondayMotivation posts over there and I’d love for you to go check out the first one by Gilmar Smith!

I’m fresh back from a mission to Turkey where I predominantly shot the hot air balloons over Göreme in Kapadokya. It’s home to the densest hot air balloon airspace in the world, with the dawn skies filled with them.

The town is unique in that the buildings are carved and tunnelled into the rocky landscape. I’ll share more about it over on my blog, capturewithdave.com, another day, but today, right here, is all about this shot from the trip: –

 

 

Here’s the caveat, and it’s very important you aren’t disappointed by this: So, you know how this blog is entitled, “Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider,” right? The clue’s in the name.

 

 

This is a composite of two images: one of the cave interior and one of the balloons in the sky. Now, I’ll say at this point, anticipating any comments about how I shouldn’t be faking this, that actually it is a view that is attainable at this location. I just wasn’t in the caves at the right time of day to see it! I was limited by time and didn’t know my way around to find the right spots in the dark before dawn. Anyway, here’s the tip: –

We’ll use a different pair of images, which you can download the PSD file here to try it yourself.

When compositing images, it’s obviously very important to make the result look convincing! As well as good cut-outs and realistic placement of elements, matching the tone is very important. What I’m going to show you is a very quick, very easy, and very good way to match those tones.

First off, get everything cut out and in position.

 

 

The layers are set out in no fancy way for this technique; they’re simply stacked in order. On top, create a new layer and fill it with 50% gray.

 

 

Now, change that new layer’s blend mode to Luminosity. The colours will change, revealing the differences going on in your image. To see them more clearly, add a Saturation layer to this and boost the saturation right up. What we’ve done here is create a representation of the colour in the image.

 

 

From here, add a Selective Colour adjustment mask. When faced with the Properties panel, select the Neutrals from the Colours option, which actually contains most of the colour information. Adjust the sliders to balance out your image and match the colours – it’s hard to explain it because it varies wildly on an image-by-image basis, however when you do it and see it yourself it’ll make sense, I promise!

 

 

The Layers panel should look something like this one below. And, to finish off the image, we just need to remove the Hue/Saturation layer and the gray layer.

 

 

This leaves us with an image which has balanced tones, leaving it looking realistic.

 

 

It’s a simple and fast way to balance tones in a composite, and I’d love to see how it works for you!

Now, this experience is called a “once in a lifetime” thing, and that played on my mind when I was out in Turkey. I wrote a little piece about that, which I’d love for you to read over on my blog.

So, for now,

Much love

Dave

Hey there! It’s me again, Dave Williams, which means it’s my favourite day of the week – #TravelTuesday – and that means I’m here, in your face, at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider!

Now, if you were following along, you know that I jumped on my Triumph and spent nine days riding from London to the Atlantic Highway in Norway – 3,100+ miles if you’re asking. And guess what…I’m back! I’m still trawling through hours of footage to make a cool video to show you all, so keep an eye on my Facebook page to see when that lands. But, for today, I’ve seen inspiration in the amazing sunny weather we’re having here in London and I want to share with you this amazing little trick!

So, you know when you shoot into the sun and you get that cool bright spot and a little lens flare? Well, that’s what we’ll create here, so go ahead and choose a suitable shot or download mine right here. (Use my shot for the tutorial, use it to show us how you get on with the tutorial, but sell it and I’ll find you!) Let’s go!

First up, the prep: Open the shot into Adobe Photoshop and duplicate the layer with CMD + J (Windows CTRL + J), so we work non-destructively, then press D, then X to set your Foreground colour to white.

 

 

Down at the bottom of the Layers panel, click on the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon and then choose Gradient from the pop-up menu.

 

 

In the Gradient Fill dialogue, set the Style to Radial. When that’s done, you can go ahead and move the radial gradient in the image, behind the dialogue, by clicking-and-dragging it, setting it up at the spot you want it. Next up, click on the Gradient thumbnail and a new dialogue will pop up.

 

 

What we’ll do here in the Gradient Editor is create a custom gradient just like I’ve done above. It’s tricky to explain in writing, so focus! To do this, first, select the left colour stop (the square at the bottom left of the colour ramp), then click on the Color swatch and, in the Color Picker, set it to a yellow that’s almost white. Now, select the right colour stop and set its colour to a midtone gray.

So far so good. We’ve set the centre point to a very bright colour to emulate the sun and set the outer edges to a gray, which will fade out. Now, select the centre colour stop (if you don’t have one, just click below the centre of the colour ramp and one will appear). Set this one to a very light orange, then slide that colour stop towards the lower end of the colour ramp. We’ll create two more colour stops to add some realism to what’s becoming our sun glare. We create them by clicking below the ramp, and when we select the colours, we stick with slightly different tones of yellow or orange. The result we need to achieve is that the spectrum of the gradient is very bright at the centre, the left, then changes to a darker and more orange colour for the first third, then fades to more of a yellow or even peach colour throughout the next third, and fading towards the right. Make sense? Thought so!

 

 

When we’re happy with the custom gradient we’ve made, hit OK and we’ll be taken back to the Gradient Fill dialogue. Here, we can change the Angle to suit the position within our image, and we can make it larger or smaller with the Scale adjustment. I’ve pushed mine to 120% here. When you’re happy, hit OK.

 

 

Now, near the top of the Layers panel, change the blend mode to Hard Light.

So, we’ve got the sun, and the glow, but we’re missing something. We can step this up now by adding a lens flare, so let’s go ahead and do that, too!

Click on Layer 1 in the Layers panel, and then select Filter>Render>Lens Flare.

 

 

I find that the most effective Lens Type here is the 50-300mm Zoom, so that’s what I’ve used but you can choose whichever suits your image. In the preview box, click on the centre of the sun, the gradient filter, and it will become much brighter and throw the lens flare across the image. From here, we’re almost finished; we just need to adjust the Brightness to suit the image. I’ve set mine at 125%, but set yours wherever it works and hit OK.

 

 

And, we’re done! We’ve added a very dramatic, warm, and convincing glow of the sun to our image. I hope you like it! Show me how you get on by tagging @capturewithdave when you upload to Twitter or Instagram, and until next week…..

 

Much love

Dave

 

PS – Here’s a top secret Platypod tip. Don’t tell anyone!

Happy Tuesday! For my post this week on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider for #TravelTuesday I’ll share with you a little trick to create a rainbow in Adobe Photoshop.

A real rainbow in a photo is a pretty cool thing to catch. Here’s a little selfie example: –

This was taken in a little valley at the neck leading into the Icelandic Westfjords in 2016. Now, if you look carefully and cast your eye aside from the beautiful English gent you’ll notice that there is actually a rainbow in that shot ;)

We’ll take this as a brief rainbow study and see what we need to try and simulate with our fake Photoshop rainbow. Note that the rainbow is pretty thin, extremely transparent, and not as saturated as we’d perhaps expect. We need to keep these observations in mind with our editing, let’s do it.

First off, crack open that shot. I’m using a moody skied drone shot from Old Harry Rocks, Dorset, England.

Let’s get straight into it and get that rainbow in there. Firstly, let’s create a new Layer with CMD + SHIFT + N (Windows: CTRL + SHFT + N)

Working in this new Layer, hit G to select the Gradient Tool. From the Toolbar up top open the Gradient Picker, click on the Gear icon, and select Special Effects and hit OK.

From the Gradient options, select the rainbow on the right named ‘Russell’s Rainbow.’

Now, change the Gradient Type to a Radial Gradient.

With this Tool, create a rainbow with a realistic arc. I find that a nice wide circle works best. When we do this we’ll see the entire circle, so concentrate on the portion which is in the sky and we’ll deal with the rest shortly.

In the Layers Menu, change the Blend Mode to Screen. Now select the Rainbow Layer with CMD + A (Windows: CTRL + A) and then hit T to use the Transform Tool to resize and reposition the rainbow. Here we need to think about what we figured out earlier – rainbows are thin!

And now bearing in mind the rest of what we learned, we need to desaturate the rainbow and make it more transparent. We can usually achieve this in one go by using the Layer Opacity Slider. I’ve taken mine right down to 25%.

And that leaves us just with the piece of rainbow that’s currently sitting in the sea! Rather than Photoshop in a pot of gold, let’s fade it out. Normally a rainbow won’t go right down to the ground, there’ll be a bit of a gap. Let’s do it that way in our image. Hit G to select the Gradient Tool again, and go back to the gear icon and select Reset Gradients and hit OK. Now check the black and white gradient named Foreground to Background. We will work on a Layer Mask so go ahead and create one from the Rainbow Layer. Now, making sure the Linear Gradient is selected in the Toolbar, make a line from the bottom to the top of the rainbow and note what happens. The most effective line in this case is from just below the horizon to just above it, which causes this to happen: –

As always with our post process it’s hard to decide when we’re finished, but at this point we are in fact done!

You can take this method and apply it to any image it fits, and I would love to see what you do with ti! As always, tag me on Instagram where I’m @capturewithdave so I can see your rainbows!

Take care,

Much love!

Dave

Hello one and all, and thanks for dropping by again for #HybridDaveTuesdays on #TravelTuesday here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider. I’m Dave Williams and I’m here once a week to share something with you from the world of Photography and Retouching, and this week it’s a little note on noise in your images and using the Reduce Noise Filter. Let’s get going!

So, last week I told you all that I was in Tromsø, Norway, and despite the -12 celsius conditions and occasional blizzard I persevered and got some awesome nights of Aurora and had some stunning views before me through the fjords and snow blanketed terrain. One image in particular though, the view from my hotel, was the inspiration for this post. Here it is:-

 

The view from the Magic Mountain Lodge in Lyngseidet, Norway

This was a snapshot caught right at the start of the day before a long drive north. The light was very low, the ISO was very high, and the grain in the image is testament to that. For me the most noticeable noise is up in the snow around the mountain to the right. So sometimes it’s good to leave the noise there, it’s quite a good characteristic to have, but often in the world of commercial photography it’s just not acceptable.

The Reduce Noise Filter

Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise

This tool has been hanging around in Photoshop for a while. It’s generally pretty good but it’s worth noting the name. It’s called the Reduce Noise Filter, not the Remove Noise Filter. The reason I point this out is because it’s pretty hard to remove the noise in an image without losing detail. This is because Photoshop is taking a look at an area of the image and trying to determine which pixels don’t fit, then replacing them with an average of the surrounding pixels. Make sense? So if I have a 9×9 grid with a white pixel in the centre and black pixels surrounding the edges, the noise filter will notice that the white pixel is the one which is out of place and stick a black pixel there. What this does on a larger scale is pretty catastrophic if you think about it. We invested in an awesome camera which we use to shoot RAW, capturing the precise colour and tone of each individual pixel, then we stick it through a noise reduction process which changes each one of those pixels based on it’s neighbour and spews out an average which it’s decided works better. That’s what you need to have in the back of your mind when you use noise reduction, along with this:-

“Nobody ever threw away a photo of their relative, their wedding, their partner, or their cat because it was noisy.”

-Hybrid Dave, 2017

So let’s break it down. One type of noise that the Reduce Noise Filter can deal with is Color (I think that means Colour) noise. This type of noise is red, blue and green dots scattered across your image, often in the form of splodges rather than individual pixels, but it could be either.

When using this filter it’s best to reset the sliders to zero each time to start off, thereby effectively hitting the reset button on the filter and seeing the preview with no filter applied.

Back to the Color Noise, with the slider at zero give it gentle progress to the right until the color noise starts to blend with the rest of the image. Be careful not to slide too far!

 

 

Luminance Noise is next up on the list here. Unlike Color Noise, Luminance Noise is made up of dots which are grayscale, anywhere between white and black. Here’s a closer view from the bottom right of the image showing these dots:-

 

Removing the Luminance Noise comes as a two part process, with the Preserve Details slider activating once you move the Strength slider. What happens here is you effectively smooth out the image using the Strength slider, then bring the detail back with the Preserve Details slider. With the Strength slider set to zero, slowly move it to the right until you’re happy with the effect it’s had on the Luminance Noise. Once you’re happy here, start increasing the Preserve Details slider to bring back the detail without reintroducing the noise. This is simple to understand, and easy to use once you do understand, but without that prior knowledge of what’s actually going on it can be just a random set of sliders being moved up and down. Let’s move on…

 

 

Switching the radial selection from Basic to Advanced will open up the option to apply the noise filter to single channels of colour. It’s the exact same principle as the Color filter, but applied to Red, Green, or Blue only. If you’ve noticed that only one channel needs the filter more than the others it’s a handy tool to have, and it comes with the Strength and Preserve Details sliders right there.

The last thing to look at here is the box entitled Remove JPEG Artefact. This tackles the problem caused by compression in JPEG files. Each time a JPEG is saved the quality gets worse, and it wasn’t great in the first place! This check box will do what it can to reduce the noise caused by the processes a JPEG file is put through in order to try to preserve it from the compression effects.

So that’s my breakdown for you all today on the Reduce Noise Filter right there in Adobe Photoshop. It’a a fairly simple tool, but understanding it will help you to better utilise it, and I hope I’ve helped.

As always, I’d love to see what you’ve made, and I’m on Instagram and Twitter if you want to reach out. Keep an eye on my Instagram story today and tomorrow, I’m currently in the air heading across the pond to New York City to have a little look at how they do Christmas over there!

Much love

Dave

Let’s wrap up my first week back with a short, sweet, tutorial that is kind of a Trojan Horse, because it seems like it’s a Photoshop tutorial on How to turn a single Panoramic image into a Triptych (three separate images that have the basic look of a single image — perfect for printing) but hidden inside is a surprisingly handy, little known, little used Photoshop feature that is so incredibly handy.

Let that marinate for a minute. 

OK, ready for the first Trojan Horse tutorial of the year? Let’s do it (it’s short, easy, and partially automated which is the fun part).

See, that was better than it sounded, right?

OK, how ’bout some more cool stuff? Great!
For my first episode of “The Grid” for the year, I was lucky enough to have my super awesome wifey Kalebra on as my guest, and it was a really great show (some folks literally called it our best episode ever), but it starts with some REALLY BIG NEWS for KelbyOne members. It really got a lot of folks excited (and we are over-the-moon about it here at KelbyOne HQ), and we get right to the news at the beginning of the show, so I embedded it below.

Check it out (below), and let me know what you think about the big news in the comments below!

My 9-top Instagram Photos for 2016
As chosen by the awesome folks who follow me there (based on the total number of likes). :)

OK, that wraps it up for me, ya’ll.

I have some handy stuff coming on Monday (and some other news), so I hope I’ll see you then. :)

Have a great NFL Wild Card Weekend! (I’m not shooting any NFL this weekend, but…#rolltide!)

-Scott

Above: Here’s a quick gallery of some shots from our pre-conference workshops held yesterday.  

That’s right – we’re streaming it live – the conference kicks off this morning with a keynote presentation from the crew here at KelbyOne, but of course the star of the keynote is Adobe, who is showing some really cool stuff this morning, so you don’t want to miss it:

When: Today at 10:00 am Pacific Time (1pm EDT)
Where: My Facebook page – http://facebook.com/skelby

Hope you can join us for the big show!

Best,

-Scott

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