Monday, August 9, 2010

PhotoShop SIG 8-9-10

In this month's SIG we talked about HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging. HDR allows the photographer to capture all the tonal range in a scene that the eye can see but image sensors can't capture in a single exposure. This is done by making multiple exposures by using the bracketing feature or the exposure adjust feature in a digital camera. The multiple exposures are combined into a single image that displays the entire tonal range of a scene.

Software that can do this is found in Photoshop CS3 and later with CS5's HDR Plus being a significant improvement over previous Photoshop versions.

Photomatix, current version is 3.2, is an excellent program for HDR. The web site for Photomatix is from HDSoft,

We also looked at a new product, HDR Expose from Unified Color. HDR Expose is unique as it provides tooks for editing all of the photograph in 32 bit HDR mode before outputting it to an 8 or 16 bit image. The Web site is

Also discussed were various tools and plugins for creating a pseudo HDR from a single exposure. RAW files work the best. In Photoshop CS5 go to Image > Adjustments > HDR Toning.
Photomatix has a Plugin that can be purchased with Photomatix as a bundle for an additional $20 that gives excellent results. I only works of 16 bit images.

At the SIG I showed how the Topaz Labs Adjust 4 plugin also can give an excellent HDR look. A good place to start is the Spicify preset is a good place to start. The web site for Topaz Labs is

At the SIG it was planned to also show some new Plug-ins of interest.

Exposure 3 from AlienSkin, is great for giving a look to an image that emulates a film looks. There are many choices.

ToonIt from Digital Anarchy, is a fun plugin for creating a cartoon look to a photograph. It has many Presets to use to get started.

Portraiture from Imagenomic,, is an excellent plugin for doing portrait retouching.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Photoshop Elements SIG - 6/16/10

In the Photoshop Elements SIG this month and in the following months we'll be going through exercises from the book "Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 Unleash the hidden performance of Elements" by Mark Galer and published by Focal Press. The book comes with a DVD with the images used in the book so as to follow along with the various lessons and movie tutorials that help following the text. It also comes with various actions and presets that can be downloaded to make the editing easier and better. This books can be obtained from Amazon for $29.67.

We started by pointing out the tutorials available for Elements users on You also get 2 GB of online storage.All Elements registered users get access to from the Start-up screen. You first have to create an account. Plus accounts offer 20 GB of storage with additional tutorials other stuff. The cost is $49.99/year. At the SIG I played a video tutorial from the normal account "Creating a sense of movement". At the conclusion of the video we went through the tecniques described.

This month we covered book, Part 1 Project 4, Curves, Project 5 Hue/Saturation & Luminance and Project 6 Sharpening, Advanced Sharpening Techniques.

The Project 4 Curves described techniques in Elements that are similiar of the powrful Curves Adjustment in Photoshop for controlling contrast in an image. One of these was the use a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer in Luminosity mode.
I created a video of this technique and it can be viewed by clicking the link

Advanced Sharpening Techniques will be shown in the next SIG in August. There will not be an Elements SIG in July.

I will show these steps shown for advanced sharpening techniques.

1. Open 1_P6_USM.tif
2. Dupe background layer by dragging to new layer icon
3. Filter > Other > High Pass
a. set the Radius to around 20 to 30 pixels for a 6 to 12 megapixel image.
b. Click OK
4. Apply the Despeckle filter - Filter > Noise > Despeckle
5. Next the Filter > Noise > Dust and Scratches –
a. R – 1
b. Threshold – 0
Note-the High Pass filter is sometimes used as an alternative to the Unsharp Mask if the duplicate layer is set to Overlay or Soft Light mode. In this project, however, we're using the High Pass filter to locate the edges within the image only.
6. Filter > Adjustments > Threshold is next applied - the threshold will reduce the slayer to 2 levels-black and white.
7. Drag the slider just below the histogram to isolate the edges that require sharpening. The aim of a moving of these sliders is to render all of those areas you do not want to sharpen white, or nearly white.
8. ClickOK
We're now halfway to creating a sharpening mask the mask will restrict the sharpening process to the edges only (the edges that we have just defined). Increasing or decreasing the radius in the High Pass filter will render the lines thicker or thinner.
9. Paint out any areas that were not rendered white by the Threshold adjustment that you don't want to be sharpened. In a portrait, any pixels remaining in the skin away from the eyes and mouth, nose and background is painted over using the brush tool with white selected as the foreground color.
10. Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur
a.4 pixel radius to ensure the sharpening process will fade in slowly read it rather than have a sharp abrupt edge.
11. Magic Eraser Tool
a. Deselect the Contiguous option
12. Click on any white area within the image, and we should be left with only the edge detail on the layer and none of the white area.
13. duplicate the background layer and drag this duplicate layer to the top of the layer stack
14. Layer menu choose Create Clipping Mask or click on the dividing line between the two top layers with the Alt key depressed.
15. Enhanced > Unsharp Mask
a. Amount - 150
b. Radius - 0.8
c. Threshold - 5
16. Click OK

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Photoshop Book by Martin Evening

I refered to a book in the Photoshop SIG by Martin Evening. The name of the book is
Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers published by Focal Press. I bought my copy from Amazon,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Photoshop SIG 6-14-10

I apologize for not keeping this blog up-to-date these past 6 months but these months have been a bit difficult. I promise to do better in the future.

If you have a Canon camera that shoots RAW would like to view the Canon RAW files in Windows Explorer go to, hover the mouse over Support and choose Consumer. In the Search box enter Canon RAW Codec. On the resulting page pick your operating system, Vista or Windows 7 and you will be offered to download rc170upd_71.exe, scroll to the bottom of the page and click I Agree - Begin download. Save to a folder on your hard drive and after the download go to this file and click on it to install.

To view dng Raw files I did a Google Search on dng raw file codec. The top of the list took me to Adobe Labs which has the Codec to download and install.

I received a request to show a technique for blending two images together using the Gradient tool. I showed this at the sig and I created a video of this that can be be viewed at

In the June Photoshop SIG I demonstrated a technique for changing a face in a group shot. Many times in taking photos of a group one or more in the group has their eyes closed or something similiar. To get around this the photographer should take multiple shots of the group and replace those closed eye face with ones that are good.

In taking my group shot, a photo of my grandson's youth soccer team, one of the member's of the team showed up late so I showed how to take a seperate photo of him and then insert this photo into the team photo.

I have created videos of both of these techniques and they can be viewed at: and

We also talked about camera RAW and all the adjustments in the Camera RAW dialog box.
Martin Evening recommends a workflow for Basic adjustments of:
Exposure to set overall image brightness
Recovery to restore any important detail in highlights
Blacks to set the shadow clipping
Fill to reveal more detail in the shadow area
Bright-Contrast is used last to fine-tune the image after you’ve adjusted the other 4 sliders.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Photoshop Elements SIG - 3-17-10

This is my first post to the Blog in a few months. Sorry I will try and do better in the future.

I demo'ed a technique for removing a color cast in an image. The steps are:
1. With the image open that has a color cast. Dupliclate the background to a new layer. I use the shortcut control+J
2. In the Filter menu choose Blur > Average. This creates an image with all the colors in the image averaged to a single color. This should be gray for an image without a cast.
3. Add a Levels Adjustment layer. Do this by clicking on the Ajustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layer's panel and by choosing Levels or from the Layers menu, Add Adjustment Layer.
4. The Levels Adjustmet Layer dialog box has three eyedroppers on the left side. The middle one is the gray eyedropper. Click on this to select it and click anywhere in the image on the background copy layer. This makes the adjustment to neutralize the color to gray on the background copy layer.
5. As we now have the adjustment we need in the Levels Adjustment layer either delete the background copy layer or turn it off by clicking the eyeball icon on that layer.
6. This applies the Levels adjustment to the image removing the color cast.

I showed three plugin filters for Photoshop Elements. They were

Topaz Labs Adjust 4, Simplify 2, Clean 2 and Detail 2.
Essentials 3 from onOne Softwere
Sketch by Akvis Software

See you next month.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Photoshop Elements SIG - 12-16-09

At the Elements SIG I showed a technique for creating an Orb. The steps are as follows:

Creating an Orb

1. Full Edit open flower bunch
2. Crop to a square
a. Marquee tool
b. Cookie Cutter Tool
3. Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates
a. Polar to Rectangular
4. Image > Rotate > 180 deg
5. Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates
a. Rectangular to Polar

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Photoshop Elements SIG - 11/18/25

Captions Alive Pro

The software that I used to create the animated text captions that I have been showing in my slide shows the past few months has now been released. It is called Captions Alive Pro found at the web site can be found at
You can download a free trial and then buy it from the web site.

Essentials 3

A few months ago I posted information on Essentials 2, a very reasonably price set of plugins for Photoshop Elements. Unfortunately this version is not compatabile with Elements 8. OnOne Software recently released Essentials 3. Here are the top new features in this release in addition to support for Photoshop Elements 8:

• New Photo Essentials Palette - The Palette provides quick access to all five modules from a single location right inside Photoshop Elements.
• Make It Cool - This new module offers a library with dozens of professional effects that can be added to images in one click. This is based on our award-winning PhotoTools 2 plug-in.
• A new dynamic range optimization algorithm in Make It Better.
The web site for Essentials 3 is