Archive for photoshop

Nik Filters HDR Efex Pro

Posted in HDR, Software/Hardware, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2011 by bayouphoto

I have used Photomatix pro, since it came out, for all my HDR processing. However, since Nike filters came out with HDR Efex Pro I thought I would give it a chance. I have used and liked Nik filters since I started using Photoshop 10 years ago. I especially like the newer versions interface and intuitive layout. I downloaded the free trial and set to work. I run Vista home basic with 2 GB’s of ram. This seems to be the minimum for HDR Efex. I did notice it took longer to load, from Lightroom. Yes, it automatically becomes a plug in for Photoshop and Lightroom.I exported from LightroomOnce the images loaded and were processed the interface opened. There are a myriad of user friendly presets already installed. Chances are one of them will be just what you wanted. I chose Realistic strong.

You can make tweaks with the adjustment sliders. The whole process is quite easy to grasp.
You can hide the preset panel to get a larger previewThere is a histogram also. Once you are happy click save. On my computer it took a full 3 minutes for the photo to show up in Lightroom.

Would I spend the money to go from Photomatix 4 to this? No because I would need at least 4 GB’s of ram and I already have Photomatix. If I did not have an HDR program I would be all over this. As I said I love the Nik filters interface and technology. Is it the best for you? The only way I can answer is get the trial version and see. If you have a newer computer with lots of RAM it would be fantastic.

I do think I like the default image better than the Photomatix one, and in fairness it does seem easier to use and understand.

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Tech Tuesday: Portrait Professional 9

Posted in Tech Tuesday with tags , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2010 by bayouphoto

I had promised a review of this software awhile back, however I was having issues running it with Windows Vista and waited till that was cleared up before offering a review. I am glad to say Portrait Professional 9 is now Windows friendly. it now comes in a 64 bit version for those needing it.

There is a nice introductory video here and you can download a free trial.

If you work with a lot of portraits and do your own retouching this software is invaluable. I know I use Portraiture mostly, but this software gives us subtle face sculpting right at our fingertips. It does things that Portraiture is not designed to do. Before I get raked for suggesting we completely alter a photo I am merely suggesting subtle changes. This would especially be good for portraits of older adults.

First thing is to launch Portrait Professional.

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Click Open Image, navigate and select the photo you wish to use.

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Once you have it open select the gender and you can rotate the photo if necessary. When you have selected it will open a box to select various parts of the face with points. Follow the instructions closely as this affects the later photo. Once you have selected all the points it will show you a full face reference where you can adjust. Once you are satisfied use the space bar to process. Once finished it will take you to the main interface and show you before and after.

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Now begins the fun. Use each panel on the right, slowly adjust sliders to see what they do. Zoom in on the image especially when doing skin, eyes, or mouth.

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Face

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Eyes

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Skin. With the skin and hair you can add to or subtract from the area involved.

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Eyes

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Zoom in for the eyes and mouth. You can change or enhance eye color.

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Same with the mouth.

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When I checked the hair mask it included the eyes, so I used the eraser to eliminate them.

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Hair

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There are adjustments for things like exposure, lighting and even a tan. Once you are happy with it save the photo.

I really like the ease of use, the intuitive interface and the pop up help windows. If you do portrait work you owe it to yourself to try it out.

Now the before and after comparison.

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Each little adjustment was very subtle but when combined together it makes a dramatic difference. I hope you enjoyed this and it helps you.

Tech Tuesday: Pano stitching

Posted in Tech Tuesday with tags , , , , , , on August 31, 2010 by bayouphoto

After my recent posting of the rainbow pano I received emails asking how I shot it and how I processed it.

There are many tutorials on how to shoot a proper panorama so I will just put a link up to one Panoguide. You can also search a DIY pano head for your tripod.

The next thing is what do I use to process? PTGui software. You can learn all the how to stuff here

Ok on to my process.

First I open my pano photos with Lightroom 3 and bring the exposures as close to each other as possible. Then I convert to a tiff file and export to a folder.

I then open PTGui

(As always click each photo to see a larger version)

Then click load images

Browse to your folder and select the proper photos

select align imagesIt will show you a grid to use sliders to adjust the edges of the photo for optimum size.

Once you are happy with it select create pano and after processing it will give you the optionsĀ  of how and where to save it. Once it is saved you can then open in a photo editor for final adjustments and cropping.

Here is the final image before taking to photoshop for cropping. I hope you enjoy this and it inspires you to try a pano

Tip Thursday: Orton effect

Posted in Tip Thursday with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2010 by bayouphoto

Last week I posted a photo and said I would provide a tutorial for the Orton effect. True to my word here it is.

It is very simple asĀ  post processing goes but you must have a photo editing software that supports layers. ie. Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or Paint shop Pro.

Open the photo in your editor (I find photos with lots of white don’t work well). I am using Photoshop CS3

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Duplicate the layer twice( Windows Ctrl+J)

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On the top layer(Layer 1 Copy) change the blend mode to Screen

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Right click on layer 1 copy and choose merge down (Ctrl+E)

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Duplicate the layer once again

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Then go to Filters>Bur>Gaussian blur

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For an 8 MP camera I use between 15 and 20 radius

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Click OK and change the Blend mode to Multiply

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Merge down once again

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If your photo is too dark you can lower the opacity of the Layer 1 copy but don’t go below 60% or you lose the effect. Try lowering the fill opacity or using levels to brighten it up some

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Once you are happy right click and choose merge visible or use shift+Ctrl+E to merge all layers.

Here is the before

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and the After

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I hope you enjoyed it and find this useful and helpful

Tech Tuesday: Fractalius tutorial

Posted in Software/Hardware, Tech Tuesday with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2010 by bayouphoto

Before I get to todays tutorial I wanted to post a video of on of the funniest comedians of all time being very serious.

Today we will look at a fun Photoshop plug in. Fractalius by Redfield. It uses algorithims to produce various light patterns from photos.

I first read about it on the places2explore blog. I thought it was fascinating. I had played with fractals before but they mostly created art from scratch. This one let’s you play with your photographs. You can read more about Fractals here and here. I don’t care for all that technical stuff. I just like to create cool things LOL

So let the games begin:

First thing this plug in will only work with Windows and then only on photoshop in 32 bit mode with photos in 8 bit TIFF or JPEG. So if you are in 64 bit mode or your photo is in higher than 8 bit you must convert it.

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Open the photo in Photoshop or other compatible editing software. I am using CS3.

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Go to Image>Mode>8 Bit and check it

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Then go to Filters>Redfield> Fractalius

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If you have used it before it will open the interface in the last used mode.

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You can select from a drop down list of pre-set options.

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Here I have selected one. Then play with the many sliders to see what they do. Move them from one extreme to the other. When you are done just click the green check mark to apply.

Now for my only complaint. It seems to take forever on my computer with a dual core, 2GB’s RAM and an Ninvidia graphics card.

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and the finished product.

Now for a few more.

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and my favorite so far.

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Give it a try and see what you think

Tech Tuesday: Lightroom plugin intergration

Posted in Tech Tuesday with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2010 by bayouphoto

I find myself using Lightroom for more and more of my daily photo editing. It is just so easy to import the RAW files, keyword, organize and edit them right there. Now, with the introduction of Lightroom 3 I do probably 80-85% of my editing there. The only time I use photoshop is for my heavy editing, compositing or for using my many plug-ins.

Now many are becoming compatible with Lightroom. First it was the wonderful Nik filters, Photomatix and now finally Topaz Labs. I use Topaz Adjust for quite a few photos and it was always tedious to open Photoshop just to use Topaz. Now it integrates right from Lightroom. It is not as easy as Nik filters or Photomatix, you must first download a free intergrator from Topaz called Topaz Fusion Express. The process is not hard but you must read and follow the extremely well written instructions.

If you use Lightroom, or Aperture and Topaz you should try Fusion.

As I wrote this I just found out the excellent product Portraiture 2 is also available as a Lightroom plug in. This is an excellent program for working on skin tones and smoothing imperfections. I just downloaded it and can attest to the fact that it integrates very reliably and works fast.

If you don’t do a lot of cloning and need multiple layers Lightroom and the addition of plugins means it does most of the things photographers need

Happy birthday USA

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2010 by bayouphoto

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